The Curse of the Technical CEO
It’s common wisdom that all software startups should have a technical co-founder. Someone who can lay down code, it is said, allows the company to move fast and build a product well and cheaply. As a technical co-founder, I clearly agree with this statement. Having a solid engineer as a co-founder isn’t just good from the standpoint of being able to build product quickly;...
Let's reconsider our "users"
jacks: During a Square Board meeting, our newest Director Howard Schultz, pulled me aside and asked a simple question. “Why do you all call your customers ‘users’?” “I don’t know. We’ve always called them that.” … At Square we’re removing the term “users” from our vocabulary, replacing it with “customers”, and the more specific “buyers”, and “sellers.” The word customer, given...
"You're Kinda Fuckin' Nowhere"
That’s the feedback I was given by Andy last week during our weekly update meeting. It was in response to my telling him our product and revenue progress (now in the mid-5 figures per month). I thought about that phrase for a few days and realized this is probably the closest to the entrepreneurial mindset in one sentence as you can get. No matter how much progress you’ve made,...
Watching friends succeed
I woke up far too early this morning (4:30 am) with that screw-it-let’s-attack-the-day feeling. But instead of getting up, I’m lying in bed thinking about why I woke up so early. I ended up realizing that watching friends succeed is an invigorating way to get pumped for yourself. Yesterday was a big day for some of my friends: Ashley, Rand, and the Moz team announced they made their first big...
A message to @KevinHartz: Bring your money to...
Hi @KevinHartz, First, I should say I’ve long admired Eventbrite and what you’ve done there. Moreover, I use at least a handful of products from companies you’ve invested in on a daily basis. You seem like more of a quiet operator and investor, not overhyping yourself and your investments — just the type I (and most Seattle entrepreneurs) like. Today I read a Wired...
Five degrees of separation
The average #Facebook user has 130 friends, ~8,000 friends of friends, and ~1,000,000 friends of friends of friends. via @Padday #WOMMA— David Yarus (@DavidYarus) May 9, 2012 According to that, it looks like the formula for number of friends by degree of separation is: if deg == 1 130 else 130^deg / 2 end For first degree, that would be 130, second degree would be 8,450, third...
The bigger question, of course, is whether Formula One can allow itself to be...– VARSHA: A Rocky Road Ahead For F1?
A serious productivity question
A serious poll: Are you more productive (and able to finish everything you need to finish) when you have your day scheduled completely or when you leave your schedule open for free time throughout the day? For instance, I have the following I need/want to complete on any given day: Respond to emails. Contact current users for feedback. Contact potential users. Write code. Read and digest...
What is Detroit‘s Brand? If you’re not from there, you might only think of...– Detroit’s Brand Is More Than The Sum Of Its Advertising Yes. YES. YES!
How you know you have great investors
I’m extremely lucky. I have great investors. Every day, I learn a ton about every topic imaginable from an active, experienced, smart, humble, and just plain awesome Chris DeVore. He’s not in some posh corner office or playing golf; he sits out in the same open space approximately 4 feet from where I sit. Chris just closed an $8M fund for Founder’s Co-op. When the news was...
Developers talk often of code smells: cues that might mean your code isn’t written as well as it should be. There’s also a general notion that the best code never needs to be touched after being written. It’s so perfect that there are no bugs and it works for years without intervention. I assert that, in a living and growing application, code which never needs to be touched...
3 simple rules for 2012
I decided to come up with 3 simple rules to live by in 2012. Be a good person (have a strong moral compass). Work hard. Don’t take life too seriously. (You’ll never get out alive… thanks, Van Wilder.)
The 2000 purchase of KB Toys, then one of the country’s largest toy retailers,...– Buyout Profits Keep Flowing to Romney. I know lots of interesting things go on in LBOs/private equity deals, but this seems to me to be the pinnacle of Bain playing “who’s the bigger idiot” with banks… and winning.
On role models
I’m not perfect. Far from it. Morally, ethically, athletically, and any other way I could be perfect, I am not. But, I grew up with parents who tried to instill a strong sense of right versus wrong in me. Because of them, I try to live life with the goal of “explicitly do right” rather than just “don’t do wrong.” And, for better or worse, I — along...
Student question. Growing disparity in wealth and income. Money concentrated in...– Geekwire: Gates to students: Don’t try to be a billionaire, it’s overrated. This seems like a smart, pragmatic, and reasonable opinion about balancing capitalism and wealth disparities.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round...– Apple’s “Think Different” Campaign (via ladimcbeth)
What the Health is Happening? Trying to be a...
habitlabs: He’s taught me, over the past 6 months, an invaluable lesson: Competitive advantage doesn’t arise from ideation or the ‘unique’ view you have of the market. It arises from building the sh*t out of something people love (PG also tried to teach me this one, but I was infinitely more stubborn last summer). It arises from being proactive. It arises from knowing the problem intimately,...
There was a point in the late ’90s where all the graduating M.B.A.’s wanted to...– Marc Andreessen, Bubble? What Bubble?
So who will head the next generation of multibillion dollar start-ups? The...– The New Start-Ups at Sun Valley
betashop: Flash Sales - Literally →
betashop: They’re called Flash Sales for a reason. Each day, emails go out to Fab.com subscribers at 10:45 a.m. Eastern / 7:45 Pacific, and then our sales start 15 minutes later. Quantities are limited and prices are far below market. A rush ensues. Here is a chart of hourly revenue. This picture is… The data these guys (fab.com) are sharing is amazing. Go read their other posts for...
…credit unions explored how they could blend the excitement of the lottery...– Fascinating use of gamification in personal savings. Credit unions launch a savings lottery, and everyone hits the jackpot
It's the Apps, Stupid!
appstorehq: This week we pulled the data for app installs for a randomly-selected set of 5,000 anonymized users of AppESP. These users had installed a total of 246,458 apps on their Android phones, or 49.3 apps per user. We wanted to understand how many distinct apps were installed by these Android users, as well as the distribution of number of installations per app. The results were pretty...
A slightly different Memorial Day
Those who know me know I love the fact that I come from a family with one side of New York Jews and the other side of Brits. My Mom was born in England and moved to the states (after a stint in Canada) around the time she was entering high school. While much of my Dad’s side’s history is somewhat lost (through likely name changes, language barriers, the Holocaust, etc), it’s a...
I am supposed to think that [Tiger Wood is] a poor role model — that...– Bill Simmons, The Gift of Tiger Woods. (emphasis mine.)