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Favorite tools for late night startup hackers

January 16, 2011 3 minutes 10 photos

Working flexible/crazy hours and from various locations is the norm in the startup world, and I’ve been meaning to write a quick post about some of the useful tools I’ve come across for helping collaboration in my startup, MediaPiston. I just saw…

A Simple New Year’s Resolution: Wake Up!

December 31, 2010 4 minutes

Perhaps my New Year’s Resolution should be to blog more since I haven’t posted here since July! This post diverges from the regular tech and startup material (for more of that, see my recent guest post on the 500Startups blog, “The Entrepreneur’s…

Add logs, pour fuel (VC money), light match (beta release day)

July 07, 2010 3 minutes

I often bump into entrepreneurs while they’re in the midst of fundraising. I usually ask “why are you raising money?” and what I often hear is, “because we are running out of money” or “in order to quit my job and so…

LeadsCon: a crash course in “show me the money!!”

June 23, 2010 2 minutes

Any entrepreneur looking for a quick crash course in how to extract money from online, and who learns through immersion, should attend LeadsCon in New York City on July 26 – 27, 2010. (update: see discount links below!)

Whereas at a web…

New York Times 50 Most Challenging Words (defined and used)

June 15, 2010 7 minutes 2 photos

The New York Times recently published a list of 50 fancy words that most frequently stump their readership. They are able to measure this data thanks to a nifty in-page lookup mechanism, which you can try here. Try double-clicking the word “epicenter”.…

Unexpected Startup Lesson #3: Why You Can’t Read a VC

June 10, 2010 3 minutes

This post is the third of a series on “unexpected lessons” learned through my experience as co-founder and CEO of Snapvine, a venture-backed mobile social networking service founded in 2005 and acquired by WhitePages in June of 2008.

When I set out…

Unexpected Startup Lesson #2: Channel your Inner VC to Understand Startup Valuations

May 27, 2010 4 minutes

This post is the second of a series on “unexpected lessons” learned through my experience as co-founder and CEO of Snapvine, a venture-backed mobile social networking service founded in 2005 and acquired by WhitePages in June of 2008.

Snapvine was my first…

Unexpected Startup Lesson #1: Quitting the day job

May 09, 2010 3 minutes

This post is the first of a series on “unexpected lessons” learned through my experience as co-founder and CEO of Snapvine, a venture-backed mobile social networking service founded in 2005 and acquired by WhitePages in June of 2008.

In the years just…

If you want to ship, cut, cut, cut!

April 17, 2010 2 minutes

I’m helping a startup founder who is outsourcing the development of a project. Tensions are running high on both sides as the project slips. The CEO is getting about two updates a week, mostly just “it’s ready to test now, the bugs…

3 Things I’ve Learned To Recruit Great Hackers

April 09, 2010 1 minute

1) “try before you buy” –> enlist contractors that aren’t tied to agencies so you can retain the option to hire full time.

2) “lots of coffees” –> do the leg work of meeting interesting people even if they aren’t looking. Nothing…

How much traffic do you get from being on the front page of Hacker News?

March 20, 2010 2 minutes

Last week’s post “Sell Ice Cream, Not Cream and Ice ” received 30X the traffic that I my blog posts normally receive.

Normally I get about 50 to 100 visits per post, but this time my post was voted onto the front…

Sell Ice Cream, Not Cream and Ice

March 12, 2010 2 minutes

Doing a startup? Think carefully about the differences between technology , product and business.

The startup world is full of incredibly smart people who design new applications that “change the world” but lack a clear business model (product, but no business). It’s…

Avoid This Startup Mistake: Losing Customer Focus

February 20, 2010 2 minutes

In 2006 when we launched Snapvine’s first viral widget and phone app for teens, it went viral overnight. We were overwhelmed with success within 3 weeks: our servers were swamped with signups - 1 million of them within the first 7 weeks.…

Crucial first hire: the "do-it-all office admin"

December 16, 2009 4 minutes

Back in June of 2006 after having closed a small series A, it was time to move out of our spare rooms, get some basic startup office space and hire a couple of employees so we could move fast and get on…

The positive follow-up to complaints, failures and ideas.

November 09, 2009 1 minute

Complaints can be annoying, but when paired with solution ideas are valuable. Failure by itself is a negative but when it comes with honest learning is the foundation of innovation. Ideas by themselves can be worthless but when accompanied by follow-through can…

FiReGlobal West Notes

October 20, 2009 3 minutes

Last week I attended FiReGlobal West as a guest speaker on a CTO Challenge Panel discussing how technology can help increase civic engagement at all levels of government.

Here are a few rough notes I took (and my opinions interwoven) throughout the…

Competition. Am I screwed?

September 29, 2009 2 minutes

I’m advising a first time web entrepreneur on a new service. This week he discovered a directly competitive service that is much further along and already launched. He wrote me asking “am i screwed?”

Here’s my response:

The answer to your question…

Advice for Visitors to Japan

September 07, 2009 5 minutes

I spent nearly 2 years living in Japan, both deep in the countryside working on a farm and in the heart of Tokyo working in an R&D lab. Beside that, I studied Japanese at the graduate level and worked in the mobile…

Insider tips for visitors to Seattle

September 03, 2009 2 minutes

Here are some of my favorite places to take guests visiting Seattle. Enjoy!

For post card views of downtown , there’s Kerry Park in Queen Anne. Even my jet-lagged friends thank me for dragging them here. Surprising that not many Seattle natives…

The Museum of Coffee Gift Shop (aka Starbucks)

August 22, 2009 1 minute

In his book, “Pour Your Heart Into It”, Howard Schultz describes his life story and the story of how Starbucks was built. Great book, btw. In it, he mentions being inspired by Italian cafes that function as gathering places and are part…

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