ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

July 17, 2010

Cell 13 and The Thinking Machine.

To whoever finds this,

I am writing this on toilet paper from a dungeon that I’m guessing is located in Google’s nether regions.

The sign on the door says “Cell 13“.

All I’ve had to eat the past few days were a couple of bamboo shoots and leaves accompanied by a lovingly handwritten note inscribed, “Who’s the master baiter now, Lobster Boy?”

“Lobster Boy”?! Is my semblance to a panda not obvious??

How did I get here? Last thing I remember was emailing Pandas and Lobsters to Posterous 96 hours ago, then leaving the SayNow office with my intrepid sidekick Troutgirl. Next thing I knew, I was dragged off the street with a bag over my head as I yelled, “Help me, intrepid sidekick Troutgirl!” She angrily rifled back, “Who are you calling sidekick?! YOU are MY sidekick…” as I got pushed into a van and carried away…

And now I wonder. Was it my message — that Google applications are for people who want to hit-it-and-quit-it, but social applications are for people who’d rather stay-and-play — that landed me in incarceration? Or did I offend them with style, not substance?

In any case, here I sit in a dark prison cell. On one wall is Orkut, hanging in shackles.

Also sitting in the dungeon is the Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa. I guess that’s how they got him to do all those videos for YouTube this week. If they can get him to make one for every person on Facebook — what’s that, just 500 million more videos? — perhaps they can build a compelling social network out of nothing but sweat, tears, and Old Spice…

In a comfy chair in the middle of the dungeon, Paul Adams furiously scribbles notes whenever I talk with Orkut or Isaiah. Orkut hasn’t said a thing to me, and frankly I’m intimidated by Isaiah. I offered him some of my bamboo but apparently he won’t eat carbs.

Paul won’t talk with me directly. He’s shy. I keep telling him to read jwz’s “Groupware Bad” rant but all he does is scribble it down in his notebook. Since he’s writing anyway, I make sure to speak in lots of metaphors and new-age speak, like these words of Stephen Covey: “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” Whenever I say something like that he looks at me like a side dish he didn’t order.

Since he’s writing furiously, I try to talk more slowly. “Do you think Google has become much too insular? When muskoxen feel threatened, they face outward in a ring. Google is a circle of yaks, facing inward. Which is understandable, given the $30 billion pile of gold buried beneath the campus, which itself explains why rainbows always end at the Googleplex. No rainbow can compare with the dozen years Google has spent developing The Thinking Machine, which is why Google believes nothing is impossible when you apply Google’s Glorious Hive Mind to it. Not even… social applications!” He raises an eyebrow.

I go on. “You could ask The Thinking Machine anything in the world. Why is the sky blue? What is the twelfth dimension that Foursquare has somehow magically tapped into? Wtf is a Quora, and why should Google care?? What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything???” He raises the other eyebrow.

I go on. “I’m guessing you care about social networks because they are drawing the attention of advertisers. Seven years ago Google was processing 200 million searches a day, but now Twitter is processing 800 million searches a day on less money than Google spends on food (and fewer total employees than Google hired last month!). Since April, Facebook has jumped from 100 million mobile users to 150 million mobile users, led by Xoogler Erick Tseng…”

This finally incents Paul to speak. “You know we put a microchip implant in all Xooglers before they leave so we can track their progress in the wild…” And then he stops himself because he knows that I can do the math that on the Facebook side, Sheryl, Elliott, and Bret & Paul are Xooglers, and on the Twitter side, so are Ev, Biz, Dick, and Jason. I chuckle to myself thinking that Dennis might have hatched his Foursquare scheme while sitting in this very prison cell.

I goad Paul, “This is good, Paul. Let it out. I know you want the answer to something, so let me anticipate that and tell you that whales are the answer.”

This is more than he can stand. He screams at me, “You speak only in maddening metaphors!!! Well you’re a prisoner, and WHERE ARE YOUR WEAK LINKS NOW??? And by the way, we’re working on an algorithm to crack your metaphorical codes, so don’t be too smug… We do, after all, have The Thinking Machine.”

At that moment, who should peer at me from a dark corner that I thought was unoccupied? None other than the very first Facebook friend himself, Mark Zuckerberg.

“Google wants to be my friend,” says Mark. I give an astonished look to Paul.

Paul admits, “We actually perfected the Zuckerbot last year. No one inside Facebook actually knows that it’s not the real Mark running their company anymore.”

That wipes the smile off my face, so I try to reason with Paul to let Mark go. “Look, I know that Google is worried because Facebook is shrinking the good part of the Web. But you’re going about this all wrong. Instead of taking a defensive posture like muskoxen, or trying to make bad Facebook copies like Buzz, you should give up on lobster traps and put your faith in the strengths of the Web itself.

I don’t think Paul was listening to me because at this point he’s writing furiously… “Google — and everyone else — needs to stop letting Facebook set the terms of social, because social has never actually been about the power of STRONG ties, nor about a FIXED identity. One of the reasons Buzz tweaks people out so badly is that they attached it to the very very most fixed part of your online identity, which is your actual email account. The number of non-Googlers I know who use Buzz rounds to zero.”

Paul’s hand was cramping but I can’t stop yakking…

“Paul, I know you’re biased against Facebook. About the anecdote that begins your 200+ slide deck… There’s a woman with some homosexual friends in LA, and she comments on their pictures in the bars they go to together. Meanwhile, she’s teaching 10-year-olds how to swim. And the 10-year-olds somehow have access to her Facebook account. But she doesn’t realize until she’s talking with the anthropologist that the 10-year-olds who shouldn’t be using Facebook can see the comments she made on the pictures of her friends at the gay clubs.

“THIS IS THE SCENARIO YOU’RE IS CONCERNED ABOUT!?!?!?!?

“Skeptic Geek looks at those 200 slides and concludes, If Google Me were indeed under development, looks like it will be a network designed for close ties — family and close friends — which is how Facebook initially started.

“WRONG!

It is SUCH a misconception that Facebook initially started for family and close friends.

WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

It started for schoolmates to MEET each other. LITERALLY THE FACE BOOK: 

  • Cute girl or dude in my dorm, who are you?
  • Who has notes to that math class I slept thru?
  • I’m selling a futon on campus, who wants it?
  • I wanna join the college glee club; who else is in it?

“It was all about people in that magical liminal moment of American life: the first year of college. Where you could change your identity in a summer. Go from Kitty to Karen, trade your MG for a white Chrysler LeBaron….

“I remember reading something about Soledad O’Brien… She’s from Long Island. Last day of high school, she’s a cheerleader rocking massive feathered hair. By the third day of college, she’s calling herself Soledad and has stick-straight hair and no makeup.

“When Facebook was cool, it was all about establishing your public identity, without anyone from your past to set it in stone.

“Now you gotta be the same you whose cheeks were pinched by your aunt when you were 6 and chubby. You gotta haul around all those “friends” from junior high who saw you with zits and glasses, and braces on your teeth. You gotta live with the legacy of your Young Republicans phase or your Social Democrats phase or your French existentialist phase, or your drunk slut phase…”

I was rolling. “The best Web applications became big because the earliest adopters embraced them passionately. Like Danny DeVito’s penguins-with-bombs in Batman Returns, the earliest adopters are an army of penguins who like to declare, fuck off bear cavalry!

 

Penguin_army_bear_cavalry

 

I continued. “The army-of-penguins love to put a Web application through stress tests, and make sure it’s ready to be spread. One of the differences between a startup and a big company is that a startup has the luxury of being cool at first. NOT having to design for the entire world on day one. Getting to revel in the penguins-with-bombs phase. And then the millionth user phase. And then the 10 millionth user phase. The better Google apps had that kind of rollout… Gmail, Reader. Mind you, Reader has never, ever gotten anyone laid. So you can’t use it as a model. Instead, repeat after me: USER GOOD.”

I was ready to finish. “Google — and everyone else — needs to stop letting Facebook set the terms of social applications, because social has never actually been about the power of STRONG ties, nor about a FIXED identity. Look to the WEAK TIES. Look to IDENTITIES IN CONTEXT.
There’s still so much to be done in helping people meet, have conversations, and hook up. You can do it!!! You do, after all, have The Thinking Machine…

And with that, Paul tidied up his notes and left the dungeon, and I haven’t seen him since. Mark is taking a power nap, Isaiah is getting his beauty rest, and Orkut still hasn’t said anything. So I’m sending out this beacon.

And so, I tie this note around a rat’s neck so that when it escapes to freedom, it will bring my message to someone who can kiss my Posterous…

Hopefully,
Adam


P.S. — Pandas poop 40 times a day, and I’m all out of toilet paper… 

July 13, 2010

Pandas and Lobsters: Why Google Cannot Build Social Applications…

After researching what pandas do all day, I was struck by how panda-like we are when we use the Internet.

Roaming a massive world wide web of forests, most of our time is spent searching for delicious bamboo and consuming it. 40 times a day we’ll poop something out — an email, a text message, a status update, maybe even a blog post — and then go back to searching-and-consuming.

For a decade, Google has trained us to optimize our pandic selves:

The kind of application that Google knows how to make well are the kind that embody a panda’s “eats, shoots, and leaves” model of Internet behavior. Pandas spend every waking hour foraging — aka searching — and consuming. The most successful Google applications serve such a utilitarian mandate, too: they encourage users to search for something, consume, and move onto the next thing. Get in, do your business, get out. Do a Google search, slurp down information, move on. Pull up Google maps or Gmail or Google news, do something, leave. Where Google does not excel is in making applications that are by their nature for lingering and luxuriating — the so-called social applications.

What’s the main difference between successful Google applications (search, maps, news, email) and a successful social applications? With Google applications we return to the app to do something specific and then go on to something else, whereas great social applications are designed to lure us back and make us never want to leave.

Consider this example: Google Answers focused on answers and failed; Yahoo! Answers focused on social and succeeded. The primary purpose of a social application is connecting with others, seeing what they’re up to, and maybe even having some small, fun interactions that though not utilitarian are entertaining and help us connect with our own humanity. Google apps are for working and getting things done; social apps are for interacting and having fun.

Put another way, Google designing social apps is like Microsoft designing iPod packaging.

Now, consider the Four Horsemen of Hotness in 2010: Facebook, Quora, Foursquare, and Twitter. Think deeply about why none of these four could have been developed inside Google.

Facebook is a lobster trap and your friends are the bait. On social networks we are all lobsters, and lobsters just wanna have fun. Every time a friend shares a status, a link, a like, a comment, or a photo, Facebook has more bait to lure me back. Facebook is literally filled with master baiters: Whenever I return to Facebook I am barraged with information about many friends, to encourage me to stick around and click around. Every time I react with a like or comment, or put a piece of content in, I’m serving as Facebook bait myself. Facebook keeps our friends as hostages, so although we can check out of Hotel Facebook any time we like, we can never leave. So we linger. And we lurk. And we luxuriate. The illogical extreme of content-as-bait are the Facebook games where the content is virtual bullshit. Social apps are lobster traps; Google apps do not bait users with their friends.

Quora is restaurant that serves huge quantities of bacn and toast. Quora is a dozen people running dozens of experiments in how to optimally use bacn to get people to return to Quora, and how to use toast to keep them there. Bacn is email you want but not right now, and Quora has 40 flavors of it that you can order. Quora’s main use of Bacn is to sizzle with something delicious (a new answer to a question you follow, a new Facebook friend has been caught in the Quora lobster trap, etc.) to entice you to come back to Quora. Then, once you’re there, the toast starts popping. Quora shifts the content to things you care about and hides things you don’t care about in real-time, and subtly pops up notifications while you’re playing, to entice you to keep sticking around and clicking around. Some toast is so subtle it doesn’t even look like a pop-up notification — it just looks like a link embedded in the page with some breadcrumbs that appear in real-time to take you to some place on Quora it knows you’ll find irresistible. For every user’s action, bacn’s and toast’s fly out to others in search of reactions. (Aside: if I were Twitter, I would be worried. Real-time user interfaces are more addictive than pseudo-real-time interfaces; what if Quora took all of its technology and decided to use it to build a better Twitter?) Social apps are action-reaction interaction loops; Google apps are designed just for action.

Foursquare exists in a dozen dimensions. That statement is ridiculous on its surface; after all, even String Theory has only 11 dimensions. (Technically, it’s 10 dimensions, beca
use they start numbering at zero.) Whatever higher-than-the-highest reality Foursquare thinks it’s building, one thing is clear: this company is more about chemistry than physics. Foursquare has studied the works of David A. Kessler, who studied hyper-palatable foods that had various combinations of salts, fats, and sugars that stimulate the diner’s brain to crave more, rather than satisfy their hunger. The more a person uses Foursquare, the more a person wants to use Foursquare: the points are salts, the badges are fats, and sweet sweet mayorships are sugars that we fight over like we’re
 Sneetches. Ok, so Foursquare’s leadership thinks they’re only 10% of the way there — I guess they have 11 other combinations of salts, fats, and sugars to perfect so that all we do all day, every day, is check into Foursquare. Social apps offer a steady diet of junk food to keep us addicted; Google apps offer mostly bamboo.

Twitter is a giant blue ball machine. Even the New York Times says not enough people understand what the heck Twitter is, for them to be willing to use the word tweet in polite company. But that doesn’t stop lots of people from using Twitter. Perhaps they are enamored by a word that sounds ornithological in nature. I tried to explain it to my brother like this: tweets are little blue balls, and they get bounced around by a giant machine so others can enjoy them. Those people can react by copying the balls (retweets), swinging at the balls (at-replies), or beaning the originator in the head (direct messages). There are also lots of whales on Twitter — celebrity whales to attract us, and fail whales to repel us. As opposed to Facebook, which hates whales because whales distract the lobsters from the traps. At this point, my brother gives me a blank stare and says he’s going back to Facebook. Which goes to show that a social app doesn’t need lobster traps, bacn and toast, or 12 dimensions to be successful; it just needs balls. Social apps are whimsical and fun; Google apps are whittled and functional.

So why can’t Google build social apps? Because Google’s core values (“be useful”, “do good by users”) reject the very notion of lobster traps, bacn and toast, a dozen dimensions of junk food, and giant blue ball machines. Understanding those concepts is not easy. It takes lots of practice, and lots of patience, and lots of learning.

2010’s leadership of Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter struggled for YEARS learning from FriendFeed, Dodgeball, and Odeo, respectively. The main mythical man month mega mantra — “build one to throw away” — isn’t just a clever way to gracefully fail on the first iteration; it’s the way we learn. I believe those collective experiences have given them the humility to know that most things don’t work; the confidence to know that simplicity is more important than features; and the stamina to see their visions through the good, the bad, and the ugly that accompany startups.

Does Google have the patience to launch social apps that aren’t widely used so they can learn from them? Not Lively.

Does Google have the ability to launch social apps that aren’t utilitarian? Repeat after me: “A Buzz is a high-frequency Wave.” And neither pandas nor lobsters know what those are, other than wacky experiments gone awry.

Has Google’s culture-of-facts ever learned from Orkut? Good question for the triumvirate. A humbler panda than me once tweeted:

So, to summarize: Google is responsible for Orkut, Wave, and Buzz. Ex-Googlers are responsible for Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter. Discuss.

Ok, I’ll discuss. I have three main points:
  1. Google cannot hire a Head of Social because no individual can change Google’s DNA of building applications for pandas, not lobsters. Googlers who wanted to develop great social applications had to leave Google to do so.
  2. Google cannot buy Twitter or LinkedIn or Quora (or all three!) because Google’s culture has no respect for successful social applications. YouTube’s office is still far from the Google campus to avoid the toxic attitude described by a former Orkut employee, “[Google has] an environment that viewed social networking as a frivolous form of entertainment rather than a real utility, and I’m pretty sure this viewpoint was shared all the way up the chain of command to the founders.
  3. Google cannot focus group its way to successful social applications. Henry Ford opined, If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
And three reasons why Google should be concerned:
  1. Facebook serves 3 billion LIKE buttons a day, serves one-sixth of all U.S. ads, has more traffic than Google or the next 99 sites combined, has 100 million mobile users and five times as many web users, and when it launches a Facebook search engine, it will be the second biggest search engine in the world right out of the gate.
  2. Twitter’s search engine is bigger than Bing and Yahoo combined. Not only is Twitter doing 800 million searches a day, but apparently they’re the fastest growing search engine in the U.S.
  3. Bing actually seems to have a better relationship with Facebook and Twitter, and in addition, Bing has gone out of its way to partner with Amazon as well as Apple and its soon-to-be-100-million iPhone OS devices.
So… Now would be a good time for a bold move from Google. YouTube is the only social application Google has ever bought that was and remains #1 in its category. What can we learn from that?
  1. Google FAILED going head-to-head against YouTube. Buying YouTube in retrospect was a great idea, and keeping YouTube separate from Google HQ was a great idea.
  2. Google FAILED in acquiring and integrating other social products. Blogger, Picasa, JotSpot, Dodgeball, Jaiku. None are their category leaders now. Some are dead. Why?
  3. Google FAILED to create Google Contacts that are easy to edit and integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Why then should we believe Google can do something simple, entertaining,  and interesting with Google Profiles?
Google is filled with adrenaline now that Facebook and Twitter are juggernauts in social advertising and searching. Google is ready to fight, but social applications are about loving not fighting. Google is from Mars, and social applications are from Venus. Anyone know someone who can build a rocket ship so Google can ride to the world of social applications?

My advice for Google’s Trinity is to put on your thinking caps about social apps. Think really carefully about what you need, and why. Look to the glorious words of jwz:

“Social software” is about making it easy for people to do other things that make them happy: meeting, communicating, and hooking up.

And for all us lobsters, I just have one thing to say: “Yeah, you’re all gonna be okay.

July 9, 2010

What do pandas do all day?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 1:58 am

Giant_pandas

 

Pandas are a mystery of nature. If whales are the answer, then pandas are the question.

What is a giant panda a/k/a “panda”?
A panda is someone who eats, shoots, and leaves. And occasionally makes you laugh.

Aren’t pandas inefficient, piebald buffoons who are an evolutionary dead end?
Yes. That is why there are fewer than 3000 (fewer than 1600?) in the world.

Then how are pandas not extinct yet?
Pandas are beloved, because they are ridiculously, scientifically cute. They aren’t just adorable freaky bears that bark in the bamboo forest. Their entire evolutionary strategy (by intelligent design!) was to sit on their thumbs and wait around until there were humans to love them and be responsible for them despite all of their inefficiencies and mysteries.

So how do pandas live their whole lives?
royrod: “You know how sometimes you walk into a room and go… now why did I come in here? That’s how [pandas] live their whole lives.”

Seriously, what do pandas do all day?
Pandas spend 16+ hours a day foraging for food, eating, and crapping. Much like CEOs.

How often do pandas crap?
40 times a day. Hence the phrase, “Does a panda crap in the bamboo forest?” Shoots and leaves — aka “25 flavors of bamboo” — go right through their digestive systems and turn into little pellets. Luckily panda poop smells like tea.

Should we be worried about all those panda droppings?
When life hands you panda poop, make tea. Or paper. Or greeting cards. Maybe fridge magnets.

Are pandas carnivorous?
Fun fact: “Pandas are technically carnivores, but they have adapted to live mostly on bamboo. They will eat small mammals if they can catch them, though!”

Do pandas really “eat shoots and leaves”?
I love this description: “They spend at least 12 hours each day eating bamboo. Because bamboo is so low in nutrients, pandas eat as much as 84 pounds (38 kilograms) of it each day. Pandas grasp bamboo stalks [including bamboo shoots!] with their five fingers and a special wristbone, then use their teeth to peel off the tough outer layers to reveal the soft inner tissue. Strong jaw bones and cheek muscles help pandas crush and chew the thick stalks with their flattened back teeth. Bamboo leaves are also on the menu, as pandas strip them off the stalks, wad them up, and swallow them.”

What do pandas eat?
Sweet, sweet bamboo forms 99% of a panda’s diet. In captivity they’re known to get excited by oatmeal, cookies, and fruitsicles.

What eats pandas?
Pandas have no predators. Except humans. Sick humans. On the other hand, I gotta admit that panda cake does look very sweet.

What is a negative panda?
Pandas have bad luck. When a panda is struck by lightning, its black fur becomes white and its white fur black. Pandologists refer to such pandas as negative pandas.

Can you hug pandas?
Only on vacation. People think pandas are cute, and therefore they hug, but in reality, pandas are bears, and bears maul.

Where do pandas like to vacation?
There is a group of pandas in San Diego; see the pandacam.

What is a group of pandas called?
A group of bears is referred to as a sloth or sleuth. What’s the difference? A sloth of pandas are lazy but a sleuth of pandas are clever. No fingerprints? Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.

What is a male panda called?
A male panda is called a boar. Because male pandas are boarish and moody by nature.

What sounds do pandas make?
Pandas bleat, bark, and whimper, like a lamb or a goat kid. Pandas also huff and growl, but don’t roar.

What noises do pandas make?
They have up to 12 ways of expressing themselves vocally. Including youtubian crunching and sneezing.

How do pandas fight?
Mostly lazy forward rolls. They do NOT know Kung Fu. Nor can they really dance.

How do pandas get around?
By Fiat. Seriously, pandas spend “16 hours a day eating, eight hours a day sleeping, and almost zero hours moving…” It’s an amazing life. Like a dream.

Are pandas good leaders?
Obey Butterstick. Use this FAQ to heed his pandic visage with pandavision.

Any relationship to polar bears?
None we’re willing to admit.

Does a solitary lifestyle make for sad panda?
None we’re willing to admit.

What is Flickr’s obsession with pandas that puke rainbows?
It is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Google it.

What do frequently asked questions about pandas have to do with Flickr and Google?

How are successful Google applications designed for pandas?

The kind of application that Google knows how to make well are the kind that embody the “eats, shoots, and leaves” model of Internet behavior. Pandas spend every waking hour foraging — aka searching — and consuming. The most successful Google applications serve such a utilitarian mandate, too: they encourage users to search for something, consume, and move onto the next thing. Get in, do your business, get out. Do a Google search, slurp down information, move on. Pull up Google maps or Gmail or Google news, do something, leave. Where Google does not excel is in making applications that are by their nature for lingering and luxuriating — the so-called social applications. But that is fodder for another post.

July 8, 2010

Whales are the answer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — ifindkarma @ 9:47 pm

A_whale_is_fine_too

Whales are the power users of any given system. So…

Whales are the answer to the universe‘s big questions

Who does Facebook hate? Whales.

Who does Twitter love? Whales.

Who knows the best new apps of 2010? Whales.

What makes social game companies money? Whales.

Who sang “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe”? Whale.

What is the biggest animal on planet earth? Blue whales.

Who are the victims of eco-terrorism? Whales.

What has stilts and kicks ass? Whales.

What flies over Afghanistan? Whales.

What intelligent life exists in the universe? Flying whales.

What was made for outer space? Space whales.

What both exists and doesn’t exist? Space whale.

What can you say when you have nothing to say? Whale.

“Whale may also be used randomly to create widespread confusion.” You don’t say? 🙂

July 6, 2010

How to run effective startup Board meetings.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — ifindkarma @ 11:31 pm

These are my thoughts on running a Board meeting for an early-stage startup:

  1. No surprises! That means:
  2. Send out agenda and materials (days) in advance.*
  3. Talk with every Board member (days) before the Board meeting.
  4. Focus on the strategic, not tactical operations.
  5. Keep the Board meeting focused on the agenda you set.
  6. Focus on discussions, not monologues.
  7. Talk with every Board member (days) after the Board meeting.
I put an asterisk by point #2 because materials should be as simple as possible (but no simpler!). A one page dashboard, a handful of important metrics, and fewer slides / more discussion, make for much better Board meetings.
??
For background reading, I recommend the following posts:

How you actually run the meeting depends on??what kind of founder you are??primarily:??a planner, a seller, or an executor. Play to your strengths.
??
I repeat: Board meetings should focus on the strategic, not the tactical.
??
??
The best structure for a Board meeting I’ve found comes from Bijan Sabet; by all means tweak this as appropriate for your business:
  1. Overview and metrics
  2. Product update and roadmap
  3. Staffing
  4. Objectives for the year and progress against those goals
  5. Challenges, problems, and issues
  6. Financial update (major points)
  7. Assignments and help*
  8. Feedback and open issues
I emphasize and put an asterisk by #7 because it’s very, very important to give your Board members assignments and hold them accountable.
??

Never forget the strategic responsibilities of a venture-backed tech company’s board:

  1. To meet their fiduciary responsibility to protect and serve the interests of ALL the shareholders of the company.
  2. To guide the company to the fairest and most lucrative exit possible under the circumstances.
  3. To hire and fire the best CEO for the company.
  4. To recruit those board members who serve based on criteria other than stock ownership.
??
Do NOT allow your board to get into everyday product or management issues. ??That is not their job as a board, and your meetings will be long and hellacious if you allow them to go down this rathole.
??
What is the distinction? ??This is a proper statement for a Board member to make:
??
“John, we feel that as a nontechnical CEO your job #1 should be looking for an experienced VP of eng. ??If you do not manage to close a great VP eng candidate within 6 months — or even fail to close one but learn why you failed –??we will be concerned.”
??
By contrast, this is not a proper statement to make in a Board meeting:

??

“John, your homepage looks crappy on my iPhone. Fix it by the next Board meeting.”
??
That’s all I have to say on the subject. Please do ask questions if you have any.
??
And by the way, no matter how fun it might sound, do NOT go around the table fishing for ideas. You’ll only get bad ideas.
??
On a more serious note, it’s okay to call a break during the meeting if you need to breathe and clear your head. For such intermissions, I recommend Timbaland’s “Board Meeting“…
??
??
Dancing is optional. But highly recommended.

The ride does not require an explanation. Just occupants.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 5:31 pm

~The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. Saves on introductions and good-byes. The ride does not require an explanation. Just occupants.~ [Waking Life]
??

(thanks Anja!)

July 5, 2010

Jai guru deva om…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifindkarma @ 11:04 pm

Breathe deeplyBe here now

Let go??and whisper gently, glory be the universe

It’s not going to stop till you wise up.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifindkarma @ 10:14 pm

Lessons are repeated until they are learned… So breathe, because…

It’s not going to stop till you wise up.

So just… give up

July 1, 2010

SIMPLIFY.

Slow down.
Imagine doing less.
Make time for loved ones.
Practice patience.
Learn to gently say no.
Increase your quiet time.
Follow your heart.
Yield to life, yield to peace, yield to joy…

(…author unknown…and always be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle…)

 

 

Now is also a good moment along the journey to simplify our way of happiness

How_to_be_happy_simplified

"iPhone 4 sucks as a phone. Evo is a great phone…" "I don’t care."

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — ifindkarma @ 6:31 pm
When Steve Jobs says “it’s just a phone” and AT&T still sucks (“the best engineering out of Cupertino won’t change that”), what is a poor consumer to do?

Oh, right, buy a phone that works instead. Like the 4G Evo from Sprint.
??
Also,??iPhone 4 is NOT 4G. Evo is 4G. What’s the difference? The speed and quality of the Internet connection. Do not be fooled by iPhone 4’s name. IPHONE 4 IS NOT 4G.
??
Repeat after me, “Fuck iPhone, I’m getting an Evo!
??
Don’t be a consumer who doesn’t care…
??

??
??

Let me say it again: iPhone 4??sucks as a phone.

??
??Lawsuits!??Or you can??ruin the look with tape. Or??Livestrong.

??
Or just shoot your iPhone 4??and get an Evo. You know you want to.
??
??
I’ve had the pleasure of using an Evo for the last month — Evo and iPad, what a pair. This way I don’t have to miss out on the cool iPhone apps I like. I can even use my old iPhone in wifi mode with Evo as my Internet. It works great.
??
??
Since I’m ranting, here are my five favorite things about Sprint’s HTC Evo phone:
??
1. Evo’s phone works as a phone! Calls are crisp, visual voicemail is efficient, and Sprint doesn’t drop calls in the middle of Palo Alto.
??
2. Wifi hotspot app and Internet service that is muuuuch faster than AT&T. I easily Internet-enable up to 8 laptops, iPads, iPod Touches and iPhones, Nintendo DS’s, and the devices of friends, wherever I am.
??
3. The gorgeous, huge screen.??Size matters, and I love watching videos on it. I get a lot of use out of the kickstand.
??
4. The camera. 8 megapixels, beautiful resolution, and fast. Also has videoconferencing built in, though no one I know uses it yet.
??
5. Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Maps are fast and make me much more productive than I was on my iPhone. Google Maps has voice navigation, and it is fantastic. It could use better voice input, though. Google, are you listening?
??

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.