Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Phillip Morelock's Blog

I've been enjoying Phillip Morelock's blog for a few weeks, every since I found it, so I wanted to point you there too. Phillip is the CTO of JibJab, an all around great guy and a blogger with a sense of humor. Here is a post with pictures that I really liked.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kati on the Ipad

Kati is one of very special moderators on Living With Ataxia a community on the Ben's Friends Patient Support Network that I'm involved in. Aside from being all-around amazing, she's also an Apple Fan Girl. She wrote up a cool review of the new ipad and what she is hoping for from the next generation. Kati writes from the perspective of someone who has physical challenges, so I always love reading her reviews on products for a different perspective.

Yes, Apple's iphone's and ipad's are changing the lives of John Q Public, but lost in that is what a big impact they are making on smaller segments of people who face daily challenges. For Kati, the iphone, and soon the ipad are essential for keeping her connected. How else can her dog Inca get the virtual hamburgers and steaks that people leave for her on Living With Ataxia? :)

My favorite part of Kati's review wasn't even about how the ipad relates to her. It was a little anecdote at the bottom of her post.

"I came across another link on Facebook leading to video of two deaf people using the iPhone (Facetime Video App) as video phone to sign to each other."

Monday, June 28, 2010


This Really Happened - Pop a Shot

Schweif's birthday was two weekends ago and we re-lived his formative post-college years in the Marina via a scavenger hunt full of challenges. One of those challenges was Pop A Shot at Mauna Loa. Now, those happened to be my formative post-college years too and one thing I got really, really good at was Pop A Shot at Mauna Loa.

Maybe too good. Definitely too good. Way too good at Pop A Shot.

Before I took my turn to shoot, I turned to Meghan, Matt & Vanessa (my teammates) and said, "I may be better at Pop A Shot than anything else in my life." They looked at me in a weird way.

Then I shot a 71, which is the world record as far as I know.

At that moment, everything in the world made sense.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"People Aren't Motivated by Insults"

"People aren’t motivated by insults. Criticizing someone feels good, but it isn’t likely to result in a behavior change. This is why companies selling weight loss products don’t go around pointing fingers, “Hey, you there. You really do look fat. Put the donut down now.” It is also why people in the fashion industry focus on the great new look, not making fun of people wearing the old style.

It appears that the people who will fix this leak all work for BP, which means we need the BP team to do great work. Declaring them incompetent and lazy will not make them work harder or inspire them to come up with new ideas. At the moment we should look for ways to support the people fixing the leak, not criticize them."

-- Great advice by Professor Caulkins, one of my favorite Kellogg Professors.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moore's Law in Healthcare

"Last week Illumina Inc, the market leader (by number of units shipped) in gene sequencing machines announced a 60% reduction in price of it’s personal full genome sequence. The price is now down to $19,500.

Health Care Information Technology: Moore’s Law is so last century!

The same test was:

$350k in 2009

$650k in 2008

$3B in 2003"

I loved this post by James Siminoff about how Moore's Law is affecting Healthcare Diagnostics, because it was the subject of my internship at Becton Dickinson. The layman definition for Moore's Law is that every 18 months, the number of circuits on a semiconductor doubles. It's not a law of physics, but the magical semiconductor R&D labs always seem to do it. Accompanying the doubling of circuits, is a similar price drop of something like 50% for a given level of computing power. The price drop isn't a law of economics and wasn't even addressed by Moore, but it just kind of happens, and you can bank on it.

One of the best things about going to Business School is your summer internship. You get to try out a whole new profession for three months. You meet great people along the way, learn about what you love, and do great work. BD is a Fortune 100 company and they asked me to research and propose a strategy in the molecular diagnostics market for them. BD was very strong in old school, culture based tests, but didn't have much of a presence in the new fangled Molecular (gene based) market. Molecular Diagnostics are fantastic at determining the genetic markers that tell us whether someone is genetically predisposed to things like Breast Cancer and other diseases. Your genes don't lie and there is a wealth of information in them.

Moore's Law is something that hadn't really occurred to the folks at BD because they had spent their careers in Healthcare, a place where costs only seem to go up, not down like clockwork in technology. However, I'd spent the early part of my career doing Investment Banking for tech companies and I saw the magic that was unfolding in this market. In fact, the capacity improvements and price reductions were blowing away Moore's law, increasing and decreasing respectively by about 4x a year.

The trick in Molecular is finding the genetic markers that correspond to a disease. As James shows above, the tools capable of this work were insanely expensive, kind of like how old mainframe computers were when the computer revolution started. But Moore's Law gradually made the personal computer and server market accessible and today we walk around with a phone that is more powerful than those old mainframes. My message to BD management was that diagnostic toolmakers were going to make finding genetic markers cheaper and easier than they had ever imagined, and we would have a healthcare revolution on our hands shortly. Management enthusiastically embraced my recommendation and has made moves into the market.

I share this story because for all of the developments going on in Information Technology, I think the most exciting leaps are taking place in Healthcare. Technology is a beautiful, unrelenting force, powered on by human ingenuity, and soon, very soon, we'll all be better off for its magic.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ariel's Life is Funny

"Reynoldo then proceeds to go through my items one by one and put them in either a “Yes” or “No” pile. I see him take a pair of Gucci shoes, still in the box, which I bought on clearance and only wore once because they’re a size too small and pinch my feet so hard want to cry when I wear them, and put them in the “No” pile. “What’s wrong with the shoes?” I ignorantly ask. “Um, pointy toes are kind of out right now.” Thanks, asshole. This is a secondhand store in the Inner Sunset in San Francisco…didn’t realize the pointy toe was such a leper. Reynoldo’s judgement didn’t seem to stop with the shoes, though. After he goes through my clothes, he looks at me, dressed in workout clothes, and goes “Not working today?” in a tone suggesting I was either unemployed or some spoiled girl with out-of-style pointy toes Gucci shoes who doesn’t need employment. “No, Reynoldo, I’m a teacher. I teach children.” Don’t you judge me, Reynoldo, or my pointy-toed shoes."

My good friend Ariel is blogging now. She's hilarious in real life and a good writer. This is her second post and I was already laughing out loud. Enjoy.


Awesome video of Band of Horses playing live. I've listened to Monsters roughly 65 times in the last month.

Friday Chill Music (June 25, 2010)

I started thinking about the new Sunday Morning this week. It's a mix tape I put out every year that my friends have really gotten into. It's always a dual purpose mix, good for hangovers and/or makeouts. For this week's mix, I dug through my music and posted some old Sunday Morning songs.

Sadly, many of the mixes have disappeared from my computer over the years. If you have an old copy or any of the mixes, I'd love to burn it so I have a record of what I put together. Leave a comment or send me an email with what you have!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"I Am Here for You Too"

"I am here for you too, anytime, we chiarians need to stick together."

We started a new patient to patient support network under Ben's Friends. It's for Chiari Malformations and this quote was left on the network from one patient to another last night. 

Ben's Friends and all 14 (!) of our networks are a little Internet miracle. Take a second and check it out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Close Enough

"Verizon has reached a powerful point in their marketing: for Verizon customers curious about the iPhone, Droid is close enough. Close enough is powerful, and Apple is rapidly losing ground to it." 
- Marco, one of the most famous iphone developers in the world (I read him religiously)

Guilty Pleasure

The Boozy Marina Floozy is back with a doozy. She's one of my favorite guilty pleasure for quotes like this:

"Got Mullet lover's address before calling the taxi. I hate sounding like a whore when ordering a taxi."

Note, this is not a PG blog.

State of Love and Trust

John Hamilton at 33 Forever pointed out this amazing cover of Pearl Jam's State of Love and Trust. First, this is one of my all time favorite PJ songs, and second, the Gaslight Anthem did an excellent job covering it.

This got me really excited because I've been waiting for new rock bands to start covering Pearl Jam, like how PJ covers all the old greats. A couple sample covers below, but here is my current wishlist of current bands hypothetically covering PJ songs:

1) Fleet Foxes doing Oceans
2) M. Ward doing Daughter
3) Jack Johnson covering Around the Bend
4) Band of Horses doing Hunger Strike (oh wait, they already did that)
5) Bon Iver doing Release
6) The National doing Leash
7) The XX doing Hard to Imagine
8) The Yeah Yeah Yeah's doing Jeremy
9) Death Cab doing In Hiding
10) Conor Oberst doing Footsteps
11) Drive by Truckers doing Rearview Mirror
12) Jenny Lewis doing Betterman
13) My Morning Jacket doing In My Tree
14) Ryan Adams doing Off He Goes
15) Wilco doing Present Tense

Here is PJ covering Leaving Here by the Who

PJ Covering Throw Your Arms Around Me:

Here's a great Staind cover of Black:

Monday, June 21, 2010

How to Hire a Programmer by Derek Sivers

My buddy Matt Koidin who runs forwarded on this excellent post on hiring a developer by Derek Sivers. I'm posting this here because I've recently gone through this process so I kind of know what I'm talking about. In addition, I've had a bunch of friends pitch iphone apps to me recently. These friends are like me, they have a little dream, something that would make their life cooler, and just want to see it built. They're willing to throw a little cash at it too. This post is a must read for you, friends. :)

One of the most important things he advocates is sketching out the basic functionality ahead of time and telling the developer exactly what he needs to build. This is incredibly important for the developer but also for you, who will be functioning in the Product Management roll. There is a very good chance that you don't know exactly what you want to build. Writing and sketching it out is VERY IMPORTANT so you don't have wicked scope creep.

This was a huge problem on LuvvBugg because I continually wanted to build more functionality into the product as we went. I drove my partner Ashish beyond crazy and he was completely justified in his frustration. LuvvBugg was my first project like that so I was learning as I went. It will be tempting to increase the scope because the market will be moving as you build the product. Do not increase the scope. Get the product out the door and working before you do anything to increase functionality.

For Ben's Friends patient to patient support networks we kept everything incredibly simple and I realized how important that was, both from a scope creep perspective, and also because you know you really have something if people are using your baseline product. That's the case with Ben's Friends and it's totally invigorating. It prevents development fatigue to see people using your stuff and loving it. As I told Matt recently with regard to his side project, once you get a little critical mass using your service/product, it becomes incredibly addictive. The email thank you's are enough on their own to make you become borderline obsessed about it. At that point, you will have actual people telling you what they want you to build for them. It's way easier to incorporate other people's good ideas than trying to project what you think they might want.

One other tip, talk to all the smart people you know who should have an opinion, before you start building. On a little side project called Popcorn that I'm building now, I talked to Matt, Jeremy Downs, Dave Abramson, Mark Himmelsbach, John Hamilton and Alex Bain exhaustively before building. You'll flush out all your ideas in those conversations, they'll tell you what you are missing (which is probably 50% of everything) and you'll have some compadres to share progress with. If you want to get really crazy, build a Google Doc that captures all the constructive feedback you get. Aggregate it and then invite all the friends who contributed to it. This can be invigorating for your feedback providers, because they can see what everyone else is suggesting. It makes it a lot more fun and they can then build on other people's ideas.

Oh yeah, definitely post it on Elance. Awesome network of developers and easy to manage. That's where I found my man Nick who has built a kick ass prototype of Popcorn. For the curious folks out there, Popcorn will be unveiled probably in a month. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Schweif's Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Yesterday was Schweifler's birthday an d he and Ananda planned a
birthday scavenger hunt. Here is Meghan arm wrestling the bartender at
Bar None and Vanessa immitating him at the Grove on Cheatnut. Awesome

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Friday Chill Music (June 16, 2010)

Ultra mellow track list today. I had the privilege of hanging out with Corynn (my old roomate in SF) and @lattekelli Wednesday night in Seattle. We went to a small concert for Brad, an old school Seattle band fronted by Shawn Smith which also includes Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam. Amazing show. Click through the link on Smith for more of his music.

I've included a bunch of the songs played at the concert. Smith also covered Crown of Thorns, a legendary song by Mother Love Bone. MLB included Stone Gossard & Jeff Ament, the two guitarists would go on to found Pearl Jam after MLB's lead singer died in a drug overdose. It's a beautiful song and it was pretty awesome seeing it covered at the High Dive.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

it's time for molly mutt clean!

"now, without further ado...molly mutt clean is finally here!

here's how it happened. you know i came up with the dog bed duvets & stuff sacks to make it easier to have a clean dog bed any time. but fact of the matter is-sometimes your dog (DEFINITELY my dogs) still stinks. and since we all want the best for our furry children, i went looking for a natural freshener to spray on the dogs' beds & couldn't find anything that didn't smell like febreeze (GAG) or super perfume-y (which is also vomit-inducing.)... just like with the dog duvets, since i couldn't find it...i made it! "

Can a VC transfer risk to a startup?

Awesome post by my buddy Healy Jones on startup funding risk. Couldn't have said it better myself. Especially the quote below. If you think may ever start a company or work at a startup, read his blog!  

"The biggest way a VC can increase a startup founder's risk is by not participating in a follow on round of financing. As herd animals, VCs look to each other for signals. An existing investor not investing in a subsequent round is a major red flag that something is wrong with the business. That's why I've always recommended syndicating your Series A Round - you decrease the likelihood that no existing investor steps up. (Note that I have ignored my own advice with OfficeDrop.) There are other reasons that a venture capital firm will not invest - such as the fund running out of moneyor the partner who made the original investment leaving the fund."

Caterina: OH I read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. I don't want to start any trouble, but shouldn't that be an even number?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Band of Horses, On My Way Back Home

I've been traveling a ton lately and I'm back at it to Seattle on Wednesday and Los Angeles on Friday. These are labors of love though because in each city, I get to hang with friends after the work is done.

On that note, I saw this video for the new Band of Horses song on Matt Ziser's Facebook page. Thought I should share it with you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Our Soccer Team Fought for This Way of Life Today

Does the Internet Make You Smarter? -

Clay Shirky article recommended by Alex Bain on his excellent blog. 

I loved this quote below and As I was reading I kept thinking about the patient to patient support networks I'm involved in. Clay was thinking the same thing as he referenced patientslikeme at the end of the article. 

"To take a famous example, the essential insight of the scientific revolution was peer review, the idea that science was a collaborative effort that included the feedback and participation of others. Peer review was a cultural institution that took the printing press for granted as a means of distributing research quickly and widely, but added the kind of cultural constraints that made it valuable.

We are living through a similar explosion of publishing capability today, where digital media link over a billion people into the same network. This linking together in turn lets us tap our cognitive surplus, the trillion hours a year of free time the educated population of the planet has to spend doing things they care about. In the 20th century, the bulk of that time was spent watching television, but our cognitive surplus is so enormous that diverting even a tiny fraction of time from consumption to participation can create enormous positive effects.

Wikipedia took the idea of peer review and applied it to volunteers on a global scale, becoming the most important English reference work in less than 10 years. Yet the cumulative time devoted to creating Wikipedia, something like 100 million hours of human thought, is expended by Americans every weekend, just watching ads. It only takes a fractional shift in the direction of participation to create remarkable new educational resources."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Chill Music (June 11, 2010)

Good stuff.

P.S. I'm on the beach in Baldhead Island, North Carolina right now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Baldhead Island

Today I'm traveling to Baldhead Island in North Carolina for a mini-Kellogg reunion hosted by the Kennas. Baldhead is where the Kenna's were married in 2006 and I was lucky enough to attend. It's an incredibly beautiful place and I can't wait to relax with old friends on the beach and get scared to beejesus by Kirsten's ghost stories at night. Baldhead has a long tradition of ghost sitings and one of the nights I was there, I swear I was being watched from the bushes the whole time I drove along a pitch black road in the middle of the night. Terrifying.

Don't believe in ghosts? Well read this article. I dare you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Herb Caen was Right

One Acre Fund Wins Award

The One Acre Fund, an incredible social impact business started by a Kellogg grad a year ahead of me just won a really prestigous award from the Financial Times for Achievements in Basic Needs Financing. Chris Addy, who is a Kellogg friend and is on the Board of One Acre, brought his to my attention. One Acre teaches advanced farming techniques and finds creative ways of financing the seed and fertilizer that helps to exponentially increase yields for these farmers. Major props to Andrew Youn, Founder of One Acre!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Things Are Changing Fast

"I saw a two-year old kid (in diapers, in a stroller), using an iPod Touch today. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus and interacting. This is a revolution, guys." - Seth Godin

I've seen this many times myself. It's amazing that kids what kids growing up today are going to be capable of doing. My only problem with it is that it makes me jealous. :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Marco Arment is a fantastic web developer. He's one of the guys behind Tumblr but I love his side projects even more. Instapaper is a must-use ipad & iphone app for bookmarking great articles. Instapaper strips all the crap out of the page and displays it beautifully for easy consumption. Can't recommend it enough.

His new side project is Preview.FM, a simple way to search and listen to the samples of songs outside of itunes. You search for a band like The XX and you get the screen below. You click the play button and it rolls through every song preview on the album. Quick, easy and elegant. Check it out.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New York City on Pictory

Incredible photo essay titled New York City at the Pictory site. The NYC photo essay was designed by Nick Felton, otherwise known as He's probably my favorite Internet Designer. I'm pasting in a couple pictures but they won't nearly as good on the blog. Go to the site. Totally worth it.

Thanks to Emily Dellas of First Class Cooking for highlighting it for me.

Just Another Friday Night...

...Rob, the Bachelerette, and Me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friday Chill Music (June 4, 2010)

The 10 best new songs I've been listening to...

Quick scouting report:

The XX finished their shows with Stars and it was borderline transcendent. Amazing. I also love Shelter because of how stripped down it is and because of the lyrics. They played the You Got the Love cover when the house lights went on tuesday night.

The new National album - High Violet - has been on non stop play for me. The lyrics to England and the beat is terrific. Crybaby is awesome.

The new Black Keys album is a recent purchase and I love these two songs.

The Yim Yames record is a Tribute to George Harrison by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Terrific.

These are two of the most mellow songs on the new Band of Horses and they are awesome.

Have fun!


Internet as an Export Industry for the U.S.

Fred Wilson's categorizes the U.S. Internet business perfectly with this quote and chart below:
"Internet is one of the primary export industries in the US." - via Fred Wilson

Thinking about the Internet as an export industry only recently occurred to me. I was talking to a VC friend of mine and we were talking about one of his portfolio companies which happens to be an Internet music startup. It's a fabulous company but a regulatory hurdle was really hurting them. Lobbyists were working against them and things weren't so great. I asked him what he did about it. His response (paraphrasing) was, "we hired our own lobbyists and pointed out to politicians that the Internet and specifically Internet music is a huge opportunity and U.S. companies are the worldwide the leaders in it but to maintain our leadership, we needed to sort out these regulatory hurdles."

The politicians agreed with the argument and now this company and its competitors have solidified their global leadership in this huge industry. They've exported Internet music to the world and it's tough to see how they won't be a leader for a very long time.

That conversation was a couple months ago but it's shaped the way I've thought about the Ben's Friends Patient to Patient support networks since then. Our patient networks are totally global and have been almost since day one. The most tangible benefit is that if someone is having a painful episode in the middle of the night, U.S. time, they can login into the site, and someone in Europe, Asia or Australia will be on the network and can give them support. This is a HUGE benefit and like most things, we stumbled upon it. However, it's bigger than that because we've come to see ourselves as exporting patient support across the world. Patients on our networks have been meeting up internationally with regularity and it's interesting to watch the pace of these meetups accelerating. It's a fun time to be on the ground floor of an Industry that has a captive audience in the U.S. and also a huge potential audience across the world. Thanks to Fred Wilson and my investor friend for pointing it out to me when I didn't see it right in front of me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Boozy Marina Floozy is Back

A friend of mine, who calls herself "Boozy Marina Floozy", is back on the single scene. Let's just say she writes a very interesting singles blog when she is dating. It's not for the faint of heart. Consider yourself warned.

I loved her "Top 5 Fabulous Forms of Revenge", especially this one:

"4. Delete his number. Got to love the "who is this" response to a text. Feels so good. Do it even if you don't delete his number."