Friday, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Get Startup Ideas

How to Get Startup Ideas:
"Most programmers wish they could start a startup by just writing some brilliant code, pushing it to a server, and having users pay them lots of money. They'd prefer not to deal with tedious problems or get involved in messy ways with the real world. Which is a reasonable preference, because such things slow you down. But this preference is so widespread that the space of convenient startup ideas has been stripped pretty clean. If you let your mind wander a few blocks down the street to the messy, tedious ideas, you'll find valuable ones just sitting there waiting to be implemented."

Terrific article by Paul Graham on How to Get Startup Ideas. One of the smaller, but most important points he makes is how embracing messy or tedious solutions for an unsolved problem is a great way to have a startup. This is the very essence of Ben's Friends Patient Support Groups. No one in their right mind would build something for people with rare diseases. It's unprofitable, the space is super fragmented so you can't get scale anywhere, and it involves a lot of people who are in bad shape and who need extra attention.

However, that's the very essence of the opportunity, and it's why so many people support us financially and why so many patients become Moderators. They clearly see the hurdles that we are overcoming. And once we overcame those hurdles on the first few support groups, we proved to our sponsors and the members of the sites that with a lot of help, we could make a huge impact in the lives of thousands of people.

And that is where the emotional payback comes in. Solving a problem that is too difficult for anyone else to even try has a huge emotional payback. And getting 30 thank you notes a day from members who without Ben's Friends, had no other option, has huge emotional payback.

You can analyze a startup's "market opportunity" and "profit potential" and "where this business could go in five years", but the most meaningful projects solve something messy, and the people involved are usually doing it for emotional payback first. They want to right something wrong in the world. If they make money along the way, like many entrepreneurs do, that's great. But if you ask them, it's that emotional payback that's most important to them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tablets are waiting for their Movable Type

Great point. This would be huge. 

Signal vs. Noise

"Remember the web before Movable Type? If you wanted a blog you had to program one. You had to know databases and webhosts and PHP or Perl. If you were "just" a web designer, or a writer with ideas, you had to hire an in-demand web programmer to make it happen. Publishing was expensive and hard.

Apps like Marco Arment's The Magazine give me flashbacks to that time. Wouldn't it be awesome to publish my own magazine on the iOS Newsstand? People could read my articles on their iPad Mini, pay without typing in a credit card, and automatically receive new issues as they come."

How quickly Gangnam Style became the most viewed clip on...

How quickly Gangnam Style became the most viewed clip on...:

How quickly Gangnam Style became the most viewed clip on youtube.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Yorker's Article on Being a Deadhead

One of the best articles I've read in the New Yorker in a long time. It captures the greatness of the Dead, but also tells the story of the band, warts and all. But what the author does above all is show what it's like to be a super fan of any band. There are so many great quotes, anecdotes, and the author's own commentary is superb.

Loved it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Better remote collaboration will make protectionism harder by David of 37signals

Nice article on remote workers and how traditional attempts at protectionism won't work. I think this is one of the under-rated reasons why there is a job crisis in the U.S. Remote workers are so fantastic and cheaper, that you can't beat the value prop.

Better remote collaboration will make protectionism harder by David of 37signals:
"When the geography of labour ceases to be an important part of production, attempts to keep foreign workers out of a country become counterproductive. Workers who stay remote will be subject to remote expenses. If those are lower, it’s harder to compete."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

You Just Have To Do Something | Jonathan Moore

Read the whole post. There is great advice in it.

You Just Have To Do Something | Jonathan Moore:

"The moment I opened the trash in the kitchen I heard my wife scream outside. It wasn’t an ordinary scream. I look outside right at the moment she was diving into the water. Racing outside I was certain that she was being attacked by the aggressive bees.
 I made it to the edge of the water right when she was coming up. My heart sank. In her arms was our little boy, blue and lifeless."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twitter's Descent into the Extractive

"But objections be damned, the Twitter lords marched on. After all, they knew the billion was growing restless and the minions in their lair equally so. Turning back now was not on the table, lest they risk the anger and fury of the billion.

So it went that the extractive provisions were rolled out quicker and wider. The initial feigned attempts at covering new rules and restrictions with "it's in everyone's interest" fell further by the wayside with every new decree from the lords."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria - The Triangle Blog - Grantland

The Florida Marlins traded all their good (and expensive) players away 1 year after getting a tax payer funded stadium. It's really mind blowing how much their ownership group took advantage of the local Miami politicians.

Hopefully this puts an end to tax payer financed stadiums. It's such a waste of resources.

There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria - The Triangle Blog - Grantland:

"In getting a stadium built in South Florida, Loria succeeded where his predecessor John Henry failed. Of course, Henry won control of the Red Sox as part of the same merry-go-round that landed Loria in Miami, despite not submitting the highest bid for the Boston nine. Cartel membership has its privileges. The total cost of the bonds the county will need to pay off over the next 40 years is estimated at $2.4 billion."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chuck Klosterman on the David Petraeus scandal and living a CIA conspiracy theory - Grantland

I tweeted about this on Friday. Pretty great to see Klosterman's own account.

Chuck Klosterman on the David Petraeus scandal and living a CIA conspiracy theory - Grantland:

"I had an interesting weekend. Maybe you did, too. It's always a mixed bag, you know? Some Friday nights are drunken and exhilarating; other Friday nights are empty and reserved. And then, of course, there are those Friday nights when random people believe you accidentally forced the resignation of the head of the CIA. 
We've all been there."

Monday, November 12, 2012

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky

"If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. That's not what happened. Instead, Pandora happened. happened. Spotify happened. ITunes happened. Amazon began selling songs in the hated MP3 format.

How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? How did they achieve such a decisive victory over Napster, then fail to regain control of even legal distribution channels? They crushed Napster's organization. They poisoned Napster's brand. They outlawed Napster's tools. They one thing they couldn't kill was the story Napster told.

The story the recording industry used to tell us went something like this: "Hey kids, Alanis Morisette just recorded three kickin' songs! You can have them, so long as you pay for the ten mediocrities she recorded at the same time." Napster told us a different story. Napster said "You want just the three songs? Fine. Just 'You Oughta Know'? No problem. Every cover of 'Blue Suede Shoes' ever made? Help yourself. You're in charge.""

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hip-hop Pioneer Questlove Reinvents Late-Night Music : The New Yorker

Terrific profile on Questlove of the Roots in the New Yorker this week. I've really been exposed to the Roots via watching Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Show. The band is really fun and brings a lot to the show, which is excellent btw. It was great to read the band leaders life story.

Hip-hop Pioneer Questlove Reinvents Late-Night Music : The New Yorker:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cash-strapped Spaniards ditch their mobile phones | Reuters

The Walm passed this on. It's really freaking scary, because in this day and age, not having a mobile fun is like living in prehistoric times. This is a sign that Europe is feeling some real pain.

Cash-strapped Spaniards ditch their mobile phones | Reuters:

"A quarter of a million Spaniards ditched their mobile phones in September, with phone companies bearing the brunt of cancellations by recession-hit consumers."

Happy Baby, the Movie by Stephen Elliott — Kickstarter

I just backed this on Kickstarter. Elliott runs The Rumpus which is a really good literary website. It's kind of my way of compensating him for running the site for free. :)

Happy Baby, the Movie by Stephen Elliott — Kickstarter:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seth's Blog: Why vote? The marketing dynamics of apathy

Wise words from Seth Godin. Hope everyone votes tomorrow.

Seth's Blog: Why vote? The marketing dynamics of apathy:

"The goal of political marketers isn't to get you to vote. Their goal is to get more votes than the other guy. So they obsess about pleasing those that vote. Everyone else is invisible.

Steakhouses do nothing to please vegetarians who don't visit them, and politicians and their handlers don't care at all about non-voters.

The magic of voting is that by opting in to the system, you magically begin to count. A lot."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

rockabillyjay: Ralph Gilles is the Senior Vice President of...

James Siminoff


Ralph Gilles is the Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler and an American hero.

Sent with Reeder

Flaming Pumpkins: Perspectives | KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Thanks to Scotty for passing on this article written by my friend Cam. It's really sweet.