Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Favorite Tweets of the Week

Back again with Friday's Favorite Tweets of the Week. If you missed "Two Videos Every Tuesday," take a few moments to check them out.

Brandon McCarthy is one of the biggest athletes on social media. Loved his music playlist in the link. :)

Mark Lisanti, quite possibly the funniest writer on earth had a couple of good ones below.

Chelsea Peretti is one of my favorite comedians on Twitter. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Minna Limon Couples Vibrator | Indiegogo

We're all adults here, right? Ok good.

My friend Brian runs a tech company that makes next generation vibrators. You heard me right. He and his team are engineers out of Stanford, and instead of building microchips or computers, they built a better vibrator. You can participate in their crowdfunding here:

Minna Limon Couples Vibrator:

Minna Life - Limon Couples Vibrator from BENT LENS Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Plumspotter May Music Mix

The fine folks at Plumspotter sent over a really great mix for the month of May. I've been listening to it non-stop and thought I would pass it on. Plumspotter is a music discovery app. They find the best emerging band for people like me who like new music but aren't cool enough to know what's hip. They do all the work for me (you). Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two Videos Every Tuesday

Back again with "Two Videos Every Tuesday." If you missed "7 Articles on Sunday" take a quick peek. 

First up is a neat video that Evan Spiridellis linked to called Second Wind. Evan's friend made the video last year and it's terrific.


 Second, is Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" with Michael Richards.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Scott Orn shared an Instagram photo with you

view full image
"Holiday Puzzle"
(taken at Donner Cabin)

7 Links Every Sunday

Back with Sunday's Link Column. If you missed yesterday's "6 Links Every Saturday," take a few minutes and enjoy it. There is some quality writing there and heck, it's Memorial Day Weekend. You can wait another five minutes before firing up the bbq. :)

1. The Buffett Formula - Love the phrase "continuous learning." Tons of gems in here.

2. How to Attend a Funeral - Great writing. Reminder of what's important in life.

3. 5 Steps to Choose Your Customer Acquisition Channel - Meaty post by my friend Brian Balfour on the most important question an entrepreneur must answer - How do you "go to market?"

4. The New Science of Giving - Philanthropy is changing and it's for the better. Donors are beginning to ask Non Profits for quantitative proof that the they are making an impact. Demonstrable results are most important, followed by the ability to do it cheaply. It's an exciting time for someone like me who runs a (soon to be) non profit based on analytics and capital efficiency.

5. Writing as a Competitive Advantage - I agree with Bryce, I find a lot of my negotiating happens behind a keyboard. I actually prefer to negotiate in person or over the phone because it's much faster and you can express nuance better. But that isn't always possible so I had to develop keyboard negotiating skills. One tip is to start writing like a teenager in work emails. Lot's of smiley faces, explanation points, italics and lists. Try it out. It works.

6. Why Investors Can't Imagine a Bond Market Crash - Low probability events like a bond market crash are so tough to predict. But you have to keep an eye out for the signals, like the fact that Hedge Fund leverage is approaching an all time high or that Japan had a small crash this week, courtesy of their bond market. Keep an eye on this stuff.

7. I'll leave you with a video. And it's possibly the best video of all-time. Will Smith doing the Fresh Prince Rap and Carlton joining him to do the Carlton dance. Shout out to Matt Ziser for finding it.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Six Links Every Saturday

Hope you had a great week. If you missed Seven Links Every Sunday or Friday's Favorite Tweets, check them out. Now onto Saturday's links.

Overcoming the Impossibility of Amazing - Typically excellent post from Seth Godin. It's so important to just get started. Don't try to be perfect.

Med Student Starts Website for Patients with Rare Diseases - Pardon the self promotion, but this article explains why Ben's Friends is so special.

Netflix Adultery - This is a real thing people. Vanessa and I have taken the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" approach. :)

Learning From Los Gatos - Fantastic analysis of Silicon Valley politics and what makes things different here. It's a response piece to George Packer's New Yorker article on Valley politics.  My favorite part was the focus on equity participation for average tech employees. That's what is truly special about the Valley's culture and fuels our economic prospects.

Welcome, Recent Graduates - Advice every college graduate needs on how to get a job. Great reminder for the rest of us.

The Collected Letters of Marissa Mayer and David Karp - Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1B+ this week. All in all, I think it's a pretty good purchase for Yahoo. Tumblr can become a flagship property and Yahoo has the brand relationships to sell a lot of advertising. The New Yorker poked a little fun at the two CEO's.

Donner Lake, California
Donner Lake

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday's Favorite Tweets From the Week

Funny tweets from the week.

Paul Goldschmid is a baseball player who hits lot's of home runs. This is a very polite but insulting way of saying he's killing your team.

So true.

It's probably both...


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meg Donohue's All the Summer Girls

My friend Meg Donohue is out with her second book, All the Summer Girls: A Novel. I can't believe I actually know someone who has written two books! Looks like great summer reading for all you ladies out there.

Dad's birthday: Steak and Star Trek

Awesome time for my dad's birthday. Two of his favorite things: Steak and Star Trek

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Two Videos Every Tuesday

Back again with Two Videos Every Tuesday. If you missed Seven Links Every Sunday, take a quick peak back.

Behind the Scenes at Radiolab - one of my favorite podcasts. Perfect for long drives in the car.

Radiolab Behind the Scenes from Radiolab on Vimeo.

Daniel Tosh on the Greatest Nerf Hoops Dunker of All Time - Love Tosh, love the ESPN guys. Very entertaining.

The One-Person Product –

This is one of the best blog posts I've ever read. It's Marco's recount of how Tumblr started. He was the first employee and built most of the infrastructure. Read the whole thing. This is how dreams evolve and become reality and then become world changing.

You can tell there is a lot of love between Karp and Marco. This is one of my favorite segments.

The One-Person Product –

"Even though Tumblr was never a one-person company, it usually felt like a one-person product.

David always had a vision for where he wanted to go next. I was never the “idea guy” — in addition to my coding and back-end duties, I often served as an idea editor. David would come in with a grand new feature idea, and I’d tell him which parts were infeasible or impossible, which tricky conditions and edge cases we’d need to consider, and which other little niceties and implementation details we should add. But the ideas were usually David’s, and the product roadmap was always David’s."

Monday, May 20, 2013

First Date

Reminds me of my second date with Vanessa where we went to Coit Tower and overlooked the city. :)

First Date:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Seven Links Every Sunday

Welcome back for another episode of Seven Links Every Sunday. If you missed yesterday's Six Links Every Saturday, check it out.

Eight Nerds Get Rich Off a Game - These guys invented the greatest board game of the last 10 years, Cards Against Humanity. I can't recommend it enough. But they're still all doing their day jobs. Why? Because according to one of the founders, "The game is too stupid to do full-time." :)

Mediocre Ideas, Showing Up and Persistence - Excellent. The last line is especially true.

Retail Investors Come to Life - Anecdotal for sure, but this is a big deal. If retail investors hop back into the market, this upswing has more room to run. Sadly most will be getting back in after selling at the bottom in 2008.

A Working Class Couple and Their Art Collection - Fantastic story.

Xia Long Bao Inflation - James Hong, of Hot or Not, checks in on his favorite Chinese Inflation Index.

$40,000 - Tim Calkins, one of my favorite Kellogg Professors, explores healthcare rationing in Europe. I cringe every time I see stats that say something like, "European countries spend half as much as America on healthcare." That's because they don't pay for some drugs and procedures that could save lives. At the same time, we only have so much money in the system. This dilemma is what makes getting healthcare costs under control so difficult.

I'll leave you with a song - With Bay to Breakers going on in San Francisco today, it feels like we need a "good times with friends" kind of song. Here is Band of Horses - Great Salt Lake.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Six Links Every Saturday

Back again for Six Links Every Saturday. If you missed my "Seven on Sunday" from last week, click through and take a look.

Ft. Point Light

I Hate Motivational Anythings - My friend Ed Aten, Founder of CopThis, on motivation. Reading this is like drinking a cup of coffee. You are going to be fired up.

Give Them an Inch and They Take $773M
 - Little optimizations matter in high volume businesses.

Japan is Getting the Wrong Type of Inflation - We're in a weird place right now with the financial markets and interest rates. The Japanese Central Bank and the Fed are pursuing wildly irresponsible interest rate policies. The stock markets are going crazy and everyone keeps on taking more and more risk in the debt markets as they reach for yield. It's so weird and speculative but the Central Banks think they have it all under control. The author of this article makes some great points about how you can't really control which kind of inflation you get (asset prices (they want) vs. industrial materials & goods (don't want)) and predicts an unhappy ending in Japan.

Mariano Rivera Breaking Bats - For 15+ years Mariano Rivera has been the closer for the New York Yankees and the best in baseball. The crazy thing is that all his success is built on one pitch - the cut fastball - which swerves onto the hands of left handed hitters at the last second. Here are some great visuals on how much his ball moves.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart - It's been a while since I read such a well written column on sports heartbreak. Reminded me of some of Bill Simmons best columns back in the day. Btw, if you like music documentaries, then you should check out the fantastic Wilco documentary with the same title.

A Large Ambulance Bill... - Great little story from the Ben's Friends Support Network. It will put a smile on your face.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's Favorite Tweets of the Week

I'm going to start a feature every Friday where I post my favorite tweets from the week. These are going to be funny. Promise not to judge my sense of humor. :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google IO Slide: Cameras Then & Now

Twitter / pkedrosky: Good slide from Google IO showing ...:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Two Videos Every Tuesday - May 14, 2013

Every week I post two videos for your viewing enjoyment. :)

1) Our Weekend with Google Glass - my buddy Matt Koidin, CTO of Pocket and father to some cute kids, takes us along on his weekend with Google Glass. I don't have Google Glass so I've been waiting for people to post these. Looks really interesting and especially great at capturing the little things in life.


2) Makin' Sense Babe Answering 5 Common Individual Investing Questions - very well done. I get these questions all the time as well. She knows her stuff.

Editorial on Breast Cancer in the NY Times by Angelina Jolie

Wow, courageous editorial on breast cancer in the NY Times by Angelina Jolie.
"We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. 
My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman."

Monday, May 13, 2013

This Is the Most Detailed Picture of the Internet Ever (and Making it Was Very Illegal) | Motherboard

I found this via Gruber's Daring Fireball blog. A hacker broke into half a million computers and then sent pings around the Internet to connected computers. The resulting image/map of the Internet is below. It feels like Internet Security isn't even close to keeping up with advanced hackers. It's an opportunity but also a little scary.

This Is the Most Detailed Picture of the Internet Ever (and Making it Was Very Illegal) | Motherboard:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seven Links Every Sunday

We're back in business with another Seven Links Every Sunday. If you missed Six Saturday Links, check them out.

Urban Sitter: Digital Adventures in Babysitting - CNN interviewing my friend and Urban Sitter co-founder, Andrea Barrett. So proud of her and Scott Fausel for all their fine work building a great company.

Hate Map - This map shows concentrations of Hate Speech on Twitter. Kind of a bummer, but interesting nonetheless.

Carbon Dioxide Passes Long Feared Milestone - This feels like a big deal.

Makin' Sense Babe Announcement and Video - This is what following your passion looks like. The Makin' Sense Babe quit her job in Asset Management after 13 years. Good for her and good for the next reader who follows her lead.

No Armed Bandit by 99% Invisible - "Americans now spend more money on slot machines than movies, baseball, and theme parks combined." Feels like the world has gotten more speculative. The stock market, housing market, gambling, etc. Hopefully this is just a collective phase we're all going through.

Netflix and Reed Hastings Join Silicon Valley's Elite - Fantastic article with so many great stories. Netflix has been in trouble so many times and it always comes out stronger than before. Full Disclosure: I own some Netflix stock. Bonus Link: AOL vs. Netflix, the Internet in one chart.

I'll leave you with a video, Positive Compilation of Russian Dash Cams. This is really heart warming.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Six Links Every Saturday

It's my pleasure to be back at it again with another Six Links on Saturday. If you missed last Sunday's Seven Links, check it out.

Founders, Equip Your Champions - Great advice by Tomasz, whether you work at a startup or in a corporate environment, you have to help people advocate for your ideas.

Miscommunication by Seth Godin - Great observations here. The last paragraph is a real zinger.

Larry David to Escort Daughter to Paris Crillon Ball - The most awkward, and lovable, man in the world takes his daughter to a prim and proper event. I hope the cameras are rolling.

Consumer Reports Says Tesla is the Best Car Ever - Wow! Huge endorsement. I've heard a lot of people comparing Tesla to Apple 10 years ago.

Protected Bike Lanes Are Good for Business - Shocker. When you make a city more livable, people like to walk around and shop. Kudos to the local governments for making this happen. I've seen a lot of this in San Francisco.

My Brother, My Mother and a Call Girl - Really sweet story about a mother looking out for her disabled son.

The Golden Gate Bridge on a Beautiful Day Like Today

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ben's Friends Thank You

Made my day. The people of Ben's Friends are incredible.

Ben is running a race in Houston to raise money for our organization, if you'd like to donate, we'd be grateful. Last year we spent $30k. This year we've only been able to race $13k, so there is a pretty big gap. Every little bit helps.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lightning sparks high country to life (amazing Yosemite image) | Tom Stienstra's Outdoors | an blog

An incredible picture of Lightning Hitting Yosemite found on Tom Stienstra's Outdoors blog. I found it via NextDraft which is a daily email newsletter by Dave Pell that was especially fantastic today.

Wikipedia’s Sexism

Wikipedia is one of my favorite institutions in the world. I think it's amazing that it exists. Twelve year old me would have used it 25 times a day. So disappointing to read the story below.

Wikipedia’s Sexism -

"The intention appeared to be to create a list of “American Novelists” made up almost entirely of men. The category listed 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred were mainly men. An explanation at the top of the page said that the list of “American Novelists” was too long, and novelists had to be put in subcategories whenever possible.

People who might have gone to Wikipedia to get ideas for whom to hire, or honor, or read, and looked at that list of “American Novelists” for inspiration, might not even have noticed that the first page of it included far more men than women. They might simply have used that list without thinking twice about it. It’s probably small, easily fixable things like this that make it harder and slower for women to gain equality in the literary world."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hardware Startups on the Rise

Thoughtful post from Chris Dixon on why Hardware Startups are on the rise. I couldn't agree more, especially with the boost that Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided. The hardest thing about a hardware startup is actual production. You need volume and you need money. The crowdfunding sites give you both - an enthusiastic user base that signs up in advance and also pays in advance. It's a beautiful combination.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Two Videos Every Tuesday

I cut cable last year so I watch a lot of Internet video. It's been great because now I watch more educational and niche stuff instead of mass market TV Network content. Every Tuesday I'll post a couple videos for you to check out.

First this week is of Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, giving the commencement address at the University of Michigan. Great talk with two key takeaways, 1) Make Bold Choices, and 2) Live in the Moment. Good advice for all of us.

The second video this week is by Dan Ariely's TED Talk about What We Like About Work. Recognition and building something lasting are so important.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Antidote to Burnout is Progress

Great perspective on Burnout from my friend Tomasz at Redpoint. He recommends some cool tools to get a sense of accomplishment, including IDoneThis which I've heard great things about.

The Antidote to Burnout is Progress | tomasz by Tomasz Tunguz:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Seven Links on Sunday

We're back with seven more interesting articles for your Sunday Morning. Yesterday's "Six on Saturday" had some pretty good articles too. :)

The Hangover Uncensored - Terrific work by my buddy Matt Belloni of Hollywood Reporter, on the oral history behind the Hangover movie. These guys are so funny.

Silicon Valley's Startup Machine - Y-Combinator, a tech company incubator, has had a profoundly positive effect on the startup world. Loved this quote describing Demo Day, "Demo Day has become a biannual milestone, Silicon Valley’s version of the N.F.L. Scouting Combine, where investors size up the new talent."

San Francisco's Cal Train Is Busting at the Seams  - This is what a boom looks like.

What a Stupid Idea - I've said this plenty of times about startups that went on to become world beaters.

People Are Lazy, How I Get Shit Done - Lot's of great advice.

What Hackers Should Know About Design Thinking - I met Gentry six months before Mailbox App launched. My stepdad, Canoe Jack, introduced us after Gentry tried to buy a canoe from him. Gentry let me test Mailbox. When I came back to the office, I told my co-worker that I had just seen the next great startup. I tried to invest of course, but he didn't need the money. 

He did teach me an entrepreneurial lesson though. They had started off building Productivity Apps (ToDo List). Everyone loved their apps, especially the beauty and usability. But no one actually used it. Hmmm. After some dark moments, the team pulled themselves together and reframed the problem. People didn't use the To Do List App because they managed ToDo's through email. Gentry had an epiphany. "We should build an email app that functions like a To Do list." Problem solved. $100M check 6 months later.

I'll leave you with a song, The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Six Links on Saturday

Another week, another Six Links on Saturday. Here is last Sunday's "Seven Links on Sunday" in case you missed it.

Jason Collin's Story Sounds So Normal - Great quote from Tim Keown, "This is the real world. Families deal with this. Gay people deal with this. Employers and co-workers and friends deal with this. Jason Collins' revelation that he is gay -- thus becoming the first openly gay player in a major American team sport to come out during his playing days -- is contextually relevant but exceedingly dull. And that's the best thing about it."

Fox Foundation Takes First Step To Crowdsourced Research - Phones are going to make us healthier.

If You Want to See How We'll All Be Living in the Future... - The rest of the title sounds kind of elitist but he's right. Rich people have more time and the money to buy all the new gadgets. For premium technology and services, they are the early adopters. Pay attention to what they are doing. Don't forget about what those poor high school and college kids are doing either. Innovation comes from the edges.

How Jenna Lyons Transformed J. Crew - It's really a story about how Lyons (Designer) and Mickey Drexler (Retailer) turned around J. Crew. My mom owned a retail store for 25 years and she admired Mickey's work at GAP. This quote from the article got my attention, "Not since Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive at Apple has a creative pairing been as intriguing and fruitful as that of Drexler and Lyons."

From DonorsChoose to Kickstarter - VC & Blogger Fred Wilson explains how working with an innovative non-profit, DonorsChoose, prepared him to understand the Kickstarter pitch when that team was seeking funding. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. When I look back on my investments over the last five years, the best ones all come from exploiting a trend or approach that I recognized through Ben's Friends

Inmates Review Prisons on Yelp - Transparency is a beautiful thing. Prisoners are writing Yelp reviews about their prison and my bet is this makes them much safer for both prisoners and staff.

Russian Hill, San Francisco

Russian Hill

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ben's Friends – a mobile resource for those with rare diseases | mHIMSS

Really great article on Ben's Friends in mHIMSS, a big healthcare trade journal. I think this quote encapsulates Ben's Friends perfectly: ""It creates a positive experience out of a negative one," he says." - that he is me. :)

Ben's Friends – a mobile resource for those with rare diseases | mHIMSS:

"Enter Ben's Friends.

In this age of mHealth tools and real-time resources at your fingertips, this online platform of patient support communities is quickly finding its niche in connecting people with rare diseases to others who share that disease – and, in some cases, to the far-flung clinicians who are the experts in that field. Since being launched in 2008, the platform has grown to include 34 communities, and counting. In a sense, it's the ultimate definition of "patient-centric healthcare."