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I've moderated and participated on a bunch of panels where the topic was something like "HTML5 vs. Native apps, which will win?" And I've always said that native apps aren't going away, and my co-founder Sean has often pointed out that HTML5 won't be replacing complied apps so long as mobile hardware is changing drastically every 6 months (HTML is a trailing standard that can't keep up with innovation on the hardware side).
But here's the real smoking gun:
The Facebook engineering team, in a blog post, writes, "we realized that when it comes to platforms like iOS, people expect a fast, reliable experience and our iOS app [that was heaving leveraging HTML5] was falling short."
This is really significant. Facebook has a lot of incredibly good reasons not to rebuild its app natively. Facebook doesn't want to be beholden to Apple for its distribution channel and access to its users. Facebook doesn't want to have to create and maintain completely different and incompatible codebases for various distribution channels. Facebook arguably has the very best web engineers on the planet. And yet they've moved away from a heavily dependent HTML5 strategy in mobile.
To me, this is part of what being an entrepreneur is all about. Turning around in the taxi line, embarrassing yourself in front of hundreds of people, and seeing what happens. Often times, it's something good, because nobody else is willing to try it.
Here is a trasnscript of the video:
Something hit me today like a ton of bricks.
Something that's so damn obvious I can't believe I never encapsulated it into a single coherent thought before.
The secret to being a successful entrepreneur is... trading up.
Yep, that's right, trading up.
Trading up, as in the Red Paperclip guy who, after a series of trades, went from a paperclip to a house.
Something hit me today like a ton of bricks. Something that's so damn obvious I can't believe I never encapsulated it into a single coherent thought before. The secret to being a successful entrepreneur is... trading up. Yep, that's right, trading up. Trading up, as in the Red Paperclip guy who, after a series of trades, went from a paperclip to a house. Except I'm not talking about trading paperclips for houses. I'm talking about turning nothing into something. I'm talking about hustling. About maximizing opportunities. About asking yourself, "what could I do with this thing I just got, to turn it into something bigger and better based on my goals?" (the "thing" being press, or a successful product launch, or an introduction, or basically anything). I just realized today this is something I do all the time. I've done it so much that it's ingrained in the very fabric of my being. It'd be really easy to take this the wrong way, especially if you don't trade up often or at all. I don't mean this in a manipulative sort of way at all. There's a certain earnestness you have to have in doing this to live a good life while always reaching for something greater. Let me just give you the small example that made me realize it today, in chronological order: We're looking to hire engineers. In a big way. So I heard the news on TechCrunch today about Digg laying people off And then shortly thereafter I saw this blog about people scouting for Digg engineers, which mentioned that Joe Stump of SimpleGeo used to be lead architect at Digg. And then I thought to myself, "hmmm, I know some SimpleGeo guys" so I looked up the people I know to see what their email addresses were in an attempt to discern a pattern of email addy so I could email Joe I found that they were all [email protected] and thought "hmmm I'd better verify that, because Joe is a common name, so his might not be [email protected]" So I did a Google search for "[email protected]" and viola! A few things did pop up - enough to assure me that I had his email address right (note - took part of the email addy out in this link for spam bot mitigation) So I emailed him, letting him know about my relationship w/ SimpleGeo and how we were looking for engineers And he emailed me back letting me know he'd shard my info with some ex Digg engineers I 'traded up' a series of thoughts & actions to achieve a goal, starting with a simple thought about how ex-Digg engineers were available and I might have a connection to someone who could connect me, to following through with an email and response. I don't know if anything will come of this, but that's somewhat besides the point. It's kinda like baseball scores. Having a ".267" is pretty solid and a ".335" is even better - if you do it enough times, you'll see results. Or to put it another way -- the way I just figured out today-- if you trade up often enough, you'll get outsized, unusual and extraordinary results, even if you completely strike out much of the time. The example I showed you above isn't even that impressive. I think any entrepreneur worth their salt will say, "so what? I would've done the same thing. In fact, I'm going to email Joe now." Some of you may have in fact already emailed Joe from reading the part above. That's exactly my point. This is what all good entrepreneurs do. In fact, we do it without even thinking about it, which is why it hit me today that it's such an obvious thing and yet such a marker for success. I must do things like this dozens or more times per day. If I were an Angel or a VC, I'd find a way to test for this. Another example from today that comes to mind: Sean, one of my co-founders, sent me an article about a "first of its kind" partnership Apple just inked with a Fortune 500 company. So I used Jigsaw to find the contact info for the person mentioned in the article who inked the deal with Apple and emailed him. Who knows if anything will come of it. The process of looking him up and composing an email to him took me about 3 minutes. But if something comes of it, it could mean meaningful revenue to our company. Most likely, it won't happen, but it's a numbers game and seeing his name in the article and reaching out to him is just another example of 'trading up.' It's something I do almost without thinking about it. Trading up explains why entrepreneurs are always thinking about work, or taking work home with them, or mulling things over in the shower. Trading up explains why being an entrepreneur is an all-consuming experience. Because you know that that one email you didn't get to write, or that one phone call or meeting you didn't take, or that one networking event you didn't go to could have been the home run. Although many (I might even say all successful) entrepreneurs do this, I don't think many non-entrepreneurs do this, simply because they don't have to. It's mentally exhausting to always be thinking about trading up. Or to put it another way, it's not exhausting once you've done it enough, like building up a muscle group. You have to be hungry to always be looking for ways to trade up. If you have a nice job, or you're satisfied, you won't need to trade up. You never develop those mental muscles. You never see the little opportunities in front of you that you can turn into big opportunities ".335" percent of the time. Some day I may feel like I don't need to trade up anymore. Then again, it might just be set like concrete into my persona; unchangeable. I've already had one person disagree with me that "trading up" is the most important facet to being a successful entrepreneur, but I'm going to stick with it for now, at least until someone can convince me otherwise in the comments. PS see, there I am, trading up again. Putting a line and the end of my blog to encourage comments, so I can make a connection, so I can have another data point in my batting average. I'm telling you, this is big. PPS if you like this blog, please vote for it on Hacker News. Yep, trading up again, you called it.
I've been using Hackpad for a few months and I absolutely love it. Hackpad is a collaborative editing tool similar to Google Docs, and yet very different (and in many ways better) at the same time. Fred Wilson had a great writeup of Hackpad here. He said:
If you want to try using Hackpad, you can open a pad that I created just for this blog post. Feel free to add content to it, edit it, etc.
My primary use of Hackpad is to take collaborative notes in every meeting I participate in. The first thing I'll do when I walk into a meeting is add the other people in the room as Hackapd contributors to the pad I make for the meeting. That way, anyone who wants to can take notes in a central place, and edit each other's notes. It's super powerful -- feels magical even to have a "whole is greater than sum of the parts" note taking experience, where others fill in stuff you missed, etc.
So how is Hackpad better than Google Docs? Well, there's actually a Hackpad that addresses that question! But the two reasons I love it are because a) you can see on the left-hand side who wrote what text, and b) because it's super lightweight and easy to spool up a pad on a moment's notice.
I'm really jazzed about a term that was coined over 10 years ago but is just now really starting to become a reality: The Internet of Things, which is often abbreviated as "IoT."
Here's a video by the CEO of ioBridge talking about it:
As devices around us become smarter, we are going to transition from living in a mostly analog world where digital is an interloper, to a world where digital and analog seamlessly co-exist. It's kind of like moving from fire & candles to electricity. When Edison first successfully tested a light bulb in 1879 (it stayed lit for 13.5 hours), electricity was the thing. Now, electricity is so integrated into every facet of our lives that we never think about it. As things around us become smarter, we won't think about the "internet" or the "internet of things" so much as it'll be all around us and we'll leverage these smart objects in ways we haven't even though about yet.
GE calls the Internet of Things the 3rd wave:
Jazz Tigan, the creator of Hugalopes (a "fuzzy Mr. Potato Head" plush toy) and I sat down to discuss entrepreneurism, knowledge sharing, hyper efficiency on a computer, the Socialize acquisition and many other topics in this wide ranging chat.
But the most incredible moment of our talk happened in the last 10 minutes.
In fact, it's so significant that I created a separate sub-video below to capture this moment.
Here's the back-story:
So, I'm exploring how to make great coffee.
The thing about making great coffee is that it means something different to everyone. Here's what it means to me: The coffee is dark and flavorful. It doesn't taste like it's watered down. It has a great aroma and makes me smile when I drink it. I guess this blog is really about how to maximize the 'smile' factor.
I'm no coffee pro or snob. Just a guy who wants better-than-average coffee. My colleague Jeremia, who knows a heck of a lot more about coffee than I do, just informed me the other day that the lighter blends actually have more caffeine than darker blends, because the caffeine is roasted out of coffee the longer it roasts. Now there's a guy who knows his coffee. To thank him for that pearl of knowledge, I just bought him some raw Luwak coffee, straight from Indonesia. We'll see what he does with that bad boy.
Today I tested three burr coffee grinders to figure out which one was best: the Capresso 560 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder , Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder, and Mr. Coffee BVMC-BMH23 Automatic Burr Mill Grinder . Previously we had been using the Capresso 464.05 CoffeeTeam GS 10-Cup Digital Coffeemaker with Conical Burr Grinder but the coffee just wasn't coming out with enough flavor.
There are two things I know to be true:
1. I know family is more important than anything else. I didn't always know this. I am fortunate to have a wonderful wife who taught it to me in my 20's, vs. learning it on my death bed, as some do.
2. I know that some of the things I think to be true, probably aren't true. That one's a bit of a mind bender, but it keeps me curious about the world.
That's it for the things I know to be true. There are many things I think to be true.
I think the purpose of life, to the extent that there is one, is to create, and to be happy. To create a family, to create a better world for others, to make 'something from nothing.' Relaxed dinners with lots of conversation and great company make me happy. Many other things do too.
I've always been a fan of productivity & efficiency hacks to allow me to do more with the limited time in each day. But lately, I've been working really hard to institutionalize these things within our company, PointAbout.
Everyone reacts a little differently. Some people take to keyboard shortcuts easily, while for others using the mouse is a very hard habit to break. I would liken keyboard shortcuts to blogging: With both, there's a "valley of death" you have to get through before you emerge in the sunny field on the other side, and most people don't make it. Both blogging and keyboard shortcuts require several weeks or months of concerted effort to prove successful, but once you emerge on the other side of that time commitment, you look back with the realization you should've done it years ago, it's so valuable. Initiatives like the F1 GeekSpeed Challenge help make it a bit more fun.
One thing that's been easier to institutionalize has been the use of Basecamp , a cloud-based Software As A Service (SAAS) lightweight project management tool, instead of email. I've gotten quite militant with everyone around me that if a conversation turns into a thread on email, or if you know it's going to be one, it should be moved to Basecamp. There are several huge benefits to this approach -- again, not all of them immediately obvious. The first is that it allows you to assign owners and dates to tasks, something email is notoriously poor at. The second is that you have a threaded conversation, all kept in one place, and various people can be added & dropped to comments along the way as necessary (no more 'reply to all' hell). These benefits are nice when they're happening, but invaluable as time goes on and the knowledgebase builds.
Today I came across a great example of exactly this. Hayat, our admin, had asked me how to do some transcription work. About 4 months ago, I had previously trained another admin on this. Since I put the original training instructions on Basecamp, I was able to very quickly & easily call up the thread and just have Hayat read it + watch a video I had posted in the thread. That was it -- I didn't have to do anything more than point her in the right direction, the rest of what she needed was perfectly memorialized on Basecamp from the first time I went through it.
It felt so great and refreshing to have successfully stored the knowledge in a place where it could be readily reused that I did a video to show off the details. Here it is -- enjoy!
As part of my Fundraising Cribsheet series of blogs to help entrepreneurs raise money more quickly and efficiently, I interviewed today George Zachary, a Venture Capitalist with Charles River Ventures. CRV is very well known out here in Silicon Valley, as is George, who's been in the business for 15+ years.
Previously, I interviewed Naval Ravikant of AngelList, and interviewed Shai Goldman of Silicon Valley Bank, and I participated on a panel about the differences raising an angel round vs. a Series A round. Before the end of 2010, I'll be writing in-depth about the 14 weeks my co-founder Sean and I spent raising $1MM for AppMakr, so subscribe to my blog (top right corner) if you'd like to get more in-depth updates as I share them.
Before I started the interview with George, I tweeted a request for questions, and Shai responded with a question about George's outlook for 2011 and any impending bubbles, which I asked George during the interview below.
In this awesome 45 minute interview, George touched on a range of topics, including:
As part of my Fundraising Cribsheet series of blogs to help entrepreneurs raise money more quickly and efficiently, I interviewed today George Zachary, a Venture Capitalist with Charles River Ventures. CRV is very well known out here in Silicon Valley, as is George, who's been in the business for 15+ years. Previously, I interviewed Naval Ravikant of AngelList, and interviewed Shai Goldman of Silicon Valley Bank, and I participated on a panel about the differences raising an angel round vs. a Series A round. Before the end of 2010, I'll be writing in-depth about the 14 weeks my co-founder Sean and I spent raising $1MM for AppMakr, so subscribe to my blog (top right corner) if you'd like to get more in-depth updates as I share them. Before I started the interview with George, I tweeted a request for questions, and Shai responded with a question about George's outlook for 2011 and any impending bubbles, which I asked George during the interview below. In this awesome 45 minute interview, George touched on a range of topics, including: The best way to pitch George an idea, including what he loves, and what he hates What areas he considers hot right now, and would be willing to fund today Consistent mistakes he sees entrepreneurs making in their businesses, and when pitching VCs Why the Valley has a culture of giving "polite no's" and what he does differently Whether an entrepreneur he has passed on should be persistent and follow up with him How best to interact with investors once they've funded you What the lack of exits & IPOs means for the VC landscape What an entrepreneur should do to get favorable terms from VCs, and how the terms can be affected by other factors like valuations Why CRV is doing small angel-type investments ($100k-range) and how it's paying off What George's outlook is for 2011, and what George calls the "angel bubble" How you can contact George directly, and what he likes to see when you do so And a lot more. Lots of great stuff in this interview, so enjoy it; I hope it's helpful. Please post any comments in the thread below and if I get enough interest and/or interesting questions/comments, I'll follow up with him to get you answers. And a huge thank-you to George for being such an awesome and amazing VC to our company, and to the Valley in general. The fact that he took 45 minutes out of his day to give entrepreneurs access to the wealth of knowledge he has says a lot about him and CRV. Here's the video: