Larry Wachowski is now Lana Wachowski. She -- previously "he" -- is one of the directors of The Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas.
I've always been pro equal rights for everyone, but this video by Lana got me to take a step further, and donate $50 to the Human Rights Campaign. It's a very moving speech about how Lana never felt like she quite fit in growing up, and why she's now speaking publicly about it.
Thanks, Lana, for spurring me to take action in a cause I believe in.
I just ordered Advil and yogurt for our office using Instacart, an incredibly awesome new service that delivers groceries to your door in under three hours.
Instacart has been in the news a lot lately, and is billing itself as 'Amazon for groceries with 3 hour delivery'. The great thing is that it actually works.
I knew I was going to be sitting down with Instacart's CEO Apoorva Mehta, so I placed an Instacart order before-hand (something Apoorva says happens to him all the time, especially at VC pitches). And viola, fifty minutes later Liz showed up with my Advil and yogurt order. Watch the video above to see it in action.
Instacart is currently only live in San Francisco and the South Bay area but Apoorva hopes to expand into other markets in the coming year.
I just had someone whom I originally met in DC come by our office here in SF. He's out here trying to get a new startup off the ground.
I told him I'd send a few ideas his way to help him figure out how to take advantage of being in SF. Instead of sending him a private email, I figure it'd be great to get it going as a public conversation where other entrepreneurs can contribute as well.
So here's the question: If you were new to SF with a startup idea, what would you do first?
Here's my quick initial list:
This post is a work in progress, since we’re just now selling our company Socialize to ShareThis. I also wrote about how the experience feels, and what getting a deal done is like.
One of my goals is to ensure a successful outcome from the deal. I'll start by defining what I mean by "successful outcome:" That the combination of the two companies produces more value together than we would have been able to achieve alone.
The first thing I did was start writing an Integration Document with my co-founders when we signed the term sheet. This document laid out the specific goals of the acquisition, the resources we had at our disposal, and the key items we would need to request to achieve those goals. Once we had co-edited that document in Google Docs to a point where we were all satisfied with it, I shared it with the ShareThis executive team.
I had already discussed and gotten agreement from Kurt, the CEO, on what the main goals of the acquisition were pre-term sheet. In the integration document, I outlined how we were going to prioritize those goals, and what resources we were going to put into them to achieve the goals.
Just returned from my trip, sitting at my desk: Top pile is cards I don't recognize (straight to the trash), smaller pile at bottom are cards I'm following up on.
Whenever I speak at a conference like I did last week, a bunch of people always come up afterwards to hand me their business cards.
I wrote recently about Focusing on Focus, but that post left me feeling like I didn't exactly hit the nail on the head with the point I wanted to make, so I'm going to try it from a different angle.
I recently read a NY Times article about Steve Jobs and the creation of the iPhone. Jobs is famous for focusing by being maniacal about saying "no." But this article exposed the flip side of that coin -- how tenacious he was when he said "yes."
For example, take this quote:
I'm the SVP of Strategic Partnerships at ShareThis. It's my job to find the right strategic partners for us to work with. This morning, in the shower, I thought "I'd like to have a simple combo slide deck + narrated screencast to show to prospective partners."
So, I just finished hacking together a simple site that explains our business. It's something I did in just under an hour using a combination of HTML, Google App Engine, Google Slides, HelloBar, Vimeo, iShowU, Google Labs' ShortLinks and AdRoll. It was fun to make it and I expect it'll prove useful.
That activity, of taking an idea I had in the shower this morning and hacking it together in an hour today, got me thinking about the difference between makers and managers, and about how few managers really appreciate (or are able to participate in) the creation process -- especially when it involves some amount of hacking.
I find that managers who are also makers have an ability to key in on opportunities that non-maker managers miss. They have a better ability to connect with their teams. They can go a level deeper into projects than non-maker managers. They can ask more intelligent questions. They can conceptualize and create efficient processes much more quickly and easily. Or to put it another way, they can be much better managers by also being makers.
In 2010 I started writing a series of blogs titled "Fundraising Cribsheet" describing our experience raising a $1MM round for AppMakr.com.
My goal has been to allow other entrepreneurs to raise money more efficiently than the 14 weeks it took us. Brendan Baker, an MBA student at Oxford University, has added a deep layer of analysis to this experience by doing his thesis on our fundraising experience. Brendan's initial work is outlined in this blog post, with much more analysis here.
Here is my guide to this manifesto on fundraising, so you can consume the information in the chunks most relevant to you:
In 2010 I started writing a series of blogs titled "Fundraising Cribsheet" describing our experience raising a $1MM round for AppMakr.com. My goal has been to allow other entrepreneurs to raise money more efficiently than the 14 weeks it took us. Brendan Baker, an MBA student at Oxford University, has added a deep layer of analysis to this experience by doing his thesis on our fundraising experience. Brendan's initial work is outlined in this blog post, with much more analysis here. Here is my guide to this manifesto on fundraising, so you can consume the information in the chunks most relevant to you: Daniel's "Rule Of 10" Angel Intros + $1MM Raise Infographic with Brendan Baker. Cliff Notes on Raising Your First $1 Million Through AngelList' Keynote + Panel Interview with Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList, an angel fundraising vehicle I highly recommend Interview with George Zachary, a partner at Charles River Ventures, on how to approach and pitch Venture Capitalists Interview with Stephen DeBerry, a partner at Kapor Capital, on recommended deal structures and more Interview with Shai Goldman, a director at Silicon Valley Bank A panel hosted by Shai discussing the differences in raising angel vs. Series A funding A blog showing visually how 8.47% of the potential investors I spoke to ended up funding us How to 'Hack Your Funding' by Naval Ravikant of AngelList Other good resources include: VC Panel at the Digital Media Conference Fundraising Panel at TechCocktail's Startup Mixology Event Don Rainey talks about investing in LivingSocial
It's no secret that Google calendars and iCal don't play super nicely together. And it's even worse on the iPhone. It got so bad that I was using the Google calendar web app instead of the native calendar app because subscribed Google calendars (called "delegate" calendars) weren't even showing up.
But here's a trick -- a way to sync your subscribed calendars from Google's calendaring system onto your iPhone. This is part of my "lifehacking" series :)
You have to create a separate CALDAV account on the iPhone for each one, which is a pain, but doable.
(click links below for screenshots)
Step 1: On your iPhone, go into Settings >> Mail, Contacts, Calendars >> Add Account
OK I'll admit it: I'm an API-oholic. I'm addicted to APIs. In the nerdy tech world, APIs are old news, but to most regular folks, the term APIs is just a confusing acronym. It is my goal to de-mystify the API a bit in this post, and explain how APIs are changing the world in very real, tangible ways that will matter to you.
First, a definition and a bit of history. API stands for Application Programming Interface. That's also a pretty incomprehensible set of words to most people. So let's simplify: For the purpose of this blog post, think of an API as a key that opens a door to a room you really want to get into.
Let's take this fantasy analogy a bit further. Let's imagine that there are rumors that there's an island in the Pacific ocean that's inhabited by a previously unknown group of humans which have never before had contact with the modern world. They don't speak English, but it just so happens that their little island is known to have a tremendous stockpile of diamonds and gold. There's a mad rush by many people to figure out where this island is located so they can lay claim to its natural resources.
But the inhabitants of this Secret Island are smart. They know how valuable their gold and diamonds are, and they know that by allowing the modern world to find them, they'll be in danger. So they send an ambassador to strike a compromise, and that ambassador happens to find you (imagine the odds -- it's your lucky day!) The ambassador tells you that the entire modern world can communicate with their island through a special interface they've set up. And they will answer, but only if the communication happens on very specific terms -- their terms. They won't answer to any random requests.
This interface he gives you happens to be through a computer terminal. Well, that's convenient, they know how to use computers. This ambassador gives you a special URL through which you can contact his people. It looks something like this: http://thedataweb.rm.SecretIsland.gov/data/2010/acs5?key=b48301d897146e8f8efd9bef3c6eb1fcb864cf&get=B02001_001E,NAME&for=state:06,36