Biggie Smalls – Juicy (Startup Edition)

So… this happened.

Some nights you accidentally “Weird Al” a whole Biggie verse about startups. We’ve all been there. *cough*. Here’s the original, play it and read along!

Push notifications on Tiiny, Kevin Rose’s new app

Tiiny is a fun new mini-app by Kevin Rose’s new company, which creates a wall of fun looping micro-videos from your friends and follow-ees that somehow feels very familiar…

It’s new, so there’s a TON of notifications on the app, which gave me some serious notification fatigue. But perhaps more interestingly, I don’t even remember allowing push notifications. At first I thought I was crazy, but it came up again on the ProductHunt thread. In a (very informal) poll I just did around the office, only 1 in 6 people remembered allowing push notifications in the on-boarding flow.

But it turns out we all definitely did. The notifications popup shows at the exact moment that we’re shown the wall of our friends loading.

The notifications popup shows at the exact moment that we're shown the wall of our friends loading

My working theory: it’s a novel instance of classic misdirection. We’ve been trained by years of popups to quickly dismiss them (Sure you want to close this tab? Review our app! Really delete this file? Join my mailing list!…). Combine that with the powerful draw of gifs popping up in the background, most of which are faces looking directly at you, and you’ve got a powerful misdirection effect. If this is actually a repeatable phenomenon, then with great power comes great responsibility. What do you think: real phenomenon or coincidence? Evil genius, or happy accident?

Ag. A (somehow even) faster grep

The Silver Surfer (creative commons image)

The Silver Surfer (Marvel Comics)

I still remember when I used ack for the first time. It was shortly after I moved to SF, and Brian Rue swore by it. I was as skeptical before trying it as I was blown away after – usually at least 10x faster than grep, and better at ignoring useless files by default.

Adam Morse just told me about Ag (aka “The Silver Searcher”), which somehow embarrasses ack on performance, the same way ack embarrassed grep years ago. It also knows about .gitignore files, and can plug in to vim and TextMate just like ack.

On mac, it’s just…

Install homebrew

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/go/install)"

 

Install Ag

brew install the_silver_searcher

 

And you’re off! (other install methods available). I don’t have time for extensive performance tests, but at first glance, ag looks 20 times faster than ack, and 200 times faster than grep

time grep -inrH “testing” . time grep -inrH “emissary” .
real 0m2.875s real 0m2.922s
user 0m2.420s user 0m2.358s
sys 0m0.170s sys 0m0.230s
time ack testing time ack emissary
real 0m0.303s real 0m0.293s
user 0m0.267s user 0m0.265s
sys 0m0.026s sys 0m0.024s
time ag testing time ag emissary
real 0m0.013s real 0m0.014s
user 0m0.007s user 0m0.008s
sys 0m0.009s sys 0m0.009s

Quotable Objectified (the Film)

I really enjoy the film Objectified. Every time I watch it, I find another nugget of wisdom I want to remember and integrate into the way I think about product and design. But as time goes on, my memory fades. I recently re-watched as a part of the fantastic HackDesign.org online course. But some time later, I often find myself asking questions like “what was that quote about objects you really love that get better with time? I think it was a guy from IDEO…”

I can try Googling parts of the quote I remember, and I might find a blog on it online. Even if this works – and it often doesn’t – how can I find that snippet to re-watch? I’m still faced with re-watching the movie to find that quote, or skipping through, hoping I get lucky.

This page is an attempt to solve that problem. Over the last year, I’ve collected all my favorite quotes from Objectified the film, in chronological order, including time stamps. I hope this makes it easier to find that elusive quote or moment of insight on the tip of your tongue.

By the way, you can buy Objectified on Amazon for only $2.99

 

Objectified on Amazon

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Notes from Rob Bailey’s #StartupBD Keynote

10 Bizdev Hacks
Rob Bailey, CEO of DataSift

1 – Ride the wave
More fun than swimming
Think about underlying trends your company is riding (not creating)
Think about partnerships that can attach you to waves
(e.g. Datasift w/ Twitter, Twitter w/ iOS)

2 – Get to know your partners
What are their strategies?
Backchannel on where they’re going (birthday parties, events, meet ups)
Position yourself as helping them get to where you know they’re trying to go
(eg. Datasift finding Marketers will invest more the more they understand the channel. So Datasift spent time explaining twitter to CMOs)

3 – Ask a ton of questions
Know police interrogation techniques
Either to use them, or avoid them being used on you
(Hey your revenue’s around $10M right? gets you a lot better than “what’s your revenue?”)
Former usually gets you at least a “higher” or “lower”
Questions let you not reveal your position.
2-3x more questions asking than answering

4 – Use social to stalk, er, learn.
LInkedIn is great, but people are more guarded.
Everyone should have LInkedInPro (best is everyone who’s seen profile)
eg. Which VCs most interested? If 5 VCs had seen his profile, but were saying they weren’t that interested, that’s prob just negotiating tactic
eg. a VC of one of their competitors posting a pic of new office space
Follow your clients/competitors’ bosses on Twitter
Watch who’s tweeting AT a company, see their clients
Spikes in pos/neg sentiment
Hiring: Looked for BD people in SF with Klout score >= X
Jobvite posts – VCs like seeing you’re hiring
They’ve definitely used Instagram, twitter, Facebook for subtle

5 – Learn from smart engineers
Ask your smartest engineers who their smartest engineer friends are
“Jam sessions” with engineers, UI people on product have been “most productive hours of his life”
Helps to understand the tech side of business

6 – Hire an expensive law firm.
They have 2 law firms. “Honda” and “Rolls Royce”.
Almost always use Honda
NDAs, normal stuff.
Big deals, corp structures, limitation of liability, etc: Orrick
Difficult to agree on a term: Called Gunderson (his lawyer at the time) – who’s the best smartest person on X at the firm? 16 minutes in, he nailed it.
Use their awesome conference rooms if they’re in the city
In general – think about side things you can get out of your vendors

7 – Find unconventional ways to open doors.
Twitter is in its quiet period pre-IPO
He posted big blog post about importance of twitter IPO
Timing worked out such that media asked him for quotes and such
Twitter really appreciated it, even though they couldn’t have asked them.
Twitter competitors called him up to talk about what Twitter was doing.
Basically just take advantage of every angle

8 – Get everyone pulling for your deals
Eng, product, legal, office manager, everyone should know why you’re doing it
eg. Eng planning before deal, not after.
Engineers could also get drinks with other engineers, end up finding out useful info
Like how interested they are, what aspects are important, what’s feasible technically

9 – Look at every BD deal for M&A possibilities
Urban Airship deal with SimpleGeo came out of nowhere
Big company M&A can take years to build relationships

10 – Have fun!
Think it’s stupid and obvious
But you work really long hours
Remember you’re doing what you love, working with really smart people

Q&A

Q: Any companies that seemed like competitors but ended up doing frenemy/coopetition deals?
Factual – started out competing on places DB, ended up convincing execs that building their own places DB was bad idea.
Talked with their BD guy, met Elad Gil at a conference randomly, that’s what ended up working.

Q: How do you decide deal terms?
Align incentives
Look at similar deals elsewhere?
“fair is where you end up”
Start with what you think will be representative, rebalance as you go to represent value being exchanged

Q: Reaching out?
Host or go to events, hackathons
Blog posts
“I want these 30 companies to call me. What do they want to hear about?”
Webinars (e.g. with Guy Kawasaki who was one of their investors, or other big name you’re connected with)
Never cold calls.
Sometimes a big company in their space closes massive investment round, they might send a whiskey bottle and say we should talk. But it would come from CEO, not a sales guy.

Funding Fireside – Sammy Shreibati of SaveUp.com

My company, Emissary, works out of a great co-working space called the Founder’s Dojo. We organize periodic fireside chats with great people in the startup world. Below are my (raw/unedited) notes from our first talk. The topic was pre-seed and seed funding, with Sammy Shreibati of SaveUp.com


Advice to entrepreneurs looking to raise?
Create momentum.
Don’t tell them who you’re talking to. They won’t collude but they’ll get together, share notes, etc. They’ll eventually get there anyway, but no need to speed the process up.
Expected value of that situation is not necessarily worse, but it’s not a better outcome for the entrepreneur.
***Getting to the first term sheet should be your goal***

SaveUp’s 1st round
Talked to 15 investors in 2.5 weeks
Mid-2011, “frothy” time when lots of deals were happening
TrueVentures (seed), Blue Run (series A for Paypal)
Mostly Sand Hill, some SF.
Felt good to go up to them and say we’re talking to others
Once you get first term sheet you’re good.
Pre-product: bought adwords for different keywords, sent traffic to email signups, showed analytics as proxy for interest. This also got Sammy to really believe in it.
Reminds me of http://www.paulgraham.com/convince.html
There was also a ton of literature on Prize Linked Savings which is the inspiration of SaveUp. That helped pre-product.

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Worth reading: A young black man’s reflection on the Trayvon Martin case

I hesitate to get into something so divisive. I didn’t follow the details of the case, and I’m not positioning this as my own opinion. But this man’s thoughts were so moving, I had to share.

“Man, I’m just glad I had a mom who gave me the realness from a young age. I can remember thinking she was so stuck in the past for telling me that I couldn’t do or say or wear certain things, that I could not stay out as late as my white friends could, that I could not “experiment” with any of the things my white friends did. I struggled so much with her for trying to impress upon me the fact that I was different. Because I’m supposed to be. I lived in a nice house, spoke more than one language, was well educated and well socialized and I did not understand why I needed to Continue reading

Notes from Duct Tape Marketing: Day 3

Yesterday through Friday, CreativeLIVE is broadcasting John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, on boot-strapping or optimizing the marketing arm of a small business. Day 1 notes here | Day 2 notes here | Below are my notes from Day 3 of these sessions.

Let me know what you think on Twitter at @staringispolite

The book on Amazon

Watch the session live here: http://www.creativelive.com/live1 They have “course materials” here: http://www.creativelive.com/courses/duct-tape-marketing-john-jantsch Continue reading

Notes from Duct Tape Marketing: Day 2

Yesterday through Friday, CreativeLIVE is broadcasting John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, on boot-strapping or optimizing the marketing arm of a small business. Day 1 notes here | Day 3 notes here | Below are my notes from Day 2 of these sessions.

Let me know what you think on Twitter at @staringispolite

The book on Amazon

Watch the session live here: http://www.creativelive.com/live1
They have “course materials” here: http://www.creativelive.com/courses/duct-tape-marketing-john-jantsch

Continue reading

Notes from Duct Tape Marketing: Day 1

Today through Friday, CreativeLIVE is broadcasting John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, on boot-strapping or optimizing the marketing arm of a small business.  Below are my notes from Day 1 of these sessions | Day 2 notes here | Day 2 notes here.

Let me know what you think on Twitter at @staringispolite

The book on Amazon

Watch the session live here: http://www.creativelive.com/live1
They have “course materials” here: http://www.creativelive.com/courses/duct-tape-marketing-john-jantsch

Continue reading