Thursday, March 31, 2011


Eruca sativa, Brassicaceae, Rocket, Arugula, h...Image via WikipediaArugula has knocked off Brazil as the top searched term at this blog. As in most people who search for something and end up at this blog search for the wonderful "arugula."

When "Brazil" took the crown I am like, wait a minute, I love soccer, but this is not a sports blog. Now I am alarmed all over again. I don't want this to end up a food blog.

This is a tech blog. Technology and business. How do I steer it back in that direction?

In Brazil's case I took care of the "problem" by writing many many posts about Brazil's economy. And I did some country study posts on Brazil as a potential country to go into for my microfinance venture.

But I don't know what to do with arugula. Houston, we have a problem.

Arugula And Location Patents
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Photos

I think I need to blog about FoodSpotting less often. Google by now thinks I have a food blog.

Is Square A Microfinance Company?

I am watching this video and I am thinking, is Square a microfinance company? Is Square like microfinance for white people?

Think about it. People use Square for micro transactions. I have lost count of how many times I have heard Jack Dorsey make his cappuccino example.

Square just made my list of Stuff White People Like.

Jack Dorsey And I Were At Columbia Yesterday Evening
Jack Dorsey Also Has A FinTech StartUp

Jack Dorsey And I Were At Columbia Yesterday Evening

I did not even realize until after my event was over. We were at two separate events. I was at the Eric Ries event. I spotted Sree while I was there.

To You I Offer Buddhism And Yoga

Reclining Buddha headImage via WikipediaMinority Majority Nation?
Gender Talk And Pragmatism
TechCrunch: What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology.: By far the most difficult skill for me to learn as CEO was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared to keeping my mind in check. Over the years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of CEOs all with the same experience. Nonetheless, very few people talk about it, and I have never read anything on the topic. It’s like the fight club of management: The first rule of the CEO psychological meltdown is don’t talk about the psychological meltdown. ....... this is the most personal and important battle that any CEO will face. ..... no CEO ever has a smooth path to a great company. Along the way, many things go wrong and all of them could have and should have been avoided. ..... If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be 22 out of a 100. This kind of mean can be psychologically challenging for a straight A student. It is particularly challenging, because nobody tells you that the mean is 22. ...... At a certain size, your company will do things that are so bad that you never imagined that you’d be associated with that kind of incompetence. Seeing people fritter away money, waste each other’s time, and do sloppy work can make you feel bad. If you are the CEO, it may well make you sick. ....... Every problem in the company was indeed my fault. ....... Being responsible for everything and getting a 22 on the test starts to weigh on your consciousness. ....... CEOs often make the one of the following two mistakes: 1. They take things too personally 2. They do not take things personally enough ...... Ideally, the CEO will be urgent yet not insane. She will move aggressively and decisively without feeling emotionally culpable. If she can separate the importance of the issues from how she feels about them, she will avoid demonizing her employees or herself. ...... In your darkest moments as CEO, discussing fundamental questions about the viability of your company with your employees can have obvious negative consequences. On the other hand, talking to your board and outside advisors can be fruitless. The knowledge gap between you and them is so vast that you cannot actually bring them fully up to speed in a manner that’s useful in making the decision. You are all alone. ....... asking oneself anything 3,000 times turns out to be a bad idea ...... if you don’t like choosing between horrible and cataclysmic, don’t become CEO ...... Make some friends ..... it is extremely useful from a psychological perspective to talk to people who have been through similarly challenging decisions. ...... Get it out of your head and onto paper ..... I wrote down a detailed explanation of my logic ...... Focus on the road not the wall—When they train racecar drivers, one of the first lessons is when you are going around a curve at 200 MPH, do not focus on the wall; focus on the road. ........ A Final Word of Advice – Don’t Punk Out and Don’t Quit As CEO, there will be many times when you feel like quitting. I have seen CEOs try to cope with the stress by drinking heavily, checking out, and even quitting. In each case, the CEO has a marvelous rationalization why it was OK for him to punk out or quit, but none them will every be great CEOs. Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweat, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary founder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say: “I didn’t quit.”

To Catch A Dollar

Front Facing Camera

This guy got more votes than me when I ran for Freshman Class President.

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Obama Has A Computer

Kassidy Brown: No April Fool Joke

Friday, April 1, 7-9 PM
Curry In A Hurry
Lexington + 28th

I announced yesterday that Kassidy Brown of Journey Of Action is going to be there for the FoodSpotting First Friday dinner in Little India. Because that happens to be on April 1 there might be speculation the whole thing is a joke, a trick I am pulling upon the FoodSpotting enthusiasts.

I want to say that is not so, although I have a track record. In middle school I imitated the headmaster's handwriting and signature and got a teacher to rush over to the headmaster's bungalow.

But this is real. Kassidy Brown really is coming on Friday. Be there.

Journey Of Action: Connecting The Dots: Social Activism: Social Media
Splitting A Platter With Kassidy Brown
Inviting Charlie O'Donnell To A Pillow Fight
Journey Of Action

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barack's Positivity

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ri...Image via WikipediaAt first I thought he was being naive. That was in 2007. I loved the guy. I was his first full time volunteer in the city.

He will get knocked around a few times, and then he will come around to it, I thought. He will learn.

And then he started winning. Big. And I am like, wait a minute, whatever he is doing is working. I declared myself a student of his new kind of politics, his positivity.

First I thought it was naive. Then I thought it was maybe weakness. Then I saw it was pragmatism. I mean, it was working wildly.

Woodkid: Iron

Woodkid - Iron from WOODKID on Vimeo.

(Via Kirk Love)

Holy Ghost!: Wait And See

(Via Soraya Darabi)

Rudiments Of A Corporate Culture

Fruit PassionImage via WikipediaPassion For Microfinance
Passion For Social Media
Passion For Tech
Passion For People
Post-ISMs Individual: No Sexist/Racist/Homophobic/Classist Jokes/Comments
Passion For Profits: Work Hard, Play By The Rules, Innovate

Passion For Microfinance

We are a microfinance outfit. We are not a political party. We are not in education. We are not health people. We don't do bio tech.

Passion For Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn: You need to be active on these platforms.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jacob Barnett: Boy Genius?

The Daily Mail: Autistic boy,12, with higher IQ than Einstein develops his own theory of relativity: A 12-year-old child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics. Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 - higher than Albert Einstein - and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role. The boy wonder, who taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a week, is now tutoring fellow college classmates after hours. And now Jake has embarked on his most ambitious project yet - his own 'expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity'. His mother, not sure if her child was talking nonsense or genius, sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton University. According to the Indiana Star, Institute astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine -himself a world renowned expert - confirmed the authenticity of Jake's theory. ...... 'The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics. ..... 
German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.Image via Wikipedia'Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.' ...... 'Whenever I try talking about math with anyone in my family they just stare blankly.' ... Jake was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism, from an early age. ..... he didn't talk until the age of two ...... He would fill up note pads of paper with drawings of complex geometrical shapes and calculations, before picking up felt tip pens and writing equations on windows. ..... By the age of three he was solving 5,000-piece puzzles and he even studied a state road map, reciting every highway and license plate prefix from memory. ..... By the age of eight he had left high school and was attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis advanced astrophysics classes. .... Jake has trouble sleeping at night as he constantly sees numbers in his head..... Jake has turned the sleepless nights to his advantage - debunking the big bang theory. ..... The next step, according to professor Ross, is for Jake to leave class altogether and take up a paid research role.

Journey Of Action: Connecting The Dots: Social Activism: Social Media

The Journey Of Action siblings Kassidy and Ryan have caught the imagination of many a techie in New York City. What gives? What are they up to?

Hundreds: I Love My Harbour

(Via David Noel)

Splitting A Platter With Kassidy Brown

When I put word out that I was looking to split my platter with someone on Friday, I had no idea that person might end up being Kassidy Brown of Journey Of Action fame. Well, I have an email from her to confirm.

The Arab Revolutions And My Rethinks On Britain And France

Paris Exposition: Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tow...Image by Brooklyn Museum via FlickrUltimately It Is About Iran, Because That Is Where It All Started
Syria's Turn
The Anatomy Of Revolutions For Democracy

For me Italy has been Mississippi. I have been everywhere in Mississippi. It is charming. But I never felt like I wanted to move there, or even perhaps visit again. Somebody might say something. I was all too aware of its racial history, and the coded racial language that can still permeate political campaigns in that part of the US. One ad against black guy Ford in Tennessee simply had a white woman say, "Call me!"

I have never been to Europe. I have long thought I'd want to have been to Africa and Latin America and if there is still some gas left, I might hop by Europe some day. But after the past few weeks I am much more thawed. Britain's and France's willingness to go in there and do something about the hapless civilians in Libya has shaken my own personal world. I am much more open to visiting Europe now.

Minority Majority Nation?

NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking.Image via WikipediaI was at an event last night, and one speaker said how America will have become a minority majority nation by 2050, as in the nonwhites will have become the majority by then. And this was not my first time hearing that. I actually might have read that for a course in college.

But I feel the need to respond. Having experienced ethnic prejudice in Nepal, and racism in America, and having gone through the deep convulsions of a political revolution in a Third World country, the poorest outside of Africa - Nepal - and having thought through the group dynamics elements of tech startups, that minority majority nation talk to me feels like seeing 2050 through 2010 lenses.

I give to you sushi and yoga and hip hop and salsa. I give to you the Spanish language. These are so mainstream in the white parts of America already. But then I grew up learning English where I grew up. My point is America will not have become a minority majority nation in 2050. I hope much sooner than 2050, maybe as early as 2020 - and a lot of that might be to do with globally universal broadband - we will start to see all of culture as belonging to all of humanity. If I am a white guy, and I like sushi, I like sushi, what are you going to do about that?

Inviting Charlie O'Donnell To A Pillow Fight

Hello Venture Capitalist Dude Charlie O'Donnell. On behalf of all the would be tech entrepreneurs that you have refused to fund since the snowball fight in December I am hereby inviting you to a pillow fight in Union Square on Saturday at 3 PM sharp. You can bring along as many VCs as you want with you. Angel investors also welcome, as are super angels.

New York City

A 20 segment panoramic image of the New York M...Image via WikipediaSomebody from the tech fraternity/sorority has to do it at some point. If you think about it Bloomberg is also a member.

This Guy Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey has gone on record saying his dream job is to become Mayor of New York City. More than being Chairperson of Twitter or CEO of Square, he wants to become Mayor. I don't blame him. There are about 50 billionaires in the city, I know the name of only one of them.

Is It A Bubble?

Chat bubble 1Image via WikipediaThis bubble talk/debate could last for the rest of the year. It might even spill into 2012. Because the craze is just beginning. My take has been that some real wealth is being created, but there sure is some accompanying froth. That is not something to complain about. On the cutting edge there are hits and misses. To expect for all hits is highly unrealistic. It just never has happened.

But the debate is robust and very real. Everybody who is a somebody has an opinion.

A Mini Bubble Burst In Three Years
Bubble, Boom Or Froth?
Bubble Talk Goes On: It's An Overshoot

Monday, March 28, 2011

Journey Of Action

Gender Talk And Pragmatism

Manhattan Bridge (Lower Level)Image via WikipediaSo I showed up for this event called The Future Of Women. It was in Tribeca, which is right there by Chinatown. That helps. After the event was over, I walked over to Chinatown, and had some dumplings. But before that I took some cash out from the bank right by my favorite Buddhist temple in the city, the one by Manhattan Bridge.

I am glad I showed up.

Bumped into Scott Heiferman in the lobby. I had not seen him in a long time. I had seen he had RSVPd. But then I have seen him RSVP for an event and not show up several times before, so I was not counting on him showing up. But he showed up.

A lot of people do that. They see an event. They like it. They want to go. And when it is show up time, something else shows up, or they think of something else to do, or they just get plain lazy. It is not like they penalize you for not showing up.

It was a good event. There was some fun, lively talk. There were very few men in the room.

Caroline McCarthy On Gender

So I was watching Tumblr this morning - yeah, I watch Tumblr like others watch TV - and along showed up Kristin. I met her at the first FoodSpotting First Friday early this month. I think I might see her again this Friday. I reblogged her.

Then I realized what I reblogged she had reblogged from Caro, as in Caroline McCarthy. And I am thinking, I thought I followed Caro on both Twitter and Tumblr, but she never shows up in my Tumblr stream. What's going on? I clicked over to her Tumblr page. I found out I was not following her after all. I think I followed her at one point and then unfollowed her later.


Nepali sadhu performing a blessing.Image via WikipediaI have decided to work on an autobiography. The credit goes to Amazon Kindle Self Publishing. Minus that I would have waited years. I like the idea of instant publication. And looks like the lowest price I can ask for is $2.99. I would have liked to put the price tag at 99 cents. Volume, baby, volume.

I am going to do it. I hope I can get it done fast. The idea is to put out somewhere between 50 and 100 pages. This is not going to be a tome. Working on this slim book is going to be a liberating experience. It will help me better launch the next phase of my life, the tech startup phase.

I am going to call it My Version Of The Stories.

Noah And The Whale: Tonight's The Kind Of Night

(Via Caroline CNet McCarthy)
Facebook Going After Disqus Now?

John Legend: Rolling In The Deep

(Via Kristin Appenbrink)

How To Pitch: The Rachel Sequoia Way

This three minute video has been making the rounds. It is a great video, and a great pitch. This actually fits my idea of a pitch. A pitch should be a video clip. "Passionate and irreverent, she presented her concept entitled Share The Air in bare-feet and using hand drawn illustrations to articulate her points. She was looking for $500,000 to help get her idea off the ground....." You can see her lift the energy in the room as she wades through. "I am not a fighter." I like that line. "I am a lover, not a fighter." "Air is at least 6% energy." Great. I have been wanting to say that the longest time. I said something similar in a blog post on January 29. You pack the revolution into the air. Bare feet. I like that. Awesome.

New York Times: A Dog's Got To Eat

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBaseI am fond of the New York Times. Both NYT and I seem to like the same font: Georgia. I did not learn that from the New York Times, but the similarity lead to affinity. It is a great paper. If I could get only one source of news - thank God I don't, thank the wild wild web - the New York Times might be in contention. And I take hometown pride.

Reading articles in the New York Times feels like reading a book. As in, the quality is great. In most cases it is better than reading a book. Because many many people work on any one article. There is a lot of collaboration. Most books gets written by people who think they are smart enough that they can go solo.

I once read a tweet from someone from the New York Times - Indian dude - during the Gulf Crisis. He made it sound like he was going home after like a month. He said he had been working on this one article. The article took me five minutes to read. And I am like wow. You mean you and many others worked on this for a month? To give me a great five minute experience?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jagdish Bhagwati: Misplaced Criticism Of Yunus

Jagdish Bhagwati - World Economic Forum Annual...Image by World Economic Forum via FlickrThere is no doubt that Yunus has done pioneering work in the field of microfinance. It is not that others have not, but I do think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded. Not only did he do pioneering work, he scaled it. The Grameen Bank is huge in size.

But if Jagdish Bhagwati gives Yunus less credit than I would like to, I don't have issues with that. That is a matter of difference in opinion.

What I do have issues with is where Bhagwati pours down a dozen paragraphs siding with Sheikh Hasina in her crusade against Yunus, and then concludes in the final paragraph by saying good governance plays a more central role in poverty alleviation than does microfinance, something I agree with. I'd put good governance, education, health, infrastructure, job creation, and microcredit, in that order.

Multidisciplinary Approaches

Image representing Vivek Wadhwa as depicted in...Image via CrunchBase
TechCrunch: Engineering vs. Liberal Arts: Who’s Right—Bill or Steve?: It takes artists, musicians, and psychologists working side by side with engineers to build products as elegant as the iPad. And anyone—with education in any field—can achieve success in Silicon Valley. ...... 92 percent held bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent held higher degrees. But only 37 percent held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and just two percent held them in mathematics. The rest have degrees in fields as diverse as business, accounting, finance, health care, and arts and the humanities. ...... The most common traits I have observed are a passion to change the world and the confidence to defy the odds and succeed. ..... I never observed a correlation between the school of graduation or field of study, on one hand, and success in the workplace, on the other. What make people successful are their motivation, drive, and ability to learn from mistakes, and how hard they work. ..... Steve Jobs taught the world that good engineering is important but that what matters the most is good design. You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools, but it’s much harder to turn engineers into artists. ... Our society needs liberal-arts majors as much as it does engineers and scientists. .... My advice to my students—and to my own children—is to study what interests them the most; to excel in fields in which they have the most passion and ability; to change the world in their own way and on their own terms. Once they master their domain, they can find the path to entrepreneurship. ...... Maybe they can team up with the hard-core engineers who develop the clunky, inelegant, over-engineered products that Bill is famous for
Vivek Wadhwa is making a lot of sense here. I have instinctively known this to be true. You need to look at a problem from many angles. As for what makes for an entrepreneur, that is a mystery. There is no correlation between someone's major or what school they went to and if they will become an entrepreneur. I think about 1% of the population is born to launch companies. As to where that ratio comes from, I don't know. I just observe that to be the case.

An entrepreneur builds teams. If they need someone with a particular major, they will go get that person. Have you noticed? 99.99% of engineers go work for someone else.

Curry In A Hurry: FoodSpotting First Friday: April 1

The platters at Curry In A Hurry tend to be huge. I am looking for someone to split my platter with.

(Photo from January 15)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Africa's Internet Strides

A composed satellite photograph of Africa.Image via Wikipedia
The Atlantic: The Coming Battle for Africa's Internet: ... the unofficial homepage of the nation. .... the Huffington Post of Senegal -- except with far less in the way of competition. Deeply influential in Senegalese media and politics, it's where obscure reports of government waywardness go viral. On a happening day, the site fetches 200,000 unique visits and 1.3 million hits -- astounding numbers in a nation of 13 million, less than a million of whom can even get online. ....... That traffic has traditionally come not from inside Senegal but from all the motley places where West Africans travel for work -- such as Romania ..... nearly every country in the neighborhood has its Seneweb: Ghanaweb is probably the most influential, followed by Côte d'Ivoire's ...... "But now, the majority of visitors are in Senegal. The internet has taken off here." ...... as internet access becomes cheaper and more widespread ....... Less than ten percent of Africa's population has internet access ..... expects that number to grow by half every year "for the foreseeable future." ..... 100,000 miles of broadband wiring criss-crossing the world's second-largest continent like the 21st century version of a transcontinental railway. The connections start with undersea cables and extend onshore towards 3G towers within reception range of the continent's growing middle class. ......... 300 million people, each earning between $2,000 and $5,000 yearly -- not always enough to keep a router in the living room lit, but certainly enough to pay off a BlackBerry bill. The service they enjoy, smoother than its American equivalent, runs off towers that are newer and more adaptable to data transfers, which is rendering Africa's telecom transition -- from a continent of voice phones to one of pocket PCs -- more scalable than expected. ....... happening faster and faster than anybody could have imagined ..... every ten percent of a country's population that winds up online powers a percentage point and a half of yearly economic growth ...... the World Bank's offices in Sierra Leone and Liberia, which typically focus on building roads or power plants, have allocated $57 million to support a $300 million project to build a broadband cable reaching out to sea. ..... Currently, most internet access in Sierra Leone and Liberia is only by satellite, which restricts it to those who are both extremely rich and extremely patient. ....... "The impact of mobile phones clearly demonstrates that internet is something that can be transformative for the bulk of the population." ...... the converse is true as well: Africa's population could also be transformative for the internet. ...... Google offers a Craigslist-style site where Africans can shop used goods -- sheep, pool tables, balafons (a xylophone-like West African instrument) ...... Last year, Google unfurled Baraza, a question-and-answer forum for Africans ..... a phone-based bookkeeping service for shopkeepers, for example, which could do much in a part of the world where every salesman records his turnover in a notebook. He also wants to add a Blogger service to Seneweb and to sidestep Google Ads by soliciting African companies to buy banners on his site. ...... "You look at Africa, Brazil, China, India, and right there you have almost four billion of the world's consumers," Herlihy says. "They're only going to be happy using products designed for Americans for so long."
This is so exciting. This is when I was pursuing my IC vision a few years ago. It is happening, and fast. Frees up people like me to go tackle the next big thing: microfinance. We are for profit, high tech Kiva that will do the last mile under its own brand name.

Lady Mayer

Jack Dorsey Returning To Twitter

Jack Dorsey, a co-founder and the chairman of ...Image via WikipediaI put out this blog post - Twitter At Five: Not Spitting Out Well - and the following day news was that Jack Dorsey was going back to Twitter in a major way. I felt vindicated.

I have a thing for the Founder CEO. (Larry Page At The Helm) Jack Dorsey is the Twitter Founder CEO. No, Biz Stone did not co-invent Twitter. Jack Dorsey getting booted out of Twitter is not exactly the same as Steve Jobs getting booted out of Apple in 1984, but it is in a similar vein. It is a DNA thing, it is delicate. Only the Founder CEO can pivot like a service like Twitter needs to pivot. Facebook has not had that problem. Zuck's being in the driving seat explains that. Facebook has pivoted relentlessly.

Larry Page At The Helm

Larry Page, co-founder of Google, in the Europ...Image via Wikipedia
"I was talking to Larry on Saturday," says Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer, when we sit down to talk the following Tuesday. "I told him that I'd gotten back from nine cities in 12 days -- Munich, Copenhagen, Davos, Zurich, New Delhi, Bombay, London, San Francisco. There's a silence for five seconds. And then he's like, 'That's only eight.' "
I have been explicit in my preference for the Founder CEO. I have maintained that Eric Schmidt should have been brought in as COO, Chief Operating Officer, at the outset. That he was brought in as CEO tells me VCs have more power than they should have. Or at least that was the case over a decade ago. In John Doerr vs. Larry Page, I am with Larry Page. John Doerr made a big mistake.

Larry Page had Google work on Android and Chrome behind Eric Schmidt's back. Google not "getting" Facebook is not a big problem, but if Google did not have Android and Chrome today, it would have become an old company by now. Android and Chrome are fundamental to Google doing well in the 2010s, crucial to Google staying relevant and on the edge. And Larry Page gets primary credit.

Google Images, Facebook Photos, Twitpic, Instagram, FoodSpotting

Color your WorldImage by Michelle Brea (busy-away) via FlickrI guess people have been taking pictures for a while now. Sight is a dominant human organ. And now there has been talk of a new startup called Color. My first reaction was, how did they get that domain name? Was it not already taken?

So what's the idea? The first piece I read on the topic told me you will never be able to leave me. You are stuck with me within a mile radius. Not even a mile. This world is getting small.

Before trains and airplanes, that used to happen. People could spend their entire lives within a few tens of miles. Some people obviously think we need to go back to that kind of reality. You pick the 10 people who matter to you and you never leave. You constantly take pictures for each other, you tweet for each other. But there is another angle to it, like when you are public and semi public. Then people far, far away who are not part of your immediate circle get a much more realistic picture of what your life is like. That could lead to world peace. Peace gets disrupted when communication breaks down. If everyone gets to speak, and everyone gets heard - see and be seen - maybe there will be fewer fights.

Alexis Ohanian: Angel Investor

I read somewhere you had to pick between the panels, two out of four allowed. So I showed up early for registration. Ends up you did not have to pick. So I went to all four. Well, there was a Seth Godin speech to begin with. I did that. And Chris Dixon spoke after the panels were over. And there was the social/networking part to cap it all. All in all it was a half day affair. It was a few trips between floors one and five for me. I got to take in half of each panel.

Startups And The Art Of Selling
Monetizing A Startup
Venture Capitalists And Their Thesis
Patrick Chen's Entrepreneur Exchange Summit
Idea to Initial Execution
March 25: Stern: Entrepreneurs Exchange Summit

What Is Your Emotional Age?

Bill ClintonCover of Bill Clinton"Hillary is 42. She will always be 42. I am 16. I will always be 16."
- Bill Clinton as a Yale Law School student
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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Institutions Of Globalization Will Be Built On The Internet

This is the internet century. This is the globalization century. At first I thought in terms of the UN, since it was the only global body. Then I thought in terms of the US, the oldest democracy, the richest country, the biggest power. And I have thought in terms of the internet all along. But as the internet's capacity has grown, I have thought primarily of the internet more and more.

This is the internet century. The internet is the new country. It is not America no more. America has become Europe. America is an old country.

For the biggest problems, the grandest challenges, it is the power of the internet that has to be unleashed. That internet does not operate in a vacuum. It permeates the old institutions like ether.

So when I say the institutions of globalization will be built on the internet I am making plenty of room for old institutions meshing with the internet. You open the windows and let the air come in.

But the biggest problems remain unsolved. Poverty is nowhere close to being cured. Sex slavery is not even much talked about. Climate change is apace. The biggest challenges have proven way bigger than the existing institutions. New institutions will have to be created. And those institutions will get created primarily on the internet. There is room for many on internet only institutions. Big institutions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Twitter At Five: Not Spitting Out Well

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseTwitter at five: The story of Twitter’s beginnings

Twitter has been a remarkable tech success story, and I have blogged about it much here. But today I am going to celebrate its birthday by hitting at its prime weakness. Twitter has done a lousy job of making sense of all the tweets it collects. They all rest on your own servers, for Chrissake.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Startups And The Art Of Selling

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseI for one think Facebook should have been forced to go public at a billion dollar valuation, or 10 billion max. But the company continues to be privately held. I could argue it has had several private IPOs.

There are several forms of exits. IPO is the rare exit. It is for the best of the breed. By definition most startups are not there, will never get there. Getting bought by a bigger company is a respectable, lucrative exit.

And there's the non exit exit. You don't go IPO. You don't get bought. But you become profitable. You start minting money. What's there to complain? I'd hope the vast majority of startups out there would go for this "exit."

Monetizing A Startup

Lincoln on U.S. one centImage via WikipediaI am a huge fan of the freemium model. Keep the basic product free, get lots and lots of deeply engaged users, and monetization will happen. But that is not the only way. Some great services charge right away. Whatever floats your boat. You can delay making money, but not forever. Shorter the delay, better it is.

How To Monetize Your Social Web Startup there really is no secret sauce to making money on the social web: you’re either selling ads or selling a product. ..... While it’s possible to generate revenue through a number of models, there are really only a few core monetization models. ..... Since ownership of mass distribution channels is becoming fragmented, advertisers are looking for targeted audiences that are most likely to purchase their product. ...... Whether it’s an information product or a physical good, there are massive opportunities to generate revenue from selling things. ..... Brand advocacy in the world of social media is something that has many marketers drooling but rather than spending all your time monitoring the conversation, try developing a high quality product or service. .... many internet entrepreneurs pretend as though there is a secret monetization model that they’ll release in the near future. There isn’t one.

Venture Capitalists And Their Thesis

Hacking Venture Capital, Fred Destin, Mini See...Image by paulamarttila via FlickrYou can waste time as an entrepreneur knocking the doors of the wrong venture capitalists. VCs tend to have sectors they are knowledgeable about and are interested in. If you are not a fit, you are not a fit. You might have a brilliant idea, a brilliant team, a brilliant product, but if you approached the wrong VC, you will still get a no.

Venture Capital Investment Thesis Myths For venture capitalists, an investment thesis states the main idea of their fund–essentially, why your venture fund exists, and what it proposes to invest in ..... does the company mesh well with our macro-economic analysis? Are they operating in a market we understand? What are the future expectations of the sector? .... many venture capital firms don’t have investment theses. Those firms also tend to not last. .... Like writing a presentation/business plan/executive summary, there’s no set procedure for creating an investment thesis. ..... investment theses only last a couple years ... investment thesis will most likely be constantly tinkered with

My Chrome Notebook Never Arrived

Twitter ---> Instagram ---> FoodSpotting

Happy World Water Day

If there is anything that is at the center of the globe's development agenda, it is clean water. Water also just so happens to be my favorite substance. I like to play with water. After I am done with the sink, you will likely see leftover splashes. Some people have thought it is because I am an untidy person.

There is something about the formlessness of water that gets me. Water in its formlessness reminds me of the human mind. Water is what the human mind should be, often is.

Hoping To Meet Vivek Wadhwa

I have a Direct Message on Twitter from Vivek Wadhwa. Let's meet the next time you are in the Bay Area, he says. I shot him a quick email. Sure. On the other hand, the next time you are in New York, whichever happens first. I seem to think it against my religion to step outside the city boundaries. For a guy who has been everywhere in America. It's a phase.

Patrick Chen's Entrepreneur Exchange Summit

I met Patrick Chen at this Hackers And Founders MeetUp. He is a great guy. He said he was a MBA student at NYU, and he had teamed up with a techie friend, who was a full timer with a hedge fund, to form a gaming startup. I paid him the ultimate compliment. I suggested the two of them should team up with me on my startup. He said we can talk. We did talk. We became Facebook friends. We exchanged a few tweets. A few days later he said it is best he stuck to his gaming startup.

Long story short I am going to Patrick's conference on Friday. I tried to suggest they should waive the $45 fee for me since "I will be blogging about the event extensively before and after." Let's put it this way. I ended up having to pay.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yunus Should Launch A Political Party

The father of microfinance - Muhammad Yunus - is being hounded in his own homeland. It is sad. But it is politics as usual in Bangladesh. Politicians get in the way. Now you know why Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, a blight on the face of earth. It is these people.

One Step Behind

My startup is a tech startup, but it is not a tech startup that has come up with or is trying to come up with the next big thing in tech. But it is first and foremost a tech startup. A for profit, high tech microfinance startup that will get the last mile done under its own brand name. That is the proposition.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Soraya Darabi: Top 5: Strike 3

Image representing TechCrunch as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBaseSoraya Darabi has hit the top 5 spot at this blog all over again, this is the third time. This traffic bump is due to the TechCrunch post on her. There are like a thousand tweets about that TechCrunch post. Pretty awesome.

Soraya Darabi
Social Media Is For Real
Ultimately It Is About Iran, Because That Is Where It All Started

Soraya Darabi In New York Magazine
Fred Wilson, Soraya Darabi: Both Crazy About Music
Happy FoodSpotting Day Soraya Darabi
Darabi Hits Top 5 Again At This Blog
FoodSpotting Is The Next FourSquare
Food/Social = Physics, Coding = Mathematics
Enhanced by Zemanta

Agreed On New Shirt

Soraya Darabi On TechCrunch TV

Me @ CNN

This is from a while back in December. Notice how I pay homage to Charlie in my quote. It's an inside joke. You will get it if you read his blog.

Me @ BBC

Mike Arrington Liked My Comment

Michael Arrington, famous blogger, and Tariq K...Image via Wikipedia

On a big blog like - say TechCrunch - it might not make news that Mike Arrington liked your comment. But this blog is small enough that liking my comment makes Mike Arrington a big fish in a small pond.

Japan Tsunami

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Anne Hathaway Effect

Anne Hathaway Deauville 2007Image via Wikipedia
..... when Anne Hathaway was in the news, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway's shares went up. He pointed to six dates going back to 2008 to show the correlation.

Rent The Runway

I was pleasantly surprised to see Rent The Runway is doing better than FourSquare. Of all the names on the list, FourSquare is the one with the most buzz.

Soraya Darabi On TechCrunch TV

(Source: TechCrunch)

Fred Wilson, Soraya Darabi: Both Crazy About Music
Idea to Initial Execution
March 25: Stern: Entrepreneurs Exchange Summit

The Two Poles Of My Social Reality

This was not always the case, and it might change down the line, but as of now there are two poles to my social reality.

A Little Bit Of Untidyness, A Little Bit Of Randomness, A Little Bit Of Chaos

Things Organized Neatly

Unless my workspace is a little bit untidy, my creative juices don't flow. I need a little bit of untidyness, or maybe even a lot. I could not say I am going to work out at seven in the morning every morning. That would be too much order. I need my days to be a little more random than that. Freehand exercise speaks to
Diagram illustrating the influence of dark-lig...Image via Wikipedia me like that. The chances of randomness are even greater. I rebel against the routine.

I am a late to bed, late to rise kind of person. It was such relief to learn - a long time ago - that that is a body clock thing. Otherwise wisdom was that the good people wake up early.