Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category
Yesterday, someone sent me an email asking this question:
If I was able to get my top 20 customers to send a 30 second iPhone video saying why they love working with us…I want to mash them up for featuring on our web site and YouTube…is the iPhone high enough quality?
In my opinion, yes.
Egads! I was recently given a 478 page hard-cover textbook by a major educational publisher on Scrum. You gotta be kidding me. There is so much talk and writing about Agile and Scrum and, frankly, in my opinion, 99% of it is confusing and makes things worse for the people who read it.
Don’t read that stuff. Read this. Keep it simple. Here’s how Scrum works:
Decide on amount of time that you’re going to work. This is your work cycle, and at the end of this amount of time you’re going to start a new work cycle.
I spend a lot of my day using Gmail. In fact, all of Google’s productivity apps: mail, calendar, tasks and documents. I’m a big fan, as well.
For the last two days, I’ve spent a few minutes poking around Google Plus because I get the sense that it’s on the verge of breaking out.
One of the things I’ve noticed is how many older Google services have been integrated into Google+, for example, Picasa Photos and Google Local.
I am completely in agreement with Suster on the risk of becoming a conference ho. MTV’s old motto was Too Much is Never Enough. Do not think of conference attendance like that. Too much can be way too much. Moderation and intention are the key.
So, if I’m acting intentionally, then why SXSW? My friend Eric Koester put it best: density and accessibility. The sheer volume of people make the use of time efficient (you can meet a lot of people in a short amount of time), and the structure of the conference (lots of panelists and lots of open parties) makes accessing the people you’d like to meet easy.
Net, net: the ROI on the SXSW is pretty high. Total cost is a few thousand dollars. Put just one or two ideas to use back home, and that can pay off pretty quickly.
The Programmer’s Programmer, a.k.a. @NotMyself, a.k.a Bobby Johnson somehow made this neat visualization of all the code that has been written at Cheezburger. I’m not sure how he did it, or what it even means, but it made me think, “Wow! That’s a lot of code!”
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I have now been part of two or three dotcom booms, and Groupon has been a darling of the most recent—a genuine cultural phenomena. That being said, things haven’t been going well for the company as of late, and the CEO, Andrew Mason, has resigned.
My friend John said to me, “His resignation letter is awesome in it’s refreshing candor and lessons learned.” You can read the entire letter here, and I’ve excerpted my favorite parts below.
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
I am a “pleaser”. Not a total pleaser, but I don’t like to let other people down, so I say “yes” to things when I should probably consider whether or not I’m really committed to them. In other words, I find it hard to say “no” to someone.
Another reason I find it hard to say “no” is that I actually want to do a lot of stuff. Doing stuff is fun.
Yes, I want to go skiing with you. Yes, I want to build a thousand cranes. Yes, we should write a book together. Yes, I want to go out and see that band. Yes, that web site sounds awesome, I’ll help you build it. Yes, I want to learn Objective-C so I can write an iOS app. Yes, I want to learn to play piano. Yes, I want to blog more often. Yes, I want to focus on my family. Yes, I want to clean-up the yard and plant a new garden. Yes, I want to get up early and go to the gym everyday. Yes, I want to learn to be a better cook. Yes, that’s a great business idea, let’s do it! Yes…yes!…yes!!!!!…YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
A quick hit to memorialize an essential understanding…
Web 2.0, a.k.a. the social web, was all about using the Internet to connect people to each other. What we’re experiencing now is the extension of the social web into commerce. That is, essentially, person-to-person marketplaces are the e-commerce dimension of the social web.
eBay, AirBnb, TaskRabbit, Rover, etc…these are all person-to-person marketplaces. Amazon, Zulily and drugstore.com are not. (There’s nothing right or wrong about being either…I’m just trying to point out a distinction.)
Meditate on that for awhile and let me know what you think.
Edmund Hillary, along with Tenzing Norgay, were the first people to have successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953. Christopher Columbus is generally recognized as the first person to have sailed across the Atlantic from Europe to North America in 1492. (I am aware that Columbus was not actually the first person to cross the Atlantic, but for my purposes it’s not worth splitting hairs.)
Hillary had a clearly defined goal. His “definition of done” was clear: when he reached the peak of the mountain, planted a flag and high-fived his climbing buddy, then he was done. Columbus, on the other hand, set off in his boats across the Atlantic on a speculative venture; he sort of hoped if he sailed in one direction long enough that he’d bump into the thing he was looking for.
Earlier in my career, I was more of a Columbus type. I’d say, well, let’s just start writing code and see where it takes us. But, as I’ve gained experience I’ve become much more of a Hillary type. Now I say, what mountain are we trying to climb?