One of the “hottest” FinTech startups Wealthfront also offers a career advice. Some time ago they have published a “Silicon Valley Career Guide” and recently blogged about “107 Career Launching Companies“. Both worth a read if it is of interest to you. Posting both here for your convenience.
This an article to forward to all those who share a simplistic philosophies of “Build It and They Will Come” or “Money does not matter, only great product and getting a lot of users matter”.
“This Startup Had Over 5 Million Users And A Great Product. Then It Folded.” on Fast Company:
Consider Springpad, a startup founded in 2008 and once considered an Evernote rival. That wasn’t enough. The company failed to develop a monetization strategy–and despite their best efforts (and rumored acquisitions by Amazon and Google), things just didn’t turn around in time.
“We built a heck of a product. But we didn’t build the business.”
“We ran out of money, that’s basically the end of the story. It was a timing problem.”
Each new invention requires the viability of previous inventions to keep going. There is no communication between machines without extruded copper nerves of electricity. There is no electricity without mining veins of coal or uranium, or damming rivers, or even mining precious metals to make solar panels.
On evolution of the scientific method:
The classic double-blind experiment, for instance, in which neither the subject nor the tester is aware of what treatment is being given, was not invented until the 1950s. The placebo was not used in practice until the 1930s. It is hard to imagine science today without these methods.
The cybernetician Heinz von Foerster called this approach the Ethical Imperative, and he put it this way: “Always act to increase the number of choices.” The way we can use technologies to increase choices for others is by encouraging science, innovation, education, literacies, and pluralism. In my own experience this principle has never failed: In any game, increase your options.
On sacrifices as a form of investment:
As Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City (about Mumbai), says, “Why would anyone leave a brick house in the village with its two mango trees and its view of small hills in the East to come here?” Then he answers: “So that someday the eldest son can buy two rooms in Mira Road, at the northern edges of the city. And the younger one can move beyond that, to New Jersey. Discomfort is an investment.
On using older technology as a statement:
Who would have guessed anyone would burn candles when lightbulbs are so cheap? But burning candles is now a mark of luxuriant uselessness. Some of our hardest-working technology today will achieve beautiful uselessness in the future. Perhaps a hundred years from now people will carry around “phones” simply because they like to carry things, even though they may be connected to the net by something they wear.
If you missed the buzz about Spritz startup this week, let me tell you about it. The guys behind it developed an interesting technology that might help us all read faster without an extra effort. Key idea is to eliminate the unnecessary eye movement my properly positioning words. Unfortunately, there is nothing to download so far, but I think a lot of cool apps will be developed soon.
Squirt.io – browser application.
Here is how it works:
I could not find enough time to post here recently. I certainly have been doing more reading than writing. So, I thought why not to share some of things I read? And I decided to tell you about Quora.
As you most probably already know, Quora is a questions-answers website which succeeded in doing what Google and multiple other companies failed at: provide a decent quality of responses.
Several months ago they even created their own book “Best of Quora 2010-2012“, compiled of best answers, available for free download. It covers quite a range of topics. From Steve Jobs to moldy cheese, from neurological basis of curiosity to Jay-Z. I hope to find time and selectively read the most intriguing ones.
In a meanwhile, here is the short list of questions on the website itself that I found noteworthy:
- Productivity: How do the most successful people spend the first hour of their day?
- Speed Reading: Does speed reading really work? If so, how? (no, it doesn’t)
- What is the best way to break out of a bad mood?
- What are some jobs with high job satisfaction?
- What are the most hilarious pie charts?
- Which are some of the most badass photos ever taken?
- Gaming the System: What are the best examples of people “cheating the system”?
- What are the most inspiring poems ever?
- What are some of the most mind-blowing facts?
- Innovation: What are the best new products that people don’t know about?
- What’s the single most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your professional life?
- Is Getting Rich Worth It?
- What would a modern-day evil genius have to do in order to take over the world?
- How can you maximize your happiness in life?
Add me if you are there.
I devoted some of my time to self-education in September-December using the opportunity provided by Stanford University Venture Lab‘s online courses. In this post I would like to briefly describe my impressions and share some useful materials from the courses. Venture Lab courses are somewhat different from other online courses in that they take place during a specific time with specific deadlines, and you need to enroll in order to participate.
I tried three courses: Technology Entrepreneurship, Crash Course on Creativity, and Finance. As they are very different, I will tell you about each one separately.
This is probably the best one. Although, there are multiple opinions on whether entrepreneurship can be taught, there are a lot of useful materials.
If it is too late for you to participate, you might still benefit from these materials:
- Stanford University “Technology Entrepreneurship” playlist on Youtube: video lectures;
- Chuck Easley’s blog post “Resources and Tools”: a lot of links to useful websites and tools;
- Chuck Easley’s blog post “Recommended Reading”: recommended books and blogs to read;
- Facebook page;
- Facebook group.
I think it takes about an hour a week or so to keep up with the lectures. But if you want to do more, for example communicate on forum, read recommended books, and actually try to apply ideas to some project, it will take longer, of course.
By the way, if you are interested in this topic, I highly recommend you these recent notes from Peter Thiel’s lectures. They also happen to be in Stanford. Computer Science dep. It will save another hundred thousand dollars. 😉
Austian Chapman was born deaf. But recently he got a new a type of hearing aid device which allowed him to listen to music for the first time.
Here is how he describes his experience:
“When Mozart’s Lacrimosa came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn’t a dry eye in the car.”
I wonder how would it feel to listen to music for the first time. Or see for the first time. Or smell for the first time. Or just after a week-long “break”? Probably, it would be 100 times more vivid than what we are used to.
I wonder whether in the future people will incorporate short intermittent “breaks” using technology in order to sharpen these feelings.
“You’re sitting in a chair… In the SKY!”
Louis C.K. makes you laugh while expressing his view that the world is as awesome as never before but over demanding generation is still annoyingly dissatisfied:
Recently the list of most watched TED talks appeared in TED blog. Very helpful to make sure you didn’t miss anything:
- Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 8,660,010 views
- Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 8,087,935 views
- Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 6,747,410 views
- Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 6,731,153 views
- David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 6,411,705 views
- Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 4,909,505 views
- Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 3,954,776 views
- Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 3,664,705 views
- Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,592,795 views
- Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,225,864 views
- Blaise Aguera y Arcas runs through the Photosynth demo (2007): 3,007,440 views
- Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your genius (2009): 2,978,288 views
- Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 2,903,993 views
- Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 2,629,230 views
- Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 2,616,363 views
- Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice (2005): 2,263,065 views
- Richard St. John shares 8 secrets of success (2005): 2,252,911 views
- Mary Roach on the 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 2,223,822 views
- Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 2,187,868 views
- Chimamanda Adichie shares the danger of a single story (2009): 2,143,763 views
But I decided to take it one step further and create a list of the most highly-rated TED talks.
Which is not hard to do using their Youtube channel statistics. So, here it is. The list of most highly-rated TED talks:
Just a couple of days ago I discovered a new promising Web 2.0 service called If this then that which is actually a new start-up project from San-Francisco.
Guys try to develop a kind of meta-tool which unites many others: Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Evernote, Delicious, Instagram, etc. Quite an interesting thing to play with, although it lies in a kind of geeky/nerdy field. But I actually believe that normal people can also find it useful for few things…
In short, the idea is to connect all those services through simple rules set-up by user. For example, “if somebody tags me in a photo at Facebook, send me an email about it” or “if I like a post in Google Reader, save it in my Evernote”.
The coolest thing about is that they also have SMS-service that can be used in the same manner as everything else.
Here are some usage ideas that I could come up with: