“Research provides the inspiration, guidance, and validation we need to design great products. From the personal (like interviewing users) to the analytical (like metrics) there’s a continuum of research skills that are essential for design teams. The most effective companies integrate this discipline into their culture and make research a habit.”—John Zeratsky (via jxnblk)
“Creative people are ones who are willing and able to metaphorically buy low and sell high in the realm of ideas. Buying low means pursuing ideas that are unknown or out of favor, but that have growth potential. Often, when these ideas are first presented, they encounter resistance. The creative individual persists in the face of this resistance, and eventually sells high, moving on to the next new, or unpopular, idea. In other words, such an individual acquires the creativity habit.”—http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jlnietfe/Creativity_&_Critical_Thinking_Articles_files/Sternberg%20(2012).pdf (via cdixon)
“The Internet likes snacks – simple, focused products that capture an atomic behavior and become compound only by linking in and out to other services. This has become even more so with the shift to mobile. People check their phones frequently, in short bursts, looking for nuggets of information.”—The Internet is for snacking - Chris Dixon (via adamkatz)
“Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They’re earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country. Think about that.
Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea—their Intel or Instagram—into a big business. We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else? That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.”—
Update: We’ve written a complementary post that goes into more depth. Read this first and then check out Rails in Realtime, Part 2.
The phrase “realtime” is thrown around about as much as “local” and “disruptive” these days, so the phrase is often ambiguous. For the purposes of this post, a “realtime” app is the following: page refreshes are not required to see the most up-to-date state of information and new information is communicated in tens of milliseconds instead of hundreds or thousands.
The new Google Maps app was finally released, and I’m loving it so far, but it’s missing a feature I’ve been hoping to see map apps implement for some time. I have this problem where as soon as I pull up directions on my phone, whether right after entering my destination or getting out of the…
I’m currently 30,000 feet up in the sky, flying home after interviewing unsuccessfully for the W13 batch. I would like to share my experiences with you, illustrating what I did right, i.e. to be one of the select few to be invited to Mountain View as a solo founder; and what I did wrong, i.e. why…
“It pays off in your life when you’re in an elevator and people are uncomfortable. You can just say, “That’s a beautiful scarf.” It’s just thinking about making someone else feel comfortable. You don’t worry about yourself, because we’re vibrating together. If I can make yours just a little bit groovier, it’ll affect me. It comes back, somehow.”—Bill Murray, Star of ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’ - NYTimes.com (via rickwebb)
Throughout life we are impacted with moments that are rich with meaning and significance. Regardless of the joy or sorrow that these moments create, it is our job to listen and respond. This summer I was given the gift of one of those profound moments.
On a warm August afternoon, my wife and I invited some close friends over for lunch to spend the day swimming in our pool. We were in the water playing with our kids, watching them one-up each other jumping in, and playing all the usual games.
One of the times my daughter climbed out to jump back in, she cried out in pain after stepping on a bee. As soon as I pulled out the stinger left behind in her foot, one by one more bees began to swarm. Thinking that the dead bee was attracting others, I picked it up and went inside to throw it away.
The moment I opened the trash in the kitchen I heard my wife scream outside. It wasn’t an ordinary scream. I look outside right at the moment she was diving into the water. Racing outside I was certain that she was being attacked by the aggressive bees.
I made it to the edge of the water right when she was coming up. My heart sank. In her arms was our little boy, blue and lifeless.
I first heard about Paul Graham through his essays. Prior to YC’s brand becoming the international juggernaut it is today, the essays were what lead Michelle, Pete and me to apply to YC. One of Paul’s essays that really stood out for me was How to Make Wealth, and in particular the concept that…
I wrote a post a few weeks back about the concept of a 10X Hustler which unexpectedly got over 10k page views. Since then I’ve seen a few other pieces about the nature of BD - I loved this one in particular by another YC alum, Chris Steiner about how Biz Dev is a clever name for dirty work….
Most designers are accustomed to starting their work on paper. If you’re a designer, you’ve probably got a notebook or two sitting around with random brilliant sketches. Often the initial sketches themselves are something to be proud of — and it’s a shame that no one ever sees them.
Have you ever wondered what others’ sketches look like? We did. When designers put pen to paper the results are quite different. We’ll show you.
So, dear readers, all signs point to no: blowing in the cartridge did not help. My money is on the blowing thing being a pure placebo, offering the user just another chance at getting a good connection. The problems with Nintendo’s connector system are well-documented, and most of them are mechanical — they just wore out faster than expected.
So much oxygen wasted in my youth…
I could never get my beat up copy of Goldeneye to run without doing that.
When Schonfeld asked him about the Twitter ecosystem, and the company’s recent moves to discourage app developers from building Twitter clients, he replied with this one liner, “Don’t be a Google Bitch, don’t be a Facebook Bitch, and Don’t be a Twitter Bitch. Be your own Bitch.”
For me going white label is the extreme example of this: being anyone’s bitch.
“The first problem is that everybody learns to be a CEO by being a CEO. No training as a manager, general manager or any other job actually prepares you to run a company. The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company. This means that you will face a broad set of things that you don’t know how to do that require skills that you don’t have. Nevertheless, everybody will expect you to know how to do them, because, well, you are the CEO.”—What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology // ben’s blog (via pegobry)
I was standing on a railway station platform near my parents’ house the other day, and saw a small coffee shack at one end of the platform. As I was waiting for my coffee, I saw the words “Est. 1997” printed on the wooden mantel. You see those words in restaurants, in bars, in local shops,…
Here is an essay version of class notes from Class 13 of CS183: Startup. Errors and omissions are mine. Credit for good stuff is Peter’s entirely.
Class 13 Notes Essay— You Are Not A Lottery Ticket
I. The Question of Luck
A. Nature of the Problem
The biggest philosophical question underlying startups is how much luck is involved when they succeed. As important as the luck vs. skill question is, however, it’s very hard to get a good handle on. Statistical tools are meaningless if you have a sample size of one. It would be great if you could run experiments. Start Facebook 1,000 times under identical conditions. If it works 1,000 out of 1,000 times, you’d conclude it was skill. If it worked just 1 time, you’d conclude it was just luck. But obviously these experiments are impossible.
The first cut at the luck vs. skill question is thus almost just a bias that one can have. Some people gravitate toward explaining things as lucky. Others are inclined to find a greater degree of skill. It depends on which narrative you buy. The internal narrative is that talented people got together, worked hard, and made things work. The external narrative chalks things up to right place, right time. You can change your mind about all this, but it’s tough to have a really principled, well-reasoned view on way or the other.
“When I look at Kickstarter, I see small businesses that have been funded by their customers. I see the acceleration of this shift away from the industrial manufacturing ideology to more of a maker economy. And I also see an idea so powerful that the company name has become a verb.”—