Surfing As An Analogy For Start Ups: Who Knew?

Surfing As An Analogy For Start Ups: Who Knew?

 

I was stunned to see the third mention, in as many months, of a tech founder talking about how his inspiration came from surfing (IRL not on the internet).

  • In this latest instance, I was reading about Richard Werbe, the young founder and CEO of Studypool, a redhot microtutoring platform.
  • Werbe, an avid surfer and serial entrepreneur, has said the process of dreaming up a successful idea is similar to following a wave.
  • In an interview in Forbes he explains: “You have to have the mentality of a surfer, and look for those tiny swells that will eventually turn into big waves. If you can position yourself just right, you’ll be able to ride that wave all the way to the crest. If you aren’t in the right spot or if you lose your balance, you could be plunged under, and have to start over again from the beginning — or get injured. It’s dangerous, it’s exhilarating, and it’s always worth it, but know that attention to little details will make or break each attempt.”
  • The other two tech founders who got their inspiration from surfing include Steve Case (founder of AOL) and in The Upstarts, Brad Stone’s excellent new book, surfing is used as an analogy for startups by none other than Greg McAdoo, VC at Sequoia Capital: “Being a great entrepreneur requires the precision of a great surfer. If you want to build a truly great company you have got to ride a really big wave.”

Read on below for more on Studypool. Fascinating how they’re disrupting education.

Read More >

Share this post on:

Instagram’s New(ish) Carousel Feature Is Just About The Best Thing Ever!

Instagram’s New(ish) Carousel Feature Is Just About The Best Thing Ever!

 

I am going to be using this carousal feature ALOT during my trip so follow me on Instagram, if you don’t already, and keep an eye out for my IG over the next couple of weeks.

  • Instagram launched this new multiple image/video feature back in February but I’ve just started using it and absolutely love it.
  • Not too many people appear to be into it yet which is surprising – but perhaps with so much snapchat vs. instagram drama, this new feature fell through the cracks.

Here’s why I consider it so valuable:

  • It lets you tell a full story using 10 photos or video clips
  • You no longer have to resort to using layout – which always diminished the post because the photos got too small
  • Carousel is super easy to use. See below for directions.
  • It’s fabulous for bloggers. I use it for posts that are very visual (restaurant reviews, art, festivals/events, retail, travel)

Here’s what needs to be tweaked:

  • Most people are not aware that there are multiple images in your post
  • Even if they see the little blue dots under the images (see photo above right) or notice the page icon on the upper right of the first image e.g. 1/10 on same image upper right.
  • SO, until people become acclimated to this new feature, you must add in the first line of the copy: SWIPE LEFT FOR MORE PHOTOS/VIDEOS

Read on below for directions on how to create a carousel.

Read More >

Share this post on:

Bitcoin Up 40% In One Month. Market Cap Now $30.8 billion

Bitcoin Up 40% In One Month. Market Cap Now $30.8 billion

 

Bitcoin is a very fluid story.

  • I wrote this post last Wednesday (May 24) as bitcoin reached $2100 – up 40% in just one month.
  • If you had bought $100 worth of bitcoin on May 22, 2010, you’d have been sitting on $72.9 million as of May 24, 2017.
  • On Thursday (5/25) bitcoin went up even more – to $2800.
  • But then, over the next four days through Monday (5/29), it fell 19% wiping out $3.4 billion in value.
  • What this correction foretells is anyone’s guess. But despite the volatility, there’s a lot of bullishness around bitcoin – some expect it to go as high as $6000 this year!

Read on below for what’s driving the rally and a step-by-step guide on how to buy yourselves some bitcoin just for the experience!

Read More >

Share this post on:

Still have a landline? Why So Risk Averse?

Still have a landline? Why So Risk Averse?

Photo Credit: Panumas Nikomkhai / iStockphoto

 

For the first time in 100 years, most U.S. homes do not have a landline phone.

  • Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a majority (50.8%) of U.S. households are now mobile-only.
  • Landline acceptance is associated statistically with risk aversion.
  • Mobile-only people are far more likely to drink and smoke too much e.g. 29% of Americans without landlines binge-drink alcohol, but only 18% with landlines do.

Read on below for 2 more tech trends to consider.

Read More >

Share this post on:

The Upstarts By Brad Stone: Compelling. HIGHLY RECOMMEND

The Upstarts By Brad Stone: Compelling. HIGHLY RECOMMEND

 

Brad Stone is a brilliant business writer. His newest book, The Upstarts, takes us behind the scenes of Silicon Valley businesses like Uber and Airbnb – how they came to be, the founders’ stories, who else is involved, what it took to get them off the ground, missteps, regulatory problems, what it means to disrupt the world as we know it (with an app).

  • It’s an absolute must-read – but feels like two distinctly different books (which may be a shortcoming)
  • The first half is about the founders and how they landed on these ideas.
  • The backstory of how these young startups are interconnected is fascinating
  • Great insights also on how a decade ago, wealthy VCs in their late 30 or 40’s, were unable to see the appeal or potential of the “sharing economy” and missed out on the first rounds of funding.
  • This first section of the book is incredibly inspiring and a fast read. In flipping through to check my notes, I was struck again by how powerful and riveting and entertaining this story is!
  • The second half is a bit more of a slog.
  • It covers the companies’ massive growth (doubling their users every few months) and drills down on the turmoil of dealing with regulators and competitors.
  • Plus the many self-inflicted legal/safety issues that for airbnb, in the particular, resulted from their Pollyannaish outlook. Reading how unprepared they were in anticipating all the many things that could go wrong when you let strangers into your home is mind-boggling.
  • The book, completed at the end of 2016, barely touches on all the issues that are currently challenging Uber and putting Kalanick ‘s leadership in question (company culture, sexual harassment lawsuits, lack of diversity, Trump meetings).

 

Key takeaways:

  • Travis Kalanick – For many, he has become persona non grata. Not for me. I think he’s a genius and one of my business idols. In 8 short years, he fundamentally changed how we approach transportation.
  • He’s a force of nature. Exactly the kind of scrappy, entrepreneurial, hardnosed leader every startup needs if it intends to succeed. Cut from the same cloth as many of the other founders I admire including Steven Jobs and Jeff Bezos.
  • Not that I am in his league, but having started several businesses myself I know what it takes to make it. It’s not about work-life balance, it’s about how driven you are – and how aggressively and single-mindedly you pursue your vision.
  • This is probably oversharing but I found him so relatable that I had to google his birthday: LEO!!

Read on below for 5 more takeaways on what it takes to create a successful start up:

Read More >

Share this post on:

Is Dyson, The Tesla Of Home Appliances, About To Get Into Cars?

Is Dyson, The Tesla Of Home Appliances, About To Get Into Cars?

 

Am obsessed with both Elon Musk and James Dyson. The former everyone knows but James Dyson, the founder of UK’s Dyson Ltd., is especially intriguing because while many of us admired his home appliances, he was actually building a major technology company.

  • Per Bloomberg, Dyson will spend over $3 billion on future technologies, including artificial intelligence and robotics.
  • Among Dyson’s biggest bets (along with Elon Musk’s) are batteries. Last year, the company said it would spend 1 billion pounds on research over the next five years.
  • In 2015, it acquired the maker of solid state batteries Sakti3 for $90 million.
  • Recently, however, Dyson abandoned Sakti3’s patents – nobody is clear why. At the same time, they lured away Tesla’s head of communications, Ricardo Reyes, to join Dyson as their new communications chief.
  • This has muddied the speculations about Dyson’s plans to enter the electric-car market.

In the meantime, sales of Dyson grew 45% fueled by their latest battery-powered cordless vacuum which racked up over $3 billion in sales making it the fastest-selling vacuum in the company’s 25-year history.

Read More >

Share this post on:

Tech Trends: Social Video Is The Name Of The Game

Tech Trends: Social Video Is The Name Of The Game

 

The big news in social video is that the user base for both snap and instagram is getting older with a quarter of 35-44 year olds increasing their usage over the last 6 months.

Here are two new snap accounts to follow. Both super interesting.

SnapListings

  • Video stories five days a week spotlighting new apartments and houses on the market.
  • Created by Dolly Meckler, 24, and Michael Hoffman, 27, SnapListings is run by four licensed real estate brokers four days a week — with a guest broker on Fridays. The brokers take followers inside listings, recording and posting videos of interiors and exteriors.
  • Based out of New York, SnapListings has expanded to Baltimore, Washington, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Chicago.
  • People can direct-message agents straight through the account.
  • To become a broker on SnapListings you have to audition and if you’re young and charismatic enough, you might get picked!

See below for EverestNoFilter (my absolute favorite snapchat account!).

Read More >

Share this post on:

TECH TALK: Whatever happened to innovation at APPLE and FACEBOOK?

TECH TALK: Whatever happened to innovation at APPLE and FACEBOOK?

 

Haven’t gone on an Apple or Facebook rant in a while but I am increasingly dissatisfied with both.

First and foremost, APPLE:

  • My iPhone 7 Plus is riddled with quirks and problems that require constant reboots. And it’s a wide variety of issues – from the calendar freezing to the TouchID not working.
  • This kind of problem was the exception when I got my first iPhone, now it’s the norm. And the fact that I don’t even bother to go the Genius Bar, feeling it’s an unsolvable problem, is a sign of what’s up at Apple. I no longer consider the brand exceptional.
  • Perhaps nothing is more symbolic of the new Apple than the dongle!

Interesting piece on NPR on the same subject with former employees noting that under Tim Cook there has been a culture shift that has led the company to lose its innovation mojo. A software engineer recalled that under Jobs, every employee was encouraged to take personal responsibility for improving the products. Under Tim Cook, the message for employees is look down, shut your mouth, do your job.

 

And then I have to talk about Facebook – WOW what a disaster!!

  • Such a dismal experience these days – not fun, not creative, not inspiring JUST filled with crap and copycatting. And although they will probably crush Snapchat, they are doing it in such an uncreative way that it makes me like them even less – if that’s possible!

Read on below for more on my major peeves with Facebook.

Read More >

Share this post on: