Credit, though we take it for granted, is a revolutionary human invention. Because I trust you, I will take as trade-value for this item, a payment at some point in the future. Today, though, you only get a promise. It is…
From an interview with designer/artist/soul searcher Elle Luna:
So I was using Uber all the time in San Francisco, even though I hated the design. And then I went to the Crunchies awards ceremony and at a post-ceremony event, where I was in a ball gown, I saw the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, sitting at the bar. I was three whiskeys deep at this point and I walked up to him and said, “I use Uber all the time and I absolutely hate the app. I think you should bring me in to fix it.” He replied, “Oh, yeah? What are the three things you’d fix about it?” I said, “I’d redo the logo, redo the entire app, and change the rating system.” I think there was something about being in a dress that empowered me to say such things (laughing). And do you know what he said? He said, “Be at the Uber office at 9am on Monday.” I told him I couldn’t do it alone and he said he’d have a team for me.
I thought the offer was bogus, but I went to Uber’s office on Monday at 9am, laughing to myself, and Travis led me back to a project room with two other designers—they were from outside of Uber and he had flown them in from New York! We took on the Uber app and redesigned it in three weeks. In fact, one of the guys he flew in from New York, Shalin Amin, ended up staying on full-time. The app is gorgeous and last night it won the Fast Company 2013 Innovation By Design Awards for the transportation category, beating out Mars Rover and Tesla.
Most people want to be fit, most people aren’t.
Most people want to build a successful business, most people won’t.
Most people want to be the best version of themselves, most people aren’t.
Most people have dreams they want to fulfill, most people won’t.
Everyone wants to quit something, build something, be something, do something. Most people won’t.
How many things have we wanted? How many opportunities have we craved? How many broken things have we wanted to fix?
And how many of those have we shrunk from. Hid from. Or, excused away.
We’re not alone.
Most people won’t.
But every once in a while someone puts themselves out there. Makes the leap. Faces rejection or failure or worse. And comes out the other side. Better. Changed. Bolder.
Most people won’t. Which means those that do change everything.
“Currently, it seems that there are two raging nerd camps: 3d printing, and multirotor copters. Currently, both are almost functionally useless. I’ve never seen anything 3d printed worth a god damn, and there isn’t enough aerial photography demand in the world to support the hordes of nerds building copters. I personally think 3d printing is lame and I cant imagine a real use for it. Similarly, I can’t imagine a real use for quad copters, but fuck man, they are super fucking cool. And I don’t think I or anyone else can really articulate it any better.”—
“Because to stand athwart history and cry “Stop” is never enough, something that the inheritors of William Buckley’s legacy have so obviously failed to learn. We’re going to continue tumbling forward, and if we have any hope of steering in the right direction, we need to know more than just why everything is so bad and awful and dangerous. We need to know what’s pushing us forward, what needs and desires we are trying to sate. There’s more going on here than the indulgence of a manipulated craving for snack food. We’re hungry for connection. We live for it.”—Dave Eggers to the Internet: Just stop! - Salon.com (via stml)
Yesterday 4chan turned ten years old. The company that offered to buy it—a Japanese toy store (of all people)—has ceased to exist, and yet 4chan soldiers on.
My rejection read:
Sorry for the delay. As crazy as it may seem, even an offer of that magnitude would not change my mind. The amount of time and money I and others have invested in 4chan makes it very hard to put a price on, and, not only that, but the site continues to grow in popularity immensely each day, month, etc.
I could not be more thankful that I made the right decision. While 4chan hasn’t made me rich, it has become my life’s work and provided me with countless friendships and a decade of entertainment.
“If you care about the digital divide, and you believe that access to communications can help poor countries to grow, then pontificating about who has or hasn’t made a phone call is worse than a waste of time, it actively distorts your view of the possible solutions because it emphasizes a statist attitude.”—
When I first tried to learn Python a year ago, it was like traveling to Japan when I was ten years old, surrounded by the sounds and sights of Japanese for the first time. I became familiar with the sound of the language and was introduced to its cadence and character. I learned how to say hello, please and thank you, but I didn’t totally understand what was going on.
One of the reasons my first attempt at learning Python while I was working full-time wasn’t a success? I just didn’t have enough time for it — and programming takes time. I remember working on my homework assignments and all of a sudden two hours had passed and I was late for a meeting. And BTW, I have a whole new appreciation for why software engineers don’t like meetings. Just when you feel like you are about to solve the problem, you have to stop what you are doing to attend what is probably not a well-run meeting… and then when you return to your desk it takes a good while to remember what you were doing before you were interrupted… then repeat. I found the back-and-forth context switching of learning programming during breaks to be too taxing on my attention. If I really wanted to understand programming, I needed to immerse my brain in this new way of seeing & thinking.
The last two months were an opportunity to dive deeper and not just recognize the language, but learn how to speak it.
My dad and I used a combination of 2 online learning tools & curricula to guide our learning:
Vinod Khosla said yesterday at Techcrunch Disrupt that one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs is to figure out whose advice to trust on what topic. That is spot on because as an entrepreneur you will get advice from just about everyone all the time (including random people you have just met for the very first time who don’t know squat about your product or company). Unfortunately that terrific quote will get buried because of a bunch of other things Vinod said right then, such that a lot of VCs add negative value, that he doesn’t go to board meetings much anymore (because other VCs just talk) and that entrepreneurs should pretty much ignore what most VCs say (because they haven’t done enough themselves).
I am not going to argue that we VCs always know what we talk about as we clearly don’t. But unlike Vinod I don’t believe that you have to have done a lot of big things yourself in order to be able to give good advice. It also helps if you have observed a lot of things. The role of an advisor is different from the one of the entrepreneur. There have been many great investors who never built a large company themselves. Just as there have been many great coaches who never excelled at the game they were coaching. Or the best editors aren’t successful writers themselves.
Why is this? There are many reasons but the primary one is being able to see the big picture. The number one problem as an entrepreneur is to get enough distance from the business to be able to see the big picture. You are in it every day. And that narrows your view. Just like it does for the players on the field. This is true for all of us all the time. Stepping outside of your context and analyzing your own situation from “above” is really, really hard. And that’s where a good VC will help you. He or she will help you see the one or two things that are really holding back the company (among the million things competing for your attention).
You still have to determine whether you should trust a particular person on the big picture or not. There are unfortunately very few signals for this and success of companies is an incredibly noisy signal. Therefore my recommendation is: call your fellow entrepreneurs and get their feedback on the quality of advice they have received.