Competitive Eating

September 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

Yesterday I watched this fascinating tidbit on competitive eating.  Unfortunately, you can only watch it if you reside within the United States (Hulu’s rules).

http://www.hulu.com/watch/82696/national-geographic-specials-science-of-speed-eating

Afterwards I told Allan that I wanted to be a competitive eater and that the reason I ate all the ice cream cake was because I was practicing expanding my stomach.

His response: “Are you sure you don’t want to just do hip hop?”

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GRE Joke

September 26, 2009 § 1 Comment

Taken from: http://mohanchandran.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/gre-english/

A NORMAL PERSON: People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
GRE STUDENT: Individuals who make their abodes in vitreous edifices would be advised to refrain from catapulting perilous projectiles.

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NORMAL PERSON: Twinkle, twinkle, little star
GRE STUDENT: Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minim.

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NORMAL PERSON: All that glitters is not gold.
GRE STUDENT: All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly auriferous.

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NORMAL PERSON: Beggars are not choosers
GRE STUDENT: Sorting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.

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NORMAL PERSON: Dead men tell no tales
GRE STUDENT: Male cadavers are incapable of rendering any testimony.

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NORMAL PERSON: Beginner’s luck
GRE STUDENT: Neophyte’s serendipity.

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NORMAL PERSON: A rolling stone gathers no moss
GRE STUDENT: A revolving lithic conglomerate accumulates no congeries of small, green, biophytic plant.

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NORMAL PERSON: Birds of a feather flock together
GRE STUDENT: Members of an avian species of identical plumage tend to congregate.

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NORMAL PERSON: Beauty is only skin deep
GRE STUDENT: Pulchritude possesses solely cutaneous profundity.

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NORMAL PERSON: Cleanliness is godliness
GRE STUDENT: Freedom from incrustations of grime is contiguous to
rectitude.

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NORMAL PERSON: There’s no use crying over spilt milk
GRE STUDENT: It is fruitless to become lachrymose of precipitately departed lactile fluid.

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NORMAL PERSON: You can’t try to teach an old dog new tricks
GRE STUDENT: It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers.

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NORMAL PERSON: Look before you leap
GRE STUDENT: Surveillance should precede saltation.

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NORMAL PERSON: He who laughs last, laughs best
GRE STUDENT: The person presenting the ultimate cachinnation possesses thereby the optimal cachinnation.

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NORMAL PERSON: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
GRE STUDENT: Exclusive dedication to necessitous chores without interludes of hedonistic diversion renders Jack a hebetudinous fellow.

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NORMAL PERSON: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!
GRE STUDENT: Where there are visible vapours having their provenance in ignited carbonaceous materials, there is conflagration.

AHHH

September 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

My brain feels like it is going to explode.

Just thought I would share. =)

Academic Earth

September 24, 2009 § 1 Comment

About three months ago I had this great idea to pool free online resources from the top universities unto one website so that people could come to a centralized virtual location for the education they wanted, but couldn’t afford.

After months of research and work towards the process I found out that such a site already exists.  It’s interesting that it didn’t come up in the google search results when I was making sure that this didn’t exist, but such is life.  Anyway, everyone should check it out because it is actually very well done.

www.academicearth.org

Nara Deer

September 24, 2009 § 1 Comment

For those of you who do not have Facebook (or aren’t my Facebook friend) and didn’t see the infamous Nara deer video:

You can read the corresponding entry here:

https://jokidoki.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/nara-deer-day-d-day-haha/

Song Choices

September 23, 2009 § 4 Comments

I always thought it was uncanny that there was always a song out there that expressed exactly how I was feeling either through lyrics, melody, or rhythm.  However, considering the prolific nature of songwriters, singers, and musicians, I guess I shouldn’t be quite so surprised.  I wanted to share some of the music that I have been drawn to recently.

I should put a disclaimer though.  If you ever want to talk about music I am the wrong person for that job.  In high school I was notorious for not knowing the names of various singers, NEVER knowing lyrics, and essentially butchering up anything music related.

Recently I discovered Goo Hye Sun’s instrumental album on youtube.  I had heard about the album before but wrote it off as another Korean actress coming out with a music album.  However, I soon realized how talented she was in terms of composing and compilation.  This is the first track from her album.  It’s not my favorite but the same youtube member uploaded all the tracks so you can take a listen for yourself.

Second, Annie Lennox’s “Sweet Dreams” captured my sentiments for the day.

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)
Annie Lennox

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something.

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something.

Hold your head up – Keep your head up – Movin’ on
Hold your head up – Movin’ on – Keep your head up – Movin’ on
Hold your head up – Movin’ on – Keep your head up – Movin’ on
Hold your head up – Movin’ on – Keep your head up.

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

Hold your head up – Keep your head up – Movin’ on
Hold your head up – Movin’ on – Keep your head up – Movin’ on
Hold your head up – Movin’ on – Keep your head up – Movin’ on
Hold your head up – Movin’ on – Keep your head up.

Sweet dreams are made of this… (4x and fade)”

Random funny:

Me: Did you put Rihanna’s “Disturbia” on repeat?
Allan: Yes.  This is my Dota song.
Me: Huh?
Allan:  I play my best Dota when I listen to this song.
Joanna:  Okay..
Allan:  I’m serious!  I play really badly when I listen to those happy girly songs.

lol….

Interesting new series by Meebo CEO

September 23, 2009 § 1 Comment

I occasionally use Meebo to access aim and today I noticed on the Meebo blog that the CEO is starting a new series of blogs based on his experiences.  It was really interesting to me so I thought I would re-post it here.

This guest post was written by Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg. It is the first in a series of posts he’s writing about the decisions a young entrepreneur needs to make when she/he is first starting a business. The timing is perfect, there is more than a little overlap with Vivek Wadhwa’s guest post on venture capitalearlier today. We’ll update this post with links to his further installments.

I was one of those kids who just couldn’t stop trying to start a company. I think I just really feared working for the Man. Problem was, I seemed to suck at the whole startup thing. Multiple attempts followed by multiple failures. At some point I just said, “screw it, I’ll get a high paying job.” Problem was, I couldn’t stop thinking of the next great thing that got me ridiculously excited. Turns out, it wasn’t so much that I was the problem. Rather, I didn’t have anyone around me familiar enough with startups to tell me that I was doing it all wrong.

This is the first post in what’s going to be a series of blogs on how to go from nothing – no connections, no team, no money and no knowledge of how the startup industry really works – to operating a growing business. I mentioned to Mike that I was going to kick this series off over on the Meebo Blog, but he suggested I start it here. Gladly! So for this first post, here’s the best advice I can give you: join an awesome founding team and get your product out the door ASAP. Then, forget everything else, VCs included, and just build.

One of the things I do as a founder of a later stage startup is to meet with early stage entrepreneurs to help them get their companies going. Nine times out of ten, the meeting ends with them asking me for introductions to VCs. Little do they know that, even if they could raise VC, it’d start them down the wrong path. So, this is what I tell them:

At the exact moment you had your idea, ten other people had the exact same idea. There was just something in the environment that made it the right time for folks to think that one up. The race has already begun! Who’s going to execute first? Who’s going to execute best? If you want to waste nine months trying to raise VC money for that idea, great. But six months in, you’re gonna cry when you see someone else put out that same product you’re pitching me right now. Like I said, forget everything else and just get your product out the door. Now.

Inevitably, the excuses begin: I need to hire people to build the product. I don’t know any developers. I need money for the servers. I want to get that last promotion at my current company first!

Here’s the rub: in consumer internet (and often enterprise), if your founding team doesn’t have the chops to get a prototype of your product out and in the hands of a blogger to test and write about, you might as well save yourself a lot of pain – you’re not going anywhere. Need proof? Just look at some of the most successful tech companies in the last decade: eBay, YouTube, Sun, Oracle, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Google. All of them share a couple common traits: they launched before taking outside investment, and they were able to do it because they had a set of founders with the skills to build the initial version of the product themselves. Only eBay was founded by a single individual – the rest were team efforts.

With that background, let’s get to the three most important things you can do to go from nothing to a kicking startup.

First and foremost, find a great founding team. One person is almost never enough. You just can’t do it all. Rather, team up with one or two other people who have skills synergistic – not overlapping – with your own, but with similar goals and passions. I can’t tell you how frequently teams of three business school students tell me they’re going to start the next great consumer Internet company. When I point out that they’re all business people, and wonder who’s going to build the product, they almost always fall back on “we’ll get a couple of undergrads to do it,” or, “we’ll outsource it.” If I hear either one of those, I know the startup’s already dead. Sorry, folks. Harsh, but probably true.

The best composition is probably one engineer whose passion lies in the pixels on the screen and another engineer whose passion is making bits fly really fast through servers. In Meebo’s case, for example, I was lucky enough to partner up with Elaine and Sandy. Elaine is a JavaScript wizard who has a great visual eye and makes sure every pixel is in its place. Sandy is a straight C nerd and is all about efficiency. Together, they built the first versions of Meebo from scratch. Now, if you have a business guy along for the ride, that works too. But let me tell you, the sum total of my contribution to Meebo prior to our launch was getting us incorporated (read: easy) and suggesting that “the button might look better over there” (read: not much). Post launch, if you gain traction, is where the business person will help take the load off of the technical folks. The business person can take all the meetings while the technical folks work on making the product better.

Second, like I said, forget everything else and just get your product out the door. No office. No phone system. No hiring. No press. No legal muck. No raising money. No looking for partnerships (who’s going to partner with you anyway?). The success or failure of the adoption of your product is what will create 99% of the initial value of your company. If no one ever uses your product, you have no value. Oh, and for the record, raising VC does not help get traction – in another blog post, I’ll argue that if anything, it hurts. So just forget everything else and focus on what matters – getting an alpha of your product out the door and into the hands of your friends and family. Use some URL like http://www.mygreatstartup.com/shhh.html. Then, once you’ve fixed the initial bugs and incorporated a feature or two that everyone requested, go live. Remember: keep it simple. The initial product you build is for you – you don’t know what features everyone else wants. Launch fast and light, and listen to your users for feedback. In the product, always have a way to ask for user feedback. Remember, onceTechCrunch or GigaOm writes about you, you’ll most likely get crushed with a single surge of traffic (we fondly call it the “blog spike”), only to watch almost all of it flitter away. Take advantage of that surge to learn and iterate.

Finally, get good mentors. If someone had been there and just told me “join a great founding team, focus on the product, and forget everything else,” I would have saved a lot of time and heartache. A good mentor is someone who has been part of the startup community themselves – someone who has a realistic understanding of some of the basic dos and don’ts of starting up. You don’t need many – one or two to begin. In Meebo’s case, two of our friends, Todd and Cam, gave us a ton of pre-launch advice. Every time we started straying down a wrong path, like flirting with just talking to that one VC or even thinking about approaching a company about a partnership, they’d always come out with something like, “is that going to get the product out faster?” Trust me, once you’ve launched and achieved traction, you’ll have your pick of mentors, VCs, partners and all the legal expenses you need.

I hope that some of this hit home for those of you who’ve been working on your own startups. In later posts I’m going to get into more detail on specific topics like hiring, raising money, what types of ideas have the potential to get big, finding your founders, and the like. You can follow them over on the Meebo Blog, so bookmark this post and Mike tells me they’ll link to subsequent posts. Alternatively, follow me on Twitter (@sethjs) where I’ll mention when I put up a new post.

Original link: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/09/20/from-nothing-to-something-how-to-get-there/

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