Conviction is one of the most important things entrepreneurs want to see in an investor. The overhead of working with an investor who lacks conviction is just too much for an entrepreneur. It can become a major drain on them and their company. I’d rather have conviction and be wrong than have doubts and be right. Because the latter doesn’t work in a relationship with an entrepreneur and you are likely to lose anyway.
Fred nailed it today. Highlights why I don’t like the spray and pray model for VCs.
Conviction is also a key ingredient for great founders as well.
The health of a platform: thinking about Maps and remembering the days of IE
Back in the late 90’s (boy that feels like a long time ago), the Mac was in a tough spot.
Steve came back to the company and delivered the very first iMac. It was priced and packaged just right. The hardware was extremely well designed. Then came the MacBook Pro. Beautiful.
The thing holding these computers back was the browser.
It was clear by then the browser would forever change the desktop computer experience. But the problem was obvious: Mac users had to choose between two poor browsers. Netscape had gotten bloated and slow. And Microsoft was making obsessed with embrace and extend, so Internet Explorer ran like garbage on the Mac — although it ran beautifully on a Windows machine at the time.
The same was true with Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office ran beautifully on a PC but it’s Mac counterpart was awful. It’s still true today. Just ask anyone who uses Outlook (or remember Entourage) on a Mac.
Apple’s response: Safari, Mail & Keynote.
Safari was pretty bad when v1 shipped. But today it’s just as good as Chrome in my experience. And I’m happy that Mac users have a choice in browsers. And Keynote presentations shine where Powerpoint just stalled out. And every Mac user I know would prefer any mail client over Outlook (remember Entourage!).
This past week I picked up two new phones. An iPhone 5 and a Samsung Galaxy III. They are both sweet. Truly amazing. I use both.
But it’s clear even before using Apple’s own Maps app in iOS 6. Google Maps on Android is vastly superior to Google Maps on iOS 5. It’s truly night and day.
The same is true for Gmail. Google’s mail client on Android is superior to their iOS version. Google Voice on Android is vastly better than Google Voice on iOS.
I think Apple had no choice but to create their own Maps apps.
Just like the browser in age of the desktop, Maps is a critical app in the age of mobile. The harsh difference of course is that Apple booted Google’s Maps app being built into iOS 6.
Yet I believe being built into the iOS is more of a hindrance than a benefit for Google (e.g. YouTube). Recall built in apps don’t get upgraded until the entire OS gets updated.
This is the opportunity for Google to change the cycle of history and these platform wars. I’d love to see Google step up and create a kick ass version of Maps for iOS *and* Android. It would take courage and conviction and it would be inspiring.
I don’t have a particular topic to share but a few random thoughts I thought I’d jot down.
1. I get asked a bunch about digital photography workflow. I try to keep things simple. I shoot everything in Raw. I bring it all into Adobe Lightroom. I nuke the ones that are out of focus. I apply VSCO presets to the ones I love for film emulation. Couldn’t be easiser. I back up everything to Crashplan.
2. I bought an iPhone 5 on Friday. I heard there were long lines at the Apple store so I was surprised when I saw zero lines at the Verizon store in Union Square. I walked in and out 20 minutes later.
I got one a black one for me and a white one for @laurensabet. My wife and daughter both feel like the lighter weight makes it feel cheap (compared to the iPhone 4S). I think it feels nice. I also love how even with a bigger screen, I can still use it one handed. I know the new maps has a bunch of clear shortcomings, but it hasn’t been an issue for me personally and I’m a heavy maps user. The killer feature for me is LTE.
3. LTE on the iPhone makes browsing a joy. But apps just seem to snap into place. Easier to post a photo. Foursquare checkins are faster. Streaming music is smooth and wonderful. Getting online this fast is such a thrill. I feel like LTE in your pocket with amazing software is the mobile world we have been always waiting for.
When the sound bites aren’t being contrived, when the cameras are allegedly off, and when it’s the doors are closed, the truth comes out. Way out.
I thought conservative David Brooks nailed it in his opinion piece for the New York Times. Go read the whole thing but here’s a taste:
This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet with President Obama behind closed doors. It was a room of 20-ish people from the tech community. It was a bunch of 1%-ers.
The group discussed a number of things that are important to a continued vibrant tech industry including things like immigration reform, computer science in our middle and high schools, importance of women entrepreneurs, patent reform, net neutrality, and more.
And natually we had an opportunity to hear the President’s view of the challenges and vision for the country.
He spent a significant amount of time about how he cares about the many folks in this country that live below poverty. How many children live below poverty. How our schools need to educate care of all of our children. The importance of healthcare for those that need it most. The importance for equal treatment regardless if you are gay or straight. And yes, the idea that when our country needs it, the richest people need to pay their fair share without loopholes.
He talked about the need for the wealthy to do their part without reservation, without apology and without sugar coating it. It made sense. It was compelling. (I’ve written about my thoughts on taxing the wealthy so you know my position).
I wish someone snuck in a video camera and recorded the whole damn thing secretly. Then you would see the guy behind closed doors is the same one we see on TV.
This is a classic talking point line by conservatives in this election.
It’s meant as a rallying cry for their base.
But it’s a head fake and it’s insulting.
How these republicans can position democrats as an elitist party for “smart people” while republicans like Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have become the party for the richest 1% is outrageous.
The democrats are far from perfect.
But our President is trying to make the tent bigger not smaller. A tent to protect those that need healthcare. A tent to provide same treatment for gay or straight couples. A big tent to provide less loopholes for corporations and the richest 1%. A big tent to allow equal wages for female workers. And a safe tent to bring our troops home from Iraq.
“Many of you are already familiar with the terrific Stack Overflow website, which has become the de facto resource on the web for all types of programming questions. And many of you have been asking YouTube API questions on Stack Overflow for some time now, but haven’t received any official responses from the YouTube API Developer Relations team. That’s because, for the past five years or so, our focus has been on providing developer support via our dedicated Google Group. We’ve decided that instead of continuing to maintain a dedicated Google Group for YouTube API questions, it would help more users if we focused on responding to Stack Overflow posts.”—
“Photography in particular has a lot in common with designing an interface. It’s sort of a game finding the right balance in a square. You have this square, and it has a bunch of little stuff inside it. In photography you can sometimes rearrange that stuff, but most of the time you’re just going to move the camera. When you design an interface, it’s the opposite. You can control the objects inside the frame with ease. I think the balance of a photo and the balance of an interface have a lot in common.”—Peter Vidani
Exactly five years ago today, we co-led the very first investment in Tumblr. The actual announcement of the round came several months later along with a product update blog post.
So much has changed since that time. For some context, when we backed the company, there was an iPhone but the app store didn’t exist. It was just two guys, ceo/founder David Karp and Marco Arment, working on the product. And it stayed that way until the next round some fifteen months later. They did it all renting a small corner of our friend Fred Seiberts office at the time. I can still remember the talks we had on that white couch and staring at all the soda cans Marco had stacked to hold up his monitor and keyboard.
It was an exciting time. Every day more users showed up. Creative content and communities were just being formed on the platform. And by the end of year 1, they signed up about 450k users. Today, that number is over 75million.
I’m so proud of how much this team accomplished and the quality of the team as they have grown from two people to over one hundred employees.
So happy anniversary Tumblr. It’s been a wonderful five years and I’m really excited about the next five.
The other day a friend of mine asked why I like taking photos with my Leica (manual focus and exposure) and Nikon (big dslr).
"Isn’t it hassle, to take the photo, then goto to your mac and upload. then post online"
The answer is yes. It’s far more easier to take a pic with my phone and post from there. I love sending photos to Tumblr, Twitter and Foursquare from my phone. It’s a breeze and I often will do that.
But the fast majority of the photos I take are with my Leica and dslr.
For me, it just slows things down. A lot. And that feels like a feature, not a bug.
When you shoot with a dslr or a manual camera (or any other “unconnected camera” for that matter), you take your time making the photo. And then you wait to see it. I avoid chimping. I’ll wait to review my snaps. Sometimes I’ll wait a few hours or a day. Sometimes longer.
And then when I do sit down, I’ll sometimes find something wonderful my phone could’t have captured.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s true, the best camera you can possibly use is the one you take with you — which is increasingly our mobile phone.
But as I get older, I’m trying my best to appreciate and respect delayed gratification. So much so that getting back to film might be the next thing on my list.
There is likely a lesson about delayed gratification for startups — but I’ll save that for a future post.
“We have the highest child poverty rate of any advanced nation in the world. Nearly 25% of our children live in poverty. This is a scandal. Family poverty is the most reliable predictor of low test scores. How can we compare ourselves to nations like Finland where less than 5% of the children live in poverty?”—AZspot: Rhee is wrong and misinformed
And individuals use Tumblr and Twitter in different ways. My friend Fred rarely tweets his Tumblr posts where other folks tend to send all/most of their Tumblr posts to Twitter.
My sense is that these services are extremely complimentary and yet distinct in their experiences.
At least that’s how I use these services. I’ll create or reblog a something special I see on my Tumblr dashboard — sometimes it makes it Twitter and sometimes it doesn’t. And things I create on Twitter aren’t a good fit for my Tumblr.
However, I really couldn’t imagine a single day going by without checking, contributing and participating in each one. They each bring something so unique to my daily life and I’m grateful for that.
What distinguishes companies led by mercenaries from those led by missionaries? While the two might seem similar at first glance, they are in fact very different, Doerr points out. “Mercenaries are driven by paranoia; missionaries are driven by passion,” he says. “Mercenaries think opportunistically; missionaries think strategically. Mercenaries go for the sprint; missionaries go for the marathon. Mercenaries focus on their competitors and financial statements; missionaries focus on their customers and value statements. Mercenaries are bosses of wolf packs; missionaries are mentors or coaches of teams. Mercenaries worry about entitlements; missionaries are obsessed with making a contribution. Mercenaries are motivated by the lust for making money; missionaries, while recognizing the importance of money, are fundamentally driven by the desire to make meaning.”