Connected kids

As adults we are connected to the network. It’s always with us and that clearly has enormous benefits.

So it’s not really a surprise that our kids are connected as well.

I know my three kids prefer YouTube to POTV (plain old tv). My 10 year old blogs now. She would rather email than talk on the phone. All three know how to use my blackberry and iphone with ease – they can find the games they like, take photos, txt etc.

Today the New York Times has a story saying this trend is only increasing. No surprise there. And I’m fine that our kids are connected, creating content, sharing links with their friends, learning about things on wikipedia and having fun. All good in my mind.

I’m no preacher and I’m not going to win any awards for best parent of the month and even though I see all the upside in being connected – there are times when you gotta disconnect as well. As adults and our kids. So in our house we just have limits to all of this. The kids only connect to the network on the weekends or for school stuff. Right now that feels good for me & lauren and the kids put up with this (at least for now). Plus they are crazy busy during the week with school, homework and numerous after school activities.

(I think the one stat that threw me for a loop in that NYT article was this stat: 70% of kids have a tv in their room. Oy.)

There a number of things in the NYT piece that attempted to link ‘always-on’ kids and school problems and health issues. But I think that is a head fake. The web isn’t the enemy and it’s not going to ruin our kids. It’s just like anything else with kids. A few simple guidelines and some help goes a long way.

NYT lays out the MA senate race

If you live in MA and haven’t made up your mind about today’s important senate race then I encourage you to pick up the nyt and turn to page A20.

At the bottom of the page is a comparison of the two candidates on the important issues. At least they are to me.

Martha Coakley:

-supports comprehensive health care

-supports public option

-against the afghan troop increase

-first state AG to sue the federal govt to overturn a section of the 1996 defnse of marriage act that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman

-against the death penalty

-NRA gives her an F rating

Scott Brown:

-against gun control.  NRA gives him an A rating

-against the health care bill

-supports waterboarding

-opposes same sex marriage

-supports the Afghan troop increase

Vote for Martha Coakley. And spread the word.

(pls excuse any typos. Wrote this on my iPhone. )

Little things to make email better

We are all drowning in email.

It’s so bad that people will tweet when they get to inbox-zero. I don’t blame them. It feels good getting to that magical place.

There are a number of reasons why email is hard to manage. The default setting doesn’t make sense – the most recent stuff bubbles to the top, not the most important or even relevant. And unlike a network like Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr, you can’t curate the people you “follow”. The inbox is just a box that gets filled up by whoever wants to leave you a little something.

So until some kick ass startup makes our inbox more manageable, here’s a few things I’m focused on:

1 – I’m paying close attention to the number of emails I send out. I had lunch with Caterina Fake and Chris Dixon last week. Caterina reminded me of this important fact. The more emails you send, the more you get back.

2 – I’m deleting emails I never want to see again rather then leave them in my inbox. I’ve started this already and it’s paying off big time.

3 – I tweet and blog when I’m on vacation. It’s much better than a standard “Out Of Office” auto response. When people see your tweets on vacation they are mindful of the emails they send you and they hold off. With “out of office”, others don’t know you are out until after they fire of the email. Big difference.

4. Never get into a serious debate or argument over email. It’s just not efficient and it can backfire. The other side sees a short/terse email response with a different point of view and it comes of nasty or disrespectful. Then it snowballs from there. When I see an email thread going sideways, I just pick up the phone or suggest a time to talk.

Love to hear how others make email better. I’m all ears.

The opposite of open

Just saw this on Caterina’s blog. It’s a quote from David Weinberg and it’s so good I had to reblog the entire quote:

The opposite of “open” is “theirs”

The Net as a medium is not for anything in particular – not for making calls, sending videos, etc. It also works at every scale, from one to one to many to many. This makes it highly unusual as a medium. In fact, we generally don’t treat it as a medium but as a world, rich with connections, persistent, and social. Because everything we encounter in this world is something that we as humans made (albeit sometimes indirectly), it feels like it’s ours. Obviously it’s not ours in the property sense. Rather, it’s ours in the way that our government is ours and our culture is ours. There aren’t too many other things that are ours in that way.

If we allow others to make decisions about what the Net is for – preferring some content and services to others – the Net won’t feel like it’s ours, and we’ll lose some of the enthusiasm (= love) that drives our participation, innovation, and collaborative efforts.

So, if we’re going to talk about the value of the open Internet, we have to ask what the opposite of “open” is. No one is proposing a closed Internet. When it comes to the Internet, the opposite of “open” is “theirs.”

An excellent way to appreciate the importance of net neutrality.

How to join a startup?

I often get emails from folks that have never done a startup asking me how they can “break into” the startup world and join a great young company.

The traditional way is to network into that company. Find someone you know that knows the people in the company or perhaps one of the investors or board members. This often can work out nicely (assuming of course that you are excellent and fit into the company culture). Those methods are tried and true.

But what if you don’t know anyone at the company?

One suggestion: become an activist of the products that you love. Use them. Blog about them. Write about stuff you want to see in the future and why you think it’s important or fun or whatever. Build stuff with those products. Give feedback to the company. Participate early and often. Get involved. Comment on other blogs with your insight. Maybe the company hires you or maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own company.

Many of our portfolio companies look to hire users of their products. Many if not all of the early employees hired at Twitter, Boxee, Tumblr and others came out of the community.  These folks are not only talented and smart – but they are passionate about the product and it shows.