Sonos S5

We’ve been using Sonos for years. In my opinion it’s the best whole house audio system that I’ve ever used and I’ve tried a number of them. (And it’s designed by a startup)

Last year, our Sonos experience became even better when they came out with a new touch remote and an iPhone app. With a touch of a button I have, rhapsody and our local music library streaming in multiple rooms of our house. We had been using Sonos in three rooms of our house plus the patio.

The pre-requisite with Sonos is that you need speakers in every room where you want audio. Any type of speakers will do. But sometimes setting up speakers is a hassle. Putting two speakers in ideal locations isn’t always convenient so that’s why some of our rooms aren’t available to our Sonos.

That was until I bought the Sonos S5 last week. The S5 is a single amp/speaker system. Plug it in, press a button and it automatically joins your Sonos music network. It just works. I think the audio quality is excellent for an average size room.

I’m so happy with the S5 that I’m absolutely going to get a few more.

We’re looking for an associate

We are looking to hire an associate at Spark.

The title “associate” means different things at different venture capital firms so let me tell you what it means at Spark.

An associate at Spark is part of our investment team in our Boston office. He or she will help our team with market & competitive analysis, process deal flow, due diligence on new investment opportunities, assist our portfolio companies, attend & organize meetups as well as various other firm responsibilities such as annual reports and portfolio analysis.

This is not a classic two year and out program. We are looking for someone that will grow with us or possibly join one of our portfolio companies over time.

Ideal person:

-excellent communication & listening skills
-passion for new technologies
-an active user of web and mobile applications
-thoughtful about the ever changing media & technology landscape
-aggressive, self starter
-strong analytical skills
-tech background plus but not required
-based in boston or willing to move here
-ideal previous experience (~2-4years) could include: startup, internet/technology company, analytical/financial role in related industries
-(mba not required)

If this sounds like you, then please send an email to with whatever you think can help us get to know you better (eg. linkedin profile, blog, twitter profile, video etc).



Focus is something so easy to say but difficult to do.

It’s hard for everyone. I have a hard time with it as my friends and colleagues can verify. I’m grateful that my job allows for a reasonable amount of ADD.

Focus in startups can be quite difficult as well. Everything is unproven and plenty of obstacles show up every day. It’s easy to think about adding more features, new types of customers, new one-offs to make the quarter.

But the one thing that keeps startups focused is the obvious constraint – limited capital. Most every early stage company is understaffed and under resourced for the task ahead. They can never match Google’s salaries or perks. They can’t afford the nicest office space. They can never hire as many people as they want. All they can do is hire the best people they can afford that believe in the founders, believe in the product and can function as a team. Then, the gun goes off and they build like mad.

That’s why startups have this unique advantage over bigger companies. Limited funding provides a forcing function. Big companies have big headcount and big budgets. Big companies have competing teams. They have competing products and agendas. They have competing execs. They have office politcs and never ending process.

I was reading John Gruber’s post about Apple today. He paraphrases Apple’s COO, Tim Cook’s talk from the Goldman conference about focus:

“We are the most focused company that I know of or have read of or have any knowledge of. We say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose. The table each of you are sitting at today, you could probably put every product on it that Apple makes, yet Apple’s revenue last year was $40 billion. I think any other company that could say that is an oil company.”

I’m sure there are plenty of big company headaches at Apple. I know they have their share of office politics. But one thing is clear: they are focused. And it shows.

(update: missed a link. Gruber’s summary came from Dan Frommer’s post here).