Long time no blog
Been crushing books of late, just finished @simonsinek’s Start With Why. Haven’t blogged in a while, but have lots of ideas, oh well.
Been crushing books of late, just finished @simonsinek’s Start With Why. Haven’t blogged in a while, but have lots of ideas, oh well.
celineiam-deactivated20131120 asked: Why are you in München ? XD
Speaking at dld-conference.com!
Anonymous asked: how many 3/8 are in 1
Happy new year everyone. It’s been a long time since I posted, lots to write about, but I’ll just add this short one for now.
In March, I posted about two pizza places across the street from each other on 14th street by Union Square: http://joshrweinstein.com/post/20173376018.
While walking to the subway on 12/11/2012, I walked by the pizza place that I said was inferior based on “Real Life UX.” It is out of business:
Obviously there are a lot of other factors involved, just thought it was interesting. You can see a bit of the other place’s sign in the reflection in the picture above.
The most common question I get asked is how to find a technical partner. Usually once a day someone tells me they are looking for technical help, and everyone I meet with does the same. “Do you know of any developers looking for work?” Of course not, unfortunately:
1. If I did, I would try to hire them myself.
2. If the developer is good, there is a 99% chance that they already have a job.
To be fair, once in a while I do know a technologist that is charting his or her next move, but that is very very rare [interestingly enough, right now I know someone in Boston]. Also, see #1.
So, how then do you find someone to help get your product off the ground? There are a few ways: attend meetups, follow people on Github / Twitter / Geekli.st, and message people on LinkedIn plus join relevant groups. Better yet, find the right people specifically for what you are doing - people who are passionate about the space you are going into, have experience in it, and/or people you are already connected to by way of your 1st or 2nd degree networks. Reach out to THOSE people directly and begin the conversation.
If you are looking for 100% guaranteed ways to find your CTO, though, here it is:
1. Read this list
2. Dedicate 4+ hours a day plus 8+ on weekends to this goal
3. Read this blog post
4. Read a book on HTML/CSS and poke around http://www.w3schools.com/
5. Open a text editor [I suggest TextMate or Coda2 for Mac]
6. Make a .html webpage that is better than this
7. Do Codecademy.com's Code Year
8. Do this
9. Take a break
Congrats, you can hack something together. The view from a developer’s side here: techcrunch.com/2012/04/15/stop-looking-for-a-technical-co-founder/
In a future post, I’ll talk about my personal experience finding a technical cofounder.
On the 3rd I asked “when will cable companies become internet providers with television features?”
Looks like we have our answer: http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/26/3188845/google-fiber-tv
Originally posted on Huffington Post
In High School, I didn’t take AP English solely because of the amount of reading involved. I wrote a paper about my disdain for reading for my non-AP class after being subjected to Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, a perfect example of intellectual torture in the form of ‘required reading.’
I struggled through readings in college and disliked much of my academic experience largely due to that. I was in classes like intro level politics that were, perhaps literally, mind-numbing because of the sheer volume, repetitive nature, and dullness of [most of] the reading. In my speech to the Freshman class at their orientation, I warned them about the importance of course selection to avoid these pitfalls.
Reading wasn’t always my enemy, though. When I was a wee youngin’, I used to read quite a bit — Goosebumps, a series of sports books whose title I can’t recall and abridged classics. I even read Michener’s 1000+ page The Source for fun…during the summer! I liked to read.
After graduation, I subscribed to the digests of Mashable, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat and didn’t consider them ‘reading’ [I still don’t actually] - but I do/did enjoy reading them [or at least the relevant articles]. I also read a few books here and there [s/o Malcolm Gladwell] and also watched quite a few instructional videos - e.g. Derek Sivers’ ‘Uncommon Sense.’
It was from these post-grad experiences that I realized maybe I don’t hate reading. Maybe my dislike for reading was because what I associated ‘reading’ with was mandatory and endless monotony. I needed to redefine reading as learning from and engaging with content I actively sought out because it was relevant, interesting, rewarding or all three. In my retrospect blog post last year about my interesting expedition out West, I [in bold] wrote “I should have really spent more time reading…”
Over the past year in NYC, I’ve received excellent suggestions from Shahed, Carter and Seth. I have a Trello backlog of books to read (I guess I could do this in Tracker too) and have been going through one every two or three weeks. I read the Hunger Games series in about 24 hours [half of which was time spent sleeping or eating] right after the sick movie trailers came out [I couldn’t wait].
Among the books that I’ve read (by suggestion of the guys above) and re-recommend are Getting More by Stuart Diamond and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Currently reading Let My People Go Surfing by the founder of Patagonia by suggestion of Jared - who also suggested this handy link for future readings. As mentioned, I also count watching instructional videos as ‘reading’ which, along with blog posts, tutorials, etc. have been a primary resource for helping me learn to code.
I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed the books that I’ve read and view it as a valuable resource for edification, growth and fun. Some of the books on my list for the future are Imagine, Great Gatsby [I know, I should have read it by now] and a long stroll through The Philosopher’s Notes [a great find by Shawn!!]. I hope I can up my book per week count and definitely recommend that you go out and read. If there’s interest I’ll post a running list of books I’ve read and recommend / have in my list.
also on: hackernews
All media needs to be fundamentally reimagined in the context of the existence of the internet. Likewise, all media companies - not just publishing or entertainment - need to be reorganized accordingly. The present is an adaptation of the internet to the past - “what can we do with the internet to add value?”, the future is a reconception thereof - “if the internet existed at our inception, how would we be able to add value?” This has been a key assumption of mine for several years and should be for you, as well.
Although this is a fairly intuitive and non-unique insight, many companies (and people) are stuck in the present. Why? For some it could be because they have existing business models that rake in massive amounts of cash - “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” For others, it may be too difficult to reorient the company.
The problem with this is two-fold: inevitably technology will disintermediate or otherwise disrupt the status quo and/or these companies could generate even greater revenue. Napster proved the former to the music industry quite sometime ago, Zynga is proving the latter to the video game industry and Art.sy will prove both to the art world.
At the end of last week, Verizon became the first major “telephone” company to enter the future. Much like MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile, Verizon eliminated its phone plans in favor of its “Share Everything” plan and AT&T will do so shortly, as well. For those of you who do not remember, telephone plans charged you for speaking on the phone or sending text messages. The new plans are only a function of the number of devices and amount of data used.
The phone, therefore, is an ancient relic of the present - the future is a “smartphone” or web-enabled “mobile device.” The wireless telecommunications company of the future, therefore, is one that offers mobile internet usage — text messaging and phone calls are just ‘free’ features.
Although I am a Verizon shareholder, I strongly recommend that you check to see if you can save money by switching to the new plan. Personally, my sister and I will save $70/month thanks to the new change. However, this is (at least in part) a way for Verizon to abandon the unlimited data plan - so for individual users it is likely a net negative. Likewise, for people on a shared plan that use a feature phone, though, the cost is likely to be greater. As such, there is still a need for lower-cost service providers for feature phone users who don’t need (or want) internet access but as per above, the opportunities for the wireless telecom company ‘of the future’ is and will be greater.
As someone betting on these transformations, I’m interested to see how this play develops and when other industries will do the same - especially in the world of television. Since Y2K (or so), cable companies have transformed from the olden days of simply providing television and often phone service to the present by trying to bundle it with an internet plan.
Now that the wireless telecommunications company of the future has arrived in the form of a mobile internet providers with telephone features, when will cable companies become internet providers with television features? Perhaps that process begin when Comcast bought NBCUniversal last year…
For a long time I thought there should be a system that allows you to rate people based on driving ability. For me personally, this would be particularly useful in serving as a public peer reviewal system for NYC Taxi drivers.
A few months ago I had a somewhat traumatizing experience with a cab driver who had a bit of road rage and almost got us killed. The cops told me I should get his ID # and file a complaint with the TLC. It didn’t go anywhere.
If there were a system like this and negative reviews were actually paid attention to - not just for taxi cabs, but drivers across the country - hopefully we can reduce the order of magnitude of car crashes that happen annually in the US. A lofty goal, but here goes:
OK so> I’ve been thinking recently about how websites change their homepage as they develop. In particular, as a site (e.g. Twitter) becomes more well-known, features change, and they don’t need to use social proof indicators like press received or even user testimonials. Additionally, the initial or primary touch points for the site might not even be the homepage at all. For example, Dropbox’s initial touch point is often an invitation you receive via email.
Here is a history of the Facebook homepage [no press used as social proof, but the list of networks served this purpose], here is two or three iterations ago of the Twitter homepage, an older one, and this was an even older version of Twitter. In tracking the evolution of sites like these two as well as Foursquare and a few others, some of the primary lessons overtime are incremental a) simplification of suggested user focus b) reduction of external social proof. This post is clearly more casual than scientific — it would be interesting to have someone to a more formal study. The best example of a lens into the evolution of a homepage over the lifespan of a startup is (unsurprisingly) 37signals as seen in this time-lapse video of their own. Again, simplification and reduction of external social proof over time.
Two interesting trends collided a few days ago when Facebook made a big change to the [pre-login] homepage (likely unseen and unnoticed by most visitors since their cookies keep them persistently logged in). The post-logout homepage of Facebook (as well as LinkedIn and Twitter) is “use our mobile app.” Facebook replaced it’s old self-description of a social network with a focus on the Timeline. The obvious reason is that Facebook wants to differentiate itself from a standard social network and lock in users by creating switching cost in the form of being the place that everyone keeps a lifetime of info. OK cool, makes sense. What I think is particularly of note in this change [in addition to the change itself] is the inclusion of an explanatory video on the homepage.
When we started to build GoodCrush in late 2009, the idea of an explanatory video came up a few times, but was usually dismissed because - based on the findings of our peers and advisors - users rarely clicked on the intro video. As per above, Twitter used to have a video link on the homepage. One site whose homepage has barely changed and continuously employed the intro video is the aforementioned Dropbox:
Rumor has it that the Dropbox team is obsessed with split testing, so likely came to this decision after lots of experimenting. This begs a few questions: 1) is the intro video the way to go? 2) is its effectiveness contingent on the complexity or subject nature of the product, or target demo? 3) is it because the initial and primary user touch points are not usually the homepage? Other sites of note with a video-centric intro are mobile apps Foursquare and Path.
It is hard to say what exactly you, me, and other entrepreneurs can learn from these two observations. In talking about Facebook, you usually have to preface it by saying “Facebook is the exception and not the rule.” However, here sites at the level of Facebook are useful for serving as an initial data point for more universal UX questions, in this case - how does the homepage change over the lifespan of a startup and, as of a few days ago, what is the effectiveness of a video intro on the valuable real estate that is the homepage?
Below is a snapshot of TheMertonShow.com homepage from our CrazyEgg account from back in November - 5000 visits and roughly the same number of clicks. The primary calls to action were: 1) submit email address or login with facebook 2) watch the demo video. Roughly the same number of people went through each funnel, but the number of clicks on the video thumbnail accounted for 16% of clicks - more than any other individual CTA, whereas “watch the video” accounted for 4%. The questions from this are a) is this high click count because of the size of the link? b) is the engagement built from having a user watch the video worthwhile compared to the inevitable dropoff and ~20% loss of signup that comes from an additional clickthrough? Most of these can be measured, but not all of it. I provide our own insight more as an additional data point than any conclusive suggestion either way. We use video because we are video-centric.
As mentioned, this post is mainly to highlight two interesting aspects of the homepage. Firstly, startup homepages change dramatically over the lifespan of the business for a multitude of reasons: new focus, different features, and - most critically - general user/public (pre-existing) knowledge of the product. Secondly, is offering a demo video an effective use of real estate for both conveying information to and converting users? Likewise, when during the lifespan of a company is video the right solution and is it only meant for certain types of companies? These are observations and subsequent questions, would love to hear other peoples’ take and insight.