Monday, October 10, 2011

Build your own handheld touch device, for only $69 dolyars. :D Awsum!

Sure, the latest "iTouchy" gadgets are pretty cool. But who wants a locked down device? Why not build your own touch-screen device, with your own apps, all on open source hardware and using open source tools? OK, it can't play MP3s, but it does have a 320x240 TFT color display with resistive touch screen, an Atmega32u4 8-bit microcontroller, lithium polymer battery charger, backlight control, micro-SD slot, and a triple-axis accelerometer. Yeah, this is the next big thing and for those of us who like to DIY, you can do a lot of cool stuff with this dev board.

Posted via email from markjeee

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ultra-marathons reveal our strength by reducing us to a state of weakness and seeing what happens.

The marathon barrier---the point where the large majority of distance runners say, "No more!"---is strictly a mental and artificial one. The numerical significance of 26 is man-made. it is invested with magical qualities, and the biggest roadblock to going beyond it is in simply shedding the myth. To do so can be an experiment in curiosity, as the runner is drawn ever outward into unexplored realms. But while events longer than a marathon can constitute a challenge and an adventure, there is little intrinsic difference in them. A six-mile run is an endurance event, even if people who go that far daily may tend to forget it. So it is with a 100-mile run. The difference is only in degree. The quantity may increase dramatically, but the qualities demanded remain similar. To truly accept this fact is necessary to your success in super-long runs.

Posted via email from markjeee

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I ride most for is the suffering. I’m addicted to the suffering. I love the pain. I love the agony. I love it because I know what’s on the other side.

I ride most for is the suffering. I’m addicted to the suffering. I love the pain. I love the agony. I love it because I know what’s on the other side.

Posted via email from markjeee

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

If you're starting a company, one of the most important decisions you'll make early on is the selection of a co-founder. Some might advocate just “going it alone” because finding a great co-founder is hard and fraught with risk. It is hard and it is fraught with risk. But going it alone is harder — and riskier. Startups are very challenging and having someone to share the ups and downs with, to be a great sounding board for ideas and to just help get things done is immensely valuable.

One additional thought: I'm an introvert. I don't enjoy being around people very much. If you're like me, the notion of just doing something all by your lonesome might seem appealing. And, it is — but I think it's a mistake. Even for introverts, having someone on your side is useful and funsuperhero duo

Another consideration is speed, captured well by this African proverb: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

So, you might be wondering: “Hold on there! As a startup don't I want to go quickly? Isn't it all about speed? Why should I wait to get started…I should go NOW!”

These are reasonable sentiments.  Great entrepreneurs have a proclivity for action. I'm not suggesting that you stop everything and spend all of your time on the holy quest for the perfect (and mythical) co-founder. I'm suggesting that part of what you're doing should include being on a deliberate lookout for her. And, I'm saying that when you find someone that is awesome, resist the temptation to worry too much about things like dilution and control and what-not. If it's the perfect person, none of that will matter. Back to the African proverb. Yes, you want to go as quickly as you can, but what's more important is going far. You want to build a company that attracts amazing people and solves important problems. A company you can look back on and be proud of. There are very few experiences in life that can match that feeling.

Posted via email from markjeee

STUND Season 3 - Episode 2: Williams Lake, BC

Friday, September 30, 2011

In most educational processes, it focuses on getting the correct answer the first time. In programming, the process is to try many until you get the correct answer.

The trouble, I think, is that so many educational processes put a high premium on getting the correct answer the first time. If you give the wrong answer on an examination question, you lose your mark and that is the end of the matter. If you make a mistake in writing your program—or indeed, in many other situations outside a classroom—it is by no means a catastrophe; you do, however, have to find your error and put it right; maybe it would be better if more academic teaching adopted this attitude also.

Posted via email from markjeee

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hacker camp idea - what do you think? I'm happy to organize one.

Fun, non business, non commercial hacking fun.

- 3 days, 2 nights
- With fast internet
- Fast LAN, Fast Wifi, power strips everywhere (for laptops, and other useless gadgetry)
- Non free, paid accomodation, food
- Perhaps some sponsors
- Hack on any code, Ruby, Python, Java, PHP, Javascript, iOS, Android, Mac, Cloud, etc.
- Relatively remote area (will be nice to insert some biking and running)
- Open to Boys, Girls, Others - living quarters is segregated, with a common hacking area.
- Lets look for a retreat area/camping area, that has a good Internet connection (impossible?)
- Mentorship, feedback, and show-and-tell about your project or program
- Not going to talk about business, about marketing, about how to make money. Just focus on solving problems.
- Recruiters, hiring, all kinds of BS not related to hacking, will not be allowed (disclaimer: i'm a manager/recruiter, but for this event i'm only going to wear my hacker self - and probably outdoor/biking self as well)
- Keep an open mind, and a serious hacking attitude
- Best projects, or finished ones will be showcased on the Hacker camp website

Sooo what do you think? Should we do it. I will host and take the lead in organizing it (since i know hackers are super lazy in organizing, they just want to show up and bum around - or so the untrained eye will say, bwahaha).

Please leave your comments below, if you like or not like, or any feedback whatsoever.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

N.A.D.D.

I just finished reading Guns of the South (tip of the hat to JayBees for the recommendation). The gist of the book is straight forward, yet odd… what if, during the Civil War, the South became equipped with a lot of AK-47s. Long story short, they would have won. Harry Turtledove chose to not focus on time travel or other delectable sci-fi tidbits; he spends the time on “YAY! The South Won! So, uh, what are you going to do about that whole slavery thing?”

While I’m certain Civil War enthusiasts would enjoy this book, it is not geared for someone with my particular disability — Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder… or NADD. This innocuous condition reared it’s head during Guns when it became clear the book was a tome dedicated to the exploration of lifestyles during an alternative post-Civil War period. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Now, Guns was a fine read, but, more than once, I was flipping through the pages wondering, “Ok, HOW long is this chapter?” When I neared the end of the book and it became clear that some time traveler from the future wasn’t going to appear and, using some whizbang futuristic device, join the North and South together, well, I was disappointed. Sure, I’m happy that President Lee learned his lesson and started to abolish slavery on his own, but, please, no lasers guns? Sheesh.

Folks, I’m a nerd. I need rapid fire content delivery in short, clever, punch phrases. Give me Coupland, give me Calvin’n’Hobbes, give me Asimov, give me The Watchmen. I need this type of content because I’m horribly afflicted with NADD.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

The Nerd Handbook

A nerd needs a project because a nerd builds stuff. All the time. Those lulls in the conversation over dinner? That’s the nerd working on his project in his head.

keyboard

It’s unlikely that this project is a nerd’s day job because his opinion regarding his job is, “Been there, done that”. We’ll explore the consequences of this seemingly short attention span in a bit, but for now this project is the other big thing your nerd is building and I’ve no idea what is, but you should.

At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project. You were showered with the fire hose of attention because you were the bright and shiny new development in your nerd’s life. There is also a chance that you’re lucky and you are currently your nerd’s project. Congrats. Don’t get too comfortable because he’ll move on, and, when that happens, you’ll be wondering what happened to all the attention. This handbook might help.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Bored People Quit

Much has been written about employee motivation and retention. It’s written by folks who actively use words like motivation and retention and generally don’t have a clue about the daily necessity of keeping your team professionally content because they’ve either never done the work or have forgotten how it’s done. These are the people who show up when your single best engineer casually and unexpectedly announces, “I’m quitting. I’m joining my good friend to found a start-up. This is my two weeks’ notice.”

You call on the motivation and retention police because you believe they can perform the legendary “diving save”. Whether it’s HR or a well-intentioned manager with a distinguished title, these people scurry impressively. Meetings that go long into the evening are instantly scheduled with the disenfranchised employee.

It’s an impressive show of force, and it sometimes works, but even if they stay, the damage has been done. They’ve quit, and when someone quits they are effectively saying, “I no longer believe in this company”. What’s worse is that what they were originally thinking was, “I’m bored”.

Boredom is easier to fix than an absence of belief.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Start by making sure your employees are excited about it.

It’s a good lesson: You’re not just sending out a message externally, you’re sending one out internally too. If your employees don’t believe it, the whole plan falls apart.

That’s one reason why Apple sells Apple to its employees as strongly as it sells Apple to its customers [Signal vs. Noise]. Two commenters there gave an interesting A-B comparison on this idea. Ex-Apple employee Stuart Montgomery wrote:

I used to work at one of Apple’s retail stores and can totally affirm this. They do an excellent job of marketing to their own people, which just keeps the enthusiasm for the company at a constant high. And as I learned working at the store, enthusiasm is contagious; if the employees are excited about the product, the customers are going to be excited about the product as well.

Counter that with former GM employee Harlo’s story:

Similarly, many years ago i worked at GM headquarters. Walking in to the office and trudging my way up to the cube farm – even in my daily tasks – you’d never know that GM made cars. I’ve always considered it the primary reason the American auto industry is falling apart.

Want your customers to be excited about what you sell? Start by making sure your employees are excited about it.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

You can code. They cannot. That is pretty damn cool.

Programming as an intellectual activity is the only art form that allows you to create interactive art. You can create projects that other people can play with, and you can talk to them indirectly. No other art form is quite this interactive. Movies flow to the audience in one direction. Paintings do not move. Code goes both ways.

Programming as a profession is only moderately interesting. It can be a good job, but if you want to make about the same money and be happier, you could actually just go run a fast food joint. You are much better off using code as your secret weapon in another profession.

People who can code in the world of technology companies are a dime a dozen and get no respect. People who can code in biology, medicine, government, sociology, physics, history, and mathematics are respected and can do amazing things to advance those disciplines.

Of course, all of this advice is pointless. If you liked learning to write software with this book, you should try to use it to improve your life any way you can. Go out and explore this weird wonderful new intellectual pursuit that barely anyone in the last 50 years has been able to explore. Might as well enjoy it while you can.

Finally, I will say that learning to create software changes you and makes you different. Not better or worse, just different. You may find that people treat you harshly because you can create software, maybe using words like "nerd". Maybe you will find that because you can dissect their logic that they hate arguing with you. You may even find that simply knowing how a computer works makes you annoying and weird to them.

To this I have one just piece of advice: they can go to hell. The world needs more weird people who know how things work and who love to figure it all out. When they treat you like this, just remember that this is your journey, not theirs. Being different is not a crime, and people who tell you it is are just jealous that you have picked up a skill they never in their wildest dreams could acquire.

You can code. They cannot. That is pretty damn cool.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Friday, June 3, 2011

We have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going

I tell you this to forewarn you, because I promise you that you will meet these people and you will find yourself in environments where what is rewarded above all is conformity. I tell you so you can decide to be a different kind of leader. And I tell you for one other reason. As I thought about these things and put all these pieces together—the kind of students I had, the kind of leadership they were being trained for, the kind of leaders I saw in my own institution—I realized that this is a national problem. We have a crisis of leadership in this country, in every institution. Not just in government. Look at what happened to American corporations in recent decades, as all the old dinosaurs like General Motors or TWA or U.S. Steel fell apart. Look at what happened to Wall Street in just the last couple of years.

Finally—and I know I’m on sensitive ground here—look at what happened during the first four years of the Iraq War. We were stuck. It wasn’t the fault of the enlisted ranks or the noncoms or the junior officers. It was the fault of the senior leadership, whether military or civilian or both. We weren’t just not winning, we weren’t even changing direction.

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Facebook's Hack-A-Months Cause Disruption, Innovation | Fast Company

Tech giants such as Google to Facebook are famous for hack-a-thons, all-night marathon coding sessions where eager employees build something unrelated to their current projects. While a break from the usual grind helps free programmers for more creative pursuits, the one day time-limit can stunt innovation and lead to only tiny breakthroughs.

For truly disruptive products, Facebook needed a truly disruptive practice, so they stretched the hyper-focused concept of the hack-at-thon another 29 days, where employees do nothing but intensively build out ambitious projects. Among hack-a-month's many successes is Facebook Deals, the Groupon-like daily deal feature that vaulted the social networking site into the e-commerce industry (check out MTV's coverage of a Facebook hack-a-thon below).

"I can't imagine [Facebook Deals] happening faster without hack-a-month," says engineering manager David Ferguson.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nobody tells you what you have to do—only what you don't have to do. - Red Bull country

Little known outside of his native Austria, Dietrich Mateschitz is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our age, a man who single-handedly changed the landscape of the beverage industry by creating not just a new brand but a whole new category: the energy drink. As the visionary who brought the world Red Bull, affectionately known as "speed in a can" or even "liquid cocaine," Mateschitz, 67, has been a patron saint for more than two decades to late-night partiers, exam-week undergrads, long-haul truckers, and, above all, extreme-sports athletes everywhere.

In return for his sickly sweet innovation, the world has made him very, very rich. Last year the privately held company, also named Red Bull, says it sold 4.2 billion cans of its drink, including more than a billion in the U.S. alone. That represents a 7.9 percent increase over the year before, and revenues jumped 15.8 percent to $5.175 billion. Mateschitz runs an efficient enterprise that has yet to trip on its rapid growth: At the end of 2004, he had just 2,605 employees; in 2010, Red Bull employed 7,758 people—which works out to more than $667,000 in revenue per person.

Now he's set his sights on media. On May 15, subscribers to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, and New York Daily News found a magazine called Red Bulletin inserted in their Sunday papers. The 98-page glossy features a cover story on San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, as well as pieces on Bob Dylan, graffiti art, and Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov. Billed as "an almost independent monthly," the magazine is a product of Red Bull Media House, a subsidiary media company launched in Austria in 2007 that expanded with a Los Angeles outpost this January.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Nobody tells you what you have to do—only what you don't have to do. - Red Bull country

Little known outside of his native Austria, Dietrich Mateschitz is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our age, a man who single-handedly changed the landscape of the beverage industry by creating not just a new brand but a whole new category: the energy drink. As the visionary who brought the world Red Bull, affectionately known as "speed in a can" or even "liquid cocaine," Mateschitz, 67, has been a patron saint for more than two decades to late-night partiers, exam-week undergrads, long-haul truckers, and, above all, extreme-sports athletes everywhere.

In return for his sickly sweet innovation, the world has made him very, very rich. Last year the privately held company, also named Red Bull, says it sold 4.2 billion cans of its drink, including more than a billion in the U.S. alone. That represents a 7.9 percent increase over the year before, and revenues jumped 15.8 percent to $5.175 billion. Mateschitz runs an efficient enterprise that has yet to trip on its rapid growth: At the end of 2004, he had just 2,605 employees; in 2010, Red Bull employed 7,758 people—which works out to more than $667,000 in revenue per person.

Now he's set his sights on media. On May 15, subscribers to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, and New York Daily News found a magazine called Red Bulletin inserted in their Sunday papers. The 98-page glossy features a cover story on San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, as well as pieces on Bob Dylan, graffiti art, and Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov. Billed as "an almost independent monthly," the magazine is a product of Red Bull Media House, a subsidiary media company launched in Austria in 2007 that expanded with a Los Angeles outpost this January.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Woohoo finally! Disabled annoying animation. Saves me 1/2 secs of productivity waste looking at useless animations.

ran across this tidbit in the HyperSpaces FAQ and I know I haven't seen it here before (and I'm quite the avid OSX Hints follower).

It has really sped up changing between Spaces workspaces for me (which I do probably over 100 times/day). Once you've seen the 'swoosh' animation a few hundred times, you don't really need to see it again. Please note the requirement of running 10.6.4 or later.

Here's how to disable the animation that occurs when switching between Spaces:

  • Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app.
  • Copy and paste the following into the terminal window and then press enter:
    defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-swoosh-animation-off -bool YES && killall Dock
If you'd like to re-enable the animation, just do the following:
  • Open Terminal.
  • Copy and paste the following into the terminal window and then press enter:
    defaults delete com.apple.dock workspaces-swoosh-animation-off && killall Dock
The original reference is here.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

If you ever wonder what Facebook does to support their scale, InfoQ has lots of videos.

Facebook: Science and the Social Graph

Mar 25, 2009 ... In this presentation filmed during QCon SF 2008, Aditya Agarwal discusses Facebook's architecture, more exactly the software stack used, ...


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Facebook-Software-Stack

Facebook's Graph API: The Future Of Semantic Web?

Apr 24, 2010 ... There are two important themes behind everything we're delivering today.” says Bret Taylor, head of Facebook's platform products in the ...


http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/04/facebook-graph-api

Scale at Facebook

May 28, 2010 ... Beside presenting the overall Facebook architecture and scaling solutions used, Aditya Agarwal talks about the iterative process of ...


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Scale-at-Facebook

Evolution of Code Design at Facebook

Apr 28, 2011 ... Nick Schrock presents how Facebook's code evolved over time, explaining some new constructs – fbobjects, Preparables, Ents - introduced to ...


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Evolution-of-Code-Design-at-Facebook

Facebook's Petabyte Scale Data Warehouse using Hive and Hadoop

Feb 21, 2010 ... Ashish Thusoo and Namit Jain explain how Facebook manages to deal with 12 TB of compressed new data everyday with Hive's help.


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Facebook-Hive-Hadoop

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Always inspect your changes before committing; if it doesn't let you review easily, fix it.

Committing code into source control is easy – too easy! (Makes you wonder why the previous point seems to be so hard.) Anyway, what you end up with is changes and files being committed with reckless abandon. “There’s a change somewhere beneath my project root – quick – get it committed!”

What happens is one (or both) of two things: Firstly, people inadvertently end up with a whole bunch of junk files in the repository. Someone sees a window like the one below, clicks “Select all” and bingo – the repository gets polluted with things like debug folders and other junk that shouldn’t be in there.

A commit window showing a lot of files that shouldn't be in source control

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

The traffic shift was executed incorrectly... and then came down everything in the cloud.

At 12:47 AM PDT on April 21st, a network change was performed as part of our normal AWS scaling activities in a single Availability Zone in the US East Region. The configuration change was to upgrade the capacity of the primary network. During the change, one of the standard steps is to shift traffic off of one of the redundant routers in the primary EBS network to allow the upgrade to happen. The traffic shift was executed incorrectly and rather than routing the traffic to the other router on the primary network, the traffic was routed onto the lower capacity redundant EBS network. For a portion of the EBS cluster in the affected Availability Zone, this meant that they did not have a functioning primary or secondary network because traffic was purposely shifted away from the primary network and the secondary network couldn’t handle the traffic level it was receiving. As a result, many EBS nodes in the affected Availability Zone were completely isolated from other EBS nodes in its cluster. Unlike a normal network interruption, this change disconnected both the primary and secondary network simultaneously, leaving the affected nodes completely isolated from one another.

When this network connectivity issue occurred, a large number of EBS nodes in a single EBS cluster lost connection to their replicas. When the incorrect traffic shift was rolled back and network connectivity was restored, these nodes rapidly began searching the EBS cluster for available server space where they could re-mirror data. Once again, in a normally functioning cluster, this occurs in milliseconds. In this case, because the issue affected such a large number of volumes concurrently, the free capacity of the EBS cluster was quickly exhausted, leaving many of the nodes “stuck” in a loop, continuously searching the cluster for free space. This quickly led to a “re-mirroring storm,” where a large number of volumes were effectively “stuck” while the nodes searched the cluster for the storage space it needed for its new replica. At this point, about 13% of the volumes in the affected Availability Zone were in this “stuck” state.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Once upon a time


Taken at Briza Homes, Consolacion

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blizzard Entertainment: 20th Anniversary -- awesome story and journey of programmers and gamers.

Incredible India - awesome writing and story from the girl from the coast

I couldn’t breathe normally every time we were on the road in India. Back here, I curse a lot when I drive. In India, I was always at the backseat but I cursed even more.  My Tita Mitchu kept reprimanding me for disturbing the driver, Tarachand. He has chocolate brown skin, stylish white hair, a pleasant smile and a smooth husky voice. He looked like a movie star. “It’s alright, Madame. Just please trust me. I’ve been driving all India for twenty years. You sleep, please sleep. I will wake you when already we are on mustard fields.”

We were going out of Delhi and heading to Rajasthan, the biggest state in India. That was the second leg of our private tour of North India. We ought to be in Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital city, in five hours. It was 7 am when we left Delhi. Rush-hour had just begun.

A typical transport vehicle in India is the elephant
Everything that can move was on the road. And I mean everything— trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, tuktuks, carts, rickshaw, tractors, cows, horses, elephants, monkeys, and peacocks! Almost all land motor vehicles in India have the same brand: Tata Motors. The owner, Tata Bata, is the wealthiest man in India. As I had expected, there were more motorcycles than cars. They appeared from everywhere. Most cars were small so they moved sleek and fast.  To Indian drivers there is no such thing as too little space. Every gap on the road had to be filled.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code.

Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code. They may realize the problem they’re being asked to solve doesn’t need to be solved, that the client doesn’t actually want what they’re asking for. They may know where to find reusable or re-editable code that solves their problem. They may cheat. But just when they are being their most productive, nobody says “Wow! You were just 100x more productive than if you’d done this the hard way. You deserve a raise.” At best they say “Good idea!” and go on.  It may take a while to realize that someone routinely comes up with such time-saving insights. Or to put it negatively, it may take a long time to realize that others are programming with sound and fury but producing nothing.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

There are two kinds of people in the world

You’ve either started a company or you haven’t.  ”Started” doesn’t mean joining as an early employee, or investing or advising or helping out.  It means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friends and family), and building an organization from a borrowed cubicle with credit card debt and nowhere to sleep except the office. It almost invariably means being dismissed by arrogant investors who show up a half hour late, totally unprepared and then instead of saying “no” give you non-committal rejections like “we invest at later stage companies.” It means looking prospective employees in the eyes and convincing them to leave safe jobs, quit everything and throw their lot in with you.  It means having pundits in the press and blogs who’ve never built anything criticize you and armchair quarterback your every mistake. It means lying awake at night worrying about running out of cash and having a constant knot in your stomach during the day fearing you’ll disappoint the few people who believed in you and validate your smug doubters.

I don’t care if you succeed or fail, if you are Bill Gates or an unknown entrepreneur who gave everything to make it work but didn’t manage to pull through. The important distinction is whether you risked everything, put your life on the line, made commitments to investors, employees, customers and friends, and tried – against all the forces in the world that try to keep new ideas down – to make something new.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

This was never supposed to happen.

Yet, like the famous ocean liner, Amazon's cloud crashed this week, taking with it Reddit, Quora, FourSquare, Hootsuite, parts of the New York Times, ProPublica and about 70 other sites. The massive outage raised questions about the reliability of AWS and the cloud itself.

It was supposed to work like this: Thousands of companies use AWS to run their websites through a service called Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2. Rather than hosting their sites on their own servers, these customers turn to Amazon, which essentially rents out its unused -- and highly intricate -- server capacity.

EC2 is hosted in five regions across the globe: Northern Virginia, Northern California, Ireland, Tokyo and Singapore. Within each region are multiple "availability zones," and within each availability zone are multiple "locations" or data centers.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

The Sagan Series

The Sagan Series is a project by Redditor rgower. I purchased these domains (TheSaganSeries.com and SaganSeries.com) on his behalf to prevent anyone squatting on them for money.

This site will serve as a home to these truly epic videos. A fuller-featured and more refined site will be coming soon.

-->

The Sagan Series is a project by Reid Gower to pay tribute to the late, great Carl Sagan. This site is maintained by Dan Harper.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Elements of Programming Style

Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place.  So if you’re as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tony Hsieh | Corporate Citizenship Starts With Customers

The fast-growing online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos.com is an exemplar of corporate citizenship among one’s own customers. In this university podcast, CEO Tony Hsieh discusses his unorthodox approach to building Zappos, widely praised in corporate circles as a playful, innovative company with a fiercely loyal customer base. He shares how the company hires and manages employees who are dedicated to maximizing the customer experience, and how it is teaching other businesses to do the same. His talk was part of a Stanford business school MBA elective course, Designing Happiness, taught by Stanford marketing professor Jennifer Aaker.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Extremely shy and afraid to say when he is done with a task. can be idle and helpless if you don't notice.

Most of these, we covered today on the 1st day of my Lead Better course  that is taking place in Oslo, with live simulations. The purpose was to see how a team lead deals with these anti patterns when going through team chaos. How the team lead might act to these behaviors when the team is in learning mode, is very different than how I'd expect them to react when in chaos, as was simulated today.

Team Member Behavior Anti Patterns

  1. Extremely shy and afraid to say when he is done with a task. can be idle and helpless if you don't notice.
    1. Lead needs to give 'simple rules' to that member so they know exactly what to do in a situation when they are idle. for example "if you see that you're not doing anything, contact me immediately. We can't afford to have anyone not working right now"
    2. If it persists, the lead can also offer a more assertive statement such as "If you want to continue to be part of this team, you'll have to chip into the effort. I know this is hard for you, but I expect you to rise to the challenge and contact me if you don't have anything else to do"
  2. Lazy, who only does the simplest thing, so he can say he did what he was told
    1. Lead can be direct and demand more from that person, or alternatively remove them from the team until they can spend more time understanding why this is happening.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Friday, April 8, 2011

Everybody learns to be a CEO by being a CEO.

Generally, someone doesn’t become CEOs unless she has a high sense of purpose and cares deeply about the work she does. In addition, a CEO must be accomplished enough or smart enough that people will want to work for her. Nobody sets out to be a bad CEO, run a dysfunctional organization, or create a massive bureaucracy that grinds her company to a screeching halt. Yet no CEO ever has a smooth path to a great company. Along the way, many things go wrong and all of them could have and should have been avoided.

The first problem is that everybody learns to be a CEO by being a CEO. No training as a manager, general manager or any other job actually prepares you to run a company. The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company. This means that you will face a broad set of things that you don’t know how to do that require skills that you don’t have. Nevertheless, everybody will expect you to know how to do them, because, well, you are the CEO. I remember when I first became CEO, an investor asked me to send him the “cap table.” I had a vague idea of what he meant, but I didn’t actually know what the format was supposed to look like or what should be included or excluded. It was a silly little thing and I had much bigger things to worry about, but everything is hard when you don’t actually know what you are doing and I wasted quite a bit of time sweating over that stupid spreadsheet.

Even if you know what you are doing, things go wrong. Things go wrong, because building a multi-faceted human organization to compete and win in a dynamic, highly competitive market turns out to be really hard. If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be 22 out of a 100. This kind of mean can be psychologically challenging for a straight A student. It is particularly challenging, because nobody tells you that the mean is 22.

If you manage a team of 10 people, it’s quite possible to do so with very few mistakes or bad behaviors. If you manage an organization of 1,000 people it is quite impossible. At a certain size, your company will do things that are so bad that you never imagined that you’d be associated with that kind of incompetence. Seeing people fritter away money, waste each other’s time, and do sloppy work can make you feel bad. If you are the CEO, it may well make you sick.

And to rub salt into the wound and make matters worse, it’s your fault.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

For Startup people: Relevant experience that cuts down on training time.

If you run a young company, you know that every hire matters. So how do you choose the ideal person to work in this unique environment? While the requirements for specific positions vary, there are some overriding traits that define someone who will work well in a startup environment, including:

1. Relevant experience that cuts down on training time. Experience always matters. To a young company, it matters more. There is precious little, if any, time for training. You need someone who can hit the ground running.

2. Someone not afraid to take risks. Startups thrive on people who are willing to make tough decisions and try things that have never been tried before. Candidates who show willingness and ability to take on new challenges are good targets. They must also show the wisdom to know when not to take risks.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When you're 22 and just out of school, there's only a limited scope of ideas that it's actually practical for you to execute on.

There's the romantic notion of two complete nobodies, coming up with the next great idea and forging off to change the world. While that does happen, I believe that it's not the optimal path towards controllable business success.

There's a ton of brilliant 22 year old kids these days all churning through the same bucket of rather trivial ideas for web startups. Games! Group Messaging! Coupons! The reason why is that when you're 22 and just out of school, there's only a limited scope of ideas that it's actually practical for you to execute on. What I've found though, is that the most exciting startup ideas are mostly not in this pool but are, instead, backed by a hidden asset.

When I talk about assets, cash is the least interesting of all of these. Instead, I'm talking about more intangible assets like skills, reputation, relationships, attention & fame. I'm of the strong opinion that the most reliable path towards startup success is to focus relentlessly on acquiring interesting assets and then execute on the startups that naturally fall out of them.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Let's roll

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dioni doing ps -axf

Bring out the bling bling

This is it!

The purpose of the series seed is for the company to figure out the product it is building, the market it is in, and the user base.

Series Seed: Figuring out the product and getting to user/product fit.
  • Purpose: The purpose of the series seed is for the company to figure out the product it is building, the market it is in, and the user base. Typically, a seed round helps the company scale to a few employees past the founders and to build and launch an early product. As the product starts to get more and more users, a company will then raise a series A.
  • Amounts: Typically the range is $250K-$2 million (median today of probably $750K to $1million). The high end of this range used to be more typically $1million, but we are in the inflationary period of a venture cycle, and this number may move up into the millions of dollars before we have a correction.
  • Who invests: Angels, SuperAngels, and early stage VCs all invest in seed rounds.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Startups are like jumping off a cliff and building an airplane on the way down.

So you managed to build a prototype, you’ve gotten some traction, and some credulous soul now wants to write you a check to bankroll your startup. How long will it last? Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach. Well, a startup marches on its bank account, so kiss your startup dreams goodbye the day a zero stares back at you from your bank statement. But forewarned is forearmed: I’ve collected below some observations from our experiences during the past six months running a funded seed-stage startup.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Low demand + high development costs + time horizon measured in years for market maturation = Ugly Baby Project

One of the most crucial skills any successful entrepreneur can possess is the ability to know when their baby project is ugly. Not just visually, but the project as a whole. My goal with projects is to search out the high-impact ones. And that requires me to be very prolific. Ugly baby projects are projects that are interesting to the person but ultimately serves a very narrow niche with low revenue potential and requires a high, on-going maintenance cost. If you don’t know that your baby project is ugly, you will waste a lot of resources pursuing it, rather than moving onto a new project. It’s like quicksand for an entrepreneur. Avoid at all costs.

I’ve worked on numerous projects with many successes and a few failures. Here’s a quick story of the process I went through with one ugly baby over a 4-week period. I’ll also break it down into detail for the tech oriented.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Monday, March 21, 2011

Like war, everything in startups is life or death

I'll just come out and say it.  For most people who lead ordinary lives without crisis, starting a startup is by far one of the hardest thing you can ever do.  It is incredibly intense.  One day, I woke up to our site being down for close to 4 hours.  By hour 3, I was headed for the Golden Gate bridge ready to leap to sweet relief.  Later that day, we forged a partnership with two record labels with incredible rosters and were all patting each other on the backs.  And even later that night, Yuri Milner and Ron Conway showed up to YC and handed out checks for $150,000.

It's like being on a rollercoaster except that the lows feel like you just lost all of your investors' money, which in our case will leave us with no friends or family to speak of, and will have to go begging your old colleagues for a job.  And the highs feel like someone just handed you $150,000 without even knowing what your company does, because they did.  And in terms of lows, the site going down is only a 1 compared to some of the 2s and 3s we've had, which all felt like 10s or worse at the time.

I can only imagine that the road ahead makes these things pale in comparison.  When our site went down, 100 people probably noticed.  In the future, we obviously hope that number is in the millions.  Everything will be amplified in the future.  Fearing that your errors will lose your team their jobs will be worse when that team is 200 employees strong.  Fearing that Google will enter your market will be worse the day they actually do.  When millions of dollars have been put into your company, and more people rely on you, and more people have heard you say how you're going to be the team who changes an industry, failing sounds like the worst thing that could ever happen to you.

Everything about running a startup seems like life or death.  And so you are at war.  You are at war against the clock.  You are at war against your competitors.  You are at war with anything and everything that stands in your way.  And that means that, most of all, you are at war with yourself.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

In startups: It takes a special person to succeed. Yes, *special*, not charming, smart, persuasive, popular, or hansome, or pretty or sexy.

There’s an old joke about how to make a small fortune in angel investing: start with a large fortune and invest it in angel rounds.

I guess you could say the same thing about how to fail at an entrepreneurial venture: start a new company and then do everything that could be reasonably expected of you.  And that’s how you fail.

The world is not set up to make your venture successful, and in fact almost everything conspires against you and your new company.

Because there is no natural constituency for the entrepreneurial venture, there is no way, reasonably, you can expect yours to survive. Customers aren’t clamoring for new vendors, employees aren’t looking to make half as much for their hard-earned skills at a firm that has a 50% chance of dying every day, and investors aren’t interested in taking risks or putting money into pipe dreams.

The conceit that a new venture has a shot of winning at all, under any circumstances, was unknown throughout history, is still laughable across the globe, and remains rare even here in the United States.

And that’s why it takes a special person to succeed.  Notice I said “special”.  Not charming, philanthropic, beloved, clever, popular, persuasive, capable or handsome.

“Special”.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cascade of broken promises

Cascade of broken promises
SETH'S BLOG | MARCH 07, 2011
http://pulsene.ws/146Ay

... a cautionary tale. It's always easier to make a promise than it is to keep one, and if you're not careful, it compounds. I ... read more

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Factors to consider a startup, as an early stage startup.

  • Haven't raised funding of $250,000 or more and haven't generated revenue of more than $250,000 in a single year.
  • Have a live, usable public site or an accessible demo on their home page
  • Have not already been in the TechStars program - this is not for TechStars companies or alumni companies
  • Must be an internet, software, or hi-tech company

TechStars is organizing a Startup Madness competition for startups. And the criteria above, looks like a good criteria to consider an active, fundable early stage startup.

Posted via email from markjeee.com