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Category: Advice

Advice to Founders with Short Memories: The Heads Up Edition

Advice to Founders with Short Memories: The Heads Up Edition

As every investor knows, founders tend to exaggerate. We suppose that falls under the ‘marketing’ rubric, at least in the minds of founders which, truth be told, can be a dangerous and scary place, so every now and then, we like to send out a reminder of subtleties you might have missed, which may help to explain why you’re not getting the results you had hoped for. In no particular order:

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That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

Since memos seem to be top of mind these days, why fight it? Of course, we refer to the one that former Google employee James Damore wrote a while back, that led to his being terminated from the company, and the impending lawsuit that threatens to out a lot of practices and perhaps unwritten policies that Google would prefer not be aired in public.

It seems that memos will do that, once they’re out in the wild, and certain memos are harbingers of a deeper and more far reaching issues. Read More...

Follow the Eyeballs: the Home Invasion Edition

Follow the Eyeballs: the Home Invasion Edition

Today, just a simple heads up/note to self: in case you missed it, Facebook is making a major change to the News Feed that will show you more content from friends and family and less from publishers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that, as a result, he expects that people will spend less time on Facebook. And that’s what a CEO wants, after all, right? After years of focusing on increasing the number or eyeballs and user engagement by adding feature after feature and basically minting money, suddenly, Zuck has pivoted and expects that you’ll spend less time on his platform. Nothing to see here, what, eh?

We well know that Facebook is all about eyeballs and recently announced that they’re developing ‘Portal’ gadget which will let it put microphones and cameras in people’s homes. “Rather than positioning the product as a “smart assistant,” Facebook insists that the mission behind Portal is unlike that of other competing tech. True to its mission — “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” — Facebook created Portal to reintroduce the positive effects of communication back into our lives (and our homes),” Inc reports. Read More...

Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 Resolution: Focus on Facebook (Huh?)

Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 Resolution: Focus on Facebook (Huh?)

In case you missed it, in his annual address/personal challenge of the year, Mark Zuckerberg committed to “focus(ing) on fixing… important issues. We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory.”

His past personal challenges have included “visit(ing) every US state, run(ning) 365 miles… and learn(ing) Mandarin.” Read More...

How to Navigate Holiday Parties in the #MeToo Era

How to Navigate Holiday Parties in the #MeToo Era

It’s the holiday season, which means not necessarily the usual networking events: people are in a festive mood and companies, investors, meetups, et al are hosting holiday parties, yea, even in this post-Weinstein Age of Inappropriate Behavior. There are a few basic rules to keep in mind if you want to enjoy the season without fear of embarrassment, breach of etiquette or the need to retain counsel.

  1. Don’t overdo it on the open bar. You don’t want to do or say something stupid, and alcohol does have a tendency to lower one’s inhibitions. Tech is a small town. Chances are that these are people you will see again – or work with. Pace yourself or brace yourself.
  2. Don’t talk about work ad nauseam. It’s the holidays. Lighten up. If there’s someone there you’d been wanting to meet, introduce yourself – but don’t go into your elevator pitch. If you do manage to get as far as the exchange of contact information, drop him/her a note and offer to follow up after the holidays. Do not suggest coffee. In any correspondence. Ever.
  3. What happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas anymore. It lives on social media forever.
  4. Be careful what you share on social media. No embarrassing shots. No dumb or inappropriate hashtags.
  5. Tip your bartenders. Always.
  6. Dress appropriately. You might want to dress up or dress down a bit, but don’t wear anything that will elicit unwanted or the wrong kind of attention. Ok, so there’s music and dancing, but you’re not in a club: it’s a work or networking environment in a more festive setting: the last thing you want to do is to have to face the music the next day.
  7. The Ugly Sweater Exception: ugly sweaters, for some reason, are celebrated this time of year. Note to self and as a general rule: there are certain sweaters that should be burned rather than burned into someone’s memory.
  8. Don’t skip the party. Holiday parties are different from the usual networking parties. You can network, but remember that this time of year, the emphasis is on social. Be social. But not too social.
  9. Don’t fall prey to FOMO. There are multiple parties on any given night – in New York, anyway – and they all start at roughly the same time. If you’re at a party that you’re enjoying, don’t worry about the next party and what you might be missing. You’ll meet whomever you’re meant to meet, wherever you happen to be. And there’s always next year. Or next week. Or tomorrow.
  10. To kiss or not to kiss. You do have to be careful these days, so – air kisses. Ok, so it may seem a bit disingenuous, but does remove the threat of potential lawsuits.
  11. Never do anything after the sun goes down that won’t stand up to the light of day.
  12. Thank the host. It takes time and effort to put an event together. Take a minute to say thank you. Especially if you’re someone’s plus one. Thank the host for including you.

Bonus! Study Fast Company’s video suggestions on What Not To Do At Your Company’s Holiday Party Read More...

Why You Need to Pay Attention to the Blockchain: A Crash Course in Internet History

Why You Need to Pay Attention to the Blockchain: A Crash Course in Internet History

There was a time when the idea of giving your credit card information online was unthinkable, despite the fact that you’d readily hand it over to a total stranger (aka, waiter) in a restaurant, who would vanish for a few minutes before returning it. Now people don’t think twice about it, despite what we know hacks of Equifax, Yahoo (Every single Yahoo account was hacked – 3 billion in all) and most recently, the massive US military social media spying archive left wide open in AWS S3 buckets. Actually, All the Major Companies Have Been Hacked.

While there have been cryptocurrency hacks, still believe that it’s the blockchain that’s unsafe?

The blockchain is still a relative unknown and, truth be told, terra incognita for most. Think of it as the early days of the Internet, in the days when the web was accessed via the c prompt (C>). It was geek and early adopter territory back then, until Netscape came along, providing a graphical user interface that changed everything. Read More...

Amazon and Facebook: Two Very Different Paths Forward

Amazon and Facebook: Two Very Different Paths Forward

On the surface, not much difference in the Amazon Approach and the Facebook Approach: swallow up everything in your path. If we can’t buy you (Facebook/Snapchat), we will appropriate every new feature you develop and destroy you. Of course, when there’s a product or product line from an outside vendor that’s doing well on Amazon, the company will simply copy it and cut out the middleman.

Variations on a theme.

Not so, it seems, going forward, and it will be interesting to see who’s making the smarter bets. Facebook just introduced Facebook Local, which Wired is calling a Yelp and Foursquare killer and “the only Facebook app you need,” the point being to keep you even more engaged with the site, about which founding Facebook president Sean Parker had some choice words to share this past week, none of them flattering (Sean Parker unloads on Facebook “exploiting” human psychology), giving Axios “a candid insider’s look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains.” Bottom line here: Facebook is betting on a mobile future. Read More...

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

While Mark Zuckerberg may or may not be angling to move into the White House at some time in the none-too-distant future, Capitol Hill clearly holds no fascination for him.

Apologies if we sound a bit redundant, but given the testimony of Facebook, Twitter and Google before a Senate subcommittee this past week, hard to ignore the Russian ad issue/conundrum and its larger implications.

Net States Rule the World; We Need to Recognize Their Power, posits Alexis Wichowski in Wired. “Net-states are digital non-state actors, without the violence. Like nation-states, they’re a wildly diverse bunch. Some are the equivalent to global superpowers: the Googles, the Facebooks, the Twitters….There are also hacktivist collectives like Anonymous and Wikileaks….Regardless of their differences in size and raison d’etre, net-states of all stripes share three key qualities: They exist largely online, enjoy international devotees, and advance belief-driven agendas that they pursue separate from, and at times, above, the law.” Read More...

Online Etiquette: A Refresher Course/Sharable Moment

Online Etiquette: A Refresher Course/Sharable Moment

Email has been around for quite a while now, and it’s no doubt will the #1 form of online communication. LinkedIn and Facebook are also very good ways of reaching out to people whom you know – or whom you might want to know/get better acquainted with/need something from. Hey, they’re tools and if you have the tools at hand, why not use them, what, eh?

Caveat: always be careful with your tools. Show them respect so that they’ll always be in good working order. And don’t take them – or the people whom you might want to know/get better acquainted with/need something from – for granted.

Here are some simple rules to follow and points to remember, which no doubt many of you already know and in which you do not engage, but feel free to share them with offenders, and you know who we mean, and we know that we’re not alone in encountering them: Read More...

Tech and the Myth of Net Neutrality

Tech and the Myth of Net Neutrality

Mention ‘Net Neutrality’ and the tech uberlords are quick to whip the masses into a frenzy.

Merriam Webster defines Net Neutrality as “the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination … a philosophical contest that’s being fought under the banner of “net neutrality,” a slogan that inspires rhetorical devotion but eludes precise definition. Broadly, it means everything on the Internet should be equally accessible—that the Internet should be a place where great ideas compete on equal terms with big money.—Sarah Rabil

For the tech uberlords, the demise of Net Neutrality means that their content will be sidelined or more costly to access, with preference going to the content provided by the big pipe owners: namely, the Comcasts and Spectrums (formerly Time Warner) of the world. Read More...

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