Monthly Archives: October 2005

Akimbo is cool

LogoAkimbo is the newest SV100 company …

Akimbo is cool. It is real IP TV. No cable necessary … just add wifi. Akimbo is a Kleiner/DFJ/Sprout/Zone company. I’ve been using it for about a month now … although it still has not convinced me to watch TV, if I did watch TV, I’d use Akimbo…

Tivo = 1999. Akimbo = 2006

Here’s how it works: you connect the Akimbo Player to your TV and the Internet, and you have access to a collection of over 5,000 video programs, and it’s all available on demand. You can check out shows from National Geographic, History Channel, FitnessOnDemandTV, BBC, CNN, Turner Classic Movies, anime, great Chinese films … all on demand. The one drawback is the catalog is a little eccentric … they don’t yet have many of the mainstream shows (but Akimbo’s founder promises they’ll have that soon).

Built to Fail

FailureEvery business school should teach a class called “Built to Fail” … or something like that …

Failure is one of the key ingredients of success of american business. Americans like to fail. We probably like to fail more than any other first world culture.

And failure is a good thing … if you never fail, you’re setting your sights too low. Take for example a signle guy looking for dates. If every girl he asks says yes, then his standards are too low and he should aim higher.

Book: PayPal Wars

ThepaypalwarsOk … I know, I finally read PayPal Wars by Eric Jackson. Great book.

Eric (who I don’t know) sent me the book right when it came out but in languished on my shelf until I saw it again last month and devouring it in a few weeks. PayPal Wars is a great book about a great company and a great team. If your lame like me and somehow missed reading this book when it came out, I highly suggest it (unfortunately, this book is not available on Audible, so you’ll have to read it).

This is an inspiring story of some great entrepreneurs (note: I’m biased, many of PayPal’s founders are friends of mine). And Jackson is a great writer … he keeps the story moving very well.

summation: read this story of an amazing company that survived the dotcom boom and reinvented online payments

popping the housing bubble

Chris Yeh asks: Is there any doubt now that the housing bubble is starting to deflate?

i have heard from real estate agents in the South of Market Area in San Francisco that bids on homes have started to go down dramatically. identical homes in the same building that had 11 bids last year are now averaging 6-7 bids. still high, but a decrease.

and while the top bid is higher today than it was last year, the median bid is actually falling. and falling dramatically (and even below asking in the SOMA area). so while there are a few Google millionires that might be moving the market, on a whole, people are becoming more wary of high home prices.

Exercise your mind

In our quest to live forever, most of us exercise. We run, swim, do yoga, ride the bike, and stay in shape. But while we work out our body, we often neglect our mind.

For most people, brain activity peaks in our late-20s and then slowly atrophies from there. We start to have memory loss, our recall goes … having more and more “senior moments.” and because people are living longer, Alzheimer’s is becoming a bigger threat. In fact, if we lived to be 300, we’d all likely get Alzheimer’s Disease. But generally, we die of something else before that.

ExerciseThe best way to slow our brain’s atrophies is to use it. And, like computers, there are two types of ways to use it. The first is inputs and outputs (read/writes). This is the act of storing, understanding, and using information. Of learning. Of remembering. This is useful and this is what most knowledge workers do every day.

But a far more important usage of the brain is processing … when you are actually computing things in your head. When people say “my brain hurts”, that usually means they are doing something right. One of the best ways to prevent mind decay is by using your brain’s processor. Great ways to do this are chess, scrabble, Go, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and more. And since most of our jobs don’t require us to use our brain’s processor, and little in life requires usage, it is important we put ourselves on a brain exercise regiment.

This is important. While many of us go to the local gym to work out our bodies, few of us go to the local chess hall to work out our minds. But we should.

COW: Trulia

Main_logoVertical search engines are all the rage today. from ooma to simplyhired …

a new entrant is Trulia

i’m a big fan of what they are doing … vertical search for the real estate market (they are initially focused on California homes). it is a very cool site, with great mashes of Google maps and an integration of a lot of varied data into one place. the site is also beautifully designed and easy-to-use.

Book: On Dialogue

On Dialogue by David Bohm

this book was recommended to me by Ari Wallach. it is short and a good plane book .. but the substance is fairly heavy.

Bohm is one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century … and here he takes on an equally daunting challenges … how to get people to create and engage in productive dialog.

this is particularly interesting to me since part of my job is putting people together and making sure that have a good exchange. that is easier to do with some people than others.

while i admire Bohm for taking on this challenge, he failed to enlighten me. i was probably looking for too much or hoping to find wisdom that doesn’t exist. unfortunately, the problem of productive dialog is sure to plague humans for our entire future history.

Book: Moneyball

Full_imageAlong with many other people, Mark Gerson from Gerson Lehrman Group suggested i read Moneyball. He said it was one of the best business books ever written. it took me a while, but i completely agree.

Read/listen: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

by now you’re read all the reviews and heard about this book from countless friends … but don’t do what i did … i thought i got the jist of it from the reviews. not true. this book is well worth it. and it is also available on Audible (good choice).

Book: Theodore Rex

ImagesTheodore Rex by Edmund Morris

I’ve always wanted to read this book and finally got around to it — and it is a great Audible book to download. Teddy Roosevelt (along with Martin Luther King and Alexander Hamilton) is one of my real heroes. And while my opinion of Hamilton went down after going through the recent Chernow biography, after reading Theodore Rex, my opinion of Roosevelt actually rose.

This was a great man, a man of adventure, and a man who focused on doing what’s right. Unfortunately, the book only really focused on his presidency … his rise to the presidency was extremely uncharacteristic and his post-President seems to be a bit of a downer on his reputation.

COW: MusicPlasma

another cool web site: MusicPlasma (referred to me by Bree Humphries)

they build an interactive map of the “world” of any artist, actor, movie, director, etc. as you may have guessed from my past postings, i am fascinated with the worlds of people, things, and ideas. how everything fits together.

the idea from MusicPlasma is that you can mark an item as a favorite (like Digg) … and build out your own world eventually… stay tuned on more innovation like this.

COW: Meebo

Company of the week: Meebo is cool. I like Meebo.

For those of you who don’t know, Meebo is web-based way for you to access your favorite IM. Traveling in Bhutan and headed to a local Internet café but still want to use IM? No problem … just log into Meebo and IM away. You can use AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber, etc. … what you normally use.

Amazingly enough, Meebo is the first AJAX-based way to IM — I actually can’t believe no one has implemented it yet (tough I bet Google will be launching it soon).

Meebo just launched and I spent some time with its CEO, Seth Sternberg (who is a still second yr business school student at Stanford). I am impressed with his vision of where the company needs to move forward … and it sounds like they have two really hot-shot AJAX engineers that have built the application.

They are based in Palo Alto and I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more from them soon.