Monthly Archives: April 2006

on Europe

Martin Varsavsky has a great post on Immigration in Europe.  He’s got some great things to say but this was the most telling:

I am a Spaniard. I have the same rights as all the Spaniards. Still
Spanish newspapers keep referring to me as the Argentine entrepreneur
Martin Varsavsky. Indeed in some cases I have been even called the
Jewish entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky. I still have to find one article
that refers to me as a Spaniard or even as a Spaniard of Argentine
origin. Now don’t get me wrong, I am proud of being Argentine and proud
of being Jewish, but now I am a Spanish citizen building businesses in
Spain and elsewhere. Why does the American press write about me as a Spanish entrepreneur and the Spanish press as an Argentine entrepreneur

I have a friend who is French who is a great Silicon Valley entrepreneur.   He was born in France but his parents were from Tunisia (he’s Jewish).    He was born in France so he has no accent.   But he told me that he ultimately left France because everyone he met treated him as a Tunisian and not French.   Even though he was born in France, the French still felt he was an immigrant.   Now, he says is his very strong French accent, people in Silicon Valley treat him as an American.

book: See No Evil

See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terror.   by Robert Baer.

this is a fascinating and fast-moving book referred to me by both Aydin Senkut and Patrick McKenna.  It reads like a movie (and recently i found out it is the basis for Syriana).   

that said, i have no idea how much of it is accurate.  i suspect a good deal of the book is at least embellished.   so i’m not sure how many of the great nuggets and tales are true.   

but it is an enjoyable book nevertheless and i would suggest it to anyone (especially the audiobook which can be really riveting if you listen to it, as i did, while running).

quick rules for email

some small things i do to increase my productivity and the productivity
of others around me:

– only check email once an hour (and turn off all email reminders) …
sometimes i submit to the guilty pleasure and check email every 30 minutes
– when i get an email, i reply right away.   
– jettison IM
– don’t check email on my phone unless i need to.   
– respond to all emails before i go to bed every day.   never have
anything in my in-box before i fall asleep.   (sometimes i respond to
emails with a "i’ll get back to you on tuesday on this")
– i try never to CC other people unless absolutely necessary.   it is
unfair to waste their time.
– i speed read (or sometimes just delete) emails i am CCed on
– when i reply to emails, i try never to "reply all" as it is a waste
of other’s time.  i try to respond directly to the person were my email is
most targeted.

– i always try to have the minimum number of people from my company in
mtgs.   if only one person is needed, then two never go. 
big waste of time.   sometimes we determine that zero people are
– phone mtgs are often better than in person mtgs.   

to do:
– i to do list everything.   in the last six months i have written
and completed 4358 tasks … that is about 24 tasks a day. 

– jettison TV
– i try to be on-time to all meetings … i want to respect the time of those
around me
– I try to save time of those around you be not giving them things that are
half-baked.   i try to communicate so there is not ambiguity so
they’re not doing double work.

(my biggest pet peeve: when someone does not respect my time)


Rapleaf hiring Community Marketing person

Rapleaf is looking for someone to head up Community Marketing.
this is the new company I am running now.

About the company:

Rapleaf is a consumer Internet start-up. We are not yet public with
what we are doing but it is something to do with reputation. We are
very small — we are two people right now and currently hiring three

Our goal: to make it more profitable to be ethical

The role:

– you will be doing community marketing

– working with blogs, forums, and online communities

– outward face of the company in many meetings

– doing a fair amount of customer interaction and customer service


– you should have a strong desire to build a more ethical society

– intensely driven and proactive person

– extremely hard working. This is a start-up. We work 80 hour weeks – you should too.

– understand blogs, online forums, and communities of people online — your job will be to interact with these communities

– understand the internet well. Early adopter. you are familiar
with sites like flickr, delicious, MySpace, SimplyHired, Yelp, Digg,
YouTube, and others.
– quick learner and real doer (and you err on execution over strategy)

– smart at marketing

– quick writer   

– you can deal with hundreds of emails a day.   you can maintain thousands of conversations at once.

– people like you and like working with you (we’ll require at least a dozen references)

– you are proactive and do not complain

– you thrive on chaos, risk, and uncertainty

– we’re willing to prioritize motivation over experience. And we’re
willing to take a risk on someone who does not have Community Marketing
experience or even consumer Internet experience.
– should be easy to get along with, nice, fun, smart, ethical, and low-maintenance

– did we mention that this person should be proactive?


– you should be located somewhere in the SF Bay Area. No office yet
but we will be opening one in San Francisco. Even willing to consider
people who want to live outside the bay area


– high cash comp or high equity — we are willing to pay for the best talent

We’re only looking for people that really want to change the world.



Rapleaf hiring marketing intern

is looking to hire two marketing interns. can be full-time or part-time. you must be familiar with blogs, eBay, craigslist, etc. ideally, you have a blog.

receive a small stipend. also have the
potential to be hired full-time.  we are
looking for self starters that can work independently and be creative.

Silicon ValleyRapleaf is
launching on May 7 and is my new company.   



integrate the stolen car database with other databases

All stolen
cars and APBs should immediately get entered into a national stolen/APB car
database. These cars are stopped at
border crossings and automatically alerted to meter maids that are giving
parking tickets. 

I have a
friend who had her car stolen and she got four parking tickets sent to her over
a three week span — all within 5 square blocks in


. Crazy. 

Samsung A920

like a lot of bloggers, Sprint sent me the new Samsung A920 to use with free service and free downloads  (unlimited music, tv, games, etc) for six months.   

quick update (i will write more later):

i really like it.

thus far i have been using the phone and it is great quality.   the phone itself works great as a phone.   also — music download is really easy and understandable.  i downloaded so many tunes so quickly that my 128 MB card got filled up.   and though $2.99/song is a little pricey — it is definitely the thing you might do while you happen to be on the road and you just "need" to listen to a song.  the sound quality is good (which is a big surprise — the speaker is quite loud given this is such a small device)

and the TV works great.  i watched a bunch of different shows — they have a ton of different choices.   

on Sprint’s marketing strategy: i think it is really smart.  i’m a big fan of this ground-level marketing.   

book: The 8th Habit

The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey

i really enjoyed this book.   another gem from Covey.   i was very skeptical about these books, but since they came out on Audible, i decided to go through the Seven Habits book a few months back.  it was a real gem.    so i went through the 8th Habit and i recommend both of them.   especially to people who are trying to manage others and want to get the most out of them.

blogging and email may extend your life

At some point in the future, you’ll
be able to back-up your brain on a machine and ensure that you never die. Your brain will live on a machine and might
be able to be transferred back to a body. But if you die before this brain back-up technology is developed, you
won’t be around to experience that world or to experience immortality. 

Unless … unless we can recreate you

Question: with the thousands of
letters he wrote, could we recreate Thomas Jefferson? Maybe.


Now look at
people that blog often and write lots of emails. Could we recreate them? More likely. Especially bloggers like Danah Boyd that
really inject their personality into their blogs. Even more importantly, save your IMs as they
might really reveal your personality.


So the next
time your spouse/mother/friend gets mad at you for spending all your time in
front of your computer just remind them that this time will potentially extend
your life (or help you live forever).