Monthly Archives: October 2007

the $10,007 referral reward for BD star

Rapleaf is a 12-person start-up in San Francisco. We’re building a portable identity and social graph and already have deep data on approaching 100 million people. Rapleaf allows companies, developers, and communities to build applications on top of this data.

We’re looking for a BD rock star.

Rapleaf is backed by some of Silicon Valley’s top investors and has an ourstanding engineering team. We’re hiring our first BD person (right now the CEO is the only outwardly facing person in the company) and this is an opportunity to build on a business that already has a significantly number of customers.

p.s. we are looking for the next Matt Cohler. If you know who Cohler is, you know we have extremely high standards.

why is email not encrypted

I got an email today from my lawyer. In the email was a ton of confidential information about Rapleaf. And, like almost all emails, it was sent in the clear. No encryption. Of all the emails I sent or received in the last ten years, a total of zero were encrypted. None.

Isn’t that nuts?

We are sending each other very private information through very public routers (including all those wifi routers, hotel internet stops, and more) where someone listening at the router could easily assemble our messages.

In college (I graduated in 1996), things were different. My friends and I would send each other emails using PGP encryption. Why? Well, we didn’t want people reading our mundane (mostly about class projects) missives.

Since then, no one has solved the casual email encryption problem. I mean, couldn’t gmail, yahoo, hotmail, and aol agree on a standard tomorrow?

Until then, I sit here sending my messages in the clear …

priceline for weddings

Priceline is a cool company. They appeal to a niche of people that are looking for a great deal and are not as discerning on exactly what airline they fly or when they fly. But priceline finds them good deals because the airlines often have open seats or last minute cancellations.

You can imagine the Priceline concept applying to many other verticals. One crazy idea would be priceline for weddings …

A certain percentage of weddings get cancelled within 2-4 weeks of the date (I’ve been invited to a couple that have been so cancelled). At that point, most of the wedding, the food, the help, the alcohol, and a while bunch of other things are already paid for. In fact, it is quite possible that 80% of the wedding is already covered.

In the event of a cancellation, usually the couple loses all of their deposit … or they might throw a party (I know … weird … but it does happen) to at least get something out of the large amount of money they put down.

Instead, they should be able to sell their option and maybe recoup 25% of the money they already put down to another couple. Then that new couple would face a fantabulous wedding (as long as they were not too discerning) for 40% of the price. A steal.

And while this is highly unlikely given that people have a high emotional attachment to weddings, you could imagine this type of aftermarket springing up for events. You might be willing to throw a party in two weeks, somewhere near your home city, if you got a great deal … (and I hope I’m invited if you do)

Book: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It

Jonathan Zittrain gave me a an advanced copy of his new book book, The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It, to look over and comment on.

This is a fantastic book and it will be an important read for years to come. I’m not going to talk about it yet (as I don’t think it is bloggable yet) but I will highlight one very interesting thing that I learned from the privacy chapter …

In 1973, the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare commission a blue-ribbon panel on computers and privacy. Their conclusions are still relevant 34 years later. They suggested five key points to follow to protect privacy:

– There must be no personal-data record-keeping systems whose very existence is secret.

– There must be a way for an individual, to find out what information about him is in a record and how it is used.

– There must be a way for an individual to prevent information about him obtained for one purpose from being used or made available for other purposes without his consent.

– There must be a way for an individual to correct or amend a record of identifiable information about him.

– Any organization creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data must assure the reliability of the data for their intended use and must take reasonable precautions to prevent misuse of the data.

we all have time

The phrase I hate the most is “I don’t have time.” we all have time to do things — we just don’t have time to do EVERYTHING. So we prioritize. When you say — “I don’t have time to read” you actually mean “I don’t choose to prioritize reading over all my other activities including working, being with my family, playing golf, watching football, and poker.”

From now on, instead of saying “I don’t have time”, say “I don’t choose to do this.”

blast from the past … Down and Out in Las Vegas; Or 711, 666, and Laser Urinals

ma headed to Vegas next weekend to visit my very good friend Andy Choy who recently moved their to work for the Venetian … and I came across an article I wrote about 10 years ago (when I was 23) that is pretty funny … describing my trek to Comdex in 98 on my first trip to Vegas:

Down and Out in Las Vegas; Or 711, 666, and Laser Urinals