SwedenSept2014

3 things to read this weekend

  • The Future of shopping according to Federico Marchetti, the man behind Yoox.com and one of the most astute people in luxury commerce. I am a big fan of his site and what he has built. This interview gives a rare insight into his thinking about the present and future of shopping and the impact of the Internet.
  • Is Instacart Deceptive? Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer at Stanford looks into the company’s subtle surcharge and figures out that the flat $3.99 delivery fee is no what it is cracked out to be. Markups are about 20 percent but that’s okay as long as the service wasn’t wishy-washy.
  • Why I am terrified of my New TV and why should you be worried too, says Michael Price, a counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. In his piece he points to a 46-page privacy policy on his smart TV has him freaked out and not to mention all the data this device is collecting without us knowing what they intend to do with it.

I am looking for a designer

It has been over four years since we introduced the current design. I am looking for a brand new look for Om.co and by extension, a designer. My content objectives are a lot different than what they were four years ago. I am transitioning professions. And more importantly, I want to write about a large variety of things. I prefer to work with newer designers and folks who have ability to create a mobile-first design-experience. If you know someone or are interested, get in touch at omdotco at gmail dot com with examples of their/your work and why you want to work with me :-)

Startups lessons from Netflix

Adrian Cockcroft, who spent a long time building up Netflix’s cloud infrastructure and spearheaded the development of many new cloud-related technologies and techniques at the company, recently gave a talk focused on developers in Tel Aviv October 29th 2014. He later posted it online. Of the entire presentation, there is one slide that stood out — it is chockfull of great practical advise for every founder, every startup and infact every company. In my experience, I have seen many companies ignore these realities and suffered as such. In comparison, Netflix has gone from a DVD company to the shining example of a cloud company by being flexible, fast and fanatically cloud-centric.

Oneofmany is one of a kind

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Whenever I ask anyone who I should meet in New York, they all point me to Wesley Verhoeve who is a Brooklyn-based creative who takes great photos, writes equally wonderful essays and during the day runs handmade men’s accessories and home goods company GNTLMN. Despite being recommended by one and all, I am yet to meet him — mostly because whenever I am in New York, he is traveling to some fun place, meeting people as creative as him. He is on a 12-city tour of creative cities across the US and spends time with the local creative community, and capturing interesting creatives in portrait and writing. They include everyone from visual artists to craftspeople, food and beverage makers, musicians, entrepreneurs, and more.

This project of his is called Oneofmany and it is wonderful. His photo essays are pretty amazing and deliver on the original premise of his effort — “inspire independent creatives/small business owners, and those aspiring to be.” I have been following his efforts on the website, on Instagram and on other places on the Internet. It has been a great project to follow as it has exposed me to people I would have never really met in real life. He surfaces stories of people who don’t fit the normal mold of creative. Think of Oneofmany as a cultural/creative bouillabaisse. Take a look

“It’s hard work, especially on days where I interview/shoot ten people, but I definitely feel lucky to be doing it and getting to share all these people’s stories,” he wrote to me in an email from Seattle earlier this morning. “I’m still looking for pubs to get in touch with to either write a piece for/give yet-to-be-published portraits to, or who wants to write about the project.” Any takers?

PS: I for one would be keen on learning about how he is running his business remotely while on the go from all these places. I can’t even imagine the kind of rigor and discipline one needs to do both these things.

Photo by Helena Price via Helena Price.com

What is a connected speaker

Sonos founder and chief executive John MacFarlane on competition from the likes of Denon, Yamaha and B&O:

When I asked MacFarlane what he thought about the barrage of connected speakers coming out from all the old school audio brands, he pointed out that the success of these connected speakers is not in how they look or sound, but at the end in how they connect to the network and to the services that define the product’s design.

from my piece, The utopian invisibility of design and connectivity

Compulsion

Today Jason Hiner asked me about the startup experience for a book he is writing. One of his questions was why did you do it— for love or for money. It was never about money. Startups — or the true ones are all about love — sometimes money comes along but otherwise it is all about love and everything you are willing to give up for it. I still wake up at 4 am thinking — can we do this better, smarter and make our readers happier. Readers are one of the main reasons why we eschewed some of the short term tricks while instead focusing on the long term.

Generically speaking, many of the great companies were started because the founders loved what they do and wanted to pursue their dreams badly. Evan Williams didn’t start blogger thinking about big dollars. I was one of those crazy ones! It is primarily the first thing I look for when trying to partner up with someone in my new gig at True Ventures.

I am at the True Ventures Founder Camp today and tomorrow and enjoying meeting with all of my fellow “crazy ones” on this journey to create something from nothing, reshape the world as we deem fit. Some will succeed, some will have to roll the dice again. Most of them will know – this is what they were born to do.

I hope Jason is kind to me in his book. But more importantly he will remind people that Startups are not a lifestyle. They are an obsession – fueled by one thing: the knowledge that you don’t have a choice but to do it!

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Week #3 wrapup

We are in the homestretch of the 30day blogging challenge. Here is a wrap-up for week #3. Hope you get a chance to check out some of these posts from my partners in blogging, Hiten, Michael and Toni.

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