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As I stall before I head out the door for an hour run in the cold, dark mountains outside my house, I thought I’d share some of the interesting stuff I read this morning with you.
Forrester Chief on What Not to Cut in a Downturn: I mostly include this since it’s so entertainingly short and substance-free. It links to a post of George Colony’s blog titled Why this tech recession will be different which is still short, has a little more substance, but seems painfully obvious. Maybe people will cut their Forrester spending in the downtown (oh, cynical me.) I hope no one at Forrester is using social media or any keyword alerts that catch this blog or else I’ll be in trouble with my friends at Forrester.
Where is Dubai? Jeff Jarvis has an awesome essay on his trip to Dubai. He’s also got some pretty pictures in the post.
Five Minutes with Angel Investor Dave McClure: I’ve done a few investments with Dave and think he’s dynamite. I went to Startup2Startup a few months ago when I was in the bay area and had a blast. Good stuff.
Harvard: ‘Nothing Is Fucked, Dude’: Drew Faust, Harvard’s president, writes a long email on the state of Harvard given the economic downturn titled "Harvard and the economy". In it she acknowledges the forecast that many college endowments will be down as much as 30% this year due to investment losses. Eek. Now’s a good time for my MIT friends to do some extra hacks on Harvard’s campus since there will be fewer security guards running around.
And now for some news from the world of companies that I’ve invested in.
How and Why We Made Glue: Alex Iskold has a long post up explaining the design choices behind the recent release of Adaptive Blue’s product. The product – Glue – is dynamite and the explanation of the design choices is really interesting.
Look Out Google Site Search, Lijit Says It’s Right On Your Heels: ReadWriteWeb analyzes Lijit’s Widget Statistics Revivial 2.0 and comes up with some interesting thoughts. Even more interesting (at least to me) are the kind and generous words they have about Lijit’s service. If you have a blog but don’t yet use Lijit for your blog search engine, you are missing out.
Ok – enough stalling. Time to get dressed and go running.
To celebrate today’s New York Marathon, I went for a hard and fast run in the mountains near my house. There’s nothing quite like grinding your way up a hill for three miles and then turning around and running down it as fast as you can. As I reflected on my run, I am kind of amazed at the range of thoughts that went through my head over the course of an hour.
Since I finished my run, I’ve been sitting on my couch, catching up on email and blogs, and getting ready to lose myself in Defrag for the next two days. Following are some of the great things I came across.
- Fire Congress: I was with Art Marks from Valhalla at a super top secret meeting on Monday night and all day Tuesday. We were in a corner talking about the systemic failure of Congress and he suggested a bold new approach that starts with firing the entire Congress and starting over. I told him he should blog the idea – and he did.
- The Systemic Anomaly: Speaking of Systemic Anomalies, Eric Norlin takes a break from Defrag to watch The Matrix Reloaded and has an epiphany. If you recall from the movie, "the systemic anomaly’s job, then, is to essentially “reboot” the whole system by choosing 23 humans to live and start over." Eric explains how it applies to capitalism and the free markets.
- How to be an Effective Contrarian: Fred Wilson explains that you should "Listen to everyone. Read everything you can. And then come to your own conclusions". Yes!
I’m hopeful that on Wednesday everyone in the United States wakes up, eats a big breakfast, and gets on with life.
If you thought the reason I haven’t been doing a Daily Reading post lately was because I didn’t feel like adding more to the endless stream of political noise, global economic crisis, and the impending extinction of arctic wolves, you’d be wrong. I simply forgot I was doing it. Oops. Here are a few good ones from today.
- Chess Move Simulator: If you are a chess player, you must check this out. Awesome. Thanks Bruce.
- Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: A guide for the perplexed: Mary Jo Foley tries to explain Azure.
- If you notice a bunch of software engineers wandering around Boulder, that’s because the Boulder Colorado Job Fair is in full swing. If you run into someone from out of Boulder, be nice and make sure you tell them it’s never actually cold in Boulder.
- Seth Godin speaks up on some of his failures in Failure as an event. As is typical of Seth, he has concise, brilliant advice. His biggest lesson of all – "Persist. Do the next one."
- Bill Flagg has a great contrarian post on Startup Valuations. Actually, it’s not contrarian. It’s just good old bootstrapping common sense.
- Ho Nam at Altos Ventures has the real contrarian post of the day (he even uses the word contrarian in it). RIP Good Times? A Different Perspective.
Off to spend the day with a top secret group of VCs discussing what we think of the future.
This morning, I read two wonderful essays on the web – one by Warren Buffet and one by Paul Graham.
Both of these made me immediately think of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s brilliant new book – The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable- which has been making the rounds the past few months. If you haven’t yet read it, you should stop what you are doing, buy it immediately, and read it. If you haven’t read Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets, you should read it first as it sets the stage for The Black Swan.
In The Black Swan, Taleb introduces the wonderful place called Extremistan and the much less interesting but much more often occupied place called Mediocristan. Buffett and Graham give us more clues as to why Extremistan is a much more satisfying place to hang out.
As Amy and run around like silly people packing up to head back to Boulder tonight, I stumbled upon two fantastic posts on the web. Consider this your daily reading if you read nothing else.
The first is titled Five Life-Changing Mistakes and How I Moved On by Julie Wainwright. Julie is now the co-founder of SmartNow.com but is infamous for being the CEO of Pets.com. Her post is personal and phenomenal. She identifies five mistakes she made leading up to and during the simultaneous failure of Pets.com and her marriage. She then describes – point by point – how she moved on. The mistakes follow; you’ll need to click through to her article to see how she moved on. (Thanks Heidi).
- Allowed others to define me.
- I built my image of myself on two main supporting pillars. When those collapsed, I did too.
- I stopped believing in myself.
- I stopped taking care of myself.
- Allowing my head to rule my heart.
The second is titled It’s the Software, Not You in the NY Times by David Pogue. If you’ve been following along at home you know that I’ve been deeply immersed in human computer interaction (HCI) during the past year. Pogue gives several great examples and ends with "Why do software designers want their work to appear more complex instead of less? I just don’t get why they don’t get it. So the next time you’re frustrated by software complexity, take heart; much of the time, it’s not you. It’s them. It’s designers who have something on their mind other than software intelligence." Right on!
Both are worth reading and savoring.