The Startup Therapist

My long time friend Jeff Hyman has started a new business called Startup Therapist. In addition to a different hair style and some great content, he has an interview up with me.

I was a seed investor in Jeff’s first company, Career Central. It was the very first investment I did at Mobius (via Softbank – prior to us raising our first fund) and it was doing great until the Internet bubble collapsed and no one was hiring anyone. We kept in touch over the years and I was an early customer and big supporter of Retrofit, Jeff’s most recent company.

Jeff’s awesome. We’ve learned a lot together over the years. I expect he’ll be helping a lot of founders for the days to come.

Carpool.VC Interview

Jonathon Triest and Brett deMarrais of Ludlow Ventures are doing a fun video podcast series called Carpool.VC. As Jonathan and Brett drive to work, they do a podcast interview. It’s hilarious, fun, and informative.

I did it early (6am California Time) on Tuesday. In it, you’ll learn my spirit animal, doppelganger, how Jonathon and I met (I’m now an investor in Ludlow Ventures), and a bunch of other random things. I also agreed to sponsor the episode for $1.70.

A16Z Podcast on Startup Communities

Last week I participated in a podcast hosted by A16Z titled How Innovation Ecosystems Grow Around the Globe.


I got to talk with AnnaLee Saxenian, the Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Innovation. Her book, Regional Advantage, had a huge impact from on my thinking around Startup Communities. From a 2010 blog post of mine about a bunch of books that I had read on a week off the grid.

Regional Advantage: A+: I’ve read bits of Annalee Saxenian’s seminal book about the differences between the evolution of Silicon Valley and Route 128, spent a tiny bit of time with Annalee at a Silicon Flatiron event, and have thought hard about this, but I had actually never read her book. It’s awesome – anyone that cares about how entrepreneurial communities work must read this.

The other guest was Chris Schroeder who recently wrote a book titled Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East. I’m definitely going to spend more time with Chris in the future – he’s been spending a lot of time in the Middle East exploring entrepreneurship and has deep current experience and ideas that I’m interested in.

If you are interested in startup communities, I hope you will listen to this podcast. It’s one of the better ones I’ve done around the topic.

There Is No Glory In This

As I schlep through the San Jose airport at 5:30am to catch a flight to Los Angeles, I have a moment of nostalgia. I haven’t been here in a while since I’ve dramatically cut back on my travel, but I’ve probably wandered through this airport pre-dawn 50 times.

Thirty minutes ago when I got here, the airport was empty. I just had a morning call with Amy and now I’m watching the gate area fill up with mostly sleepy and occasionally noisy people. The smells are a complicated mix of antiseptic, sweat, deodorant, and perfume with cooking food mixed in. It sort of feels crisp and contemporary here, but in a way that I know will feel dated in a decade, like most airports.

Today is only the third day on the road and I’m already exhausted. Monday was a full day that ended with a flight to San Francisco. I spent the night in Sunnyvale and then had an early morning of video conference calls before going to over to Return Path to have a long board meeting followed by dinner.

As I crawled into bed last night, I knew it would be an early morning since I’m on a 6:30 flight to Los Angeles. I have a meeting in downtown and then head back to the airport for a flight to Seattle where I’ll spend some time at Techstars at the end of the day. Thursday I have a morning meeting at Glowforge followed by a Moz board meeting and dinner. Early Friday morning I fly back home to Denver.

I did something resembling this every week for the better part of 20 years. I suppose I enjoyed it for a while or else I wouldn’t have done it. But whatever it was that I enjoyed eludes me this early morning.

Joining Conference Calls By Pressing One Button

I participate in multiple conference every day. While I can’t change much about the general tediousness associated with 15 different people all joining a call within a five minute window, I can do something about the misery of pressing 18 different numbers on a phone to join the call.

MobileDay solved this problem for smart phones several years ago when it launched. If you want to join a conference call (or any phone call) on your iOS or Android phone, just use MobileDay. Press one button – join whatever call is next on your calendar – automagically.

But it gets even better. MobileDay just released a feature which lets you push the call from your smartphone to any conference room phone. Until now, while I can do one touch dialing into a conference call from my iPhone, I still have to dial 18 (or 19, or was it 20, or does it need a 9 at the beginning, damnit) numbers on the ubiquitous Polycom phones in conference rooms. And, amazingly, sometimes I give up and just use the speaker on my iPhone, which is truly sad and pretty awful compared to the dormant Polycom it is sitting next to.

The new Push feature available for MobileDay Business subscribers can be pre-programmed to connect with any device: Polycom or desk phone. Meetings can still be initiated with MobileDay’s revolutionary one tap and then pushed to another device. Push is keyword sensitive: once I have pre-programmed a device and named it after the meeting room it lives in, whenever I am in a scheduled meeting in that room, MobileDay gives me the option to connect with that device. As with all MobileDay calls there are no numbers to remember – all you have to do is press the green button that pops up on your smartphone and you are in your call.

My favorite products are ones that just work like magic. MobileDay has created several of them, and Push is one of those things that suddenly makes my life a lot better. If you are nostalgic for the days when you had to get up, walk across the room, and manually change the channel on your TV, you probably won’t be into Push. But if you like things that just work and you make a lot of conference calls, go try it and let me know what you think.