Saturday, October 29, 2005

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect
I am currently reading "On Fire", the memoir of a writer and his life as a fireman.

In it, Larry Brown writes of many things, but a common thread is his story of how he became a writer.

Brown didn't go to a creative writing program, or attend workshops.

He wrote. Lots.

He spent years and years writing. Several novels. A hundred short stories. Each and every one of them rejected. But he kept at it, because he thought, "If I just do this enough, maybe I'll get good at it."

And really, that's how any creative endeavor works. Do it, and keep on doing it. Learn from your mistakes and grow.

Sometimes, I hear folks making fun of entrepreneurs who weren't able to match their first success. Marc Andreessen. Sameer Bhatia. The bottom line is that starting companies is hard. The guys who successfully do it over and over again are pretty damn remarkable.

But for those of us who aren't that smart and/or lucky, the key to success is to keep trying and learning.

Diversiones

Diversiones

A few things I noticed in the past couple of weeks....

Edgar Allen Seuss
http://www.fal.net/html/horrton.html

40 greatest magazine covers
http://www.magazine.org/Press_Room/MPA_Press_Releases/13732.cfm

Transparent aluminum!
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123012131

Blogging in our Schools

Blogging in our Schools
When faced with new technologies, there are two possible choices: embrace the new possibilities, or hunker down and hope they go away.

Some of our schools realize that blogs and other consumer-generated media hold the promise of re-engaging today's school children.

Others, alas, believe in the Spanish Inquisition approach.

I'm curious, can anyone think of a technology that has been permanently blocked by such tactics?

Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief
With George W. Bush's popularity sinking to new lows, the thoughts of many political operatives turn to 2008. Will it be Hillary? McCain? Or perhaps two other qualified candidates who have recently thrown their hats into the ring, General Zod and Christopher Walken?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

America's Cheapest Housing

America's Cheapest Housing

If you've been in the Bay Area so long that you think million-dollar starter homes are normal, just read this article from the New York Times on America's cheapest housing markets.

I dare you to contemplate buying a 2,600 sf house on 1/2 an acre for $100,000 without breaking into tears.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Luke, I Am Your Father

Luke, I Am Your Father

Perhaps this is the future of cinema. Now, for your viewing pleasure, "The Empire Strikes Back" as a single animated GIF.

Booklust

Booklust

One of my main regrets about not being phenomenally wealthy is that I can't just buy whatever books I want to read.

Today's episode of booklust centers around Command at Sea, which focuses on how naval commanders have led their forces in the past 500 years.

Alas, I guess I'll have to wait for it to hit the local library.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Inside the 419

Inside the 419

An absolutely fascinating story in the LA Times about how the famous Nigerian 419 scams actually work.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at the image of armies of scammers at work behind closed bars, while one of Nigeria's top pop hits, "I Go Chop Your Dollars" plays on the stereo:

"419 is just a game, you are the losers, we are the winners.
White people are greedy, I can say they are greedy
White men, I will eat your dollars, will take your money and disappear.
419 is just a game, we are the masters, you are the losers."

The story also includes this from an officer in the American Consulate in Nigeria:

"Kovacsics says he is awakened several nights a week by Americans pleading for help with an emergency, such as a fiancee (whom they have only met in an online chat room) locked up in a Nigerian jail. He has to tell them that there is probably no fiancee, no emergency."

YehCon 1.0 Moved to November 17

As William Grosso points out, the initial date I chose for YehCon conflicts with the SDForum Innovation Event. My bad. How's the 17th?

51% of Americans Don't Accept Evolution

51% of Americans Don't Accept Evolution
Like I always say, don't make the mistake of thinking that you can understand American based on New York, Boston, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Right or wrong, you should try to understand what people actually believe.

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Normally, I've stopped posting whimsical fun stuff. But for Star Wars as a 168K animated GIF, I'll make an exception.

Make Your Own Damn List

Make Your Own Damn List
One of the things I actually dislike about the Valley is how clique-y it is. It's definitely the case that some groups think of themselves as the "cool kids" in our virtual high school, and act accordingly.

Or have you never wondered why there's always so much press about members of the old Apple mafia?

Anyways, attending the mini Web 2.0 conference that my friends over at PCOW set up this weekend has inspired me. Instead of complaining about the antics of the "A-List", people should make their own damn lists.

Which is why I'm announcing YehCon 1.0, my own personal entrepreneurship conference.

Save the date on your calendar: Wednesday, November 16, from 12-2 PM in Palo Alto.

The goal is to bring together interesting entrepreneurs and thinkers in a way that gives us the good stuff of conferences (hanging with thought-provoking folk) and none of the bad (boring speeches and YAP--yet another panel).

And rather than charging you hundreds of dollars to attend, all you need to do is pay the cost of lunch.

Depending on how many people are interested, I'll find an unsuspecting restaurant that will give us a private room.

As for what we'll do with our time (besides eating and mingling), you're all entrepreneurs--you figure it out.

Post your thoughts on topics and format on the official YehCon wiki:
http://yehcon.pbwiki.com/

The password is "joy".

If you think you can make it, add your contact info to the wiki, and I'll eventually get around to setting up an Evite. See you on the 16th!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Why Spammers Suck

Why Spammers Suck
Thanks to the prevalence of splogs (spam blogs), Google just instituted a CAPTCHA to prevent bots from publishing blogs using Blogger.

Now, every time I post, I'll have to type in a bunch of extra characters.

I hate spammers.

Ideas And Execution

Ideas And Execution
Paul Graham is back with another essay, this time with some thoughts on why a great idea is only a small part of building a successful startup.

Paul has some great insights, like how expressing your idea as a question helps you explore your idea, or how great companies usually require at least two founders, who discuss ideas together, come up with insights on their own, and then come back together to refine those concepts.

Of course, if you need an idea for a startup, I have 18 pages worth, and I'd be happy to let you have one for the right price!

This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse: The Million Pixel Bubble

This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse: The Million Pixel Bubble

I commented before that only one person could pull off the "million-dollar page" trick of selling pixel advertisements.

I guess I was wrong.

http://www.thealarmclock.com/mt/archives/2005/10/the_return_of_k_1.html

Are million-pixel advertising pages a Web 2.0 bubble too?

Argh.