Category Archives: startups

YouTube @ 500 Startups

Last week I had an opportunity to present with Shiva Rajaraman and Prerna Gupta at 500 Startups. Shiva gave a very interesting overview of how to develop content for YouTube and how it is different from traditional media. Prerna’s presentation drilled into marketing products on YouTube with plenty of colorful examples, including her own app – LaDiDa. It was amazing to hear that LaDiDa used the YouTube as an advertising platform exclusively and the company was able to reach profitability thanks to it. Sometimes a simple trick of adding an off-site link in video metadata, such as in this example :

<media:description type='plain'> - This is a Pantless Knights tribute to our ... />

is enough to drive significant traffic to your site.
I covered, you guessed it, the YouTube API. The session was live-streamed and the recording is available below.

The Art of the Start

I have recently read Guy Kawasaki’s excellent book, “The Art of the Start” recommended by my CMU professor Tony Wasserman. It is an easy, insightful and a fun read, enough to keep my UA 888 Beijing-San Francisco commute enjoyable despite sitting in economy (plus).
The book contains battle-tested advice and it covers entrepreneurship in both startup and large corporate settings. My favorite part of the book is when Kawasaki talks about why it is important to strive to be a mensch despite business pressures. There comes a time when one’s integrity is put to a test, and Guy articulates very well the responsibilities of an entrepreneur and a manager that cannot be compromised.

The No Asshole Rule, R.I. Sutton

While interviewing job candidates, do you ever feel tempted to hire a technically strong person who has aptitude for being hard to work with ? Is adding a sharp new team member worth the potential risk ? I have always felt a bit guilty whenever I turned such people down. Would my company be better off with a brilliant, alas hard to deal with, worker I just rejected ? After reading Sutton’s book I feel guilty no more.
“The No Asshole Rule” quantifies the financial damage the corporations that discount the importance of “team fit” suffer. Sutton’s thorough analysis provides irrefutable justification for the simple rule one should follow : life is too short.