Posts

Showing posts from March, 2011

Arugula

Image
Image via WikipediaArugula has knocked off Brazil as the top searched term at this blog. As in most people who search for something and end up at this blog search for the wonderful "arugula."

When "Brazil" took the crown I am like, wait a minute, I love soccer, but this is not a sports blog. Now I am alarmed all over again. I don't want this to end up a food blog.

This is a tech blog. Technology and business. How do I steer it back in that direction?

In Brazil's case I took care of the "problem" by writing many many posts about Brazil's economy. And I did some country study posts on Brazil as a potential country to go into for my microfinance venture.

But I don't know what to do with arugula. Houston, we have a problem.

Arugula And Location Patents
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Photos

I think I need to blog about FoodSpotting less often. Google by now thinks I have a food blog.

Is Square A Microfinance Company?

I am watching this video and I am thinking, is Square a microfinance company? Is Square like microfinance for white people?

Think about it. People use Square for micro transactions. I have lost count of how many times I have heard Jack Dorsey make his cappuccino example.

Square just made my list of Stuff White People Like.



Jack Dorsey And I Were At Columbia Yesterday Evening
Jack Dorsey Also Has A FinTech StartUp

Jack Dorsey And I Were At Columbia Yesterday Evening

I did not even realize until after my event was over. We were at two separate events. I was at the Eric Ries event. I spotted Sree while I was there.

To You I Offer Buddhism And Yoga

Image
Image via WikipediaMinority Majority Nation?
Gender Talk And Pragmatism
TechCrunch: What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology.: By far the most difficult skill for me to learn as CEO was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared to keeping my mind in check. Over the years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of CEOs all with the same experience. Nonetheless, very few people talk about it, and I have never read anything on the topic. It’s like the fight club of management: The first rule of the CEO psychological meltdown is don’t talk about the psychological meltdown. ....... this is the most personal and important battle that any CEO will face. ..... no CEO ever has a smooth path to a great company. Along the way, many things go wrong and all of them could have and should have been avoided. ..... If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test …

To Catch A Dollar

Image

Front Facing Camera

Image
This guy got more votes than me when I ran for Freshman Class President.

Related articlesFaceTime causing some iPad cameras to freeze (tuaw.com)

Obama Has A Computer

Image

Kassidy Brown: No April Fool Joke

Image
Friday, April 1, 7-9 PM
Curry In A Hurry
Lexington + 28th

I announced yesterday that Kassidy Brown of Journey Of Action is going to be there for the FoodSpotting First Friday dinner in Little India. Because that happens to be on April 1 there might be speculation the whole thing is a joke, a trick I am pulling upon the FoodSpotting enthusiasts.

I want to say that is not so, although I have a track record. In middle school I imitated the headmaster's handwriting and signature and got a teacher to rush over to the headmaster's bungalow.

But this is real. Kassidy Brown really is coming on Friday. Be there.

Journey Of Action: Connecting The Dots: Social Activism: Social Media
Splitting A Platter With Kassidy Brown
Inviting Charlie O'Donnell To A Pillow Fight
Journey Of Action

Barack's Positivity

Image
Image via WikipediaAt first I thought he was being naive. That was in 2007. I loved the guy. I was his first full time volunteer in the city.

He will get knocked around a few times, and then he will come around to it, I thought. He will learn.

And then he started winning. Big. And I am like, wait a minute, whatever he is doing is working. I declared myself a student of his new kind of politics, his positivity.

First I thought it was naive. Then I thought it was maybe weakness. Then I saw it was pragmatism. I mean, it was working wildly.

Woodkid: Iron

Holy Ghost!: Wait And See

Image

Rudiments Of A Corporate Culture

Image
Image via WikipediaPassion For Microfinance
Passion For Social Media
Passion For Tech
Passion For People
Post-ISMs Individual: No Sexist/Racist/Homophobic/Classist Jokes/Comments
Passion For Profits: Work Hard, Play By The Rules, Innovate

Passion For Microfinance

We are a microfinance outfit. We are not a political party. We are not in education. We are not health people. We don't do bio tech.

Passion For Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn: You need to be active on these platforms.

Jacob Barnett: Boy Genius?

Image
The Daily Mail: Autistic boy,12, with higher IQ than Einstein develops his own theory of relativity: A 12-year-old child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics. Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 - higher than Albert Einstein - and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role. The boy wonder, who taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a week, is now tutoring fellow college classmates after hours. And now Jake has embarked on his most ambitious project yet - his own 'expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity'. His mother, not sure if her child was talking nonsense or genius, sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton University. According to the Indiana Star, Institute astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine -himself a world renowned expert - confirmed the au…

Journey Of Action: Connecting The Dots: Social Activism: Social Media

Image
The Journey Of Action siblings Kassidy and Ryan have caught the imagination of many a techie in New York City. What gives? What are they up to?

Hundreds: I Love My Harbour

Image
(Via David Noel)

Splitting A Platter With Kassidy Brown

Image
When I put word out that I was looking to split my platter with someone on Friday, I had no idea that person might end up being Kassidy Brown of Journey Of Action fame. Well, I have an email from her to confirm.



The Arab Revolutions And My Rethinks On Britain And France

Image
Image by Brooklyn Museum via FlickrUltimately It Is About Iran, Because That Is Where It All Started
Syria's Turn
The Anatomy Of Revolutions For Democracy

For me Italy has been Mississippi. I have been everywhere in Mississippi. It is charming. But I never felt like I wanted to move there, or even perhaps visit again. Somebody might say something. I was all too aware of its racial history, and the coded racial language that can still permeate political campaigns in that part of the US. One ad against black guy Ford in Tennessee simply had a white woman say, "Call me!"

I have never been to Europe. I have long thought I'd want to have been to Africa and Latin America and if there is still some gas left, I might hop by Europe some day. But after the past few weeks I am much more thawed. Britain's and France's willingness to go in there and do something about the hapless civilians in Libya has shaken my own personal world. I am much more open to visiting Europe no…

Minority Majority Nation?

Image
Image via WikipediaI was at an event last night, and one speaker said how America will have become a minority majority nation by 2050, as in the nonwhites will have become the majority by then. And this was not my first time hearing that. I actually might have read that for a course in college.

But I feel the need to respond. Having experienced ethnic prejudice in Nepal, and racism in America, and having gone through the deep convulsions of a political revolution in a Third World country, the poorest outside of Africa - Nepal - and having thought through the group dynamics elements of tech startups, that minority majority nation talk to me feels like seeing 2050 through 2010 lenses.

I give to you sushi and yoga and hip hop and salsa. I give to you the Spanish language. These are so mainstream in the white parts of America already. But then I grew up learning English where I grew up. My point is America will not have become a minority majority nation in 2050. I hope much sooner than …

Inviting Charlie O'Donnell To A Pillow Fight

Image
Hello Venture Capitalist Dude Charlie O'Donnell. On behalf of all the would be tech entrepreneurs that you have refused to fund since the snowball fight in December I am hereby inviting you to a pillow fight in Union Square on Saturday at 3 PM sharp. You can bring along as many VCs as you want with you. Angel investors also welcome, as are super angels.

New York City

Image
Image via WikipediaSomebody from the tech fraternity/sorority has to do it at some point. If you think about it Bloomberg is also a member.

This Guy Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey has gone on record saying his dream job is to become Mayor of New York City. More than being Chairperson of Twitter or CEO of Square, he wants to become Mayor. I don't blame him. There are about 50 billionaires in the city, I know the name of only one of them.

Is It A Bubble?

Image
Image via WikipediaThis bubble talk/debate could last for the rest of the year. It might even spill into 2012. Because the craze is just beginning. My take has been that some real wealth is being created, but there sure is some accompanying froth. That is not something to complain about. On the cutting edge there are hits and misses. To expect for all hits is highly unrealistic. It just never has happened.

But the debate is robust and very real. Everybody who is a somebody has an opinion.

A Mini Bubble Burst In Three Years
Bubble, Boom Or Froth?
Bubble Talk Goes On: It's An Overshoot

Journey Of Action

Image

Gender Talk And Pragmatism

Image
Image via WikipediaSo I showed up for this event called The Future Of Women. It was in Tribeca, which is right there by Chinatown. That helps. After the event was over, I walked over to Chinatown, and had some dumplings. But before that I took some cash out from the bank right by my favorite Buddhist temple in the city, the one by Manhattan Bridge.

I am glad I showed up.

Bumped into Scott Heiferman in the lobby. I had not seen him in a long time. I had seen he had RSVPd. But then I have seen him RSVP for an event and not show up several times before, so I was not counting on him showing up. But he showed up.

A lot of people do that. They see an event. They like it. They want to go. And when it is show up time, something else shows up, or they think of something else to do, or they just get plain lazy. It is not like they penalize you for not showing up.

It was a good event. There was some fun, lively talk. There were very few men in the room.

Caroline McCarthy On Gender

Image
So I was watching Tumblr this morning - yeah, I watch Tumblr like others watch TV - and along showed up Kristin. I met her at the first FoodSpotting First Friday early this month. I think I might see her again this Friday. I reblogged her.

Then I realized what I reblogged she had reblogged from Caro, as in Caroline McCarthy. And I am thinking, I thought I followed Caro on both Twitter and Tumblr, but she never shows up in my Tumblr stream. What's going on? I clicked over to her Tumblr page. I found out I was not following her after all. I think I followed her at one point and then unfollowed her later.

Autobiography

Image
Image via WikipediaI have decided to work on an autobiography. The credit goes to Amazon Kindle Self Publishing. Minus that I would have waited years. I like the idea of instant publication. And looks like the lowest price I can ask for is $2.99. I would have liked to put the price tag at 99 cents. Volume, baby, volume.

I am going to do it. I hope I can get it done fast. The idea is to put out somewhere between 50 and 100 pages. This is not going to be a tome. Working on this slim book is going to be a liberating experience. It will help me better launch the next phase of my life, the tech startup phase.

I am going to call it My Version Of The Stories.

Noah And The Whale: Tonight's The Kind Of Night

Image

John Legend: Rolling In The Deep

Image

How To Pitch: The Rachel Sequoia Way

Image
This three minute video has been making the rounds. It is a great video, and a great pitch. This actually fits my idea of a pitch. A pitch should be a video clip. "Passionate and irreverent, she presented her concept entitled Share The Air in bare-feet and using hand drawn illustrations to articulate her points. She was looking for $500,000 to help get her idea off the ground....." You can see her lift the energy in the room as she wades through. "I am not a fighter." I like that line. "I am a lover, not a fighter." "Air is at least 6% energy." Great. I have been wanting to say that the longest time. I said something similar in a blog post on January 29. You pack the revolution into the air. Bare feet. I like that. Awesome.

New York Times: A Dog's Got To Eat

Image
Image via CrunchBaseI am fond of the New York Times. Both NYT and I seem to like the same font: Georgia. I did not learn that from the New York Times, but the similarity lead to affinity. It is a great paper. If I could get only one source of news - thank God I don't, thank the wild wild web - the New York Times might be in contention. And I take hometown pride.

Reading articles in the New York Times feels like reading a book. As in, the quality is great. In most cases it is better than reading a book. Because many many people work on any one article. There is a lot of collaboration. Most books gets written by people who think they are smart enough that they can go solo.

I once read a tweet from someone from the New York Times - Indian dude - during the Gulf Crisis. He made it sound like he was going home after like a month. He said he had been working on this one article. The article took me five minutes to read. And I am like wow. You mean you and many others worked on this fo…

Jagdish Bhagwati: Misplaced Criticism Of Yunus

Image
Image by World Economic Forum via FlickrThere is no doubt that Yunus has done pioneering work in the field of microfinance. It is not that others have not, but I do think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded. Not only did he do pioneering work, he scaled it. The Grameen Bank is huge in size.

But if Jagdish Bhagwati gives Yunus less credit than I would like to, I don't have issues with that. That is a matter of difference in opinion.

What I do have issues with is where Bhagwati pours down a dozen paragraphs siding with Sheikh Hasina in her crusade against Yunus, and then concludes in the final paragraph by saying good governance plays a more central role in poverty alleviation than does microfinance, something I agree with. I'd put good governance, education, health, infrastructure, job creation, and microcredit, in that order.

Multidisciplinary Approaches

Image
Image via CrunchBaseTechCrunch: Engineering vs. Liberal Arts: Who’s Right—Bill or Steve?: It takes artists, musicians, and psychologists working side by side with engineers to build products as elegant as the iPad. And anyone—with education in any field—can achieve success in Silicon Valley. ...... 92 percent held bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent held higher degrees. But only 37 percent held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and just two percent held them in mathematics. The rest have degrees in fields as diverse as business, accounting, finance, health care, and arts and the humanities. ...... The most common traits I have observed are a passion to change the world and the confidence to defy the odds and succeed. ..... I never observed a correlation between the school of graduation or field of study, on one hand, and success in the workplace, on the other. What make people successful are their motivation, drive, and ability to learn from mistakes, and how hard they wo…

Curry In A Hurry: FoodSpotting First Friday: April 1

Image
The platters at Curry In A Hurry tend to be huge. I am looking for someone to split my platter with.


(Photo from January 15)

Africa's Internet Strides

Image
Image via WikipediaThe Atlantic: The Coming Battle for Africa's Internet: Seneweb.com ... the unofficial homepage of the nation. .... the Huffington Post of Senegal -- except with far less in the way of competition. Deeply influential in Senegalese media and politics, it's where obscure reports of government waywardness go viral. On a happening day, the site fetches 200,000 unique visits and 1.3 million hits -- astounding numbers in a nation of 13 million, less than a million of whom can even get online. ....... That traffic has traditionally come not from inside Senegal but from all the motley places where West Africans travel for work -- such as Romania ..... nearly every country in the neighborhood has its Seneweb: Ghanaweb is probably the most influential, followed by Côte d'Ivoire's Abidjan.net. ...... "But now, the majority of visitors are in Senegal. The internet has taken off here." ...... as internet access becomes cheaper and more widespread ...…

Lady Mayer

Image

Jack Dorsey Returning To Twitter

Image
Image via WikipediaI put out this blog post - Twitter At Five: Not Spitting Out Well - and the following day news was that Jack Dorsey was going back to Twitter in a major way. I felt vindicated.

I have a thing for the Founder CEO. (Larry Page At The Helm) Jack Dorsey is the Twitter Founder CEO. No, Biz Stone did not co-invent Twitter. Jack Dorsey getting booted out of Twitter is not exactly the same as Steve Jobs getting booted out of Apple in 1984, but it is in a similar vein. It is a DNA thing, it is delicate. Only the Founder CEO can pivot like a service like Twitter needs to pivot. Facebook has not had that problem. Zuck's being in the driving seat explains that. Facebook has pivoted relentlessly.

Larry Page At The Helm

Image
Image via Wikipedia"I was talking to Larry on Saturday," says Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer, when we sit down to talk the following Tuesday. "I told him that I'd gotten back from nine cities in 12 days -- Munich, Copenhagen, Davos, Zurich, New Delhi, Bombay, London, San Francisco. There's a silence for five seconds. And then he's like, 'That's only eight.' " I have been explicit in my preference for the Founder CEO. I have maintained that Eric Schmidt should have been brought in as COO, Chief Operating Officer, at the outset. That he was brought in as CEO tells me VCs have more power than they should have. Or at least that was the case over a decade ago. In John Doerr vs. Larry Page, I am with Larry Page. John Doerr made a big mistake.

Larry Page had Google work on Android and Chrome behind Eric Schmidt's back. Google not "getting" Facebook is not a big problem, but if Google did not have Android and Chro…

Google Images, Facebook Photos, Twitpic, Instagram, FoodSpotting

Image
Image by Michelle Brea (busy-away) via FlickrI guess people have been taking pictures for a while now. Sight is a dominant human organ. And now there has been talk of a new startup called Color. My first reaction was, how did they get that domain name? Was it not already taken?

So what's the idea? The first piece I read on the topic told me you will never be able to leave me. You are stuck with me within a mile radius. Not even a mile. This world is getting small.

Before trains and airplanes, that used to happen. People could spend their entire lives within a few tens of miles. Some people obviously think we need to go back to that kind of reality. You pick the 10 people who matter to you and you never leave. You constantly take pictures for each other, you tweet for each other. But there is another angle to it, like when you are public and semi public. Then people far, far away who are not part of your immediate circle get a much more realistic picture of what your life is like…

Alexis Ohanian: Angel Investor

Image
I read somewhere you had to pick between the panels, two out of four allowed. So I showed up early for registration. Ends up you did not have to pick. So I went to all four. Well, there was a Seth Godin speech to begin with. I did that. And Chris Dixon spoke after the panels were over. And there was the social/networking part to cap it all. All in all it was a half day affair. It was a few trips between floors one and five for me. I got to take in half of each panel.

Startups And The Art Of Selling
Monetizing A Startup
Venture Capitalists And Their Thesis
Patrick Chen's Entrepreneur Exchange Summit
Idea to Initial Execution
March 25: Stern: Entrepreneurs Exchange Summit

What Is Your Emotional Age?

Image
Cover of Bill Clinton"Hillary is 42. She will always be 42. I am 16. I will always be 16."
- Bill Clinton as a Yale Law School student
Related articlesHillary Clinton | Top 100 women (guardian.co.uk)

The Institutions Of Globalization Will Be Built On The Internet

This is the internet century. This is the globalization century. At first I thought in terms of the UN, since it was the only global body. Then I thought in terms of the US, the oldest democracy, the richest country, the biggest power. And I have thought in terms of the internet all along. But as the internet's capacity has grown, I have thought primarily of the internet more and more.

This is the internet century. The internet is the new country. It is not America no more. America has become Europe. America is an old country.

For the biggest problems, the grandest challenges, it is the power of the internet that has to be unleashed. That internet does not operate in a vacuum. It permeates the old institutions like ether.

So when I say the institutions of globalization will be built on the internet I am making plenty of room for old institutions meshing with the internet. You open the windows and let the air come in.

But the biggest problems remain unsolved. Poverty is nowhere…

Twitter At Five: Not Spitting Out Well

Image
Image via CrunchBaseTwitter at five: The story of Twitter’s beginnings

Twitter has been a remarkable tech success story, and I have blogged about it much here. But today I am going to celebrate its birthday by hitting at its prime weakness. Twitter has done a lousy job of making sense of all the tweets it collects. They all rest on your own servers, for Chrissake.

Startups And The Art Of Selling

Image
Image via CrunchBaseI for one think Facebook should have been forced to go public at a billion dollar valuation, or 10 billion max. But the company continues to be privately held. I could argue it has had several private IPOs.

There are several forms of exits. IPO is the rare exit. It is for the best of the breed. By definition most startups are not there, will never get there. Getting bought by a bigger company is a respectable, lucrative exit.

And there's the non exit exit. You don't go IPO. You don't get bought. But you become profitable. You start minting money. What's there to complain? I'd hope the vast majority of startups out there would go for this "exit."

Monetizing A Startup

Image
Image via WikipediaI am a huge fan of the freemium model. Keep the basic product free, get lots and lots of deeply engaged users, and monetization will happen. But that is not the only way. Some great services charge right away. Whatever floats your boat. You can delay making money, but not forever. Shorter the delay, better it is.

How To Monetize Your Social Web Startup there really is no secret sauce to making money on the social web: you’re either selling ads or selling a product. ..... While it’s possible to generate revenue through a number of models, there are really only a few core monetization models. ..... Since ownership of mass distribution channels is becoming fragmented, advertisers are looking for targeted audiences that are most likely to purchase their product. ...... Whether it’s an information product or a physical good, there are massive opportunities to generate revenue from selling things. ..... Brand advocacy in the world of social media is something that has m…

Venture Capitalists And Their Thesis

Image
Image by paulamarttila via FlickrYou can waste time as an entrepreneur knocking the doors of the wrong venture capitalists. VCs tend to have sectors they are knowledgeable about and are interested in. If you are not a fit, you are not a fit. You might have a brilliant idea, a brilliant team, a brilliant product, but if you approached the wrong VC, you will still get a no.

Venture Capital Investment Thesis Myths For venture capitalists, an investment thesis states the main idea of their fund–essentially, why your venture fund exists, and what it proposes to invest in ..... does the company mesh well with our macro-economic analysis? Are they operating in a market we understand? What are the future expectations of the sector? .... many venture capital firms don’t have investment theses. Those firms also tend to not last. .... Like writing a presentation/business plan/executive summary, there’s no set procedure for creating an investment thesis. ..... investment theses only last a cou…

My Chrome Notebook Never Arrived

Image

Twitter ---> Instagram ---> FoodSpotting

Image

Happy World Water Day

Image
If there is anything that is at the center of the globe's development agenda, it is clean water. Water also just so happens to be my favorite substance. I like to play with water. After I am done with the sink, you will likely see leftover splashes. Some people have thought it is because I am an untidy person.

There is something about the formlessness of water that gets me. Water in its formlessness reminds me of the human mind. Water is what the human mind should be, often is.

Hoping To Meet Vivek Wadhwa

Image
I have a Direct Message on Twitter from Vivek Wadhwa. Let's meet the next time you are in the Bay Area, he says. I shot him a quick email. Sure. On the other hand, the next time you are in New York, whichever happens first. I seem to think it against my religion to step outside the city boundaries. For a guy who has been everywhere in America. It's a phase.

Patrick Chen's Entrepreneur Exchange Summit

Image
I met Patrick Chen at this Hackers And Founders MeetUp. He is a great guy. He said he was a MBA student at NYU, and he had teamed up with a techie friend, who was a full timer with a hedge fund, to form a gaming startup. I paid him the ultimate compliment. I suggested the two of them should team up with me on my startup. He said we can talk. We did talk. We became Facebook friends. We exchanged a few tweets. A few days later he said it is best he stuck to his gaming startup.

Long story short I am going to Patrick's conference on Friday. I tried to suggest they should waive the $45 fee for me since "I will be blogging about the event extensively before and after." Let's put it this way. I ended up having to pay.

Yunus Should Launch A Political Party

The father of microfinance - Muhammad Yunus - is being hounded in his own homeland. It is sad. But it is politics as usual in Bangladesh. Politicians get in the way. Now you know why Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, a blight on the face of earth. It is these people.

One Step Behind

My startup is a tech startup, but it is not a tech startup that has come up with or is trying to come up with the next big thing in tech. But it is first and foremost a tech startup. A for profit, high tech microfinance startup that will get the last mile done under its own brand name. That is the proposition.

Soraya Darabi: Top 5: Strike 3

Image

Agreed On New Shirt

Image

Me @ CNN

Image
This is from a while back in December. Notice how I pay homage to Charlie in my quote. It's an inside joke. You will get it if you read his blog.

Me @ BBC

Mike Arrington Liked My Comment

Image
Image via Wikipedia
On a big blog like - say TechCrunch - it might not make news that Mike Arrington liked your comment. But this blog is small enough that liking my comment makes Mike Arrington a big fish in a small pond.

Japan Tsunami

Image

The Anne Hathaway Effect

Image
Image via Wikipedia..... when Anne Hathaway was in the news, Warren Buffett'sBerkshire Hathaway's shares went up. He pointed to six dates going back to 2008 to show the correlation.

Rent The Runway

Image
I was pleasantly surprised to see Rent The Runway is doing better than FourSquare. Of all the names on the list, FourSquare is the one with the most buzz.

Soraya Darabi On TechCrunch TV

The Two Poles Of My Social Reality

Image
This was not always the case, and it might change down the line, but as of now there are two poles to my social reality.

A Little Bit Of Untidyness, A Little Bit Of Randomness, A Little Bit Of Chaos

Image
Things Organized Neatly


Unless my workspace is a little bit untidy, my creative juices don't flow. I need a little bit of untidyness, or maybe even a lot. I could not say I am going to work out at seven in the morning every morning. That would be too much order. I need my days to be a little more random than that. Freehand exercise speaks to
Image via Wikipedia me like that. The chances of randomness are even greater. I rebel against the routine.

I am a late to bed, late to rise kind of person. It was such relief to learn - a long time ago - that that is a body clock thing. Otherwise wisdom was that the good people wake up early.