Interviewed by No Camels

No Camels just posted a nice interview with me.

My favorite part:

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?

You need to be curious about the world, courageous, smart, and have a great ability to learn and listen: learn new industries; listen to customer requests; work in a dynamic environment which changes on a weekly basis.

There are many other essential skills: good salesmanship, good presentation skills, good leadership skills and great execution skills. Because no single person possesses all these skills, creating a company with a team of people you highly value and trust will greatly increase your chances of success. Entrepreneurship is a team game, not a solo adventure.

 

Amazon Owes Me an Apology

Last week, I was presenting Dynamic Yield to some acquaintances in Palo Alto. When I wanted to give an example of good personalization, I fired up Amazon, which is known to do a pretty good job in recommending relevant products.

To my horror, this is what showed up: testicle self-test, male bladder catheterization model, UFO detectors and cheap romantic novels:

Amazon-Recommendation

What the heck?! I didn’t know where to hide, I was so ashamed. It can’t be! What in the world made Amazon think these items are relevant to me? And how can I save face in front of these serious gentlemen, who were just bursting with laughter? To add insult to injury, the ‘inspired by browsing history’ shows a bunch of Lenovo notebooks, In a meeting in Palo Alto! I own a Mac since 2007… what an embarrassment.

What got really me really worried is that I was logged in to Amazon when seeing that. Was it some kind of identity theft? my purchase history seemed ok.

These recommendations continued to show up a couple of days more, and disappeared only after I deleted my cookies (I now get the recommendations I am used to getting – books about finance, entrepreneurship, etc.).

Strange incident. I assume Amazon had a bug that misidentified me. From now on, to be on the safe side, I’ll be using Target for demo purposes, although their personalization may lead to trouble as well.

100 Things to Watch in 2013

Another year, another inspiring presentation by JWT of 100 things to watch in 2013:

 

How (Not) To Repair A Phone With Water Damage

True story:

A friend’s wife dropped her iPhone in the toilet. Following our advice she put the phone in a bowl of rice (it really works).

An hour later her mom came by, saw the rice on the kitchen counter, realized its there for lunch, and poured it into a pot with boiling water.

The iPhone didn’t make it.

The rice tasted ok.

Kleiner Perkins 2012 Internet Trends

KPCB’s excellent report is inspiring and scary at the same time.

That’s what I tell my students – pace of growth is accelerating so fast that you must innovate aggressively and take bigger risks or you’ll find yourself out of business faster than you would expect.

Practicing for Rio 2016

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What Applications Do I Use on my new Macbook Air?

It was about time to upgrade my 2009 Macbook Pro, and the new 13″ Macbook Air seemed just the right upgrade choice (with 256 SSD drive, 8GB memory and OSX Mountain Lion).

First impression: the Macbook Air is blazing fast and it’s screen is superb.

A new computer is always a good cleanup time. I never auto-migrate from a previous machine, but reinstall everything from scratch.

So, this is a good time as ever to list the applications that made it to the new machine. I may have forgotten to install a few, but this is the initial list:

General:

  • Google Chrome. The best browser in the market.
  • Apple iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote). I tried using Microsoft Office in my previous Mac, yet they were running so slow I switched to the Mac alternative. I mainly use Keynote, which beats Powerpoint; Numbers and Pages are ok apps that do the work for me.
  • Dropbox. For all my file sharing needs.
  • Kindle. The OSX version of Amazon’s reading app, where I purchase all my digital books.
  • Task Paper. A very efficient note taking app I’ve been playing with recently.
  • Skype. I hate their application, which is slow and bulky, but I still need it as a communication tool.
  • Team Viewer. For the 24/7 support when my grandma’s computer starts misbehaving.
  • True Crypt. Open source disk encryption software. I’m paranoid about my data.

Coding stuff:

  • iTerm2. Excellent terminal emulator (you probably don’t need it if you are not writing code).
  • Textmate.  An excellent text editor for coders.
  • Sequel Pro. MySql database management.
  • Balsamiq. The easiest sketching app in the market.
  • SvnX. Source control.
  • Base. SQLite3 database editor.
  • Various Ruby on Rails stuff.

I think the most interesting finding was just how few applications I really need. In fact, I could achieve almost all my daily tasks with browser based applications alone. Once, changing a computer took at least a full workday of copying documents, configurations and installing applications. Today, it takes less than two hours. Unless you blog about it.