The Great American Novel

The Great American Novel

Photo by rbieber

Just received my Amazon shipment of The Great American Novel by Keith Malley (host of Keith and the Girl). I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a while.

Update:
It looks like the book was released prematurely by Malleys publisher and is no longer available. Apparently the version on sale was not completely edited and the cover was not approved. Full explanation of what happened is available on KATG Episode #711 at around 37:40.

Machiavelli Quote on Change

I heard this Machiavelli quote on the latest edition of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership Podcast, which was a talk given by Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of HP:

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

– Niccolo Machiavelli

This was an excellent lecture and this quote really stuck with me. Change is hard, people will resist – and in many cases the person who takes the lead in introducing change is seen as an adversary who is trying to “take things away”.

The main thing being taken away, I think, is “comfort”.

The Physics of Startups – Shai Agassi

One podcast I listen to pretty religiously is the Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership podcast from Stanford University. Recently, Shai Agassi, formerly of SAP gave a talk called The Physics of Startups, which was very interesting.

There were a couple of things that stuck with me out of this talk:

  • Money for a startup is like air. You shouldn’t be concerned with it unless you are in a vaccuum. In other words, money can’t be the reason you are in business.
  • The difference between ‘success’ and ‘failure’ for a startup is microscopic. The difference between a Yahoo or Google and a failed startup could be just a matter of a few days
  • Startups need to use the “gravity” of larger companies to stay alive.
  • If you are working on anything Web 2.0 right now, its not new anymore. He compared it to a surfer catching the back of a wave. They don’t do it because all of the energy is gone by that point. “No one every caught the back of a wave and hit shore”. You need to catch a wave at its start, to utilize all of its energy. So surfers make a “bet” that the coming wave has the energy to get them to shore. The quote he uses is “If its already in WIRED, its already too late”.

It was a very interesting talk. Check it out if you have some time.

This Weeks Drunk and Retired Podcast, OS X, and Dashboard Widgets

Dave Fayram sits in with Cote this week on his podcast talking about Rails backends. This was all interesting, but what really caught my ear was the last 11 minutes or so of the podcast, where Cote and Dave start talking about using OS X in businesses, and Dave describes his all Mac office and brings up the use of Bon Jour as “their own personal twitter server” and the use of dashboard widgets to perform work in context, much of what I was thinking about when I wrote Metrics As a Side Effect last week. Its cool to see that other people are thinking about this stuff, and a shame that businesses are so stuck in the “business use” of Windows that we cannot take advantage of some of the ultimately cool things available on the Mac to increase personal productivity, such as the dashboard, Growl, and Rendezvous.

It was interesting to hear Dave talk about how “beautiful” their infrastructure is, because they have been able to focus on things aside from security, VPN, notification frameworks and the like because a lot of the things that infrastructure folks spend most of their time on are taken care of already on a Mac network.

I have to say, I am at least 5x more productive at home on my Mac than I am waiting 15 minutes for my Windows machine to boot and log into the network in the office. I tend to do my most important work off hours now, just to be able to work on a more intuitive and easier to use machine. I feel like I can concentrate more on the problem I am working on than how to do it, which again, tied into the whole Rails conversation for me.

Very interesting discussion. Excellent content. I highly recommend this one.

Calacanis Interviews Evan Williams, Co Founder of Twitter

I really enjoyed Jason’s interview with Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter, Odeo, and Blogger) especially Evan’s “lessons learned” about entrepreneurism:

1. Focus
2. Small things can become big.
3. Don’t go too wide.
4. Trust your gut.
5. Don’t do anything you aren’t absolutely passionate about.