My Career as a Series of dog eared cards.

October 15, 2007

There is one card missing from somewhere between VIBE and MP3 Impact I had a card from a Company called ElectricVillage. I for the life of me cant find any of those cards but this is more or less a complete listing of every company I’ve worked for in my adult life.


New Products GroupThe sheer intellectual horse power of the New Products Group was scary. The way its squandered even more so. The trick to innovation and new products is to push down responsibility as far into the organization as possible and then get out of the way! Corporate managers, the really smart former consultants brought in to keep the lights on and iterate on what someone else created, are poorly suited to giving up control or getting out of the way.

MP3 ImpactAfter a couple of years trying to figure out my consulting niche (I worked on projects from financial services to rap websites) I decided I was better at thinking about how to use technology, then I was building it myself. Through the editorial voice of the newsletter I could (and often did) talk to, and about, anything or anyone in the industry. It was also one of the few times I could openly call major music company executives “clueless” and get quoted rather then fired.

Addictive MediaWhen I left VIBE to do independent consulting in NYC people thought I was crazy. Turns out they were partially correct. I actually thought I would work less being on my own then working for someone else. The business treated me well enough to do it relatively seriously for 6 years. If you want to do anything urban and Internet related let me know I’ve probably got the business plans for all the urban music sites, conceived prior to 2003, on CD somewhere.

VIBE Magazine This was a dream job. Before I got the gig I knew nothing about VIBE Magazine but my sister convinced me to talk to them. Chan Suh, of fame, gave me a gig and Keith Clinkscales got me started building online businesses. Worked with a bunch of Internet old timers like Omar Waso, Bo Kemp, E. David Ellington, Kyle Shannon and a gang of others. This is back in the Pathfinder, go-go Internet, days when I was too young to get the import of being the money making Internet guy in weekly meetings with Walter Isaacson and Jim Kinsella.

Multiple Media Marketing GroupRonald David Jackson was running a print marketing business and doing pretty well when he saw change coming. I wanted to do more on Internet related work and convinced (perhaps begged?) him to hire me to help fashion a Internet strategy for his clients. I was young and had a lot to learn.

Princeton ReviewAfter college I had a degree and little else. I worked for TPR to make some cash while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Besides doing general layout and other graphic design work I taught SAT and GRE courses. The most important thing I learned while working here was Jimi Hendrix was not just for rebellious prep school kids. I had never listened to a Jimi album and I gotta tell ya that it was a life changing experience.

tsdcard.jpg Right before starting college I spent the summer as a Kirby salesman in NYC. That basically means I went door-to-door in New York City selling a $1,300 vacuum cleaner. I did alright and stuck with it for the whole summer, until I started college. This was my next job after that. I started while still in school and basically did any tech related project my fellow students were willing to pay me for.

A better review of WebOS’s

June 19, 2007

Stan Schroeder over at Frantic Industries did a more though and in-depth review of the WebOS options then the blurp i posted a few days ago If your interested in how folks are expanding the functionality and depth of web applications, this post is about as insightful as they come.

Zopa Planning a National Roll-out?

April 19, 2007

header_logo.gifI’ve been a Prosper lender since October of last year and in January I started lending on Kiva as well but my online lending trifecta wont be complete until I can gamble on human hope using Zopa. Zopa is an online market place for lending to other folks much like Prosper in reverse. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the coming of Zopa but despite all the funding noise and media attention they havent made it to the US.

Well that may be about to change. According to an email they sent out this morning they are getting ready to launch, not just in the California as they originally stated, but nationally. With Zopa I’ll be able to loan money for as little as 6 months and further diversity my portfolio of person to person loans. From purely social lending on Kiva to the modestly social lending on Prosper and wholly economic lending on Zopa, I am becoming a banking institution $100 at a time.

The Fear of Innovation Explained in 3 min

February 9, 2007

While exploring GooTube I came across this humorous blueprint of how a company can be its own worse enemy. companies erase innovation through . Taken as a metaphor for the innovation process, it highlights a bunch of steps that get in the way of a great product. Even more amazing is this video was made by the good folks in Redmond.

Innovation is the hard to achieve because ultimately it requires a leap of faith. An emotional connection to an idea or ideal that is so strong it transcends the available information and may in fact contradict it. Its this leap of faith that management cant make, especially when their 401k’s, titles, and careers are on the line.

Business management is a pseudo-science that attempts to establish and maintaining order by institutionalizing processes that allow for control. Innovation is a pseudo-religion that resists control and requires the same faith in its existence that all gods have, since humans started creating them.

Formula for Entrepreneurial Success in EU

December 8, 2006

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Our friends across the pond have pulled together some stats about what makes a successful entrepreneur in the EU. The stats are culled from surveys that were conducted by the National Statistics Institutes of 15 countries in the EU. The goals of the survey was to identify some FOBS (factors of business success), which to them means your business survived for 3 years with the same founder/entrepreneur involved in the running the show.

So, what did they find? 1) You dont need experience in the area to be successful. 2) Most of the entrepreneurs found dealing with customers and the details of running their businesses to be the biggest headache, which is just kinda funny. The younger the entrepreneur the faster the business was likely to grow. While women found it easier to get paid for invoices then men, male entrepreneurs felt better about getting to profitability then the women. My favorite finding from the report is that the more degrees the entrepreneur had, the more likely they were to claim their business was “innovative”.

Its an interesting report check it out here.

10 CEO’s, 5 Questions, 1 Big Insight

May 16, 2006

What does it take to build a business that gets a whole meme named after it? How do you get to be part of the Web 2.0 goodness that has been exploding all over the media? I dont know, but the web does provide access to lots of people that do. I contacted 10 of them for their answers to these questions and more.

Firing up my email program, along with a bit of courage, I emailed the founders of 10 different companies a series of questions about how they started their businesses and any lessons they'd picked-up along the way. I expected to get a few cruel letters of rejection and disdain from some overworked PR flack distrustful of blogs and unsure of their validity or usefulness. Instead, six founders running some of the Webs most interesting companies (at least the ones I use most often) agreed to chat with me.

Score: Indie Blogger 1, PR Flacks 0! Read the rest of this entry »

D’oh! Opps! My Bad! I had to renew?

March 15, 2006


While trying to add a few recent web finds to my bookmarks I kept getting a strange error, “Domain not registered”. I thought perhaps I had typed the wrong address so I tried it again. I double checked the spelling , I looked for other links on the web, I tried accessing the root domain. Nothing worked!, one of my favorite bookmarking sites has apparently forgotten to pay its domain registration and been kicked offline.
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New Thinking for New Markets #1

February 20, 2006

There is a reason that MBA’s and the large companies that tend to employ them, in general, suck at being entrepreneurial. It’s no secret that in exchange for 2 years of your life and $100 thousand dollars, a top business school will train you to think in a way that large companies around the world find tremendously valuable. You will be able to do a SWOT analysis , calculate NPV , quantify risk, run Monte Carlo simulations and generate more decks, of dizzying complexity, then the average employee. However, the average MBA will get no classes on making a decision in the face of uncertainty, no cases on thinking like a successful entrepreneur, no training in innovative problem solving. This deficit in MBA programs, reinforced at most big companies, arises not because innovation requires some “special sauce” or because entrepreneurship involves a genetic predisposition coupled with Powerball level luck. These limits are the result of a mode of thinking called “causal thinking” or “causal reasoning” and it is this manner of thinking that can most limit innovation and reduce entrepreneurial action .

If you work in a large company, causal thinking should be very familiar to you. It is a process that starts with the definition of a goal (generally static and imposed from above) and an assumed set of means or capabilities (narrowly constrained to core competencies in most organizations). The causal thinker selects the best option from among a given set of “means” to achieve the desired goal. In other words the casual thinker connects a series of dots between a set of given means and some pre-determined optimal end. In the causal model the future has to be predicted (using research or other analytics) in order for a controllable set of options to arise, from which they can cherry picking the most favorable path.

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Surprisingly Media Companies Fear Chasing Tail

February 14, 2006

I’m thinking of a buzzword (well actually a phrase). Its mention may inspire some of your peers and strike fear in the hearts of others. This phrase could be used to bring the excitement of Conker to a larger audience or profitably shine a spotlight on the thrill of Chess boxing. It’s a word that could be used to vilify the backward ways of luddite media elitists, bent on aggregating mass audiences with homogenized content or laud the visionary action of online retailers willing to sell anything in a desperate (but valiant) effort to stay in business.The phrase I’m thinking of is the Long Tail. That’s right, it has gone from being a mere buzzword used to spice up executive presentations, to a fully capitalized noun (big L, big T). Yet it remains a poorly understood concept by either its many excited fans or its few detractors.

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