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"Most people I know went to graduate school of some sort. Grad school warps your brain. There should be “un-Grad” schools that gets your brain back into balance. Grad school intensifies your brain into a very specific area, whatever area it is, and that’s enforced by the fact that all the people around you are being warped as well. Thank god I got thrown out of graduate school."

http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/10/i-surrender/

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Moneyball decision making

There is a part in moneyball where the general manager, Billy Beane, finally assembles his winning team. Then, the coach doesn’t “buy in” and plays all the wrong players which completely throws off the whole system. It reminded me of politics and mismanaged companies.

I wish I knew more about politics and the economy, but to me it has always been weird how many different opinions are just gobbled into one and that creates the rules and regulations we live by. I have always kinda had this feeling that if we took a guy that new a ton about the economy and said “Go fix the economy” it would be more successful. Basically, it’s hard to execute your vision when people don’t agree with it.

This is a key point to make for startups. If you find a co-founder that believes in your vision and agrees to make decisions based on those standards, decision making is simple. You almost always agree and your product isn’t fragmented. Also, when you hire, you need to find people that “buy in” 100%. It’s fine for them to be free thinkers, but stay on point. Don’t hire a republican when you are a team of democrats.

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Every time you hear someone complain about the weather, show them this video.

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"The key to happiness is having dreams, the key to success is fulfilling them"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhmzmOwkRuM&feature=pyv&ad=7879205324&kw=%20skydiving

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Babies should do startups

I just watched this ted talk about how babies think. I’ve always found it interesting that our “divergent thinking” decreases over time. Basically, the more we know, the less we can even fathom alternate solutions.

So, babies would make great co-founders! The presenter believes that babies are making complex calculations in their heads in order to discover how the world works. This is essentially trial and error. This mirrors some lean startup methodologies about creating a hypothesis, continually getting feedback, then iterating until you find success.

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Be Skinny

Is getting funded overrated? Is running out of money really the leading cause of death for a startup?

I seem to take a skinny approach on this. People recently have become overly obsessed with getting funded. Sure, you get press coverage, become a “real” company, it proves you are working on something decent, that you have a great team, but it still doesn’t mean you will be successful.

"If we have enough money to get to the point of Minimum Viable Revenue Producing Product, then we will be fine, and if it’s not working, then running out of money will be a brick wall that was going to come eventually."

The point of funding is to scale once you have reached product market fit, not to give you a runway that allows you to pivot 5 times. I think it shows more confidence in your MVP to wait to get funding, then once you have traction, of course you can shoot for a higher valuation. 

Get to MVRPP first!

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ADD

Adderall is crazy in college. I know this happens at other schools. Although I can make the assumption drugs were more prevalent in Tucson, the pressure for success is higher at Ivy league colleges, so I imagine it evens out. It’s a MUCH bigger problem than people care to realize and the drug is essentially cocaine. I remember girls getting sick from forgetting to eat and emotional when they came down from it after their test.

(Side story: One time I was at a girls house and her friend just came home from a test and wanted to go eat. We all voted to go to baggins sandwiches, but she wanted to go to some salad place (of course, cause she wasn’t hungry). They were RIGHT next to each other, but she started hysterically crying because nobody would go with her)

Anyways, that isn’t what this post is about. I want to know why America as a whole isn’t setting up a system where a 21 year old, working her ass off at such a peak time in her life, isn’t putting her brain power toward meaningful work? Instead, college students put so much stress on their bodies and minds to memorize the gods and goddesses for a difficult Classics 305 class, Western Studies or even a weed out class like Accounting 101.

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Wood Words

Quote from Adrian Foster, Houston Texan Running back, today. He said “Growing up everybody told me I couldn’t do it, I was too slow, I didn’t have a chance. I called those my wood words. I threw those on the fire and it made it burn more fiercely.”

I like seeing people with chips on their shoulders do well

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Quick Rant: College is overrated

I can’t write about this topic enough. I am completely baffled when I see these articles pointing toward the value of college in long term success.

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE GO TO COLLEGE. COLLEGE DOES NOT CREATE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE.

I just don’t get how people doing these studies can’t see this. I just read an article saying that “Not only do college grads have better lifetime earnings, they excercise more and are more driven and passionate.”

Seriously? You have got to be kidding me. You think that is because they went to college? 

Like I’ve said before. Talk to a high school student that is about to graduate and have them rank their fellow students as “most likely to succeed”. You will see an almost EXACT correlation between this list and a list of who is and isn’t going to college. 

This pro-college propaganda is absurd. Colleges are taking advantage of 18 year olds and their parents like payday loan companies take advantage of poor people.

I can’t wait for technology to kill college.

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Is it bad that technologists aren’t politicians?

Some are, but relative to the business leaders of past eras, nerds aren’t as active in our nations policy. I remember seeing coverage of obama coming to SV to meet with zuckerburg, jobs and others. He was coming to them, not the other way around.

I just watched this great video of Fred Wilson interviewing Carlota Perez (worth the 20 min). It got me thinking. Is it bad that dinosaurs, people in finance, and CEO’s in big business are the ones making the political decisions for our country? Should tech leaders be taking a stronger stance? 

I think they should. Technology needs to be a bigger focus. It has the capabilities to solve all of our nations problems, yet dinosaurs focus on old world problems with the deficit, job creation, government intervention to create demand and consumption.

It scares me that the personality type in the tech sector doesn’t fit in washington. Am I wrong in saying that nerds are too passive? Either way, we need more pro-innovation, pro-technology, pro-entrepreneurship viewpoints in politics.

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Who is going to be the Spotify of TV?

I am surprised I haven’t heard of a handful of companies preparing for the “Smart TV” market. TV’s are dumb right now and there are apple rumors, so you know it’s coming. 

It’s actually crazy how dumb TV’s are. I walk over, turn it on, scan through the guide looking for something, click on it and watch. The only changes have been on-demand and a guide that doesnt scroll automatically? Wow. No interaction. No internet. No friends to communicate with. I need to have my laptop or phone with me. And have you ever said “I wonder if someone saw that?”

Who is going to be the spotify of TV? In 5 years the experience will be more like this. I turn on the TV, I’m instantly notified which of my favorite shows are on. I’m told which of my friends are online and as I scroll through the guide I can see what they are watching. Furthermore, I can interact. Oh, 5 of my friends are watching Sportscenter, I can group chat something like “Wow, the mariners suck.”

I also envision some mobile to TV fun. Someone needs to take Preplay to the next level and build it on top of facebook (If I wasnt working on omnom this is the startup I would want to build). I’m usually with about 2% of my friends when watching a sporting event. This will push 100% as we all join the same room to chat and compete using our cell phones with the tv integrated.

Just look at what is happening on places like Justin.tv. I was in a room where someone was streaming an NFL game (illegally) and there was around 1000 people. There were awesome debates and interaction going on. Whoever thinks that TV is just something you do when you want to lay on the couch and drool will be left in the dust. Soon, I think we will be spending more time on the couch and less in the computer chair.

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The most controversial iPhone app

Every day we have complex calculations in order to make decisions. Sometimes, it’s as easy as-

safeway mayonnaise is $3.45 and the miracle brand is $4.25. Is the $.80 worth the better taste, easy to use container and what it says about me that I buy expensive mayonnaise?

Our brains do the calculations quickly and we usually have some “cached” data that helps us - “I always buy the cheapest.”

But sometimes our decisions have so many variables. Something like “Should I go out to the bars tonight?” 

For me, I ask myself three questions. How much is it going to cost? How much time is it going to take? How much fun is it going to be? The last one is really the most important. What if you kept track of these variables for all different types of activities. Then, when faced with a decision, you could “calculate” what is your best option on a Saturday night.

It’s really an absurd idea, but it could not only have value for its decision making ability, but help answer the question “What should I do today?” By integrating with your bank account, schedule, past check ins, and facebook likes, all you would really need to do is rate how much fun an event was. 

After bringing up such an idea my psychology majoring sister immediately called me an ass hole. I agree that thinking of events simply in $ and fun value is rude, but it’s just a helper, it’s not like you are going to skip grandma’s birthday because the app says all other alternatives have more value.

Programs are collecting a remarkable amount of personal data that could lead to applications that help us maximize happiness. Think about how much online dating allows us to find more suitable mates. I can imagine this increasing, and one day being able to have a computer tell me who in the United States I should marry to optimize happiness. Scary, huh?

This is the direction we are headed. Computers love data, and there are endless possibilities once it’s collected.

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Everyone is selfish

Selfish is defined as someone who is only concerned with themselves, or lacks consideration for others. Lets stick to the first part of that definition.

Traditionally:

Unselfish = Someone who volunteers on the weekends or donates to charity.

Selfish = Someone who doesn’t let a car go in front of them or tips poorly at restaurants.

But when you dig deeper, both of these types of people are selfish, it’s just that we are all have different incentives and what triggers dopamine for one person doesn’t always trigger it for the next. There is no such thing as “an unselfish act.”

When my mom volunteers her time for a Seattle non-profit called REWA, she is doing this in order to gain a dopamine release through acknowledgement from her peers, being able to see refuge women succeed because of her hard work, or a personal sense of accomplishment. 

Even our most outward facing, helpful behaviors have personal benefit. I think this is really the secret sauce to “world peace”. What if everyone got the same dopamine release from helping others as my mom does?

(Side note: The tv show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is a hilarious take on selfish and unselfish activities. Larry David plays a wealthy character who constantly battles with these funny activities that society says are selfish/unselfish, but he does things his own way)

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