January 24, 2002

Human Clock

I just got turned on to HumanClock. Gotta love it, very creative, without being pushy. Thanks to Seth Godin for the link. By the way, whatever happened to Collaborative Filtering? It's a filter based on the simple observation that people with similar preferences will tend to be interested in the same things. Is it something that has only migrated into personalization systems like Amazon.com's book recommendation system? Or is it an idea that has fallen out of favor? Sure, there are some problems, namely, that someone has to be on your site long enough for you to get an idea of their preferences. But I think that the idea is still largely untapped.
Posted by dsifry at 9:30 AM | View blog reactions

January 22, 2002

Tipping Point

I've been listening to Malcolm Gladwell on KQED. What a great speaker. I really enjoyed his book, The Tipping Point and it turns out he's just as fun in real life (well at least on the radio). It turns out that he's written tons of stuff for The New Yorker, too. I'm looking forward to reading all of the archive, but I'd better do it slowly to enjoy it.
Posted by dsifry at 12:46 PM | View blog reactions

January 21, 2002


I've been working on an secure web-based document management system, called Projectdocs. The basic premise is the following: Need to share documents? Work in geographically disperse teams? Having a hard time keeping track of the most up-to-date documents? Like to be able to get to your documents wherever you are? Wouldn't it be great if...

  • All the versions of your documents were automatically saved somewhere?
  • You got a short descriptive email whenever someone added or updated a document?
  • It was easy to invite other people to collaborate?
  • This was all self-serve, without having to talk with someone in MIS or IT?
Posted by dsifry at 8:58 AM | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

January 18, 2002

Rules for Entrepreneurs

I've just gotten back from a week on the east coast - first I was at the NCTP Industry & Academia portfolio meeting, went up to NYC to see some family, and then went back to Baltimore, good old charm city, to give a speech on entrepreneurship to a class at Johns Hopkins, my alma mater. I did a presentation called Rules for Entrepreneurs. It is a collection of stories and hard-earned experiences I've learned in my experiences as a consultant and as founder and executive of Securemote, Linuxcare, and Sputnik. In a tribute to Guy Kawasaki, one of the entrepreneurs and evangelists I've had tremendous respect for (from way back in the Macintosh days), I made a Top 15 list: Rules for Entrepreneurs 15. Never fear mistakes. 14. There are no dumb questions. 13. Serendipity is your friend. 12. Know yourself. 11. Know your customer. Listen. 10. Know your competition. 9. Vision is easy. Execution is hard. 8. Focus, focus, focus! 7. Get a great team. 6. Don't forget your friends. 5. Understand your business model. 4. Never ask someone to do something you wouldn't do yourself. 3. Do Good. 2. Do it because you love it. 1. Dream. You can change the world. And 5 practical tips: 1. Incorporate in Delaware. 2. Everybody vests. 3. Do your own due diligence. 4. Beware of nepotism. 5. Get an employment contract! Maybe I'll write up a short description on each point sometime, if anyone is interested...
Posted by dsifry at 2:22 PM | Comments (1) | View blog reactions

January 8, 2002

So you wanna be a high-tech entrepreneur?

So you wanna be a hi-tech entrepreneur? Oy, it's a huge pain in the ass. First off, you've got to come up with the idea. Then you've got to bring together the team. You communicate the idea with the team, and you iterate, iterate, iterate. Then you come up with the business plan and its close cousin, the presentation (or preso, as we like to call it). Think you're doing well? Ha! You're not even started. You've got to get the lawyers and if you're lucky, they'll work at a discount, or even defer fees until you get funded. Then you've got to work on the pitch, which i everything. You've got to display a clear, concise story about the idea, but this time tailoring it to whomever you're talking with, be they customers, investors, potential employees or vendors. After all, this is all about creating something from nothing which is scratch-your-head-silly, if you really sit down and think about it. Someone was talking on a financial radio show today, and they asked, "Everyone's talking about this loss of wealth in the past few years, and before that they were talking about all of this wealth that was created during the thriving economy. Where did all that wealth go? Whose mattresses are bulging?" Well, that's just another way of looking at the fact that the best entrepreneurs create something from nothing. Forget all this bullshit about "increased productivity this", and "lowered costs that", and "more efficient that-other-thing". The most amazing thing is that wealth gets created when someone, through hard work, a good idea, and a lot of bullshit, actually pulls a rabbit from out of his ass. This rant begs the question, "so where did all that wealth go in the last 12 months?" Why, the rabbits crawled right back up into a whole lot of asses.
Posted by dsifry at 2:12 AM | View blog reactions