At a simple level two things have kept Google from becoming Yahoo as it’s aged. The first is continuing to innovate — more or less. It may have missed social, but thanks to Android it’s one of the most important companies in the smartphone world. This is to say nothing of wild, GIVE ME THAT NOW! investments in things like Google Fiber, Google Glass, and self-driving cars.
The second practice doesn’t get as much attention, but it is equally important: The discipline to shut things down to focus on where the market is going. Google created Checkout as a competitor to PayPal, and while thousands of merchants use it, it never became a market leader. So Google has just announced it is going to shut down Google Checkout to focus on where the market is going — mobile. Google will focus development on Google Wallet instead, even as the division’s leader leaves the company and plans for a physical Google Wallet card have been put on hold.
8 questions to ask yourself before *applying* to (not even joining) a startup.
8 questions to ask yourself before *applying* to (not even joining) a startup. Why before applying? Because not knowing the answers to these questions, or worse, not having even considered them, makes it much harder for the person hiring you to believe that you’re truly interested.
- What kind of startup do I want to work in? This one’s actually the hardest as here are many angles to consider: B2C v B2B. Fashion vertical vs social networking vs ad tech etc. A swing-for-the-fences business versus a lifestyle business. A startup driven more by community, or by product, or by marketing? An easy way to start is to list all the companies that you’re interested and try to find their commonalities.
- What role am I interested in? A shocking number of people will apply to multiple roles at the same time. I made this mistake myself. But put yourself in the role of the hiring manager: do you want the person who kind of wants to do BD but also marketing and also product? Or do you want the person who’s intensely passionate about the specific job you’re hiring for? Easy. The quickest ways to figure out the roles you’re interested in are to (a) read a bunch of job descriptions for similar types of roles, eg business development associate; and (b) to talk to people actually in those roles/attend their Skillshare classes/read their blogs.
- What kind of work culture do I want? Warning: the culture of startups, despite its portrayal in the media, varies far more from company to company than does the culture between various investment banks and consulting firms. Foursquare does Tie Tuesdays. At HowAboutWe, we have a company paintball retreat. Different style. There are startups that have work-from-home Fridays and others that have a consistent 9am-to-7pm, Mon-Fri schedule and still more that have irregular hours. How much people work, how intensely they work, and how much coordination is needed is a huge swing factor. Not like banking where you basically know you’re going to work an 80-plus-hour week, largely through super late nights.
- Do my values align with those of the founders? This is closely connected to the culture question, but a bit deeper-seated. For me, the work ethic, desire to dream big and drive to learn of the two HowAboutWe founders was a dead match. Without the alignment of those things, for me, it would have been difficult for me to sustain interest in the company, because experience had taught me that those qualities were in large part what made me succeed in the workplace. Those will be different for everyone, but a good way to check for this once you know what your values are is to read lots of interviews with the founders.
- How many people do I want to work with, both directly and indirectly? HowAboutWe functioned really different at 5, 20, 40, 50 people. Do you want to be the only person in your function in a smaller company? Prefer to be part of a bigger team? Want to be more of a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist? Rule of thumb: smaller company = more jack-of-all-trades. Beyond employee 20, rare to get to work across more than 2 functions (in my experience).
- Am I excited about this company and this opportunity rather than just escaping my current job, or pursuing the dream of startup abstractly? Wanting a work environment where you feel you have more of an impact is a completely worthy desire, and a motivation I see a lot (and had myself). That said, there are many workplaces that aren’t startups where you can have and see that impact - make sure those aren’t a better fit.
- How will I react if this company hits a slow period, or worse, a down period? It won’t all be rosy, even for the “overnight successes”. Imagine what it will feel like to see flat or declining month-over-month growth and make sure you’ve got the stomach for it. It will happen.
- What is the likely growth trajectory of this company, and how do I see myself fitting into that? If the company’s main challenge is a data problem, but you want to do BD, make sure that you think through your own desired trajectory and whether the needs of the company will fit where you want to go. This is a tough one because with startups it’s often hard to see where they’ll go. At HowAboutWe, I was pretty clear that the challenge was user acquisition - i didn’t know early on that it’d be paid acquisition, but I know that was a problem I could grow with and continue to tackle.
My go-to wine
Last week I was out with one of our ad partners, and as often happens, ended up being the one choosing the wine. I happen to love what the Italians describe as “masculine” wine - the types of wine that you’d describe as leathery, or tasting of tobacco. I was devastated to find that my dinner companion would drink anything…except that kind of wine.
I was in luck though - the restaurant had a number of bottles from La Spinetta, a family-run vineyard I visited in Italy and whose whole range of wine I love despite only a few of them being these so called masculine wines (like this amazing, special-occasion-only barolo).
The Langhe Nebbiolo was excellent as far as fruitier but still full-bodied red wines go…and it got me thinking about starting a separate tumblr just about wines I love enough to buy by the case. Or would you guys want that just in-stream like once every week/two weeks here?
Skinny is the new “baby,’ as in baby carrots [and] baby spinach,” said Kit Yarrow, a consumer-research psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University. “It personifies food and makes it more endearing.
Indeed, the teens queried in the study aren’t leaving Facebook. Rather, they feel burdened by it, a necessity of existing online in the 21st century. “While Facebook is still deeply integrated in teens’ everyday lives,” the report stated, “it is sometimes seen as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform that teens can claim as their own.”
My darling David,
Don’t let these earthly considerations stand in the way of our relationship. Getting to know Tumblr has been the biggest joy of my life. I have never felt so young, so alive, so full of hope for the future as when I am watching your metrics rise exponentially each day.
Creamy Margarita Popsicles
• 1¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes), plus 4 limes for stabilizing the popsicle sticks
• 1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup water
• ¼ cup tequila
• 2 tablespoons orange juice (optional)
• Kosher salt or margarita salt
You will also need:
• 12 (3oz) cups
• Small popsicle sticks or craft spoons
• A pitcher or large cocktail shaker
1. In a pitcher or large cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, water, tequila, and orange juice. It is important to combine the ingredients in a container that has a spout because it will make it much easier to pour the mix into cups.
2. Line out the cups on a baking sheet. Fill each cup 90% of the way with the tequila mixture.
3. Slice the limes into ¼ inch thick rounds. Push a craft spoon through the center of each lime round, so that half of the stick pokes out from each side. Top the mixture with the lime sticks. Make sure the lime is resting directly on top of the tequila mixture.
4. Freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight. When ready to remove the popsicles from the cups, simply snip a small cut in the rim of each cup and peel them away from the popsicle. Place the popsicles onto a dish with crushed ice to keep them from melting too quickly, Sprinkle the tops generously with salt, and serve.
comes from employee #2, practically the co-founder: Marco Arment