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 @CraigBenson , you are not getting the reference. Little brother = Mark Zuckerberg, big sister = Randi Zuckerberg. And in this case big sister is a former Facebook exec, founder of a media company, and a PRODUCER for crappy TV. People can judge her work all they want, but she's definitely accomplishing things.

2 years ago on Smart People Can Denounce Bravo’s “Silicon Valley” All They Want, the Wantrapreneur Douchebags Will Still Love It

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If it's successful it may generate annoying questions from far away friends and relatives, but it's not "so dangerous" to our precious ecosystem. You're giving it way too much credit to believe "this cultural injection of frivolity will not be undone for a long time." Just like I doubt this nanny show is dangerous for real nannies, nanny employers, or really anyone. Many industries have survived reality TV misrepresentation relatively unscathed, and I think Silicon Valley will be just fine. I think it's best if we all just relax.

 

It's also worth considering that little brother's $100B IPO is far more likely to cause an invasion of "wantrapreneur douchebags" than big sister's Bravo TV show. 

2 years ago on Smart People Can Denounce Bravo’s “Silicon Valley” All They Want, the Wantrapreneur Douchebags Will Still Love It

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Aaron Sorkin is a hack? Mark Zuckerberg COULDN'T have been insecure in college? Social networking was a boring "old hat" business by 2004?

 

Maybe the best question is whether anyone believes this, or whether this post is just meant to drum up pageviews.

2 years, 1 month ago on Can You Handle the Truth? Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie is Going to be a Disaster

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As a recent purchaser of the Fitbit and Aria (Fitbit's connected scale/body fat % monitor), I've done some thinking about this. Here's what I think the industry needs to solve:

 

1) How can you reduce the friction of using the products? Fitbit is fairly unobtrusive, but not unobtrusive enough. It's too big, too easy to lose, and too easy to destroy. The wrist version (Up, Fuelband) are even worse in this regard. I get the marketing, but not everyone wants to announce that they're wearing fitness censors. Syncing, as cited in the article, needs to be totally automatic. Along the same lines, how good is the UX? This is one area where Fitbit has largely impressed me. The web interface is pretty slick and generally works well. I suspect Jawbone can nail this one too. This is refreshing because a lot of industries never get this one right. But on the hardware side, sensor technology and cost needs to improve so there's less of me telling the Fitbit what I've done, and more of the reverse.

2) How do you make people care? This is where I disagree with the premise of this article. To have a major impact we need to see huge demand for these things, and while great sensors and a slick UX will help, I'm just not sure everyone cares enough about preventative health and exercise. That's not to say there is a sizable group that can make this a very profitable business for Fitbit, Jawbone, etc., but how can we get everyone and their overweight uncle using this? There are all kinds of creative solutions such as insurance incentives, social (I'm skeptical of this one), etc., but it's a huge challenge. Charles Duhigg released a book earlier this year called The Power of Habit where he descrbies the incredible marketing success it took to get Americans to use toothpaste. I suppose anything's possible!

3) What's the business model? Some people may think subscription is the long term solution, but I'm partial to the Apple model of high margins on the hardware supported by great software. Switching costs are going to be fairly high since they'll hold significant data you've been collecting over time. Improvements in sensor technology may be enough to drive frequent upgrade cycles. 

 

But hey, that's just three things. Technology moves fast, and I hope we're all wearing amazing, totally unobtrusive fitness and health censors on 24/7 in the near future. In the meantime I'm enjoying my Fitbit.

2 years, 2 months ago on Fitness Tech Needs to Pick Up the Pace

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 @Woivis , how can you say those are not MBA managed companies? The CEOs of Apple (Tim Cook), Intel (Paul Otellini), HP (Meg Whitman) all have their MBAs, and Steve Ballmer dropped out of Stanford GSB. And you don't have to look far in other top tech companies to see key leadership that hold the degree, such as Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook. This article is really about startups, and it's going to be a tough sell to say that MBAs aren't successful in more established tech companies.

2 years, 2 months ago on Everyone’s Convinced That MBAs Are Useless, So Now Might Be a Good Time to Hire Them

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Disclosure - I have an MBA (MIT) and a BS in computer science (UIUC) -  and unlike Scott Thompson, I'm not lying.

The idea that you should never hire MBAs should strike any smart person as silly, because it presupposes that all MBAs are the same. MBAs, like any other group, have a diverse set of skills, abilities, and ambitions. They can be good at marketing, finance, management, engineering(!), etc., or they can be good at nothing. While I didn't go to business school during the heady days in the 90s, I suspect it was even wrong then to assume that all MBAs were unfit for startup success. I think nabeelhyatt has it right that you just need to interview the person like anyone else. Yes that credential should signal that they have a broad (but not necessarily deep) set of business knowledge, but make them prove that they fit your needs in the interview. And once they're hired, the degree shouldn't mean jack anyway, just like a Stanford engineer should have to prove himself like anyone else.

And if that's how Aaron Patzer wants to value a startup, I'd suggest against hiring him as your CFO ;)

2 years, 2 months ago on Everyone’s Convinced That MBAs Are Useless, So Now Might Be a Good Time to Hire Them

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