Tuesday, July 31, 2007

confirmed by the wsj: cats like rabbit meat

WSJ reporter, Charles Forelle, had obviously caught my earlier post of a cat tormented with live rabbit flesh, only to be scolded by its master.

Now the Murdoch Journal is reporting a boom in bunny meat being prepared, frozen, and shipped to cat owners. We can only assume that the raw Thumper is for their cats.

Thanks to the Chinese kibble scare combined with the undeniable appeal of succulent rabbit flesh, one entrepreneur is "selling about 1,000 pounds of raw rabbit each week."

That's a lot of rabbit.

Her company also happens to be called Hare Today (one can only hope her logo has Gone Tomorrow written beneath it.)

She even got a coveted WSJ hedcut (I'd have given her one for the punny company name alone). Bravo, Tracy.

(Thanks to nekoniku for submitting this)

*This entry was originally submitted with an unnecessary apostrophe in the title. Apologies to all the English majors this left writhing in pain at the sight of this glaring error.

Monday, July 30, 2007

feeling toxic? scientology has a cure



This isn't the sort of thing I expected to be handed on a walk through Midtown. Then I realized there's a church of Scientology right down the street from my office. Maybe one of these days I'll go in...

What I like most about this quiz is that even "If you've answered "Yes" to 3 or less [sic] of the above questions," you could still "have a level of accumulated toxins" that presumably require cleansing.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel "spaced out" or experience a drug "flasback."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

cat + bunnies = ???

It starts out looking innocent enough...

mascots are cool again

I was lucky that Steve was in a good mood when I insisted that our -- at this point yet to be created -- startup ought to have a mascot. I showed him the alien doodle I'd made (while bored in marketing class, of all things) and rendered with a cracked shareware copy of PSP 5.

Our mascot has come a long way, but even then it still wasn't a very popular thing to do on a website. Perhaps folks were still smarting from the Pets.com sock puppet. I couldn't blame them, really.

But just today I learned of a new mascot and its startup, eSwarm.

I'd rather not waste your time explaining what the site does and instead point out its logo.

I suspect it's a locust. I hear they can be quite potent in swarms: +20 points.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

the internet is for porn

(It must be Saturday.)

In case you needed further proof, or thought that reddit was above that sort of thing, Chris "Statman" Slowe recently pulled the numbers of the most common Google queries that brought users to reddit. It's not a list of search queries you'd likely find scrolling on the LCDs at the Googleplex. To quote Chris, "I'm not going to comment on it. Draw your own conclusions..."

5615 reddit
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358 nude actress
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205 reddit.com
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133 nude indian actresses
125 couples having sex
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115 google
95 nude hollywood actress
88 sex
84 hedwig dies
82 simple nudes
78 300 full movie
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71 spanish royal sex cartoon
71 nude bollywood actresses
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54 porntube
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50 nsfw video
47 sexy emma watson
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41 emma watson%27s boobs
39 watch friends online
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38 youhentai
37 youtube to mpeg
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36 hentai youtube
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35 google blog
34 friendster-layout.com
33 asin nude
32 abby winters
31 moe hay ko
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31 family porno
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30 spiderman pics.com
30 perfect boobs
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28 galbaldia hotel
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27 free online sex games
26 watch are you afraid of the dark
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22 no knickers
21 redd.it
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20 wtc7
20 track-your-partner.com
20 totally nsfw
20 site: science.reddit.com/info/

Friday, July 27, 2007

alexis doodles

OK, so I can't actually draw. My medium is pixel.

The moral of this story? Always use Photoshop/Illustrator for your logo.

Maybe I'll keep this role-reversal going and try writing reddit code next week...


The auction of our two laptops ended yesterday. I am happy to announce that it raised $1,124 for the American Brain Tumor Association.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

steve doodles

Most people only know of Steve as the hacker who built reddit, but he also has a natural gift for art. Alas, the tiny region of the logo doesn't do this kind of talent justice, so here it is. It'd make a great desktop wallpaper:

(The alien did not consent to having that written on its chest)

t-minus 3 hours until brain tumors are obliterated

How's that for a headline? OK, not really, but the eBay auction of our "these built reddit" powerbooks is going to be ending soon. Hurry and get your bids in now, or just wait to snipe it at the end.

If you're the one who keeps sniping me out of my Aliens collectible action figures, know that I'll find you. One day.

Incidentally, it might be fun to watch in the closing minutes (like that kiko auction!) so tune in at 2:01:17pm Eastern.

Thanks again for your support, be it through your casual interest, or through link-spamming the auction URL.

web 2.0 flashback

I was quite pleased to find a bit of Internet fluff I'd put together a while back resurface on the front page of reddit yesterday.

It was my proposal for a more web 2.0 reddit. Pity we never followed through with it. (Steve's always been adamant about making a blah blah useful blah blah site and not a trendy one) It's that kind of narrow mindedness that will keep him from ever getting an MBA.

Anyway, this eventually spiralled out of control -- not unlike a TAG MAELSTROM (usage note: it's important write this in all caps). The end result was this video (honest, I did work on reddit somtimes, too!). The style was obviously stolen from Colbert's The Wørd, but the inspiration was from a demo we saw one day in the Valley. I asked Aaron to write the slides and I had all the material I needed for the blowhard :)

To continue with the tradition of unearthing and recycling old content, meet Pierre Francois, Web 2.0 design consultant & guru (apologies if you already saw this -- a year ago):

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

chris doodles

Chris left behind the world of experimental atomic physics to hack on reddit. Sucker...

He's also the guy behind our nifty homebrew stat tools, which has earned him the nickname of "Statman" (like Batman, but not the lame 60s TV show version, more like the Christian Bale version). We're also collaborating on building the world's first functioning lightsaber -- it's not as clumsy or as random as a blaster, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

And by "collaborating," I mean I'm just telling him about how cool it would be, then he tells me about the limits of blah blah physics blah blah lasers blah blah. Hmpf.

Dr. Slowe did not get his PhD in graphic design.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

jeremy doodles

Jeremy joined us shortly after we moved reddit out west with Wired. I asked him, along with Chris and Steve, to quickly doodle the alien with a sharpie on some printer paper.

Little did they know I'd be using it as an excuse to not do work.

So while they're busy finishing the rewrite, I'm displaying their artwork in a 120x40px logo. Here it is in high-rez scan for your viewing pleasure:

Drawing the alien freehand is harder than it looks.

Oh, and don't worry, I'm not going to try and sell the originals on eBay for charity.

Monday, July 23, 2007

a fresh start

I've never kept it a secret that I was the one who created our mascot (it's vital to my job security). But the guys are actually quite the doodlers themselves, so I thought we'd try the logo again with some new artists.

The added bonus of this is that I am off the hook for another week's worth of doodles (work).

Oh, and I can celebrate reuniting with my lost luggage, a mere 23 days later than desired. There I was trying to enjoy my first proper (read: Internet-less) vacation in a couple years and Alitalia decided I ought to buy an ill-fitting collection of Italian clothes. Really, those pants are a whole new kind of tight. Shudder.

Fortunately, I flew with my Jamglue shirt on, so I was already turning a few heads -- especially after wearing it for a solid thirty-six hours straight.

edit: I've just learned that Alitalia is actually Italian for "Lost luggage? Deal with it yourself -- you're in Italy now and we're all on vacation." Fancy that.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

thanks for your help

This isn't just for those of you I pestered to vote up my reddit link (it wasn't just for the karma, honest). It was even submitted to digg.

I greatly appreciate all the attention this auction has already gotten thanks to the support of many anonymous users and a few not-so-anonymous ones (we're already just shy of $1000 at the time of this writing).

Valleywag did me a solid with a post mentioning the auction. The esteemed Scottkidder.com even blogged about it. Oh, Gizmodo gave a shoutout, too.

TechCrunch's Nick Gonzalez also showed us some love as well and even added my warning -- "Luck not included".

There wasn't much chatter on Valleywag or Scottkidder.com, but Techcrunch had a healthy bit of discussion. Sadly, I can't manage to comment on the article due to my own technical incompetence. If it had been working, I would have said the following:

to Francisco
I'm sorry to hear that. Thanks for for writing; I know this modest bit of fundraising will do little to end this terrible affliction, but I tell myself that every little bit helps.

to gettit
While I appreciate your cynicism, this decision was not motivated by a desire for personal exposure.

to Sam
You're right, we're not legends. You've undoubtedly read my disclaimer in the eBay listing: "Please hurry and bid before we fall even further into Internet obscurity!!!"

to Andrew
Yeah, I was in a bit of a rush and listed an AGP card as a PCI card. Whoops. He got his money back, but the blemish is still on my permanent record. Needless to say, I won't be shipping the wrong laptops ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2007

reddit: "particularly inane and dangerous"

Scott Butki of Blogcritics.org did a recent interview with Andrew Keen, author of The Cult Of The Amateur. He was asked the following:

I'm sure the readers of these sites, who are of all political, racial, ideological stripes, who often find the most popular debates are over controversial and contentious issues, would like to know what makes you sure your description of them is better than mine. Did you actually visit some of these sites and participate in them before dismissing them?

To which he responded:

I did look at Reddit, which is particularly inane and dangerous.

As you can tell, Mr. Keen is a big fan of what's going on at reddit ;-) I'm so proud.

Not only that, he's pretty scared of the "nightmare" that is Web 2.0. I can think of a lot of words I'd call it, but nightmare isn't one of them. Oh well, I'll let him speak for himself -- here's the email debate he had with David Weinberger.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to try to send him a shirt...

*pic ganked from WSJ.com

own the 2 laptops that started reddit.com

I just placed the two Powerbooks Steve and I used to start reddit on eBay. 100% of the proceeds are going to the American Brain Tumor Association, so I'd appreciate it if you passed along the link to this auction to any friends/family who like spending money.

If you happen to be in a VC-funded startup, I'd strongly recommend bidding on this pair of laptops. I guarantee it will at least double your already obscene valuation.

Even if you hate reddit, they would make a great addition to any burning effigy of our alien mascot -- think of the splendid YouTube video it'd make!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

coming full circle (and cheerleading!)

(Picture taken by the remarkable photographer, Justin Hankins. Go get engaged and then have him photograph the wedding: www.justinhankins.com)

I was invited to click through some ppt slides at this year's U21 Conference, which was conveniently hosted at UVA this year. I'd attended the same conference three years earlier when it was in Singapore. Furthermore, it was on my first night there that I finally got the unbiased encouragement from a professor (Mark White) to try starting a startup with Steve. Until then, I'd only pitched my parents, who were incredibly supportive but ultimately unreliable. I could have told them I wanted to play professional rugby and they'd high-five me. You should see me run.

Anyway, this year's conference was about leadership and I feel like my hungover dog, beer-guzzling child, and cute kitten slides went over really well. I'm basing this on the number of Facebook friendship requests I made afterward that were not declined.

There is one thing I wish I'd mentioned though. Since I already hardly have much of a right to be sounding authorative about anything, I want to stress the one overarching thing that probably anyone could have told you, dot.com startup founder or not.

Look around and you'll likely find something that's wrong (or something you want to do right). It can be in technology, politics, society, it doesn't matter. Whatever it is -- just do it*

Rah, rah, rah.

I happened to be at a U21 Conference (and by that I mean at a bar the night before it began) when my switch flipped.

At this point, Steve and I already had a few casual conversations over grub or television about ideas he'd had. After a Waffle House epiphany with another friend, Jack, I'd ruled out law school and wanted to try starting a startup. I just didn't know what. I'd thought about putting salsa into a squeeze bottle (it'd be called Squeezalsa). Lucky for me, I was friends with Steve. He had much better ideas.

One of the better ones was what we ended up applying to YC with (and got rejected on, but that's another story). This is had in my head on the way to Singapore the Summer before my 4th year. I'd had an NYC internship lined up with Ogilvy PR when Professor White invited me to attend a "technopreneurship" symposium in Singapore as a member of the UVA team. And it'd be all expenses paid. The decision wasn't too hard to make, but it couldn't have been more fortunate.

Please forgive all the ellipses, typos, and the lack of punctuation; my well-ingrained US touch typing wasn't playing well with the keyboard layouts in Singapore so I get lazy.

This is the email I sent Steve on July 11, 2004:
hey bro, i'm in singapore at this technepreneurial seminar, and am basically spending a week learning how to create a tech start-up.

i spoke to Mark White (a professor in the comm school, the guy who took me to South Africa, and who recruited me to come here, as well as a generally good guy and technophile) over some drinks last nite, and pitched him on our idea...

from his feedback -- and let me remind you that he gets pitches every couple of months from students, and was very candid and honest with his thoughts, but basically said it was one of the best he's heard, period. Not only that, but he wants to be on the board of directors, and already knows some people to hit up for starting capital... I've got plenty of more details, but I am seriously considering putting off law school for this, but i need you, and we'll both need to be doing this full time for about a year to get it off the ground....

but the potential he saw was in the millions my friend...

we need to talk


i am coming back the 20th so if we could have lunch around 1pm i could meet you whereever you'd like... let me know.

honestly, this is the kind of thing that could change our lives - and his motivation has really spurred me.

but i need you and the same kind of commitment.

Needless to say, I did talk him into it, and he did indeed wholly commit to a company essentially started in our college apartment living room.

Good thing it turned out OK ;-)

*alas, Nike does not pay me for that.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

my next startup

I think the next startup Steve and I start should involve widget production. That way, we'd have a case study for every possible scenario.

Fun fact (a "Wikipedia fact"):
The etymology of the "widget" apparently goes back to Beggar on Horseback (1924), a play written by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly. Apparently life in the widget factory is the "soul-deadening living" that is the alternative to a life with any artistic or spiritual value. Fun times.

Friday, July 13, 2007

taking down freakonomics like a bad case of the flu

I've been on vacation for a little while -- and included a sustained Internet abstinence -- so I've got some catching up to do.

In returning to my bloated inbox (mostly spam), I found a link Jeremy had sent from the Freakonomics blog. Apparently a frozen website is like a sick person, which is sick because reddit made it sick. (Idea for a new slogan: reddit, it's like Internet pestilence!) Anyway, it was neat to see the shoutout, so I'm returning the favor with a logo. You'll notice I just ripped off the apple/orange from their cover art (I must say, I've always really liked that cover -- in part because of how much I independently like apples and oranges and wonder how good a hybrid fruit of them would taste). I'm still a bit jet-lagged.

The offending blog entry posed an interesting question about whether or not public libraries could be started today (assuming they'd never existed). I always thought they had a terrible business model: "Sure, let's just let people read the books for free."

Incidentally, the discussion on reddit got quite good:

Regardless of what (some) publishers might think given the hypothetical situation, I doubt you'd find many authors who would want fewer people to have exposure and access to their work.

Are you suggesting the desires of the authors are often contrary to the desires of the publishers?

Oh, authors and publishers, why can't you two just get along...