Sunday, March 30, 2008

communitynext and l.a. show me a great time, open bar, and put me on a panel with some lovely people

There I was, flanked by Paul Cloutier of JPG Magazine (I finally got a subscription today) and Veronica Belmont of Mahalo Daily, who's as charming as she is talented, with the Big Brother-like face of Brian Sugar of Sugar, Inc. ominously projected on a giant screen behind us. Patricia Handschiegel moderated the panel entitled “Print: Are Newspapers Becoming Extinct?”

Fortunately, it wasn't just a short "Yes" answer from the 3.5 of us. (Skip ahead to video #4 below to view the panel discussion)

Stickam was broadcasting the entire event live (, where were you guys?) and grabbed me before I left for a quick interview (below) that was frankly one of the best I've ever done. For no other reason than the dude asking the questions was a hardcore redditor. We didn't have any Barbara Walters moments, but I think it turned out OK despite how guilty I was feeling about holding my friends up before dinner.

(Embedded player removed because it kept auto-starting and making people sad - here's the link)

It was a good trip out to LA, a city with an unsettling dependence on automobiles and tanning beds. The CommunityNext folks did a great job putting the event together, open bar and all. Only in LA would the conference itself take place in a night club. During the event, I even got to praise auctomatic and take a jab at Mike Arrington all in one breath. Bonus points!

There should be another (slightly more inebriated) interview with the folks at TechZulu going online once they get through their hangovers, no doubt...

chirag mehta: reddit alien for a day

One blogger called it a "bootleg face". One redditor even thought it was Steve Huffman. Understandably, quite a few redditors were curious about the sloppy photoshopping of someone's head on the reddit alien.

It's actually the head of super reddit fan, Chirag Mehta (half of the duo responsible for and Chime.TV). I was at CommunityNext with some of our mutual friends and we decided to make his day and immortalize him in the logo for no good reason other than to make his day.

this was the most awkward photo we could find

It didn't scale down too well, as he didn't even recognize his own face until one of us told him. But he was fairly pleased once he understood.

I should also mention that he's going to be helping me with a neat side project and I needed to butter him up. Stay tuned, this is not the last you'll hear of Chirag -- although it's probably the last time you'll see his face on the logo.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

the tsa takes itself very, very seriously

A very, very serious sign at BWI airport. I have a really funny joke to include here, but I don't want to risk being added to the No Fly List.

i can has reddit?

Why the angry BBQ? It appears to be the perfect foil to the happy chair from only days earlier. Both of these pictures came from a slice of Internet genius called I Can Has Cheezburger? (not a question, that's just the name of the site).

We're proud supporters of LOL-stuff (in fact, it's one of our UI translations) and we're happy to be partnering with ROFLCon to provide some interesting discussion for the upcoming interview with Cheez...

Excerpted from blog.reddit:
We're working with ROFLCon to produce the "Q" for a Q&A session with I Can Has Cheezburger? founder, "Cheez."

If you've been around since one of the early startup schools, you'll remember an interview with Caterina Fake of Flickr that featured all the top-scoring questions from an askCaterina reddit.

Well, we're doing it again with the founder of a meme that's been showing up a lot on reddit. If you enjoy a good LOL every now and then, you ought to submit a question (using "self" post) and vote on the rest. Even if you're not going to ROFLCon this April, the videos and transcripts will certainly be going online shortly thereafter.

We're aiming to do a new one of these every week, so keep an eye out for our next geek celeb ask.reddit -- Barbara Walters can't touch this.

Friday, March 21, 2008

happy spring, mom

It's a day late, but the first day of spring was March 20th.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

just what do you think you're doing, sir clark?

The alien ponders the vast universe. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, probably best known for his work, 2001: A Space Odyssey, died on March 19th.

This news flooded the reddit new queue and generated quite a lot of discussion, including the suggestion for the above logo. He will certainly be missed.

He left a final message for planet Earth on YouTube that's worth a watch if you haven't already:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

happy pi day

Alas, 3.14 has already come and gone. I hope you had a delicious apple pi day (cherry would also do).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

contrary to my kindergarten report cards, the new york times says i have self-control

I was forwarded this recent article from the NYTimes, "A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names" because, not unlike the youth of Johnny Cash's famous song, I too have a predominantly female name.

Fortunately, research confirms that there isn't anything too detrimental about growing up with an effeminate name. Despite being named after a boxer (seriously), I've never been much of a fighter -- just don't call me "Alex" ;-)

Instead, I apparently validate the data:

“Researchers have studied men with cross-gender names like Leslie,” Dr. Evans explained. “They haven’t found anything negative — no psychological or social problems — or any correlations with either masculinity or effeminacy. But they have found one major positive factor: a better sense of self-control. It’s not that you fight more, but that you learn how to let stuff roll off your back.”
So if you're thinking of naming your son something a bit atypical, maybe this will encourage you. If I have a daughter, I'm naming her "Steve."

And here's a photo of me looking well-adjusted with Harper of Threadless.
Those guys throw a great party.

digg? i have no beef with digg

If Valleywag reports it, it must be true -- albeit blurry.

While getting a pre-flight, post-sxsw breakfast at the Austin airport with digg CEO Jay Adelson (no, we didn't spend the night together) I had no idea I was also chatting with a fellow rock band virtuoso.

Scoble and the gang should definitely take that act to the street. I think it'd do even better than the breadpig premier, which found its way to the digg front page today.

What's the only thing better than all the traffic from getting breadpig on the front page of a reddit competitor? Knowing it's lowering the intellectual rigor of their site by a notch or two :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the alien never looked so good

This is the best photograph of a reddit shirt I've seen. Very professional stuff. I stumbled upon this flickr submission by sxld and couldn't help myself but blog about it. This was titled /psuedogeek, but I think this ought to have been /geek -- nothing psuedo about it.

sxsw update: there's lots of free beer in austin

team reddit is having a great time with Ben of Grooveshark

In 24 hours, I still hadn't learned a new facial expression. This was at the facebook party, which featured Michael Stipe, but no Zuckerberg -- or SugarMountain, as I call him. Valleywag dutifully covered the party and snapped the above picture.

Photos from last night's digg party will be going up as soon as I can find the USB cable. There should be some good pictures of Jay Adelson, Garrett Camp, and me floating around somewhere -- a nefarious triumvirate of sites wasting the Internet's time.

Monday, March 10, 2008

there's free beer in austin

Thanks for the free alcohol, Gawker!

As we prepare for our OpenFormat quasi-panel, I'm reminded of all the free alcohol from the night before.

The night went as expected (lots of free booze) and it ended with me sharing a queen bed with Chris -- also as expected.

I also had one of my ideas-of-the-month validated by Anthony of HypeMachine who uses stickers for business cards. The back (thicker than usual sticker paper) has all the important information and the front is an attractive sticker, because startups go through stickers like VCs go through souls.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

just got to sxsw and i've already lost an hour of my life

Damn you, daylight savings! *shakes fist skyward*

I seem to remember the entire country of China doesn't have timezones at all. That's the way to live. One timezone, everywhere, no matter how wide your country is.

On an unrelated note, Guy Kawasaki was on my plane. No good story, though, it was just painfully clear that this particular SFO -> AUS flight was full of geeks.

Time to lose my SXSW-virginity!

the gawker empire is crumbling: I get two mentions in one day?

Woke up Friday morning to find an IM from an annoyed friend who found me in her daily news feed. You see, my friend Jenny 8 (the one who so graciously invited me to join her on the Colbert Report) had written an entry for the Huffington Post about how to "prepare for Colbert." (I just trademarked that rhyme, so don't even think about lifting it.)

In it, she cites an email exchange with an over-enthusiastic Colbert fan (me) suggesting some lines to use and hypothetical responses to expect:

After telling Colbert that Chinese food is more American than apple pie given how much we eat apple pie versus Chinese food...

Colbert : "I eat apple pie every morning - with a jack and coke - and a bald eagle egg omlette."

Jenny: Well, there are exceptions - and you are clearly an exceptional American - for most would say Chinese food.
Anyway, Gawker found this amusing, wrote a piece on it, and thus my name "Lee friend Alexis" polluted my pal's newsfeed.

And later in the day, Kotaku kindly plugged breadpig. Careful Denton, the readers of the vast Gawker empire are going to start revolting if you keep pushing such mediocre content...

Although, the quote of the day came in the comments section from a sage named fawrh:
the homeless guy = a good front man and a great insperation to us all...

the kids that made this video = should be sterilized...
On second thought, keep writing about breadpig, I hear there's a VH1 Behind the Music special on the way.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

the breadpig soars, rocks

I started a company called Breadpig, Inc. last October to pursue some of my geeky design ambitions. I've been quite fortunate with the sale of reddit, so I'm not terribly interested personal gains from it; I'd rather donate the profits from the things I design. But I wanted to run breadpig like a business and create stuff that fellow geeks wanted to buy -- regardless of where the money was going.

My first project was aimed at the homogeneous greeting card industry. unHolidayCards raised quite a bit of money for Solving Kids' Cancer, a fantastic non-profit I've worked with in New York. The rest of the profits will fund breadpig prizes, the first of which will be announced March 14.

But the breadpig brand is a versatile one, so when I started a band last month with some childhood friends, there was no question as to what we'd name it. We've been practicing and jamming together for a long time now. Creating a band just seemed like the logical next step. Need proof?

Here's a video from our first live show in D.C. last week:

A big thanks to the breadpig band for all the help in putting this together: Brian Femiano, Mike Scrivener, Adam Solomon, Jon Swyers, and Jacob Winthrop.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

dreams do come true - i finally attend a taping of the colbert report

My friend Jenny 8 Lee was making the New York rounds this week promoting her new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. I've had the pleasure of watching this book go from a proposal on her laptop, which I first read while in the middle of a Halloween party back in 05. I was sober enough to enjoy what I read and make a good impression -- we hit it off.

Along the way, I've gotten to read drafts of chapters and build her blog, along with a few other design tasks here and there. So I'm getting quite a bit of pleasure from watching all the success it's had so far.

And when Jenny told me she was going to appear on the Colbert Report, I immediately started drafting dialog and one-liners for her in an effort to solidify my chances of attending the show with her. It was absolutely worth it. Shaking Colbert's hand was akin to shaking the hands of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Hetfield all at once.

Colbert does a bit of Q&A before the show to humanize himself for the audience, revealing an man as affable as he is witty. The show went quite well -- even though he had to redo The Word segment -- and his interview with Jenny got quite a few laughs. And she even used one of my lines (comforting me with the knowledge that I nearly earned my attendance).

the great dungeon master didn't have a paladin/cleric nearby

I only played AD&D, but I still remember going over to my friend's house to play -- with his entire family. It was remarkable; he, his father, mother, brother, step-brother and his wife all played D&D.

Granted, a bad DM could make the experience a two hour affair that ended with cursing and spilled Mountain Dew -- the great ones created campaigns that could span over days, weeks, and even months.

I always played a Paladin, which I suspect a "defender of the light" like Stephen Colbert would have also chosen. I didn't get a chance to ask him during the pre-taping Q&A portion of last night's Colbert Report (more on that later), but as an avid D&D fan, he did express his dismay about the recent death of creator Gary Gygax.

The reddit community suggested a D&D-themed logo in his honor and I couldn't have agreed more. It's a game that I believe helped cultivate any storytelling prowess I have today. Pity that of all the legions of WoW fans, I'm sure few of them have ever even held a 20-sided die, let alone would play a pen & paper game.

Oh geez, now I sound like that old guy at the Wizards of the Coast store (since shut down)...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

proof that latex is awesome

Didn't know you could draw the reddit alien in LaTeX? You're going to be a much more complete person once you see this.

I'm not quite ready to give up Illustrator, but this is still cool.

It even snagged over 180 points on reddit. Not too shabby, Filox.

Plus, here's a reddit logo for your trouble.