Thursday, July 31, 2008

reddit is creating link zombies

Remember everyone, aim for the head.

David forwarded me this PopSickleStrip comic a couple days ago; he needed to explain it to me, as it doesn't jibe with zombie canon (brains <> links).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

i love the smell of madelines in the morning - smells like, a proust questionnaire

Dharmesh Shah (of OnStartups fame) just posted a Proust Questionnaire he asked me to fill out. I completed the quiz in the allotted time and got a "B+".

He also confessed something that I plan to remind him of for the rest of his life:

alexis and Steve Huffman begat reddit (this is the first time I've used the word begat in a sentence -- it feels good). reddit sort of begat (my startup blog) by driving a bunch of traffic in the early days and helping build that crucial initial readership. sort of begat HubSpot (my current marketing software startup). So there you have it. alexis begat reddit begat begat HubSpot begat my plan for global domination.
Read it here if you're curious about my first real job, favorite manager, or just want to know what a Proust Questionnaire is. It's also proof that well-placed bribes really do pay off.

Bonus! The biggest reason why I prefer using a lowercase "a" is that I find it aesthetically superior to the uppercase. I just wish I could make that shape with a pen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

i love amazon, let me count the ways

Reason #458

With Amazon Prime shipping, I came into work today to get a copy of Soul Calibur IV delivered right to my office. No waiting in line for me. Now if only they'd kept Necrid around...

Monday, July 28, 2008

critical mass outside our office

There I was alone in the office last Friday evening when a parade of bikes began riding along Third St. I snapped this picture out of one of our windows. Almost makes me wish I had a Segway so I could join the civil disobedience in the lamest way possible.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

all the way from Singapore, iLead coming to the reddit hq tomorrow

iLead, a group from the University of Singapore, is touring Silicon Valley on a study mission and they'll be visiting us tomorrow.

In a blog entry that called us "the company with one of the cutest icons" (well played), the iLead team announced their upcoming visit to our Soma offices.

To me, Reddit is a cool site to obtain the latest news items from all over the globe. My personal favourite? The ‘controversial’ tab that provides links to the most controversial news items.
I knew I wasn't the only one who liked that controversial tab...

Anyway, I'd developed a relationship with some students there after attending a conference at NUS during the summer of my junior year at UVA.

This turned out to be quite a fateful trip, as it's where I decided I was going to start a startup after graduating. It was on that trip that I emailed Steve and told him my plan and that I was going to need him in order to pull it off.

I dug up the old email a little while back. I swear I don't normally use that many ellipses in my emails -- I think I was just a little too excited.

Looking forward to meeting everyone tomorrow. Bobbleheads shall be distributed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

i'm (pierre francois) speaking at joel spolsky's business of software conference

This is going to be fun. I was pleased to learn that I was accepted as one of the 8 finalists to speak (perform?) during the Pecha Kucha portion of the 2008 Business of Software Conference in Boston.

I didn't know what Pecha Kucha meant either, so here's a synopsis:

The speaker gets 6 minutes and 40 seconds: no more, no less. You submit exactly 20 slides. Each one is shown for exactly 20 seconds and then flips automatically. At the end, even if you're almost done and just have one more thing, the mic cuts off and you sit down.
It seemed like just the thing for Pierre Francois, Web 2.0 guru. We haven't seen him since BarCamp Boston a couple years ago, but he's got a lot to say (in exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds) about starting, running and selling a web 2.0 startup.

Thanks for the opportunity -- Pierre shalln't disappoint. He's genetically incapable of anything less than 110%.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

safety first in bangkok

Liz sent me this poster from a restaurant - yes, a restaurant - in Bangkok. They take safe-sex practice very seriously.

baby antarctic penguins being frozen!

Skeptics of climate change, it's come to this: frozen baby penguin guilt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

interview with adam fuhrer, the arbiter of cool

Adam (noname99) has been one of our top users for a long time. As a result, he was named an wizard of buzz by the Wall Street Journal -- all before his thirteenth birthday.

So when he asked for an interview to post on his blog, I was happy to oblige. Plus, he even asked about breadpig. How could I say no?

Friday, July 11, 2008

rental cars are totally negotiable at the counter, who knew?

Thought I'd share this revelation I had over the weekend. At the counter of the Dollar rental car of Oakland International Airport, I was offered the chance to upgrade from my mid-size to an SUV.

I laughed. Why would I just want to pay for more gas to drive a vehicle that would never leave asphalt? She said I had a point.

Undeterred, the sales rep. offered a convertible.

Well, we were going to be doing some scenic driving around Yosemite and Tahoe, maybe it would be fun with the top down, I thought.

"Maybe... How much more would it be?"

She punched in some numbers and quoted me at $280 for the week. I guess turning 25 was worth it. But on a lark, I thought I'd haggle -- make my Armenian relatives proud.

"I'll give you $200. That's such a rounder, prettier number."

OK. She typed away on her computer and through some combination of black magic and Midi-chlorians, arrived at a daily rate that would be < $200. The final total turned out to be $185.

"Thank you!" I cheerily replied as I did a little jig that thankfully was obscured by the counter.

I wish I'd known this back during our startup days, so I thought I'd pass this along for you to try out during your next trip out to Sand Hill Road.

All that said, Zipcar still reigns supreme in my book, despite being haggle-free; three years sans car ownership and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

summing jenny 8 lee up in one word (one number would have been too easy)

New American Media aims to "expand the news lens through ethnic media" -- and now I've played a small part in the lens expansion.

My friend Jenny 8 Lee has a delicious book, the Fortune Cookie Chronicles, which I've been lucky enough to see since it was a humble proposal on her laptop. It's come a long way and brought her quite a bit of success and attention on what's already been a remarkable career. She's shared the fun with plenty of her friends, including at an event she had in New York, which I attended a little while back.

There, plump with dim sum and Tsingtao, I got the chance to sum Jenny up with one word:

But even if her nom de plume were bereft of that lucky number, chances are that Lee would be no less memorable. “Effervescent” is how Alexis Ohanian, designer of the book's blog and co-founder of a news sharing site, describes her. Occasional appearances in gossip columns and multiple mentions on meta-media website paint her as a social butterfly with the uncanny ability to charm anyone who crosses her path. This assertion is more true than not. She constantly invites people into her home, even if they are near-strangers, and even though it's New York City, where it's possible to befriend someone for years without ever stepping foot into his or her residence.
Many years ago, then just a wide-eyed startup founder looking making Chinatown bus trips into New York from Boston, I was one of those folks she graciously invited into her home. I'm not ashamed to say that I spent more than a few nights on her sofa; New York is a great city to couchsurf through, especially when you're a salary-less startup founder.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

yourweek getting some love from all over the internet

This most recent write-up in Citizen Tube best summarizes just what we're aiming to do with YourWeek. We'll see if we get there, but the second taping I just watched (yes, version 2.0) is another step in the right direction.

The recently-waterboarded Christopher "Believe me, it's torture" Hitchens provided some great footage in his interview with Rich and Michelle. It made the rounds on a variety of right-wing blogs: LittleGreenFootballs and Hot Air got lots of discussion from a video with such choice soundbites as "If the GOP were a dog, it should be shot."

A few other sites blogged segments, including Primetime Politics and Wired Science (re: Frankenmeat).

And we had the help of the talented designer, Callie Peck, who created a couple house ads for us to run:

Stay tuned for an update about whether or not the show gets picked up...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

the 1 way you need to attack shyness

Inspired by this recent article, I thought I'd sit down and compose my secret for talking to people. I've been lucky in that I've never had a problem with shyness, (edit: largely, I believe, because I've had this mentality since as early as I can remember - only with less profanity. Despite being someone who thinks Meyers Briggs tests are a joke, I'll mention that I'm only a borderline "E") but I think this is sound advice.

It worked with Paul Graham the first time Steve and I met him in Cambridge after his reading of How to Start a Startup. He courteously accepted my offer for a drink in exchange for hearing our startup pitch.

This was before Y Combinator, mind you, so I suspect this would be much harder to pull off with his current schedule.

Unfortunately, this didn't work with Scarlett Johansson in the lobby of the 4 Times Square building -- I couldn't think up anything clever in time and didn't want to be "that guy."

Nonetheless, I still feel like this has served me exceptionally well over the last twenty-five years:

Everyone eats, shits, and dies*
Remember that, we're all equal, so what are you waiting for?

*Not to be confused with "Everyone eat shit and die!"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

the college of arts & sciences (uva) is renaming their alumni magazine and reddit is helping

The original title, Arts & Sciences, needs to be replaced and they're tapping into the UVa alum network for a new name.

Submitting and voting end on July 10th, so get your entry in now and harangue everyone around you to vote it up. If you're the winner, you'll be credited in December's issue and be given the keys to Monticello.

OK, that last part isn't true, but the bragging rights alone are nice.