Sunday morning my friend George Stevens asked a philosophical question “How can we live in a world marked by hatred and violence and not be consumed by it?”
The answer was clear to me. We must defy evil. We need to reject the feelings of fear they terrorists want us to feel. But try telling someone who is afraid to “just decide not to be afraid”.
Boston is a strong city and we refuse to let anyone take away our freedom, our city and our community. We appreciate your thoughts, your kind words, your high fives, your “Boston Strong” shows of solidarity and pushing aside all of our differences to acknowledge that we are in this together. The New York Yankees and their fans singing Sweet Caroline at Yankee Stadium and the NY<3B signs were incredible reminders that they got our backs and they know we got theirs.
So many of you are asking yourselves “how you can I help?” I have an idea. If you want to help us heal and you have the means:
COME TO BOSTON!
Come see us. Just be with us. Experience our city. Be from Boston for a while. Be a local. Gather with people or meet up with friends. Talk to strangers.
Baratunde Thurston came to Boston the day after “shelter in place” was lifted to host one of his Whisky Friday gatherings at Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge.
So if I came to Boston tomorrow and hosted a #whiskeyfriday on Saturday, would that be something good?
— Baratunde (@baratunde) April 20, 2013
And Do WHAT?
Come to Boston and walk the freedom trail. Talk to the locals. Ask them what it means to defy terror. Have breakfast, lunch, brunch and / or dinner with us in the South End. Have crazy amazing pastries at Flour or pasta at Sportello (or any of Barbara Lynch’s awesome spots) in the Innovation District. Have coffee and croissants and pizza and whisky at Area 4 in Cambridge and dinner and drinks in Somerville.
Whenever I see signs for #BostonStrong I hear it in my head in a hulk voice
— Baratunde (@baratunde) April 21, 2013
Go to Atlantic Fish Co, right next to the bomb scene (and ask them to bring back their delicious lobster pot pie). Visit the MFA and the ICA! Food trucks at the SOWA Open Market on Sundays. Trek to the Armenian bakery in Watertown. Have Dim Sum at Chao Chow City in Chinatown. Rent a bike from Hubway and ride around (but wear a helmet, we masshole drivers are aggressive). See a concert at the Paradise, The House of Blues or Brighton Music Hall. Check out Blue Man Group and Symphony Hall. Shop Newbury St for clothes and coffee and have tapas or gawk at people from Sonsie or snoot it up at Armani. Hit the the shops in Allston.
My friend Melissa Pierce offered to extend the bar tab. Thank you Melissa, please come see us!
— Melissa Pierce (@melissapierce) April 20, 2013
And while you’re there, Lone Star for tacos and Deep Ellum for craft beer. Have a burger at Wild Willy’s in Watertown and a burrito at Anna’s Taqueria. Run down the carriage roads on Commonwealth Ave. and up Heartbreak Hill. Have another burrito at Tango Mango in Newton Centre and hit Peet’s for a latte. Follow BostonTweet and BostonTweetUp for local tech and social events! That’s not even scratching the surface of what you can do, who you can meet in Harvard Square, Inman Square, Copley Square, Southie, Belmont, East Boston, Brookline, the North End, hit me up for specific recommendations and here is my foursquare list of Awesome Boston.
Be a local. Experience and participate in Boston daily life. Get to know us and learn what it is like to be Boston Strong and take a piece of it back home with you.
And please make sure to invite us to come to your New York City, Austin, Seattle, London, Rio, San Francisco, Amman, Buenos Aires, Paris, Topeka, Barcelona, Berlin… We cannot wait to see you
Everyone is wicked busy or pretending to be. I cannot count the number of times I have had someone ask to meet me and waited to respond because making time to sort through the calendar to come up with an appropriate time is time consuming. To make matters worse, almost nobody uses open calendars like the failed (haha, you sucked!) Tungle.Me.
Meeting requests come in many different levels of severity and passive aggressiveness. I often wonder how badly someone wants to meet based on how they ask. I usually assume when someone is really vague about their request it’s that they are thinking of me but also need to schedule like a zillion other meetings at the same time.
It usually goes down something like this. Assume each line is a new email or text message.
The Dead End
“Yo, we should get together for coffee sometime.”
The Trail Off
“Hey! Want to get together sometime?”
“Thanks for reaching out! I do!”
“When is good for you?”
“This week is bad. How about next week?”
The OMG Beat Into Submission
“Hey! We should grab coffee!”
“Do you have a good time?”
“I don’t have any time in the next two weeks.”
“Oh, how about in 3 weeks?”
“That works. What day is good for you?”
“Whatever day you like. I’m flexible.” <-- OMG PICK A DAY!!!
"I can't do Wednesday. Thursday?"
"When on Thursday?"
"How about 9:30AM?"
"Great! Where do you want to go?"
"Let's go to Jane."
"Where is Jane?"
None of these say "my time is really valuable and so is yours!" Here's how to get the meeting. If you combine the next three tactics in your first email or text, the chances of you actually meeting someone increase exponentially.
State the purpose
Start by saying why you want to meet. Do not presume that the person is going to meet you, make sure it’s a request.
“Hey, it’s been a long time since we got together and I miss you!”
“Hi! We talked about going to lunch and I think it’s time!”
“Hey, I would love to get together to discuss content strategy for my company.”
Be specific about place and time
For me, the effectiveness of “Sometime” is about 1%. It isn’t that I do not want to meet with you, it’s mostly that I wonder how badly you want to meet. It feels so much better when someone suggests the place and time and provides the address.
“How is Tuesday? I can do 1:00-2 or 2-3 at Jane! Have you had their oatmeal situation? It’s unique!”
Ask the person to respond in kind
If none of these times and places work for you, could you suggest a good time?
When they respond favorably, send the meeting request!
Putting all of these together in your first email will greatly increase your chance of having awesome coffee and snacks with anyone! Oh and read my friend Karen Rubin’s thoughts on how to be a superhero scheduler!
After an epic ride of over four years, I am leaving my post as Senior Vice President, Director Digital Incubator at allen & gerritsen. It was awesome to have the opportunity to
- define and redefine brands and media strategies for clients
- meander through spaces and making sense of them for clients
- write a lot of stuff
- travel all over the states to learn about the latest software and trying to influence it all
- build services and teams with smart people
- work with and meet amazing people at technology startups
Some people know that I got my start as a developer and everyone knows that tech is my true passion. So when I met Thiago Costa and Dov Amihod and talked to them about how they are going to change the 3D design world, I was ridiculously intrigued.
I am joining the team as Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for growth through marketing, sales and PR and opening the Boston office. I am excited to work with an amazing team of people from companies like Google, Ubisoft, EA, Autodesk and Lagoa on software that will change the way people design and the way they work.
It’s that time of year again. It’s time for me to tell you what you probably missed in 2012. And guess what? If you were not paying attention to indie music, you missed a LOT. There’s a lot of magic out there. I curated a list of all of the hottest releases here. And this post will help you cut to the chase and find 12 albums that will make your head pop off. Music got me through this year. It has been a rough one, but I have decided that 2013 is going to be AMAZING. Clicking the album names will take you to their pages on Spotify.
Delicious raw energy with clever ass lyrics. Give me that naked new skin rush! Give me Younger Us.
This is the album that Lana Del Ray wishes she wrote. Nothing against the Lana, but she is a puppet, part of a product. I love that record too, but it’s not REAL. You know? This one is. It’s full of angst and seeping ooze from what is CLEARLY a broken heart. I recommend Love That’s Gone and It’s Over Now for starters.
Dylan Baldi’s Cloud Nothings are Cleveland’s version of Smith Westerns. Their angst, their raw energy and their ability to CAPTURE and regurgitate (sometimes it feels like that in a GOOD way) is amazing. The crazy thing is that this wall of sound is their most polished effort to date. Wasted Days is my favorite. You’ll want to hear “I thought I would be moooore than thiiiiss” over and over again. It never gets old. No Future / No Past and Cut You are two other faves on this one. I cannot wait until their next effort.
I am pretty sure that Clair Boucher is a real-life bionic woman experiment. She knows her machines. If she asks to probe my brain, I might say “OK!”.
Speaking of haunting and delicious. This album is a lot of the same, but it’s a lot of AWESOME the same. I love I See My Mother, Violent Games and Amongster.
I’ve been hooked on these guys since I heard Kites. Greg T and I went to see them in shitty Brighton Music Hall and they. were. amazeballs (with a terrible sound system) Opening act, The Chain Gang of 1974 almost made us puke they were so loud. Lover’s Game and Shell Beach are favorites. I mean they have an ELECTRIC CELLO!!!!
Hopefully this is an outlet for angst. DELICIOUSLY DARK!
Greg T and I saw these dudes at the Orpheum. While they’re super technical, they put on a great light show and they played with SERIOUS passion with a lot of instrument changes a jellyfish light show. I always thought I was a bigger fan of the Edward Droste led tracks, but it turns out I’m actually more of a Daniel Rossen guy. They both rule. Fave tracks are Yet Again, Sleeping Ute, gun-shy and Sun in Your Eyes. It’s not better than Veckatimest, it’s DIFFERENT.
I’m a sucker for an experimental rock love song. And this is a whole album!
It’s hard to put this at position two. This one really speaks to me. Reflection of You, Sinful Nature, Kiss Me Crazy have that romantic angst and pent up frustration that never really EXPLODE in the way you want it to so you need to listen to the song over and over and over and over to see if it actually happens. Let me know if it does.
This is the album of the year ya bish.
It’s crack or candy to your ear, ya bish.
Zach and I can’t get enough of this one.
Enjoy 2012! And now, thanks to Spotify, you can follow my 2013 Hot Indie Releases playlist that I will be updating weekly.
The CEOs of the best startups are in constant motion networking, raising money, evangelizing their products and building their teams at 3 speeds:
It is not that they aren’t zen, many make it look 007 easy, but there is no question that no one works harder or is under more pressure to do one thing: GROW.
If you want to work at a startup, you’d best have the same mentality. Think of it this way (although they would never put it this way): the co-founders of a startup are standing on a stick of dynamite. This is their funding. The size of the TNT depends on how much money they’ve raised. The wick is lit and the flame is heading toward the blasting cap at their burn rate (the rate at which they spend money). Another round of funding lengthens the wick and buys more time. Profitability or an exit can put out the flame. The other option? KABOOM!
They are constantly under pressure and they would not have it any other way. That said, if you are a potential employee or a consultant, you had best understand this and act accordingly. Everything is due now and that does not mean it should not be good. What a startup needs is a well thought out strategy, but what they do not have time for is a fully blown, research oriented, 10 step-before-execution, strategy. You need to work inside out. Start with growth tactics while you’re building a brand. And do not get too tied to anything. Test, learn, measure, optimize, NOW. You do not have time to come up with ideas, you need to come WITH ideas that can work now and be inspired as you go. You do not get to hide in the bomb shelter wearing your flack jacket and lob thoughts. There is only time to make yourself useful today (yesterday is preferred).
Techcrunch writer and Mitt Romney campaign growth guy, Aaron Ginn wrote a great series on startup culture and growth hacking. In it Jim Young, founder of Perceptual networks reminds us that growth is part of the culture from day 1. It is not something that you can staple on later.
So why are you reading this post? Get growing.
Kibits [<-- app store link] is a new iPhone application launched out of Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, one of two ridiculously hot technology beds in the Boston area. Founder Matt Cutler calls Kibits an “app to be used in the real world”, but I am not sure that really captures the essence of what is happening.
First and foremost, Kibits has a lot going on. That’s OK for you because if you are reading this blog, chances are you are a startup enthusiast, CTO or CEO, a venture capitalist with ninja mobile skills, a social media power user, marketing wizard or Edward Boches, who is impossible to put into any one bucket. It takes the best functionality from mobile, social and business tools and puts them into one app.
Kibits is great for many things, but what I think is most compelling is its PRE / DURING / POST model around the following uses:
A) Building content around an event or place
B) Proximity based real-time communication
C) Ongoing conversations about projects, recurring meetings and family business
The thing that Kibits does that many applications don’t do is it allows you to access and share cloud-based assets. What? Yes. It’s one of the first applications to have connections to you Dropbox so that you can share documents. Let’s take a look at the use cases above in a pre / during / post context:
Kibits is awesome for pre-planning, pre-seeding content for an event. We used it at a Silicon Valley Bank event earlier this year. Matt pre-populated the “kibit” (aka group) with documents, ideas and photos that would give us a sense of who was speaking, the agenda and relevant writings from the speakers.
People were then allowed to join the kibit based on their proximity to the event and contribute to a very rich, relevant discussion about the speakers. Sure, this can happen on twitter and kibits should allow people to cross post, but the real power here is in the threading of the information, the virtual breadcrumbs, no, LOAVES of bread that kibits leaves behind are amazing. You get a full sense for what happened at the event given participation. Caveat: Matt and I both wrangled as many people as we could at the event, got them to download the app and asked them to participate in the discussion, in other words, some assembly required, but it was worthwhile.
The conversation can actually continue for days, months or years (in theory). People can stay connected and know exactly how they were connected because they’re still talking about the event, with the people they connected with in the same context. In other words, the value of events can be extended by Kibits.
So head to the app store today and give Kibits a shot and let them know what you think. They are very interested in feedback and please note, there is a bit of a learning curve at the beginning and they are very open to feedback.
Path is not your typical social network yet many people familiar with social media try to use it like every other network. They spend their time trying to friend as many people as possible to create yet another noisy stream (#yans).
The application is actually built around the principle of Dunbar’s number and beckons you to invite your closest personal relationships so that you can have the most meaningful experiences. I recently sat down with Path CEO, Dave Morin to ask what people should do when someone that is not an intimate person friend wants to be a part of their social graph. Dave believes that you are doing people a favor if you ignore their request. Path is supposed to only be the content that you care about and that you want to see from the people that you care the most about. It is your personal journal and so you should not have anyone reading it that you would not want to share the fact that your kid scored the game winning goal in the soccer game.
I hear from people all the time that Path is incredibly cool looking, but that it is not for them because their friends are not on the application. I have a bit of a different philosophy. Users who like the concept of Path should just start using it to do their life journaling. The app is incredibly versatile and can be your means to publish content to twitter, Facebook, foursquare and even Tumblr and it makes a very cool timeline that can quickly remind you of all of your adventures. Create all of your mobile content on Path, push it to other networks when you feel it is appropriate, but make Path the hub of your mobile content universe. Do this even if you do not have any friends on Path. If you need help getting people on to Path, ask them to take the Path Challenge.
If you journal, when you start to work on your friends and family, you can show them how beautiful the app is with a lot of your own data. You can take them through the fun creation process, show them how quickly it uploads video and how easy it is to look back over time on the things that you did. Dave tells me that people love to take pictures of food, menus and other artifacts that give them clues as to how the experience was at a restaurants, bar or other awesome place. I believe that Path is what Gowalla wanted to be. It’s your personal log of not only your adventures but of your life in general. And it’s going to get better with the Nike Fuelband integration which will export data to Path via bluetooth.
Remember, Path is an intimate social network. You are supposed to only be friends with people who you are close enough to to care about all of the content they create. This is what makes Path awesome. I am using my Path to get to interact with the startup scene, share with allen & gerritsen people and with some very close friends like my book co-author, Aaron Strout. I am actively trying to recruit my family, but they are still resisting, yet they seem to almost be coming around. And I will not rest until they do.
Aside from the fact that one of my ultimate faves, Neon Indian, put together a mehriffic stinker another great year in music has come and gone. In case you were not paying attention, I put together a list of stuff I really liked. Sorry, Wilco did not make the list and neither did the new Muppets soundtrack even though Man or a Muppet is a brilliant song and the things they do with chickens are pure magic. The 2009 list saw such awesome bands as: . 2010 was also amazing with. Stupid honorable mentions and housekeeping from past years aside, let’s rock 2011. You can cruise to the end of the article if you want to to find a Spotify playlist.
10. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks- Mirror Traffic
This guy is one of the greatest songwriters of our time. Wait, you’ve never heard of Pavement? There’s clever around every corner. Malkmus just sees the world in a deliciously different way that our brains cannot comprehend, but thank GOD we can enjoy. Check out Senator first.
9. Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine
8. Atlas Sound – Parallax
7. Metronomy – English Riviera
6. Real Estate – Days
5. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
4. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for my Halo
3. Crystal Stilts – In Love with Oblivion
Remember Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry? Of course you don’t. If you did though, you would recognize that this is who they meant to be. This could have been my top album. The other 2 are that good. It’s backdoor, it’s trashy, it’s droning, it’s fucking incredible. You might hate it. That’s OK. Try it anyway.
2. Built Like Alaska – In Troubled Times
You have never heard of these guys and you may never hear of them anywhere but here. That’s OK. It happened. You are better off. Listen to this one top to bottom for a few days and you will be glad you did.
1. Washed Out – Within and Without
I picked a song from each album and made a list on Spotify. Here is my 10 Awesome Modern Rock Albums of 2011 on Spotify. Enjoy and commence telling me what I missed in the comments.
The new Path user interface is gorgeous. Dave Morin’s team has come up with a user experience that will change the way that people think about application design. Path abandons the standard bottom toolbar that most consumer behavior oriented applications have for 2 buttons in the sticky header and a red plus sign that looms on the bottom left hand of the screen. Clicking the plus sign reveals a swiss army knife that allows you to add a new journal entry starting with a photo, a person, location, song, thought or your lucidity state. The last of which would be even cooler if it was integrated with life stats hardware like the Fitbit or Jawbone Up.
The new user interface is gorgeous. It is UX pr0n and this version of Path will change or at least challenge the way that every app designer thinks about every consumer app they design moving forward. One of our best designers, Charlie Guerrero picked it up for the first time this morning and was blown away by how fluid and responsive the app is for everything that is going on.
The application is clearly designed after the Facebook timeline. They have adopted the cover concept as well as the entire timeline concept. What Path does better than any other application is that it tells you who has seen your post. That is really quite bold.
Here is the problem. It is still just Path. While I think that the new design pattern will inspire a lot of curiosity, I see more applications adopting this style of design than people actually making Path part of their daily routine. In other words, in spite of the fact that it can post to Facebook, twitter and foursquare it’s not going to replace Facebook mobile unless Facebook acquires Path and decides to replace their mobile experience with Path. Path is decidedly cooler, but people will reject it because 700 million of their closest friends are on Facebook and this is essentially an alternative. The adoption of many of Facebook timeline’s design patterns coupled by the fact that founder Dave Morin is ex-Facebook and still has strong relationships could be an indication of an exit strategy. Time will tell.
Another thought though: It knows where you are, who you are with and it knows if you are sleeping and knows if you’re awake. If they just add an indicator for whether you are bad or good they could have a suitor at the North Pole.
This post is for 2 audiences:
People who travel to or live in Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle or San Francisco.
Startups looking for inspiration.
If you are a startup and you are looking for another to model yourself after, you might consider Über. Über is Travis Kalanak’s ~new ride (limo) service that I think of as the Trader Joes of transportation.
Why is Uber a great startup?
- Uber understands its audience.
- Uber solves a problem for its audience.
- Uber optimally uses the technology available, but is still very simple.
- Uber has a staff of people who are dedicated to ensuring that your experience is positive.
- Uber does a great job activating passionate riders and drivers.
- Uber is easy to explain to anyone.
- It started with a sound business model.
They solve a supply chain problem elegantly. Cabs are unpredictable and often dirty and smelly. Black cars are often trying to convince people to ride with them. You will see drivers standing outside of conference centers, hotels and stadiums hustling. Riders do not always understand the terms and it feels shady. Uber unites people who want a high quality ride with black car drivers who can give them one. Uber brings a bit of on-demand luxury to everyone (in its markets) at an affordable price and a uniform experience. When you use Uber there’s no question about how you will pay or when you will pay. Uber values their community and actively interacts with people.
What makes Uber an uber use of mobile?
Uber incorporates multiple features and channels into the experience to make it simple. Assuming you have an iPhone or Android phone (it also works on feature phones using text messages), the GPS use is excellent for both riders and drivers because you can always see where each other is and how soon they will get to you. You get a text message when your Uber driver is arriving just in case you are not still looking directly into the app to watch the driver. The app tells you the name of the driver and gives you the option to call them if you want to give them special instructions or ask them any questions before they arrive. The rate is predetermined and because you hook your credit card up during the signup process, payment happens in the background – all in. You do not need to tip. It’s included. You rate your driver on a 5 star scale. Every driver I have had (about 20) has been 5 star. When I ask them why they are only 4.8 or 4.9 stars, they say that someone was drunk or that they were just a hard grader.
If you want to tell someone about Uber, you can use these expressions:
- It is simple.
- It is fun.
- It is visual.
- The experience is predictable.
- It solves real (first) world problems.
- It has a solid business model.
- It takes advantage of and maximizes features of smart phones
- It makes a high quality service accessible to anyone (in their markets)
Download Uber and tell me if you agree that it is one of the most elegant uses of mobile yet.