Monday, May 29, 2006

Weight Gain

When we started Hubpages I was 220 lbs. My back has been a little sore, so I started thinking that I might have put on a few pounds. So I jumped on the scale and holy cow. I've put on 12 lbs. That's about 3 lbs per month. Geez, at this rate I'll be in the WWF.

Time to cut back on the danishes, fast food, and Mehawk. And maybe I should mix in a little exercise.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Currency of the Internet and Networks

It's always interesting to read what others think about the changes in the media business. This is a space that doesn't ever seem to leave my mind...even if I want it to.

Jeff Jarvis has written about media networks and how they are changing...and where they might go. At the very bottom of the article, he writes about how it might all work, but he says it's is complicated. I think it is pretty straight forward.

1. Make a platform with content creation tools that plugs into Ad/Affiliate networks (authors share in revenues).
2. Organize the content in a marketplace ie. a ggregate the audience.
3. Share revenue with anyone that sends traffic or signs up authors.

Hubpages has all these elements built into the platform. As far as we know, it is the first of its kind to do this. Can't wait to see it in action.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Entrepreneur DNA and Championships

I was reading on the Sequoia Capital website about what they look for in the DNA of successful entrepreneurs.

Successful entrepreneurs possess the following attributes: Most come from modest
backgrounds. Many are immigrants or first generation Americans. All know the
value of money and understand the difference between need and want. Their
confidence is tempered by an understanding of their shortcomings. They know that
speed and stealth will usually help them beat large companies. They know that
other startups pose the greatest threat to their existence.

The profile makes sense to me, but I think they should add one thing. Championships. If I had an unproven entrepreneur, I'd want someone that had learned how to win. Straight A's and individual accomplishments are nice, but a real champion has done it with a team, against stiff competition, and under adversity. I've found that few people know how to really win, how to bear down, focus, suck it up when everything hurts to ultimately lead a team to a championship. I've seen more talented and smarter teams lose to a team that knows how to compete. A tight group, that understands their roles, that in a war, you never question or point fingers, but focus on the goal.

Here are a few tests.
1. Play pick up basketball. People that win hate to lose. Someone might tell that person, geez it's a pickup game, relax. Why, because they play harder than anyone else. I'm not saying they win every game, but over the long haul they will win much more than they lose. Even if it's only to eleven by ones. With each team win, they learn how to win the next time.

2. Play for stakes where it hurts to lose. This is a personal example, I was one of six sons and my father was a high school English teacher. We weren't wealthy. Every dollar was significant to me. We used to play Techmo Bowl tournaments. Each person put in a couple of bucks and then we would play head to head until we had a champion. I wasn't the best, but something about playing for money made some guys tight and others better. I was always better. My friends would joke that they could beat me, unless they played me for money. Look for the person that comes out on top when the stakes matter.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Way I See It

You only have three options if you work in a large company and dream of starting your own business.
  1. Try it and succeed
  2. Try it and fail
  3. Don't try and don't know
The way I see it is you have to go after your dreams. Failure, while dissapointing, is still better than not trying. Not following your dreams is unacceptable.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spouses of Entrepreneurs Day

If Mother's Day is about celebrating Motherhood and all the hard work Mother's do, then there should be a day for Spouses of Entrepreneurs (SED).

For Mother's Day, I'm getting my wife jogging socks and shoes. It's just what she wants. For SED (which occurs annually on the day of funding) it starts with her sleeping in. I'll take the two girls and just let her rest. Then breakfast. Oat meal, toast, coffee and juice. Her favorite.

After breakfast, a family walk in the park and a picnic. I'll pick up sandwiches, fruit, drinks and a bouquet of flowers for her (not from costco if I can resist). Then I take the girls home and send her to the spa to get her nails and toes done. She loves that. When she comes home, I have a few small gifts for her and have arranged a baby sitter.

Dinner reservations at a new restaurant that she has been wanting to try. Followed up with drinks at an out of the way jazz club and then we head home. One more small gift, a foot massage and hit the sack.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ramblings of a Migrane

Got a migrane this evening. They always make me look forward to tomorrow since I know how much better I will feel.

Outside of the etailing space is there an online business that grew from great marketing? Or was there great marketing really a great product? If it's the latter my feeling it's better to invest the headcount in an engineer than a marketing head. At least at the beginning.

I heard some good insights from Gordon at Emergence Capital today. If you your business has unit economics that have been proven and its in a large enough market, you can raise money all day long.

I gave a practice pitch today. My friends are tougher than VCs which is good. They are critical, but fair, and all for my benefit. Today was the first time I put a demo to the deck and next week will be the first time I do it for a VC. The feedback was great. It circled around telling a story that tied to the deck, asking the audience to participate in portions of the demo. Keeping the demo to five minutes (if it's just me talking). The audience can extend it with questions. Lots of questions about our target audience, and how we will market to that audience to get authors. Good tough questions.

Just watched Nemo with Georgia and shared a bowl of ice cream.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

MSN Deep Crawler for Search

It's rumored that in the coming weeks Microsoft will launch a deep site crawler. Up to this point, MSN indexes pages frequently, but doesn't dig out and index all the pages of a site like Google. Deep crawl is an SEO term that means the bot indexes pages several levels deep and in the case of URLs with multiple query string parameters.

This should have a significant impact to large sites and to the SEO community. I'd expect to see the number of pages indexed in MSN from a site grow rapidly. Lots of people have been clamoring for a real competitor to Google. I think this is a great step for MSN for two reasons. I suspect the quality of the results will increase since more content from sites will be included and I suspect it will be even more impactful on the SEO community. Sites that are large with good content should see a pick up in referals from MSN.

These are big changes and its great to see MSN getting this out there with Ad Center, and the froogle competitor.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cross Referencing Alexa with Google

I follow the startup space closely. When companies are going head to head, I love to look at traffic figures and see who is winning. Alexa while not all that accurate does show trends.
This link shows a few of the companies going after the local review market. Citysearch is the old man, Yelp, Judysbook, and Insiderpages are the up and comers. The Alexa graph shows CitySearch the far and away traffic leader. Yelp next and then it's close between Insiderpages and Judysbook.

If you do a search on Google, with or any of the other domains it will say how many pages Google has indexed (this isn't completely accurate either, but good for trends) from the domain.

Citysearch: 22,000,000
Yelp: 2,370,000
Insiderpages: 1,150,000
Judysbook: 71,000

Interestingly, the traffic rankings in Alexa corresponds to the number of pages in Google. So the more pages you have indexed in Google, the more traffic you had in Alexa. In Yahoo and MSN, it didn't work that way. Yahoo and MSN reported more pages indexed from Judysbook than Yelp.

My conclusion is if you want to beat your competitor for traffic is to get more (legitimate) pages indexed in Google.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Presentation tweaks
hmm, too many slides, I think
Presentation shrinks

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Startup Haiku

Millions don't matter
Not to me, Make something great
Pleasure will find you