Jan Kubr

Posts Tagged ‘link’

A link visited: News from the Front by Paul Graham

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2008 at 13:29

Paul Graham in News from the Front:

Practically everyone thinks that someone who went to MIT or Harvard or Stanford must be smart. Even people who hate you for it believe it.

But when you think about what it means to have gone to an elite college, how could this be true? We’re talking about a decision made by admissions officers—basically, HR people—based on a cursory examination of a huge pile of depressingly similar applications submitted by seventeen year olds. And what do they have to go on? An easily gamed standardized test; a short essay telling you what the kid thinks you want to hear; an interview with a random alum; a high school record that’s largely an index of obedience.

In addition to the power of the brand name, graduates of elite colleges have two critical qualities that plug right into the way large organizations work. They’re good at doing what they’re asked, since that’s what it takes to please the adults who judge you at seventeen. And having been to an elite college makes them more confident.

Back in the days when people might spend their whole career at one big company, these qualities must have been very valuable. Graduates of elite colleges would have been capable, yet amenable to authority. And since individual performance is so hard to measure in large organizations, their own confidence would have been the starting point for their reputation.

Things are very different in the new world of startups. We couldn’t save someone from the market’s judgment even if we wanted to. And being charming and confident counts for nothing with users. All users care about is whether you make something they like. If you don’t, you’re dead.” 

I graduated from pretty much the best Computer Science college around here, so I can’t be accused for being jealous. I learned a ton there, especially during the first three years, and had the chance to meet super bright people. However, I can’t help but think that having a university degree shows to a large extent that the graduate is mainly capable of.. obeying.

If you miss Venture Voice, try this (great podcasts)

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2008 at 14:40

If you are interested in entrepreneurship, you must know the Venture Voice podcast, the best podcast on Earth. Unfortunately there haven’t been many episodes of it lately.  I know the old ones are so good you can go listen to them again, but if you want some fresh stuff, you might try iinovate or From Scratch, both having smart hosts interviewing great people.

A link visited: Freedom = Success by Polly Labarre

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2008 at 12:20

I just changed the copy on the Flempo homepage yesterday to show better the point. Check it out.

And then I read Freedom = Success (And Not The Other Way Around). It is coming. Maybe not very very soon (especially here in Europe), but not only am I ready, but I am so so excited about it. Highlights:

“The really interesting shift isn’t from one profession to the next, but from one way of thinking about the arc of a career and working life in general to the next. It goes something like this:

Old version: work hard (for a very long time), achieve success, earn freedom (to retire and do all the things you missed out on while you were working)

 

New version: find work that affords you freedom = success

(…)

Our assumptions about how work works, where we work, and when we work are relics of the industrial age. That’s not a new problem. ROWE finally addresses it.

The basic principle: people can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Period. You can come in at 2pm on Tuesday. Leave at 3pm on Friday. Go grocery shopping at 10am on Wednesday. Take a nap or go to the movies anytime. Do your work while following your favorite band around the country.

(…)

The results have been spectacular: an average 35% boost in productivity in divisions working in ROWE and a decrease in voluntary turnover by 52-90% depending on department. “

A link visited: Zeitgeist, The Movie

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2008 at 10:55

Another eye opener you shouldn’t miss. The movie Zeitgeist shows us what really is behind the myths we believe in.

Its first part shows that The Bible is nothing than a literary astrological hybrid by pointing to the huge number of similarities of the story about Jesus with earlier (especially) Egyptian religion that was based on astrology. Three kings, the cross, and Maria are in fact stars in the sky, did you know that?

Second part talks about the problems the official explanation of the 9/11 tragedy has. Well, I’ve known already there are many suspicious things.

Third part concludes basically with: You’re lied to all the time. Wars are extremely beneficial for people with power and especially bankers in the modern age (state has to increase their debt to finance war). And the reasons why wars have been started often were not what we were told. (The movie says Pearl Harbor was known about before the attack, the Vietnam war was started after a staged incident and so forth.) The next war is about ourselves. All the “homeland security” laws in the States are here to control us (I mean Americans, but might not be that far from happening in the EU). Because what these elites want most is power and to control the whole world.

OK, I’m not sure about all the things from the last one and I’ve heard about the second one already. The first one was very interesting though. I considered The Bible to be just a regular thick book full of tragedies and murders, but now I know it’s also a collection of older stories from various other sources.

The important part though: In the very end, the movie says that what these people (with power that lie to you) want you to do – is to be afraid. Afraid of God punishing you, of Hitler, or terrorists. Because if you are afraid, you obey. If you are not scared, you live your life with passion and love and you tend to revolt. Think about it, isn’t christianity about you not revolting and obeying the whole life and then (after you die that is!) maybe just maybe you get to heaven where you finally will be allowed to enjoy your existence? Well maybe just maybe screw that and live every day as if it was your last.

A link visited: Why are we charged for Wi-Fi?

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2008 at 20:06

A while ago I was wondering why you need to pay for a Wi-Fi access at the Amsterdam’s airport. Seth Godin explains the idea behind it in Nickel and Diming:

“Wifi is a great example. The marginal cost of hosting one more person on a wifi network is as close to zero as something can be. Charge people more than $10 a day and suddenly you’re making hundreds or thousands of dollars of extra profit.”

(…)

“I have no doubt that this works in the short run. It might even work out to be a viable marketing strategy in some markets. However, the alternative is worth considering. Not only do everything you say you’re going to do, but do more.

Offering low marginal cost items for free is a shortcut to generating word of mouth, which is a lot cheaper than buying ads.”

A link visited: Jason Calacanis as a great marketer

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2007 at 12:04

I’m going to link to Jason Calacanis’ talk on Le Web 3 not because I’d agree with everything he says or does, but because I think it shows how great job he is doing in promoting his product.

He could say “we have this human-powered search engine, go check it, thanks.” Done, finito. Or he can talk about the tremendous amount of spam on the web there is nowadays and how polluted results you get sometimes if you try to find some useful information. And he can be absolutely right and he would make people go “OK, so what is it YOU do to improve this mess?” And he would go “Let me show you.” And that’s what he does. Smart.

A link visited: How to trick Google

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2007 at 19:31

Seth Godin wrote a book on how to trick Google. It is actually very easy:

‘There are plenty of tactics about how to get more traffic to your pages online. Dozens of blog posts and great advice,  easy to find. WARNING: None of these tactics work without the three U’s that are covered in this book.

The three U’s? Yes, it’s simple:
Useful
Updated
Unique

(…)

“Oh, boy,” you think, “this is a lot of work.” It is, and that’s great news.
It’s great news because it means that for the foreseeable future, the secret of getting tons of organic web traffic has NOTHING TO DO with who you know or how much money you have. It revolves around a simple truth: great pages get more traffic.’

[A link visited] Seth Godin about his new book

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 17:59

Seth Godin wrote a new book (yes, again) which will be released on December 27. Eric Enge interviewed Seth about the ideas in the book. Now this interview is a bit longer to read (I’d prefer having a podcast for such a length), but it’s definitely worth the time.

“It becomes easier to grow. One interesting thing is that with no exceptions, of every consumer brand that has grown from nothing in the last ten years, not one of them has been built on the back of television. In 1978 or 1968 it was a 100%, and now it’s 0%.”

“This is not a little sideshow, I believe that this is the beginning of the future, because there is no reason that I can think of why our children and certainly our grandchildren will sit down and tune into CBS and watch something.”

“They also have the power to have their own channel. They have the power to broadcast, not just receive. And, what that means as a marketer is if you get caught, or if someone doesn’t like you they are going to tell everybody. That’s not word of mouth, that’s something else.”

“It turns out that that’s ridiculous, because paying money to reach somebody who just bought a new car when you are selling cars is silly. Paying money to reach somebody who is doing their best to ignore you is silly.”

I’m telling ya, go check it out..

[A link visited] Stephen Wolfram on starting companies

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2007 at 13:21

Came across a great talk by Stephen Wolfram on starting companies. My highlights:

“I think that’s a general feature of at least my style of running a company. At the beginning the CEO does everything. But gradually as you understand things, you can hire other people to do them.”

“But if you ever delegate without understanding, things will get messed up.”

“You’ll never know if it’s ultimately correct. You just have to use your judgement, make decisions, and move on. To some people, that’s pretty scary. Not to have any answers to look up in the back of the book. Just to do stuff.”

“Yes, if you luck out, you can make a lot of money. But it’s really rare that money carries people as a motivation. You have to actually care about what you’re doing.”

“I’ve always thought that running companies is pretty much common sense. It’s stuff that can be figured out just by thinking, practically, about things. And knowing a certain amount about the world.”

“You know, sometimes there are things in business that just don’t seem to make sense. Some deal that’s too good to be true. Some magic solution to a problem. But somehow those never really seem to work out. Somehow in the long run things always arrange themselves to sort of be fair. To get out what gets put in.”