Results tagged “success”

Ten Tips Guaranteed to Improve Your Startup Success

March 28, 2013

Having had the good fortune to work with a broad range of entrepreneurs and get a front-row seat to the foundations of their success, I thought it'd be good to share 10 key tips that I've found work 100% of the time to increase your odds of startup success. Try to execute on as many of these as you can!

  1. Be raised with access to clean drinking water and sanitation. (Every tech billionaire I've ever spoken to has a toilet!)
  2. Try to be born in a region that is politically and militarily stable.
  3. Grow up with a family that is as steady and secure as possible.
  4. Have access to at least a basic free education in core subjects.
  5. Avoid being abused by family members, loved ones, friends or acquaintances during the formative years of your life.
  6. Be fluent in English, or have time to dedicate to continuously improving your language skills.
  7. Make sure there's enough disposable income available to support your learning technology at a younger age.
  8. If you must be a member of an underrepresented community or a woman, get comfortable with suppressing your identity. If not, follow a numbingly conventional definition of dominant masculinity.
  9. Be within a narrow range of physical norms for appearance and ability, as defined by the comfort level of strangers.
  10. Practice articulating your cultural, technological or social aspirations exclusively in economic terms.

By following these ten simple tips, you'll massively increase the odds of success of your startup! I guarantee it, or your money back.

The Retcon World

January 28, 2008

One of the most useful words that I've been fixated on for a while is "retcon". A portmanteau blend of "retroactive continuity", retcon comes from the world of comics and represents the idea of "correcting" past facts to represent a new desired reality. The word has long been in usage, as is predictably well-documented on Double-Tongued Dictionary and Wikipedia

In comics, of course, this is fairly harmless. In TV, as when it turned out that it was all a dream, it's downright entertaining. But we see retcons in the world of business and politics more and more frequently.

Usually, the criticisms of retconning in the real world are that it's, well, Orwellian. Politicians in particular seem partial to especially heinous misuses of this technique. But the idea's captured my imagination because it seems like there may be some positive reasons to bring retconning out of the comics closet and into the real world.

Basically, a lot of us spend time lamenting mistakes or regretting bad decisions or bemoaning missed opportunities. But there are many, many times when it turns out that something that seemed like bad news at the time turns out, in retrospect, to be for the best.

And in particular, I find that many of the most successful people I know are those who are able to look back at events in their lives and rethink them in a new context, to turn defeats into victories on the strength of the lessons learned. It's the same creative impulse that motivates people to create new worlds through their creativity, ambition, or artistic ability. In the pages of a comic book, or in turning the inevitable setbacks in life into learning experiences, retcon is the way we (re-)invent the universe.

The Essentials of Web 2.0 Your Event Doesn't Cover

February 23, 2007

Do you want to learn about the future of web applications? If so, when choosing an event, you might want to make sure it's one that cares about including speakers based on merit, instead of based on arbitrary gender qualifications. I judge merit to be those who meet these criteria:

1. They've already been successful
2. They have done something innovative and unique
3. They are well-known names who will draw an audience and make the event compelling
4. Their work impacts a large audience, or has great influence on the space

Caveats: This list took about 15 minutes for me to make, and I had a little bit of help from Caterina. It's also skewed towards women whom I know well or whom I have already seen speak. But in 15 minutes, I was able to construct a set of theoretical sessions that you won't see at events that specifically exclude women, or that make sure not to reach out to them.

  • danah boyd: The younger generation of web users have different definitions of "public" and "private" than you do.
  • Mitchell Baker: How to take something from being an interesting technology to being a mainstream tool
  • Caterina Fake: How to get things done even within the constraints of a big company
  • Mena Trott: How to design an application that delights its users, instead of confounding them
  • Liza Sabater: Your project won't succeed unless you reach people who are different from you
  • Amy Jo Kim: How best practices from game design can make your web applications like crack
  • Linda Stone:What we will be paying attention to in the future
  • Kathy Sierra: How to design products that make your users smarter, sexier and hungry for more
  • Heather Armstrong, Meg Frost, and Gina Trapani: One person can be a successful media outlet
  • Lynne Johnson: How to credibly bring new media to an old-media company
  • Jane Pinckard: Anybody with half a brain could have seen that the Wii was going to win, but you were busy bickering about the Cell processor
  • Meg Hourihan: A real mashup: How to combine technology with something you love
  • Heather Champ: How to manage a web community shitstorm with grace and tact
  • Susannah Fox: You talk about "accessibility", but what do you know about people who are sick, old, or disabled?
  • LeeAnn Prescott: Everybody talks about traffic and stats -- what about someone with actual data?
  • Charlene Li: What are the criteria by which real-world analysts create their make-or-break analyses?

I could go on and on, but I know the obvious question: Where are the men? Well, don't worry -- the door is open to them. As soon as one of you has done something with the impact of Flickr, something that has the number of users of Firefox, made something that's used by the elderly or the young or by someone different than you, you can participate. Hell, if you make something that makes half as many people smile as Heather, Meg, and Gina's work does, you can send along a proposal to our imaginary event.

To conference organizers: If you haven't heard of these people or their work, or you think that Yet Another Bookmarking To-Do List Guy is more important, perhaps you owe some refunds. At this event, nobody would even notice if the wifi went out.

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