February 2010 Archives
Knight is also attracted to simplified search engines like Gabriel Weinberg's Valley Forge-based DuckDuckGo.com. "It's Google Light," says Weinberg. "They strip out all the garbage - video, ads. And it's intelligent. You search for 'wolf,' it'll ask, 'What wolf do you mean?' and list some choices."
DuckDuckGo.com is the brainchild of Weinberg, a twentysomething graduate of MIT who sold his Web site, NamesDatabase, to Classmates Online Inc. in 2006, and retired to raise his child and invest in new companies with his wife, a GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C. statistician, in 2006.
"Around M.I.T., we had a lot of people starting companies," he said. "We started this group, Hackathon."
His Philly chapter "is growing slowly over time," with help from people at the LiquidHub consulting group, among others. They meet every month, sometimes in an office at Cira Centre, sometimes at the Bear Rock Cafe in King of Prussia. "There's random people making sites," he explained. "We try to put them together."
- I can't take credit for the "Google Light" quote, which must have been from Charles. I usually say "better results and less garbage."
- I'm thirty and I'm not retired; in fact, quite the opposite :)
- The Hackathon group is unique to Philly. I started it upon moving to the area trying to reconstruct some of the entrepreneurial spirit I felt around MIT. I'm actually at our monthly hackathon right now!
If you can do this, eventually your movement may grow on its own. If it's a mainstream enough idea, it could grow into a revolution. Canonical examples are Wikipedia and Twitter.
- Zippers. Love 'em. Baby clothes come in all sorts of different connecting pieces, e.g. snapping down the middle, snapping down the legs, and all sorts of other snapping. The problem is snapping sucks, especially when the baby is wriggly. With the zipper, you just shove in their legs, zip up and you're done.
- Footsies. Babies aren't supposed to sleep with anything in their cribs, but they can get cold. So what we've converged to doing is dressing him in a fleece with footsies with a onesie underneath. If the pajamas don't have footsies, then their feet get really cold, and so you end up having to put socks on them. Not only are socks annoying but they have a tendency to come off in the middle of the night. And even if they don't, without the footsies the leg can ride up and expose their calves.
- Snurgle. For the first few months we swaddled Eli, in what we came to call the Snurgle. Swaddling really worked for us.
- Onesies. They're awesome. There is a tendency to buy lots of different types of clothes, i.e. overalls, shirts, pullovers, etc. because they're all cute. And that of course is true. However, the onesie has a special appeal because they can just wear it as is and it classifies an outfit. Additionally, you can layer over it (pants/shirts) and if they get that dirty (food/whatever) you can take it off but don't have to take off everything. Finally, it keeps their belly covered, whereas if they just wore a shit it would not.
- More onesies. We've like the Gerber and Carter ones the best. You can buy the white ones in the multi-packs, which we routinely use as a base layer. Note, however, that the Gerber ones run small. You also have to be careful about the head openings being too big (with any brand). Finally, we've found that if you take the head size into account, you can get bigger sizes and they work just fine.
- Changing with the bottle. Changing clothes can be a pain. I've taken to making Eli a bottle first, and letting him eat while I change him. He is then calm throughout. This technique only started working after he could hold his bottle though, at around 6mo or so (I forget!).
- Sizing. The sizes vary so much from brand to brand it is somewhat ridiculous. It's to the point where you can't really trust them at all. Additionally, the width of the clothes varies a ton. Eli's really skinny, so that has a big impact. Bottom line is if you have to really look at the item beyond the size.
- More sizing. We bought a ton of 6-12mo clothes, which is the standard size. But really at 6mo they didn't fit Eli because they seem to be for more on the 12mo side even though they say 6-12mo on them. So we had to go back out and get a bunch of 9mo stuff, which is harder to come by.
- Stores. We found a lot of good stuff and good prices at Target, Carters, and Costco.
- Outside fleece. We bought a really thick outside fleece at Target that was proved invaluable. We put him in it in the late fall and early winter when we went outside for walks. He was warm and sometimes it lulled him to sleep. It covered his hands and feet and had a hood.
- Hooded sweatshirts. Sweatshirts are cute, but we were too nervous to put him to sleep in ones that had hoods.
- Shoes. Haven't had much of a use for them :)
- Laundry. We initially underestimated how many clothes he would go through. Between peeing, eating, and generally getting into things, we're changing him often a few times a day.
"For example, Alaska and West Virginia each spend 11 percent of their budgets on K-12 education, while Michigan, at the other end of the spectrum, spends 31 percent. Similarly, Medicaid makes up 10 percent or less of state budgets in Alabama, Hawaii, and Wyoming but more than 30 percent of the budgets in Maine, Missouri, and Pennsylvania."
- The craziest person you've ever met. An all caps rambling email that makes little to no sense.
- The angriest person you've ever met. The accusatory email claiming something ridiculous like you deliberately hacked into their computer or caused it to go haywire and they are reporting you to the Attorney General's office as consequence.
- The strangest piece of mail you've ever received. The African woman who insists your site is a dating service where you personally match people up and so physically mails to your PO Box a profile with picture.
- The code path you never knew was possible. How did that get in my server logs / in my database / on that screen shot?
- The check in the mail. We didn't take checks. Yet that didn't stop people from sending them.
- I submit status updates to Twitter, which auto-posts to Facebook and LinkedIn (and now Buzz).
- I submit pictures (mainly of my son Eli) to Posterous, which auto-posts to Facebook (and has eliweinberg.com pointing to it).
- I write blog posts, which get auto-posted by feedburner to Twitter.
- I upload videos to YouTube, which I then post to Posterous, and which get auto-posted now to Buzz as well.
- I upload videos directly to Facebook because they come out better that way (in HD).
- I submit stories to Hacker News when appropriate.
- I get auto-emailed comments from basically everything.
- I check twitter and Facebook (and probably now Buzz) regularly.
"If 2/3ds of the legislatures of the states demand it, Congress must call a convention. That convention then must meet and deliberate about amendments to the constitution. If it agrees, it then proposes amendments to the states. 3/4ths of the states must then ratify any amendment before becomes law. Thus, 12 states of 50 have the power to veto any change, meaning no change could happen unless it appealed to a solid group of Red States and a solid group of Blue."
However, I think the scope of that convention needs to be much bigger. Yes, we should call a convention, but it just shouldn't be about this one problem, one amendment.
- Essentially unlimited funds to invest in who they want.
- Incredible deal flow, probably capturing a large % of promising early stage startups in their investing spaces.
- Lots and lots of deals.
- Orders of magnitude less funds.
- Orders of magnitude less deal flow.
- Orders of magnitude less deals.
Thank you to Prakash Swaminathan for introducing me to Alexis for this interview.
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