March 13: Lunch with Sean Parker, why rich kids have already won the career game, and Adjustment Bureau

Let’s be honest, not considering yesterday’s post, it’s been a while since I wrote a post on this blog. And it seems like it has been around a month since I added anything to the Log Book. Either way, today’s your lucky day.

So first of all, the lunch with Sean Parker. I haven’t actually been lunching with Sean Parker. If I had been, that would have definitely been the best part of this whole co-op. I mean lunch with any CEO or legend in the Valley. But what I meant by the lunch with Sean Parker was this article, written by John Gapper, a Financial Times columnist. Besides some basic info about him, and the Social Network movie, I don’t know much, however I assume he is not the asshole portrayed in the movie. To be honest I imagine the guy as a brilliant, maybe not as brilliant as some of other famous CEOs, however with a knack for pushing the boundaries of what society might see as a relative acceptable behavior. In the case of Napster, it was pirating music. In the case of his second venture, Plaxo, it was about serving up customers with spam. One turned out to be socially acceptable and revolutionize the face of an industry and of a distribution medium forever, while the other one is still hated by basically everyone in the world.  Now from the article, I read Sean Parker as being really similar to the way he was in the movie in the dinner scene: slightly narcissistic, knowledgeable about a variety of subjects, but really just plain interested in everything. Some excellent quotes from the article are reproduced below, but you should definitely check out the article, as it is a really great read.

“You have got to be willing to be poor [as an entrepreneur],” he says. “There was a time when I was living out of a single suitcase. I had a rule that I wouldn’t stay on one person’s couch for more than two weeks because I didn’t want to become a bother.”

So is a billion dollars cool? He ponders the question carefully. “No, it’s not,” he says. “It’s not cool. I think being a wealthy member of the establishment is the antithesis of cool. Being a countercultural revolutionary is cool. So to the extent that you’ve made a billion dollars, you’ve probably become uncool.” He laughs at his retort to Aaron Sorkin.

 

The second thing I wanted to talk about was why rich kids have already won the career game. It is an essay/rant which you can find here and his follow-up which I have just found, and which I’ll admit that I haven’t read yet.  I also want to kinda go to sleep, so I don’t want to dive to much in the issue, but assume that I agree with him, however I would say that it is instead the mindset which the person in question is, rather than their actual financial situation. I am by no means rich, and neither is my family. Although I’ve only been in one semester of University, I’ve payed for it myself with scholarships, OSAP and money from summer jobs. Just this last January, I had to wait for my first paycheck in order to pay for my Visa and phone bill (i pay my own phone bill and I payed for my iPhone). In no way do I regret all this. Now getting back to the point of the story, I would like to think that I act like the “rich kids” in the rant. I’ve been able to mingle with rather important people in the Valley, and I’m a pretty social person. I think that as long as the “poor kid” is not ashamed of his situation, he can get into the mindset that he is no different than the typical rich kid. He will have to work harder, but that does not mean that he cannot employ the same type of social behavior as the rich kid.

My last share is the fact that I saw the Adjustment Bureau, the new movie with Matt Damon. It was a pretty sweet movie, maybe not necessarily a movie to see in cinemas. The short story is that Matt Damon’s character (David Norris) is running for Senate as a representative of NY, when he meets Emily Blunt’s character (Elise Sellas). At this point I can just say that fate is not on their side, and certain rather shady people who seem to come from a 60s detective film, have something to say about setting your own fate. Moral of the movie, fictional gods are awesome, Matt Damon keeps doing what he’s best at (running away from really shady organizations), and Emily Blunt is as sexy as ever.

Trip to LA part 1: Transportation

Being in San Francisco, I figured I might as well take a week off and go to Los Angeles. I mean if you have the chance to visit Tinsel Town, why not? My buddy Ryan, who works with me at Allerta, did not need much convincing. The thing is that I haven’t bought tickets yet, or decided on plans of what to visit, so instead of just writing everything on a piece of paper, I might as well write it here, and maybe someone will find it useful (probably not). If you have been to Los Angeles or if you live in LA, and you happen to stumble over this post, please drop a line telling me whether the plans are alright and if I should add anything to the itinerary.

So, we’ll start with transportation. I figure that the ones that make sense and the only ones really are:

  • Airplane
  • Train
  • Greyhound/or other bus company

At this moment I’m kicking myself for not having taken my G2 back in Canada, as then I would have had a car already and I could have driven there down the coast. Well this won’t be my last trip to the valley, so I’ll do the drive next time.

So first airplane. I figured that instead of checking the individual airlines (Delta, Virgin, United, Continental) , I might as well check Orbitz or another similar aggregative website. I decided the  departure date would be  the 25th of March and we’d be back on the 3rd of April. A bit more than a week should give us enough time to visit everything, and maybe even surf and do other Los Angelen things.  In terms of prices, it seems that all airlines have the same price of $220 in totals for both ways.

Now train. Why train you may ask? Well because it’s probably faster than a bus, but you still get to see all the nice landscapes. However, after checking the itinerary, it doesn’t seem like too good of a choice. First of all is that from San Francisco you have to take  a bus for 2 and a half hours to Stockton. From there we would take the train for 4 and half hours (not bad) up to Bakersfield. And then, another 2 and a half hours on a bus to Union Station. If the whole bus thing wouldn’t be there, I’d be pretty inclined to go this route, but with the bus it seems it’s just a pain in the ass. Price wise it wasn’t too bad either, around $110 one way.

And finally Greyhound. Price wise it is obviously the best at $168 both ways. The major downside? 12 and a half our bus ride. Yeah… no.

So transplantation has been unanimously decided: airplanes. In terms of which one, I think we’ll just go with Virgin, just because Richard Branson is so awesome. So tickets: CHECK!

 

Allerta releasing the dev kit for the inPulse Smartwatch

It’s currently 7:35am Pacific Time. I’ve been up for 20 hours, and in previous days I didn’t get much sleep either. But it’s all worth it. Why? Because ALLERTA JUST RELEASED THEIR DEV KIT FOR THE INPULSE SMARTWATCH! YAY! *baloons*

It feels pretty great to have your first product shipped. I mean sure it wasn’t only me who worked on it. A lot of cred should go to my boss, and Ryan and I we both worked on it, but you it’s out baby.

Now let me explain you what the watch used to do and what it will do form now on. Until now, the watch would only connect to your Blackberry and it would send your calls, SMS, Email and BBM notifications to your watch. In the case of emails, calls and sms you would also get the actual content and who it is that sent you the call or whatever.

NOW, you will actually be able to write your own apps. A “Hello World ” app can be written up in less than a minute. To see some samples of the apps go to http://www.getinpulse.com/apps/ . I wrote the iTunes one, the Presenter one and the Analog Clock Face.

We are also on Hacker News right as I type this so feel free to go there too: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2221579

Throughout the day I’ll be updating with the latest blogs where we’ll be making an appearance so to speak.

UPDATE: Makezine posted about us http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/02/inpulse-hackable-wristwatch-sdk-available.html . Cool beans AND one of my apps(Analog watch) is there.

UPDATE 2: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/the-wristwatch-looks-for-a-new-use/#more-59041 We are in the NY Times magazine, and my analog whatcface is there

Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day Edition <3<3

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! If you have a valentine today, good for you. If you don’t, well don’t worry we are in this together. Chances are we are just too sexy to handle.

This Log Book post is probably as unprofessional as it’s going to get, so here it is:

  • Google’s new logo.
  • Google shows it’s friendly non scary and stalkerish side through “Map Your Valentine“. It asks you for your email, your Valentine’s email, and a place where you’ve both been and hopefully from which you have some pretty sweet memories. And of course you’ll have to write a message. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with a pre-written message, so unless you want to send it empty, you’ll just have to write something sweet and witty and nice. At this point it will send an email to the Valentine, with a Google Map attached in the shape of a heart, with a double cursor instead of the usual one. Nerdiness factor: 8. Sweetness factor: 5 by default. It could go up if the message is nice.
  • Chocolate and Hearts – Epic Meal Time. For those of you who don’t know, Epic Meal Time is a group of Canadians (yeeee) who live by the mantra that anything is better with bacon. They are also probably the only humans who would put a T-Rex to shame in terms of who’s a bigger carnivore. The video and the rest of the entries are right after the break.
  • Our next video comes from Aperture Laboratories, and it gives a few pointers and statistics about Valentine’s Day gift buying, such as the fact that “Four out of five people are crushed to death by giant diamonds every day” or the fact that “Queen bees are provoked by displays of human affection.”
  • The ever-awesome and nerdy XKCD (it’s old but so what? It still applies).
  • And love in the words of one of the greatest bands ever, the Beatles.
    Continue reading

Feb 13

This will be the first log book post. Yay! In no particular order:

  • Yesterday I came across two of the most powerful images that were taken during the Egypt protests. I know that they are over, but I feel like they are important enough to be posted now. The first image represent Muslim Egyptians who are acting as human shields, protecting the Christians, who are coming out of their churches.  The Washington post quoted Egyptians as saying:

“I know it might not be safe, yet it’s either we live together, or we die together, we are all Egyptians.”

According to one of their source, Ahram Online, there were several prominent Muslim figures among the participants:

“Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.”

The question is: do we really need time like these for people to forget their unimportant differences such as religion?

  • I will be definitely looking into hosting this blog myself. I feel i’m a bit too constrained by the lack of plug-ins, and by the lack of tracking tools such as Google Analytics. I’m debating between hosts such as 1and1 or cloud services such as Amazon’s Web Services. If you have any comments about this, they are more than welcome.
  • Pandora plans to go public sometimes in mid 2011. The have practically eliminated all of their losses from the past years. I will be definitely be covering this as we get closer to the actual IPO. For now, you can find more information at TechCrunch
  • Two days ago I managed to stumble over the YCombinator application form, for the Summer of 2010. In my opinion, most of those questions should already be answered by any entrepreneur who is serious about his or her business. The application can be found here.
  • I am not too big of a StarCraft fan (probably has to do with the fact that I am not too good at the game), but while checking out the Quantum of Knowledge blog, I’ve discovered quite a funny and incredibly cute video, of father-4 year old daughter bonding time during a StarCraft  game. 

What is Pocodot?

If you spend any amount of time on YouTube, listening to music, as most of us do whether it’s in our spare time or at work, you will have noticed that for many of the most viewed music videos, the highest rated comments are related to Pocodot or “The new Facebook killer”, as the commenters refer to it.  The most common scenario is this: the top rated comment begins by describing how great the singer is, and then they seem to leak some info about the artist they found from their pocodot profile. The second most rated comment, usually has a user ask the first what the hell pocodot is. Both of them are Spam bots, and at the amount of pocodot comments I’ve flagged as spam, I should be becoming a Youtube moderator pretty soon.

Here you can find a few samples of messages regarding pocodot:

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Now here is a print screen  of a pocodot profile. I’ll give it to them, that the design looks ok and in a way pretty elegant with the tabs. It obviously took a few pages from the “simplicity” book written by Facebook: Continue reading