what i'm reading...oct-nov 2014

eric schmidt's important distillation of 'business nirvana'

i think this is a more important conversation than we realize. today, we have the power of technology, unrivaled communication tools and more computing power available to us than ever before.  but we get bogged down. and in our own way. the 'old way' of doing things befalls us...all the time. ALL.THE.TIME.  think of the last time you thought a person shouldn't get ahead because they haven't 'put their time in.'  working well is working responsively, quickly, adeptly no matter how much experience or hierarchy you have in your company.  key element to success: hiring well so that the people every (metaphorical and literal) room are delivering the best final product: whatever your product is.

Hello, World!

My friend Ashley wrote this rad piece on MindBodyGreen about the truth about multi-tasking  (no surprise endings here, y'all: no one can do it well).

The new frontier on music development is upon us.  My (future) children will be making music on instruments I've never dreamt about.  And there seems like a lot of white space here for me to play in. (My favorite kind of place to make a mess in).  #wontbewhiteforlong

(Watch this space)

^related: when did AppAnnie become like the Nielsen of apps and let me know when they're raising their next round? k, thanks, bye.

some of my favorite guys are on this interview saying some REAL truths

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.27.15 PM
Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.27.15 PM

two people whose opinions matter deeply debate the issue of our time.


Dirge Without Music

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you. Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust. A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew, A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,— They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve. More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

"Dirge Without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, from Collected Poems. © Harper Perennial, 2011.

my friend and former colleague, Brad Stone's book about Amazon but really about business and people.

here it is in the iTunes store!

and for all those curious about what ACTUAL books i'm reading - here's the latest screenshot of my iBook collection. send me yours!

till next time, y'all - let me know what YOU are reading!!

how to do introductions -- mostly by Michael Sidgmore

when introducing two people i think it's important to ask for permission from both parties separately (sometimes people are overwhelmed and simply can't handle one more intro). and then to send a thoughtful message to both parties that describes each person and why you thought they should meet. my friend Michael is literally, one of the best introducers i know. not only is he thoughtful about how and who he introduces, he writes the gosh darn best bio's around!!!! here's a recent one he wrote for me:

Dear XXX: Gretchen is entrenched in the NY startup community as she is running her own co-investment firm, Adipose, where she applies her expertise in media and marketing to help startups grow. She works with a portfolio of companies, including Market Realist, Upworthy, and Cameo (acquired by Vimeo). She also works with two Lerer Hippeau Ventures portfolio companies as VP, Strategic Partnerships and Advertising. Her expertise in marketing comes from her time as a founding member and National Director of Quartz, the wildly successful digitally native news outlet owned by Atlantic Media and as the West Coast Director of Bloomberg West, which was the first dedicated daily tech TV show on the West Coast. She's also an all-around awesome person - she's a certified, trained yogi, having done over 800 hours of Jivamukti training ... and she's done all this before the ripe old age of 30!

needless to say, he writes something equally as thoughtful and descriptive about the other person and why i should take time out of my day to meet him/her.  (for anonymity's sake i decided not to publish other people's intros!) once you've read Michael's introduction emails once, you realize that every introduction he makes is a carefully thought-out one and one he takes great pride in.  you're quick to respond knowing it's likely someone important on the other end of the email chain!!

so, maybe next time you go to make an introduction, take a page out of Michael's book and put a little effort into it. (with special thanks to my main man, Ice Cube)


IMG_5127 it sounds so official when it's written like a baseball player, MVP.

but minimum viable product can't possibly be where you're sprinting towards:  this is the first caisson in your brooklyn bridge. (see my friend drew at the brooklyn bridge above) it takes so much more than this to get to manhattan.

it seems the thrill of the sprint starts to wear off, especially in the scrum environment... a few people get decompression sickness during the build, team members start to worry they can't fix all the in your Emily Warren Roebling's and second and third lines of defense: we will need them all to keep building this bridge.  (friends and family, we may need you too!)

so maybe this advice i heard recently from a storied investor is valid: don't give me your MVP.  give me your $19billion dollar idea 7 years from now. because, if i had to guess, your MVP is more than valid: there's a lot of need in this world.  i'm sure you have a good idea and a good solution for a problem you've observed.

but don't just give me that. give me your bigger and bigger and biggest idea...and then, let's go there together.

**disclaimer and unrelated: this guy in this photo is my mvp**