Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

[On Web] Startup Depression, TechStars Demo day, WordPress uses

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week:

  • Startup Depression: A great post by Jason Calacanis. A bit long but worth the 10 minutes spend in reading it.

    You need to access where you’re at and you need to fight on. You can give up, sure, but the truth is that when you give up, you have to live with that fact for the rest of your life. For me, living with having given up in tough times is a much worse fate than certain failure.
    If you fail, then by definition you have tried. But if you give up, you didn’t.

    On the similar lines, Namit pointed me to the movie startup.com, a real story of startup set around the time of dot com bubble burst in 2000. And this is what Seth Godin has to say about the recent situation in the US in his recent post:

    But uncertain times, frozen liquidity, political change and poor astrological forecasts (not to mention chicken entrails) all lead to less competition, more available talent and a do-or-die attitude that causes real change to happen.

  • TechStars Demo Day: TechStars held its Demo day last week to showcase the 12 startups that they were mentoring in a model similar to YCombinator. Interesting thing to note is that, 3 startups have been acquired already.
  • Uses of WordPress: Interesting to see WordPress being used as a social network, chat room, contact manager, etc.
  • Username Check: Himanshu pointed me to this site which checks on which all sites your username has already been taken.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Top 10 Best Firefox Extensions

Firefox extensions are small add-ons that add new functionality to Mozilla applications. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features. Here are my picks for the Top Ten Best Firefox Extensions (not in any particular order):

  1. Firebug: The best Firefox extension without which a web developer cannot live. Using Firebug, you can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. It also helps you in profiling performance of javascript and the time it takes for each component of your web application to download.

    Also, you can get YSlow to get performance report of your web application which also points out the things you can do to improve your web application performance.
  2. Measure It: Pretty nice extension, handy for web development. Use it to measure the height and width in pixels.
  3. ColorZilla: If you are working with colors (background or foreground), use this extension to easily get the hex code (or RGB) value of the color.
  4. Screengrab: If you want to take screenshot of any web page then there is no good extension than this. It lets you copy/save the entire web page or the visibile portion or the portion that you select.
  5. Cool Iris (Pic Lens): If you are doing image searching or viewing lots of images on flickr then this is the best extension to have. It lets you go over all the images in the search result in a very easy way (no need to again and again press next button).
  6. Download Statusbar: Fedup of that download window that opens when you start any download ? Use this extension to easily manage your downloads.
  7. Last Tab: Use this extension if you fed up that your Ctrl+Tab does not take you to the last tab you were on.
  8. Live HTTP Header: It lets you view the all the header parameters of the requests made when a web page loads. You can use it to modify the data being sent to the server.
  9. Web Developer: Again a very good extension for the web developers.
  10. Better Gmail 2: Better Gmail 2 compiles the best Greasemonkey user scripts for Gmail into a single package. It adds useful extra features and skins to Gmail, like hierarchical labels, macros, file attachment icons, and more.

[On Web] Online Health, Seedcamp, Marketing

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week:

  • Online Health: Himanshu pointed out this very good article on Web 3.0 and Online Health. It has got lot of data about the online health players in the US market. I am looking for similar data in the Indian context for my startup LifeMojo.
  • Startup Metrics for Pirates: It is presentation which Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats) gave for Seedcamp 2008. Here is the marketing channels slide from the presentation:
  • Seedcamp 2008: Seedcamp is a YCombinator type model in Europe. Total of 7 winning startups were announced. You can read more about it here and here.
  • Top Search Engine Marketing Tools: It is a quite detailed article on the all the different kind of tools available for SEM.

Don’t Quit

Came across this very inspirational video based on the famous Don’t Quit Poem.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! if you must; but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit;
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Stack Overflow Launches: Q&A for Programmers

Joel and Jeff Atwood have finally launched the Q&A website with digg-style voting for Programmers called Stack Overflow. Hopefully it will save time for the programmers while searching for some problems, but it will take some time before enough knowledge-base gets built in.

Every question in Stack Overflow is like the Wikipedia article for some extremely narrow, specific programming question. How do I enlarge a fizzbar without overwriting the user’s snibbit? This question should only appear once in the site. Duplicates should be cleaned up quickly and redirected to the original question.

Some people propose answers. Others vote on those answers. If you see the right answer, vote it up. If an answer is obviously wrong (or inferior in some way), you vote it down. Very quickly, the best answers bubble to the top. The person who asked the question in the first place also has the ability to designate one answer as the “accepted” answer, but this isn’t required. The accepted answer floats above all the other answers.

Already, it’s better than other Q&A sites, because you don’t have to read through a lot of discussion to find the right answer, if it’s in there somewhere.

[On Web] Techcrunch50, Plan B for Fund Raising, Startup Ideas …

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week:

  • Techcrunch50: There was a showdown between Techcrunch and Demo this week with 52 startups giving demo in Techcrunch50 and about 74 giving in Demo. In my opinion, the quality of startups in Techcrunch was better. Do read about all the startups who gave a demo, may be you will find some competitors or good ideas for your own startup :).
  • Plan B for Fund Raising: This is a must read article by Guy Kawasaki for any Entrepreneur.
  • Startup Ideas: Great list of 30 startups Ideas by Paul Graham for YCombinator. MVP has also put a list of links on YCombinator Diaries.
  • Startup Insights from Seth Godin: Dharmesh Shah has a great post on the 8 startup insights that he got from Seth Godin (if you are not following his blog then start now), do read it.

LifeMojo is part of MVP-Batch 2

LifeMojo, my startup, is part of the Morpheus Venture Partners (MVP) Batch 2. Read this Mashable announcement for more detail:

http://mashable.com/2008/09/10/india-internet-investments/

[On Web] Raising Venture Capital, Simple Web Design, Testing

Here is a list of some good articles I read this week. I will try to publish a similar list every week.

  • The Art of Raising Venture Capital: Another great video from Guy Kawasaki. It has got lot of similar points as in his earlier famous video “The Art of Start” (if you are an Entrepreneur then do read the book by the same name). On the same topic, also read the article by Paul Graham: A Fundraising Survival Guide (A bit long but worth the read).
  • How Simple Web Design Help your Business: Some good examples of Apple, Basecamp, Etsy, etc.

    Remember, online shoppers are a fickle bunch. They don’t “window shop”. They use search engines to limit their searches to a very narrow field. If they don’t like what they see, they leave. Site owners only have a very small window of time to capture the attention of the prospective shopper. A tasteful, clutter-free design that places the focus on the product (and nowhere else) will allow the shopper to find what she wants faster.

  • Easy Automated Web Application Testing: I don’t think Entrepreneurs need to have automated testing at an early stage as there are only a few people working on the code, but at a later stage it is a good thing to have as the number of people increases along with the complexity and size of the code.

Google Chrome: First Look

My first reaction when I first heard about Google Chrome was

Oh No! Another browser to test my web application, as if Internet Explorer was not enough.

Well, after downloading it this morning and taking a look at my web application LifeMojo on it, I am staisfied that I don’t have to do any tweaks/hacks for Chrome. Some of the points to notice about Chrome:

  • A Javascript VM which can execute Javascript really fast.
  • A new thing I noticed is the ability to resize textarea. Just open any webpage with any textarea and you will notice it.
  • Ability to create shortcuts (on your desktop/quick lauch) of the web application. This will also require you to make changes in your web application if you want to use this feature for your good. Add these lines to your web page header and you are good:
    <meta name="application-name" content="LifeMojo"/>
    <meta name="description" content="LifeMojo"/>
    <meta name="application-url" content="http://www.lifemojo.com"/>
    <link rel="icon" href="lifemojo_32x32.png" sizes="32x32"/>
    <link rel="icon" href="lifemojo_48x48.png" sizes="48x48"/>

Now, some of the things it is lacking:

  • Support for a good developer tool like Firebug.
  • Ability to open all my bookmarks in a folder (which FIrefox provides) in Tabs.
  • Not much visual indication during a page load.
  • No way to save the opened web page.
  • Does not give any warning when I am closing Chrome with multiple tabs opened.