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Reference Groups and the YC Fellowship

As you may have heard, Y Combinator is going back to its roots with something called the YC Fellowship. Today is the last day to apply. [1]

It’s a equity-free grant of $12k for super-early-stage startups where founders will have an 8 week program to work on their idea. You don’t have to move to the Bay Area, a cofounder, or even a prototype but all are encouraged. It’s positioned as an experiment in reducing the barrier to entry (i.e. activation energy) for starting a startup. Continue reading…

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StartupAdventure.co — A Fun Nerdy Side Project

Edit May 28th: StartupAdventure was reviewed by PSFK!

Back in 2013, I spent a good deal of time learning how to code on Ruby on Rails, I used Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial and the learning platform Treehouse (referral link) and hacked together RewardBox, an app that helps you build habits through variable reward reinforcement. It was a great education to the MVC mental model and those ideas help me as a product manager at Percolate.

Since then, I’ve had a few opportunities to code here and there — I wrote a little Ruby script to call an API during the Smithsonian Hackathon at the Luce Center, and wrote a little code using Squirrel to govern the Electric Imp for Team Ghostfinger at Hack Day 2015. Still, I’ve been itching for more. (Because I’m trying to be a good chef). Continue reading…

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Thinking Out Loud about Product Management: Early Observations as a PM on the Demo

When I moved to New York City a year ago, I had a plan to become a product manager in a technology firm. After interviewing for PM roles at Pivotal Labs and Meetup, I met with Noah, the CEO of Percolate. He told me that they didn’t have a PM function and but that he was looking for hackers on the marketing team.

I jumped in with two feet — producing blog posts, case studies, white papers, webinars, films, and independent research — and learned a ton about marketing enterprise software. But I continued be passionate about directly building technology products. And in 2015, I finally got my chance to do it. Continue reading…

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Three Days with MaGIC and Malaysia’s Emerging Startup Community

Inspired by Silicon Valley, many cities and nations around the world are trying to build startup and technology hubs – to spur innovation and economic development. In Asia, Shenzhen, Singapore, Indonesia, and Bangalore have become known as startup hubs. But another nation that’s fighting to earn a seat at the table is Malaysia.

On the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city and home to 1.6M people, is district of Cyberjaya, which has for years been a place for technology companies to plant roots in Malaysia. It’s also the home base of a newly created government agency, MaGIC (Malaysia Global Innovation Centre), which seeks to transform Malaysia into Asia’s startup capital. Continue reading…

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The Best and Worst Parts of Peter Thiel’s New Book: Zero to One

In spring of 2012, Peter Thiel, cofounder of Paypal and Palantir and early investor in Facebook, taught a course at Stanford in the Computer Science department called CS183: Startup. One of the students in the class, a law student named Blake Masters, took meticulous notes that were widely shared across the web (1M+ pg views).

The ideas were intriguing, and ran counter to much of the standard startup wisdom. I had read some of the notes when they came out but they’re pretty lengthy and I didn’t get through them all. Continue reading…