Monday, June 25, 2007

Leaving Microsoft

It's official. I've decided to leave Microsoft.

The past 25 months have given me a great opportunity to learn and grow, while working for one of the best software companies in the world.

But alas, the time has come again to change things up, take on some risk, and start a new adventure. In just a week, I'll be moving down to LA to bootstrap a startup with Jeff, a friend from college who recently finished his Masters and with whom I worked on the mates project several years back (and as a sidenote, he's been up to some pretty cool stuff since!).

We won't be working on location-based social networking or flying robots, but it's a little too soon to share our plans just yet.

With that, I leave you with some pmarca words of wisdom...

First, and most importantly, realize that a startup puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced.

You will flip rapidly from a day in which you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again.

Over and over and over.

And I'm talking about what happens to stable entrepreneurs.

There is so much uncertainty and so much risk around practically everything you are doing. Will the product ship on time? Will it be fast enough? Will it have too many bugs? Will it be easy to use? Will anyone use it? Will your competitor beat you to market? Will you get any press coverage? Will anyone invest in the company? Will that key new engineer join? Will your key user interface designer quit and go to Google? And on and on and on...

Some days things will go really well and some things will go really poorly. And the level of stress that you're under generally will magnify those transient data points into incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude.

Sound like fun?


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Facebook, Twitter, and Paris Hilton

I toyed around with Facebook applications a bit today.. they range from cool and useful to... well:

Right.. so, is it just me, or does Facebook completely eclipse any value Twitter might've once had?

Building a platform makes for interesting times.. like Microsoft, Facebook competes with quite a few other businesses building applications on their own platform, and not all Facebook applications are created equal (competitor apps, for example, cannot currently be placed above certain Facebook apps). It won't be long before fights begin to break out, and Facebook runs out of business some of the companies it's currently feeding.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Home Sweet Home

After a painfully long flight home, a quick jaunt to the ER for intravenous rehydration, and a weekend of deep sleep, I'm back and settled in Seattle.

Despite getting sick, the trip to China was absolutely amazing. I've posted all the pictures on my flickr, and included a few of my favorites below for fun.

The pictures are mostly correctly geocoded, and I was looking forward to overlaying our path onto a map, perhaps using Popfly, but I noticed that neither Google Maps nor Live Search seem to have China coverage. Anyone know why not, and if there's a service that does (preferably with an API)?

Watching sports on Tokyo airport TV

How to ensure you'll never forget how to wash your sweatshirt


Smart way to keep the arrival area clear

7 Eleven is everywhere in China

One-way escalators... bad idea.

Me looking kinda like a monkey

MSN is everywhere in China

Probably the best view of any CPK in the world

I always wanted a wallet with an SD memory card holder!

Spiderman.. spiderman..

Human-sized PSP in a Hong Kong mall

China entrance form. People living with HIV/AIDS are not allowed.

Take a picture, send a postcard! All from your phone!

Didn't think I'd see a hybrid car in China

Shepherd looking at available phone numbers. More lucky numbers == more $$$.

Everyone loves cards in China. Every store has a club card. A problem in dire need of a technological solution.

New Audi Q7. Lots of expensive cars in China -- Porsche, Lexus, Audi, BMW, ...

Good citizens kill bugs.

Capitalism is alive and well

All scaffolding in China is bamboo. Very cool sight.

Brand newly sprawling Chinese suburbia

Tom & Jerry cartoons from the 80s on the airplane!

Beautiful Lijiang lanterns

More beautiful Lijiang

Farmers put their wheat on the road so cars going by will crush it for them

Beautiful Lijiang water and sky

Coolest bank storefront I've seen

Picking out our vegetables, fish, and meat for lunch (the latter 2 of which were still hanging out alive by the entrance)

Advertising on the baggage claim. Smart.

Grandma old computer

All foreigners staying in Beijing must report to the local police

Grandma old computer runs pirated Windows :(

Cute kitty with her 5 newborn babies!!

Found a Sizzler when my stomach couldn't take Chinese food any longer. In the menu, they define "Western" and "Grill", sort-of how we do the same for concepts from distant, foreign lands

Rooftops in the Summer Palace

Magnum bar with a Windows Live Spaces promotion!

Don't do... well, anything really.

The ridiculous Starbucks that opened in the middle of the Forbidden City.

My receipt from the ridiculous StarbucksCoffee Forbidden Store