10 months ago 11 months ago
Yahoo buys Tumblr

The news is official, Yahoo buys Tumblr for 1.1 billion.

There are a lot of people up in arms about it for good and bad (mostly bad) reasons. It should be made clear that startups (and companies) are in the business to make money. Startups are built for exits. Sometimes that timeline has a long horizon (IPO). Sometimes they are short (acquired, sold, fold). That’s why investors are willing to invest in them; so that one day they might bring back a large return for their risk.

As much as I love milk tea, Boba Guys isn’t “just for fun”. Our goal has always been to be the very best at what we do and to change the tea game like the Blue Bottles and Philz Coffees of the world have been able to do for coffee. Building and owning your own company is a lot of fun, but we’ve also put in a huge chunk of our life savings and countless hours into it. It takes its toll.

No entrepreneur in their right mind spends a huge chunk of their life building something for free. Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly part of the equation. How it comes (through advertising, paid subscription, talent/tech/user acquisition) isn’t always uniform but payment is unequivocally rendered. If Tumblr gave me the option to get paid out for putting ads on my site, the left side would be Phoenix College and the right side would be penis pills before you could refresh.

What’s troubling to see is that there is a lot of entitlement towards something we didn’t create. Even worse, there’s backlash when a startup decides to monetize. We saw it happen with Instagram. It’s a free service and it’s awesome! We use the service and we can leave at any time.

One could argue that the services would be nowhere without the users (or early adopters). I would counter that I have acquired far more value from Tumblr, than they have from me. And I’ve been on the service for almost 5 years and paid nothing. When Google Reader decided to shut down, I was disappointed but optimistic that someone would pick up where it left off and make it better because again, I paid nothing and deserve nothing. If I cared enough, I might even build my own.

We live in interesting times..the tools and technology available today enables anyone with an Internet connection to build and deploy anything we want to see in the world. Don’t like a blogging platform anymore? Roll your own. Hate ads? Learn to pay when you receive value. I’ve never bothered to e-beg like Maria Popova but would you be upset if I did?

11 months ago
The Y Combinator motto, in poster form.

The Y Combinator motto, in poster form.

11 months ago
So a couple of weeks ago some friends and I quietly launched Biddenly, a site that helps people create beautiful rental listings for Craigslist. Now we need a lot of user testing.
If you have a moment, please check it out and write us with your feedback (what you would improve, any bugs you find, and general suggestions) to info@biddenly.com. It would help us a lot before we can get to a public launch. Thanks!
http://biddenly.compassword: kickstarter23

So a couple of weeks ago some friends and I quietly launched Biddenly, a site that helps people create beautiful rental listings for Craigslist. Now we need a lot of user testing.

If you have a moment, please check it out and write us with your feedback (what you would improve, any bugs you find, and general suggestions) to info@biddenly.com. It would help us a lot before we can get to a public launch. Thanks!

http://biddenly.com
password: kickstarter23

1 year ago
Not only am I hiring for a Jr. Graphic Designer at Timbuk2 to work alongside me during the day, but I’m hiring interns for my internet startup as well for this summer. If you’re a Python/Django developer (GitHub/portfolio recommended!) and think you’d be a good fit, slide me your info: seeker AT youmightfindyourself.com. We’ve gotten a ton of good candidates and will be making decisions soon so don’t sleep!
The pitch:
We’re making the apartment rental listing easier than ever before, free and damn good looking across all devices.We’re looking for a resourceful, entrepreneurial attitude and a curiosity for all aspects of our business. This is an awesome opportunity to join the early stages of a very small team working on a very big problem. Check out our website: http://biddenly.com (password: kickstarter23) for more information.

Not only am I hiring for a Jr. Graphic Designer at Timbuk2 to work alongside me during the day, but I’m hiring interns for my internet startup as well for this summer. If you’re a Python/Django developer (GitHub/portfolio recommended!) and think you’d be a good fit, slide me your info: seeker AT youmightfindyourself.com. We’ve gotten a ton of good candidates and will be making decisions soon so don’t sleep!

The pitch:

We’re making the apartment rental listing easier than ever before, free and damn good looking across all devices.

We’re looking for a resourceful, entrepreneurial attitude and a curiosity for all aspects of our business. This is an awesome opportunity to join the early stages of a very small team working on a very big problem. Check out our website: http://biddenly.com (password: kickstarter23) for more information.

1 year ago
Today I launched the first beta release of a project I’ve been working on for a couple months now. It’s a simple tool to allow landlords to easily create beautiful rental listings on Craigslist. The update I sent to our backers this morning is different than the draft I originally wrote below. I do feel a great sense of responsibility having taken people’s money and fortunately was able to deliver on that promise (though much later than any of us predicted). Anyway, here’s the letter that didn’t get sent but should be said nonetheless. And thank you to everyone that backed and supported us and a job well done to my team: Ajay, Andy and Helen. We built something useful from nothing.)
The day is finally here. We’re finally able to release the beta version of our site for you to start using…today! For all our awesome Kickstarter donors, we’ve messaged you individually within Kickstarter with your login details to start using biddenly immediately.
But first, we want to start with an explanation and an apology. Like many creators on Kickstarter, we were ambitious, optimistic and excited about what possibilities we could achieve with a bit of help from donors like you. And like many others, we underestimated the time it takes to make something great.
We weren’t trying to boil the ocean. We just wanted to create a simple and easy to use tool for people to create beautiful rental listings and we’d give it away for free. How long could that possibly take? It’s been a humbling experience to say the least.
To be honest with you, a lot of this was us learning as we went. After many talks with more experienced programmers we learned that software development is precisely that. You try some things. They fail. You try something else and it works and you integrate it into your set of tools. You get better over time.
So for that, we are deeply sorry. We wished we could have shipped sooner, but as they say, *”better late than never”*. We truly hope you enjoy and find useful what we have created. 
Now that we’ve launched our beta, your feedback is absolutely critical to helping us make the very best tool for you to create beautiful rental listings. Please make sure you e-mail any bugs or feature suggestions to info@biddenly.com so we can fix it or add it to the next release.
A final note: We are proud of what we have created and learned along the way. We are not the type to give up easily and we are not stopping. We are just getting started! If we’ve learned anything from these past couple months building out biddenly it’s that even though it’s been hard, it’s been a rewarding experience. We are hooked and we want to continue developing it further. Who knows…after apartment rentals maybe we’ll tackle other industries?

Today I launched the first beta release of a project I’ve been working on for a couple months now. It’s a simple tool to allow landlords to easily create beautiful rental listings on Craigslist. The update I sent to our backers this morning is different than the draft I originally wrote below. I do feel a great sense of responsibility having taken people’s money and fortunately was able to deliver on that promise (though much later than any of us predicted). Anyway, here’s the letter that didn’t get sent but should be said nonetheless. And thank you to everyone that backed and supported us and a job well done to my team: Ajay, Andy and Helen. We built something useful from nothing.)

The day is finally here. We’re finally able to release the beta version of our site for you to start using…today! For all our awesome Kickstarter donors, we’ve messaged you individually within Kickstarter with your login details to start using biddenly immediately.

But first, we want to start with an explanation and an apology. Like many creators on Kickstarter, we were ambitious, optimistic and excited about what possibilities we could achieve with a bit of help from donors like you. And like many others, we underestimated the time it takes to make something great.

We weren’t trying to boil the ocean. We just wanted to create a simple and easy to use tool for people to create beautiful rental listings and we’d give it away for free. How long could that possibly take? It’s been a humbling experience to say the least.

To be honest with you, a lot of this was us learning as we went. After many talks with more experienced programmers we learned that software development is precisely that. You try some things. They fail. You try something else and it works and you integrate it into your set of tools. You get better over time.

So for that, we are deeply sorry. We wished we could have shipped sooner, but as they say, *”better late than never”*. We truly hope you enjoy and find useful what we have created. 

Now that we’ve launched our beta, your feedback is absolutely critical to helping us make the very best tool for you to create beautiful rental listings. Please make sure you e-mail any bugs or feature suggestions to info@biddenly.com so we can fix it or add it to the next release.

A final note: We are proud of what we have created and learned along the way. We are not the type to give up easily and we are not stopping. We are just getting started! If we’ve learned anything from these past couple months building out biddenly it’s that even though it’s been hard, it’s been a rewarding experience. We are hooked and we want to continue developing it further. Who knows…after apartment rentals maybe we’ll tackle other industries?

1 year ago
(Editor’s note: Moved over to thinking through back-end Python/Django work. If you are good at that kind of stuff, please e-mail me.)

(Editor’s note: Moved over to thinking through back-end Python/Django work. If you are good at that kind of stuff, please e-mail me.)

1 year ago 1 year ago
I’ve learned that the first step in forming any team is to resolve the most basic challenge: getting folks to take the big step away from just being themselves (the thing we all know best) and joining something larger (the thing we fear may let us down). Cite Arrow John Maeda
1 year ago