Thursday, October 06, 2016

ETH Zurich Interview

My alma mater's alumni magazine did an interview with me about post-school experience of moving to Silicon Valley and starting some companies - you can read it here.

Monday, August 29, 2016

189 Mental Models

This is a great post by DuckDuckGo's founder Gabriel Weinberg: Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful. It's a list of 189 mental models that apply to various life and business situations, all in one handy-dandy list.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

App Fatigue

It’s hard to believe 2016 and everyone is still obsessed with building native apps for Android and iOS. App fatigue is real: Apps take a long time to find, install, and keep updated: It took almost 2 minutes to download the current version of the Uber app onto my phone. 65.5% of smartphone users download 0 apps per month, and the vast majority of smartphone users use less than 20 apps in the same period. For you, it will cost between $90k-$140k to develop a V1 - and if it doesn’t take off, all that expense will be wasted.

Consider building for mobile web instead: You only have to build once instead of building two apps for iOS and Android. Your content will be findable through search engines, and linkable from Facebook and Twitter. There’s no time spent downloading an app, users skip right to the content. And on Android, which has 80% market share, you can benefit from the features of Progressive Web Apps, which will grant your mobile web site many of the same privileges normally enjoyed by full-blown apps: an icon on the home screen, offline capability, push notifications, and fast UIs.

The one exception to my recommendation is gaming: It’s hard to imagine that high-end mobile games (think Monument Valley) can be implemented as web apps. But for app categories such as social networking, finance, education, entertainment, productivity, utility, or travel, building your V1 as a mobile app seems wrong.

Realistically, if you’re in these categories, users will will find and read your content through a search engine or a social network. By developing for mobile web, you’ll make their experience seamless, and they’ll be more likely to return.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Area 120

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Can I Take a Vacation right after my Company gets Acquired?

You probably can't. If you can, you shouldn't.

I get it: You're coming to the end of the due diligence cycle, all the terms are settled, and now you're wondering if you can get the acquiring company to give you a vacation before you start.

Running a startup is hard, and running a startup while doing due diligence and pretending nothing out of the ordinary is happening is even harder. A vacation seems more appealing than ever.

In most cases, you can't immediately take a vacation: Most employers like Google start you off with 0 days of vacation, each payroll cycle you get extra ~0.288 vacation days, and you can't go too many days into to the red. For these acquirers, you could negotiate a vacation between close and your start date, but I've never seen that happen in practice.

In some cases you can: For example, Twitter has an as-needed vacation policy without a preset limit, so you could argue that right at the beginning of working there, you need a vacation.

If you can take a vacation, when should you?

As hard as it sounds, you should start your new job and work hard for at least a month: You just got your TechCrunch mention, and everyone at the acquirer's company is curious about your team and what you can bring to the table. You should use the time in the spotlight to get to know your new coworkers, and show your new manager that he or she has done the right thing in sponsoring your deal. As the former CEO or COO, you'll also receive a ton of requests from accounting and finance to explain your balance sheet, and your attendance will be mandatory.

After a month or so, you've met everyone and now you can use the fruits of your labor to pay for a nice vacation.