Monday, August 27, 2007

A Request for New Music

After listening to Elevator Love Letter for the 857th time, I decided it's high time for new music.

You can tell that I've been pretty busy by the fact that I haven't bought, downloaded or discovered any music in the last 3 months. Normally, my iPods' contents are periodically freshened with new stuff. I'm trying to improve. Help me! Suggest some bands / albums that you think I'd like.

You can use this cheatsheet of recent popular songs:

  • Stars: Elevator Love Letter. OMG, OMG, best song ever! So beautiful, so immediately applicable to everyday life situations.

  • Modest Mouse: Blame it on the Tetons. The official Xobni engineering song. Current iPod playcount: A ridiculously high 55. We listen to this all the time.

  • Jurassic 5: Jurass Finish First. iPod playcount: 45. I listen to this for the mom & pop soundbits at the end.

  • Samy Deluxe: Eppendorf. iPod playcount: 38. German ego rap.

  • Zero 7: Crosses. Lo-Fi music mixed up with José Gonzàles - music that reminds me of that Sony Bravia commercial that was filmed a few blocks from where I live.

What's good these days?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Xobni Party Pictures

The Xobni Officewarming Party: Originally scheduled for May, but we kept delaying it until we ran out of excuses. Tons of people; lots of fun! We had dancing, catfights, real fights, and otherwise unromantic guys holding flowers under the Xobni sign.

Best startup party EV-ER!

Pictures are here (Flickr)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Controlling Variable

The other day, something occurred to me walking back home from work: I once again have a controlling variable in my life.

Basically, my future is in large part controlled by one variable: How Xobni’s product works out. If it’s a hit, I’ll be rich, happy, and can go own that jet I’ve always wanted(*). If it’s not, I have maybe one more startup to try before I have to settle for a 9-5. Consequently, I now spend my days and nights trying to make the product great. It’s pretty intense.

For a while, there wasn’t really a controlling variable. In grad school, there was always a bunch of things to juggle. Back at Google, the outcome for me was controlled by factors beyond my control: Maybe some other project was working on the same thing. Or Larry Page wouldn’t have liked what we did and could have shut it down days before launching. Even if the project had succeeded spectacularly, a Founder’s Award wasn’t exactly within reach and the selection criteria were intransparent at best. Somehow, it was expected that you’d have to work pretty hard, but it was unclear how you could achieve a clear win.

Instead, what this situation reminds me of is my first year exams at ETH Zurich. As one of the Europe’s premier technical universities, they won’t just hand out degrees to anyone. But instead of having a US-style selection process with SATs and essays, ETH admits people based on having a high school diploma and taking a test. Then, we kick out 50% after the first year. At the end of the first year, you have the whole summer to study, and take exams at the end.

That summer after first year of ETH, I studied like a madman, 3 months straight. The goal was clear, the stakes were high, and having never taken exams like that before, I had no idea how it would turn out. After I passed with flying colors, I thought that I would never work that hard again in my life. I was wrong.

(*) Yes, I'm obviously kidding here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Facebook: Email me Instead

Does this look familiar?

AN-NOYING! Why should you need to go to Facebook to read Matt's message?

Matt and Bryan (and to a smaller extent, yours truly) spent a weekend hacking up "Email me Instead", a Facebook application that lets people, well, email you instead.

Get it here.

Obviously, this isn't Xobni's long-awaited killer product. You'll have to wait just a little bit longer.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Xobni at CEAS

We'll be down in Mountain View for the Conference on Email and Anti-Spam on Thursday and Friday.

Want to chat about Xobni? Watch out for us in the black Xobni shirts! Or drop me a line if you want to meet up.