Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New MacBook Air 11" supports two external displays

Earlier today, my new MacBook Air's Software Update icon started bouncing and announced that “Mac OS X Lion Update (Mid-2012 MacBook Air)” was available with "external display support improvements." I've been longing for dual external display support for a while, and just for fun, attached two Thunderbolt displays to the Air.

Lo and behold, it worked! Here's my MacBook Air 11" running its internal display and two external Thunderbolt displays at full resolution.

I sent the picture to popular Mac blog 9to5mac and they decided to write a story about this. (It's interesting to see your name on a Mac rumors site.)

This is a developer's dream come true. If you want two large displays - one for code, another for documentation - you no longer have to lug around a 15" MacBook Pro.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Productivity Hacks

I've been spending my last two weeks prototyping. A couple of productivity boosters I use these days:
  1. Meetings only on Thursdays.
  2. Pomodoro technique - I try to get in 6 uninterrupted blocks of 25 minutes every day. I recommend Apimac Timer for this if you don't have a physical timer.
  3. Website Blocker Chrome extension to block Facebook, Twitter, and other time wasters.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Be the First to Know what I'm Building

A surprising number of people have reached out to me to inquire what my next venture is and does.

I'm in stealth mode for now and not quite telling yet.

But if you want to be the first to know when I have something to play with, I shamelessly built a LaunchRock page for my new startup. I realize it's a bit goofy to build this, but it greatly simplifies things.

Go to my LaunchRock page and type in your email address:

Thanks to hendrik for the suggestion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New York Update

I landed in New York City last Tuesday and have been working from Tumblr's offices where David Karp kindly offered me a desk to work from for the next few weeks.

This is quite a break from working in Google's Building 44 which is home to the Android team. Instead of a classic 70s Silicon Valley lowrise, I'm sitting on the 6th floor of an office building in midtown Manhattan. There is a great sense of excitement in the office - Tumblr has been growing tremendously in part due to their recent $85 million fundraise and the fact that all the graphs here are pointing up and to the right.

I don't usually believe in stealth mode. Yet the project I'm working on is in a competitive space with some well-financed but poorly executing startups - some of them are failing on product, others are failing on distribution. I'm confident I can execute better than them but I don't want to alert them of the possibility of an attack. So I've been quietly working away on a prototype.

I'll be back in the Bay Area in July.

Friday, June 01, 2012

"I thought people had an idea first before leaving"

This comment about my departure from Google got me thinking. The cultural stereotype is that of a guy frustrated with his office job who dreams up a better widget, quits, and starts building it the next day.

But that's not how it works.

For web and mobile products, the act of building or prototyping is where you do most of the learning. I believe that you can't come up with great ideas in a vacuum. You build some mocks, you write some code, and you discover a bunch of things that you could improve on. That's how you come up with the 10x improvements that startups need to succeed. reMail was a great example for this: It took 3 iterations around the same space to come up with a product that got attention and users - it was almost a year into the company when it hit me that you could store and search all your email on your iPhone. No one talks today about the two products we built before the one that succeeded.

Ideas are easy[*]. Give me some smart friends to brainstorm with and we'll come up with several great ideas today that will be $100M+ businesses in a few years - and a lot that won't be. It's about finding the good ones and the ones that you're passionate about working on for a long time.

There's another common thought I hear voiced often: That you have to come up with an idea that no one else has done before - a green field idea. That's wrong. Competition in a space is often a sign that there's something valuable there. Competition is energizing. A lot of the ideas I'm thinking about exploring already have established players or startups - it's just that I think I can execute much better than them.


[*] This used to say "Ideas are dime a dozen" but that upset some people and I changed it to a phrasing that more accurately states what I mean. In the next sentence, I added "- and a lot that won't be" for the same reason.