Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On Start-ups

While on the subject of start-ups, some more invaluable links:

Great stuff, all around.


Fascinating, insightful group blog by a bunch of Google alumni. It’s an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand about how start-ups grow, build the team, etc. Perhaps most revealing for me are the hiccups. In a young start-up, every misstep feels like you’re on the verge of failure. Once you read this post, it’s a little easier to put things into perspective about those mistakes. It doesn’t excuse them — they’re never fun when they happen.

Great stuff. Wanna bet this turns into a book?

Welcome aboard!

A hearty welcome to the newest member of the team, Eric Olson. Eric will be helping me out as we bring more publishers on board at FeedBurner, help I desperately need! I’m excited to have Eric join the team.

In related news, we’re hiring again. Check out our jobs page. If you’re in the Chicago area (or willing to join us here in the frozen tundra), please drop us a line. I’m particularly interested in seeing the customer account manager roles filled; if that job description sounds like you, drop us a line or contact me for more details.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

File under No Shit, Sherlock

From MSNBC comes this painfully obvious video teaser:


Makes you pine for the days of yore when you could bring your automatic weapons to the airport without concern about those pesky security guards separating you from your dear weapon.

Leave your own captions or guesses at what might be in the transcript of the video in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Subscribe to this blog by e-mail

I’ve been meaning to add this in for a while… Several months ago we announced a partnership with FeedBlitz, a company that makes it easy to subscribe to an RSS feed via e-mail. FeedBlitz setup is now integrated into your FeedBurner account, so turning this on if you’re a FeedBurner user is a one-click process.

Not sure how many of you will want this, but it certainly can’t hurt. If you’d prefer to receive e-mails whenever this site is updated, just type your e-mail address in below and you should start hearing from FeedBlitz.

Powered by FeedBlitz

Monday, November 21, 2005

On the stability of Windows XP

Courtesy of the indispensable ActiveWords comes this gem. One thing ActiveWords does is monitor which applications I launch frequently, then, on start-up or reboot, ask me if I’d like to assign a short-cut to auto-launch these applications. Sadly, this is one case where the answer is an emphatic NO



At the top of my holiday wishlist

Sorry for the light posting. You’d think that with all the not-sleeping I’m doing these days that I’d have plenty of time for blogging. Instead, I’m mostly just trying to get my daughter to sleep. Either that, or complaining to Robin, which doesn’t make much sense since she’s getting less sleep than I am. Nevertheless, we’re all deliriously happy with our little one, who’s already over 4 weeks old. How time flies. (Or not, due to the whole lack of sleep thing. But you get the idea.)

Anyway, the point of this post: Dana Stevens at Slate just wrote about what is sure to be at the top of my Christmas wish list, the Mike Judge Collection of Beavis & Butt-Head. Juvenile humor? You bet. But other than having kids, the only other significant stretch of weeks without much sleep was when I was in law school. And when B&B came on at 11pm, it was about the only respite from endless reading of Torts, CivPro, Property and any number of other classes.

It would be fun to see the boys again after a decade…

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

TiVo Netflix RSS Reader

From Hacking Netflix:

TiVo Netflix RSS Reader has created a Netflix RSS reader for TiVo users. Not sure how easy it is to install (I don’t have a TiVo… yet), but it looks very cool: screenshots.


Has anyone with a TiVo tried this?

I haven’t, but will definitely check it out. Seems very cool.

Hackathon II: Night of the Living Hack

We had our second Hackathon last week, where us non-programmers handle the support desk while the code jockeys create more cool stuff to add to the product. The results are really cool — if you’re using FeedBurner, there’s bound to be a few cool wins in there for you to enjoy.

Nice work to the development team, this kind of rapid innovation is just one more reason to enjoy working here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

TPM turns 5

Josh Marshall’s TalkingPointsMemo turns five years old today. TPM is the rarest of blogs: it often contains original reporting and it enjoys widespread respect among the mainstream media. Most importantly, Josh has done a great job staying on top of stories that don’t always receive a lot of initial attention, only to see them blossom into stories attracting national interest (Trent Lott and the outing of Valerie Plame are just two such examples; the brewing Abramoff corruption scandal and the Italian connection to the Niger forgeries are two recent stories almost certain to follow the same pattern).

Congrats, Josh! Keep up the great work.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Congratulations to Joi

Wow, Joi should definitely put this at the top of his resume.

Congrats, Joi! Couldn’t happen to a better woman man.

Peter Drucker, RIP

I’ve written about Peter Drucker quite a bit in the past: here, here, here, and here. He was the first to understand the concept of a “knowledge worker” (he coined the term), and foresaw the significant ramifications of that evolution. His Wikipedia bio is here, for those that want to know a bit more about him.

He passed away yesterday at the age of 95. From the Trib article:

Contrary to the Henry Ford approach of breaking down tasks assembly-line style, Drucker understood how managers could motivate workers to use their heads on the job, said John Edwardson, chief executive of Vernon Hills-based CDW Corp.

“The militaristic way of running your company is not the best way,” Edwardson said. “He got a lot of people thinking about relating to people differently and motivating people differently. So much of what we do today is so infused with what he did.”

Update: Via Ross, I see that Drucker’s grandson, Nova Spivack, wrote up a brief remembrance of Drucker’s passing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

FEMA is on the line: what kind of trailer would you like?

Ernie shares his latest New Orleans adventure, this time dealing with FEMA:

Yesterday I got a call from FEMA.  The representative asked if I was still displaced from my home.  I told her that I had been back in my house for about a month (I guess the house call that FEMA rep Chloe made hadn’t been entered into the master computer yet – see prior my post on this).  Undaunted by this information she proceeded to read the next question on her list: "Would you like FEMA to provide you with a trailer to live in?"

"No," I explained with a higher pitch in my voice. "My house is fine," adding "but I know people who do need a FEMA trailer."  She had run out of questions and so she wished me well and hung up.

I wish FEMA well too.  What I really wish, though, is that FEMA would figure out how to process information better.  Can’t they run my zip code and see I live in an area where NO ONE is likely to qualify for a trailer.  Can their computer parse information by zip code?  If so then they should zero in on 70043 and 70044 (the St. Bernard area).  Or perhaps 70124 (Lakeview)?  I’m pretty sure there  are a lot of people in those zip codes that need trailers. [ Ernie the Attorney ]

Can’t wait to see Ernie this week at BlawgThink, which I’ve been remiss in posting about (have I mentioned I’ve been busy?) but am excited about catching up with a whole bunch of friends.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Busy times at FeedBurner

I mentioned the other day we’ve been busy; announcements yesterday and today give you an idea of what we’re up to. Brad Feld, who sits on our board, talked about what he thinks this means, and Frank Gruber shares some of his thoughts as well as links to a number of comments about the recent news.

We’re excited about what we’ve built over the course of this year, and what’s even more energizing is that this is just a beginning. The bottom line is that publishers, as they recognize that their print circulation represents a declining audience, need the web to sustain innovation. I’ve been in the publishing business in one shape or another for the last ten years — as a publisher, an author, a columnist, a designer, even a would-be programmer. Today I’m in a wonderful position, talking to publishers of all kinds — from weblog networks to large newspapers, and seemingly everyone in between. And instead of waiting for the technology to develop, they’re actively working to integrate it into their business.

That rocks.

More tornadoes possible

Tom Skilling advises today that more tornadoes are possible, and that they often happen at night. Three days ago, a tornado ripped through southern Indiana, killing 22 people. This graf caught Robin’s eye:

Authorities said that sirens blared in many of the communities and that the emergency broadcast system was activated to alert people to the coming storm, but officials believe many people slept through the warnings or could not hear the sirens because of the winds.

Yesterday afternoon I ordered the First Alert WX-167 emergency weather radio for a little under $50; thanks to the free trial of Amazon Prime they gave me, $3.99 has it arriving later today. It’ll sound an alarm inside the house if a tornado warning has been issued by NOAA, and seems to have some great features (rechargeable battery slots, so it’ll keep the batteries charged, then run off batteries in the event of a power outage), ability to localize the receiver so you can receive alerts from neighboring counties (and ignore alerts from counties/areas that don’t matter).

Seems like a small price to pay to keep the family safe.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Barack is on The Daily Show tonight

So the earlier reports of his appearance on the Daily Show being cancelled were premature… turns out that both host and guest wanted to make it happen, so they’re doing it via satellite tonight. Won’t be quite the same, but will still be fun to see our Senator on America’s finest fake news show.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Zogby boldly declares victory for Santos

Looks like Zogby had a few interns that needed a project to keep them busy: in the world of fake politics, it would appear that Matt Santos is going to spank Arnold Vinick whenever West Wing airs its election.

Sunday’s live debate should be fun. But do we really need this:

Immediately following Sunday’s live debate, Zogby International will conduct another poll across America to determine who viewers believe won the event, and to see how presidential preferences changed as a result of it.

We have The Daily Show for fake news, now we have real polls for fake politics. Go figure.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown sing the Monster Mash

Originally spotted at Deadspin, you absolutely must drop what you’re doing and head on over to, who’s got the video. It’s real. And frightening. (And, ultimately, even funnier than Mr. T’s ode to motherhood.)

You’re welcome.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming

Wow, time sure flies with a newborn in the house and the busiest period yet at work. I’ll probably get back to normal by next week, there’s a ton going on I want to throw in my $.02. In the meantime, a few quick comments:

  • The baby and her Mom are both doing great. Having a newborn in the house (especially one who actually sleeps a bit at night) is a real joy. And her brothers adore her.

  • Got a Netflix subscription for my birthday. I first used Netflix in 2000 when living in California, it’s stunning how improved it is. If any of you are using it, feel free to add me to your friends list, that seems to be a good way to compare notes on good movies.

  • I’m loving, absolutely loving, my new camera. Got the telephoto lens adapter for it, so now I have a 5.1 megapixel camera that has 18x optical zoom (that’s a 648mm equivalent lens for you 35mm SLR fans), takes video, includes an image stabilizer and takes beautiful pictures. I’ve uploaded a handful to my flickr account, feel free to check them out.

And a big, big thank you to all of you who sent such kind words after Rebecca’s birth. It’s so fun to hear from such a wide array of people, and I’m fortunate to have met many of you over the years I’ve been blogging. This blog has taken quite a few turns – from business and law, to tech, to politics, to personal stuff, back to tech — and miraculously, a fair number of you stick around. Thanks — it means a lot.