“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt, describing the startup ethos pretty well, at a time when the govt also behaved this way, to pull the country out of the Great Depression.
Crazy. They have a few properties (they call them that instead of products) that have usage: Fantasy Sports, News.
But where is growth coming from? Their acquisitions result in founder flight, their mobile experiments haven’t made a dent, and their largest properties see growth flatlining (my best guess) while sucking in more resources. And their display ad rates belie some serious weakness when Facebook captures more of advertisers’ budgets — and mobile display is the future of the industry. They’ve given up on search ads to Google in 2009 and it’s too late to resuscitate search tech. They’re clearly betting on a future of being a media company despite Marissa’s public announcements w the Tumblr acquisition, original content programming, and mobile news efforts.
Dead company walking?
Update: here’s an interesting analysis from Bloomberg about Yahoo’s core business.. arguing that breaking them up may unlock more value then any economies of scale could be had from remaining together. Kind of ironic for their newly acquired properties.
“After Kitchen Confidential came out, I was 44. I was uninsured, I was broke and I was dunking fries into a fast food fryer. I understood that I got a pretty lucky break here and that it was statistically unlikely to happen again. I’ve been pretty careful about not f@cking up the opportunities that have comes since.”—
“I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.”—
Best concrete advice I’ve heard. And hell yeah to have a place to write only for yourself. Not your parents, not your wife, not your god, not your Twitter or Tumblr or Medium audience, not even the person or writer you want to be, but for yourself - imperfect perfect self - like right now.
Since branching out and running my own startup, it’s been awesome one day and totally shitty the next. I’ve had some awesome moments, where things are going well, but I’ve also had a lot more “what the fuck am I doing” “I don’t think I can do this” moments. I worry all the time. All the time. My nostalgia jumps a decade because I don’t want to look at the failures. I veer from taking a break to reassess, to jump head in to the work and hoping I don’t run out of breath. The simple question of “how are things going?” unleashes all sorts of existential terrors.
I hate that I can never commit to weekend plans because I’ll always feel guilty if I’m not working in some ways. I hate that I haven’t talked to my friends in a really long time. I hate that I feel like I’m not working enough.
I don’t really know what I’m doing. But I really do. For the things that I know, I really really know a shit ton about. I geek out about pixels and metaphor. I think about philosophy and how the silly apps we download fit into the larger human narrative. I dread firing up my accounting software. I love talking to other makers and product people about what all of this means. I dread talking to hustlers who are just looking for information, or worse, a way to tear ideas down.
But the few highs? They make up for all the lows. And for this Friday afternoon, I’ll keep floating on. Heads down, step forward. And again.
“In fact, one thing I have noticed is that the people who I consider to be good software developers barely ever apply for jobs at all. I know lots of great people who took a summer internship on a whim and then got permanent offers. They only ever applied for one or two jobs in their lives.”—
To and fro and whereever the roads are paved.. and the speed limit is under 40 mph
Have been reading back on old blog posts. This one from the summer of 2005.
Got my scooter the other day, finally. Cem skipped town for the warmer environs of Istanbul, so I’m the inheritor of his vehicle… for a cool $1200. I think I can resell it for $1600, but who knows.. I want to get it off my hands in late fall. Hopefully I’ll find buyers.
For the time being, exploration begats new possibilities – tremendous opportunities to get lost, to stop and imprison the moments in my viewfinder, to escape into the oblivion of motion-speed.
Had dinner at the Boat Basin Cafe on the Upper West Side after work – zipped up to 79th on Weez in no time. Made friends with the most precocious dog in the world, yapped and yipped on meditation and memories and had a beautiful ice cream time with Chaise and Brian. I’ll miss her when she’s gone.
I named the scooter Weez because the brake pads are kind of worn so it wheezes and whirs when I ride it. I should get it checked out but the front brakes work well enough so I figure it’s not such an issue cause I’m gonna sell it soon enough anyways.
Scootched back to Billburg from the mid 80s in about 40 minutes — not bad. By subway, especially late at night, it would have taken more than an hour.
Going over Williamsburg bridge is a harrowing experience first time round, but the winds! the air! the pointissimal lights of Manhattan dotted like diamonds on black velvet — on both sides! Spectacular.
Picked up Caroline in her pjs and off we went exploring the neighborhood. Discovered Grand Ferry Park – we stumbled upon a fistful of Hasidic nightlovers hanging out at the water’s edge, their wide brimmed hats made funny UFO shapes against the Mahattan skyline. Also bumped into a gigantic column, decorated with friezes and bricked up near the pier. I thought silently that it must be a pagan monument erected as a fuck you to the snobbish inhabitants across the Hudson river.. does it matter if there is a fuck you in the middle of the woods and no one cares? It does… Caroline didn’t care for my reflections as she skipped back to Weez and off we went again.
Up to Greenpoint. Cut through McCaren Park. Then over to Grand and saw the flickering lights of the Italian Festival as it wound down for the night. We stopped and strolled through the littered streets and smelled the persistent aromas of sausages, sugared cakes and calzones. Young sweaty boys shoved each other for the last spot at a shooting gallery game, younger girls twittered next to cotton candy stands in their sequined white dresses – burly policemen stood in bunches, waiting for the rides to shut down so they can go home to wavy TVs and dark bedrooms…
Now that Weez is a dear friend, I can’t help but worry. Got a parking ticket already, but since I detached my license plate from its holder while I park, I don’t think it’s a big issue. Apparently all scooter owners don’t have license plates when they park. You just reattach it when you drive. But conversely, if I park somewhere without a chain (i.e. not on the sidewalk or at home), if someone steals the bike, then I have no way of tracking it down because the license plate is not on.. ah.. the trade-offs! I think I’ll stick with more flexibility.