Archive for April, 2009

Amazing trick shot by VJ Singh at Augusta

April 9th, 2009

He deliberately skips the ball across the pond and onto the green during the par 3 contest before the Masters tournament. (He’s the second player to tee off in the video.)

3. et cetera , , ,

Aardvark – I love you!

April 8th, 2009

I was just invited to use aardvark, a match making service for questions and answers using instant messenger. It lets you tap into the expertise of the friends of your friends. I think the results speak for themselves. Here’s the transcript to my first question:

My Question: “Do you know of any applications of facebook connect that have ‘gone viral’?”

Kelly: here’s a list of all of the implementations:
the implementation is really cool
Citysearch has shared that users voluntarily publish 94% of their reviews back to Facebook
and most Connect implementations have a publish-to-click ratio of 0.8 to 2.0 (meaning, for every story a user sends to FB, approximately 0.8 to 2 people go back to the original site)

Kelly is a manager who works at Facebook, and I got these statistics from inside the Facebook connect team–within 3-4 minutes of asking. Sweet!

And so today, I returned the favor. I was asked to answer a question about “education”. I was skeptical at first, but I firgured, hey let’s give it a whirl. Here’s the transcript of that conversation:

Niko: Who is passionate in New York about educational technology? or online tutoring?
Me: One company I know about is called imentor
I learned about imentor through a board member, Matt Klein, who is also the ED of Blue Ridge Foundation.
Niko: Blue Ridge Foundation is just what I was looking for. Their portfolio companies are a godsend to the community. I’m a student at Columbia/Harvard. Would Matt Klein be the best person to talk to regarding the vision of the firm?
Me:I met Matt Klein very briefly in a large conference. He seemed very knowledgable and nice – I would think you could approach him directly.
Niko: Thanks a million. This aardvark thing may just be a huge hit.

I agree – aardvark is amazing. I have 9 more invitations – post a comment with your email and include three topics that you are knowledgeable about and I’ll send you an invitation. Cheers!

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Advise about fundraising for GPs

April 7th, 2009

I like the advice of this post about fundraising. Here’s the crux of his advice:

Young funds go through a period where the first handful of deals test the proof of concept. Can these cats pull this off? Then, you’ve got another bunch of deals that ask the question, can they scale their strategy without blowing up? Then, there’s the next stretch of transactions — a larger number, not unlike the larger patient populations of Phase II trials — where you really start to get a sense for whether a fund is going to work or not. And then you get to the metaphor for Phase III (which, interestingly, often coincides with fund III) in which you can see a robust test of the hypothesis. Is this thing better than the alternatives? (Of course, by then, it’s typically too late to get on the bandwagon, so the sweet spot is usually somewhat earlier.)

Although he is talking about General Partners who are raising private equity funds, I think that it actually applies more generally to anyone raising funds (e.g., for research, for non-profits, for candidates, for new ventures,etc.) Test concept. Try to scale. Ramp up. Don’t screw up your new institution!

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“War on jobs”

April 7th, 2009

A talk by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame. Absolutely brilliant and riveting.

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