Archive for July, 2007

Vertigo

The Xobni team has been growing in size and working hard. We have six people working full time on-site and a few others distributed across the country. Check out our updated team page. We have also distributed our alpha software to a few early users. Both of these accomplishments warrant the first company picnic, off-site, or [insert corporate lexicon here].

We usually spend Saturdays working at our office; the reduced email and meeting volume makes Saturday our most productive day of the week. However, this past weekend we took the whole crew down to Great America.

The last official company outing was after Adam and I closed Xobni’s series A financing. We went skydiving. We all felt another adrenaline packed activity was in order. The coaster, Vertigo, at Great America made us more light-headed and freaked-out than skydiving ever did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg and his wife Stacy, looking scared.

I’m convinced an amusement park can’t be better enjoyed than with kids. Luckily, our office manager La Donna has four. They were so much fun!

Special relativity and the startup paradox

The laws of Newtonian physics work well to describe the motion of apples falling from trees and much of the world of business, like insurance sales and car manufacturing.  The motion of rocket ships and startups must be analyzed under a separate set of rules.

A result Einstein’s theory of special relativity is the twin paradox.  The twin paradox states that if one twin zips off into space, traveling near the speed of light, he will return to find that his earth bound brother has aged much more than he has.  The startup paradox works the same way.  Xobni might as well be traveling at 300,000,000 meters per second.  I fear we’ll step off this rocket ship five years from now and find that our world, friends, family will be at a different place than we left them.

We will get back and not only will we look at things differently, but our world will have genuinely changed.  College friends will be responsible adults and Bush will finally be out of office.

Dedicating so much of your life to one ambition (read startups) inevitably precludes you from giving as much attention to other aspects of life.  You must engross yourself in your work to accomplish something great.  However, what are you missing?

The scariest part of living a startup is that you are gambling with your time.  As PG would say, “you are trying to cram a 40 year career into 3 years.”  The hope is that you can create 40 years worth of value in 3 years, which will allow you to live the other 37 years with much more freedom.  Most people have the same ambitions for that free time: travel, art, music.  However, not everyone comes out with a win. You either have to try again or start putting in your 40 years.

Welcome to Interweb, CA

Last week we had a pleasant visit from blogger and technophile Stephanie Booth. Stephanie is a friend of Gabor’s and visiting from Switzerland. Prior to Stephanie’s visit I had begun writing about the small and communicative community that exists in the startup world and on the web, but her visit inspired me to finish the post.

In the past few months we’ve met and become friends with a whole contingent of entrepreneurs from England. It started with Harj and Kulveer from Auctomatic, who we met through our involvement with Y Combinator. We also met Sumon from Oxford, and Kirill from Slide. I recently met Kieran from Everwire and next week I should meet Bob Goodson, an early guy from Yelp. All these guys are from England, and I haven’t left the country in two years. What is going on here?

All of these people are all part of the same web city. I’ve been thinking about how quickly ideas move among citizens of this web city because the people of Arringtonville have embraced modern communication methods: email, twitter, facebook, skype, IM, SMS. No non-physically proximate group on earth is as connected as this community. And the fact that they are physically separated means they interact with different groups of real world people. So, these technophiles are the sneezers that will spread ideas and products they find cool and useful to the citizens of Chevy Country and Macystown.

In the past few months I’ve introduced my friends from the real word to great services and products like 1-800-Free411, Kayak, Joost, Skype, Farecast, Twitter, Weebly, Facebook, and Veoh.

 

 

 

 

 

A chasm doesn’t exist between web 2.0 Aringtonites and my brother the bluegrass musician when you explain that Skype makes calling Spain free. They all get it.

 

August 29, 2003 Skype Launches
September 12, 2003 160,000 downloads
September 15, 2003 240,000 downloads
September 25, 2003 728,000 downloads

skype growth

 

There are now over 100 million downloads of Skype.

The really cool thing about Xobni is that it fits the same category as cheap travel, free television, and free phone calls; these are products that real world people care about, and this interconnected web community will spread the good word.

 

 


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About Xobni

Xobni’s contact management products offer lightning fast email search and organization of your inbox, as well as an innovative and comprehensive address book for the mobile device.

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