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September 30, 2008

Calacanis Calls the Startup Depression, Still Not Blogging

And he does it on his blog, which he incidentally still won’t be use to do any blogging, despite it having numerous updates. Fun stuff, that.

Now, I promised myself I was retired from blogging to focus on my email newsletter, but I’m getting pounded with so many requests for this essay that I’m giving up and posting it here. This does not mean my retirement from blogging is off, this means I’m posting this so I don’t have to respond to hundreds of emails asking for a copy.

The actual essay is from his mailinglist, which you can sign up for here. If you already subscribe to Jason’s emails, you’ve already read most of this. However, the additional comments for the blog post is interesting, and also shows why blog posts are a better way of communicating with several people at once, than email. read more

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April 20, 2008

Tips for Startup Stress from Jason Calacanis, and a few thoughts on how I deal with my stress

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Jason Calacanis, who is now running what I believe is his third startup in Mahalo, wrote recently about how he handles the startup stress.

Jason wrote that spending time with friends is the ultimate cure for startup stress:

We headed over to Mike’s hotel, and along with my wife, Loren Feldman, Scott from ThisNext, Brooke from MySpace, and Tyler from Mahalo settled in for a great meal. No stress, lots of laughing, good food, and big smiles when the digital cameras popped out.

Which lead me to realize what the greatest tool for managing stress in the world is: your friends. Fred Wilson point this out in the comments of my last post on “death by blogging/stress,” so it was brewing in the back of my head and last night confirmed it.

And I have to agree.. my friends and what I do with them are the greatest stress relievers in my life.

I’ve been working for myself, in some way, shape, or form, since I left college in 1996. And while that sort of ongoing freelance/startup life has its benefits – it’s never fun to have to deal with the stress inherent in that sort of lifestyle. Particularly when you’re launching a new business or working with a ton of clients with very high expectations.

On top of that, I’ve spent the bulk of the last 22 months in graduate school – which thankfully will be ending quite soon – so my average day can be 12-16 hours between work, class, homework, and client work – and my weekends are really not that much different.

There’s a couple things that I make sure that I do in order to appropriately manage my stress level:

  • Take breaks: It’s good to get away from what you’re doing regularly. Go watch Battlestar Galactica. Talk a walk. Chat with a neighbor. Or just make a cup of hot tea and enjoy the sunlight while it’s there. But take time to get away from what you’re doing to relax.
  • Exercise: I’m an avid cyclist – so I usually try to take a midday ride during the warm season here in Minnesota. I actually keep an older bike on campus so that I can do this between class/client time – as well as a road and mountain bike here at home. It’s a bit tougher in the winters but I find that the local gym does ok for me – and it’s a good time for deep thinking as well.
  • Vacations: I’m doing this right now – but as you can see I’m still blogging (more for fun than anything else). I’ve already spent a week in Cozumel, Mexico this year (no blogging from there though) and am now on a 200+ mile cycling trip in/around the Ozarks in Missouri here in the United States. It’s a great chance to clear your head in the fresh mountain (or beach!) air and take a break from it all.
  • Laugh: Whether you’re just watching a funny movie, listening to a stupid joke, or visiting a funny website – laughter truly is good for your soul.
  • Sex: No comment ;)
  • Most importantly: Spend time with my friends: They help keep me grounded – try to help me avoid most of my mistakes (when I remember to listen to their advice), and will always have my back.
  • That’s what helps keep me grounded and my stress level low. What do you do?

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April 14, 2008

Eating “little more than buttered macaroni”, founder shuts down mobile browsing platform Mowser

Russell Beattie, an ex-Yahoo mobile evangelist, has announced the closure of his mobile browsing service mowser – located at mowser.com.

mowser.jpg

Mowser is (the site remains active as of this writing) a web service that processes a website and then optimizes the site for viewing via a mobile device. Mowser works quite well – and prior to becoming an iPhone owner last year, was my primary tool for surfing fullblown websites on the mobile browser on my Treo 700wx.

Beattie writes in his announcement post that he’s been self-funding the startup through his own funds and borrowing from family and friends:

Seriously… A salary will be a good thing to have again. I’m *thousands* of dollars in debt to my family and friends, maxed out on every credit card (all of which are in collections), on my last chance for my apartment (if I bounce one more check…), had my car repossessed *twice*, electricity turned off, cellphones switched off, landline canceled outright, and on more than one occasion (this weekend in particular) eaten little more than buttered macaroni as I waited for an overdue PayPal deposit to arrive (3-4 days? Come on!). Having a steady income will be a welcome mental break, believe me.

I can understand why he’s looking to move on at this point – he’s clearly given it his all.

Beattie is also pretty bearish on the mobile web – causing some, like Larry Dignan over at ZDNet, to wonder if perhaps the mobile web is over begin it began:

In some sense, he’s right. Mobile browsing stinks and frankly I want the same experience I get on my PC. That browsing ability is the secret sauce behind the iPhone and with any luck all devices will surf the Web the same way a PC does.

I can understand this viewpoint – for me, at least, the mobile web was something I went to only when I was forced to do so on my Treo. But since I became an iPhone owner, I’ve been using mobile web applications via the iPhone’s Safari interface quite frequently – and after having that interface experience, I’m not sure that I want to go back to a more limited mobile web browsing experience.

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