#Sandy, don't get in the way of one of my founders, @OlgaVidisheva

Olga Vidisheva, the founder of Shoptiques, lives about two blocks from the fashion e-commerce site's swank new offices in SoHo, but couldn't work there today.

"That part of town is completely shut down with no electricity, Internet, or power," Vidisheva said via an email exchange. So the twentysomething founder of the fashion e-commerce website hoofed it uptown 40 blocks to the home of her operations director, who lives in the Theater District near Times Square, where the two women were expecting other staffers to also converge.

"We're now reunited and working away," Vidisheva explained via email. "We have some big news this week, so need to work 24/7. I also have people in Australia and France, who are luckily not affected, so we're able to move forward full speed."

... or the rest of my 8 million + fellow New Yorkers and beyond!

Haiku for @thehipmunk sticker

The de-icing spray shimmers as it settles on the wing
Frozen snow swirls.
Bone weary travelers dream of warm beds and sleep.
I bid them farewell.
My journey at end. A grateful song to the glory of the Hipmunk in my heart.

A fan of hipmunk, Mike, asked me for stickers because his wife is a huge fan. I asked for a haiku in exchange, which he graciously delivered (although I don't think it's technically a haiku, it's super poetic. Thank you Mike and may you and your wife enjoy the swag!

There's a secret in Trial of the Clone that @ZachWeiner won't tell you about

My absolute favorite part however, is a part I can’t really tell you about. The book has an ending that actually trades on the fact that you’re existing in a second person narrative, making choices. I really don’t want to say anything more specific, because the book does have a bit of a trick ending. But, as far as I know, we’re the first to make use of the genre in this way.

Getting to do a book like this is the fulfillment of a number of geek fantasies at once. The best part is that, because of the success with this first book, we’ll be able to put out sequels. Halfway through writing this, I told my assistant that if I ever tried to write another such book, he was to kick me. Fortunately, I live a bit distant from him now, because having seen the reaction to this first book, I’d be happy writing a dozen sequels.

But you can discover it for yourself by buying a copy right now!

r/IAmA did best interview of PSY yet - @LATimes reports

For starters, even though he's been a pop star in South Korea for more than a decade, he's pretty overwhelmed by his international fame. When asked how his family and friends reacted to his sudden superstardom outside of South Korea he wrote, "They are normal people so they freaked out because it's way too fast and way too far. Even I myself get freaked out a bit. We were not ready for this."

Psy said he knew he had a catchy song on his hands with "Gangnam Style" but didn't expect it to go international.

When asked what is the weirdest thing he's ever seen a fan do, he responded, "I feel weird about all the fans because they are so worldwide. I cannot really believe it yet."

Psy also told the Reddit community that Psy is short for psycho, that he started playing clarinet at age 8, and that he also plays the drums. I was surprised to learn that his favorite clarinet solo is the theme of the movie "Dying Young" by Kenny G.  His idol is Freddie Mercury. And one thing he wishes more people knew about him is that he writes all his music himself.

Also, if you thought "Gagnam Style" was a serious social critique of Gangnam, the wealthy neighborhood in Seoul, think again. Psy said the song is just "FUN."

Throughout the AMA he showed his funny side, sometimes using words we can't print here.

When someone asked why he always looks so serious when he's dancing he said, "Because I am serious about my dancing."

And when another fan asked if he could come hang out with pop star in Seoul, his response was, "Call me maybe."

I love this guy so much. So happy to live in a connected world where a K-Pop star can take over the world thanks to YouTube.

Now @RebeccaJarvis and @CBSNews know how bad I want to lunch with @S_C_

RJ: If you could ask anyone for advice or have lunch with anyone, who would it be? What would you ask?

AO: Jay-Z. I really hope you guys can make this happen. I'd like to hear about coming up in Brooklyn, the specific moments that had life-changing impact on his trajectory of success, and the important business lessons he learned along the way. How can we use that experience to help all the other kids growing up on the wrong side of the digital divide?

Let's do this!

In the Midwest, #Internet2012 finds a thriving startup culture, @Forbes reports

During the Internet 2012 Bus Tour, Ohanian and a group of journalists, entrepreneurs and Internet advocates visited states traditionally thought of as agricultural epicenters.

“It’s not an accident we picked football, meat and energy,” Martin said of the businesses Reddit profiled during the tour. “They’re not the first industries you think of when you think of the impact the internet has.”

Hudl, AgLocal and Simple Energy are three companies seeking to improve the management of football, meat and energy respectively. Of the eight companies the bus crew visited during the two-week tour, all have found a way to provide an entirely new product or service that wouldn’t have been possible without the Internet.

So happy to see the continued excitement around our Internet2012 bus tour. Let's keep this up all the way to Washington D.C.

Every Step Costs You 20% of Users - @gabor

Here's typical consumer app funnel. It applies to apps that do messaging (like GroupMe or DrawChat), but also posting content (like any app that ends with "-gram" a la Instagram and Cinemagram):

Your exact numbers might vary. With DrawChat, we found that 90% of people that land on the App Store page will install the app. The next step is to actually open the app, but only 90% of of the people who download your app will actually open it - I'm guessing that people are stockpiling apps for the impending apocalypse.


The Hardware Renaissance - The Times They Are A Changin'

One advantage of Y Combinator's early, broad focus is that we see trends before most other people. And one of most conspicuous trends in the last batch was the large number of hardware startups. Out of 84 companies, 7 were making hardware. On the whole they've done better than the companies that weren't.

They've faced resistance from investors of course. Investors have a deep-seated bias against hardware. But investors' opinions are a trailing indicator. The best founders are better at seeing the future than the best investors, because the best founders are making it.

There is no one single force driving this trend. Hardware does well on crowdfunding sites. The spread of tablets makes it possible to build new things controlled by and even incorporating them. Electric motors have improved. Wireless connectivity of various types can now be taken for granted. It's getting more straightforward to get things manufactured. Arduinos, 3D printing, laser cutters, and more accessible CNC milling are making hardware easier to prototype. Retailers are less of a bottleneck as customers increasingly buy online.

One question I can answer is why hardware is suddenly cool. It always was cool. Physical things are great. They just haven't been as great a way to start a rapidly growing business as software. But that rule may not be permanent. It's not even that old; it only dates from about 1990. Maybe the advantage of software will turn out to have been temporary. Hackers love to build hardware, and customers love to buy it. So if the ease of shipping hardware even approached the ease of shipping software, we'd see a lot more hardware startups.

Great stuff from PG. It's certainly something I've noticed. And it's just the beginning!