Laos: We came, we saw, we devoured

And here's the rest of the eating-related photos Christina and I shot while here in Laos. I'm on my way back to the States after 3 weeks abroad. It's been a hell of a trip, but I'm ready for a long nap.

All in all, I'm confident we did Mr. Bourdain proud - especially Christina, who fears nothing and has zero reservations.

Ask Y Combinator anything: YC Q&A Sessions coming to Boston (11 Oct) & NYC (13 Oct)

I'm really enjoying my role as Y Combinator's Ambassador to the East (taking it so seriously, I'm in Laos right now!).

Most importantly, this entails engaging the startup community here on the east side of the U.S. As it turns out, lots of folks still have questions about what happens at Y Combinator.

Well, Harj (who started this founder-turned-YCer trend) and I will be visiting Boston & New York next week to host an open Q&A meetup for any and all startup founders (or even just the startup-curious!) interested in Y Combinator. There will be snacks and drinks (gotta be >= 21 please. Sorry!)

It'll be a chance to ask the two of us anything you want in front of a lot of people (please share details of the event freely, though we won't have anything setup to broadcast, etc). We'll also be inviting all YC startups still in the area, so you'll have plenty of veterans to chat with.

Please join us for a few fun hours and maybe we'll show you the secret handshake.*

And a big thank you to our hosts in each city who so graciously let us crash their workspaces with our beer, snacks, and startup geekery.

Boston (11 Oct) --> RSVP here
7pm to 10pm

4th floor, One Broadway
Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02142

The splendid folks at The Cambridge Innovation Center & Venture Cafe [fixed URL] are hosting the Boston event. In fact, they're so splendid, they're providing an open bar for the event. Thank you very much.

New York (13 Oct) --> RSVP here
7pm to 10pm
Hunch Office
54 W 21st St #1001
NY, NY 10010

Chris Dixon (@cdixon) and the awesomesauce team will be hosting the New York event at their office.



*There's no handshake.

My TEDxYerevan speech posted: You've Lost Control (and that's OK!)

Thanks again for letting me be a part of such a fantastic event! And thanks to reddit for giving me so many things to give TED Talks about. Hope I made Mister Splashy Pants proud. It's not too late to keep donating to reddit's Donors Choose fundraiser!

Update: Join this great convo on /r/ColbertRally (where it all began) about this entry.

As requested, my slides are now up! Steal & share freely!

The Importance of Giving a Damn [hipmunk featured]

Great software boils down to giving a damn about user experience. Take a look at your browser history. How much horseshit do you have going on in your digital life? Web applications take the cake for shameless apathy. When an exception turns up – when someone, miraculously, gives a damn about making their software work well, it’s a special moment.

Hipmunk is just such a miracle. Look at this homepage:

The text fields are huge, meaty, clearly-labeled things. Easy to find and click on. Instead of being relegated to a forgotten sidebar, the search activity itself is the focal point of the page. There are no distracting promotions or other crap you don’t care about. “You’re here to search for your flight, so let’s make it happen!” cries Hipmunk, grabbing you by the cheeks and shoving you into search land. Want to leave tomorrow? Type “tomorrow” into the date field.

Thank you, Danilo! And thank you to the Hacker News community for all the upvotes on his entry. It's something I hope users saw while Steve & I started reddit, which continues to this day in hipmunk, which Steve cofounded with Adam Goldstein and I'm marketing.

I can't stress this enough among startups I advise: product/service first.