Amazon strength for small firms. My man @dcancel lays it out for @Boston

David Cancel, chief product officer at the marketing software maker HubSpot in Cambridge, believes he has the answer. “We are trying to give small businesses the same kind of marketing technologies that companies like Amazon, Google, and Netflix have,’’ he said.

Cancel, 40, built a software “personalization engine’’ that “makes each interaction personal, like when you walk into your local corner store and are recognized every time - except now this interaction is in real time and online.’’

Since it was launched less than a year ago, Cancel’s software platform, called Performable, has become one of the hottest online marketing automation gadgets on the market, used by customers ranging from Rolling Stone magazine to data storage giant EMC Corp. in Hopkinton.

“I like making something out of nothing,’’ Cancel said. “Like many entrepreneurs, I have spent too much time worrying about the right idea. But it’s not about the idea, but about solving a critical problem.’’

Love seeing hubspot keep crushing it. They're setting the standard in Boston tech and I'm honored to be an advisor.

Yes, @SachaGreif is right: Please Learn to Code.

“Learning to code” doesn’t always mean becoming the next Linus Torvalds, just like “learning to cook” doesn’t mean opening a 3-stars restaurant.

It simply means having a basic grasp of how computers work instead of blindly following whatever a talking paperclip tells you (and maybe eventually being able to program your own talking paperclips).

The first step is letting people know that learning to code is not that hard, and that if they put their mind to it they have a high chance of succeeding. I believe this is what sites like CodeYear are trying to do, and I think that’s a very valid goal indeed.

Please! The tech industry needs you.

Awesome. Getting @Artsy with @CarolineLau!

What has been the single most exciting moment for you at and why?
There are too many exciting moments to count, but a particularly memorable moment was’s “graduation” from General Assembly—the campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship in Flatiron that had served as our home. We were heartbroken to leave that vibrant, creative community, but eager to set out on our own and enter a new phase for Here’s the view (also below) from our new office on the 25th floor!

Ah, startups. I love them. Kudos to the team for rocking the art world thus far -- more to come I'm sure! #proudinvestor

Learn how to build web apps from @wtfspez!

Steve Huffman, co-founder of two startups, Reddit, a site where users can share links to any and everything, as well as Hipmunk, a site that lets you book travel and hotels, is a recent addition to Udacity’s teaching staff.

Huffman brings a fresh perspective to the online classroom in CS253 Web Application Engineering, a course that walks students through the process of building their very own blog application to share with the world. Huffman teaches from experience, showing students how to approach building web apps in a way that assuages the potential challenges students may face.

“This class is a lot of lessons that I learned, on my own, working on Reddit. There were so many pieces to writing web applications and I didn’t really understand any of them. And so, this class is basically a summary of all the things I learned through experience.”

And when you're done, fire up my class on making something people love.

Again? Really? Audit Finds Irregularities in Payments to Tutoring Agency

The city’s Department of Education made more than $850,000 worth of questionable payments to a tutoring agency, and failed to put adequate controls in place to prevent the payments, according to an audit released Wednesday by the office of Comptroller John C. Liu.

Mayor Bloomberg, please drop tutorspree a note. They're one of my portfolio companies and they're making tutoring suck less.

Group Funding Service @Crowdtilt Raises Funds of Its Own @NYTimes

The start-up, a graduate of the Y Combinator incubator program, got off the ground in February. It has financed $1 million through the site and attracted 10,000 users.

And on Thursday, the company announced that it had raised its own financing from a number of well-known venture capital firms and investors, including Y Combinator, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Dole Capital, Paul Buchheit and Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of Reddit. The start-up raised a total of $2.1 million for a seed round of financing.

Originally, Crowdtilt was intended to help raise money for charitable causes. But most users were flocking to the service as a way to rally their friends around plans for vacations, cross-country trips, party buses, even helping friends pay for their wedding.

“We retooled it for what our users were doing,” said James Beshara, the chief executive and a founder of the service.

Proud investor - and user! Remember breadpig's Lamar Smith billboard?

Ecstatic to be an investor helping @evernote keep making things people love

Remember that $70 million round of funding we announced way back a week and a half ago? A crazy amount of stuff has happened since then, but I wanted to go back to the topic of the funding announcement and add a cool new detail: there’s a small “CEO Club” that’s helping to build Evernote.

In addition to the VCs and professional investors who participated, we set aside 10% of the round for a small group of founders and CEOs who have been my friends, mentors and main sources of inspiration ever since I moved to Silicon Valley five years ago. I’m deeply honored that these six great entrepreneurs accepted our invitation to invest in Evernote and help us build a hundred year startup:

I'm honored to be among such awesome founders in this CEO-round for Evernote.

Loads of @ELaCarte buzz: One Year Post-Launch -- 20,000 Tablets In 600 Restaurants Worldwide

According to founder Rajat Suri, the average usage is at 150,000 users (annually), and its adoption is increasing by 50% month-over-month. And the El la Carte team has grown, too, from 5 to 35 people over the past year.

“People sometimes think that restaurants are slow to move, but it turns out that once a few start to move, everyone else sees them and there’s a huge herd mentality,” says Suri. “If you’re a restaurant, how do differentiate yourself from the guy next door?, he asks. “People are looking at this and thinking ‘this is how I could improve the guest experience.’”

But it’s not just the guest experience that’s being improved, Suri says. The company also reports its restaurants are seeing a 10% higher check average, which, with restaurant’s tight margins, is a huge boost. Plus, table turn time is reduced by 7 minutes, as it takes 55 seconds to pay with the company’s “Presto” tablet compared with 8 minutes through the traditional process.

I'm a proud investor! And was sold when I learned Raj had spent time working as a waiter to really understand both sides of his product. It warmed my heart, which Pizza Hut warmed for a couple years through high school as I cooked & waited.

Yep. @Dharmesh of @HubSpot Building a Tweetdeck Killer

“I want priority inbox for my Twitter stream,” said Shah, calling the process of trying to set up the perfect arrangement of columns in Tweetdeck a “poor man’s prioritization algorithm.”

The idea is to filter updates and mentions by their importance, including things like the credibility of the source (judged by SEO rank).

And, like Tweetdeck, SocialInbox isn’t just about Twitter. In fact, Shah’s goal is to create the single best 3rd party LinkedIn app in existence.

Shah showed the audience how SocialInbox could recommend 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn, and suggested that the system could eventually learn which of your contacts you actually know well enough to ask for an intro and then improve recommendations even further.

Score. I'm waiting with bated breath to replace that broken app....