"Living the American Dream" - More stories like this, please. #startupvisa

I HAVE lived the American Dream and it’s astonishing when I think about it. I came here as an immigrant, learned to speak English, worked hard to get a good education, started a company and reached a certain level of success by selling it.  It doesn’t get more clear than that.

What I really mull over is how different my life would be if I never stepped foot on American soil and instead grew up in Kuwait. My mom and all her siblings had arranged marriages. Odds are, I would have as well (how crazy is that?!). She didn’t go to school and neither did most of her sisters. Maybe I would not have either. She had her first child at nineteen and cranked all six of us out by the time she was thirty (which is my current age!).

These “what-if” daydreams usually run through my mind on the 4th of July, when my family celebrates the holiday and think about where we would be if we had not come here.  We’re grateful we’re not directly in the midst of the unrest in the Middle East. When my sisters and I look at how women are treated in middle-eastern countries, we know how lucky we are to be here and we’re thankful with every fiber of our being.

More awesome immigrants, please! I cringe every time I read one of those stories that ends with "since we couldn't become citizens, we had to move to Canada" like in these Hacker News comments. I like you a lot, Canada, but we need that success story to end with a US citizen.

Manufacturing: The third industrial revolution @TheEconomist

The shock of the new

Consumers will have little difficulty adapting to the new age of better products, swiftly delivered. Governments, however, may find it harder. Their instinct is to protect industries and companies that already exist, not the upstarts that would destroy them. They shower old factories with subsidies and bully bosses who want to move production abroad. They spend billions backing the new technologies which they, in their wisdom, think will prevail. And they cling to a romantic belief that manufacturing is superior to services, let alone finance.

None of this makes sense. The lines between manufacturing and services are blurring. Rolls-Royce no longer sells jet engines; it sells the hours that each engine is actually thrusting an aeroplane through the sky. Governments have always been lousy at picking winners, and they are likely to become more so, as legions of entrepreneurs and tinkerers swap designs online, turn them into products at home and market them globally from a garage. As the revolution rages, governments should stick to the basics: better schools for a skilled workforce, clear rules and a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds. Leave the rest to the revolutionaries.

Hello, future. I'm excited to meet you!

#CISPA and Cybersecurity Bills Are Looming... We're Going to Need A Montage (@reddit)

Last week, CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, H.R. 3523) passed the House. Now, the process moves on to the Senate, where the primary equivalent bill is the Cybersecurity Bill of 2012 or S. 2105. These security bills intend to modernize laws that govern the sharing of "cyber threat information" between private companies and the government, which is a reasonable goal. Cybersecurity is a serious issue, but we do not need to sacrifice privacy and due process to protect our networks. We are against CISPA and any other cybersecurity bills that don't precisely define what information can be shared between private companies and the government, how that information can be used, and adequate safeguards to ensure these protections. 

Yes we can. I got a chance to bring up CISPA on BloombergTV today when asked about the facebook IPO.

Weebly CEO @DRusenko: It's Time to Take Us Seriously

Web site creation and hosting service Weebly is a bit of a quiet online giant. Founded six years ago, the company has helped users create more than 11 million Web sites, with 75 million monthly visitors.

Though most everything the company provides is free, with no ads, it has been profitable since the beginning of 2009, based on charging a few dollars per month for premium features like larger uploads and selling domain names.

I'm a big David Rusenko fan. Love the weebly team. Wish I'd invested ;) but cannot say enough great things about the giant they've quietly built.

True-story: I even built my dad's travel agency site on weebly.

Preach, @Venturebeat. MobileBeat2012 declares "design is the new battleground" (echoing my MSPL talk from #99Conf today)

6. Designing Distribution
If you’re a hot consumer app, content site, or retailer, you crave viral growth and reach. But the tricks of distribution and engagement are inextricably rooted in UI/UX. As Facebook, Twitter and smaller players like Hipmunk have shown, everything flows from design. Strive, conquer, and win by creating best practices around both UI and UX.

Thanks for the hipmunk shoutout, Venturebeat!

And if you couldn't make it to the conference today (Behance knows how to put on an event - there was a huge waitlist, I'm told) you can get a taste for my class over at General Assembly.

Princeton Review Charged With Falsifying Billing for Tutors - @NYTimes reports

On Tuesday, the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan announced the indictment of one of the largest and most well-known private tutoring companies, the Princeton Review, for falsifying records and accepting millions of dollars in reimbursements for testing services it never provided to New York City schoolchildren, The New York Times reports.

Ugh. As a proud tax paying New Yorker, can we fix this please? As a tutorspree investor, can we at least talk to Aaron, Josh & Ryan about more effective and less corrupt alternatives?

May the Tablet Take Your Order? @ElaCarte in @Businessweek #proudinvestor

“People have been changed by the Internet and expect faster speeds of service and access to information,” Suri says during a meal at Santorini, the first San Francisco restaurant to try his device. “This technology makes it strictly better to attend a restaurant.”

Congrats to all the success thus far, Rajat and team! There's much more awesome to come, I'm sure. Keep making something people love.

PS. I especially loved hearing that he'd done time as a waiter to really understand this product from both sides. As a Pizza Hut veteran myself, this really showed the kind of founder commitment that gets investors excited and builds better products.

Rap Geniuses in Yale Alumni Magazine (cc @rapgenius)

A couple of years ago, the three of them, Mahbod Moghadam ’04, Ilan Zechory ’06, and Tom Lehman ’06, were sprawled out in an East Village living room, gabbing. Moghadam, on leave from his law firm gig, ostensibly writing a law review article, was explaining lyrics by the rapper Cam’ron to Lehman, a rap newbie. Zechory chimed in. Bit by bit, Moghadam, a lifelong rap enthusiast, broke down the meaning of each lyric, explaining how you can’t take a line at face value, waxing eloquent about metaphor and meaning, until Lehman stopped him.

That, he told his friends, would make a great website. Then Lehman, a computer programmer working for a hedge fund, ran to his room and started coding. That night, he emerged with a prototype for a site he said would be the “Wikipedia of rap”: the ultimate resource for hip-hop fans seeking illumination of obscure references in their favorite songs.

Loving the cover shot.