My thoughts on JOBS Act and if I think it's good for NYC tech (@NYPost)

Entrepreneurs want to follow the crowd.

On Thursday, the Senate approved the Jump-start Our Business Startups (or JOBS) Act, which allows entrepreneurs to use online “crowdfunding” sites to attract small chunks of investment capital from a large number of people. The law lets companies raise money for five years without meeting the disclosure requirements of a formal IPO.

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become popular means for independent artists and business startups to solicit for money on the Internet, but, until now, they’ve only been able to compensate donors with gifts, not stakes in businesses.

“It’s good for NYC tech. Especially as the cost to start a company online gets cheaper, it seems like a natural extension. It makes sense to me,” said Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of and the New York guru for Ycombinator, a Silicon Valley venture-capitalist consortium.

Senate approves 'crowdfunding' bill. Should be some interesting stuff ahead.

Fashion Start-up Takes Aim at $20 Billion Industry - @EricMarkowitz on @Shoptiques #proudinvestor

Right now, Vidisheva is finishing her last week at Y Combinator, the San Francisco-based incubator founded by Paul Graham. Vidisheva is a curious pick for YC, which has traditionally focused on funding highly technical start-ups like Reddit, Disqus, and Justin.TV. And even more curiously, Vidisheva is the first-ever non-technical solo founder YC has ever accepted.


Add me to the list of proud investors in Olga & her team! I'm expecting my first Shoptiques purchase to arrive any day now...

"The Talk" - a rite for black boys in America

Trayvon Martin's killing has had an especially chilling effect on black parents who see their sons as no different from the 17-year-old Martin, who was cut down while walking through a gated community. It has reinforced their fear that at any moment, in any environment, their boys could be viewed with suspicion — suddenly the target of a wary neighbor or shop owner or overzealous police officer.

I am a black man. This is one of the realities I have lived. My parents prepared me for it.

To be sure, my parents taught me to transcend matters of race, interrogate them when necessary, and even ignore them where possible. However, they also gave me "The Talk."

For other boys coming of age, parents may end "The Talk" after a lecture about sex, drugs, alcohol or Internet porn. The rite for black boys often is more rigorous: We're also drilled on a set of rules designed to protect us against suspicions too often associated with the color of our skin.


Needless to say, I never got this talk. And I wear hoodies without any concern that they might raise suspicion or draw trouble.

I think @destraynor would dig Make Something People Love...

This is why I believe that customer service is the defining characteristic of early stage start-ups. Your first couple of hundred customers are what makes or breaks you. Delighting your early customers by showing them how much you care is vital in the early days. They will tweet, blog, refer, boast, post screenshots, and more, all spreading the word for you. Crucially, this expands your addressable market. Happy customers beat the crap out of any marketing team you could hire, and they’ll pay for your app while doing so.

Customer service vital for early stage startups? Hell yes. And beyond! Watch my entire class here on GA for free anytime you want!

The White Savior Industrial Complex

But I disagree with the approach taken by Invisible Children in particular, and by the White Savior Industrial Complex in general, because there is much more to doing good work than "making a difference." There is the principle of first do no harm. There is the idea that those who are being helped ought to be consulted over the matters that concern them.

We're striving to make the world suck less responsibly at breadpig and the very model of the Awesome Foundation gives all power to the communities that autonomously run chapters, we just provide a blueprint. Let's do more with fewer white knights.