Why it's so hard to find a great technical co-founder

Here’s why it’s hard: The nerd perspective is, they don’t need you
Much of the reason why it’s insanely hard to find a really good technical cofounder is that the best ones really don’t need you. Or at least they don’t think they need you.

Because there’s an illustrious track record of engineering-founded companies succeeding, spanning from HP to Facebook, there’s a lot of datapoints that say that a 20-yo Stanford computer science major can do it himself, or at least with his other CS roommates. Similarly, the very best alums out of places like Facebook and Google have lots of access to capital, advice, and people- these are all recipes for making you (the biz founder) completely irrelevant.

So I think the right point of view is just to accept that the amount of leverage strong technical folks in the Valley have is just the facts, and you’ll have to work around that.

Remember this:

They are not the code monkey. You are the biz monkey.

That’s just how it is.


Social Media as a Tool for Protest (@Stratfor nails it)

Other technologies like short-wave radio, which can also be used to communicate and mobilize, have been available to protestors and revolutionaries for a long time. In reality, so has the Internet, which is the fundamental technological development that allows for quick and widespread communications. The popularity of social media, one of many outgrowths of the Internet, may actually be isolated to international media observation from afar. We can now watch protest developments in real time, instead of after all the reports have been filed and printed in the next day’s newspaper or broadcast on the nightly news. Western perceptions are often easily swayed by English-speaking, media-savvy protestors who may be only a small fraction of a country’s population. This is further magnified in authoritarian countries where Western media have no choice but to turn to Twitter and YouTube to report on the crisis, thus increasing the perceived importance of social media.

In the Middle East, where Internet penetration is below 35 percent (with the exception of Israel), if a movement grows large enough to effect change it will have been joined through word of mouth, not through social networking. Still, the expansion of Internet connectivity does create new challenges for domestic leaders who have proved more than capable of controlling older forms of communication. This is not an insurmountable challenge, as China has shown, but even in China’s case there is growing anxiety about the ability of Internet users to evade controls and spread forbidden information.

Social media represent only one tool among many for an opposition group to employ. Protest movements are rarely successful if led from somebody’s basement in a virtual arena. Their leaders must have charisma and street smarts, just like leaders of any organization. A revolutionary group cannot rely on its most tech-savvy leaders to ultimately launch a successful revolution any more than a business can depend on the IT department to sell its product. It is part of the overall strategy, but it cannot be the sole strategy.

It's worth reading the whole report, but here's a tasty portion that coincides well with the chat I had on Margaret Brennan's InBusiness on BloombergTV last week.

People cause revolutions, not tweets.

Christians protecting Muslims while they pray during protests in Egypt [pic]

A moving sight. Found this on /r/worldnews, which if you don't already know, is the best place for updates on all-things-Egypt right now.

Here's a quote from a redditor, sayyeddy, who was there:

I was there! they placed newspapers and towels on the floor so we wouldn't pray on the hot asphalt, I love Egyptian Christians and although I am Muslim I would die defending any one of them.

Talking Egypt, social media, and Murdoch's new app on @BloombergTV

I'm stoked to announce that I'm now officially a contributor on BloombergTV (it's official because it's now listed on my about.me/alexis). Thank you for putting my hoodie & t-shirt lifestyle in such a professional spotlight!

Well, I had my second appearance on @MargBrennan's InBusiness yesterday and it looked nothing like the picture below.

Alas, I had to resort to that bad photoshop because embedding for the video has been disabled.

Click here for the link to watch the video.

If you're curious, here are the two images I was referring to during my segment:

And here's verification that Egypt is in fact the #2 recipient of US Foreign Aid (not including Iraq, since, well, we're occupying them) after Israel. Just the facts.

The ArsTechnica article I cited about Egypt's "Internet Kill Switch."

I hadn't gotten a chance to try out Murdoch's The Daily app since it was still launching at the time of the interview, but as soon as I beat this Angry Birds level I'm stuck on, I'll give it a go.

I'm definitely still getting the hang of live television (Margaret, you make it look so easy). In case you missed it, here's my first appearance.

Mubarak concessions 'insufficient.' Protestors continue to demonstrate under violent crackdown.

Great discussions happening on /r/worldnews, where I found this Al Jazeera link.

A redditor named MannerofSpeaking captures the general sentiment nicely:

It's pretty obvious what's going on.

Yesterday, a million Cairenes entered Tahrir Square to demonstrate against Mubarak and call for his removal. No weapons, no organization, just word of mouth. Voluntarily and with no planning beforehand, they link arms to protect the square, search people for weapons or police IDs, but generally do not molest anybody. No sign of the security police for two days.

Then suddenly today:

  • the Internet gets turned back on, so the world can see what's going on.
  • al-Jazeera is allowed to broadcast again.
  • suddenly and 'spontaneously', pro-Mubarak protesters on camels and horseback break into the Square. How on earth could hundreds of people suddenly and 'spontaneously' decide to round up dozens of camels and horses for a peaceful demonstration?
  • the anti-Mubarak protesters do nothing, but the pro-Mubarak protesters start attacking people and journalists with sticks, clubs, knives and fists. Is it coincidence that they all suddenly decided to bring a weapon with them?
  • the military in the square does nothing to stop them.

Orchestrated? You betcha.

Orchestrate a clash between anti-Mubarak demonstrators and 'pro-Mubarak 'supporters'...make it big, build the justification for sending in the army to arrest everybody in the name of 'public order' and instituting a general crackdown.

What a crock of SHIT.