Dec 10 2010

The Right Domain Name for Your Startup

It used to be that single the most important aspect of starting a new business was location, location, location. With online businesses, this translates to domain name, domain name, domain name. The domain name of you business is important for several reasons, because it will be your de facto business name, because this will be one of the avenues of how users find you, because there is a short supply of good domain names left, because you want to stand out from your competitors, etc. But in addition to finding a good domain name for your business you should see if it’s also available on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, and any other relevant social networking site. As soon as I buy a domain name, I try to lock up the twitter account, the Facebook page, the Tumblr and WordPress blog for that domain.

Depending on the business or product or simply to proactively protect your business from competition and spammers, you should think about snapping up domain names that reference your company or trademarks. For example, try to buy the .net, .org, .me, and other TLD versions of the domain name you are considering if available. In addition try to lock up domain names that reference your company or product in a disparaging way.

Because most single word domain names are already taken, people often combine two words or more. It is common practice to not hyphenate two or more words in a domain name. But when placing two words together be careful that it doesn’t accidentally read something different than what you intended. For example, There is s site called Therapist Finder whose domain name is which can also be read as The Rapist Finder. The is a website called Speed of Art whose domain name is whose domain name can also be read as Speedo Fart.

Try to avoid using a name that ties your product or service to a particular technology. Find an inspirational name that denotes a feeling of though about what you are doing but not the technology you are using. For example, Twitter is a great name for their product. No most people use Twitter with mobile device apps over 3G, but SMS was a key aspect of Twitter in the early days. The word tweet denotes so well what people do on the service, they simply post a tiny comment. Once Twitter became a success and they opened up their API to third party applications then you saw the opposite, company formed around Twitter and named themselves a such like Twitpic. Twitpic is successful despite their bad choice of name but they it does narrow people’s view on you. In the case of Twitpic, they also have the problem that they misspelled the word tweet with twit. Twit has a completely different meaning than tweet.

Another example of a company name that relied heavily on a particular technology was PodShow. PodShow later rebranded itself to Mevio but only after the whole podcasting industry was threatened by Apple copyrighting and trademarking the term podcast. The term podcast itself relies on Apple iPod product line. The industry as whole talked of using netcast instead of podcast, but that never took off. By rebranding themselves to Mevio, the company speaks to broader audience, does not tie itself to one technology or open itself for legal dispute over trademarks or copyrights issues. In the case of Mevio, the name suits it well. The prefix is me and postfix vio sounds like the last syllable of video.

In the current state of search, short and clear domain names are known to get more Google juice to complicated, hard to spell, hyphenated domains. Your domain name should be easy to say and understand over a phone, it should evoke your industry, product, or service. The right domain is worth its price for the right entrepreneur. Not to take anything away from the founder of, but I believe that the domain name had a lot to do to the online retailers credibility with customers which ultimately lead to being purchased for over $500 million dollars by Amazon.

Owning the right domain name can help to take your business to the next level.

Nov 8 2010

Quotable Calacanis 2010

Jason Calacanis is an outspoken and unfiltered entrepreneur. Calacanis founded Mahalo, co-founded Weblogs, Inc. which later sold to AOL, co-founded The LAUNCH conference, host of This Week in Startups, founder of Open Angel Forum. Calacanis is famous for his industry rants on Jason’s List mailing list, most recently ranting about Facebook privacy mishap, the lack of commitment from Generation Y, and pay to pitch outfits. Over the last year I have collected a few choice quotes from Jason Calacanis blog posts, mailing list, and podcast. If you want more Jason Calacanis quotes be sure to take a look at the Quotable Calacanis 2009.

These people come here, they are brilliant. they want to start companies here and we kick them out after college. Or we don’t let them come to college to begin with because they might be terrorist. You know what, I take one terrorist for every 10,000 brilliant entrepreneurs that come to the country, I’ll literary will. I’ll take that risk. And if they are in this country they are more easy to catch than if they are in that country.
This Week in Startups #88

Patents are like nuclear weapons, you never use them but they are nice to have because if you have them people tend to not invade into your country because they are scared of those being dropped on them.
This Week in Startups #88

If you can afford to have the unjustifiable, then you’ve made it. It’s unjustifiable to have a jet. There is no reason to have it unless you are a president or CEO of a very large corporation.
This Week in Startups #72

Wining is altruism. Wining is the best thing you can do for the world. When you win then you can do exciting things to change humanity
the most greatest influences in our society, ultimate when history books are written, are going to be the billionaires that are going to give their net worth to solve very big problems.
This Week in Startups #72

Facebook and Twitter have users. Apple has customers. The difference? Customers give you their credit card number.

Winning is altruism, that’s the most beautiful thing you can do for somebody in the world is win!
This Week in Startups #65 Global Meetup

Power never stops shifting, and technology is making it shift faster.
Jason’s List: A Quick Sumner Update July 12, 2010

Look up smarmy in the Web 2.0 dictionary and it redirects to Zuck’s Wikipedia page.
Jason’s List for March 6, 2010

Zuckberg is everything that is wrong with the second generation of the internet: greed and a lack of empathy for internet users.
Jason’s List for March 6, 2010

Participation means nothing, your fulfillment means nothing, nobody care if you are fulfilled, nobody cares if you participated.  You were lied to.  There is no trophy in life for participation, except your tombstone.
This Week in Startups #47

If you don’t get your shit together Generation Y, it’s over for you. Your standard of living is going to suck cause you know what, your mom and dad are going to die and you know what you are going to have left, nothing, because they mortgaged their houses and they got a bunch of cars and went on  big fancy vacations and you get no inheritance Generation Y and you are not hirable.  So you are going to fail and you’ll have nothing in life.
This Week in Startups #47

I think Mark Zuckerborg is everything that is wrong with technology today.
TWiST #43 with Andy Smith

This is the the thing that people don’t realize about events, doing good events is as much about how is there as who is not there.
TWiST #43 with Andy Smith

VCs do me a favor if you are working with an entrepreneur, the three most annoying things you can do: number one is to ask about China, number two is to ask about Google, and number three is ask for the deck and the documents for the board meeting two weeks before hand.
TWiST #37 with Phil Kaplan

If you are not annoying some people, you are probably not doing a good job as an entreprenuer.
TWiST #37 with Phil Kaplan

The biggest mistake most new players make at poker is overplaying their hand. They spend so much time thinking of the ways they can win that they forget all the ways they can lose.
The Big Game, Zuckerberg and Overplaying your Hand

Zuckerberg is clearly the worst thing that’s happened to our industry since, well, spam.
The Big Game, Zuckerberg and Overplaying your Hand

People are creating fan pages on Facebook and then paying Facebook to send them traffic. Let me explain this one more time: You’re PAYING Mark Zuckerberg money to send traffic to HIS SITE.
The Big Game, Zuckerberg and Overplaying your Hand

I feel that the law is a way for stupid people getting education about reality it’s the lowest form of education we have you can go to college or the cops can pick you up.
TWiT 248: Drowning In Connectivity

The most frustrating part is not losing a great person–which happens–but rather watching someone with promise set their career back five years in order to have their salary jump ahead by three years.
Red, Jackson, Gen Y & Loyalty

It’s not easy being me. I’ve got a version of tourette’s where instead of yelling obscenities at inappropriate times, I say something brutally honest without regard to my reputation or the other person’s feelings.
Red, Jackson, Gen Y & Loyalty

If you put yourself above the team, you’re out. If you think your “get” is more important than the team’s, you’re out. If you leave after a year, you don’t get a ticker-tape parade and you don’t get celebrated.
Red, Jackson, Gen Y & Loyalty

Oct 20 2010

Facebook Was My Idea

Facebook wasn’t my idea necessarily, I’m just borrowing Microsoft’s Windows 7 ad campaign to make the point that most of Facebook’s features are not original to Facebook. And as such, most features in Facebook are borrowed, lifted, cut and pasted, inspired, and based on features from other sites. Flash-based games, image sharing, status updates, location-based check-ins, friending, etc. are all features that have made other social oriented sites successful, such as Pogo with Flash-based games, Flicker with image sharing, Twitter with status updates, and Foursquare with location-based check-ins, and on and on. Facebook is a hybrid of every successful feature developed, tried, and tested by other successful websites and web applications. Facebook is the Frankenstein of social networking sites, put together from the features of others sites.

Facemash, A website created by Zuckerberg prior to Facebook, was a clone of Hot-Or-Not specifically for Harvard students. But using his trademark of abusively, forcefully, and willfully opting user into options that they would not otherwise choose, Facebook used unauthorized pictures of Harvard students to seed his Facemash site.

Mark Zuckerberg’s true genius is that he has no ethics, in a another dimension or another time he could have easily been a Nigerian scammer or a Russian spammer. It is clear, from previous settled lawsuits and poorly planned privacy controls, Mark Zuckerberg can easily backstab a former founder and throw under the bus his whole user base.

Because Mark Zuckerberg has a skewed moral compass and as allegations of his character have been settled in court, it’s clear that it’s as easy for him to cheat a partner, hack into users accounts, sell out his users, obfuscate privacy settings, copy features, as it is for him to throw out code and re-execute on an idea. This is what Mark Zuckerberg is great at, to throw out a feature or code and try again and again and again even if users complain about backward compatibility, loss of privacy, excessive rights over user’s data.

So, the question that we can try to answer is, what feature will Facebook focus on next? To answer this, we need to survey the web application landscape and see what has been successful over the past year. Web search is an obvious space for Facebook to move into next. Facebook Credits and apps can lead to a healthy paid app market. Facebook has had a great success with it’s photo service, I could see them moving toward support for movies and videos. Facebook has also acknowledged that they are moving to provide a mobile platform, I can see them providing the social glue for mobile application as they have done for web applications. I the long run, I see Facebook as being as one of a few companies that can threaten Apple’s dominance over digital music. Groupon has been one of the hottest startups over this past year, maybe Facebook will get into social location base group coupons.

Most, if not all, of Facebook’s core features have been borrowed from other successful websites or services. Mark Zuckerberg has always taken a back seat to innovation but a driver seat into ramming features into users via opt-in settings. Mark Zuckerberg’s earliest website was a clone of a website popular at the time. As Facebook continues to evolve, what features do you think will be implemented in the social network?

Dec 13 2009

Retweet November 2009

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • If bad artists copy and great artists steal then bad programmers copy and great programmers cut and paste.
  • You have to think outside our current requirements and think about solutions that fit the platform and which we can build product features.
  • Can programmer mood/happiness be deciphered based on rate of check-ins, changelist, source code diff size, amount of refactoring?
  • Software is alchemy. The magic of software is that it can turn complexity to simplicity.
  • One man’s feature is another’s complexity.

Team Leadership

  • A 10:00 PM design leads to 1:00 AM release leads to 8:00 AM FAIL.
  • There are sore losers and sour winners!
  • You may know your competitors, but do you know your complementor? Complementors are businesses and services that complement yours.
  • Know thy competitor, and get to know thy complementor.
  • The biggest risk is not taking risks.
  • Don’t be afraid of someone stealing your idea, be afraid that someone is actually going to follow through with it
  • Taking startup advice is like taking dating advice.

Product Placement

  • Google Wave does not feel like a wave, it is more like a creek and I am without a paddle.
  • I’m riding the Google Wave, but not drinking the Google Kool-Aid.
  • It’s great that Apple invest in design and multi-touch tech, but they need to invest in water proof tech too. I’ve lost two ipods to water.
  • I want to tether an iPod Touch with an iPhone.
  • The iPhone is the PC.
  • I have a growing collection of ebooks on my Kindle, in fact I have not bought a hard cover book since I got my Kindle over a year ago.
  • Recharging my Kindle. It used to be that a book recharged my creativity and imagination now I have to recharge my ebook.
  • FaceBook should just rename itself to FarmBook! All I see on FaceBook when I sign in are updates from FarmVille, Cafe World, etc…
  • Will Microsoft port Google Go to the .NET platform? Why will they call it? G++? Iron Google Go? Google Go 2010 Business Edition?
  • What will people abbreviate Google Go down to? GooGo? GoGo? Goo? Goog++? Golang? Pogo?
  • ‘Python 300’ + ‘C++’ + Googleplex + $$$ + WTF = Google Go

Self Development

  • Creditability is worth more than money in the bank.
  • It is better to work on your own ideas than on someone else’s assumptions.
  • To think outside the box it helps to first master the box.
  • Don’t do what stops you from doing what you want to do unless that is what you want to do.
  • You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and damned if you hesitate.
  • If you don’t have the key to success, call on a locksmith.


  • The biggest motivation is not the money but the impact. – Matt Mullenweg/#TWiST 26
  • You can’t build everything and there is no more a killer feature. Everyone has a different killer feature. – Matt Mullenweg/#TWiST 26
  • I am the unhappiest WordPress user in the world, I think it sucks. – Matt Mullenweg/#TWiST 26
  • Having a virtual assistant is one of the greatest training for managers. – Matt Coffin/#TWiST 27
  • I only believe rumors that I start – Mike Elgan
  • Wait a second, … you’ll waiting for me to take a risk, and then you’ll take a risk, that is not risk at all – @jason/#TWiST
  • We spend more time worrying and planning for the downside than we do spend worrying and planning for the upside. – Mark Pincus/Zynga
  • A lot of what you have to do as CEO is convince the employees that you are not a normal company. – Mark Pincus/Zynga
  • If you don’t have control of your company, you are an employee. – Mark Pincus
  • The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. – Eric Hoffer

Nov 18 2009

Favorite Programming Quotes 2009

When I am not coding I am reading about code. Here is a short list of memerable programming quotes I read over the past year about the science and art of software development. Over this last year, my interest and reading habits have been related to software development, team leadership, and entrepreneurship and this quotes reflects those topics.

What we learned over several years is that the registry in the data center is an evil, evil thing.
Sriram Krishnan

No code is faster than no code.
Merb Core Tenent

Rails is the best framework for the 80/20 rule out there. It will get you 80% there faster than any framework, but it will fight you tooth and nail for the remaining 205.
Ezra Zygmuntowicz

Software: do you write it like a book, grow it like a plant, accrete it like a pearl, or construct it like a building?
Jeff Atwood

I will not break my back or my sanity on Windows troubleshooting any more.
Jamis Buck

Premature parameterization is the square root of all evil.
Sean McGrath

If you can’t be a chick magnet, be a porn magnet.
Zed Shaw

Piracy is a natural state of affairs for users with lots of time and no money.
Jeff Atwood

Every time DRM prevents legitimate playback, a pirate gets his wings.
Nathan Bowers

What ruby does offer is a more intuitive way of coding. Its form is simple. It’s full of grace. Ruby is succinct. It’s not the messiah of languages though it attracts many messiah-figures and their fanboy prototypes.
Renae Blair

I do believe I have post-traumatic Java syndrome.
Renae Blair

The thesis explicit in Crockford’s book (JavaScript: The Good Parts) and implicit in Conway’s (Perl Best Practices) is that the best way to use a language is to carve out a subset of its functionality that is superior to the whole smorgasbord you have on offer. It’s how people use natural languages, and it’s how a lot of good programmers use programming languages as well.
Giles Bowkett

Frameworks like Rails make you fast, and Sinatra makes even Rails look slow.
Giles Bowkett

The goal is not to establish a far-off goal and find a way to hit it, but to establish a series of tiny, immediate goals that keep you forever moving forward. Aristotle argued that virtue was mostly a matter of having good habits; Lao-Tzu tells us that the voyage of a million miles starts with a single step. So the key is to get moving and keep moving.
Giles Bowkett

Instead of charging the going rate of $250, we decided to charge $350. Why not? I figured we could establish ourselves as having the premium product simply by charging a premium. In the absence of additional information, consumers often use prices to judge products.
Joel Spolsky

That’s another flaw with performance-based rewards: They are easy for one of your competitors to top.
Joel Spolsky

Longevity is a big part of credibility.
Jason Calacanis

People’s reputations are made in the bad times more than the good times.
Jason Calacanis

If you can’t sell your product, it’s not a product–it’s a hobby.
Jason Calacanis

I fear — as far as I can tell — that most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically Java vocational training.
Alan Kay

Agile is not just about speed.
Jack Milunsky

I can’t choose whether someone is offended by my actions. I can choose whether I care.
Martin Fowler

Would you pay $100 an hour for an untrained accountant? Because if your consulting rate is $100 an hour and you do your own accounting, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Chris Wanstrath

So, what does it mean for teaching and learning programming when the solution to every beginner problem is available on the Internet?
Cay Horstmann

One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code.
Ken Thompson

Deleted code is debugged code.
Jeff Sickel

Good software architects are like condoms… bad software architects are like Viagra.

Nobody hates software more than software developers.
Jeff Atwood

Not all liquidity events are created equal.
Brandon Watson

Not all code needs to be a factory, some of it can just be origami.

If you program and want any longevity to your work, make a game. All else recycles, but people rewrite architectures to keep games alive.

I think Ruby is the next best thing after sliced bread and Common Lisp.

The best way to market yourself is to be remarkable.
Chad Fowler

I rather raise nerds than raise gangsters.

Not having a clear goal leads to death by a thousand compromises.
Mark Pincus

Chase the vision, not the money.
Tony Hsieh

Those that say it can’t be done, shouldn’t interrupt those that are actually doing it.
Michael Arrington

What it comes down to is that Rails developers are just that: Rails developers. They’re not software developers, at least not most of them. … Their framework dictates how their systems are designed instead of the problems the systems are designed to solve.
Samuel Tesla

If you are single and you want to do startups, stay single. Stay single for a while, startups can be all consuming 24/7 suck you dry.
Steve Blank

You can’t build everything and there is no more a killer feature. Everyone has a different killer feature.
Matt Mullenweg

I am the unhappiest WordPress user in the world, I think it sucks.
Matt Mullenweg

The biggest motivation is not the money but the impact.
Matt Mullenweg

If I’m on the titanic I want to be steering.
Matt Mullenweg

You don’t want to be the site that people should use, you want to be the site they can’t stop using.
Roelof Botha

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
Martin Golding

One man’s feature is another man’s complexity.
Juixe TechKnow