December 25, 2011

love actually map

my family has an annual tradition of watching love actually at christmas (mom also loves the "schweddy balls" SNL skit). while we watched it yesterday, my sister and i mapped out all the character connections:


December 22, 2011

what i do all day

a little over a year ago, i wrote a post ("is business school hard?") that captured what it's like to be a first-year student at the stanford graduate school of business. this year, in a project for the admissions office, i catalogued a "day in the life" of a second-year student. you can see the whole series here, along with snapshots from several of my classmates (including my frequent partner in crime, maria lambert).

this neo-diary is from a week in october 2011. it includes boring stuff like grocery shopping and laundry, iconic GSB stuff like the "talk" speaker series and touchy-feely class, and stuff that's more unusual like a fundraising meeting with a VC and late-night cookie baking.

a surprise to me: my busiest day was my "day off" (GSB students don't have class on wednesdays).

[click here to see full week]


a summit series mom

ever since i started going to summit series in 2010, my mom has been a big fan of all the inspiring stories i bring home. from being a regular evangelist for kiva to hanging a holstee manifesto in her bathroom, my mom is a big supporter of all the great energy coming out of generation Y and the summit series community:

last christmas, she only asked for one thing: a whistle from falling whistles. after reading about the organization and hearing me talk about the great work the founder -- my friend sean carrasso -- is doing, mom was set on becoming a whistleblower for peace.

mom on christmas morning, 2010
this year, for her birthday, mom asked for a pair of warby parker glasses. i've been talking them up since i met co-founder neil at DC10, and mom's been waiting for the right time to get a pair. my sister and i got her a gift card for her birthday, and mom finally settled on a pair of begleys with whiskey tortoise frames. she's a bit of a desginerd, so she's into the aesthetics, but also likes that for every pair purchased, warby parker gives away a pair to someone in need.

mom in her birthday warbys, 2011
mom loves one-for-one business models, so when she came to visit me for thanksgiving, we went on a shopping expedition in search of some TOMS shoes. she was wearing them around the house when my nieces and nephews were visiting. "are those TOMS?" they asked. "wow, you're so cool!"

mom buying her first pair of TOMS shoes
she's also down for a little dubstep and house music. after i came back from summit at sea raving about swedish house mafia and axwell's mind-blowing set the final night, mom rushed out and bought his album. days later, i got this email:

i share this not just because my mom is tremendously cool (she obviously is), but because it underscores the power of modern communications. mom lives in rural british columbia, an hour from the nearest grocery store, but all she needs is an internet connection to tap into the innovation and inspiration of summit series. can't wait to see what we dream up at basecamp. neither can mom.

December 21, 2011

street art utopia

i am loving this great photo blog street art utopia. many of my old favorites and lots of new stuff. check out some of their best photos of 2011:

yarn bombing and guerilla crochet:



tiny people with legos:


spider-sized spiderman:


colored pencil fence:


pac man in a crosswalk:


December 19, 2011

Beyond Silicon Valley: New Start-up Scenes

Even though I live in the heart of Silicon Valley, I know we don't have a monopoly on innovation. In my column for The Daily Muse (also published in Forbes), I highlight some of the other pockets of entrepreneurship popping up across the nation.

It all started with a computer chip.

Coined 40 years ago, the term “Silicon Valley” originally referred to the silicon chip manufacturers that helped build the high-tech movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. The region has been a technology hot spot since, but today, it’s evolved from hardware giants into social technology and consumer internet, thanks to companies like Google and Facebook. “Silicon” is no longer literal, but a metonym for the entrepreneurial spirit that’s fueled the region’s growth for decades.

But the Bay Area isn’t this country’s only pocket of innovation, and “Silicon (fill-in-the-blank)” is an increasingly popular shorthand for regions with brewing start-up scenes. With predictions that start-ups will bring the United States out of its recession, entrepreneurs across America are stepping up to the plate.


Read the article for full review. Here are the highlights...

Silicon Alley: New York City (e-commerce and badass women entrepreneurs)

Silicon Beach: Los Angeles (entertainment, celebrities, and legal)

Silicon Strip: Las Vegas (building a community from scratch, Sin City to Sim City)

Silicon Mitten: Michigan (manufacturing, energy, and renaissance)

Silicon Loop: Chicago (midwest collaboration and the "Groupon Mafia")

Silicon Beltway: Washington DC (consumer internet and social entrepreneurship)

Silicon Prairie: Omaha, Des Moines, and Kansas City (strong start-up community in the heartland)

I was short on space and would have loved to write more about each of these regions. Keep your eyes peeled for a future piece on other hotspots like Silicon Needle (Seattle), Silicon Bayou (New Orleans), Silicon Rockies (Colorado), Silicon Triangle? (Durham, NC), and Silicon Strait? (Vancouver, BC).

December 17, 2011

type vs. hype: the internet landscape

i started working on this project over a year ago, and finally made the time to finish it today. i've always loved infographics and 2-by-2s, and i wanted to make one that captured my transient thoughts on the internet landscape. this particular design was inspired, in part, by a brilliant 2-by-2 of hipster celebrities by bill wasik.

i created the image below, and it reflects my own opinions as of this afternoon. don't agree with me? that's cool. it's a subjective and imperfect analysis, one that i'll probably edit and adjust frequently as my opinions about the landscape change.

each entity is assessed on two metrics i'm calling type (what kind of business or product is it) and hype (how much of a media darling is it).


i'd love to turn this concept into an open-source project that uses the wisdom of crowds to track changes in the internet landscape. might even be fun to incorporate a hans rosling-style time lapse to watch companies pivot and change their type and wax and wane through different levels of hype. could be pretty cool. holler if you know someone who might want to work with me on it.