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How the backlog issues prioritization saved the company from closure during the pandemic. Stories of launching three products.

2020.04.23 11:36 unab0mber How the backlog issues prioritization saved the company from closure during the pandemic. Stories of launching three products.

I first met Vitaly almost five years ago in Palo Alto when he was participating in an acceleration program at 500 Startups with a product called Concert With Me (an event recommendation service). Over the next two years, the service reached a multimillion dollar annual revenue, but then shut down due to unexpected changes in Facebook’s policies. Then the team created a new go-to-market strategy and released Tendee, a SaaS marketing automation product for the event industry. It met a product-market fit in Europe and the US and brought several large customers and reached dozens of thousands of dollars in MRR. But it had to be put on hold due to the Covid19 pandemic.
In need of a survival plan, the team decided to introduce to the world the prioritization tool they had used within the company for almost two years.
The new product led to striking results, as well as some curious realizations and insights into how sharply the experience of product development differs in conformity with the added value level and market type.
I got in touch with Vit a week ago, and he shared his story with me. It was a gripping conversation, so it occurred to us we could develop it into an article where Vitaly would share his experience in the product development process, as well as reflections on the fundamental differences between the launch of his latest backlog-grooming product ( and previous event marketing products.

Growth and development in a competitive market: On the importance of distribution channels and platform independence

Tell me shortly about Concert With Me?

We developed a classic ticketing eCommerce platform for the western market. The product didn’t differ much from most of the usual sites selling concert and event tickets, but we had a distinctive feature in the customer acquisition model. It was the unique growth model that allowed ticket sales to rocket to several million dollars in a very competitive western market in just a few years.

What were the product-market fit conditions for Concert With Me?

The usual thing: discover a channel with cheap traffic that your competitors have missed. We managed to build a large automated system for traffic acquisition via Facebook. For the most part, it operated thanks to the hidden potential of Facebook Events, where the vast majority of the traffic came from.
The standard pay-per-click ad on Facebook cost us a dollar or more as we had to compete for every click in a heated auction. But in the model with Facebook Events, website visits only cost a few cents per click.
The traffic didn’t land at the site immediately, but at a Facebook event. It was better for a number of reasons:
  1. It was much easier for the target audience to click Interested or Going in their newsfeed, and that was it. Facebook sent out notifications about each post to every event responder (now selectively).
  2. The Facebook newsfeed gave away a lot of viral impressions if people gladly engaged with our events.
  3. The established strategy of the traffic exchange—cross-posting across all our events—made it possible to start selling tickets without initial ad investments.
  4. The net profit from each ticket sold was re-invested in the advertising of the corresponding event, which further strengthened the organic growth and, as a result, paid marketing and sales.
  5. And so it went in a continuous growth cycle.
It was so awesome that I even decided to demonstrate our results to one of the biggest ticketing companies in the world. I showed their marketing department how we could gather an audience on Facebook Events and convert it into tickets — we had many more attendees and engagement with similar events than the industry leader. I tried to sell our marketing technology, but it didn’t work out.

How did the Cambridge Analytica scandal affect Concert With Me?

After the Facebook shock caused by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first froze all the API integrations of the platform. Then the company simply cut out all the useful features and updated the algorithms. The changes hit hard on the technologies we had built to promote events.
Facebook also updated the company’s policies, and after a while, it limited event promotion in our segment. All the above caused a drop in our traffic and pushed our product out of business.

All in all, deep integration with a large platform allowed you to shoot upwards, but the strong dependence became devastating. What did you do next?

This became our rebirth strategy: Keep the best parts of our experience and throw away the worst.
We separated all the marketing best practices from B2C, reassembled them into a B2B product, and went to offer it to former partners, competitors, and friends in the event industry.
This is how Tendee came into being.

Uncover the history of Tendee.

Tendee is a digital marketing toolbox for events.
Originally we wanted it to be a self-service SaaS, but the product was too complicated for customers. Over time it became a hybrid of SaaS, software integrator, and marketing agency.
The majority of B2B products in the event industry are ticketing systems (stock taking, payment processing). Specialized marketing tools, however, are hard to find, and the level of automation and use of promotion services is lower than, say, in the classic e-commerce. This is where we saw our opportunity.
Personal contact was the main sales channel. We used to start cooperation with our customers as a marketing agency, set up all the systems and integrations, and then gradually teach their teams to use the product on their own to save hundreds of hours of manual effort by automating the event promotion process.
The event market is not so broad. The client’s onboarding was always manual, and every time they had lots of unique feature requests. This created problems at the level of issue prioritization and the company’s strategy identification.

What was key to Tendee’s growth?

For a B2B company in a relatively closed and well-established market, the world revolves around direct sales with “cases and logo” being a matter of life or death.
Cases are about your relationships with the industry’s well-known companies—for whom, in what market segment, and how much you’ve increased the profits. And all the customers have their own boundaries of market segments. As Eugene Lisovsky from says: “Clients have ‘shelves’ to classify products in their heads. If they don’t understand which shelf to place your product on, they will simply throw it out of their heads.”
Since there wasn’t a shelf for Events Industry Digital Marketing Automation, we chose Facebook Event Promotion Specialists as our category. Pitches with that leitmotif worked well.
Logos are companies you’ve worked with or industry-known people who can refer you. “I know person X,” “We were doing a project for company Y.” Every industry is a small village, so everyone knows each other. But if you’ve wrapped up a few big deals, you ace the Social Proof stage with potential clients.
Obviously, for the offline event industry, networking at offline conventions is the best growth factor. You can meet decision-makers at industry conferences and meetups several times a year. They all know each other well, happy to meet again, and they’re curious about what new tools they can try for their theater, stadium, or promotion company.

What happened to the event industry after quarantine measures were adopted because of the coronavirus? How did it affect you?

Each and every event was canceled or postponed, and customers began to demand refunds for their tickets.
The vast majority of events are funded with upfront payments than with early bird ticket sales and/or promoter money. The event financial model assumes some small percentage of refunds, but these are tiny numbers. Therefore, mass refunds are fatal for the whole supply chain.
In the US, it is a bit easier as most event tickets are legally non-refundable, and one can only resell them. But in the current situation companies had to make a difficult choice: lose money or lose reputation.
For example, Live Nation declared: “Where an Event is cancelled, rescheduled, or where there is a material change to the programme of the Event, You will be entitled to a refund.” And StubHub stated that if an event is canceled, customers can opt to receive a coupon valued at 120% of the original purchase, and this coupon can be applied toward a future event of their choosing.
These decisions have led to a domino effect, with bad things begetting even worse ones—layoffs, salary cuts, lawsuits, bankruptcies, and ruin.
Marketing budgets were the first to get slashed. All our current and future projects instantly came to a stop until further notice.
Half of the industry simply hoped to survive the quarantine, and an optimistic mindset I found in only one of a hundred said: “I wanna be prepared for a brighter future, explore automation tools, set up analytics, and look for other interesting solutions while the world is in panic.”
Everything indicated that we would probably share the fate of companies that won’t survive the pandemic.

The underestimated path to product-market fit, or where organic growth comes from

What did you decide to do next?

It was March 16, 2020. I rushed to the States to be closer to the NY cluster of the event industry, so when the quarantine is over, I can resume negotiations ASAP.
While awaiting my flight at the empty airport, I wrote an article about Ducalis, our internal tool for issue prioritization.
The plan was just to drop the article to my Facebook friends, set up a simple landing page with an email capture form and see the reaction. I thought, well, if we get five emails, maybe we could start paying more attention to the product and try to promote it.
Using Google Forms, I hastily assembled a landing page for demo requests as the service wasn’t accessible beyond our corporate network. On Wednesday, March 18, I published a post on my Medium and Facebook pages, and the next day in the Russian startup community at

Did you manage to get five emails?

The results of the announcement were stunning.
In the first week, we got 160 requests for demos. The feedback from customer interviews was overwhelmingly positive. Product managers and scrum-masters started recommending Ducalis to each other. Even several Agile communities shared the link for free and without us requesting
The team spent tens of hours talking to the first clients from banks, famous startups, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, and even a product manager from Atlassian itself (the developers of Jira).
One of Atlassian communities reached us out to run a webinar about Ducalis and our story about prioritization struggles. There were 92 attendees. In one week, our company moved from a near-death experience to a super active growth phase with a product around a huge pressure point—issues prioritizations and team synchronization.

How was the experience of launching Ducalis different from your previous products?

Great question, because we will have to compare completely different experiences and markets, but let’s try to classify together.
What does it do?
Concert With Me: Ticket eCommerce selling exactly the same secondary tickets as everyone else.
Tendee: A combination of methods for promoting events, and the tools that we have developed for these tasks.
Ducalis: A service that quickly prioritizes and synchronizes product team goals on Jira.
Why did it come into being?
Concert With Me: Wanted to create an international eCommerce platform.
Tendee: Used the skills, connections and industry promotion tools developed at Concert With Me.
Ducalis: Solved the internal problem of issue prioritization.
The main advantage
Concert With Me: Cheap traffic acquisition from a channel that no one in the industry has ever noticed.
Tendee: “All-in-One” for digital event marketing.
Ducalis: Faster, simpler and more reliable than Jira plug-ins, individual complex services, Google spreadsheets.
Main reason for growth
Concert With Me: Found a “hack” in Facebook promotion.
Tendee: Flying to different parts of the world for meetings, acquaintances, conferences, and subsequent sales.
Ducalis: A personal story of solving a problem that has resonated with a lot of people.
Most popular customer response to product
Concert With Me: “Why are the tickets so expensive? When will artist X come to town Y?”
Tendee: “Who exactly are you already working with? What are they saying?”
Ducalis: “We have exactly the same problem with the prioritization of tasks! And how did you solve X?”

Let’s take a look at launching on different markets then, shall we?

Generally speaking, the first two products grew mainly because we had built efficient distribution channels:
Concert With Me existed in a very competitive market and its added value was minimal. It was a success because we found a marketing channel that others had missed.
Tendee had great added value for customers, but it solved a problem that the customers were not consciously aware of. Therefore, it required direct sales, and a very long onboarding process through the agency model, where we showed the value of the product in solving the customer’s immediate needs.
With Ducalis, everything turned upside down.
We found an effective solution to one of our own problems, honestly proved the value to ourselves, and only after that, we shared the product’s story with other people. This resonated, and organic growth started without any investment in marketing.

Comparing the experience of launching Ducalis to past products allowed you to realize a number of thoughts that you once read in a book by Des Traynor from Intercom, but hadn’t fully understood at the time. Tell me about it.

Two years ago, I was reading Intercom On Marketing, a book by Des Traynor and Matt Hodges. Traynor and Hodges began their book by asserting that when you put a product on the market, you have to write stories and tell them to people, an advice that perplexed me at first:
“No matter how good your product is, if you can’t tell a cohesive, compelling story about it, you’re going to have a very hard time getting people’s attention when you actually do take it to market.
“For decades software was sold using feature-based marketing: But SaaS has changed that. A lot of startups spend untold time and resources cooking up some fancy marketing matrix when in fact you just need to have lots of real-life conversations with like-minded people about their problems.”
I was reading a book about marketing by a founder of a very successful company worth over a billion dollars, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what he was talking about. So, where are the secrets of Google AdWords? What about email marketing segmentation? Why is there no chapter on Facebook Ads optimization? Which remarketing service should I use? Etc.
But now I realize that due to the specifics of my experience and the markets I had worked in, I previously perceived product promotion in a strict sense of being a process of traffic acquisition, setting up analytics, collecting emails, retargeting, direct sales, and so on.
Finally, with the experience of Ducalis, I grasped the notion about products that start from a real pain. It’s hard to figure it out in theory – one can only experience it. Our team was lucky enough to stumble upon an undiscovered acute problem and find an effective solution for it.
The stories behind Basecamp, Intercom, and Slack began the same way. The real challenge triggered the founder’s sharp pain, not the friend’s words: “Cool stuff! Well, I’d definitely buy it!” A sincere honest desire to tackle one’s own problem was the key to creating high added value, and as a result, to organic growth.
The real-life story of solving one’s own problem drastically affects product marketing. You have something to tell, and you know the exact pressure points to push. People don’t click on the ad because it’s somehow specially set up. They click if an ad message resonates with their personal problems.

They say you’re not an indication, and you shouldn’t rely on your needs. To me, that’s exactly what you should focus on, especially in the early stages of product development. When I worked on games, I noticed that they showed the best results if people in the company were eager to play the games themselves, which also provided vital immediate feedback. Ducalis solved your own problem, too. Tell me how you came up with the product.

At some point in our work on Tendee, our Jira backlog was overgrown with an endless list of ideas that anyone could record there.
Everyone in the team saw the truth in their own way, so the tasks were undertaken randomly. We broke everything from your advice: “Why saying ‘no’ is important for product development”.
We decided to rethink the issue prioritization in the company. After reviewing some of the systems, we settled on a hybrid of RICE and AARRR, with different weights for each criterion (below in parentheses).
A product manager had to evaluate issues by the following criteria:
A developer had to evaluate issues by the following criteria:

You immediately developed your own service to automate this task?

No. We quickly connected Google Sheets,, and Jira Cloud to automate this workflow, but this Frankenstein only worked for a couple of months. And then everything fell apart.
The main problems and pains were as follows:
We did want to solve the problem of issue prioritization, and even rigged a solution and integrated it into our processes, but it didn’t work for technical reasons.

So then, understanding all the details of the process, you decided to make an internal tool to ease the pain?

Yes, our developers offered to design our own internal solution. They made it in their spare time as a residual, and the first version appeared after a couple of months. We were sure that it would be an internal soft just for us and chose a gag name Ducalis because of the memes.
Since we devoted all the time to our main product, Ducalis only had the important features we could best use in our workflow. Eventually, there was nothing extra in the tool due to this ascetic approach.
We evaluated ideas for the development of Ducalis using the tool itself. We chose the criteria based on our prioritization experience with Google Sheets. Thus there were: UI speed, context availability, frequency of use, collaboration, development time. We made the product for ourselves, so we got a blazing fast UI, handy reminders in Slack, full issue context at our fingertips, and all the necessary hints about criteria. It tackled our problem brilliantly.

How exactly did you know that the product was solving the problem?

The team was actively using Ducalis for weekly assessments, and this had notable benefits in combating the prioritization problem:

That is, Ducalis has changed your prioritization process and made your team more efficient. At that point, did you realize that you’d created something valuable?

We had no go-to-market plans for Ducalis. All we wanted to do was clean up our planning and prioritization chaos.
It never occurred to us that this product could be useful to other teams outside our organization.
There were so many hotshot articles, advice, and conference talks about the right product strategies, prioritization approaches, and roadmap formations that it seemed we were the last company that was tackling the issue prioritization problem.
When the event industry slipped into a coma because of the coronavirus, the first reflex was “Let’s turn the product towards online events.”
However, it implied a completely different marketing strategy, and Tendee wasn’t ready for it.
At the same time, I was reading the news about the increase of Zoom users and was envious of the services that are fully online. As silly as that sounds, I thought, “What if I serve Ducalis as a tool for remote teams?”
And I was surprised myself that we didn’t have to “invent” anything. We’ve been a remote team for several years, and with the help of Ducalis, we’ve learned how to synchronize different points of view on features and priorities in product development.
I didn’t even tell any of my colleagues about the plan. I just decided to write an article and see if we get at least five emails from the submission form. And you already know how it went from there.

When the product targets a specific problem so precisely, a huge number of feature requests and ideas come in (feature creep), and dark forces begin to pull the project in all directions. How do you deal with it? What are your key criteria for the development of Ducalis now?

Having finally understood Des Traynor’s covenants, we now have two main tasks:
So far, based on the results of the first few dozens of in-depth interviews, it has become clear that the needs of the corporate segment should be studied in more detail. To close deals with large customers the product must be further developed towards security, access control, encryption, and work in corporate networks.
At the same time, we continue to focus on factors that we’ve identified based on our experience with spreadsheets. We have also already validated that they all resonate well with our clients:
All this has been transformed into our criteria for issues prioritization in Ducalis for the further development of the product.

And one last question. How would you summarize your key takeaways from the story so far—and clearly, it is still in its beginning?

As usual, it’s more sophisticated than “one main idea.”
Mega-platforms are not your friends—but neither are they your enemies. We live in the age of mega-platforms that have monopolized certain market segments: search, communication, social networking, video, etc. It is almost impossible not to depend on them, but it is fundamental to be able to diversify the risk. Design your product to integrate with platforms while considering that it may no longer exist at some point in time. Bad strategy: Concert With Me’s full dependency on Facebook. Good strategy: Zapier diverse strategy.
Focus on the added value of the product, on how you solve people’s problems, not on bugs, features, and other attributes. Tendee’s customers complained about every little bug, and several times it was why they stopped using our product (a post wasn’t published, metrics weren’t updated). On Ducalis calls, clients asked me a couple of times to stop apologizing for tiny bugs. They say they understand everything and believe we will fix it. Every tool has bugs, but if the product truly treats the pain, it won’t be the reason they’re leaving.
Don’t take feedback at face value. Develop empathy and try to understand the issues and real motivation of your customers. Listen actively and develop empathy. Don’t promise the moon. Don’t try to persuade someone they are wrong. Think about the reasons why they ask for something, try to understand what problems they want to solve (and things they don’t want to touch). Listen to as many stories as possible. The team and I have recorded dozens of calls, and we listen to them again every now and then to collect stories and problems.
An honest story of solving the real problem is better than a list of cool features. Every single customer has said that this or that idea from the announcement-blogspot resonated deep. Nobody said: “Yeah, that’s a nice feature.” Our real and detailed history of solving the problem replaced the feedback of the first clients (that didn’t exist) and became our best landing page, salesman, and marketer.


If you also have problems prioritizing tasks, I would be genuinely happy if you could share your stories with us. Text us in the chat at
Thank you for reading my story. And thank you, Oleg, for the opportunity to tell our story to the best minds. If you want to share your opinion on why things happened as they did, leave a note in the comments section. We’d be delighted to hear your story.
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2019.12.27 05:28 roxess Housing advice for Recent grad working in Downtown Palo Alto

Moving to the area and wanted to save $ once l saw housing prices. I work in Downtown Palo Alto and don't want to get a car, just a bike. I wanna keep my commute to around 30 mins ideally via bike/public transport.

Just graduated and a single guy, so nightlife and museums, activities are other priorities, but mainly keeping that for weekend SF trips, or so I heard is best. I'm thinking of using meetup, my fraternity groups, work, and air bnb experiences to meet people so I don't think I'm gonna be dependent on roommates to make friends, but not sure.

What cities/neighborhoods would y'all recommend? I'm also on the fence between living with other people or or for my first year since I don't really know anyone here yet.

Also, what places are cheap yet livable? Any costs for studio or roommates situations?
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2019.02.03 03:37 Freeme62410 Why and How to Use Open Source for Robotics

Why and How to Use Open Source for Robotics
Twenty years ago, the open source movement started in Palo Alto, California, and it has continued to gather followers and gain momentum ever since. Today, some of the most recognizable names in software are open source projects. Surely you’ve heard of Wordpress, Magento, Mozilla, OpenOffice, and Linux — all are open source. What started as a response to the undue profits giant software companies were making is no longer a fringe approach to software development.
Undoubtedly, the value of open source has been proven for software development. But what about robotics development? Have you ever considered open source for robotics? What would it mean to contribute to a product or project that grants others permission to use its source code, design documents, or content under an open source license? And what value would you be able to extract as a robotics developer?
Kambria is a huge proponent of both open source and open innovation. Because the world is moving towards being much more open and collaborative, we are committed to accelerating the pace of frontier technology innovation, especially robotics and artificial intelligence, through open innovation. Based on our personal experience in academia and robotics development, we know the robotics ecosystem contains a lot of waste and inefficiency. Billions of dollars worth of technology are left unutilized in research projects and developments are generally siloed — meaning they exist individually without connection to other projects. Smaller projects are often bootstrapped and run out of capital. What happens to this tech? Sadly, it goes to waste, which does little or nothing to advance innovation.
With this article, we’d like to enroll you in the possibility of open source development as a solution to many of the current challenges in the robotics development space. Take a look at these 7 reasons why you should consider open source for robotics development. If you read all the way to end, you’ll find out how to join the movement.
Empowerment of individuals is a key part of what makes open source work, since in the end, innovations tend to come from small groups, not from large, structured efforts. ~ Tim O’Reilly
Optimize Innovation
For many reasons, the current pace of robotics innovation is needlessly slow. An open source approach will accelerate the process of innovation, enabling faster, cheaper, and easier development and adoption of technologies. Fostering an open collaborative ecosystem, where every contribution can easily be shared, manufactured, and implemented, will be revolutionary.
Why start from scratch when you can stand on the shoulders of giants?
What if you could leverage a development kit to jump-start your unique customization and design, thereby saving years of work and tens of thousands of dollars?
Undoubtedly, a combination of reduced costs, cutting edge technologies, and swift delivery will spur rapid adoption and pave the way for the next wave of innovations to provide value for people across the world.
Each One, Teach One
An open source approach is a great way to bring new users into the community. Because the barrier to entry is low, it is an approachable method for learning and building new development skills. Also, by releasing a product under an open source license, providers of software and hardware products can harness the insights of their community to improve their offerings, provide support to other users, and increase adoption and use of their products. Moreover, developers are likely to find and share new applications with each other as they work together similar projects. In this way, everyone learns and wins.
The free sharing and teaching of open source is incompatible with the notion of the solitary genius. ~ Golan Levin
Not Free of Charge
Contrary to popular belief, open source does not mean “free of charge.” There is money to be made in open source — just look at Red Hat, an open source company, which IBM will acquire for $34 billion; if all goes as planned, the acquisition is expected to close in the latter half of 2019. While many open source products are free, “free of charge” is not part of the definition of open source.
One can still comply with the definition of open source and make money through licensing. Often one part of the source code will be made public, and another part is kept private requiring payment to use the software with full functionality. Using another business model, many open source companies like Oracle generate revenue by providing training and support for their open source programs. Lastly, some companies provide source code for free for personal use and charge for commercial use.
All in all, coming together to develop commercially-viable products is surely better than working independently on individual components and that little individual value. Because robotics development requires many specialized software and hardware components, bringing development together in an open source model can create a host of uses and commercial applications never before possible.
Cobots are Born from Collaboration
Consider that open source projects can accept changes from anybody in the world. Think about this — it is the ultimate form of crowdsourcing, being able to receive input from hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of contributors. The result is a robust peer review process that ensures both security and accountability and accelerates development.
Imagine how it would feel to have others follow the progress of your project. What if others could provide you with complementary ideas, recommendations, or share advice based on what they had learned? Eventually, your ideas could be part of a fully-developed robot, interacting and engaging in the real world. Surely that would motivate you to create and share more of your advanced technology that might otherwise die alone.
Network Effects
Network effects is a key dynamic leveraged by technology companies and one of the main drivers for open source projects. According to Andreessen Horowitz blog, the theory suggests that “platforms and products with network effects get better as they get bigger — not just in value to users, but also in accruing more resources to improve their product, thus strengthening the “flywheel”.
Working in an open system provides many more opportunities than a closed system. In an open system, you have access to the entire network of current and future users — not only in terms of development and collaboration but also in terms of manufacturing and distribution. When others extend the product, you’re not just a user, but part of the family.
Power to the Users
From an end user’s point of view, one benefit of open source applications is that anyone can inspect the project for inconsistencies or errors when open source code and files are available online. This level of transparency can be important to governments, like that of Bulgaria, which requires that all software written for the government be open source and available in a public repository.
Among large corporations, open source is used to improve engineering efficiency and to influence software ecosystems important to the business. In a survey of conducted by the Linux Foundation, the top benefit to a company managing an open source program was awareness of open source usage/dependencies, which allows them to better understand the products they use.
Ethical Responsibility
For me, open source is a moral thing. ~ Matt Mullenweg
Consider that it’s the ethical responsibility of the robotics community is to ensure that the development of robots will be more equitable and utilitarian. Development should not be controlled by deep pockets capable of funding research — the future is too important to be controlled by a select few entities. That’s why it is important for the robotics community to find ways to collectively govern and benefit from the coming revolution in robotics. Open source is a great way to do this.
How Do We Do This?
With all of the benefits of open source in mind, you’re probably thinking, “Great! But how do I actually do this?” The founders of Kambria wondered the same thing when they were in full robotics development mode. They knew there was a better, faster, and cheaper way to innovate, they just didn’t have that solution readily available. So they created Kambria to innovate on innovation — meaning optimizing the open source innovation model to further support robotics development.
Kambria starts with an open robotics platform similar to Android or Linux, but will include both hardware and software components. Over time, Kambria will grow this into a network of thousands of repositories, spanning across many technology verticals, including robotics and artificial intelligence. The repositories will be semantically linked to each other for better access and more effective collaborations. For example, self-driving cars will share certain technology components with autonomous robots.
All technology on Kambria will be open and free to use for personal and R&D purposes, with the option for a licensing fee for commercial and enterprise purposes. Kambria has developed a “micro-licensing” system to ensure that commercialization from this pool is easy and predictable. Anyone from big companies to startups and individual entrepreneurs can license the entire stack of technology without the burden of legal paperwork and negotiations with every single contributor. At the same time, the value flow network on blockchain ensures that their licensing fees flow back fairly and transparently.
In order to achieve this vision, Kambria’s sister company, OhmniLabs, is contributing components from its Ohmni robot via a non-exclusive, royalty-free license. The components consist of a robotics repository, high-level behavioral library, and modular components and form the basis for the Kambria Platform. Developers can leverage these components to create their own customized robots or develop new designs of their own.
Let’s face it — the robotics revolution cannot be won alone. We need open innovation tools and platforms like Kambria to harness individual robotic developments in order to provide the market solutions they need. Open source is powerful because it lowers the barriers to adoption, allowing ideas to spread quickly.
If you’re ready to join the revolution, become a member of our Open Source AI Developer Community. We’d love to learn about what you’re building and support you in any way possible. Together we will go far!
The Kambria Team
Kambria Website
Kambria Whitepaper
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Email: [email protected]
KAT is a token used on the Kambria platform.
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2018.02.25 01:35 msg2infiniti DFINITY (DFN)

ICO Verdict

Difinity is a global 'blockchain computer', infinitely scalable with unlimited capacity. Dfinity is a true blockchain 3.0 project with crypto:3 and cloud:3 implementations, revolutionizing and disrupting traditional cloud hosting solutions. Dfinity is Ethereum compatible, DAPPs from Ethereum can easily be ported to the network with significant performance gains and scalability. Dfinity project has been in development for over 3 years, with top researchers and scientists from the blockchain and cryptography fields. If cryptocurrency bubble ever pops, of the few survivors left, Dfinity will definitely be one of them.
Reason to invest:
Hype Rate: Medium
Risk Rate: Very Low
ROI Rate: High
Potential Growth: Very High
Overall Rating: Very High

ICO Information

Public Fundraise (presale round)

Date: Soon (Team announced whitelisting within a few weeks, a few weeks ago)
Ticker: DFN
Token type: Native DFN
ICO Token Price: TBA
Fundraising Goal: TBA
Total Tokens: TBA
Available for Token Sale: TBA
Whitelist: TBA
Know Your Customer (KYC): YES. (Including AML)
Bonus for the First: NO
Min/Max Personal Cap: TBA
Token Issue: TBA
Accepts: TBA

Funding History

**A clearer break down was explained by a Dfinity team member in this thread
Q: The 7th Feb announcement says $100m raised in private funding, but email update says $61m - can anyone enlighten?
Sure, so the project funding is as follows: $4MM raised in the Seed Round in February 2017. After expenses and appreciation, this is roughly $40MM, held by DFINITY Stiftung. In the Strategic Round, which began in July of 2017, $21MM was raised. This is also held by the Stiftung, bringing total funding to ~$61MM As part of the Strategic Round, Polychain Capital spun up an ecosystem fund to help projects migrate to DFINITY and build new businesses on the platform. This is entirely under their management and totals $40MM.
All together this brings funding to ~$101MM. It's been reported in a number of confusing ways, but that is the actual break down.
The Seed Round was in the model of an ICO but it occurred before the actual ICO boom. Just under 25% of the network was distributed.
Fall 2016
A not-for-profit Swiss foundation is created
Feb 2017
Distributed "Seed" fundarise using Ethereum technology (~250 people, 25% token distributed)
Strategic fundraising round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain ($61m total, $21m go toward development, $40m to Dfinity Ecosystem Venture Fund)
Feb 2018
With the Dfinity Ecosystem Venture Fund, the project has raised $101m in funding
Presale round, involves contributors who can pass stringent KYC and AML, with some possible geographical restrictions
The second round, may or may not happen and will be termed the "ICO"
*The team's honest approach in fundraising is quite a rare breed in today's ICO standards, their philosophy behind fundraising The DFINITY Main Round: Preconditions & Our “Don’t be Evil” Rules which gained applauses from the likes of Vitalik Buterin.

Full Review

At a Glance

Difinity is a single 'internet computer', infinitely scalable with unlimited capacity. Dfinity is crypto:3, enabling a global blockchain computer utilizing Threshold Relay chain, generating incorruptible, unmanipulable and unpredictable randomness. Threshold Relay chain addresses key attacks and vulnerabilities such as 'selfish mining' and 'nothing at stake' found in traditional PoW and PoS consensus. Dfinity is cloud:3, allowing business applications running on this computer performant with unlimited capacity, reducing human capital required in traditional IT systems, effectively cutting cost down by 90%. Dfinity introduces a new governance model, a novel decentralized decision-making system called "Blockchain Nervous System (BNS). This new design paradigm embraces "The AI is Law" (as opposed to "The Code is Law"), combing crowd wisdom and traditional AI technologies to prevent malicious smart contracts and hacks.
Dfinity was built as a complementary network to Ethereum, compatible for all DAPPs deployed on the Ethereum network, making migration easy with 50x performance improvement and unlimited capacity. Difinity is in fact often described as "Ethereum's crazy sister".

Project Timeline Overview

Jan 2014 - Pebble Project
CC for micropayments with custom BFT consensus algorithm
Jan 2015 - Dfinity Project
Infinite blockchain computer with the new idea: apply randomness (Threshold Relay Chain)
July 2016 - Dfinity Stiftung
Zug based foundation, an incubation by String Labs for organizational build-outs
Feb 2017 - Seed Fundrasing
$10 new funds for R&D
Aug 2017 - Main fundrasing (delayed until announcement)
Estimated 20M CHF cap


Dfinity was formed to research ways of enabling public decentralized networks to host a virtual computer of unlimited capacity, secure, speedy, and scalable. The core approach involves adding a top-level Threshold Relay Chain that produces randomness and progresses with minimal reorganizations of the blockchain. Threshold Relay Chain creates incorruptible, unmanipulable, unpredictable randomness for a deterministic chain of randomness, unforkable and robust. At current state, Dfinity reaches block finality in about 5 seconds with 2 confirmations and low variance. Putting numbers into perspective, Bitcoin requires 6 confirmations, 60 minute finality and very high variance. Ethereum under current PoW design and network congestion, takes about 37 minutes at a finality time of 10 minutes with high variance.
Threshold Relay Chain's performance properties provide 'scale-up' gains, Dfinity further applies a three-level 'scale-out' architecture that addresses in order consensus, validation and storage, to handle unlimited computation.
Threshold Relay chain that creates a random heartbeat that drives a Validation Tree of Validation Towers in the validation layer, which does for validation what a Merkle tree does for data and provides almost infinitely scalable global validation. The random beacon also defines the organization of mining clients into storage (state) shards in the storage layer, which use their own Threshold Relay chains to quickly reach consensus on received transactions and resulting state transitions that are passed up to the validation layer. The top-level Threshold Relay consensus blockchain then records state roots provided by the Validation Tree that anchor all the storage in the network.
Dfinity is an intelligent decentralized cloud governed by the Blockchain Nervous System (BNS). The BNS has privileged access to the virtual machine to run special opcodes like freezing contracts, redistribute tokens or even run arbitrary code to reorganize the blockchain. This 'super user' can return funds and reverse the damage of hacks or programmatic errors, protecting users in case of vulnerabilities. The BNS also seamlessly upgrades the protocol on a regular basis, as opposed to disruptive 'hard forks', driving network evolution forward as quickly as possible.
Full reading on Threshold Relay Chain
The Dfinity Consensus White Paper
Full reading on Blockchain Nervous System
*Dfinity also plans to include privacy-preserving technology as seen in this tweet by Dominic


Dfinity is an intelligent decentralized cloud governed by Blockchain Nervous System, recreating monopolistic traditional cloud hosting solutions such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. The costs of owning enterprise IT systems are dominated by human capital, with redundant tasks such as configuring database, file distribution, backup/restore, load balancing, firewall configurations etc. While computing costs may be dramatically higher with Dfinity, actual cost of operation is estimated to be cut down by 90%.
Reimagine and reinvent enterprise IT, blockchains inhereit these properties making it possible
Autonomous : System without intermediaries
Verifiable : Know what code you execute
Tamperproof : No servers to meddle with
Simple : Distribution abstracted
Unstoppable : Open code and governance
Interoperability : No server boundaries
Dfinity is interoperable in that it takes a hybrid approach to private and public blockchains, users don't have hard choices to make. It is a similar design paradigm to the internet, where people have the http protocol as common meeting point while maintaining sensitive information within their local area network.
This design paradigm is emergent for the mass adoption for blockchains, there will be common services like identity validation readily availalble as a public service. There will also be more complex systems where users can simply adopt instead of rebuilding. You can have a private dfinity consortium or private instances with the ability to call into those public blockchain services, connecting these private chain instances using common blocks.
Let's further explore this with a real life example, say there's a trade financing supply system of a large manufacturer with thousands of vendors. Before their enrollment, you'll probably need to do some identity and reputation check in the public chain in order to validate their legitimacy. Next step these vendors need trade financing where they'll need more complex systems like stable coins or bank coins to avoid volatility, and move the money around. Instead of rebuilding a coin, they could just adopt a coin system within the dfinity network. In the next round there can be disbutes with goods lost or quality problems, vendors can call for public arbitration system where there'll be a network of lawyers who specialize in cross-border disbutes or arbiters to provide the service. So a chain of services that can be called throughout the life cycle, interoperable between the private and the public blockchains.

Staking Mechanism

Dfinity is a PoS (Proof of Stake) model, managed by its BNS (Blockchain Nervous System). This system is reliant on a human-controlled "neurons" (similar to masternodes in terms of staking and voting functions). In order to secure the role, users will run special client software with a delegate key, deposit fixed amount of dfinities to ensure consistency and reliability of the network, then in turn will receive economic incentives for its voting services.
People can pay a fee in dfinities to submit a proposal to the BNS, be it technical proposals like protocol upgrades or governance proposals eg. how much should be deposited to create a mining identity given the current value of DFN, this is much like liquid democracy.
Currently it takes 3 months to dissolve a neuron, client software can create a follow list (synchronous and non-deterministic to the rest of the network), which are the addresses of the neurons you follow on different topics. This captures the expertise of the community but at the same time being an opague liquid democracy, nobody knows what the follow lists are, you can't see how the brain makes its decisions.

Utility Value of Dfinities

Dfinity vs Ethereum

At a top level, Dfinity tries to stay compatible to the Ethereum network, meaning DAPPs currently running on Ethereum can be migrated to Dfinity easily, with significant gains in performance, scalability, security etc. Essentially where the name "Ethereum's crazy sister" came from.
There are some fundamental differences in design philosophy and approach to consensus agreements. Ethereum embraces the design paradigm "The code is law" where rules of the network is a result of community management. Dfinity embraces "The AI is law" where management is by the Blockchain Nervous System. Ethereum's Casper (POS) will be focused on extreme availability while Dfinity aims to achieve performance and infinite scale. In Dfinity's design, consistency and reliability outweighs availability.
A great debate on several fundamental design differences between Ethereum Casper and Dfinity's Threshold Relay Chain+Blockchain Nervous System (also part of the debate is Cosmos/Tendermint's Jae Kwon) can be watched here Proof of Stake Panel Discussion - Silicon Valley Ethereum Meetup


Dominic Williams is Chief Scientist of the DFINITY project, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, and is President and CTO of String Labs, a Palo Alto-based studio, incubator, and investor focused on advanced open protocol projects. His recent technical works include DFINITY technologies such as the Threshold Relay/Probabilistic Slot Protocol blockchain consensus mechanisms, the Blockchain Nervous System (algorithmic governance for decentralized networks), and the PHI “crypto fiat” autonomous loan issuance system.
Notable team members include Professor Timo Hanke, creator of AsicBoost. Ben Lynn, the 'L' from 'BLS' cryptography applied by Threshold Relay Chain. The team is stacked with postdoctoral researchers and scientists, they also run a scholarship program for PhD students researching secure distributed systems.

Useful Reading




Press & Review

Due Diligence



Dfinity Stiftung, Zug Switzerland


Dominic Williams (Chief Scientist) LinkedIn Profile
Timo Hanke (Head of Engineering) LinkedIn Profile
Ben Lynn (Senior Staff Scientist & Engineer) LinkedIn Profile
Mahnush Movahedi (Senior Researcher and Engineer) LinkedIn Profile
Paul Liu (Staff Engineer) LinkedIn Profile
Enzo Hausseker (Senior Engineer) LinkedIn Profile
Derek Chiang (Senior Engineer) LinkedIn Profile
Norton Wang (Software Engineer) LinkedIn Profile
Steve Omohundro (Senior Contributor - AI/Governance Research) LinkedIn Profile
Robert Lauko (Contributor - Research/Community) LinkedIn Profile




Not yet, but testnet demo is available



Additional Info

Token Allocation


Use of Proceeds

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2017.05.09 02:45 SD_TMI Things to do this week in San Diego May 8th - 15th 2017

Here's the San Diego Readers large list of events
Their "Picks of the week"
As well as the "Best of List"
Then there's the Thrill List of FREE THINGS TO DO
IF there's something that you think is important or needs to have tickets purchased in advance... please post in the comments. IF there's a link that's needed, please try to not make it part of some text but the full URL string So I can just copy and paste it. (It'll make things easier) I'll try to retain these in the following week until the date of the event.
Tuesday and Thursdays:
Free yoga classes at Sunset Cliffs all around San Diego
RaceLegal For people that want to race cars here in town.
Also (as provided by our subscribers):
u/MsMargo suggests:
FREE Concert & Lecture with San Diego Symphony Artists
Art Connection: Amplified Urbanism Tuesday, May 9, 2017 7:30 PM Copley Symphony Hall
As city planners and architects unveil their visions of cities that are denser, taller and more diverse, and yet perhaps more isolated, what is the role of arts and culture in these new megalopolises? Do artists play a role in the evolution of city design? Will cities of the future provide spaces for creativity and performance? Will the arts play a central role in our future cities or exist on the periphery? This panel discussion will be moderated by Arthur Cohen and includes Cathy Simon, architect, Benjamin Grant, city planner and local architect Jennifer Luce of Luce Et Studio.
This edition of Art Connection will also feature a chamber version performance of Aaron Copland's Quiet City by Micah Wilkinson, trumpet (SDSO), Mark Shannon, alto saxophone, Frank Renk, clarinet/bass clarinet (SDSO) and Bryan Verhoye, piano.
This is event is FREE, but ticketed. Lobby and bars open at 6:30pm. Reserve your tickets today by clicking “purchase”!
u/SDMedicine suggests:
Golf Tournament Fundraiser for Palomar Paramedic Class 50 May 13th 1:30pm-7:30pm at: Vineyard at Escondido golf Club, 925 San Pasqual Road, Escondido CA 92025
All are welcome to join our Golf fundraising tournament, we have a range of games and players from San Diego's Emergency Medical Services joining.
Amenities: Beverage cart on course, Closest to the pin, Longest drive, Putting contest, Mulligans, Raffle Prizes, Unique Tee box games.
Don't golf? Come on by and join our BBQ and network anyways. Show you support for San Diego's community!
Vineyard at Escondido golf Club, 925 San Pasqual Road, Escondido CA 92025
Price: BBQ=$15 following the tourny, $80 For 18 holes Scramble format Range balls
Tee Sponsorship:Message for details
tj-horner suggests:
CodeDay San Diego, May 20-21 A 24 hour programming event for students in high school - no experience required!
A programming event in San Diego aimed toward beginners called CodeDay!
CodeDay is a nationwide event where student programmers, artists, musicians, actors, and everyone else can get together and build apps & games for 24 hours. Students of all skill levels are welcome — we have workshops and mentors who can help if you're new!
CodeDay is a great place to pick up new skills, sharpen your existing ones, and eat free food. If you want to register, you can do so here and use the promotion code REDDIT to get 20% off!
u/ombac suggests:
Team Signups - 64th Annual Over The Line (OTL) tournament Beachcomer & Pennant bars in S.Mission Beach, Saturday May 6th, 8:00AM - 2:00PM
Team registration for the 64th annual Over The Line tournament will be taking place at the Beachcomber and Pennant bars in South Mission Beach (2901 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109)
Over The Line is San Diego's sport, invented here in the 50s, and the OTL tournament is San Diego's unique event, part beach softball, part Mardi Gras. If you have never played, grab two friends and sign up. Players from newbies to avid OTL players are welcome. Men's and women's team divisions and age divisions from the open (18+) to 30+, 40+, etc.
The OTL tournament is July 8-9, 15-16 on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. The OTL tournament has over 1300 3-person teams competing on 50 OTL courts while thousands of spectators come and watch, enjoy a day in the sun and take in the "spectacle" that is OTL. It's not kid-friendly as most of the team names are R-rated (or worse) and it is generally more geared toward fun adults who enjoy a festival atmosphere where people may be wearing costumes or bikinis or whatever. Alcohol is allowed and the event is BYOB (legal adults 21+) as well as there being several bar-like tents on the island where adult beverages, food and swag can be purchased.
Saturday May 6th is to signup a team. Come down to the Beachcomer and see what its all about or go to to find out more.
Follow OMBAC and OTL on various social media outlets as @OMBAC (FB, TW, IG)
Use the discount code COLLAB at California Tap Room in North Park for $1 off any item the entire month of May!
Best pretzels in San Diego and a great selection of local craft beer! Make sure you talk to Boomer, the owner. He is a crack up- really makes the place what it is.
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2015.03.26 00:39 tabledresser [Table] IAmA: I am Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of "The Lean Startup" - AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2015-03-25
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Hey Eric, thanks for this AMA, and thanks for your book. It's quite amazing! In terms of your own education, I am a big believer in a general liberal arts education. That's what's helped me the most (thanks mom!). We live in a golden age of information about startups out there on books and blogs. There's plenty you can learn without formal schooling in business. Plus, YCombinator exists.
My question is: lots of business universities are incorporating entrepreneurship in their curriculum. Would you recommend studying entrepreneurship (as well as other business core) academically or just winging it and learning from experience? I've been really excited to see the addition of real entrepreneurship curriculum to schools and especially business schools. I got to play an extremely small part in the revamp of the HBS curriculum that now requires every MBA to work on a startup as part of their degree.'
Hi Eric, Thank you for taking the time for doing this! I've been working on my start-up for 6 months now, tested our first MVP with great results but now I am facing huge differences on vision and approach with my business partner. I suppose this is a fairly normal situation. I was wondering if you have any advice for founders struggling to align on a single vision? Man, I wish I could have all the hours of my life back that I spent arguing about vision with my cofounders. We finally - after years of wasting time - figured out that we need to focus on a concept called "synthesis" between our vision and what reality can accept. So any time we have a disagreement, let's get out of opinion land and try and formulate an empirical test. In other words: can we run an experiment that might help us figure out which direction is better.
Now a lot of people call these questions vision questions, but I later learned to call them strategy questions. The vision is the destination, the strategy is the route. A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision. If your cofounders truly don't agree on the vision - why are you building a company together?
Most cofounder disagreements, even the "vision" ones are really about strategy.
I see you do a lot of angel investing. Can you recommend a good approach or methodology for investing in startups? Is there a lean investment methodology? :) I only invest as a hobby. I've had a pretty consistently bad track record of picking winners in my career. I turned down chances to work at pre-IPO Google and Facebook, for example.
Now, I do think it's possible to build a lean investment methodology. It's based on what I call "innovation accounting" in the book.
I don't know how much detail to get into now, but it has to do with learning to value a startup and what it's learning from first principles, rather than based on comparables or external sources. Once you can do that, you can then assess how much each MVP or pivot is really worth in net present value terms. I think it's a much more meritocratic way to allocate resources.
It seems like very often, you talk about "humility", "empathy", and "respect". You also talk about the injustice of wasting the skills and effort of people. Is ethics at the core of the Lean Startup principles? I like to think so. It's a strong core component (but seldom talked about in the mainstream press) of the Toyota Production System: respect for people.
I frankly wish more business books were held to this same ethical standard. The question that keeps me up at night is: how do you really know that the advice you're giving out will help other people? I mean sure, it worked for you, Mr or Mrs Author, but what about when read, translated, interpreted and put into practice?
That's what I'm most excited about with this campaign. We get to use The Leader's Guide and the online community to really test out these ideas and make sure that they work in the real world, even after being laundered through book form.
I'm a huge fan of the Lean Startup methodology, however I've talked with others about it and the one thing that comes up is building an MVP vs a Prototype. Generally I feel that that an MVP, while not feature complete, should still be robust and as bug free as possible, whereas with a prototype its acceptable to have bugs or to lack basic security considerations. Do you feel that there is a difference between the two, or are they essentially the same thing? This is actually a hard question to answer. The reason is that the definition of a bug is defined by the customer. How do you know that your MVP is bug free if customers aren't using it? It's a common engineering assumption that we know what quality means and we can judge it for ourselves. But the truth is that if you don't know who the customer is, you don't know what quality means.
So, although I do try to make sure that an MVP is free of technical defects, I don't think it's possible to make it bug-free. The good news is that - at least in software - bugs are relatively harmless. If customers encounter them, you can fix them. Now that I work a lot with industrial, energy, and healthcare teams, we have to deal with this at a much deeper level. As my friends at GE like to say, nobody wants to fly on a minimum viable engine.
Hey Eric! Thanks for doing this AMA. I am a huge fan of The Lean Startup. First of all, thank you for the kind words and for sharing what you're going through.
A mentor once told me that, "Entrepreneurship is not about being happy. It is about waking up at night, with the hunger of wanting to change the world. If you want to be happy, go back to your job." I think if you're the entrepreneurial type, you'll find much more fulfillment trying to make the world a better place through your startup. But here's the catch. Don't do a startup because you think you will make a lot of money or achieve fame and fortune. I always tried to pick projects that I felt were worthwhile - even if they totally failed.
Would you agree with this statement, that entrepreneurship and happiness are often separate? And what advice would you give to entrepreneurs (or wantrepreneurs), to help them cope better with this path? Thank you! And I'm not in the 100+ hour weeks camp, either. I think if your startup really requires that level of effort on a sustained basis (we've all pulled the occasional all-nighter, but what you're describing is different), something is probably wrong with your startup's strategy.
What's your current ringtone and background picture on your phone? I use the Apple default ringtone. years ago I decided to stop fighting software company defaults, and almost never customize settings on anything I use. I go through computers and phones so frequently now that I don't trust that the settings will be remembered through upgrades, etc. So I learn to adapt myself to the defaults.
Years ago, when I was briefly advising a startup called CoolIris I used their app to change my phone background to a Mondrian painting. Somehow Apple has managed to keep that setting through all the years of upgrades.
What was your lowest moment in life? And what steps did you take to get through it? Let's startup failure. In the movies, all those people who told you "your idea will never work, doing a startup is a bad idea, you should finish school and get a normal job" - you get to back to them and make them realize how cool you are now that you're a big success.
In real life, you get to go back to them and say, "you were right. it didn't work." Man, that is seriously painful. Especially when you're an unbelievably arrogant kid, as I was when I did my first startup.
Is there any scientific evidence that supports "the lean startup methodology" is in any way superior to whatever people where doing before ? Not yet. I really hope someone in academia will tackle this challenge in a rigorous way. So far all of my efforts to convince academics and foundations to work on it have produced little.
In the meantime, the best test of a startup idea is: do entrepreneurs find it helpful. And I don't mean just the famous ones whose public declarations are filtered through their PR teams. What about the thousands of entrepreneurs working in total obscurity all over the world? Like the ones on this map: Link to
What did you have in mind for a study? I run a university entrepreneurship center, teach Lean Launchpad, am old enough to remember how it used to be done, and have wondered the same thing myself. I mentioned this briefly in the afterword to The Lean Startup.
What is your opinion of equity crowdfunding (AngelList, Funder's Club, Crowdcube, etc)? Will this eventually disrupt VC funds and they're 2 and 20 economics? Or are they simply bringing FFFs and angel investing online? I'm not convinced. (And to be clear, I don't consider AL or FC crowdfunding really). True crowdfunding would be something like Kickstarter where every backer gets equity. I'm just too worried about the possibilities for fraud. We have a hard enough time with fraudulent Kickstarter and IGG campaigns. I think our grandparents were wise when they built the current securities regulations and while I do think some rules are antiquated and some need reform, I'm not ready to knock down the foundations quite yet.
How much time did you take to plan your Kickstarter Campaign? How many people were on your team? What types of folks were they?, pr, fellow co-collaborators.. It was definitely a team effort. For timeline, let me consult the archive. On 10/20 last year I emailed Fred Wilson when I first had the idea for the campaign. Next thing I know I'm talking to Yancey from Kickstarter. I started to put the team together but we didn't start working on it in earnest until December last year.
The core team is listed on the Kickstarter page. It definitely requires a mix of logistics, editorial, and marketing skills. It's been a very fun project.
The Lean startup has many themes in common with Steve Blank's 'Four Steps to Epiphany'. You attended a class at Berkeley's Haas business school taught by Blank. How much of your insights and success to you attribute to Blank? Steve was an early investor and board member in IMVU, where I was a founder. As a condition of his investing, he asked us to audit a new class on something called "customer development" he was teaching at UC Berkeley Haas school of business. My cofounder and I schlepped down there from Palo Alto a handful of times to hear what he had to say. I also ordered the original badly-edited and badly-printed version of "Four Steps" and devoured every page. I'll always be grateful to him not just for his ideas but for his mentorship.
Last updated: 2015-03-29 17:40 UTC
This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
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2013.11.11 19:16 tabledresser [Table] IamA male Dating Coach (NOT pua) AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-11-10
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What do you think about the PUA scene? that you felt the need to distance yourself in your title seems to indicate some problems with them... I feel that the pua crowd is deceitful, misogynistic and IMHO fetid. The purpose of them is almost to CON a woman into bed. They rely on routines, negging (which I loathe), misinformation and instant gratification. My goal is to make you a better person for the long haul that will attract people because you are truly a better person!
Fetid means someone smelling extremely unpleasant in case anyone wanted to know. Yeah. I really don't like PUAs.
You are a douche. I can't argue due to your user name living up to its name.
What is the best thing to say when you are messing a girl on tinder for the first time? Can you please give a few examples? Also, I always get stuck after going back and forth a few times, how can I keep things interesting? How long should I talk before asking for a date? Basically, any question others aren't. Stay away from the norms like "What do you do? Where did you grow up? What school did you go to?" She's heard these questions every. Single. Time she dates someone. Ask questions that have a positive emotional connotation to it. What was the best part of your day? What country would your dream vacation be at? As they answer, they will feel good and thoughts of you and feeling good will start to intertwine.
The interactions should be short, like 2 days or 3 messages back and forth before you ask for a date. That way you WON'T need to keep it interesting. Keep your interestingness for the date itself. Show your confidence by asking on the sooner side.
Thanks. And what is the best way to ask for a date? I usually say something like "do you want to go grab a drink?" Is there anything better that you would recommend? A lot of times, I would recommend asking them to join you in an activity that you enjoy doing. "Going to watch the game tomorrow. Want to join?" "Going hiking on Saturday. Would love to have a partner." Also, I tell my clients to do a short, afternoon date for the first one. 1) you'll see if you like each other before committing to more time and money 2) it will ease her mind that she won't be worried you'll ask her to come home with her that night 3) leave her with a good taste in her mouth and a desire to see you again.
Reading through the comments on here I have picked up a lot of tips, so I would like to thank you for those. So I would look at They have tons of activity groups on everything in any area. When you're doing something you enjoy, your body language opens up, you are comfortable and people want to be around you. Also, volunteering is always a good way. I like to build things and work with my hands, so I like Habitat for Humanity.
I am 25, and I work a very professional job with long hours (CPA). I find myself not being able to go out and meet people as easy as I could in my college years (getting off reddit would be a start, am I right??). To add to my problems, I currently live in a small town. What would you say is the best way to get out and meet new people with a busy schedule? First off, thanks! So if you were going to learn another language or sport, you HAVE to devote a certain amount of hours a week in order to keep growing. So, schedule time that you devote just to improving or dating. It will help to motivate you and WILL get you better. And don't discount online. It's not just for people that can't find a date. Look at it as one more way to meet people.
the online dating thing, it's a fantastic supplement to traditional methods and a way to meet people you either a.) may never run into otherwise and b.) may be shy or prefer staying in. I met a ton of great people online, including my fiance. Yes. As long as people don't look at it as the last ditch effort, it can be very rewarding.
I actually met one of my best guy friends on match! Basically, we both dated the same girl, stayed friends with her and she introduced us to each other at her birthday party. So if I wasn't on Match, I never would met her and thusly, him.
I personally think that dating is just a game of chance and that there aren't really guys 'out of my league', just guys I haven't connected with. What do you think of the 'out of my league' thing when it comes to dating? Well, chance and chemistry and timing. And you're right, there isn't an "out of your league" thing. There might be RIGHTATTHISMOMENT, but then that's just incentive to better yourself to become someone they would find interesting. I mean, if a high school drop-out wanted to talk to Natalie Portman, she might not think he was worthy of her. But if he got his GED, started volunteering and seemed to be working to better his situation, he might catch her attention.
I mean, if a high school drop-out wanted to talk to Natalie Portman, she might not think he was worthy of her. But if he got his GED, started volunteering and seemed to be working to better his situation, he might catch her attention. That seems to be a little unrealistic, don't you think? Unrealistic? Yes. Impossible? No. But when people say "out of my league," it annoys me because it's like a cop-out on not trying harder.
Can you describe the most difficult person you've coached? Hola Alice! It was this guy that I'm pretty sure had undiagnosed Asperger's. He could not pick up on social cues. Didn't know that if a person turns away, the conversation is over. Didn't know how to pick up on conversational triggers. Couldn't see or understand body language. I could HELP him, but in order to get further, he needs/needed more help than I could give. Felt bad because I couldn't affect his life as much as I had with others.
Interesting, I figured it'd be something like that. Do you ever hear back from people months (or longer) later? Can you give an example of something positive and negative you've heard as feedback related to your coaching? Just curious! Yes, we occasionally hear back from clients and we love it. A lot even come back for refresher courses.
Best feedback I can think of recently actually from one of our client's dads! He was a 23 year old Indian immigrant that had just finished college in the US. He went through our program and then a few weeks later, his father came over from India to visit him. I was trepidacious because it's not a traditional field I'm in. But upon seeing his son's increased confidence, poise, conversation skills and style, he was over the moon! So much so that he wanted him to go through the whole program again, just to get more out of it! Felt really good.
Negative would probably be from a woman I had a few years ago. I don't really know why she was paying (a not small sum!) to NOT get anything out of it. She was confrontational and I would say something and she would just say, "No, I don't agree with that." Ummm, you came to us, bitch. Seems like she wanted to come only to have us validate her own feelings, which were FUBARed anyway. Other times, I am the head of a team of coaches and sometimes a client just doesn't mesh with a coach and then ANYthing the coach says, the person resists, so we'll substitute a different coach.
I stutter. Have you ever had a stutterer client? Do you think a stutterer would have more difficulty than normal when dating? I have not had one, no. Do I think they would have more difficulty? Yes, but only if they let it affect them, confidence-wise. Look at Josh Blue for instance. If he was totally self conscious about his cerebral palsy, it would make others uncomfortable. But because he's fine with it, and teases himself, it causes other to relax. But learning to do that can be very hard.
What's the best and the worst date you've ever been on? Worst was with one girl that sat down and announced that she had decided that this was the year she was going to marry and proceed to interview for the position of "husband." Yeeeah, not so much...
Best was the last first date I was on. Married her. Sorry, prob not exciting as you were hoping! However, I have found that most fun or romantic or crazy dates were the ones that you woke up thinking it was going to be just another day and something completely unexpected happens.
I think that i am a pretty interesting guy, and i can actually talk about myself quite well. but i do not. i either do not even start talking, or i lose the conversation within seconds. What is the best thing one can do against approach anxiety? what can one do to convert an approach into a conversation? First thing, set the correct goals. You're touching on it in your last sentence. You're looking at too big of a picture. Have something easy to find out. For instance, just find out what the best meal she's ever had was. You'll spend more time concentrating on asking that and it will make you less nervous. Also, it is an easy goal to achieve. When you achieve it, it makes you happy and you'll want to do more. Then, as you get betteless anxious, up the difficulty level. "I'm going to talk to 5 women tonight. I'm going to spend at least 5 minutes talking to each person. I'm going to find out where their dream vacation is." Consider it like weightlifting. It will be uncomfortable, but every time, you're building yourself up. As you incrementally increase what you demand of yourself, it will become easier and easier.
So...hows your dating life? Married! But I don't tell my clients at the beginning. If I'm married then, "You're not dating so you don't know what the hell you're talking about." Likewise, if I wasn't married then "You're not with anyone so you don't know what the hell you're talking about." So I keep it beige for the first couple of weeks until I have a rapport with them and then I'll share it when it comes up.
Welp I totally wasnt expecting that. Yeah, they usually don't. :-)
As an asian male who grew up in America, we have it much harder as men in the dating realm as lots of people assume that we're not masculine and say some dumb shit about asians having a small dick. I know I'm probably going to get a "boo fucking hoo" reply from some closeted racist prick. Even if someone tells me that I shouldn't consider race as I'll for sure be getting those replies as well, race is still a big issue in America. However, I'm not going to really care about those that give negative, deconstructive replies as I have to ask the following so that we can better our dating perspectives. I'd imagine you have plenty of clientele of Asian descent that run into the issues I've mentioned. What do you recommend for asian men like myself to overcome these hurdles so we can talk to women, especially on more equal terms as with any other guy has? You're right about race still being an issue. And yeah, most of the stereotypes are BS, but people can be ignorant. So MAKE them see you like any other guy. You've had the same upbringing as anybody here. So you may have to share more about what you do that's "typically American." She says, "I like the outdoors." You say, "Yeah, I loved building forts with my friends in the woods. We used to have a BB gun and got into some shenanigans!" Or something similar. Let them see that you have the same experiences as them. You can also kinda call them out. "Asians have small penises." "Not all! Want me to prove it right now?" As you look them in the eyes, daring them to agree...
This might not apply directly to your field, but as an introvert and a rather socially awkward person, what could I do to just keep a conversation going with someone I just met? I find it just as difficult to do it with people of my gender yet have no problem talking to people i know well. Everyone gives you what I call "vocal triggers." Every sentence gives you a clue to where you can take the next part of the conversation. If they say, "I've only lived here for a few months" you can follow up with "Where were you before? or What made you want to move here? or How many places have you lived in." If you listen well, they are telling you all you need to know about what they like to discuss. Also, have 3 safes zones of conversation that you can steer to when in doubt. What three things do you know a lot about and feel comfortable talking about? For instance, 1) where you're from 2) your hobby and 3) animals/travel/games/sports. That way, if you reach a lull, you can steer it towards those area.
W2c qt gf? Do I want to see a cute girlfriend?
Hot singles in your area! Discover the one weird trick to win over any girl! Dating coaches hate him!
I'm a 24 year old guy who recently graduated college and was lucky enough to get a decent job at a company I could definitely make a career from. I'm living in a new place and unfortunately don't have any friends my age. Here is an answer from my last AMA that I think will apply to you about some of the books I think give a good base. Then, try speed dating a lot. Look at it as practice. Like you are a stand-up comic trying out new material. Try different things and see how people react to it, then try to better it. Basically, repetition will teach you and will remove anxiety.
In college I was a dating bust and never had a girlfriend while all of my friends had long term relationships that a few have turned into weddings. I kind of feel like I'm behind the curve and never had a good experience dating. What advice would you give to someone who's my age and basically a complete dating newbie? No problem! I really enjoy helping people out with this. It's a lot like pool/billiards. You just start playing and try and figure out the rules and strategies along the way with no real guidance. Umm, for books, to start with, try the original Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. It can be pandering and simplistic at times, but it really gives a good base insight into men and women and how we communicate. That way you'll have a good base moving forward. Others: How to Work a Room by Susan RoAne; Flirt Fearlessly by Rachel DeAlto is fun one on basic flirting; for great ideas on actual dates from lavish to free I absolutely love The Little Black Book of Dating Ideas by Buzz Boxx; for a very scientific but fascinating look at evolutionary psychology as it pertains to what is "natural, normal" for humans sexually, try Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan. I suggest these because they will build you a very comprehensive "base" of understanding that will make moving forward much less confusing and it'll be much easier for you.
What exactly makes you... NOT a PUA? Simply, my goal is not to get you more girls/guys. My goal is to turn you into such an interesting, confident person that people are drawn to YOU!
I dunno, I've always said pua is basic sales 101 rebranded, go on mystery's website and it says "this isn't just about getting laid it's about making you the confident, go getter bla bla, better at networking, interviews bla bla" We have improv coaches because we feel you need to learn to be adaptive, quickly. We do a mock date, so we can see how they interact with a member of the opposite sex. We offer sessions for online with profile writing, etc. And 7 different coaches that each have different areas of expertise. Maybe it is not too different from the way PUAs advertise themselves, but we have two former PUAs that got sick of that scene and decided to come over to the side of good that assure me of the differences.
So, I guess what I'm asking is, substancly, and not philosophically, is there anything you're teaching that they're not? I mean, the way you look at it, a murderer and a doctor do they same thing, they open people up. But it's the INTENT that makes all the difference in the world.
Hah! good one. I did online once and ended up "meeting" 4 Nigerian males in stock photo drag. So it didn't seem to me the way to go. It was fun to troll them for a while, but... Do you think I should give it another go? Is this what most people do? Yes, and a lot. Do not look at it as THE way to find someone. Look at it as just another forum to meet people in addition to bars, work, friends and others. What I usually suggest is to join one of the main ones (match, eharmony, jdate) and one niche one (geek2geek, dateafarmer, christiansingles). That way you can cast a large net, and a more specific one. But understand you'll meet the same ratio of assholes, bitches, freaks and liars that you will met in all the other forums. Don't think it's indicative of everyone dating online.
Thanks. Will do. Incidentally, I ran into the scammers on christiansingles. Ha! Funny!
Do you work with both genders and all ages? Yes I do. Youngest was 15, oldest in their 60s. Both men and women but we have a majority of men.
The 15 y/o, were they male or female? And was it them or their parents asking for advice? This one kind of confuses me. The 15 year old one was weird. He lived in Costa Rica and his mom thought he was getting to into religion and would marry the first girl that came along. So she flew with him up to NYC to get a 3-day crash course in what dating is. Very weird because you have to start from square zero with him. He has nothing to compare it to so it's all hypothetical.
Personally, I think it's too early before they've gone through puberty but I hope I gave him a good base.
I red The Game of Neil Strauss and although I thought that most of it was bullshit, I've been practicing the methods now for over 2 months and every weekend I got another close with another female. But the main problemis: it is not me. I'm just a sweet guy and not some lame doucebag that negs or is offensive against females. But before I red the book, I was to shy to walk and talk to a girl. The confendence part is true, but does negging etc. realy work on girls? Thanks :) Nooo!
Do. Not. Neg. It's horrible to play with woman's self-esteem. It's manipulative, crass, and shows your weakness because you have to rely on "tricks." In one of my responses below, I mention some other books to read to help. I think that you should almost be like a drug for girls. They feel so good around you that they want to be around you to feel good. Instead of "Where did you grow up" ask "What's your favorite memory from childhood." Instead of "what do you do/study" ask "When was the last time your boss/teacher praised you." You are asking questions that invoke positive emotionally responses in them. We all like to talk about these happy and proud moments in life, but no one really asks about them. Be that guy!
What's the best advice you have to give that can apply to almost everyone? Everybody enjoys meeting interesting people. Do things to become interesting and that in turn, will draw people to you instead of you chasing them.
Do you know the book how to win friends and influence people? Dale carnegie. Rule 1 remember their name Rule 2 compliment them on things they like about themselves Rule 3 be genuinely interested in them (ask interested questions). All simple stuff but very important. Yes on the book. Also, I like How To Work a Room.
What led you to go into this field? Was pushed by a psychiatrist. She told me that I knew more about this than anyone she'd ever met and I needed to figure out a way to monetize it and once I did, she'd refer all her patients to me. So it was 3 big pats on the back, say, that led me to start researching. "Is there a need? Is is teachable? Do I actually know more than others? How do I make it teachable?"
Tips for a 15 yr old male? very comfortable talking to people i dont know that are guys. don't really start up convos with girls, but not completely afraid to talk to them. I feel like most girls think I'm weird. Not very confident (as you can see haha) Be honestly interested in what makes others tick. If you meet someone and they say, "I'm from South Carolina" ask a specific follow up question about it. Instead of saying, "Cool. Gamecocks, huh?" Say, "So what is your favorite thing about SC?" People like to talk about what they like and you will seem like you are interested in them which makes them want to stick around you.
Thanks so much! the usual interactions i have with girls r questions about school. How would I ask an interesting question like you mentioned above, or start an interesting conversation? (im TERRIBLE at small talk) The key is learning how to segue. "That assignment was hard wasn't it? I mean, it wasn't as hard as learning to (insert your hobby/sport/second language here). What's the hardest thing you've learned to do?"
"Biology was cool today wasn't it? It's amazing to think of all that stuff going on under the ocean. You know, I think if I could choose a dream vacation, it would be at some tropical island. Where would you go?"
What is your refund policy? Never had to worry about it. Many times, we'll stop midway through the program because they'll get a gf or they move but have NEVER had anyone ask for a refund. Also, it is our job to manage expectations. We don't want someone who is wishy-washy. We want people who have made the decision to change their life for the better. Even if you don't get more dates (highly unlikely) you'll come out as a better, more interesting person. So still a win. But in theory, no prob with a refund. Not trying to swindle anyone. Also, we have multiple packages, so people can dip their toes first if they want.
Hey! Awesome post! Do you mind sharing what you specifically studied as an undergraduate/ graduate student? As undergrad I was acting/scriptwriting. The acting helps with poise, improv and learning how to hear no without letting it emotionally affect you. The writing is good because of, well, doing stuff like this. I got my masters for an MBA and I use a lot of business theory like opportunity cost, Six Sigma, data mining and such. If I could go back to school for free, I'd get a pych degree of some sort so I think you are on the right path. Dating is a mix of sociology, biology, psychology and anthropology, so brush up on the other stuff too by reading books.
I'm currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology and was interested in this line of work. Good Idea ? Bad Idea? When we certify coaches, we are looking for experience in some sort of coaching/self-help field first. So we have life coaches, matchmakers, counselors and such that have gone through our program. Not trying to use this platform to make money, but check out our IDCA site about certification if you are interested. (You can PM me also for more info.) But we like to have people with your skill set as additional coaches.
I've been struggling with shallowness - seeing people (particularly women) as objects rather than people. I recognize this to be a problem, and I'm looking at changing that. It's not something I'm intentionally doing (my therapist and I came to that realization during our latest session). Have you experienced that with clients before? Any suggestions recommended. Happened to me. They were conquests. Eventually, with therapy also, realized that just because I could hook up with them didn't mean I should. Honestly just kinda was done with the whole thing and took some steps back. Eventually, when I stepped forward again, I was different and took new approaches. Suggestions? You're doing it. That and time unfortunately. But I'm really glad you're taking the opportunity to better yourself.
I am going on a blind date in two days... 1) What advice can you give for blind dates? 2) What are Classic mistakes newbies make? Don't ask the normal questions. Think about your friends. Does where they are from, what they do or where they went to school affect whether or not you like them? No. What does is what makes them, them. But ask open ended questions with positive answers. "When was the last time your boss praised you? You like being outdoors? What is it about the outdoors that makes you feel peaceful and happy?" It's not a dating interview. You want to find what makes them happy.
Classic mistakes? The standard ones, don't bring up politics, abortion, gun control, gay marriage. Also, don't even THINK of inviting her home, no matter how good it goes. And don't ask for a second date while still on the first. It can make you seem needy.
Good luck! Let me know how it goes!
So teenager here, and I need a little advice. I currently do online school (homeschool) and am struggling with the fact of my male friends frequently forgetting about me because of me not going to school, and the girls I'm interested in I don't have any relationship with other than seeing them every now and then. Any advice how to make people remember me and to start a friendship with a girl? That's tough dude because school is usually the place that people are social and interact with each other. But one of my best friends did what you were doing. What he did was join the community theatre group. You'll need to find activities in your town where you can interact with others of your age. Because you are right, a lot of time it's "out of sight, out of mind." Other than that, be extremely active on social media so people CAN'T forget you. Also, check out for clubs and activities in your area. If you PM me, I can help you find stuff in your specific area that might be good/fun for you.
I am already looking into a few local activities, but I could be more active on Facebook (haven't been on in a few months). I'm also social (I don't get uncomfortable in social situations) but reserved, and I have a very low voice. Any suggestions how to keep people's attention when I talk? The topics and not the volume are what are going to keep people around. Read the book How To Work A Room. It's a little dated, but has a lot of great tips.
So, I'm a decent conversationalist during dates, and I can keep their interest for the length of the date. But how do i turn the conversation into something romantic? - I think my dates have felt a bit too much like chatting with a buddy. Totally understand this! Basically you have to lead the conversation to areas where he/she understands that you are looking at them romantically. Talk about kissing or snuggling. Lightly touch her arm or shoulder. I did a series of videos that might help on how to flirt, as it's the first step to getting people to look at you romantically.
(College age here) I'm short and a bit chubby. Because of this I find that a lot of times I go into interactions with girls (at least when it's not a party or something) in a less than confident manner or I am afraid to make forward moves (like asking them on a date and such). What do you say to someone in my position? Confidence is the sexiest thing in the world! I have seen this over and over and over. You SordidCanary, need to not feel uncomfortable about it. Easier said than done, I know. But your thoughts on the last statement are categorically false, in the nicest way possible. Short, balding, fat, not classically attractive guy marries the hottest supermodel of his day. Impossible? Nope
One other thing, I saw earlier you said that you don't believe leagues exist, but I sort of believe they do based on the fact that you rarely see extremely attractive women with mediocre or even unattractive men. Women are much more concerned with image, not looks. If you carry yourself well, take the time to dress nice (not dressy necessarily, but just put together), and seem generally interested in a woman, you will succeed more than other "classically good looking" people who can't get the confidence to approach people. And women almost ALWAYS give you the benefit of the doubt if you sack up and go talk to them. Try it, you'll be surprised at how NOT horrible it goes. Also remember that each time, you learn more, so you'll steadily rise. Failure is just a learning opportunity. Hard? Yes. Uncomfortable? Yes. Worth it? Fuck yeah.
Are you also MrCGrey? Nope. No double dipping. I'm only 1 coach! My company actually certifies dating coaches, so send him my way next time!
An ongoing theme in dating advice i read online is 'love yourself first'. What would you say is the best way to build self esteem? Set small goals. My first goal is to say 2 sentences to a girl/guy. Do that, then you will see how well that goes. You basically can't fail, so that will engender more trying. Then when that gets easy, raise the bar.
Long story short, people think that the worse case scenarios are WAY worse than they are. So when you start to actually do it and see that things start going well, you'll want to do more. Success breeds success.
Boxers or briefs? Def boxers, but I also love boxer briefs.
So what is the major differences in suggesting how a man approach a woman from one who is, oh say 16, to one who is 49. These may or may not match up to the ages when I was/am now dating. OK they do. Sorry (?) to hear you're dating again. Biggest difference is that when young, being adventurous and spontaneous and energetic is a very attractive trait. Women above 35 really don't want to to read a profile that makes it seem like the guy has a Peter Pan complex. So many middle aged guys try to sound like their life is amazing and you're hopping to here and there. Now they are more looking for someone that they enjoy spending time with that has the same type of values.
Also, the OTHER main difference is that if you're still hitting on 16 year olds, you're gonna have a bad time! ;-)
Last updated: 2013-11-15 12:09 UTC
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