lunatechian (lunatech-ian)

one relating to, belonging to, or resembling lunatech

some good learnings from startup school 2007

Was reading the notes from the startup school 2007 and some slides/quotes caught my eye

  • Limited Life Experiences + Over-Generalizations = ADVICE
  • When someone tells you, "That's impossible:" it should be translated as "According to my very limed experience and narrow understanding of reality, that's very unlikely."
  • Try adding words "that actually works" when briefly describing your product. (i.e. "search, that actually works", "email, that actually works")
  • When you build something, you're trying to create value
  • Most valuable things are hard. Most hard things are completely useless — (picture of someone smashing their head through concrete blocks kung-fu style). Hard DOES NOT EQUATE TO BEING valuable
  • There is a big confusion between people with Talent and "people like us" Research shows diverse teams are more innovative. It is easier to hire people who look and think like you than it is to have a truly diverse working environment, which can be more innovative.
  • Take culture seriously — every action & inaction sends a message
  • Walk the walk yourself — mind the gap between stated values and actual practice
  • Hold people accountable — are you tolerating abusive behavior by star performers

The major takeaway seems to be

  • be focused on what you are doing
  • it is not necessary to heed to advice

Link: transcript of the event taken by Kent Bye

saving your reputation

Seen on an article on

So Scheff turned to Reputation Defender. Founded last October, the company says it monitors what's written about clients online for a monthly $10 fee and will have specific content "destroyed" for an extra $30. The removal of content usually involves polite take-down requests that occasionally escalate into cease-and-desist letters and legal threats when necessary, says the company's chief executive, Michael Fertik.

But Reputation Defender recently began offering users a subtler approach: hiding unwanted Web comments with a barrage of positive, Google-friendly content, either created by the company or dredged up from elsewhere on the Web and optimized to appear at the top of search-engine results.

This is really bad-shit. The possibility of gaming the system is real and there are companies building business around it. This is perhaps where Y! answers provide an edge, though even they can be gamed (post your own questions and then use another user id to post the answers. An even crafty way would be to pay the top answerers to "plug-in" your company). Is the problem of finding out the reputation of an entity a machine-solvable problem ? My bet is "Yes".

link to forbes article

gnus == skynet ?

If you are an emacs user and you are not using gnus for your email needs, you are missing out. One of the killer features in gnus is scoring. Gnus allows you to score mail on obsecne number of parameters. Sacha has done a great job of documenting her .gnus hacks in a nice article. I especially like her hack to bubble up threads with higher score up in the summary buffer. The only thing I am worried about is that soon my .emacs would be able to infer I think therefore I am.

experienced vs. being engaged

A few weeks back I was talking to my manager about why some people are "self managers" and some people need someone to tell them what to do next (i.e. being "driven"). I proposed that people with more years of work experience are self-managers since they are "experienced". If you have been around in the industry for sometime, you might have an idea of the weight placed on your "work experience". However, my manager had a different point of view about this. The following is a largely abridged version of the 45 minutes discussion we had about the matter of being "engaged".

Years of experience do not matter when it comes to your proficiency with a tool or a language or the amount of insight you have into a problem. What matters is how "engaged" you are with it. For example, take the example of a fresher deeply interested in the topic of starting and keeping a website running. This means that he should know about writing user facing webpages as well as designing database schema that will give back results in milliseconds as well as know about design patterns to help him write better code. He will also research on how to do load balancing, take backups, kickstarting a system (to replace failed hardware), which kernel parameters to tune to increase tcp throughput, which algorithm to use to search your database faster etc.

Someone who is not "engaged" will be happy putting up webpage by copy/pasting snippets of code. Even if he has on the job for 5 years, it will not make him wiser about how he can increase the throughput of his site or how to save his server from being pwn3d.

Hence, saying that someone with less (or null) years of experience cannot be a self manager does not make sense. It all boils down to how interested he is in what he is doing.

As a sidenote, this insight too came from the same discussion

What happens when you read a book ? If the book is well written, what you are effectively doing is "absorbing" the experience of the author. A well written book, in most of the cases, tell you about pitfalls and alternative ways of approaching a problem (the design patterns book or programming pearls are good examples of this case).

ipod battery

if you own an ipod, check out this nice FAQ about their battery. An important question is What is the best way to handle charging/discharging/storage of lithium ion batteries

Also, many, many factors affect how much you get out of each charge, as well as how long the battery will last overall. The main factors include charging patterns, the routine amount of discharge (i.e., Do you use it until it dies? Use it for an hour or two and recharge?), temperature, storage, usage frequency, etc. Lithium ion batteries do not take kindly to frequent full or complete discharges. When possible, the optimal usage pattern - for any lithium ion battery - is a partial discharge, followed by recharging. A partial discharge can be anything less than a full discharge. However, an occasional full discharge is desirable (e.g., once every 30 charges) to calibrate the battery. Lithium ion batteries do not significantly degrade, or develop "memory", even if charged at irregular intervals; irregular charging is acceptable. An iPod can also safely be attached to external power for extended periods of time. (For extremely extended periods of time, such as months, the battery will essentially be the same as if it were in "storage"; lithium ion batteries do not store well for extended periods of time at full charge. However, there is no way around this under these circumstances.) When possible, always use the AC adapter (or vehicle adapter) for extended charging, not a FireWire cable attached to a computer.