Recently in The Making Of Category

WorkersNow at their new SF Offices 3-16-11

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They've moved and expanded!

Real live foosball table from Activision days:

Engineering fishbowl:

Gritty view of San Francisco:

Their first dollar made:

Miso Music at their Office 1-25-11

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Miso Music is a new startup creating an amazing new iOS app that allows you to learn and play stringed instruments by playing your own instrument. No need to plug a cable from your guitar to the iPad - you just sit it there and it listens to you play and knows what notes you play. They won the People's Choice Award at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010.

Here they are in their office in Santa Monica.

Nice art deco type for building number - very Hollywood!

Their front entrance:

Their front door:

Two pugs jumped on me when I walked in, now they're bored of me and are sacked out on the couches:

A buddha guards the front door:

Chandelier and candles on their main conference table:

The dream team:

Look for their incredible app this spring for iPhone and iPad. I'm gonna buy a guitar soon!

Mob.ly/Groupon Party in SF 6/3/10

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Very excited for Goodrec/Mob.ly, who got acquired by Groupon just recently.

We celebrated last Thursday at Bruno's, a bar in the Mission:

The upstairs party room can complete with two brass poles. I kept wondering if some exotic dancers were going to show up:

Everyone looked happy, and after a few drinks were even happier:

Congratulations again to the Goodrec/Mob.ly team!

WorkerExpress in their offices in SF 6-3-10

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Here's the WorkerExpress team in their offices in SF.

The building had some classic features in it, like this swank elevator complete with metal gate and art deco trimmings:

Looking forward to seeing WorkerExpress take on construction worker sourcing online!

Uservoice Offices 10-29-09

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Oops - this post is super late! Taken from Uservoice's new SF offices on Bush Street this last October, plus some new employees!

bit.ly Offices 12-17-09

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It's been a big week for bit.ly in the news. Lots of buzz about Google and Facebook coming out with their own URL shorteners, but but they're not down by a long shot. Bit.ly Pro is really great and of course, I setup my own URL shortener, http://www.ds.ly, just for kicks (by the way, buying a domain from Libya was an interesting experience). Also launched this week was bitly.tv, a bitly labs project that provides a view into the most popular shared videos on the Net.

Here they are in their offices, which are next to betaworks:

If you notice on the walls, there are some pretty cool paintings by local artists that we got from a gallery. For some reason, I'm a fan of this one:

Such a touching moment for Charlton Heston to kiss that ape from Planet of the Apes - touching enough for someone to actually capture it on canvas! After all, aren't we humans really just a bunch of hairless romantic apes?

Voyij Moves to Cupertino 5-20-09

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My boys at Voyij are now in Cupertino - Voyij is worth checking out if you want great travel deals!

Uservoice in New SF Office 5-27-09

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Uservoice just moved from Santa Cruz to their new office in SF - well apartment really. Great view from their balcony!

Edufire: Apartment in SF 12-19-08

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Still just an apartment in SF!


It's where it all happens...

AdNectar Decor by IKEA 9-3-08

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In their brand new offices, a delight to the senses, courtesy of our favorite startup furnishings store, IKEA:

Voyij at PlugAndPlayTechCenter Sunnyvale 7-8-08

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Voyij, a startup in the travel deals space has a cool space at the PlugAndPlayTechCenter facility in Sunnyvale.

PlugAndPlayTechCenter is like a big college dorm, but only for startups. There is great food, all the amenties you could ever want to keep you hacking into the wee hours. Lots of other startups are in there, adding to a unique camraderie.

We finally have our very own office, now in the Meat Packing District just next to Pastis. Yesterday I saw for the first time hanging carcasses of meat outside - and I thought the Meat Packing District was just all hipster bars now!

We're in the old warehouse/building of Collier Encyclopedia, whose globe still adorns the main entrance.

Love the high ceilings and loft style openness! Thank god for IKEA whose inexpensive furnishings adorn our new home. We're also right down the street from great restaurants, bars, the swank new Apple Store, and Google is 2 blocks away.

Stealth Startup in SF 6-13-08

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Yet another (stealth) startup in their second location, and up to 6 people.

This building is one of those housing a few other notable startups. Many such buildings exist in SF, and the startups all seem to pile together in these old buildings whose remodeled interiors make conditions much more bearable inside.

Loudwater Labs at Sunshine Suites NYC 2-27-08

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Loudwater Labs all packed in at Sunshine Suites in NYC:

Their decision process is a spin board that says, "What Would a Pirate Do?" Startups sure can be strange sometime (haha)!

Dizzywood on Valentine's Day 2008

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Hey it's Valentine's Day in Presto's Grove! But you'd never know it from looking at the Dizzywood staff in their digs in SF:

On the other hand, they're all hunched over their computers busily managing Valentine's Day in the virtual world of Dizzywood.

Betaworks in New Office 12-20-07

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I just got involved with a new venture called betaworks out of NYC. It's a new business creation platform which hopes to serve the east coast market for socially driven early stage internet startups, with close ties to the west coast. We just moved into our official first location with Daylife:


I'm excited to be part of this team. We've brought together a group of people with wide variety of experiences and are working through our operational details now.

Outspark Explosion 9-27-07

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I was over at Outspark the other day and was floored by their growth. Back in February, they were still just filling out their space with IKEA furniture:

When I walked in this last Thursday, about 7 months later...

What amazing growth after only 7 months. They are moving like gangbusters on their game platform and watch for cool things to come soon!

Voxpop Moves to Pier 9

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Voxpop just moved from their high rise offices in the financial district to a space much more cooler and startup-chic:


Pier 9 is owned by the city. The rent and view are AMAZING. Looking forward to beer parties on the pier overlooking the Bay Bridge this summer!

GRRRR ROWRRR ROWRRR

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This is an impression of a "tough dog", as performed by entrepreneur whose determination is shown through gritted teeth and never failing optimism in the face of rejection, sleepless nights, and stress at starting a new company.

It's easy to give up. Retaining confidence, determination, and forward moving energy is super tough in the face of constant adversity. Rejection, business deals moving too slow, running out of cash, wondering when revenue is coming in, investors and partners beating on you, your staff is not working out and you need to fire them - the list goes on and on of things faced by new entrepreneurs.

But you can't give up. If you do, then you may never realize your dream of watching your company and idea flourish and grow. You need to learn that the world is going to constantly try to beat you down and you have to live with that, roll with the punches, and keep moving forward. There will be times where it will seem you've hit rock bottom, but only to fall even lower. You, the budding entrepreneur, need to expect this, prepare yourself, and keep saying to yourself that it will get better, and to drive towards making it better.

Because if you can't adapt, then maybe you shouldn't be an entrepreneur. You'll die of despair and never get anywhere. Know yourself before you embark in entrepreneurism.

Or...learn how to say:

GRRRR ROWRRR ROWRRR

It really works.

FanLib Company Get-Together Numero Uno!

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February 27, 2007

The first company get-together for FanLib, bringing all the investors and company together to celebrate and show the incredible progress they've made:

I love group pictures like this, especially as they record history. They are all special moments in a company's history and need to be saved.

FanLib Moving Up: Beverly Hills 90212

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Companies grow up. They need to expand. FanLib is hiring like mad and has moved to Beverly Hills. What's with the pig and balloon in the elevator?

Yet Another Startup: Thank God for IKEA

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Yet another startup setting up in San Francisco offices. A nice space right near the CalTrain station!

I think that SF startups would have a hard time finding furnishings if it wasn't for IKEA being so close by. It's so cheap to outfit an entire office! They really exemplify the concept of disposable furniture; if it breaks, you just go buy another one. When you're done, you can just toss it.

New Startup in the Works

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This week in NYC, I met up with a person I had gotten to know over the last few months. Originally when we met, I thought that he had some really great ideas for products and services and proposed to him that we should work together on something. The initial proposal was to start small; we would start an LLC and begin working together on one of his projects.

Working together with someone on a startup is a bit like marriage. I learned this with a startup I began with another person. I had known this person for a while and considered him a friend. You think you know someone until you start working with them and spending time on a startup with minimal people; then you REALLY get to know them because when there is only two of you, every success or failure is amplified exponentially. There is nowhere to hide in a company with only 2 people in it. In this case, I had to close down the company after going through this learning process and finding out that we could not function together as partners in an entrepreneurial venture.

Suffice to say that money and commitment changes people, and finding people you can really work together and solve problems with is a real job.

Having learned the hard way that partnerships require a deeper learning about each other, I gingerly approached this other person about working together, leading with my enthusiasm for building something really cool and tempering that with a still-needing-to-know-each-other-better mentality. I thought that starting small would be really great way to enhance the get-to-know process, while minimizing the impact on each of us in case we needed to part ways.

So we began meeting more and working for a few weeks on one of his projects. In parallel with us getting more comfortable with each others' working styles and abilities, he was driving forward a larger vision with another startup proposal. As that developed, we did become more comfortable with each other decided to roll the smaller project into the bigger one instead of taking an interim step of forming the smaller LLC.

I am very excited about the larger vision. It still can take one of two directions and each one has its own interesting elements. I am loath to discuss it at this early juncture, but within the year we'll be able to talk about it in some capacity.

The involved team members are all colleagues and friends of this person and we all bring different strengths to the table, ranging from product to engineering to vision to business development. But on top of that, I find that I genuinely like these guys. I got to spend some time with them this week and am glad to see that we can have fun together as well as working together. Over the years of hanging out with Yahoo! sales folks, I have come to really know the benefits and importance of the interpersonal aspects of business. That doesn't mean that successful companies couldn't form without the interpersonal aspect. I am now a firm believer that it can definitely multiply chances for success if we all like to hang out and party together as much as we're dedicated to the company's operations and projects.

Meetings in NYC this week are for planning and moving forward on a product basis and also on a company formation and funding basis. We needed some minor seed capital to get to our first milestone, and amazing to me, I have managed to become lead investor for this early round at the small amount I was able to put in! How interesting to be in a position to affect the terms! So I gave my preferences and now we're researching if those preferences can be met.

Still much work to do, getting to product beta launches and getting company operations started. But this is where I like to work best; being with one or more entrepreneurs and advising them, getting the company and product off the ground to a point where it can grow and flourish, and before any kind of money has even shown up.

Meetro in San Francisco Digs 1-2007

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Fully moved from their Palo Alto apartment, they are now in true gritty San Francisco offices.


Nice exposed brick on the walls, IKEA furniture all around. The CEO sometimes sits in the conference room in the corner where it is nice and quiet and dark.

FanLib Burlingame Office 1-2007

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Newly moved into their Burlingame office. Small and compact, as befits a startup!


Yes I'm in the right place...


Hmm...maybe I'm not...


Not much here, just raw computing power!

Voxpop Office 11-16-06

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Voxpop in their posh 150 California Street office:

They were lucky to have buddies in the financial district of San Francisco and scored some offices in the corner of this floor. Soon to leave for another office by early next year....

Public Square Plotting

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Working with my friends at Public Square at Coupa Cafe:

I am helping Public Square with their business model and strategy - Coupa Cafe seems the perfect place for that - but we have to look over our shoulders to make sure nobody is peeking!

I am working with a number of companies at the pre-company stages in planning the business. I have found that it is very exciting to be at the very early stages of company and business formation where you can affect the strategy of the company at the very beginning.

FanLib Office, Circa Oct 2006

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Circa Oct 2006, FanLib in their West Hollywood office:

Our first major operations meeting at my apartment building's conference room:

Thank god for the Polycom USB Speakerphone and Skype to allow us to connect with remote team members!

Already outgrown their one man office plus reception area, they are set to move by the end of the year.

Meetro Office in Palo Alto, Circa Sept 2006

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Circa Sept 2006, Meetro at their Cowper St., Palo Alto office where all the guys were piled into an apartment:

Some of them lived there as well! Imagine doing job interviews in one of the bedrooms...!

I've encountered this many times already in silicon valley. Often companies will start in someone's apartment in an attempt to save money, and eventually we see a whole full blown office show up there courtesy of IKEA furniture. They're now in a cool office in SF - pictures coming up soon...!

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the The Making Of category.

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