Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas

In Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas, Paul Graham writes about some of the mistakes he and Robert Morris made in their first venture:

Viaweb wasn’t the first startup Robert Morris and I started. In January 1995, we and a couple friends started a company called Artix. The plan was to put art galleries on the Web. In retrospect, I wonder how we could have wasted our time on anything so stupid.

He goes on to identify three main reasons Artix was a bad idea:

We did the first thing we thought of; we were ambivalent about being in business at all; and we deliberately chose an impoverished market to avoid competition.

It’s worth a read.

The Dos and Don’ts of Giving a Demo

VentureBlog has some advice on giving demos in The Dos and Don’ts of Presenting at DEMO:

  • It is all about the demo.
  • Leave room for spontaneity (or at least appear like you have)
  • Have fun
  • Have a backup plan
  • Don’t praise your own product
  • Don’t use a tag line
  • Don’t say what you’re looking for out of your DEMO
  • Don’t list your partners unless they are great (and probably even not then)
  • Don’t try to be funny if you aren’t funny
  • Don’t sing

The article is directed to those who are presenting at the DEMO conference, but most of the advice seems generally useful for anybody who is demonstrating a technical product, be it to VCs or otherwise. (via Scobleizer)


Speaking of Michael, he tipped me off to WaterlooTechJobs.ca in Looking for work in the Waterloo region?, writing:

Just came across the site WaterlooTechJobs.ca. They provide a list of hiring companies and a list of openings. There’s a link for logging in, so I’m guessing they’re offering notification for jobs that might appear (since I’m not looking, I’m not going to bother trying that out though). Looks like the site was helped out by Communitech and they have a few sponsors. Happy job hunting!

Bits of Life

When I saw Michael Hiemstra’s comment on my Dinner at Bhima’s post I felt a strange mix of glee and dread: glee that somebody from Waterloo was actually reading my blog and dread for, well, the same reason. Anyway, Michael has an excellent blog going over at Bits of Life: nicely designed, articles on topics local and global, and writing so relaxed and conversational that you’ll just hate him. Highly recommended!

Free trade may have finished off Neanderthals

I shudder to think what extraoplations businessmen and politicians are going to make from this New Scientist article:

Modern humans may have driven Neanderthals to extinction 30,000 years ago because Homo sapiens unlocked the secrets of free trade, say a group of US and Dutch economists. The theory could shed new light on the mysterious and sudden demise of the Neanderthals after over 260,000 years of healthy survival.

I shouldn’t rule out the possibility of an April Fool’s prank, I suppose.