When talking with friends across the country recently I realized that our little bubble here in California is different. We’re still in lockdown and our restaurants aren’t open. People are wearing masks. It’s as if it’s April.
My friends in other parts of the country are living differently. I heard someone yesterday make a reservation at a restaurant for “a table for 3.” Another friend who is operating a taxi company in Georgia remarked that there are plenty of rides happening. So, America is definitely reopening.
Trivia question: There are 3500 deaths from COVID in California. How many of them are under the age of 45? Answer: 68. Most people my age haven’t seen anyone die or get seriously ill from this disease. I can understand that. If people don’t perceive the threat, there’s no fear, and they’ll continue to push the line.
So, we’ll see what happens. I’m guessing there’s be more waves of cases, but, hey, maybe not. We will see.
We’re now five days away from George Floyd’s death and we’re getting to a better place. On Saturday all I saw was police officers using batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. There was a lot of pain.
Yesterday, at first I saw something different. I saw people coming together and some police joining in with protesters to express their stance against police brutality, and to show solidarity with the anti-racism movement.
Home-schooling. Our online learning is sort of a joke. The teachers are just barely sending over what’s needed. We’re trying our best, but it’s hard. I can only imagine it will only get better as the teachers and staff figure it out.
Speaking of, this is a GREAT read about how higher ed (mostly colleges) will adapt post-COVID and how they and tech will merge. It will be fascinating to watch over the next 5 years.
Getting Out. Sasha and I are very similar. We both love to get out of the house and be active. If we don’t leave the house and do a walk or run, we’re crabby during the day and don’t sleep as well at night. We’re starting to combat this problem by taking long walks around 5-6pm, before dinner. Yesterday we took a nice 50 minute bike ride down the road. We’re both a bit nicer when we return.
Finally, NYC. The situation there seems exceptionally dire. There was an Amber Alert-like message sent to everyone in NYC asking if they know of any licensed healthcare workers.
A big thank you for the bday wishes – this year it’s all about fighting #COVID19 and healthcare workers are on the front lines.
I thought it was the bay area but looking at this chart below it makes more sense why I feel like it costs much more to live these days. Sure my television is larger, my car is faster and my shoes are better but everything else is much more pricey.
Oh, and I do know that it’s ALSO because I live in the Bay Area. Even though all prices are on the up, the prices here are beyond ridiculous now. See how crazy they are here.
I thought we were time constrained when Hunter came along. Well, with two little ones this year, aged 1 and 3, time really got sucked away from me. Less sleep, fewer workouts, fewer books read. All the things I like to do just for me basically went out the door this year. But, they were replaced with more time with my family, which was just fantastic.
He really became a full fledged person this year. He’s now funny and clever. He has a bit of trickery and deviousness in him, but he’s shaping up to be a very kind person. His teachers at school regularly remark about how genuine and kind he is. Also, his super power this year is his drawing. He’s very creative and can draw ridiculously well. Continue reading “The Lewhouses in 2016”→
This is post #11 about the Qloud experience. The previous post was about about the launch of Qloud. You can read that here.
Once we launched, we grew extremely fast. I have to say that being part of a company that is blowing up is really really fun. Everyone is constantly happy. As a product person, this is what you work for and when it happens, it feels great.
We did some things that were shady and other things were legit and very smart. Some things we did:
We wouldn’t let you use the application unless you invited 25 friends. We had a nice UI that let you quickly select 25 faces and then it would open. While extremely annoying, it worked really well.
We integrated deeply into the new feed. We knew all of our users play history, including from iTunes and we’d launch really interesting news feed items to friends that read, “Of all the songs played last week by your friends, here are the 3 not in your library. Click here to play.” This is great music discovery, right in your news feed.
We started understanding and using the link sharing networks. Lots of other apps were selling the ability to recommend users download other apps. You could buy space there and buy installs. We experimented a lot with all of them. Some were pretty cheap and effective. Interestingly, Steve Case really dug into this too. For someone with his success, we was not afraid to get into the weeds. I also give a lot of credit to our lawyer and BD guy here, Jim Delorenzo (now head of Sports at Amazon), for this success as he really figured it out.
I give Noah R-S (now Chief Product Officer at DailyMail) a lot of credit for hacking Facebook. He understood it at a level that probably only a few dozen in the world did.
We also started exploring a business model by selling links to ringtones.
Our growth was so fast that we’d get lots of calls from record labels and lawyers asking to shut us down. They saw the streams happening on Qloud and wanted it to stop. It took them a while to realize that we had co-opted YouTube for the streams.
Once we started Qloud, we started building the product and also started fundraising. From day one, looking at our finances, we knew that we had 6 months to get the company to a place where we could raise outside capital. Not only did we need to get the product built and working but we needed to hone our pitch. We came up with what we thought was a compelling vision and set out to talk to investors.
Our pitch was that what we learned at Ruckus was that music discovery was a huge problem. Talking to students it was clear that all discovery was word-of-mouth. Qloud was going to be a way to allow people to find new music without having to ask your friend down the hall. We were going to do that in 2 ways:
we would offer a music search engine where you could search by tags and by demographic. For instance, i want all the music tagged “happy” that is being listened to the most by men age 18-20 who live in Los Angeles. This would return a list of songs that you could then sample.
we would allow people to tag music inside their iTunes. By creating a tag cloud, we would enable on-demand playlists for “happy” or “summer” or “breakup” inside the player. This tagging and information from the iTunes would power the search capability provided in step 1.
The season starts tonight for the Timberwolves. As part of that, this will be a defining year for Ricky Rubio.
His contract is up at the end of the year and he has already rejected a 4 year $48m offer. For the other positions they have:
Center: Pekovic and Deng – both above average centers in the league
PF: Thad Young – an above average PF in the league
SF: Andrew Wiggins – predicted to be the next Tracy McGrady
SG: Kevin Martin – pretty good
Ricky is supposedly the leader of that group. Looking at that lineup, if they don’t do well, it’s probably his fault and his inability to impact games. If they do well, it’s likely because he has a great season. As Rubio goes, so do the Wolves.
They way I figure this goes is one of two directions:
Direction ONE: the Wolves do well, i.e. approach 35 wins and compete for a playoff spot. In this scenario, I think they pony up and pay Rubio more money
Direction TWO: the Wolves are a lottery team. In this scenario, they don’t resign Ricky and draft a point guard in the lottery.
I’m excited for the NBA season to start. On Monday night the Twolves had their first pre-season game and it looks like Andrew Wiggins could be the real deal. A summary of his performance from the blog post:
Andrew Wiggins. There is obviously a player here. He led the team in minutes (32) and points (18). He took some poor 20 footers and wound up shooting 4-11 overall, but got to the line 10 times and made both of his threes. He also blocked 3 shots and grabbed 3 offensive boards. There is obviously stuff to work on, including getting stronger around the rim and ball handling, but there was a lot to like.
There’s also a good YouTube video of his action here:
As we do every year, we place a friendly bet in the office for the season. This year it’s between Niraj and Ian. Here is how our teams are projected to do:
Timberwolves: Projected 26.5 games won
Nuggets: Projected 35.5 games won
Pistons: Projected 35.5 games won
The bet we’re making with each other is whichever teams performs the worst relative to their projected win count, the loser buys the winners a lunch of their choice at Rio Grande. Now, let’s get it started!
Niraj and I just made a bet. The Lions are projected to win 9 games this season and the Vikings are projected to win 6. We have a bet to see who wins more and he is spotting me 3 wins. The loser buys the winner some football paraphernalia (max price $30)
Bring it on!
On a related note, I really want a website to exist that allows you to enter in a bet, a prize for the winner and a date for it to be resolved and then this app notifies you when that date comes. I have so many little bets placed but I need something to keep track of them. Somebody please build this.