Stuff I’m reading – Sept 10

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

Here’s stuff that tickled me brain this week:

  1. Andy Cranberry referenced this article as an argument for the prodmans’ continued existence. Contrast with Posterous founder’s article about the last thing a product needs is a prodman.
  2. An old article from Google CEO Eric Schmidt and some other guy about how Google manages smart people effectively.
  3. A couple of articles from Chris Dixon and Caterina Fake about using APIs as cheap, Darwinian business development tools. I could not agree more. There’s something beautiful about telling a small scrappy startup who wants to partner with you that “your idea sounds great – here’s an API key. Take a shot and let us know how it goes.” Similarly, as a small fry it’s fun to have that key to get started on a proof of concept. We’re doing some of that with various APIs at OpenSky for things like tools to match shoppers to sellers. But it’s not always super clean, as we learned at KickApps, so Hunch’s BizDev lead wrote this great overview about how to merge traditional BD with self-serve APIs to optimize your growth.
  4. This great Mormon design blog has a slick paraphrasing of Edwin Land via Fred Brooks:
    Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, once said that his method of design was to start with a vision of what you want and then, one by one, remove the technical obstacles until you have it. I think that’s what Steve Jobs does. He starts with a vision rather than a list of features.

    (original Wired article)

  5. Don’t waste your precious pre-launch time” is a great cautionary tale of some common pitfalls that people should avoid when starting a company. The 1st and 3rd, not worrying about your name and aggressively cutting features, are obvious but bear repeating. The 2nd, not chasing early adopters, was a new concept to me and worth considering.
  6. And finally, these 6 tips for increasing creativity are meh. I wish someone would really tackle this topic well.

And here’s Evan Williams talking about how he made Twitter grow so big so fast: