I'm not an Olympian, but some days i still get out and try to act like an athlete (if you count Ultimate Frisbee a sport, and i do).
I'm not a great entrepreneur, but i ran a small business for a few years & managed to make payroll happen (most of the time); these days i try to help others with theirs (or at least avoid some of my mistakes).
I'm not an A-list blogger, but every once in awhile i write a half-decent post and maybe get a headline on TechMeme for 15 seconds (but most folks still hate my fontchoices).
recently i've had a lot of stuff on my mind, and it's been a little tough to get rolling on some projects i'm working on. I don't really have any excuses; some days i just don't feel motivated. some days i just feel old & tired. some days i just do my best to put one foot in front of the other.
All of these folks decided to push just a little harder, and finish... even after they knew they weren't coming in first. or second. or even twenty-second.
Here in Silicon Valley, so many of us are obsessed with the big home run, the grand slam win, the next Google or YouTube or PayPal or Microsoft or whatEVAR. Often, we don't stop to consider how important just getting on base is... whether it's a single, a walk, or even getting hit by a pitch.
Now i'm not saying it doesn't suck when you don't win... hey, no bullshit there: it sucks. But many times we tend to forget what an achievement it is just to finish the damn race... even if it means coming in dead last.
note to self: finishing dead last is still finishing.
so FINISH, dammit... get your ass across that line.
This past weekend i had the pleasure & privilege of attending O'Reilly Foo Camp (2008), and as usual it was mind-blowing. I'm always amazed at the incredible people you meet at Foo, the wide range of topics discussed, and the general air of insatiable curiosity and intellectual generosity. The event is by invitation only, and ~250 people usually show up. While it's unfortunate not everyone who wants to attend gets invited, at the same time the caliber of people you meet is quite impressive (due to my work on O'Reilly conferences over the years i made the cut, but i'm not sure i really measure up on merit... better keep coming up with events / ideas Tim thinks are interesting ;)
So on Thursday afternoon (after dropping by YouTube Developer day in San Bruno) i picked up Andrew Chen in San Francisco, and we got to chat for a few hours on the drive up to Sebastopol. The conversation with Andrew was a little mini-Foo all by itself, and we talked about all sorts of stuff including social networks, online gaming, advertising & revenue models, the state of venture capital & angel investing, etc.
On Thursday night we joined the rest of the OATV Startup Camp geeks at Stella's for a wonderful dinner, and continue the startup conversations throughout the evening and into the next morning back at O'Reilly. There were several great talks on startups by Tim O'Reilly, Mike Arrington, Mark Fletcher, Marc Hedlund, Ev Williams, Howard Morgan, Esther Dyson, and others.
Foo Camp started late Friday afternoon just as Startup Camp wrapped up, and went thru late Friday night, all day Saturday, and finished up Sunday around noon. A few of the Foo sessions i particularly enjoyed were:
Economics isn't Physics (Bill Janeway)
The Big Search Debate (Tim O'Reilly, Mike Arrington, Danny Sullivan)
There were many other great meetings / hallway discussions, as well as many games of Werewolf, and i also ran another session of Half-Baked Dot Com (winner: MilkMoms Dot Com, an on-demand breast milkdelivery service... don't ask me, ask Thor Muller ).
Our recent Liquid Conversations panel at Supernova covered some interesting territory about how blog posts & particularly comments are becoming more distributed, shared semi-privately among friends & followers.
in particular, i think there's a really interesting conversation (heh) that's becoming more important around the role of what i call the Comment DJ Mashup Artist, or the Share Pimp -- that is, not the person who creates original content, but rather the person who promotes / shares / pimps it out to other audiences, whether that be via Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Mixx, Facebook News Feed, FriendFeed, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, SlideShare, embeds (see below), etc etc.
i think this is a really important function, one that you often see performed by someone like a Robert Scoble or a top Digger (or occasionally yours truly). we may not be original, but we amplify signal like nobody's business. this particular audience is one that website owners & content creators should be paying more attention to... they may even be more important than the person who creates.
here is the TechCrunch writeup & another by Elliott NG / CNreviews:
i'm really excited about getting this group off the ground last month. it wouldn't have been possible without lots of help from my fellow organizers & moderators, our initial speaker Mike Cassidy, inspiration from Round Zero & many others, funding & sponsor support from MDV & CRV, and Shervin @ SGN too. also big thanks to Chad for agreeing to be our next speaker at the end of June, not to mention James Hong, Naval, and Matt & Toni in the coming months.
(I'll write more about this later... right now trying to hop on a flight back from Seattle after a board meeting for Unitus, another awesome group that helps small entrepreneurs around the world do better by pulling up on their own bootstraps.)
ps - i used to work at PayPal for three years, and we dealt with this same painful bullshit every single goddamn day. and it was TOTALLY our fault, not the users. yes they're dumb as doorknobs, but so were we: our acct creation flow & password recovery flow sucked ass.