job creation

November 24th, 2014 § Comments Off on job creation § permalink

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under our office is a parking lot. or better put, it is a long and narrow courtyard, used to park cars in two rows. it’s great, because it reduces costs for some of our colleagues who drive to work, and makes it easier for the visitors to find us.

however, it has a downside – since cars and in two long rows of five cars, inevitably everyone who parks here has to get up several times per day to move their car because the car before them need to get out. annoying, but doesn’t surprise anyone.
i believe there are three lessons to be learned here:

  1. we, the company, should have hired someone as a valley, to move those cars around. the valley could even park more cars in empty lots around the office, not just on the courtyard, because she would have all day to optimize the positions. maybe that valley could even do other useful things, like change lightbulbs (which is currently often needed and done by the COO) and such. we, the company, are behaving pretty idiotic not to that, but unfortunately the employees are not in favor of the idea either – slovenians are not used to trusting the keys of the car to a stranger. so i pick my battles and not create a possible job.
  2. but! if we were in america, we’d have someone knocking on our door every day, offering their vallet services, convincing us that they should get this job. and maybe we would give it a try and give them the job for a while! and maybe this person would then be encouraged and go find more lots like this, and hire more of their unemployed friends jobs. maybe they would even scale up into a services company for flexible workforce. who knows, but the point is, that of all 200k unemployed in slovenia, i have never ever heard of a case of creative job hunt. it takes two to tango.
  3. however, the real truth is, that quite possibly legislation forbids us from creating such a job position. quite sure there is regulation about work safety, property insurance, outdoor work conditions, flexible work schedules, that we would need to plow through before even doing an experiment. in this country, it’s simply easier to not create jobs.

in slovenia however, we have 200k unemployed and 200k public servants who can’t be bothered to think about such everyday details.

If you want to understand the life of a startup entrepreneur, watch this video

January 4th, 2014 § Comments Off on If you want to understand the life of a startup entrepreneur, watch this video § permalink

New York

New York (Photo credits:

The author is Terrence Kawaja, an investment banker in NY, who knows everyone and in spare time creates more or less funny spoofs of popular culture.

This is his latest video, which is essentially a rewording of the famous ‘sunscreen’ song. I find it incredibly accurate, chaotic and sincere description of everyday life of a startup entrepreneur.

aspiring entrepreneurs, angel investors, employees, their families, everyone should understand the ups and downs that we go trough, and this video de-mystifies it appropriately.

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Lou Reed Was Not My Idol

October 28th, 2013 § 4 comments § permalink

Live in Concert (Lou Reed album)

Live in Concert (Lou Reed album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lou is the first rock’n’roll legend I cared about to die in my lifetime. I feel lucky I have at least heard him live once, in Ljubljana. Sadly the friend that was with me then is not here anymore either. So that concert only exists in my head now.

Sometimes I wish he was my idol, because that would mean I was a musician, hopefully one of the 30.000 that bought the Velvet Underground‘s first album and went on to create their own bands.

Also, I would have to have been growing up in New York, to really appreciate his ways of navigating that particular urban jungle. I had a glimpse of that decisive city in the recent years, but the previous five decades live in his songs.

Cynically speaking, and I’m sure Lou would get a great laugh out of it as well, the great thing about being a rock’n’roll legend this century is that you don’t have to worry about your close ones. Immediately after you die, the new sales of your works make up for a great inheritance. iTunes and digital distribution made that really easy, even for the indie bands. If the Velvets were just starting now instead 50 years ago, and Lou died, it wouldn’t make much of a difference for him.

I hate cynicism. But I love Lou Reed.

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Best Book about Zemanta in NYC

March 18th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

I gave several book interviews since starting Zemanta and moving to NYC, most of them in the last 18 months. Lots of authors are exploring the technology revolution that we were fortunate to participate in.

Books are coming this year, discussing it from various angles – comparatively with .com boom, the rise of entrepreneurship Europe, new entrepreneurship as a lifestyle, … It is no surprise to me, that the first book to actually publish is the one specifically celebrating NY tech community and agility and resilience.

Tech and the City became available on Kindle two days ago, and hardcopies are coming in April. I received the notification from the authors this morning, and already I’m half way trough it. It’s that good.

It starts with an amazingly inspiring foreword by Fred Wilson, which alone is worth the $2.99, as it perfectly outlines the mental model of the greatest city on the planet. After that, the book only gets better, weaving the story trough fragments of conversations with participants in the ecosystem, rather than lazily throwing together yet another series of interviews. This enables the book to read like a travel diary, rather than a self-hype-help business manual.

For the finish, the authors have collected a very comprehensive list of the NY tech ecosystem institutions – vc’s, events, co-working spaces and competitions. They have also published them on the official blog of the book.

It’s cheap and it’s short, and it’s awesome. Go read it and learn how you should be thinking about helping entrepreneurs in your cities / countries.


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Future of Advertising Industry Online

August 21st, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Last few months we’ve witnessed a birth of an almost whole new industry. Here’s a good summary:

The Entire Advertising Industry Is Shifting To This Strategy

Native monetization is a fast growing form of digital advertising that is changing the complexion of the advertising industry in New York. Native advertising refers to ad strategies ad strategies that allow brands to promote their content into the endemic experience of a site in a non-interruptive, integrated way.

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For Tech Start-Ups, New York Has Increasing Allure

June 6th, 2012 § Comments Off on For Tech Start-Ups, New York Has Increasing Allure § permalink

English: I took photo of CNN building in New Y...

English: I took photo of CNN building in New York City with Canon camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

this article is the most accurate description of New York as a tech hub:

For Tech Start-Ups, New York Has Increasing Allure

Enlarge This Image Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times Doug Imbruce, the founder of Qwiki, an interactive video start-up, recently decided to move his company back to New York. Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times Employees of Qwiki, located on Spring Street in SoHo.


in a nutshell, the takeaways are:

  • partners: “Many new start-ups benefit from proximity to the media, advertising and fashion industries, New York’s strengths.”
  • financing: “The number of venture capital deals in the city has risen 32 percent since 2007, while the figures for other areas, including the Valley, have dropped.”
  • it’s the greatest city on the planet: “he did not have to rely on hiring New York-based engineers. Instead, he found them elsewhere and convinced them to move.”
  • it’s a hipsterville: “Those at start-ups in New York repeatedly mention the intimacy of the relatively small but tight-knit industry here — in fact, they may be the only people who say they moved to New York because they liked its small-town vibe.”
  • keeps you humble: “In New York, no one’s ever heard of Quora,” “In New York, it keeps you humble that you walk out and there’s the CNN building.”
  • it’s rational: “I don’t like New York,” he said. “I just think it’s the best place for my business.”

… excuse all the quotes this time, they are by various people from the same article.


Bicoastal Approach to Engineering

March 20th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

thumb|right|230px|Comparison photo; June 2004 ...

Image via Wikipedia

this is incredibly important – how to keep two parts of remote organization connected:

Foursquare Tries a Bicoastal Approach to Engineering

Some companies are almost entirely virtual, like blog host Automattic. Others grow through acquisitions, like what Groupon is doing in the Bay Area – piecing together a tech team thousands of miles from its Chicago headquarters. Another strategy is to build strategic outposts, like Facebook’s new engineering office in New York.

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we are doing many things in a similar way over at Zemanta.

Since our Ljubljana office is much larger than NY one, we only have a big screen in Ljubljana, but as soon as we set that up, everybody started using it for cross-ocean meeting. I’m actually thinking we will need a second one soon. we’ve learned that sound quality is much more important than anything though.

ever since our NY office was just one person, I insisted on making weekly check-in meetings with everyone. it has grown to be a well-self-moderated debrief from both sides. it turned out that on every meeting several people are dialing in, because they are traveling, sick, or just work remotely. point being: don’t make it an excuse for not having a meeting, embrace the remoteness.

and travel – we realized that US and EU cultures are so much different, that it’s essential for everyone to get to know the other. so we do 1 or 2 all-company weeks per year, where everyone from US comes to work from Ljubljana (and more than just work of course). at the same time, there is almost always someone of the developers working from NY office, just for the kicks of it.

and despite all these efforts, quite often a mediation is required, because people assume the other person is thinking about something else.

you might recall the Sunscreen verse: “Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle” – well, it’s true for the people you work with, not just friends.

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A blogger or a journalist? Debate over the power and influence of tech writers

February 27th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

the guardians......

the guardians...... (Photo credit: simada2009)

Roughly a year ago, we had an incident with neighbors in the co-working space in NY. They were two writers for an online magazine, fairly young, geeky, caffeinated.

Now, in this co-working space, the only thing separating the offices is a one-layer glass, so you can hear the other people if they talk a bit louder. During one of our skype meetings, when we had bad wifi reception, so our VP Sales tried talking louder to get the message trough, those two writers got annoyed and started tweeting confidential information about our clients. I learned about it when a friend from an ad agency sent me an email with screenshot from his FB wall.

It took some more shouting to resolve it and get the tweets removed, but the damage has been done already.

I’d like to believe that well-bred old-school professional journalist would never do that. Because my generation thinks that internet changed the world so significantly, they do not learn from previous generations and are reinventing the wheels. those two kids probably call themselves journalists, but in reality they are just reckless kids, who will need another decade or so to grow up and start behaving responsibly.

this article brilliantly talks about similar situation with tech bloggers:

A blogger or a journalist? Debate over the power and influence of tech writers

A blogger or a journalist? Debate over the power and influence of tech writers This article was published on at 20.37 GMT on Sunday 26 February 2012 . A version appeared on p28 of the Main section section of the Guardian on Dan Lyons used his personal blog to attack Michael Arrington and MG Siegler.

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… I wholeheartedly agree with his points, but unfortunately there is no way back. the geeks rule the internet, for better or worse. and media is not the only part of the old world order that is deteriorating, all other industries that are being ‘disrupted’ are bound to this same ignorance – disruption brings more efficiency to the market, at the cost of ignoring inherent value system.

actually, i believe that the ‘gain’ of disruption is just temporary and the cost of building out value system is simply deferred for later stage of the cycle.

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blacklisting pirates?

February 17th, 2012 § Comments Off on blacklisting pirates? § permalink

English: Availability of Spotify in Europe

Image via Wikipedia

This is dangerous thinking:

SOPA foe Fred Wilson says everyone is a pirate, but supports a blacklist for pirate sites | VentureBeat

“If we created an independent body that essentially created a black and white list,” Wilson told a crowd of media executives at the Paley Center in New York. “The black list are those sites we all know are bad news. We all know who the good guys are who are truly licensed and are operating legitimately. And we know who the bad guys are.” CNET reports that Wilson named Hulu, Netflix, Rdio, Spotify and Rhapsody among the good guys.

I highly respect Fred’s intuition for solving complex problems. he is usually right about these things, but blacklisting is dangerous per-se, because it’s really a question about authority – who could possibly be authoritative enough to judge if a site is a ‘well known pirate’?

I will not state all the obvious examples from history where this type of thinking went awry, but the fact that it is even debated is an indicator that the topic is important. engage with it before it’s too late.

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