Cloud 9 Cass

Lol, I had to put this up. Cass you already know it’s all love, although I should have made it more clearer. That wall post did make me chuckle though.

So here is your detailed shoutout…

Shoutout to that lady Cass who is never in town but still always around, who is really a girl but a guy to all the boys, whose driveway has always been our second home (first home is Harke’s porch), and whose fashion sense is quite immaculate and vocabulary is quite complicated, and truthfully I can keep going but you get the picture.

- Cloud 9 Team

Michael Arrington is the man

Ok, for those of you who don’t know who Michael is, he is probably one of the most influential people on the internet, and he is the owner of my favourite blog, TechCrunch. Well basically, this has to be one of his blog posts on the site and I decided that I should make sure all of you read it. After reading this post, you will probably say the same thing my blog title says…

The following post is taken straight from TechCrunch:

Yesterday I was tipped off about a “secret meeting” between a group of “Super Angels” being held at Bin 38, a restaurant and bar in San Francisco. “Do not come, you will not be welcome,” I was told.

So I did what any self respecting blogger would do – I drove over to Bin 38, parked my car and walked in.

in the back of the restaurant in a private room was a long oval table. Sitting around the table, Godfather style, were ten or so of the highest profile angel investors in Silicon Valley. These investors, known as “super angels” because they have mostly moved on to launch small venture funds of their own, are all friends of mine. I knew each person in the room very, very well.

I certainly didn’t think anything was amiss and I expected a friendly hello and an invitation to sit down for a drink or two before being shooed off while they talked about whatever they thought should be kept off record. But instead it went something like this:

Me: Hey!
Person who was talking: oh, oh no.
Me: Hi. I heard you guys were here and I wanted to stop by and say hi.
Them: dead silence.
Me: so….
Them: Deafening silence.
Me: This is usually where you guys say “sit down, have a drink.”
Them: not one sound
Me: This is awkward. I guess I’ll be leaving now.

I’ve never seen a more guilty looking group of people. But that alone isn’t that big of a deal. Lively conversations often die quickly when I arrive, and I’ve learned not to take it personally. But I did sniff around a little afterwards, and have spoken to three people who were at that meeting. And that’s where things got interesting.

This group of investors, which together account for nearly 100% of early stage startup deals in Silicon Valley, have been meeting regularly to compare notes. Early on it was mostly to complain about a variety of things. But the conversation has evolved to the point where these super angels are actually colluding (and I don’t use that word lightly) to solve a number of problems, say multiple sources who are part of the group and were at the dinner. According to these souces, the ongoing agenda includes:

  • Complaints about Y Combinator’s growing power, and how to counteract competitiveness in Y Combinator deals
  • Complaints about rising deal valuations and they can act as a group to reduce those valuations
  • How the group can act together to keep traditional venture capitalists out of deals entirely
  • How the group can act together to keep out new angel investors invading the market and driving up valuations.
  • More mundane things, like agreeing as a group not to accept convertible notes in deals (an entrepreneur-friendly type of deal).
  • One source has also said that there is a wiki of some sort that the group has that explicitly talks about how the group should act as one to keep deal valuations down.

At least two people attending were extremely uneasy about the meetings, and have said that they are only there to gather information, not participate.

So what’s wrong with this?

Collusion and price fixing, that’s what. It is absolutely unlawful for competitors to act together to keep other competitors out of the market, or to discuss ways to keep prices under control. And that appears to be exactly what this group is doing.

This isn’t minor league stuff. We’re talking about federal crimes and civil prosecutions if in fact that’s what they’re doing. I had a quick call with an attorney this morning, and he confirmed that these types of meetings are exactly what these laws were designed to prevent.

I’m not going to say who was at the meeting since at least a couple of the attendees are saying they were extremely uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going. But like I said, it included just about every major angel investor in Silicon Valley.

On a side note, this is a difficult post to write, because I call nearly every person in that room a friend. But these actions are so completely inappropriate it has to be called out.

8 ways money can buy happiness

First of all, I came across this post, this is not out of my head. Although, I am not completely driven by money, but this shit does make a lot of sense if you take it in.

I think the relationship between money and happiness is one of the most interesting, most complicated, and most sensitive questions in the study of happiness. Studies show, unsurprisingly, that money’s impact on happiness is greatest when you have the least amount of money.

But if you’re one of the lucky people who has enough money to cover the basics—food, shelter, even a car—does that mean that money can’t make a difference to your happiness? Some happiness experts argue yes, but I think that’s … ridiculous.

The secret for using money to buy happiness is to spend money in ways that support your happiness goals. Imagine that you have a certain amount of extra cash. How should you spend it?

One option: a fancy new TV set. Enticing. The fact is, however, that the new TV won’t give you much happiness bang-for-your-buck. The hedonic treadmill describes our tendency to adapt quickly to changed circumstances—which means you’ll get a big kick out of the TV for a short while, but you’ll soon take it for granted.

The hedonic treadmill means that buying stuff isn’t very satisfying, but there are ways to spend money that are likely to help give you enduring happiness.

1. Strengthen bonds with family and friends. Studies show that having close relationships is one of the most important elements of a happy life. Pay for a plane ticket to visit your brother’s new baby, go to your college reunion, or throw a Superbowl party.

2. End marital conflict. If you’re constantly arguing about the unkempt lawn, or the moldering laundry, see if you can throw some money at the problem. Can you hire the teenager down the street to clean out the garage?

3. Upgrade your exercise. Studies show that one of the quickest and surest ways to boost your mood is to exercise. If spending money on a new iPod, a more convenient gym, or a new pair of yoga pants will make it easier to get yourself off the couch, that’s a good happiness investment.

4. Think about fun. Ask yourself—and be honest—what’s fun for you? Fishing, bird-watching, traveling, hunting through flea markets, experimenting in the kitchen, skiing, scrapbooking? Make sure that your calendar reflects some activities that you’re doing just for FUN. For happiness, you’re better off using your money to have a great experience than to gain a possession.

5. Gain serenity and security. Peace of mind is critical to happiness, so use the money to pay down your debts or to add to your savings.

6. Pay more for healthy food. It’s a sad fact that fruits, vegetables, and healthy food are more expensive than fast food, but eating healthfully will pay off in the long run in terms of your good health and energy.

7. Spend the money on someone else. One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make someone else happy. Think about ways you could spend the money that would make a big difference to someone else, whether it’s on someone you know or a cause you support. How many new books could the public library’s children’s room add to the shelves?

8. Think about YOUR priorities. Two years ago, some friends decided to skip an anniversary trip so they could use the money to buy a super-expensive Dux bed. I thought this was a bad idea, because the hedonic treadmill would mean that they’d quickly get used to the new bed. Oh, no. They still rave about their Dux bed. So maybe that fancy new TV set would mean a lot to you, although I, for one, would hardly notice the difference. As always, the key to any happiness question is to know yourself, and what makes YOU happy.

Taken from http://www.divinecaroline.com/22189/98830-show-green-eight-ways-money

The Engineering Mentality

So I went camping last weekend, and I noticed a very small, but interesting detail… about Engineers. This was a camping trip with my family, so I was surrounded by various types of Engineers, and all I learned was that, they only worry about putting things together, and never ever think of pulling it apart. Amongst the 15 tents we had set up, each tent an engineer set up was done 100% without reading any sort of manual. By setting up tents I mean, tying whatever knots they have to, and hammering whatever in to keep it on the ground. In the end, the final product works and is perfect from the outside. Now 2 days later, when we have to take out the tents, it is funny seeing all their wives yell at them for tying such tight knots that they had to cut it with scissors, and ripping out the tents that were nailed down, or not nailed down properly. Although, the tent lasted through what were forecasted “thunder showers”, the reverse process was quite the stress builder. It was funny though how their mentalities work. In software, we always are taught to worry about tying the lose ends of the product, and wondering how to reverse the code if something effs up. In engineering, they just teach them to build the damn thing and sub-contract the crappy parts to someone else. All in all, it was a good weekend.