Recent Articles

Gmail Catches My Mistakes

by Scott

I was just writing an email and hastily cc’d the wrong person. Gmail uses machine learning to understand my common behavior and alerts when they think I might have made a mistake. Its awesome

1. Auto-populate my contacts (which are automated via frequency)

2. Recognizes my mistake

3. Enabled me to easily correct my mistake with one click

Saved me from emailing the wrong person. Impressive.

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Why I Write.

by Scott

I started writing because people told me it was beneficial to cultivate an online presence with a blog. At first, blogging felt like work. But the more I wrote the more I began to enjoy it and recognize its incredible benefits.

 Now I write every single day. I usually try to follow aspects of the artists way and write as soon as I wake up as well as just before I go to sleep. When I feel like others can derive value from what I write, I publish it on my blog. It typically ends up being a 50-50 split between what I choose to publish vs. file away internally. Ironically, maintaining a blog is now merely a positive …
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Building Online Communities, Content, and Purchasing Decisions

by Scott

A loyal online community is one of the hardest assets to cultivate, but often one of the most valuable. Unlike one-off click-throughs, members of a community engage in an on-going relationship. Depending on the context, their value comes through in the form of support, input, awareness, data, SEO, repeat purchases…the list goes on.

Consistently publishing high-quality content is one way to cultivate an online community. Fred Wilson’s blog AVC is a perfect example of this. By churning out value on a daily basis he has cultivated a loyal community. Make no mistake, building this community is the product of lots of hard work; regularly publishing thought-provoking posts and accomplishing the things he has as an investor and community leader is no …
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Product Design: The Inevitability of Noise

by Scott

My biggest problem with my Facebook newsfeed has always been that so much of the content is irrelevant. This is mainly due to the fact that many people I’m friends with I’ve only met once or haven’t seen in a long time. So I acknowledge that the noise is somewhat my own fault.
 
I made a friend request the other day on Facebook and was presented with an option I hadn’t seen before. I took a picture of it below:

 

If you haven’t noticed, Facebook implemented a smart lists feature. Now each time I make a friend request, it prompts me to assign new friends to one of these lists.
 
I started thinking about it and realized that the more engaged I …
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My First “Hitenism”

by Scott

I met Hiten Shah at the Lean Startup Machine in New York City. He was a mentor there so throughout the weekend my team had a chance to interact with him. Overall, he made a strong impression on me as a really bright, cool guy. So when I came across his newsletter “Hitenisms” I was intrigued and decided to subscribe. This morning I received my first one in my inbox:

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strengthfrom distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business oflittle minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whoseconscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principlesunto death.” – Thomas Paine

Life has a funny way of acting normal …
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Customer Loyalty: Missed Opportunity at the Cash Register

by Scott

After I made a purchase yesterday the cashier asked me for my email address. For the sake of my inbox sanity I respectfully declined. In alignment with my moleskin diet, I thought about this interaction for a good 15 minutes. It got me thinking, what is the conversion rate on this question and the roi on each email address?

Lets compare this with if she asked me for my twitter handle. Knowing that I’d have to opt-in to receive updates from the brand, I’d be cool with giving that away. Don’t kid yourself, we all want more followers.

Brands can derive a ton of value from their customers’ twitter handles. For starters, by following someone they’re potentially giving them a subtle nudge …
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Actually Follow Through

by Scott

One thing that I love about the New York Tech Community is everyone is so willing to offer help. Its almost as if “let me know if I can help you out” is a standardized signature on emails. The problem with this is few people ever follow through unless there is an explicit ask. This is why people that take the initiative to follow through by really providing help standout.

For starters, if you have any type of relationship with someone or understanding of their situation, you can typically make an intelligent guess how you can help them out. If they’re building a product, actually use it and provide candid feedback. If they’re fundraising, introduce them to investors who …
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