Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why I can't stand AirBnB

There are days I get up and feel like freakin' Mugatu. As if I'm the only person in the whole damn world who notices that Zoolander has just one look. In this case I'm talking about AirBnB.

Am I the only person in the whole damn world who's noticed how AirBnB is the worst brand ever? Seriously, the worst.

When I hear AirBnB I hear "air bed" and "bed and breakfast". Can you freakin' imagine a bed and breakfast that had air beds? What are these people thinking? What sort of lame bed and breakfast would that be?

And air beds are those horrible things that everyone gets a bad night's sleep on and get pulled out because your wife forces you to sleep on it alone because you've been snoring again or you've been forced to give up the marital bed for her parents when the come to stay.

An air bed.

And bed and breakfasts? Who wants to stay in a bed and breakfast. Ever notice how it's some sort of legal requirement for at least one of the bed and breakfast's owners to have a physical defect or personality disorder. I once stayed in a bed and breakfast where I swear one of the owners had a colostomy bag based on the weird smell and strange equipment in the shared bathroom.

Bed and breakfasts are just one step on the creepy scale above youth hostels.

Which brings me, naturally, to Yellow Yellow. There's deep thinking behind the name. The Mayan word for yellow is k'an which also means precious and ripe. I like to think that what we're doing at Yellow Yellow is both precious to our customers and ripe for the picking.

The ancient Greeks referred to repeating a word as epizeuxis and they did it for emphasis. The idea of calling the company Yellow Yellow (and not just Yellow) came to me while on a retreat at a Buddhist monastery in Montana. I'd been reading Henry David Thoreau's Walden and was struck by one single line in the book: "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity". At Yellow Yellow we're searching for precious, ripe, simplicity.

And lastly it's a single color which makes printing cheap when we come to print collateral. The official color used by Yellow Yellow is PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa. It was Pantone's color of the year in 2009 (the year Cassiopeia and I married) and it represents "hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change".

And that's a clear message about Yellow Yellow's products: they bring hope to our customers. Precious, ripe, simple hope.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A life in a day of a startup CEO

I initially entitled this "a day in the life" but realized every day I live is more like an entire life in a day. Every morning is a rebirth as I push Yellow Yellow to new heights and stay laser focused on the big picture.

Carpe diem is so 20th century, it's 2012 people: you need to stop seizing the day and start Optimizing The Day. I love to hear from others with meaningful tips that maximize the oos: the daily schmooze, booze, snooze and above all as CEO: choose. Living the startup life to the max, means maximizing every aspect of life.

Here's my daily rhythm (don't call it ritual: it's not about being repetitive, it's about being in tune).

0523 Alarm sounds on my iPhone 4GS. I don't use just any alarm program: I use Biorythym Alarm System+ which monitors my internal body clock and starts ringing at the appropriate time before 0523 to begin a smooth start to the day. It uses Gregorian chants, nature sounds and recordings from inside the womb to ease me into the day.

0530 I'm in front of my MacBook Air (with 256GB SSD) at my desk made from recycled lumber from South African railway tracks. Why did I get up 7 minutes earlier? Because, as Manic Minute Minder Pro reminds me 7 minutes wasted per day 1.7 extra days of productive time per year. 1.7 days when the competition is literally sleeping!

I drink a large bowl of Jing Tea Matcha Supreme Green and a glass of organic milk. At 0533 every day I'm hacking through my email, TODOs, tweets and catching up on Hacker News. Every 20 minutes Time Out reminds me to stop, meditate and focus.

0645 I walk into my bedroom with a green tea for my wife Cassiopeia who is waking up. We smile at each other and spend the next 15 minutes on One on One Time. At 0700 it's time to wake our two boys: Dagwood and Spaniel.

0800 The house is quiet but Skype isn't. I stay in contact with my teams in Costa Rica, Montreal and Goa via Skype throughout the day. This morning check in with the teams gives me a good view of where the business is. Currently we're in double stealth mode (the public doesn't know what we're building and neither do we).

0830 I jog down to the ground floor of our New York brownstone and get on my Trek Madone 4 series bike for a 30 mile ride out into New Jersey and back. My iPhone 4GS is cued up with a set of daily business podcasts set to run at double speed so I can get through all of them in the hour's ride.

0930 Shower and then spiritual time. I have a small shrine set up that allows me to focus on the important. I light an incense and gaze up at posters of Tim Ferriss, Kevin Rose and Warren Buffet.

0945 The day really begins. For here on in it's meetings, hirings, firings, networking with the New York VC and angel crowd until 1900 when C, D & S (or cease and desist as I call them) come back home. We eat together and at 2200 I'm in bed with a light cucumber mask and the alarm set for another day.

Tonight's a little special because I've been invited to give a one hour keynote on being a startup CEO at Velocipede Ventures weekly Pumped and Primed meetup for other successful entrepreneurs like me.