Launching My First Incubated Startup Today

Here’s what I’ve quietly been up to for the second half of 2010: Slipstream. It’s my first incubated startup and I’m proud to announce that it’s launching today.

In July 2010, I was the first one accepted into LaunchBox10, LaunchBox Digital‘s 3rd accelerator program. 130 startups applied. 7 were accepted. They said they’d never take a single founder. They made an exception for Slipstream.

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Interviewed by GenJuice

Wow, I’ve been heads down working and very quiet for a while. Get a peek at what I’ve been up to in my GenJuice interview.

Metrics Showdown: Mixpanel v. KISSmetrics v. Google Analytics

NOTE: This post describes Mixpanel, KISSmetrics, and Google Analytics as I used them in Spring and Summer 2010. At least Mixpanel has changed substantially since then. I’m planning to do an updated post.

If you’re building a new web app, you’d rather focus on the app instead of building complex data collection tools. You need a metrics solution along the lines of Mixpanel, KISSmetrics, or Google Analytics. But which should you use and why?

I evaluated Mixpanel, KISSmetrics, and Google Analytics with an early prototype of Slipstream, a new web-based Twitter client. I had previously built my own tool for collecting and reviewing user data but thought that I could save time using an existing solution. I picked these three tools because they were the main metrics tools I had heard of. I used most of the client-side features of all three tools.

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Is Your Landing Page Just Collecting Email Addresses?

Most new product landing pages suck because they miss out on opportunities to learn more from people. Your page can articulate a great value proposition with clear benefits, strong credibility, clean design, and the perfect call to action but it’s lacking if all you’re doing is capturing a stranger’s email. How much can you really learn from an email address?

I believe the perfect landing page for a new product is somewhere between a single field form and a survey. No one likes answering a ton of questions but that doesn’t mean all you should ask for is an email address.

So how can you improve your next landing page? Here’s my approach:

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I Want to Make Twitter More Relevant for You

Twitter is the latest culprit in making information overload an even bigger problem than before. And between geolocation, the real-time web, and firehose this & that, the amount of info coming at us will only increase.

There is simply too much stuff coming at us every day. And too much of that stuff is what your neighbor’s dog had for breakfast or what Lady Gaga is wearing, meaning, completely irrelevant to me. But I know there’s signal in all that noise, and I believe it’s worth finding.

I’m not going to resist the firehose because it won’t slow down. I’m going to help.

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How to Have a Better Startup Networking Event

Monday I attended Entrepreneurs Helping Entrepreneurs, a networking event sponsored by the Mayfield Fund and First Round Capital. Roughly 100 founders were invited to come network over finger food and the chance to win a mentoring session with a famous founder like Jay Adelson (Digg), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Aaron Patzer (Mint), Gina Bianchini (Ning), Max Levchin (Slide), or Mark Pincus (Zynga).

There are a few things that made this event stand out from others that I’ve recently attended. I recommend the following for a better startup networking event:

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3 Ways to Fail at Customer Development

For the last few weeks, I’ve been auditing Steve Blank and Eric Ries’ Customer Development and the Lean Startup class at UC Berkeley. I’ll discuss the class as a whole in another post but I wanted to share a great talk we heard tonight from the co-founders of Flowtown: Ethan Bloch and Dan Martell. They shared customer development mistakes they’ve made and what they’ve learned from them. The following are my notes from their talk.

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Firefox 4 Home Tab Concept

I just submitted an entry for the Mozilla Labs Design Challenge Winter ’09. It deals with the new home tab in Firefox 4. The home tab will replace the home button as a persistently open tab that shows a Firefox-hosted start page.

The challenge from Mozilla Labs was to design what would go in this new tab. Whereas most of the other entries focused on complicated metrics and cramming a ton of already existing browser features into the tab, I took a much simpler route in my design.

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Awared 4th place at the CSUA Hackathon

I had a great time this last weekend at the CSUA Hackathon on the UC Berkeley campus. Basically, about 100 people got together for 18 hours (from 6 pm Friday to noon Saturday) to build the coolest things they could in that time frame. There were about 30 teams and definitely not enough food. Long story short my team (me, myself, and I) got 4th place for Slipstream, a twitter client that filters your stream based on things that are relevant to you! Justin.tv has a clip of me presenting Slipstream on Saturday but stay tuned for my own screencast (with better video and audio quality).

UPDATE: Check out Slipstream here.

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Intel Youth Rock Stars Summit Recap

I had a great time at Intel HQ last Friday. I didn’t know what to expect but I walked away surprised that the big chip maker is a lot more than just a big chip maker. They’re investing a lot in researching some radically innovative new technology. I shot some interesting videos and walked away pretty impressed.

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