Where do web standards come from?

I’ve spent the better part of the last six years thinking about where web standards come from.  Before joining USV, I was at the (now retired) urban tech incubator OpenPlans, where, among other things, we worked to further “open” technology solutions, including open data formats and web protocols. The two biggest standards we worked on were GTFS,… Continue reading

OuiShareFest Paris: Venture Capital vs. Community Capital

Photo: Rudy (Loïs) Pignot I am in Paris this week for OuiShareFest, and spoke yesterday morning during the opening session.  OuiShareFest is in its third year as a large international gathering of folks interested in the peer/collaborative/sharing/networked society, put on by the community organization OuiShare. The topic of this year’s fest is “lost in transition”, and… Continue reading

Anti-workflow: to-dos

A while back, I wrote about Anti-Workflow Apps — apps that solve problems for you without forcing you to adopt a workflow that you may never fully be able to adopt.  Workflow apps (CRMs, to-do lists, project management tools) are super hard to drive adoption towards, as everyone works differently and really resists this kind… Continue reading

Failure is the tuition you pay for success

I couldn’t sleep last night, and was up around 4am lurking on Twitter.  I came across an old friend, Elizabeth Green, who is an accomplished and awesome education writer — you’ve probably read some of her recent NYT mag cover stories, and it turns out she has a new book out, Building a Better Teacher.… Continue reading

Financial Planning for the 90%

A few weeks ago as I was walking down Beacon Street in Brookline, I happened upon something amazing: The Society of Grownups. The Society of Grownups is a self-proclaimed “grad school for adulthood”, the idea is to give people the tools they need to manage their grown up lives.  The primary focus is on financial… Continue reading

Finding Flow: writing vs. coding

When I first started to learn programming, about 15 years ago, I remember being surprised at how easy it was for me to get focused and stay focused.  I loved (and still love) the feeling of getting lost in a project, and could easily spend hours upon hours “in the zone”. No procrastination, no resistance, only focus… Continue reading

The sweetest pitbull

I had crazy week last week. On Monday, I went to NYC for the day for work, and was overcome by a strange dizzy feeling.  Walls spinning; hard to concentrate; nauseous.  I thought — maybe I’m just dehydrated. I took a rest during the middle of the day; I drank a lot of fluids.  I made… Continue reading

The no list (or, do less better)

Saying no to things is something I’ve always been bad at.  I have always been (and to some extent, have prided myself on being) more of a “why not” guy than a “why” guy. This has many of advantages — I’m open minded and I end up doing tons of interesting things w interesting people.… Continue reading

The Indie Web

Last night at USV, we hosted the latest of several recent meetups on the “Peer Economy”.  We are in the process of organizing a number of companies and organizations that represent a certain sector of the internet economy in NYC, with an eye towards building a more formal coalition (perhaps in the model of San… Continue reading

Coming Back Up for Air

The past three weeks have been really busy. First a trip to SF with the USV team, then to Austin for SXSW to put on We Heart Wifi, and finally to Iceland where we have been helping establish a new institute for internet policy at Reykjavik University. So as is typically the case, I have fallen… Continue reading

Peer Progress and Regulation 2.0

Yesterday I spent the day at Princeton with Steve Schultze and the rest of the team at the Center for Information Technology Policy. The topic of my talk was “Peer Progress and Regulation 2.0” — something I’ve been thinking and talking about over the past several months, but haven’t yet written a ton about.  That… Continue reading

Internet Centrism

This morning I am heading down to the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy to talk about Peer Progress and Regulation 2.0.  The pitch goes like this: “Peer Networks” are bringing new organizational and economic dynamics to every sector — unlocking tremendous opportunity and potential. At the same time, they threaten incumbents in the private… Continue reading

Backing into your network

Today, we announced that USV is investing in Hailo.  I am psyched about this for a number of reasons, but primarily because it’s infrastructure that connects people to their city in new ways. What’s most fascinating is that we almost certainly don’t yet know what those ways are. I want to point out one quote… Continue reading

Superheroes in the Snowpocalypse

Yesterday Uber made me feel like a superhero. It was about 10 degrees in Boston, and I was on the T on my way into Cambridge.  And as we pulled in to Kenmore station the conductor notified us that all Green Line trains would be going out of service.  So my train — and every… Continue reading

Fighting for change: why and how

Happy MLK Day everyone. I just spent the last half hour reading MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.  To be totally honest, I don’t think I’ve ever read it in its entirety before.  It is incredibly powerful and moving.  I encourage anyone reading this to take some time with it today. I pulled a few quotes… Continue reading

Moving the Ball Forward

I always spend a lot of time around the turn of the new year thinking about self-improvement.  This year is no different. Last summer, at a charity fundraiser for a friend, I bought several sessions of personal coaching. Throughout the fall, I’ve been working with my coach, Lisa Lahey, using her methodology called “immunity to change.”… Continue reading

A web-wide moment of silence

Since last Friday, my life has seemingly been consumed with thinking about what happened at Sandy Hook elementary school. Maybe it’s the just horrific nature of the event. Maybe it’s that I’m a parent of two small kids, and I haven’t been able to stop hugging and kissing them and thinking about how lucky I… Continue reading

Hacking todos: daily review for Wunderlist

I have had a hard time finding the perfect to-do list system. I am a light implementer of GTD — I haven’t read the whole book, but I get the basic idea — capture; focus; do.  Stop working from the top of your inbox.  Amen. A few years ago, I started using Things for Mac, which… Continue reading

Bureaucracy and Trust

Yesterday, I spent the day at a meeting on “city innovation” at Harvard’s Kennedy School, with 30 or so CIOs, CTOs, and other technology executives from around the country. I did a short presentation on predictive analytics and cities (slides here) — thanks so much to everyone who sent in comments and who emailed me… Continue reading

Predictive Analytics and Cities

It’s been a big year for predictive analytics.   I’ve been following Nate Silver’s blog on the election, and his deep data analysis cut through the noise, was consistent, and ultimately proved correct.   And to look at another (eerily prescient) example, look at this 2006 prediction of what a major coastal storm could do… Continue reading