Baker Street Irregulars

Jul 25

Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone.

Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S” – that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us.
Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak… He’s unsure of himself… He’s a coward.

Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.

” — Bill, the titular character from Kill Bill on Superman.

Apr 11

Facebook acquires Instagram


‘A million dollars isn’t cool.You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.’ – Sean Parker to Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network (2010)

That’s precisely what’s happened. Facebook has bought the popular photo-sharing app making company Instagram for one billion USD. Only last week, Instagram had released its first Android version of the app. The company had been evaluated last week for a 500M USD B Round valuation. Now Facebook has bought the company and its handful of employees at double the price.  This is what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to say on the acquisition –

“I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook. For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests. We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.”

What has amazed tech-pundits all over is how secret this acquisition has transitioned.  Also, this is the first time that a one and half year old company was bought at a billion dollars. So what does this mean for the team at Instagram? How many join the new Facebook  offices at 1 Hacker Way, CA and more such information is likely to come out in the coming few days.

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Apr 07

Mosquito

"A start-up is like a mosquito. A bear can absorb a hit and a crab is armored against one,but a mosquito is designed for one thing : to score.No energy is wasted on defense. The defense of mosquitoes,as a species, is that there are a lot of them, but this is little consolation to the individual mosquito."

Paul Graham in his essay - How to Make Wealth. You should read all his essays,which he’s put on his site here.

If you can lay your hands on his book, Hackers and Painters , do that. Absolute marvel.

Mar 11

The Rise and Rise of Facebook’s ex

Just two days ago, Reddit, the internet’s favorite forum, announced its first CEO , Yishan Wong .Wong takes the reins for the first time after the website became a stand alone site from Conde Nast ( much like TechCrunch and AOL ). Yishan was the Director of Engineering at Facebook ;he’s been with the company since 2005. After leaving Facebook, he did a little start-up consulting, before finally joining Reddit as its CEO.

The one trend that has been common to most of these successful hires and start-ups is one common trend: Facebook.

The two most famous start-ups that have come forth out of Facebook’s ex-employees are Asana,and Quora. Both of these companies have changed their respective domains immensely. Asana is a task (and e-mail) management application that has been indispensable to the people who use it,founded by Facebook’s co-founder,Dustin Moskovitz. Quora is fast becoming the most respectable repository of human knowledge and experience on the internet.( where incidentally, Wong is a ‘celebrity’ in his own way). Quora is from Facebook’s CTO, Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, both joining Facebook since its early days back in 2005.

Other notable start-ups that come to mind are Path by Dave Morin who developed Facebook Connect. There’s also Jumo , from Chris Hughes, again a Facebook co-founder, which is a non-profit organization. Disrupting the advertisement sphere is TrialPay, from Eddie Lim. Some other start-ups are Viv, DailyStrength, CloudEra etc - all from people who have left their Palo Alto offices of Facebook to work on their own projects.

These trends have been showing what the Valley’s culture is recently changing to - Work at a company for a few years,gain expertise and start something off your own. Its no wonder that half the new companies today are from ex-Facebook, ex-Google and ex-Apple employees.

Mar 10

Quora’s Finest

Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth,the Director of Engineering at Facebook, answers on Quora - How did Andrew “Boz” Bosworth get recruited to Facebook?

Do read it. Its not exceptional in the sense that it involves any mention of meticulous work or intelligence. This is  reminiscence of Facebook’s initial days of hire, and involves all of Facebook’s finest,back in 2005 - Mark Zuckerberg, Adam D’Angelo, Charlie Cheever, and more. Its fun.