Dustin Curtis

Villain. Founder of Svbtle.

Page 5

The Fight

A couple of months ago, I received a text message that hit me like a brick. It said that one of my closest friends, who is in his early twenties and in perfect health, suddenly went into cardiac arrest while running at the gym. I knew what that meant; outside of the hospital, cardiac arrest is almost universally fatal; only about 5% of people even make it to the hospital alive, and fewer than half of those survivors leave with good neurological function. I fell into my chair. Shock.

A bystander who had witnessed the event immediately started flawless CPR, an ambulance was called and arrived quickly, and my friend was defibrillated until his heart began beating properly again. He arrived at a trauma center within minutes. Everything had gone as well as it possibly could have. He was alive, and in generally good condition, but he didn’t wake up. Cardiac arrest-induced coma. A bad sign.

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4 Inches

A few months ago, in an article called 3.5 Inches, I wrote that the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen was the perfect size for human thumb reach. Now that the iPhone 5 has been released with its larger 4-inch screen, I think it’s time to re-evaluate the issue.


After using the iPhone 5 for more than a week, I stand by my original thoughts: four inches is too big for my thumb to comfortably reach to all areas of the screen while holding the phone one-handed. In my left hand, it’s just a little bit too uncomfortable to reach the far upper right corner of the screen, especially in situations where I need to touch the “cancel” or “add new item” button. This is especially obvious when entering an address in Safari or Maps while walking down the street. Or when trying to touch the “next message” down arrow in Mail. Or when adding an event to Calendar. Or when creating a Tweet in Tweetbot.


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Life is too short to be a boring company

Groupon’s S-1 filing included a letter from its CEO, Andrew Mason, that I somehow missed the first time around. It contained this awesome gem:

We want the time people spend with Groupon to be memorable. Life is too short to be a boring company. Whether it’s with a deal for something unusual, such as fire dancing classes, or a marketing campaign such as Grouspawn, we seek to create experiences for our customers that make today different enough from yesterday to justify getting out of bed. […]

We believe that when once-great companies fall, they don’t lose to competitors, they lose to themselves—and that happens when they stop focusing on making people happy. As such, we do not intend to be reactive to competitors. We will watch them, but we won’t distract ourselves with decisions that aren’t designed primarily to make our customers and merchants happy.

Great mission statement.

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Black Widow

Twitter has an enormous advantage over Facebook in one key area: while people on Facebook tend to friend their friends, people on Twitter tend to follow their interests. The social graph that makes up Twitter is worth far more on a per-account basis because it is directly monetizable in a way that Facebook’s generally isn’t – you can show prophylactic advertisements to Twitter users based solely on the people they follow, and probably get a much higher rate of interest. Compared to other social display ads, Twitter ads, it is rumored, work extremely well.

Outside of the direct value from its graph, Twitter is in an extremely unusual position for a social service. While it is ostensibly a sharing service, it is actually a broadcasting medium. People use Twitter more like they use TV; they follow accounts they are interested in, namely celebrities and companies, and then they consume the

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Flipboard CEO Mike McCue quits Twitter’s board of directors

I’ve been hearing rumblings which suggest that Flipboard is about to be blocked from Twitter’s API, following Instagram’s blockage last week. What is Twitter thinking?

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Dear Marissa

Alfred J. Amoroso, in Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo! offer letter:

Dear Marissa:

On behalf of Yahoo! Inc., I am pleased to offer you the position of President and Chief Executive Officer, reporting to the Company’s Board of Directors, working at the Company’s headquarters at 701 First Avenue in Sunnyvale, California.

$83,333.33 per month salary, and about $60 million in total compensation over five years. A great deal for Yahoo!. I was expecting much, much more.

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Dalton Caldwell’s Audacious Proposal

Dalton Caldwell is refocusing App.net into a realtime feed platform, which he proposed in What Twitter Could Have Been:

I believe so deeply in the importance of having a financially sustainable realtime feed API & service that I am going to refocus App.net to become exactly that. I have the experience, vision, infrastructure and team to do it. Additionally, we already have much of this built: a polished native iOS app, a robust technical infrastructure currently capable of handing ~200MM API calls per day with no code changes, and a developer-facing API provisioning, documentation and analytics system. This isn’t vaporware.

To manifest this grand vision, we are officially launching a Kickstarter-esque campaign. We will only accept money for this financially sustainable, ad-free service if we hit what I believe is critical mass. I am defining minimum critical mass as $500,000, which

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Digg Overtakes Facebook with 1400% Growth, 22.6 Million Uniques

Richard Macmanus, at ReadWriteWeb, on June 20th, 2007:

According to recent Compete data, digg has overtaken Facebook in number of unique visitors and has grown 1400% in one year. Compete’s May 2007 data states that digg had 22.6 Million unique visitors, while Facebook had 20.2 Million.

Today, Betaworks announced that it has acquired the core assets of Digg, for a rumored $500,000.

Facebook, on the other hand, is now worth $66,000,000,000.

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The BlackBerry Car

Al Sacco interviewed RIM CEO Thorsten Heins at CIO. It’s a very run-of-the-mill interview, but Heins’ answer to the last question is a zinger:

Finally, I’d like to ask you for a prediction: Where will RIM be in one year from now? In July of 2013, what will I be writing about RIM and BlackBerry?

I think you will be writing that you are surprised by the performance and the user experience of the BlackBerry 10 product, that it helps you achieve your daily objectives but also have fun. By then you will see that this is a true mobile computing platform that allows BlackBerry to even explore other domains and spaces, like automotive, in cars.

It takes a certain kind of CEO to say something like that in public. Also, I sure can’t wait to see how the “BlackBerry 10 product” finally helps me “achieve [my] daily objectives”.

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Stripe’s Investors

Alexia Tsotsis, at TechCrunch:

Despite investment from three out of five PayPal co-founders, Stripe actually competes directly with PayPal […].

“Despite”? I see this fact as far more revealing. PayPal should be the biggest and most successful bank in the history of the world, but due to eBay’s horrific incompetence, it’s not. PayPal’s founders probably still want to see their ultimate vision come to fruition. Who better to invest in than Stripe, a company with the opportunity, the will, the talent, and the resources to reach PayPal’s ultimate vision?

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