That's what she or he or Michael Scott said


Last Friday, the bot went a bit crazy and started throwing ["That what she said"] into the conversation with no apparent rhyme or reason. Finally, I had had enough. And then it came to me: I would write my OWN bot, that responded to TWSS with a quotation from a notable woman. If they are so keen on what she said, why don’t we get educated about what she really had to say. And so the “whatshereallysaid” bot was born. It might annoy the guys into shutting off the TWSS bot, or we might all learn about notable women. It’s a win either way, in my books!

As a side note, I've always found "That what she said" to be annoying humor, not just because it can be sexist but because it's also just the dumbest, sloppiest humor you can think of. It's used by Michael Scott in "The Office" ironically, as an example of what a socially inept man-child might think of as funny. When and how it got stripped of that irony I'll never know.

But is it too much to ask people to be less stupid than Michael Scott?

What's wrong with BlackBerry

Michael Mace has a great post about why BlackBerry’s in trouble, in spite of its phenomenal revenue growth:

Looking at the high-level financials can lull you into a false sense of security if you’re managing a computing platform. You have to really dig to find the warning signs….

Five years ago, RIM was getting .7 new subscribers for every BlackBerry sold. In other words, most of its sales were to new users. Today, RIM is getting .37 more subscribers per BlackBerry sold, and that figure is at an all-time low. To put it another way, RIM now has to sell more than two and a half devices to get one more subscriber. Either RIM is selling most of its units to its installed base, or it is having to bring in a lot of new customers to replace those who are leaving for other devices. My guess is it’s a mix of both.

Mace has a few suggestions for how to fix it, including focusing on its differentiation:

RIM need a product vision identifying a few new differentiators for BlackBerry that will resonate well with the busy knowledge workers who are at the core of its installed base. There should be no more than three of these features (because customers can’t remember more than three), and they should not be copies of things that Apple is already implementing. RIM should focus on building them deeply into the product, so they are very well integrated with the rest of the device. My nominees are meeting planning, conferencing, and live document sharing.

In terms of my personal priorities for a phone, I definitely think of myself as a core BlackBerry user. And those three features—meeting planning, conferencing, and live document sharing—would be pretty great if done well, and maybe RIM is the company to do those well in mobile.

One of the tricky things, though, is that those feature areas are ones that inherently depend on network effects of users, which means that users wouldn’t get much value out of a BlackBerry-only solution. You can’t restrict meeting planning to only meetings with other BlackBerry users, and you can’t schedule a conference call where you force everybody to use a BlackBerry on the call. So RIM would have to form deeper technical partnerships with existing players—for example, GoToMeeting with conference calls, Google Docs with document sharing, etc—which would be a big shift for them strategically. Could they pull it off? Perhaps. I might not bet on that though.

So you want to tell your Korean mom you got a job in Silicon Valley

My Mom is actually cooler than this, but I can still relate:

In which your author manages to make others who are probably about as old as him totally freaked about being old

Also, who’s this Tupac guy you keep talking about? Is he, like, Lil Jon’s cousin or something?

The most painful line of the day: “To most everyone, AOL was the company that mailed you all those CDs so you could get on a 56K modem when you were in grade school.” Most everyone! Grade school! OMG I’m going back to bed!

Millenials Rule The Land, at The Awl


I’m quoted using “like” a lot in this New York Observer article about AOL:

The machine learning guys, some of New York’s most ambitious technologists, have been coming to AOL since last spring, when the company agreed to donate space in its massive office complex for the group’s monthly meet-ups. That act of goodwill was part of an aggressive ongoing effort to improve AOL’s reputation in the New York tech community, a campaign being mounted by Mike Brown, the co-founder of the company’s year-old venture arm, AOL Ventures. Mr. Brown’s hope is to change the way AOL is seen by entrepreneurs and engineers—to erase its reputation as a moribund dial-up dinosaur and thereby neutralize the biggest obstacle he and his partners, Jon Brod and Brad Garlinghouse, face as they look for start-ups in which to invest the changing company’s money.

I co-host two different groups at the AOL space, and all I can say is that they’re a godsend for the local tech scene. Whatever happens to AOL in the long-term, there are a lot of people there who clearly understand the importance of being a tech-focused organization.

BlackBerry: Slowly sinking

Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. are considering whether to let employees use the Apple Inc. phone as an alternative to Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry for corporate e-mail, said three people familiar with the plans. The banks are testing software for the iPhone that’s designed to make it secure enough for company messages, said the people, who didn’t want to be named because the plans aren’t public.

Bank of America, Citigroup Said to Test Apple’s IPhone

A few months ago, my BlackBerry Pearl died on me (I’d had it for a few years), and I quickly replaced it with a BlackBerry Bold. I chose a BlackBerry over an iPhone because I always wanted a smartphone that is extremely good at the core functionality of email, calendar, to-dos, etc, and is just really fast to use.

But honestly, I bet that by the time this Bold dies, BlackBerry phones will suck so bad in comparison to the competition that it’ll be my last.

Tech Founders NYC: Thursday October 21

Tech Founders NYC took a long vacation, but we’re back starting next week, and if you’re a programmer who’s looking for an early-stage gig, or if you’re just interested in the idea and are wondering what these opportunities look like, you should come.

For those that don’t know, we try to match early-stage entrepreneurs with technical people. We do that in two ways:

  1. We screen our entrepreneurs rigorously and only pick the best
  2. During event registration we only let programmers in, requiring references from LinkedIn, Github, etc, for people to prove that they’re actually programmers.

The result is 3-5 great entrepreneurs pitching to a room full of programmers. It’s a great way for programmers to learn about the range of early-stage opportunities, and if you’re actively looking to be a co-founder, this is a way to find out about some of the best opportunities open right now.

Registration is free for programmers: Click here to register.


We’re excited to present four entrepreneurs this month:

Claire Chambers, Journelle

With three physical stores and four more planned for 2011, Journelle is well-positioned as the top newcomer in the multi-billion dollar retail lingerie space. The company is looking for a tech leader to help re-fashion Journelle.com into a sales channel that’s as innovative, customer-driven and content-rich as the brick-and-mortar stores.

Jay Orfield, RightFrame

RightFrame is making custom, green home design easy for builders / homebuyers via a web-based customizer that allows them to visualize the home before construction.

Campbell McKellar, Loosecubes

Loosecubes, an online marketplace for shared workspace, is seeking a technical partner to make our product vision a reality and change the way people work.

Matthew Kochman, M.E.S.S. Express

M.E.S.S. Express leverages local taxi infrastructure, prepaid taxi accounts, and an SMS payment platform to change the way college students think about safe transportation.

Profitably is one of VentureBeat’s 5 favorite DEMO companies

Thanks Anthony!


Incidentally, Card 2.0 from Dynamics, which won the People’s Choice award and is featured in that post, was a pretty remarkable product that could have a huge impact on the payments infrastructure industry. It’s the sort of hard tech you certainly don’t see enough of in NYC, but in fact Dynamics isn’t from Silicon Valley: They hail from Pittsburgh, having built a company around Carnegie-Mellon grads. It’s an inspiring East Coast story, and I’m looking forward to seeing Jeff Mullen everywhere in the next few years.

DEMO 2010

We’ve been having a blast. People seem to be receptive to the Profitably story, and after getting to be one of the first presenters, we’ve been getting into a lot of interesting conversations. And as an amateur conference organizer, I can’t help but be wowed by how hardcore their A/V setup is.

Also, last night we took a cab from the hotel to an In-N-Out Burger, so there was that.


I guess I’ll let VentureBeat tell it:

New York startup Profitably recently closed a $300,000 round of funding with a group of New York investors. The company offers an online software application that analyzes data from Quickbooks, a small business accounting package sold by Intuit.

We’re psyched.