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Thiel Fellow. On leave from Harvard. Makes Sprayable Energy. I’m slightly back!

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Week 3 - The Monster Part II

Jack found Samantha and Rainbow together. More precisely, Jack found Samantha about to eat Rainbow.

He knew the specific corner of the home where Samantha liked to spend her days, and he wasn’t disappointed when he arrived to the sound of Rainbow’s desperate wails and pleas for absolution.

In between a chair leg and the corner of the wall, Jack could see Rainbow was helplessly stuck in the middle of one of Samantha’s perfectly spun webs. She was doomed - Jack had never seen anything escape from one of Samantha’s inextricable traps.

Samantha was strolling up the side of the chair leg now, heading casually but steadily towards Rainbow and her cries for help.

“Sam, Rainbow! What a pleasant coincidence to find you both here.” Jack called.

Rainbow stopped her wailing abruptly and Sam turned around and tilted her head towards Jack curiously, but said nothing.

Jack cleared his throat...

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Week 2 - The Monster Part I

Jack leaned against the wall and groaned. This was it. The attacks had become unbearable. All his attempts at appeasement had failed. They were reduced to only one last desperate choice: to fight back.

They had to kill the monster.

It was such a lopsided affair of overwhelmingly bleak odds that it would have been ludicrously laughable if it didn’t happen to be Jack’s presently lived reality. Jack knew his fate was sealed. Win or lose, he was going to die.

The facts were plain: there was no chance on earth he could take on the monster alone. He would have to recruit every other persecuted party in the territory at a bare minimum. He raised his paws and started the long familiar process of ticking off each plausible ally with his fingers.

There was Charles, who led the family of cockroaches, though they had taken the brunt of the recent decimation and were now barely scraping by. It...

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Week 1 - The End

I always wondered how things would end. Now I know.

It wasn’t quite what I expected, but by now I suppose I should have expected that. Nothing really goes according to plan. You always start with a plan, and you bring all your gear, even a friend, make backup plans, double backup plans*, do everything right, but in the end the rope still snaps and you still fall and now you’re broken and it’s the end.

*ok maybe we didn’t do this, or even the single backup plans, but you get the gist of it

At least now you know. Sometimes a shitty certainty is still better than a shitty uncertainty.

Hope was nice while it lasted. We shouted until we couldn’t shout, until our voices were as broken as the rest of our bodies. No one would be finding us here. We had each other, but a dying person isn’t much help to another dying person.

And now I don’t even have a dying person next to me. Just a dead...

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The New Goto - Launching a Product on Product Hunt

By now, just about everyone in the world knows the power of social news aggregators - a must for launching a product is making an attempt to frontpage on HackerNews and/or Reddit. In some user acquisition/business models, the strategy sometimes revolves around doing solely that.

However, while HackerNews and Reddit are indeed amazing ways to get the word out about a product - they’re not explicitly designed for the purpose, and there’s a new player in the field that’s showing, in record time, the potential to rapidly overtake HN and Reddit as the goto for product launches.

I’ll have to admit - I was a little skeptical the first time I heard about Product Hunt. Ryan Hoover, the cofounder, had been a good friend of mine for quite a while before he launched PH - we used to blog together when he was back at PlayHaven - and when he first described it to me, it seemed like a stretch that PH...

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Life. It’s happening and going by.

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Six months since my last post, nine months since my last real post. June 7th, 2013. Hmm. We were getting ready to launch Sprayable Energy in August, and I was getting ready to go back to school for a semester. I figured I’d just take a short one month break, and then get back into the habit of blogging twice a week.

Lessons learned: It’s really easy to fall off the bandwagon, even for really strong habits. Falling off the blogging bandwagon happened despite me having blogged for a fairly long time with pretty solid consistency. It took a significant event for me to justify falling off the bandwagon consciously, but once that happened, it was pretty much game over.

This happened again just this past January - I’d been keeping a daily progress journal online for the past 551 days with only one short weeklong break during a cruise prior, and then I had to fly to New York for a weekend...

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Sprayable Energy, or Why I’ve Been on Hiatus

Gee, that was a bit longer than four months.

Four months ago, I penned my last post and then decided to go on hiatus for a month.

I guess I never really came back. Sorry guys! If you were curious what I was up to - well, it was Sprayable Energy.

This is a bit late notice too - by the time you read this, there will probably either be just a few hours left in Sprayable Energy’s campaign or none at all and you will have missed out on this opportunity and these deals forever. Again, sorry guys - I wish I was a better marketer, but clearly I’m not :).

Actually, we really aren’t good marketers. We somehow managed to raise over $160,000 on Indiegogo in about 40 days, which I suppose if extrapolated out would suggest that we managed to get enough traction to potentially sell well over a million dollars in revenue a year pre-product. Fingers crossed things go as well in reality.

So here we...

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150 days without videogames

As of today, I have gone exactly 150 days without playing a single video game.

This represents something of a minor miracle for me. This is almost certainly (I can’t say certainly only because of the addled memory I have from playing so many video games) the first time I have ever gone remotely this long without playing video games since I first touched the unholy blight that is a video game.

I used to read books as a kid. This was fantastic. My vocabulary, spelling, grammar, writing, and general language skills skyrocketed effortlessly. I probably became more intelligent and imaginative and creative. Reading fostered a fecund brain.

And then one day a flyer came in the mail, advertising a ridiculously cheap copy of Total Annihilation for whatever reason. My dad decided it couldn’t hurt to buy it for me.

How terribly, terribly wrong he was.

Really fucking terribly wrong.

But it...

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For now

When I think about how fortunate I am in life to not have some terrible debilitating disease, to not be mentally retarded, to not be a starving African child, to not be terminally ill, and to otherwise be in the peak of physical and mental health and with unlimited opportunity on the horizon, there’s a caveat.

And that caveat is I am fortunate, ridiculously fortunate - for now. Tomorrow, the proverbial bus may hit me and I may be a quadriplegic. I could find out I have cancer, or some rare recessive late onset fatal disease. Who the fuck knows, I might even start growing a second skeleton.

This is what motivates me to work fast in life, and try to achieve success while I can, because I can now…and perhaps only for now. The future is never secure, and we never know what it’ll bring. Something about not counting chickens before they hatch.

This leads to my life motto, which is “Live...

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Desperation

There’s this interesting notion that desperation is the best thing that can happen to us. I just watched two movies for Mother’s Day with my mom - The Great Gatsby, and Iron Man 3. In a way, both were about desperation, but the last one explicitly, so I’ll start there.

Aldrich Killian, main villain, reveals that he owes his success to Tony Stark - after Tony rejected him and left him hanging outside on the roof after a party in Switzerland, Aldrich was driven to despair and desperation. After entertaining the thought of suicide, he suddenly comes to the revelation that he now has a driving force in life: to exact his revenge on Tony, and in his desperation he resolves to see his enmity to its end. So ultimately, Tony’s having left him with no where to turn was what made him into the very successful supervillain he is today.

Same bit of a story with Gatsby. Grows up desperately poor...

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My fourth grade teacher did

Who took a chance on you? That’s the Startup Edition question for this week, and I love it.

Pretty much everyone ever has taken a chance on me, so I’m grateful to this question for finally compelling me to acknowledge and be thankful to all the people who have helped me get to where I am.

Here are a few of the entities that have taken a chance on me:

  • My parents, when they decided to nurture and feed me
  • Harvard, when they decided to teach me
  • The Thiel Fellowship, when they decided to invest in me
  • My cofounder, when he decided to work with me
  • My girlfriend, when she decided to love me
  • My friends, when they decided to influence and be influenced by me
  • Myself, when I decided to live on my own terms and run for my dreams
  • Startup Chile, when they decided to give us free monies
  • Svbtle, when Dustin decided to let me ramble on like an idiot here
  • The trillions of cells in my body, who decided...

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