I was a first gen Kindle lover and then I was a second gen Kindle lover. It is a fantastic way to read books. I even have subscribed to the WSJ and the FT on it and have enjoyed the interface for both. But as soon as I got an iPad, I put my Kindle in a drawer and have not taken it out since. I have been playing games on my iPad, emailing friends and reading two books so far through the Kindle app [Jonathan Knee's Curse of the Mogul and Jeff Bussgang's Mastering the VC Game btw].
However, as a nice relaxing family vacation approaches, I am finding myself excited to pull out the old Kindle once again. This is because three of my favorite things about the iPad make it an incredibly frustrating reading device:
- The beautiful high gloss screen – The iPad’s screen is gorgeous for movies, photos and games but it sucks for reading large quantities of text. When I’m outside, the sun’s reflection makes it impossible to read. And when I’m inside, every light source within a mile seems to find its way to my iPad so it can reflect directly in my eyes. The Kindle on the other hand has a dull, ugly screen that is perfect for reading.
- The multi-touch screen – While great for web browsing and playing Harbor Master, the touch screen causes me to repeatedly and inadvertently change the page while reading. Every time I reposition the iPad, I inevitably hit the screen by accident and advance one page. Very annoying.
- All the awesome other stuff you can do – Sometimes when I settle down to read, I don’t want to be able to easily surf the web, check my email, or play a game. I just want to read. But if a distraction is there, I won’t be able to resist it. I wish I was more disciplined but I’m just not.
So even though I love my iPad and have been seriously neglecting my Kindle, I have come to the conclusion that there definitely is room, not just in the market but in my life, for both devices.
Yesterday, InSITE hosted entrepreneur turned VC Jeff Bussgang (twitter, blog) at the Stone Creek Tavern in NYC for a talk about his book “Mastering the VC Game.” It was a great event overall, but one thing that Jeff said really struck me.
It was a piece of advice for business school students with a passion for entrepreneurship who don’t immediately go work for a startup. He said that the more traditional paths for MBAs, e.g., consulting, big companies, finance, can have some benefits for an entrepreneurial career, but they come with one huge danger – golden handcuffs. These jobs start you out at a salary that is roughly comparable to a startup salary (maybe 40-60K more but in the same ballpark), but after a few years, you might be making upwards of 100-200k more than you would at a startup. At that point, when you presumably have a mortgage, an expensive lifestyle, perhaps a family, it can be very hard to take such a pay cut.
So Jeff’s advice for MBAs entering these more lucrative fields was keep your burn rate low. If you think you want to go back to a startup, live like you would live on a startup salary. His way of phrasing it really struck me. It’s the same thing I would think you’d tell a startup that is temporarily flush with VC cash. Don’t fly first class. Don’t rent expensive office space. Don’t buy the fancy stuff for your launch party. Live like you might need that cash more later.
And while I personally don’t know how my life and career will pan out, I know that entrepreneurship is a passion of mine. So this concept of keeping your burn rate low is something I think I will consider no matter what I do in the next five to ten years. Don’t buy an apartment on the upper-whichever-side. Don’t eat at Nobu every weekend. Don’t holiday on St. Barts. Go to the same bars that you went to before school. Borrow your friend’s family house in the country like you did in college. Live in a rental in Brooklyn. Eat at that great Thai place with the $8 pad thai. Doesn’t sound so bad at all…
Not actually my girlfriend
I received an email this morning from my girlfriend with the subject: “This morning…” Here is the text of the email:
I was so out of it that I took the sugar that I was going to put into my coffee, I opened it then opened the garbage can and promptly poured the entire packet in. I think that a day off is needed.
I wonder if people in the Middle Ages did things like feed their kids the cow food by accident or whether this is an effect of all of our iPods, DVRs and smartphones.
On July 14th, my girlfriend and I boarded a plane to Dublin, Ireland. One of her best friends, a lovely Irish girl named Emma, was getting married in Wexford, in the south of Ireland, on the 18th to a great guy named Garret. We planned to spend a few days in Dublin and then head down south for the ceremony and party.
I decided to use the trip as a little experiment in travel documentation. While my girlfriend would document our travels (okay, okay, our visits to Irish pubs) with her very nice digital camera, I would only bring along a Flip Video camera. She would take nice, well composed, well lit photos of people, places and things. I would capture short videos of action or moving panoramas of vistas that were too difficult to capture in one frame. I did my best to keep the videos short (under 20 seconds when possible). I also took certain videos for certain people based on jokes or stories we’ve shared.
Now that we’ve returned home, I’m uploading all of the videos to YouTube and she’s putting her photos up on Picassa. I plan on sending the respective links to our family and friends to see how people react and which medium they like better for vicariously experiencing our travels. Once I get feedback, I will post again here with the results along with sample photos and videos.
My suspicion is that as long as a particular person’s broadband connection and computer are fast enough they will get a kick out of the video and will really enjoy seeing us in action traveling. I think that this type of recording and sharing will become more common as the tools get better and people learn that videos that don’t tell stories but merely show something need to be very very very short. I know this is happening now. But perhaps one day, a majority of travelers will leave their still cameras at home.
Two years ago, I worked on the triple Webby-Award winning series Hometown Baghdad. I spent an inordinate amount of time working on the production, managing the online release including all press and marketing and becoming friends with the Iraqi guys who helped us make the documentary. It was hands down the best experience of my life.
While cleaning up some files on my computer today, I discovered this mp3 of an interview Laurie Meadoff and I did with NPR’s All Things Considered. Give it a listen.
Note: The mp3 is preceded by 7 seconds of silence.