Hello, Venture News

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I have to admit it: I’m a news junky. I’m addicted to my Twitter timeline, RSS feed, and often frequent the comment sections of Hacker News, Quora, Reddit, AVC, etc. I love it all. There is so much great stuff out there.

My news habit comes with great rewards. Building startups is such a difficult task, it helps to be a sponge and soak in the knowledge people are sharing across product, design, development, growth, marketing, community, data science, analytics, industry trends, etc. Everyday, I come across awesome stuff that alters my perspective, teaches me valuable lessons, or even solves my current problem of the day!

The only problem is that all of this requires a significant amount of time and effort. Let’s take Twitter as an example. It takes time to learn how Twitter works. It takes time to find the right people to follow, as well as discover who to unfollow. And, it takes time to sift through 1000+ tweets for the golden nuggets that invariably appear. RSS, HN, Quora, and Reddit are different, but time consuming in other ways.

So how do I keep the rewards, but save myself the time and effort?

A simple experiment.

This summer, while rifling through ideas and hacks with my friend Leslie in the Pejman Mar Summer Founders Program, we stumbled across something. Among the hacks was a little tool to discover frequently-shared links by 300+ venture capitalists on Twitter. It started super simple, but proved useful as an instant way to capture the daily conversation in the venture capital community.

We hopped into Gmail and sent the top 10 links of the day to two people at Pejman Mar. The next day, after positive reviews from our sample set of two, we created a Mailchimp account and began adding more friends, colleagues, and advisors to the mailing list. After playing around with so many ideas, it was cool to be able to send out this daily email that people we knew enjoyed.

In the following days and weeks, people began trickling into the mailing list from word of mouth. Our friends continually let us know that they loved the email, and wanted us to keep them coming. New users would email in to tell us how it covered much of their startup news needs. Mailchimp analytics showed us awesome email open and click through rates.

Great! So, why not make this the start of a thing?

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We registered a domain at http://www.venturenews.co, and put up our mailing list signup, as well as a live version of the links. Soon after that, Chris Messina posted Venture News to Product Hunt, which was relatively well received.

What now? Leslie and I are experimenting on the newsletter and on the website. We’re balancing new product features, talking with subscribers, and developing a broader vision for the future. It’s exciting, and feels like the seed of a news experience that includes just the gold nuggets without requiring much time or effort.

If you’re interested in a quick fix of startup news with minimum hassle, please give Venture News a spin. Even better, sign up for the mailing list to get a curated daily digest delivered directly to your inbox. Hopefully we can help simplify your daily tech startup news habit 🙂

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Back from dogfooding

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TL;DR.

Hey y’all! I’m back from a 5-week break from blogging. Instead, I played with Soulmix a lot. Recently, I’ve been missing this blog, and so I’m back!

And the longer version.

After the 100-blog challenge, I continued blogging for quite a while..  I think it was another 30 days or so.

About 5 weeks ago, I finished re-vamping the new version of Soulmix. If you haven’t seen it, Soulmix is a place for saving, organizing, and sharing the things you like on the web. It lets you create collections (or remixes) of things you like online. You can personalize each post by adding  a custom header above the post and a custom note below the post.

At this point, I had two I had two things on my mind:

  1. I was a little tired from blogging. Blogging for ~130 days straight is tiring! Just coming up with new topics became difficult. And writing was also difficult. I definitely needed a break from it.
  2. I was eager to play with the new Soulmix. If you hadn’t noticed, I started creating a few simple Soulmix-style posts on this blog. They were fun and easy posts, and I wondered what it would be like to just use Soulmix. Perhaps it was time to spend more time dogfooding with Soulmix. Dogfooding refers to using your own product, or eating your own metaphorical dogfood. It is a good way to fully understand your own product, debug it, live it, and gain confidence in its usefulness.

With those two things on my mind, a course of action became pretty obvious: it was time to take a break from blogging, and spend some time dogfooding using Soulmix. And so began a great few weeks of dogfooding, coding, and debugging. You can check out all my posts and remixes here!

What is the outcome? A few things:

  1. I actually like Soulmix. It is the first product I’ve built which I think I could actually use for a while.
  2. Soulmix isn’t a substitute for blogging. Soulmix is more like a fancy bookmarking service. It doesn’t let me write and share longer thoughts. Which leads me to #3.
  3. I miss writing and sharing longer thoughts. As I’ve written about before, I’ve gained so much from writing, it wouldn’t be smart to just quit. Taking a break was relaxing for a week or two, but after that I quickly began to miss it.
  4. This means this blog and my Soulmix use should be complimentary. I will be active on both.

All of these outcomes/realizations are pretty cool.

The coolest is #1.

I tweeted about it today, and then promptly wished that you could edit tweets. Then I left it (instead of deleting it) because who cares about typos? I’ve got them all over this blog!

As far as blogging goes, the plan is to write here once or twice a week.

Catch you soon! Will be back here in just a few days 🙂

Blog updates: new domain and look!

I started this blog April 2012 with the intention of learning more about the web. I figured the web is a media for sharing and being open, so why not start a blog? The initial goals were to share my story as a first-time entrepreneur, and learn more about how publishing and web traffic works.

At the beginning, I had a tough time publishing. It isn’t easy hitting the publish button! Once the button is hit, my thoughts are no longer just my own. They are out there for the world. And what if there’s a typo? What is something is wrong? In the early days, I had a really tough time just hitting that publish button.

However, in the last 3 months with the 100-post challenge, I’ve started to gain my stride. I learned how to fit blogging into my routine, and learned that I could actually hit the publish button on a daily basis.

Awesome!

In celebration, I think it is time to make this blog more of a “real” blog. I’ve been pretty busy pivoting Soulmix lately (which I’ll probably write about soon), but I’ve updated two obvious things:

  1. A real domain: I have been sitting on this domain for a few months, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit the domain to the blog. Well, now it is done. This blog is now officially at alexshye.com 🙂
  2. A more real theme: I started out with the default WordPress theme. I thought it looked decent and it didn’t require any work, which is a good thing. But now that this blog is more “real”, it is time to get off the default. So here is another WordPress theme. I found it because a friend was using it, and I really like the simplicity of it.

So, here we go!

For the foreseeable future, I’m still committed to hitting the publish button on a daily basis.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. As always if you have any thoughts on the blog, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

See you tomorrow 🙂