Solving problems with startups

Interesting insider Q&A with Paul Sutter, co-founder of Quantcast. Via Hacker News: Q: What methodical process did you follow for your startup? Did you first test the market using tactics similar to the lean startup approach? A: Basically, make a list of known problems that you’re well suited to solving, rank them by criteria, fail … Continue reading Solving problems with startups

Startups: Not for the faint of heart

Early on during this startup adventure, a person I trust told me, “Watch out — startups aren’t for the faint of heart.” Looking back on my personal net income graph from 2009 to present, I can see what he meant. May 2009 is when I entered Dreamit Ventures to begin working on what would become … Continue reading Startups: Not for the faint of heart

The Startup Diet

Last summer, we got our company,, off the ground at DreamIt Ventures incubator program in Philadelphia. Since then, we’ve talked to a lot of founders about our experience in the program. Many founders are data-driven people who are looking for concrete advice about how to optimize their experience at these programs. One of the … Continue reading The Startup Diet

Managing software teams: the definitive reading list

Frederick Brooks once wrote: The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. In his classic essay, “No Silver Bullet”, he also wrote about software’s “essential” complexity: The complexity of software is an essential property […] Hence, descriptions … Continue reading Managing software teams: the definitive reading list

JavaScript: The Modern Parts

In the last few months, I have learned a lot about modern JavaScript and CSS development with a local toolchain powered by Node 8, Webpack 4, and Babel 7. As part of that, I am doing my second “re-introduction to JavaScript”. I first learned JS in 1998. Then relearned it from scratch in 2008, in … Continue reading JavaScript: The Modern Parts’s brand refresh

Here’s how’s original 2009 logo looked: has some fun startup lore from its early days about how we “acquired” this logo. I wrote about this in a post entitled, “ brand hacking”: Our first logo was designed as a trade for another domain I happened to own. It was the dormant domain … Continue reading’s brand refresh

Shipping the Second System

In 2015-2016, the team embarked upon the task of re-envisioning its entire backend technology stack. The goal was to build upon the learnings of more than 2 years delivering real-time web content analytics, and use that knowledge to create the foundation for a scalable stream processing system that had built-in support for fault tolerance, … Continue reading Shipping the Second System

Expanding my mind, once more, with functional programming

The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP) is a classic computer science text written by Gerald Jay Sussman and Hal Abelson. It is widely known in the computer science community as the “wizard book”. It intends to teach the foundations of computer programming from “first principles”, illustrating programming language design using Scheme, a dialect … Continue reading Expanding my mind, once more, with functional programming

Software planning for skeptics

Engineers hate estimating things. One of the most-often quoted lines about estimation is “Hofstadter’s Law”, which goes: Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. If you want to deliver inaccurate information to your team on a regular basis, give them a 3-month-out product development timeline … Continue reading Software planning for skeptics