Monday, May 26, 2008

Air Jacobs

On Friday, Gert and I presented our approach for tagging all the songs on the web at the von Liebig Center to the Jacob's School Council of Advisors. Despite a slightly buggy demo, it was a great experience and we got to meet some really great people including Hossein Eslambolchi and Taner Halicioglu, the first (non-founder) employee of Facebook - and UCSD alumnus!

That evening, we went to the Jacobs banquet where the theme was "Air Jacobs" - check int desk, hostesses, and Dean Frider Seible flying a huge flight simulator in the ballroom of the Torrey Pines Hilton. Lots of back-slapping and awards speeches but some interesting conversations to with Melinda (HR) and Tony (Mail) from Yahoo! and some insight into getting a web / technology start-up off the ground from UCSD /'s David Kriegman. My 5 key insights:

1) A killer app is more important than having great technology (although you really need both)
2) Inspiration for (1) may need to come from outside your core group: VCs, advisors, etc.
3) You will need to get more good people to help with scaling up networking, coding, design, promo, ...
4) Getting investment will dilute you, reduce your control, distract from tech development and worse. But it's essential (though timing is crucial...)
5) It's going to take luck. But luck improves with effort and intelligent opportunism.

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