Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Blog and Decisions

So some of you have asked me why I still continue to post on this blog while I now have a blog on CoNotes. Well I plan on continuing this blog with the original intent of tracking my personal story of starting a company. While I have been inconsistent with my posts, I hope to improve upon that. The CoNotes blog will be the company's voice to the public - even though it still is from me. So that blog will relate to decisions about CoNotes and having conversations around CoNotes.

CoNotes is and will be a big part of my life, but I think it will be healthy for me to (at least in the virtual world) put some distance between my personal life and my "business" life. So this blog is merely my statement of what I am going through as the founder of a startup.

So that is a great segway into this post about...


So last night Kellogg had its last school-wide formal for the year and it was Casino Night. For the most part, it was a typical charity event and attendees were able to use their chips to bid on several prizes at the end of the night. I don't really get too excited to gamble because I usually lose money, and given that this event was "fake" money, I was even less excited. Nevertheless, I played some blackjack and I began to bet recklessly. I started playing all my chips -- spread out over 2 or 3 seats. I began lucky and my original 50 chips soon became 500. But then I continued to play in this out-of-control manner and as anyone could predict, I was out of chips in no time. Losing these chips didn't really bother me, but my reaction to my losses did. Even though I knew the chips were just "play chips," I hated the thought that I just squandered them. I wanted to play more just to win them back. I used my girlfriend's chips and lost those. Worse yet, I cheated by holding back some chips that the dealer should have collected. I justified this as being ok because I knew many dealers (which were fellow students) were giving out chips to friends.

As I think about what I did, I am pretty disgusted with myself. And then I think about what it says about me and what I will do in the future. Will I be willing to act irrationally and unethically just for small, meaningless gains? What does this mean about how I will lead my company?

A lot of people have told me that me decision to start a company is a big gamble. I never thought so for several reasons.
  1. I am learning a great deal about the internet space and how to operate in it. The decisions I make for CoNotes are my responsibility. I believe I am and will learn much more than if I were in a larger company, where my decisions would need to be ratified by higher-ups.
  2. I believe I can get a decent paying job anytime I want. I don't think I can get ANY job, but I can get a job that pays well.
  3. Most importantly ...You can't price the difference between doing something you marginally like versus something you love. The cost of being stuck in a marginal job is huge for me. Therefore, while I am losing out on guaranteed salary, I believe it is a smaller cost than being stuck in an unfulfilling job.

But in light of my actions last night, I worry that I am just completely irrational. Maybe I don't really know what I am risking and that really scares me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Basketball and Business

It is the heart of the NBA playoffs and the Lakers just won Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. It is hard not to be smiling when the Lakers are doing well. I just was thinking, though, if there is any similarities between basketball teams and business, and I started coming up with some superficial analogies. Most sports-business analogies compare sports positions to corporate positions (e.g. the quarterback is like the CEO), so I am not going to do that. I am just going to compare random analogies to tech companies. And in nerdy fashion, I am going to make the comparisons in SAT analogies format.

Kobe Bryant:NBA fans:: Apple:PC owners
Apple made a huge splash when they first came on the scene and pretty much had meteoric growth for their first decade of existence. Kobe came onto the scene in much the same fashion, earning a spot on the NBA All-Star team in his second season, while only a 6th man on the Lakers. Then both fell out of fashion. Apple started putting out dismal products like the Newton and had PCs that were only useful to graphic designers. But diehard Apple fans continued using their products (and I still know people who continue to use their brick-sized Newton). Likewise Kobe kind of fell out of favor when he was accused of rape. While the accusation seemed dubious, the fact is that he committed adultery and most people weren't too happy about that. The Lakers also stopped being a title contender and Kobe went through this period where he did some strange things like tattooing "Black Mamba" onto his arm.

Fast-forward to 2008 and both Apple and Kobe are high flyers in their respective communities. Everyone wants an iPhone and Kobe just won the season MVP award. when I started this post I had a lot of analogies in mind, but I now have 10 emails in my inbox that I need to take care of. I'll leave you with one of the analogies that I really liked and let you fill in the description yourself:

Grant Hill:Dukies :: Linux:techies

Also make sure to check out CoNotes (! Find an exciting startup job! The traffic growth over the past two weeks has been tremendous.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

...and we are live (again)!

Post cross-posted on:

Hey! This is Andrew, founder of CoNotes. I’m really excited to announce the relaunch of CoNotes. CoNotes is the one place to go to for job opportunities in the most exciting entrepreneurial companies. If fast-growth companies such as Facebook or ZipCar excite you, then this is the place for you. My goal is to help you find your passion and live your dream!

As a business school student at Kellogg, I made a concerted effort to find a position within several startup companies. But I spent hours upon hours looking for, researching, and aggregating information about fast-growth companies. I knew there were tons of others people going through the same frustrating process and that I could come up with a better way to find these companies. That thought was the birth of CoNotes.

So take a look and click around. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if there is an exciting company that you think needs to be added, let me know!