Monday, October 31, 2011

Meeting People and Ohours

Recently I haven't had the time to write any new quick posts and am sorry for that, but have been working on a longer piece to coincide with the launch of this project I've been working on called YumOrder, which should be ready this week. Last night I had the pleasure of hosting my very first Ohours, which is a site that lets anyone schedule time to talk or to meet with anyone else on the site. Right now, there's a great group of interesting people on the Ohours that I'm looking forward to talking to. One of the people I chatted with last night was Nathan Hurst, the founder of Hirelite, and the guy who acquired Ohours. He was an awesome and interesting guy to speak with, and I love what he is doing with Hirelite and Ohours. After we talked it got me thinking how it is important to be maintain the relationships you have built, as well as it is critical to meet new people in both the business world and personal world. Over the summer there was a period where I wasn't putting enough time into meeting and hanging out with both new people and people I already knew. Now that I've been placing more time into meeting and talking to a lot of new people, it's made me put more focus on developing and maintaining new relationships. My advice to anyone who wants to meet new people, get on Ohours or go to a local technology Meetup as soon as possible, and I think you'll find it to be pretty rewarding!

You can follow me @kaufman_jack.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Acquisitions I Would Make as the Head of Google

Google is one of my favorite large companies, as I love their products and like the culture that is promoted by the management. Google is very strong in five markets, and has the potential to become stronger in two or three other markets as well. Right now, Google is dominant in search, email, advertising, mobile, and video. I think Google has the potential to become dominant in either cloud computing or social, and the potential to become a major player in payments both online and offline. Here are a few acquisitions that would make sense to me to defend Google's products and make advances with other products.

Square - Square makes sense for quickly breaking into the mobile payments market. They currently have over 800,000 merchants using the service according to Jack Dorsey. Plus, Google Wallet may not make sense for business owners. I like the idea of Google pushing the adoption of NFC stickers, but think that maybe near field communication technology will not be used by store owners as quickly as Google would like. Square is easy to use, and allows store owners and employees to accept payments anywhere. It would be a pricey buy as Square has a valuation of more than 2 billion dollars, but having a presence in most storefronts throughout the country does sound lucrative.

Either FeeFighters or Stripe (or maybe both) - PayPal has a pretty good product, but I think both of these companies have payment products that Google could use to become a leader in the space. Right now, Google does have an online payment product called Google Checkout, which looks good but isn't used across the internet like PayPal. FeeFighters has a great product called Samurai for online payments and I have a guy working on a product using Samurai right now, and Stripe also looks good. I think acquisitions of either of these companies could help Google gain more momentum in helping people pay online.

This is a list I hope to grow over the coming days and weeks, but I figure it's a decent start even though it only focuses on payments!

You can follow me @kaufman_jack.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Good to be Angry

Someone a week or two ago said to me how amazing it was to him that I never get angry. I appreciated him thinking that I'm usually cool-headed and collected. However, what I wanted to tell this person is that I do get angry, just like anyone else, but try to never act on my anger. Anger is a common emotion, and emotions need to be felt and experienced. It is healthy to feel anger, but it is not healthy to be destructive with the anger you feel. Politicians must feel a lot of anger when a newspaper or journalist attacks their policies and ideas. But, politicians do not act rashly from anger as if they did, they wouldn't be reelected. Emotions are good. Anger is good sometimes. Just don't let anger guide your actions.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why Your Idea Doesn't Matter

One of the biggest misconceptions I had when I began dabbling in business and entrepreneurship a year ago was that ideas matter a lot. Ideas don't matter. The word "idea" isn't good to describe something that makes you think about ways to start a business. Problems are what lead to great businesses. Problems can be issues you have everyday, or issues the people around you have everyday. Before the iPod, people didn't really think that the way they listened to music had faults, but ten years later the iPod has changed the way that most people listen to music. Sometimes, people don't even know they have certain problems until someone comes along and provides a service or product that makes life easier. There are some problems I have that I know how to solve, while there are other problems that are much tougher for me to think about. For instance, I think someone in the world has to find a way to develop a pair of prescription eye glasses that only cost $1.50 to make. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who would love to have better vision for $2.00. There's an enormous number of people in the world who have problems that are sometimes ignored. Problems are all around us. Don't think about ideas, think about problems, and you'll be successful.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Applied Semantics

Back in 2003, Google bought a company called Applied Semantics. If you were to ask ten people on the street today if they had ever heard of a company with that name, seven or eight of them would probably say they hadn't. However, if you were to ask that same group of people if they had ever heard of something called Google Adsense, I have a feeling five or six of them would say they had. Applied Semantics supplied the technology that was needed to create Google Adsense. Have you ever been on a site with ads? If so, they most likely were supplied by Google Adsense. It's an incredible product. Anyone can post one line of javascript code into their website, and they immediately start displaying ads that they can use to make money. The technology from Applied Semantics allowed Google to retrieve information from different websites to allow highly-targeted ads to be used on those sites. Adsense is now a billion dollar business for Google. Sometimes, there are small unknown stories about products we use everyday. Stay tuned for more about interesting technology startups that you may use already, or that may help you solve problems in your life!

You can follow me @kaufman_jack.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Every Little Thing is Going to be Alright"

Today I read an article on the Huffington Post, about Jamie Hubley, who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. This was incredibly upsetting to me. Whenever someone takes his or her life, it makes me sit back and think about what could cause the need to do this. After reading Jamie's blog (after I read through it for a few minutes I was even more upset), it was clear that he was very depressed. It sounded like things had been going the wrong way for too long, and he couldn't catch a break. Maybe after a certain point, after enduring so much pain, people lose the desire to keep going. Life can be a struggle that lasts from the day we're born to the day we die. But, even in the roughest of times, there will always be someone to give you a hug or be there to talk. Whether it be a parent, a friend, a therapist, or some random person on the street, never think that you are alone. If you think suicide is the only way out, I urge you to sit back, call a friend or family member, and wait for that person to arrive to be with you. Now may not be so great, but remember that at some point, things will be better. Everyone around you, though you may not see it, is better off for having you in the world. As Bob Marley said in the song "Three Little Birds", "Every little thing, is going to be alright."

You can follow me @kaufman_jack.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

LinkedIn: It's Good For Teens

About eight months ago, my parents got an email from someone we both know saying they saw my name on LinkedIn, and that they were concerned about the fact that I was on it. After my parents brought it up with me, I explained that being on LinkedIn was a positive thing, as it allowed me to build up my connections after I met people at various events or conferences. The fact that this person had taken time out of their day to admonish me for being on a business networking site actually concerned me. I understood what this person's perspective was; that this person was probably thinking I might get hurt on LinkedIn or do something silly on the site. However, I also think being on LinkedIn is one of the most harmless things in the world. When did the days end that teenagers were given a little pat on the pack for joining a site like LinkedIn and trying to start a company? I don't think teens should be given a pat on the back for doing something as simple as joining LinkedIn, but I also find it ridiculous that there are some adults who believe that it is unsafe for teenagers to add people that they have met in person on a site that may help them out later in life. My advice to teenagers is to join LinkedIn. When you meet an adult and you ask him or her to add you on LinkedIn, that will show an unexpected sense of maturity. Don't listen to everything you are told, and join LinkedIn if you want to.

You can follow me @kaufman_jack.