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Archive for October 2013

Resources for startup founders

Someone asked me today

I’d like to ask how you educate about different things that are important in startups, for example how to develop your business, how to build a team etc. Do you have any good sources or something?

First of all, I’d like to state that I’m quite a newbie at this – Bitblu is my first startup, and I’m still learning the ropes.

Still, I believe even newbies can teach what they know, and I’m glad to do my bit. What follows is a bulleted list of resources that I gathered on this  topic along the years:


Quora is the best site in the world after Google. Any question you have about anything – ask it on Quora, and you’ll find the answer sooner or later. Quora is swimming for experienced founders, many of them very eager to help and share their knowledge.

Your Friends

As you start getting into the startup business, you should build yourself a network of friends, more and less experienced than you are at the business of entrepreneurship. It can be hard to crack this if you don’t know any founders (a good tip is to go work at a small startup for a while, it’s a great school). Once you have a foot in the door, you’ll often find that it’s easier than you thought expanding this network and building honest relationships with people that have done this before, and are happy to share.

Just a word for the wise – don’t try to abuse these relationship, and make sure not to just look for people to learn from, but give back and teach and help others. This kind of honest, helpful communication helps the entire network and will expose you to the right kind of people.

You should use social networks, especially LinkedIn, as appropriate (FYI, Rapportive is a must-have extension for you) – just don’t be a jerk and respect other people’s time.


Meetups are a terrific way for someone without a lot of founder friends to surround himself with like-minding individuals. They all may be of varying skill and experience levels, but their agendas are often similar, and the content that is presented in many of the meetups is extremely helpful.

Look for startups on Entrepreneurship and Startups in your vicinity. I’m lucky to live in Tel Aviv, one of the world’s best startup hubs, and have access to a lot of such meetups, most of them free of charge.


Blog is a terrific resource for understanding what kinds of questions you should even ask yourself. I am following several such blogs myself, but there are a ton of them out there.

How to find and choose among them? Remember my first bullet – Quora?

I just searched for “startup blog” on Quora and found this terrific question, with many good answers.

Learn it on the go

The worst thing for your startup is to think that you can’t start it without knowing all the answers. The essence of startup, the essential product that you are producing, is not code … it is Learning. You learn your business problems, your customers, your technological hurdles. This learning is an ongoing, never-ending process – it’s not done before you get going, it is the work in itself.


You’re welcome to add any important resources that I missed in the comments below.


Good luck!

Mastercoin now has a blog

Mastercoin, the new currency and protocol layer on top of Bitcoin, now has a new official blog.

There have been a dizzying array of new developments, and it’s been rather hard keeping track of them all. Now with the new blog, people should find it easier to get concentrated updates on all the things going on, new clients, features, etc.

Updating my PGP key

FYI, my new PGP key can be found here.

Quora just got more addictive

Wow Quora, you sure know how to build addictive products!

New feature: whenever you follow a topic, 2-3 new closely related topics are shown to you. Odds are you will find one of them interesting and follow it … and thus end up in a loop.

I just followed about 20-30 new topics when my original intent was to just follow one. Great UX guys, well done.

If you use Quora and you follow less than 100 topics, you’re doing it wrong. I’m following 966 topics, growing fast. FYI the more topics you follow, the more refined is your newsfeed … but you don’t get more overall noise from the system, just more interesting items better tuned to your taste.

Silk what? Bitcoin still going strong!

Yeah, so Silk Road, the largest online marketplace for many things, primarily drugs, was recently shut down, and its alleged operator arrested. “Bitcoin is dead“, the naysayers will say.

Well, think again.

2 months price chart (log scale)

1 year price chart (log scale)

There was a big panic on October 2nd, the day of the seizure. People who buy into the FUD and are used to thinking that “Bitocin is about the drugs” sold their bitcoins. However, as is now evidently clear, the market recovered lightning fast. Bitcoin is about drugs just as much as the U.S Dollar is about drugs – it is a currency, and can be used for all kinds of purposes, from buying drugs to buying socks.

Among the key attractors of Bitcoin, anonymity was never the number one feature. Bitcoin, in its current form, is not anonymous, unless combined with a high level of paranoia and network privacy … and even then, you’re always at risk of being caught because of a silly mistake you did two (or ten) years ago. Regardless of any supposed pseudo-anonymity properties, Bitcoin remains a decentralized, thin on fees, inflation-resistant currency that is outside the reach and control of any government or organization. It (and its brothers) may very well be the only currencies that remains viable in light of the upcoming financial crisis. In any case, when analyzing Bitcoin, I advise you all to disregard the rise and fall of any particular website – Bitcoin is not a website, nor it is a single company or entity. The fall of Silk Road just propelled numerous discussions of Silk Road 2.0 – a decentralized alternative to Silk Road (as well as the many centralized services now vying to occupy the space left by Silk Road).

The FBI only managed to make Dread Pirate Roberts, the Silk Road operator, into a martyr. I am attaching the note on the LinkedIn profile of Ross Ulbricht, the person arrested as the real world identity of DPR:

Now, my goals have shifted. I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and agression amongst mankind. Just as slavery has been abolished most everywhere, I believe violence, coercion and all forms of force by one person over another can come to an end. The most widespread and systemic use of force is amongst institutions and governments, so this is my current point of effort. The best way to change a government is to change the minds of the governed, however. To that end, I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force.

P.S. Thanks Aya for suggesting I write about Silk Road, it’s been a while since I wrote and this is an excellent topic.