Posted 10 months ago
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Walden; or, Life in the Wood by Henry David Thoreau (via marksbirch)
Posted 1 year ago

Are We Having Pun Yet?: 200,000 awesome people


Oh my gosh. Logged in tonight to find we tripped the 200,000 follower mark.

I’m overwhelmed. Every like, reblog, and follow is a tiny affirmation that I, and subsequently, you are not alone. There are thousands of other amazing people from California to Australia that share our weird, stupid,…

your punbelievable ethan!

Posted 2 years ago


Is London’s Silicon Roundabout the world’s next big startup scene? I visited Courtney Boyd Myers at General Assembly to find out 

Posted 2 years ago


Taco Bell social team is on a roll. 

so good.

Posted 2 years ago


New Tumblr Ad Unit!


It’s on the top of every page—until you unpin it.

Posted 2 years ago



My friend Diana did a post recently musing on the streaming nature of social media and how sometimes important news can get missed as the events in people’s lives just scroll by. She made a nice post about the basic facts. I liked it. So I’m going to do it too. 

I left the Barbarian Group almost ten months ago. Since then, I’ve been working on a book about advertising, tech and economics. I’ve also been working on a novel about ghosts. I have been working for about six months to open a new coworking space in Williamsburg called Secret Clubhouse, that will be opening in this summer. 

On top of all that, I have some new exciting work I am doing. I will be working for Tumblr for the next six months on a full time basis as a consultant for their Sales and Marketing team. I’ve been talking to them and working with them for a while on an advisory basis, but I think now is the time and come and help them for a while in a more hard core manner. I obviously love Tumblr, but I also love that they are committed to this whole “good” thing when it comes, well, anything, but also to advertising and revenue. Much like we were at The Barbarian Group. Most of the advertising on the web is crap still, and after fifteen years of working to make it less offensive from the agency side, I’m excited to help try and do so from the platform side for a while. 

Since the dawn of time, advertising has swung back and forth like a pendulum. It goes from the hard selling direct ads of Wanamaker and Draft back to the creative side of Bernbach and Bogusky. I really believe that the eternal pendulum is swinging back from direct to creative, and perhaps for the first time on the web in a good 20 years since we took our first miserable stab with the banner. Ha. Native advertising, premium content, getting out of the banner box and being integrated and real. I mean, I think about this so much that this is what I’ve been writing this mythical book about (and don’t worry, it’s still coming along). 

And Tumblr’s all about creativity and creators, from product to community. I’m excited to help make sure that commitment extends to any advertising they do. 

It’s gonna rule. 

I’ve got some other things coming up soon too, and they are going to be awesome too, but that news is for another day. 

this makes my day.  so great to see Rick join their team!

Posted 2 years ago
A wave starts way out at sea. Way, way out where you can’t see it, but it’s there. It’s tiny, and frail, and doesn’t seem like much though each day it gains a little more strength. Each day it grows. And it’s got it sights set on shore. And it doesn’t stop until it gets there.
Be a wave. (via kirklove)
Posted 2 years ago


If you are looking to get retweeted and nobody picks your tweet up within the first hour, chances are that nobody ever will. Only 1.63% of all retweets happen in the second hour and a minuscule 0.94% in the third hour. The same is true for @replies, too; 97% of all replies happen within the first hour.

I can attest to this. The things I’ve made that have BLOWN up have ignited within the first couple minutes. Very few delayed reactions. Either it sings, or it doesn’t.

This sort of shelf life is similar in Facebook—but what’s interesting in twitter is that the community tolerates a TON of content before pushing back, so sometimes people that drive a ton of RT’s are also driving a lot of volume.

Posted 2 years ago

The Things That Go Unseen


Big product changes have been afoot among several OATV backed companies in the last few weeks. Some have been met with praise, others met with scorn. In all cases there’ve been bits of both as users embrace or resist some of the new features and behaviors offered up by their beloved services.

As users, we’re just like most. There are parts of each new rev of these products we love, and others we’d wished never saw the light of day. Some we embrace over time and others we pester the companies to roll back. With our user hats on, we appreciate the companies who engage openly in the conversations happening among us.

Seeing founders down to interns monitoring and responding to tweets, blog comments and emails shows a level of caring and community that endears us to these companies and their products even more. We continue to invest our time in them and their products because they invest their time listening to and working with us. 

But as investors, these product launches have an additional layer of meaning. Because what is often seen as new and, sometimes, surprising to users is actually the public manifestation of what has been bouncing around in the heads of founders and behind closed doors of the companies we back for years. 

All the new Explore stuff that Foursquare just rolled out? Dennis shared his vision for that the first time we sat down to talk over 3 years ago. Bitmarking? That’s been something the bitly team has wanted to build for years. 

As I look across our portfolio of companies many have just scratched the surface of the visions they have for the products they want to build and the impact they each hope to have on the world. They are working daily to lay the foundations for building the companies that can build the products that shape the future. Much of that is the thankless stuff that never hits the front page of the NYT.  

Seeing pieces of people’s visions make their way into the real world is a pretty amazing part of our job as investors. And knowing that there is so much more happening that others haven’t even seen yet, that no one may ever see, gives us a view into a part of the startup experience that most will never get.

I dig that.

"Seeing pieces of people’s visions make their way into the real world" indeed.

Posted 2 years ago


UH OH: This Nielsen Data Suggests People Aren’t Watching TV Anymore

A new report from Nielsen, the TV audience ratings and measurement people, shows that the number of people who watched TV at least once per month—a pretty low bar—declined from 90 percent of the population to 83 percent last year.

Proportionately, that means TV lost 8.5 percent of its audience in 2011. As many as 17 percent of people never watch TV, the survey of 28,000 consumers in 56 countries.

That’s a staggering loss of interest in a medium that in industrialized nations is regarded as a standard like electricity or hot running water.

The number of people watching video on a computer at least once per month is now higher, at 84 percent, than those watching TV.

I have yet to download and dig into the report. What I like about it though is that it’s a worldwide number and not just U.S.