How to Get a Duns Number today … For Free

January 16th, 2013 § 0

Short post here guys but hopefully helpful to those of you who love to whine about Apple and their requirement for a DUNS number.

I have probably read 5 articles over the last month saying people have waited weeks or months or even just “Gave up on getting a DUNS number so they could submit their apps to Apple.

As someone who has always been characterized as both resourceful and impatient I found what I suppose some will call a “hack” several years ago to get a DUNS number for free AND do so quickly (like within one business day).

So for those of you who have spent your time writing Blog Posts instead of figuring out a better way around their system here you are:

My Gift to you

“But Zach this is a form to fill out if you need a DUNS number to bid on a Federal Contract?”

Yes, it is, and you saw that job that fit your company perfectly on their website, remember? And then after you got your newly minted DUNS number for FREE and you realized maybe it was not such a good fit? Oh that’s a shame, because now you have no Government contract and just a lowly DUNS number which can be used any time it is needed for any purpose someone would need a DUNS for. I wonder how you’ll ever make use of that useless number now?

This is what you would do if you had spent your precious time and frustration doing if you had learned problem solving skills in school.

Or maybe if you had just heard of that little site called Google but either way you obviously didn’t. So here it is, put up for you served on a silver platter. And just in case you’re also a bit too lazy to click then link here’s a screenshot of the Result on google for … Wait for it … Wait for it:

Get a DUNS number fast

What a bold search that was!

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 10.21.04 AM

You’re welcome, and good luck in business though in my opinion you’re probably better off sticking to your day job.

On the other hand if at some point in the future you have found this article via Google or DuckDuckGo etc. I commend you. Thanks for being the difference you want to see in the world!

Did this article offend you? Make you happy? Make you sad? Feel less resourceful?  You’re welcome to tell me by commenting  on Hacker News if you so desire.

Twitter, I think its time we had that talk …

August 17th, 2012 § 0

So Twitter, you’re getting older now and you’re starting to make some bad decisions.

I think its time we have that talk (no, not the one about where babies come from)

The talk about where REVENUE comes from

Revenue is that ever important thing that you avoid in the board meetings as you “aggressively grow your user base” and “measure social interaction”

Don’t get me wrong those buzzwords are great, and they have led you to several rounds of financing, netted you top tier investors, and helped you build one of the most impressive engineering teams in all of tech. But what those buzzwords do not do is produce dollar bills.

Here’s what will

The one thing we know you have that is truly valuable is not what you are charging for. its your DATA, millions of users give you information that they are willing to tell the world on a daily basis. This is valuable, it teaches you about people’s thoughts, feelings, moods, who they are going to vote for and you probably know really creepy things like who is more likely to get pregnant or go out and drive drunk.

My point is it may seem like its just a little microblogging site where people share what they had for dinner, but in reality they share what is important to them, and people care.

To get to the point we are at with social media today users gave up something huge. PRIVACY. It started with Facebook. The news feed at one time was a BIG deal, The pushback over it was enormous, yet here we are just a few years later and users have all but given up on privacy, people e-blast their lives for all to see.

And you, you’re a huge part of that. You’ve made it fun for people to talk about all sorts of things. This is where your data really becomes valuable.

In fact people love twitter so much they pay for “clients” to more efficiently manage their social lives. Some people simply need an experience different than the one you are providing. That does NOT mean you are somehow failing. That just means others can innovate on what you’ve built as well and you can build an eco-system around your business.

When businesses are profiting from your information there is no problem in asking for a cut.

Imagine an iphone full of apps only Apple created. Doesn’t sound too great does it? Now what about PC’s … what if Gates had not let anyone develop software for PC, Microsoft had made everything we used. Same for the Mac? The world would not be nearly as wonderful a place as it is today.

Let’s take that one step further to the web. What if google chrome only let you browse sites made by google, and Internet Explorer’s only stop on the “information superhighway” was microsoft.com?

But in fact, they did just the opposite, they went out gathering people to write software for their Computers, they went out trying to build an eco-system around their products. They realized very early on that more people developing for their platform meant more revenue for them, and they capitalized on that eco-system. Meanwhile, you’re busy trying to kill your own.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Zach, aren’t you being a bit dramatic here” but honestly that is what you’re doing! You are stifling innovation on one of my generation’s game changing inventions!

Ever since I was a child I’ve thought about ways to make money in business. My main problem with the creation of so many social sharing tech companies was always that I wondered how they would truly monetize.

People say Google has done it, they have a portfolio of free products that pays in dividends on advertising alone. And they do!

But they also provide data that is valuable and they charge for it. Their acquisition of ITA in 2010 is a wonderful example of the value add of providing travel data to startups and established companies in the travel space. This is just one of several products that generates significant revenue at the Mecca in Mountain View. This is not a coincidence.

Twitter, you now have about 175 million registered users. A fair majority of tweeters are passionate about doing so and have even built brands doing so. These users are what compels people to create twitter clients, make lots of calls to your API and keep your servers busy.

I’m sure your thought process is that keeping users on your site, viewing your ads and keeping those ads relevant is what ultimately will earn the revenue that will keep your IPO from becoming the next Facebook-sized disappointment. And you know what, you might be right!

But here’s another thought for you.

Instead of seemingly trying to force only Twitter made clients on users why not charge those who are profiting on your data for it?

Why not benefit from those who benefit from the social web? You helped create what the social web is today. You keep me more informed than my local news in most cases. Heck I got stuck at SFO during a bomb scare and found out what exactly had happened on you a full 45 minutes before any news site in the bay area had put the story on their website.

Really what I am trying to get across here is that the web is social. Twitter is a large part of innovation in the web, why not innovate the way you produce revenue on the web as well.

It just makes sense!

You have built something truly valuable. You deserve to profit from that value.

At one time Paul Graham, regarded by some as the “Godfather of Startups” was asking people to apply to YCombinator with something made on Twitter. Let’s get something straight. He was funding businesses to make money, not blow through it. If he felt businesses built on Twitter were enough to produce real revenue, why do you seem to feel as though you cannot charge for it?

Recently when someone Asked PG if that was still a valid request for startups he gave a much different answer.

“It certainly doesn’t seem as promising a territory as it used to. Not so much because it’s more dangerous as because Twitter hasn’t turned out to be a “platform” in the same sense as say iOS has.”

Why not become that platform? Now is the time to truly innovate. The ball is in your court. What’s your next move?

You’re not the CEO – you’re the Fucking Janitor

June 27th, 2012 § 0

So this post comes to you after me reading a string of one too many “Life of a CEO” or “What its like to be a CEO” posts.

I’m about to hit you with a major dose of REALITY, and you might not like it.

If you’re dreaming about being the CEO of a company you probably aren’t fit to run one. If you think its a lavish lifestyle filled with private planes and swimming pools full of money, you might just have a rude awakening coming.

The life of a CEO is not always glamorous. TechCrunch would like you to think so and so would many of the people who write about it on Hacker News but the reality is you probably are the CEO in title alone. When your company consists of three people but you sign documents as the CEO you should probably put that in prospective, you are TECHNICALLY the CEO but what kind of real power or reach does that give you. It means you were the most capable of a three person team, or perhaps just the one with the most generalized skillset and since you had no specialty CEO was the interim role you filled.

This post first crossed my mind several months ago when I was talking to a startup CEO who I will leave unnamed. he and I were talking about interns and their role in a small organization(this particular one was less than 5) I was encouraging him to be open and let interns have full insight into all facets of the business, openly present ideas and consider them.

I’ll never forget the response he gave me. “Zach, I want you to think about this, how many interns get to go sit down and talk to the CEO of a company about its inner-workings every day? it just does not make sense”

At that point in the conversation I knew it would end soon and in fact it already had in my head. Someone who did not understand something as simple as being humble enough to realize that his small organization needed all the help it could get from any parties interested and invested in giving feedback would probably never see my point of view.

When you’re the CEO of a startup you’re the person who will do ANYTHING, and I do mean ANYTHING to make it succeed.

And here’s how it is in reality:

If you want to be a CEO in the sense that you dream of them you should remember to be the Fucking Janitor too.

What I mean by this is simple and I’ll illustrate it in a quick story when a slightly younger version of myself sat down to get a small business loan at a young age.

As we sifted through the paperwork it took to do a loan the question came up. It was the first time anyone had ever asked me, but its not one I’ll soon forget.

The loan officer looked at me and said “So Zach, what’s your title? Are you the President? The CEO?”

It didn’t take too long for me to spit out what came next. In a tone that could only be used by someone with the inexperience of a person my age (19 or 20 at the time) I looked at him and said “Ryan, last night when I was sweeping the floor I was the Fucking Janitor”.

Ryan laughed, then paused shook his head and said “We’ll go with owner on this one.”

The story is one that displays a combination of things, some arrogance, lots of inexperience and some humility. But one thing I still take away from that years later is that no matter what I do I will always be the Janitor.

My employees never looked at me as a boss but always as a colleague. They knew that if they didn’t pick up that broom to sweep the floor then I certainly would and that led to a much more productive work environment. Everyone knew of the willingness of others to do anything necessary to help make our business a success and that is the kind of attitude that makes winners.

I’d encourage you the next time you start thinking of yourself as the CEO to also remember to always be the Janitor too. It’s great to become someone who is looked up to, or to make an impact, but its even more important to remember where you started and stay true to who you wanted to be before you got to where you are.

So I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll remember to always be the Janitor.

The streets are paved with Pyrite

March 31st, 2012 § 0

Because only fools think it is that easy to find gold.

**Disclaimer … In no way am I a miner and I do not intend my statements about mining further or digging deeper to interpret true into mining**

I am writing this blog post after some reflection and a ton of chance meetings since moving to Silicon Valley a few short months ago.

I arrived back in December.

Me though, I was different from all those other people moving here on a whim. They were chasing hopes and dreams, but me, I was surely chasing destiny.

I had been accepted as part of a team into YCombinator. And that I thought had surely made me special.

I was destined for greatness. There was no way I could fail. After all who hears the bad stories that come out of YC?

That is the attitude of someone who is destined to fail.

And what makes that so hard to say is that I now know I am talking about myself.

I did not fail in most senses. Truth is I have it better than most people my age. At 25 I have never really worked a “real” job, yet I make really good money to do what I love. I play with computers, I write software and I help people. And for some odd reason people pay me to do that. It’s honestly a pretty good feeling.

So I really only failed in the sense that I thought I was different. I thought I was immune. You see when people tell you the streets are paved with gold you really WANT to believe it.

You go to great lengths to do so. Even when deep down you know it’s not true.

The truth is the streets are paved with Pyrite. It looks like gold and if you’re willing to keep digging further below it you might actually find some. but if you’re content to stop when you hit the pyrite and pretend its gold then ultimately you’ll end up the fool.

The valley is a place full of hard knocks and crazy tales. On every corner you meet the guy who is going to be the valley’s next billionaire. I think its not out of line to say I have already met one or two of those people as part of YC last cycle. But just remember for everyone heroin tale you hear about. There are probably 10,000 who came but did not conquer.

You are not immune and you are not special.

I think it is important that you hear that, and that you listen. The only thing that will separate you from everyone else that moved here with the same dreams and goals is your work ethic. And if you aren’t ready to work for it just leave now. Save yourself the time, save yourself the heart ache. This road is not easy and its damn sure not always fun, but the end is even better than all the stories they tell if you make it there.

The truth about me is I did not have enough to lose. My Aunt probably said it best last week at dinner when I made a joke about being out of work after the recent split with my company. She just looked at me and said

“Zach, you’re the wealthiest unemployed person I know.”

Sadly, that was a point I had not yet thought of. Although she probably was not kidding. The truth is I had very little to lose in coming here.

My girlfriend came with me. She was putting much more at risk than me. She left a school and friends she knew for an unknown place and an internship with a company which at the time really only existed on paper.

I was the lucky one here. I even got a fortune cookie a few weeks before I left that said this:

Lucky

Now that was only a piece of paper stuffed inside of what some would call a funny shaped sugar tart, but in my case it probably was the truth.

The reality is that I’ve worked hard and earned what I have, but most of the struggle was too long ago, I don’t remember much of the suffering I went through to get here and I thought by the time I moved to the Valley I was different, I was a “Chosen One”.

The truth is no one is “Chosen” and everyone who makes it does so not by being the best at what they do but by working their asses off.

You can get to the valley in lots of ways, whether you’re accepted into YCombinator or get in on a late night greyhound only to sleep on the streets with your macbook pro.

The one thing that matters is that you know what’s in store for you.

It’s a long hard road, but it’s a damn fun ride.

Get ready for ups and downs. Get ready for twists and turns. One day you’ll be on top of the world and the next you’ll feel like the whole world is on your shoulders.

But you’ll get so much further if you just remember this one thing.

The streets … They are paved with Pyrite. Because only fools think it is that easy to find gold.

So you want to apply to Ycombinator …

March 29th, 2012 § 0

First of all let me start this by saying I was a member of the W2012 cycle of YC … That’s right, I said “WAS”.

Through the roughly 3 and a half months I spent either knowing I was a part of or actually attending the dinners, office hours etc. at YC I can honestly say I learned. I learned a lot.

In this blog post I will give you some tips on what to do to get noticed. What to do to get accepted. and what to do to do what I could not … FINISH.

TL;DR … just don’t bother going any further, if you lack the dedication and commitment to reading a single blog post about applying to something that will literally change your life, you simply aren’t cut out to be accepted anyhow.

1. Know your Co-founders. Know them so well that their parents would be ashamed to sit through a knowledge competition about their own child against you. This is far and away the MOST important aspect of going through YC.

Going in we thought companies never had founder problems, truth is lots of companies do, in fact it would be nearly fair to say a majority of companies do. But knowing your co-founders will resolve most of this fairly quickly and rationally. If you are thinking about applying with people you kind of know, or are casual acquaintances with just stop thinking about it. Would you get married to that semi-hot chick you’ve been on two dates with? Yea me neither. So why would you start a company with some person you get a good “vibe” from but have only met a few times or never really seen all facets of their personality.

Part of me truly wishes there were more obvious larger consequences for this. With sexual partners there are STD’s which sometimes cause people to think twice. I so often wish that business partnerships had the same obvious consequences.

The truth is the consequences of a bad business partnership are probably worse. They cause more stress and more hard feelings than most personal (or sexual) relationships ever would. You walk away and whether or not you “win or lose” does not really matter. You are emotionally battered and bruised. Nothin can compare to this feeling so unless you’ve been a part of a bad business relationship you probably won’t understand this. But if you have, just know you’re not alone, it hurts and it sucks, but others have been through this too.

2. Know your strengths and have clearly defined roles.

It’s great to have a killer idea that is going to make billions of dollars, but what is much more important than that is knowing the strengths of yourself and everyone else on your team. Ideas change, markets change, businesses change, but people … they rarely do.

So if you have the perfect team for that great new photo sharing app that everyone is surely to dump instagram for because your mom told you it was fantastic still take the time to figure out what everyone on your team is best at. Know that one person will negotiate, one person will represent the company to investors etc. if the others dont have the time or are not available. Know that one person will write the code and own it, even the code of the others who are contributing.

Truly knowing what everyone on your team’s strengths are is something that will be a great strength in the bad times. You will have a time when a trying situation comes up. You need to know who schmoozes best via email and can make up for that poorly worded comment one of you let slip in a meeting because you were working on a few hours sleep. Those little things are the ones that can make or break you. They can lose you a million bucks but they can make you a billion depending on how you recover.

3. Know your market and where you fit into it.

if you think you are going to unseat facebook as the biggest and best social network on the planet that is fine but you better damn well know why and how you plan on making that happen. You cannot simply just say you are better. you ACTUALLY have to BE BETTER.

If you’re going to start with some sort of viral marketing campaign that’s great, they work … but how are you going to retain those signups after they’ve gotten there. what is going to keep their attention and make them choose you.

Got all of that info for me? Great now condense it all into two sentences.

Yep that’s right. 2 sentences is about all you’re going to get to make your impression on YC. So they better be well formed, well thought out and you damn well be ready to defend anything you say within them.

4. Stand out

This seems like a simple concept but few people do it. You only have so many ways to make people remember you. Do it in a clever way and get noticed. For us, I bought clever domain names (it also helped that we had a rather stellar crew on our application) for others it was viral twitter campaigns.

For just about anyone applying I would recommend doing what we did. Reach out to YC founders you know and dont know. If you don’t know them try to get to know them. have a skype chat or buy them a beer. ask for a recommendation from them to pg or one of the other partners. Even if that rec is as simple as hey i met so and so and he seems like a smart guy with a good grasp on what it takes to run a company, you guys should bring them in for an interview.

Those recs go a long way with the partners and are a huge part of the reason we got the interview in the first place.

5. Be confident, not arrogant

One of my favorite phrases is “If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with Bullshit.”

That however, will not work on YC partners. These are some of the smartest men and women you are likely to ever step into a room with and they don’t fall for tricks. If you’re the best at something then that is great, you’ve accomplished something and you should be proud to say it. But if you aren’t, just be forthcoming.

They expect you to have faults and will not exclude you because of those you disclose. The only flaws you will be punished for in life are the ones you try to hide. That holds true when applying to YC as well.

Arrogance can quickly be aligned with being an “asshole” and lets be honest, noone likes an asshole.

6. Be Committed. If you aren’t, its probably obvious

You’re doing yourself and lots of other applicants a disservice if you apply to YC and you aren’t committed to what you are doing. It’s a big part of the reason I am not re-applying this cycle.

Everyone should be 100% committed to their idea or at the least their partners and the idea of building a business with them. If you aren’t ready with or without YC to start building something great for yourself and by yourself. You aren’t really ready to apply and you should probably not waste your time or theirs.

Now, with all that said, if you’re still ready to apply then good luck!

shoot me your application if you want a fresh set of eyes to look over it ill be glad to help where I can.

If this post has made you think twice about your application it does not necessarily mean you don’t have what it takes to be a part of YC it probably just means you need to think about what exactly you are doing more clearly and be honest with yourself.

Maybe now is not the time to apply, perhaps next cycle would be better? Maybe you should get another year of experience at that programming job you just took before making the leap.

Maybe you just aren’t cut out to run a company (it takes a strange person to love this). Honestly no one knows except for you, but take your time and don’t waste theirs. Realize that what you are making is a decision that truly can affect the rest of your life, or at the very least the next few years of it.

We’re measuring success the wrong way

September 24th, 2011 § 0

Like many of us that spend way too much time on Hacker News I have recently begun to feel a bit of concern for how success is viewed.

Today so many people talk less about the small successes like Patio11′s bingo card creator in favor of those founders who hit home runs or who sold a company.

As someone who sold a company, let me just tell you. You are measuring success the wrong way.

I’m 24 and I made something happen once. Does this make me a superhero? Nope. Many people are surprised to hear that I do not think I am even a particularly good programmer. Chance and Circumstance are the two words I would use to describe an exit for most people.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I suck at my job or that everyone who sells something is incompetent. What I am saying is simply this.

Winning (in code) should not only be measured by those who do something huge. It’s the small victories that allow great things to be born. And many of those things come from something with much smaller ambitions. Having a sucessful app that pays your bills and allows you to chase your dreams is just as powerful as an exit.

You may not drive a Lamborghini or dine in the finest Restaurants in NYC but make no mistake about it. You ARE a success.

Lately when I talk to people they always seem to think I should feel like some sort of greater being or that I should cast myself as a mentor or someone to look up to. In reality, I look up to those that are trying to create something just as much as they think they should look up to me.

It’s HARD to go out on your own take a risk and put yourself on the line when that’s all you’ve got.

I’ve been at hard places in life, I have chosen between toilet paper and toothpaste (seriously, and dont ask)

And I know what it’s like to be in their shoes. Those guys are a success story.

Failing is what all entrepreneurs do before they succeed. The guys you’ve never heard of know that you only haven’t heard of them YET.

So here’s to you and your success story! Be proud of yourself and what you’re doing. Chase your dreams and live a little. Life is short, if starting a company or having something all your own is something you’ve always dreamed of make that jump.

One way or another you will become your own success story. The truth is those of us that have failed can tell you that we learned a lot more from our failures than our successes.

If you enjoyed this post you should follow me on twitter @zbruhnke or Subscribe to my blog

Interesting iPhone 5 video

August 10th, 2011 § 0

So I saw this little screen cast tonight on the newest page of Hacker News and immediately thought it may get taken down and paid to go away before most of the world got to see it. That being said I did what any self respecting hacker would do, downloaded to my hard drive, saved to my dropbox and S3 accounts and I am now choosing to share that exact video with you guys. enjoy!

Now honestly after watching the video a few times through it seems pretty obvious it’s a fake video and more than likely not what the actual iPhone 5 looks like, but it is fun to speculate.

So what do you guys think? What will/should the next gen iPhone look like?

Sorry Apple! if its any consolation, I am sure I will be one of your first iphone 5 customers ;)

Why something as simple as a survey could save Groupon

June 3rd, 2011 § 0

So admittedly this title is a little bit unfair, Obviously Groupon is still very much alive and it will probably be a hot stock when its recently filed for IPO hits the market in the near future, but it certainly will not be because I purchased it (nor would that make a significant effect).

In the wake of the announcement of their S-1 filing and their subsequent release of a balance sheet the blogosphere has been sent into a frenzy of “Why groupon is hemorrhaging money” and the like, so I thought I would take a different approach.

Instead of looking at how much Groupon is spending or where they could be saving or even analyzing their balance sheet at all I will make a humble suggestion that would get Groupon at LEAST one more customer (myself) and a chance at tapping markets they probably have not touched yet.

While the daily deal is a fun concept for many out there it doesn’t exactly work for a guy like me because I am not necessarily interested in what store in Shreveport, LA has cupcakes on sale today nor will I care about the offer of 20% off at Sephora next week.

BUT what if Groupon were to give me a simple survey upon signup, and (hopefully) even continue to just watch the kind of deals I have chosen to buy as a customer after I had already signed up and only sent me deals I would be interested in. Facebook has already proven that this method is effective in advertising, so why wouldn’t it work here?

I would love to know if Best Buy was offering a new plasma at 30% off or if a popular app is on sale in the “App store” (Dear Apple, App store IS a generic term, but please don’t sure me if you do not agree)

That’s actually the reason I subscribe to AppSumo and not Groupon. It’s because I want deals that are catered to ME not just anyone who lives in a 20 mile radius of the nearest tire store selling hubcaps for $25 off their usual price today.

There are several reasons I think this business model is better, but I’ll break it down into two fundamental purposes for this blog post.

1. More people are compelled to sign up if they are only getting deals that are truly relevant to them and not necessarily tied directly to their geographic region (lots of us like to travel, hell I’m sure cheap AA frequent flier miles would be a big ticket hit for a site like Groupon) it essentially allows them to reach each consumer with a more potent message, not just a “one size fits all” deal of the day.

2. It opens up to even more merchants who are probably less likely to use Groupon now because of this new found ability to provide specialized audiences. I am a geek, my friends are geeks and if I get a geeky deal of the day from groupon and post it on facebook my geeky friends are likely to follow my lead and do the same. (simple math, err reasoning, oh heck lets just call it common sense at work here) Not to mention it allows for multiple deals in every city each day opening up the already monumental revenue streams.

I’m sure this seems too simple to help to some people reading this post.

Andrew Mason may read this post one day and laugh while collecting the Billions of Dollars he is sure to be worth if Groupon’s success continues.

But its my opinion on the issue for what its worth and at face value. take it as just that.

At the end of the day I’m just one guy, raised in a middle class American family trying to slowly make my dent in the universe, this article probably won’t do that for me but maybe someone will take note and take my advice.

If there is one thing I have learned in business so far it is that there is only one way to acquire customers, And that way is one customer at a time, even if your business is Group Buying :)

Text my gate operator to open? I think so (Thanks Twilio!)

May 20th, 2011 § 2

As some of you know I have a project going on but with it hanging in the balance because of a “sort of” competitor’s site failing I have taken to doing some things for fun, doing a lot more toying around with API’s and general tinkering with code.

One of those things happens to solve a problem for my Dad’s company.

The back story goes like this … My Dad is old school, he’s what most people would call a Man’s Man he buys Rugged Phones and only has internet at his house because I “borrowed” his neighbors with the help of aircrack-ng and repeated it in his house. he does not believe in having a data plan on his phone at all but has recently taken to text messaging. However we own a company together which sells access control products of all types and he often finds himself helping customers troubleshoot operators all over the southwest region if they can’t figure it out. He is kind of the “go to guy” in the area.

In my curiosity I wondered if I could somehow build an app with the Twilio API that lets him send commands to gate operators when he was out on a job site. That curiosity led to my first proof of concept and an idea for a budding potential business.

Basically it works like this, Dad will send a text to a designated number and based on the content of the message (obviously using arrays here) it can respond by initiating a POST action on the REST API and calling the operator to perform said action.

The Really unique part about this vs others you have probably recently read about? It does not use the Arduino open source protyping platform, but simple DTMF tones meaning no hardware installation on the users part and less upfront costs!

So far I only have this working with Doorking systems and it still needs alot of tweaking before an initial beta release, but I would love to hear some feedback from some of you who may or may not find it useful. As someone who has lived in several gated communities I know I would love it, it elminates the need for me to have to buy a remote (which are often overpriced by the communities in order to turn a handsome profit) and also lets me in without having to roll down my window in the rain if I am using a code because I do not have the remote with me.

What I plan on having in place eventually is a way to add systems to the arrays via text message (you have to know the master code to program these systems which is what keeps this secure) and to program any feature you could program in with the downloadable doorking software without access to a computer or having to access the server Doorking has setup to dial into the phone systems.

I’d love to hear what you think about this project and whether or not you think its useful … feel free to use the Contact form on this site or just drop a comment below.

Your website is not a project … and your project is not a startup

March 19th, 2011 § 0

It seems like in recent weeks there has been quite a bit of debate on one of my favorite sites (Hacker News) about what comprises a “startup” and what is a “project”.

This topic is increasingly popular as of late because it seems like everyone who has ever built a website in the past few months wants to call it a “startup”

Let’s lay a few things to rest right now. Your website that you threw together in a couple of hours, that is NOT a project, and it certainly is not a startup.

A project is something that is ongoing and takes time and goals to complete. You may launch the project in a short amount of time, but it will be something you continue to work on as time progresses. A project will never be something you simply throw up on the web and rarely tinker with, I am honestly not sure what you should classify that as besides a waste of server space, but it should never be thought of as a project.

In the same sense just because you are working on something on an ongoing basis and trying to release or already have released an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that does not mean you are running a startup, in fact most startups would probably consider that an insult. A startup is a small up-start (hence the startup name) company who’s founders very likely are still working themselves into the ground and are living and breathing their work on a daily basis. They have probably released an MVP already and work on it continually. The founders do not have day jobs typically. They have dedicated their lives for better or worse to this business and are drawing their paychecks (or in many cases, lack thereof) directly out of this new company.

As someone who has worked on all three phases of this spectrum I think I am uniquely qualified to make these comparisons. I have sold one company that I would’ve considered a startup, I have had several websites past and present, and I am almost always working on multiple projects.

If someone asks me what I am doing for a living I typically answer “just playing” although that is much to my Dad’s dismay since I do own a local small business with him as well. If you were to go to my Linkedin you would see that I mostly identify myself as being a tech and/or database consultant. Since I have spent the better part of my adult life in and around databases i will be the first person to tell you there is almost nothing you cannot equate to a database and likewise there is very little you can build without them.

Currently I am working on a “project” which I have slowly began to devote my time to however until I am fully committed and have additional funding secured for it I will still consider it just a project.

Please use caution when throwing around these words in the real world. People get offended. Some even become violent, often times its not because they are onerous so much as they know what it means to dedicate their life to something and when another person compares that level of dedication with something they threw together on a friday night after a few beers, I hope we can all see why that could be a bit frustrating.

So when you are done reading this article I hope you re-consider what it is that you are actually doing the next time you launch a website, start a project, or even build a startup. For your sake and all of ours, please know the difference, because chances are if you don’t then more than likely you will fail to accomplish what you want from that endeavor.

What are you working on? what do you consider it? l’d love to hear your thoughts on this article