Pinterest’s Unlikely Journey To Top Of The Startup Mountain



Editor’s note: Derek Andersen is founder ofCommonred and Startup Grind. Follow him on Twitter @derekjandersen.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some of the Valley’s best entrepreneurs and investors at Startup Grind. People like Naval RavikantKevin RoseTony ConradMG SieglerJeff Clavier, and others have inspired us with stories and trials they have overcome to get where they are.

In February we hosted Pinterest co-founder (andnow officially CEO) Ben Silbermann in Palo Alto. He is one of the most humble entrepreneurs I have met in my seven years in Silicon Valley. The story of Pinterest’s founding is more valuable to me than most startups because it is a reflection of what a lot of founders who regularly read TechCrunch go through in the everyday startup grind.

Pinterest’s founders are smart guys, but they’re not prodigies. The product is huge now, but no one liked it when it launched. They weren’t well funded and for a very long time. These are things that normal, non-rock star entrepreneurs like me (and maybe you) can relate to.

Founder Background

Raised by doctors in Des Moines Iowa, Ben assumed he would follow the same path as his parents. He attended Yale University starting in 1999 and soon realized that he didn’t want to be doctor. After a consulting gig in Washington DC, he headed to Silicon Valley in 2006 to join Google working in customer support and sales.

“I felt the story of my time was happening in California,” he said. “I didn’t have a specific plan I just wanted to be closer to something that felt really exciting. Google was the first company I worked for that was thinking really big.” Seguir leyendo “Pinterest’s Unlikely Journey To Top Of The Startup Mountain”

Oink’s Data Privacy Breach: Download the Data of Any User with Their Own Export Tool

When Oink shut down yesterday, I used their export tool so that I could do something useful with the information I gave them. In requesting my data, which I did simply by filling out a form with only my username, I received the email below. In looking at the link, it seemed that my publicly available username (cristina) called for the download.

Oink Data Download Email >>> Seguir leyendo “Oink’s Data Privacy Breach: Download the Data of Any User with Their Own Export Tool”

Email Overload Fix: 3 Sentence Emails

Jon Orlin | //

Email is taking up too much time in our lives.

Do yourself and your recipients a favor by making your emails 3 sentences or less.

If we all do it, imagine the time we’ll have to do other things.

If this was an actual email reply and not a blog post, it would have ended before this sentence started. I’ve been trying a new solution to email overload by limiting emails to 3 sentences or less. You can learn the details in just 5 sentences at The basic concept is to treat all email replies like SMS messages. I take this one step further and try to write initial emails in 3 sentences or less whenever possible.

I first learned about 3 sentence emails from a post by Kevin Rose, where he lists 5 good email time saving tips.

The inbox has become the “dreaded inbox” for so many people. A recent study by Xobni claimed 1 in 5 Americans check email either as the first thing they do in the morning or the last thing at night. 26% of Americans feel they can’t handle or feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive during vacation. Another report [PDF] by The Radicati Group says the typical corporate user sends 36 emails and receives 61 legitimate emails during the average day. An IDC study estimates email consumes an average of 13 hours per week per information worker.

Since starting at TechCrunch TV, I get about 100 to 200 emails a day which require action or a response. The newly launched Google Priority Inbox, which is getting postive reviews, helps. Although venture investor Jeff Clavier discovered it can make some mistakes. Google decided his wife’s emails weren’t important. Not good. Seguir leyendo “Email Overload Fix: 3 Sentence Emails”

Why Tech Nerds Love Flying Virgin America

BY Mark Borden

This interview is part of our ongoing series related to The Influence Project.

Last month, Virgin America teamed up with the online influence measurement company Klout to promote their new routes between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Toronto. The campaign offered free tickets to select influencers–with no strings attached. I spoke with Virgin America’s social media manager Jill Fletcher about managing an airborne viral campaign, how Virgin became the airline of choice for the nerd set, and the customer service challenges presented when everyone on board is connected.

How did the idea of giving influencers free flights for the new Virgin America Toronto leg come about?

We have a network of influencers who are very supportive of our brand. We have a close relationship with Jeff Pulver and Guy Kawasaki and Xeni Jardin who fly constantly and are always tweeting about us.

We saw the influencer program as a way to extend that network. We thought of it as an experiment to see what kind of reach we could get working with people outside of our existing relationships.

In addition to the flights being free, there was no demand for coverage, right?

Exactly. It was a new route and our first international destination so we wanted to spur trial and give people an opportunity to take a flight on Virgin America.

Seguir leyendo “Why Tech Nerds Love Flying Virgin America”


A marathon of personal addresses from Isaiah makes the web smell a little spicier

Fans of Old Spice‘s Man Your Man Could Smell Like, aka actor Isaiah Mustafa, got a special treat yesterday as the man himself devoted a marathon number of rapid-fire video responses to admirers on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit.

Offering advice, suggestions, support and even in one case a marriage proposal, Mustafa and a shock team of writers, uploaders and social network liaisons managed to dispatch a frighteningly large number of responses with very little delay, in one of the best examples of real-time, spontaneous marketing seen to date.

The effort kicked off with a widely-noticed get-well-soon message to Digg founder Kevin Rose and spread quickly, eventually reaching more Twitter bigs like Ashton Kutcher, Biz Stone of Twitter and Alyssa Milano. Celebrity and commoner alike graced with Mustafa’s pronouncements were compelled to share, extending the reach of the effort to networks of followers large and small. The team churned out some 117 videos in about twelve hours. Seguir leyendo “OLD SPICE / TALK TO OLD SPICE GUY”