7 Things This Week – Week 21

Monday, May 27th, 2013

My seven things I read this week and found interesting or useful — Hackers rising, Google’s Secret lab, Open office plans are not the answer, Steve Jobs’ negotiation tactics…

What I read this week:

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Interesting things what I read this week. Collected from my Kippt

Stop developing for the 90% use case

“Don’t do half-assed products”

Why I abandoned my startup | The McBride Network

“We met up later that night and talked about this. My immediate defensive reaction was to explain my 5 year plan, as I had rehearsed: “I’ll be at Solve for X soon enough. I just have to sell this mobile shopping company for $200M and then I can actually pursue my dream of solving the world’s water problems.”

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout – NYTimes.com

Should incorporate this to my daily routine

The New Stealth | Let’s push things forward. by Edward Aten

The new stealth is about silent or invisible testing

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease

Or it’s actually linked to processed salt

How to solve the ‘sharing huge design files amongst teams’ problem

Interesting approach using BitTorrent


“Bunny hide’s its wireless mesh communication traffic. Bunny wraps all data in and out in a layer of obfoscation, it does this by passively listening to the local wireless and building a model of ‘average’ traffic.”

To get more things like these, you should follow me on Kippt

What to think about Google Glass

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Like many, I’m curious about Google Glass. I started a collecting Google Glass stories on Kippt:

Google Glass by another Kippt user, kkelley:

Meet the New Kippt

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

For the past 4 months we have worked hard to build the best way for professionals, like designers, developers, journalists and researches all-alike to collect and build their library online.

Check the video and give it a try:

Made with Quicktime & Adobe Premiere Pro. Music by our friends at Phantom

Hacking Design and Not Dying

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

We had a talk recently at Slush 2012 startup conference about how we’re building Kippt with hacking design and generally being nice guys.

In Defense of the Best

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of my favorite books. It’s a bestseller, but I think it’s a great journey into the philosophy of science and art, and the metaphysics of quality.

The book contrasts this with our fascination with the new, and the new media driving us to lose the ability to discuss and connect deeply with things or people (and this was written in early 70s).

Zen the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, Chapter 6:

Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its bank.

“What’s new?” is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow.

I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question “What is best?,” a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. ”

The text might sound like a complaint against “modern times”, how everything was better before. Our world is now better in many regards, but it can end up worse if we can’t find balance.

“What’s new” drives most of the popular sites and our consciousness. What are the scandals and news of today? What new your friends are doing? Twitter’s homepage literally says, “Find out what’s happening, right now”. Like tabloids, there is something new every today, and which is gone by tomorrow. Are we actually gaining anything?

Whether the internet has always been like that, I’m not sure. But it’s definitely accelerating towards faster and smaller bits. Filling up every spare moment, these things also invade our minds.

Where are the sites, apps or avenues that answers “What’s best?”. Is there even a place for them?

I think there is, but it’s a battle against addiction and instant gratification. Jason Hreha, notes his GigaOm article When did addiction become a good thing?:

At best, many of the products we’re building are time wasters. At worst, they’re the addictive equivalents of cigarettes — irresistible cheap thrills that feel good in the moment, but are destructive in the long run. “Addictive” products are rampant in our lives — Facebook, Farmville (or any Zynga game), Twitter, Pinterest. The list goes on and on.

I think Quora is a one counter example. It’s a great site, offering the best answers by connecting and exposing the valuable knowledge people have. Longform promotes quality and deep content.

So how to have more media and products like these? What qualities should they have? Where do they fit in our daily lives? And how we define success for them?

One of the things to consider is the economies of sites and products. Right now, most of the free, advertising driven sites rely traffic, engagement or selling in-game goods. More addicted you’re are, the better. The products of non-addiction obviously shouldn’t be measured on those metrics, and probably should rely on different models than traditional online advertising.

Fortunately, product wise, I think they can be almost anything. They can more focused on specific things like Instagram has. They can be about making something disappear or more delightful like Square does.

I don’t think you can build sustaining business on top of addiction. There will be always new addictions, and I hope we get tired of them all at some point.

Continue the discussion in HN

Jiro’s Dream

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Jiro Dreams of Sushi. My friends have been recommending it to me for a while, but haven’t had the time to check out. Today I noticed that it was available on Amazon Instant Video (free for Prime customers) so watched it.

It was amazing. I’m a fan of sushi, but even more, I’m a fan of people who care about their craft. I don’t think I can ever have that kind of dedication for 75 years, but I can be inspired by people like Jiro.

One theme you notice in the movie, is that Jiro only works with the best people. His fish vendor buys only the best fish of the day. His rice supplier sells rice only to people like Jiro, “who can cook it the right way”. These people don’t work with Jiro because of the money, but because they are also dedicated to their craft and want to work with the best people.

My favorite scene was the part where Jiro talks about good taste. It’s the same thing Paul Graham talks about in Taste for Makers, Steve Jobs thinks Great products are triumphs of taste and John Gruber references in the Auteur Theory of Design.

Here is Jiro’s take:

In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food. You need to develop a palate capable of discerning good and bad. Without a good taste, you can’t make good food.

If your sense of taste is lower than that of customers, how will you impress them?

It’s great to hear that from a 85-year-old Japanese sushi chef, who I’m pretty sure doesn’t know anything about tech blogs. Like sushi chefs, we as founders, designers or developers, need to develop our tastes, in order to build things people can be impressed about.

I don’t have an definite answer to how to to develop your tastes, but I’ve found out that appreciating and understanding culture helps. I think it’s safe to assume that beauty is part of our human mind and it’s defined further or distorted by culture.

So I read books, both new and classic. I look up and go see art when I can. I try out new apps, and try to learn from their designs or solutions. I collect my inspirations, essays and resources. I try to eat delicious food, go to beautiful places, and surround my self only with well designed things.

I don’t know which works, or which is the most useful, but I feel that I learn both about the good and the bad.

Continue the discussion on Hacker News

Does it make you win?

Monday, August 13th, 2012

(Published in Kippt Blog)

When you get forward with your startup, you tend to come up with more and more ideas. Talking with users helps with this. Problem is, not all ideas are that big.

Recently we had really good discussion with a friend about improvements and feature ideas for Kippt. After a while, he simply asked:

Does it make you win?

For many of our ideas, the answer was no.

For each startup, winning means a different thing. First you need to get something out that works. Then you need to get 10 people using it, and maybe after you get to 100 or 10 000 users.

It’s about multipliers. Each step is a huge multiplier and win. From nothing to 10, from 10 to 100. When you get forward, it’s gets relatively harder and harder, about come up with things that would make you tenfold again.

Advice like that sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget in the midst of the daily grind and while reading all kinds of crazy threads about growth hacking and open graph. You come up with lots of cool ideas, but not all them are that big ideas.

It’s still good stop to think about what you’re actually doing. Why did you start this in the first place? Who is you using your service now?

The most important question is – what would make you win?

Slides from the Startup Sauna Product Design Workshop

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Jori and I recently did a Product Design workshop for Startup Sauna where we used Fred Wilson’s 10 Golden Principles For Building Successful Web Applications – the exact same principles that we use to build Kippt!

The Collison Brothers and Story Behind The Founding Of Stripe

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The team’s friends in turn invited their friends. “Initially it very much spread through a word of mouth process. That was surprising to us because it’s a payment system not a social network so it’s not something you’d think would have any virality whatsoever. But it became clear that everything else was so bad and so painful to work with that people actually were selling this to their friends

Cool story. (via startupgrind.com →)

Karri Saarinen

Web product designer.
Founder of Kippt (YC S12), ArcticStartup and Rails Girls.