March 22, 2012

Another life saved by modern technology - this time it was Twitter

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It happened again. Yesterday, another life was saved by modern technology - this time it was Twitter. We have written a post earlier about how Facebook and Skype have saved 8 people's lives. This is what happened:

The story involves 3 main characters - 2 of them are anonymous here since their twitter accounts are still available online:
  • @woman - the person who wanted to commit suicide
  • @man - the person who alerted the police through Twitter
  • @yb_sodermalm - the police officers who are using Twitter in their service

Here's the conversation (translated from Swedish):
  1. @woman: I'm alone at a hotel in Stockholm and everyone who cares about me are in Skåne (southern part of Sweden). There's only evil here
  2. @woman: sorry
  3. @man: @yb_sodermalm trying to reach @woman now! Hotel in Stockholm
  4. @yb_sodermalm: @man @woman why?
  5. @man: @yb_sodermalm talking about committing suicide
  6. @yb_sodermalm: On Twitter? Which hotel? If you found out - call 112 (911 in Sweden)
  7. @yb_sodermalm: @woman Hello the police from Södermalm (part of Stockholm) here. We want to help you. Where are you?
  8. @woman: @yb_sodermalm I'm at the rv hotel. can you help me? room 629. i cant take it any more
  9. @yb_sodermalm: We are coming immediately. Don't do anything stupid!
  10. @yb_sodermalm: We have arrived to the woman - she is physically unharmed

March 19, 2012

Similarities between creating a startup and the stock market

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  1. You can spend a lot of time with it - and you can still fail. When working at a startup, you can easily spend 80 hours a week trying to create a great company - but you can still fail. The same when investing/trading stocks, you can draw complicated charts, read every line in the annual report - but you can still fail. 
  2. No-one knows anything. There are many "experts" claiming they know what the next big idea is or how the stock market is going to behave the next year. The truth is: no-one knows anything. Gold may go up tomorrow and Twitter may be the next social network - but no-one can tell what is going to happen in the future.
  3. It is not as easy at it seems. You hear a lot about those who made money trading stocks and those who made money creating startups - but the failures are often forgotten. Those "over-night" successes are not as common as it seems.  
  4. There's no magic formula. You can read many books about trading and many books about startups, but you can't find a formula which guarantees your success. It is possible to find guidelines from books like "The Lean Startup", but those guidelines don't guarantee success. The same with the stock market, it is possible to use what the trader Paul Tudor Jones used and the theories the investor Warren Buffett used, but you are still not guaranteed to make money from it. 
  5. Different sectors are more popular than others. Common startups today are social networks and sites where you share stuff. Everyone watched the movie "The Social Network" and many people believe they can be the next Mark Zuckerberg. The same with stocks during the IT-bubble, everyone saw how much money everyone else made investing in IT-stocks. 
  6. It is possible to make a lot of money from both. Warren Buffett made money from investing in stocks and Mark Zuckerberg made money from creating a startup.
  7. Ups and downs. When trading stocks you experience hell and heaven from one day to another - the same with startups. One day you think that you are going to get killed by Google, the next day you think that you are going to kill Google. One day you think that you are making millions from investing in stocks, the next day you think that you are going to lose it all because the market is moving against you. 
  8. Cut your losses short. When trading it is important to cut your losses short and sell when you have a loss if something unexpected has happened. Many people are saving the position and they hope that they are going to make the money back if they wait. But what if the investment is Enron which never made it back? The same with a startup - know when to change direction. You may have lost money, but you need to take the decision to sell, and be able to fight another day. 
  9. You might get killed in one day. Google might release a competitor and the stock you have invested in might have cheated with their risk analysis - like Enron and Long Term Capital Management - and you might lose everything in one day.  
  10. The boring stuff are probably the best. Invest in boring companies like Peter Lynch did and create a startup involved in something boring (but with less competition). But when you make money in the end, it's not boring anymore.

March 15, 2012

How Facebook helped to save 8 people's lives

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1
Last weekend a man's life was saved thanks to modern internet services. This is what happened: One person in Sweden wanted to commit suicide and decided to write about it on Facebook. One of his friends in the US read the note on Facebook and decided to call 112 (the equivalent to 911 in Sweden) through Skype. The Swedish police rushed to his apartment and they had to break in before they found the person unconscious in the apartment. The man's heart had stopped beating, but the police officers managed to revive him, and the man's life was saved.

2 and 3
This was however not the first time someone was saved by Facebook and other internet services. One other story happened in Salt Lake City in the US. One woman and her 17-month-old baby were held hostages in a house for 5 days. The woman wrote on Facebook that both her and her son would be dead by the morning if not someone helped them. But someone read the note and the police rushed to the house and they were saved.

4
The fourth life being saved was a 2-year-old girl with the name Grace. Her mother had posted a picture of her on Facebook. A nurse who was a friend to the family saw the picture but noticed something strange: the girl had white pupils - not red. It was a sign of eye cancer. This turned out to be true, the girl had 2 tumours and she later lost sight in her left eye. If the cancer had not been spotted in time, the girl might not have survived.

5
The fifth incident happened when Cindy Lincoln fell and broke her femur. The phone was in another room, but the computer with Facebook was next to her. She posted a 911 call for help, a relative saw the post, and rushed over to her house together with help.

6
Peter Casaru, the sixth life being saved, woke up from his bed in Britain and realized that he was almost paralyzed. The battery in his mobile phone had died, but he managed to reach his laptop. He wrote on Facebook:
''Can someone call 999, Ambulance for me, I need one now. I have fractued my back. dtuck ob floor. no phone abd glasses, toucvh typing. please help me."
His friends in the US saw the note, and they called the emergency number in Britain. Soon, the ambulance reached Peter Casaru's home.

7
The seventh life being saved was a British teenager who wanted to commit suicide. The 16-year-old boy talked on Facebook with a girl in the US. He said:
"I'm going away to do something I've been thinking about for a while then everyone will find out." 
The girl did not know where the British boy lived, but she told her parents about it. The parents contacted the British Embassy in Washington DC, who contacted Scotland Yard. They knew what the name of the boy was and they knew that he lived somewhere in Oxford. 3 hours after the boy had talked to the girl on Facebook, he was found alive - but had taken a drug overdose.

8
The eighth incident happened when a man in the US barricaded himself with a gun - in a backyard shed. He told his wife:
"I'm going to do something to make the cops kill me."
The shed did not have a phone, but it did have a computer and the man had a Facebook account. The police rushed to the place and the hostage negotiator sent a Facebook friend request to the man and he accepted it. They began to talk on Facebook and after 45 minutes, the man gave up and walked out from the shed.

Source: Expressen (in Swedish), Daily Mail, Daily Mail, Gizmodo, International Business Times, Medindia, CBS Local - Tampa

March 13, 2012

Why is everyone spending time at Hackathons and not at Sellathons?

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I've learned that 5 percent of a business is the idea, 15 percent is the product, and 80 percent is the selling. The number one reason companies fail is because they do not know how to sell? Isn't it better to spend more time at "Sellathons" learning how to sell - and less time at Hackathons?

March 6, 2012

Hacker News traffic from the beginning

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Paul Graham just released the traffic to Hacker News over the last 4 years. I wonder if Trejdify (a similar service) will experience the same growth?


March 3, 2012

You will always be unhappy with your product!

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Quote:
" ...many of us working to make our products great will never be satisfied. A great man once said, your product is shit – and maybe you will always think it is. Yet at the same time, it is our creative struggle with what we do that ultimately makes our creations better and better. And one day, even if you still think your product stinks, you’ll watch a customer use it and become delighted."

Source: andrewchen