The Uptake

by Brad McCarty

Lessons learned, words written

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Stupid Things Startups Do: Hiring

I’m on a bit of a rant today, as those folks who follow me on Twitter might have noticed. But I’m once again reminded of the completely idiotic thing that startups and tech companies are doing, which are only serving to hurt the companies in the long run.

I think this is going to be a series of blog posts, so I’m going to tackle one topic at a time. First up on the list:

Hiring Based on Education

Are we really still doing this crap? It’s 2013 and you’re still posting your entry-level positions with a requirement for a BS or MBA? You’re posting jobs that have a category requirement of 0-2 years of experience, only to tell someone with 6 months that you want someone with more experience?

Stop it. You’re screwing yourself.

If there’s something that every single entrepreneur should know, it’s that formal education counts for very little in the scope of ability. Yet every single day I...

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Dave McClure’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I’ve spent the past three days in Omaha, Nebraska at the Big Omaha conference. It’s undoubtedly the premiere conference in the US when it comes to entrepreneurship. I was excited by the speaker lineup this year, as I am every year, but pleasantly surprised to see that 500 Startups’ Dave McClure would be taking to the stage.

Here’s the thing – Dave has a potty mouth. We all know this. Omaha knew this before he took to the stage, and he even forewarned people both verbally and in his slides that he would likely use language that some people would deem to be offensive. Before he got deeply into his presentation, he gave people the opportunity to leave. I say this not to excuse his choice of words, or his actions, but rather to set the stage.

Dave was talking about how things aren’t quite as good as they could be, and giving examples of ways that industries could be easily changed. In one...

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Facebook Home (and First) – My Personal Hell

If I had to consider what my personal version of hell would be like, it would be senseless arguments, baseless debates and uneducated ranting, shoved into my face at all hours of the day.

It would be updates from “friends”, concerning things that nobody cares about such as little Billy’s first poo poo of the day (there will be 4 more such updates from this person in the next 24 hours.)

Oh yes, and between the times when I’m trying not to wretch from the vile filth that these so-called friends are spewing forth, I’ll be shown ads. Ads for things about which I couldn’t possibly care less. Because targeting only works if your audience is being truthful about themselves and allowing you to see it, targeted ads largely fail on me.

That’s exactly what Facebook has decided to provide, with the release of Home and its companion phone, First.

Can we marinate, for just a moment, on the...

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14 Hours at the Computer and How I Fixed My Eye Strain

On a typical day, I’m awake by 6:30 am and sitting at my computer. I spend around 14 hours looking at a screen and sometimes I move away from my computer to sit on the couch with my iPad. To say that I’ve experienced eye strain would be putting it very lightly.

I’m a big fan of League of Legends (psst, that’s a referral link), and I noticed Dyrus (one of my favorite top-lane players) wearing some funky yellow glasses about a year ago.

I know that these guys spend countless hours in front of a monitor, but I also know that they do a lot of sponsorship deals so I wasn’t fully convinced of the validity of what Gunnar Optiks was doing.

Then I met the people from the company.

They’ve put tireless research into the design and fabrication of their lenses. There’s a lot of thought behind why they are the specific colors that they are, how they work and why they can benefit computer users. I...

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Reader, Keep and a Dissection of Google’s Madness

I’m on a bit of a vacation this week from the world of tech, spending my time instead being Mr. Husband and Mr. Homeowner. I can’t help but chirp up, however, on the subject of Google’s newly-launched Evernote competitor, Keep.

In case you’re not keeping up with the Angry Nerds crowd, people are pretty mad that Google decided to rather abruptly shut down its RSS service named Reader. The backlash of that is still ringing strong, with smart people like Om Malik telling Google that he won’t be using Keep because he can’t trust that it won’t meet the same fate.

I can’t speak to Google’s long-term plans, but I do think that Keep will stick around. In the grand scheme of things, where Google makes more money by understanding user behavior, a service such as Keep makes perfect sense.

In case you’ve missed the news, Google’s amazing-service-du-jour is Google Now. It’s the “living in the...

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Because Screw the Readers. That’s Why.

Blogs typically run on ads.

Box and rectangle ad rates suck.

To overcome bad ad rates, blogs are trying to do advertising differently.

Some of it is good.

Some of it is blatantly anti-reader.

According to the company, the native unit will allow brands to embed social updates on the Mashable homepage that look and feel like Mashable posts.

Tell me this – Do you want to go to a site, click on something that looks like a story and instead have an ad fed to you? Because that’s what Mashable just “invented.”

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My Review of the iPad Mini

It’s like an iPad. But smaller. And I can hold it in one hand.

Compared to my iPad 3, it’s impossibly light.

I’m mildly annoyed by the lack of Retina, but I’m getting over it quickly.

If I were going to work on it all day, I’d still want a 10-inch iPad.

The battery life is still shockingly good. The amount of money I’d pay for a phone that could manage this is…well…a lot.

People said that this was the real iPad. They’re right. It almost seems like Apple needed a couple of iterations with bigger devices to get the ideas right. Once they did that, they could move the size down.

I like it a lot. I think you will too.

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I Can’t Get No Sleep

I don’t really remember when it started, but for quite a few years now I’ve been unable to sleep more than about five hours. It doesn’t necessarily matter how tired I am, at the five hour mark my body decides that it’s been long enough and I have to wake up. Now.

I hear people joke about insomnia, or narcolepsy or any of the other few sleep-related issues and I’m pretty certain that they can’t possibly have experienced any of them. In the realm of first-world problems, there’s really not much that screws up your day worse than being exhausted, going to bed, then waking up feeling as if you’ve not even slept.

There are a few factors that contribute to my sleep deprivation that I can adjust or fix. Here’s what I know for sure:

I’m overweight – Though in fairness, even when I was in athletic condition I didn’t sleep very much. But being overweight makes you hurt when you sleep, and my...

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The Invisible Fish

On Wednesday, I’m scheduled to speak to a Meetup group here in Nashville. The talk will focus on how you can make yourself and your message heard, in a time when we’re seeing more noise than ever before.

It’s the idea of being a big fish in a little ocean.

But funny enough, when I do these things in Nashville, I find myself to be the invisible fish. Most of the people who attend have perhaps heard my name or read something that I wrote on TNW, but there’s a near 100 percent chance that I’ve never met them.

It’s that interesting conundrum of being slightly anti-social, combined with working from home. The buzz around my office is created by my wife, our dog and four pet rats. There’s also Tully, the fish. But he’s pretty silent.

Nashville’s technology scene, as it were, is somewhat sparse. There’s a huge social media “scene” – where everyone knows everyone – but the geographic...

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Truth Tellers and the Reality of Life

Over on TechCrunch, Mike Arrington wrote something that I endorse wholeheartedly. He says that Cnet staffers should be leaving in droves over the fiasco surrounding the Hopper and now another product that they’ve been instructed that they can’t review.

We can soapbox all we want about this, and those of us who do have editorial independence might somehow look down our noses at those who don’t. But the harsh reality is the people who aren’t walking out are real people, with real responsibilities that depend on having a real paycheck in order to meet them.

Would I leave TNW if I were ever instructed to do something that I felt was morally wrong? I’d like to think that I would. But I also have mouths to feed and a roof to keep over our heads. The moral high ground is a great place to stand when life is sunny.

So I’ll urge you this – Don’t admonish the people who are still there. You don...

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