The Uptake

by Brad McCarty

Lessons learned, words written

Page 5

Microsoft, Please Take a Page from Google’s Mobile Playbook

Nokia was kind enough to loan me a Lumia 920 for a couple of weeks, so that I could get a better feeling for what’s going on across the Windows Phone market. It arrived today, and I’ve spent about five minutes with the device.

It doesn’t take long to notice problems.

If there’s one thing for which I’m eternally grateful to Apple, it’s that the company has (almost) unfailingly stonewalled the carriers out of the equation. “Here’s a phone. It works on your frequencies. Sell it.” As such, there has never really been much of a difference between an AT&T iPhone and a Verizon iPhone. They’re both iPhones, made by the same company.

Where I’m hoping that Microsoft steps up (a la Surface) is in providing the same type of device experience. Heck, it doesn’t have to be manufactured by Microsoft. Google has had great successes with the Nexus line, and they’ve been made by a few OEMs.


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Windows Phone, Week 2: My Thoughts So Far

As you might remember, I’m taking 30 days and shutting off my iPhone in order to dive in deep with the Windows Phone 8 OS. I’m now in the middle of week 2, and so I thought I’d pass along what I’ve found that has surprised me.

  • I miss on-screen notifications of new email more than I thought I would. I didn’t realize how much I look at my phone when it dings, and that helps me to filter out what I need to respond to now versus what can wait.

  • Yep, there’s a lack of apps. But I’m strangely not missing them all that much. Well, other than Path and Pocket. Oh, and I’d really like it if Simple (my bank) had an app or a site that worked in the mobile version of Internet Explorer.

  • I freaking love Live Tiles. They’re everything that Android’s widgets should have been, but weren’t.

  • Microsoft is missing an opportunity by relying on OEMs or third parties for navigation. Oh, and Verizon’s...

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“The best things in life almost didn’t happen” – @ZackShapiro

Zack has a document, where he keeps an ever-changing list of things that he knows to be true. He told me this gem over dinner.

Right after he did this:


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“I’ll Be Your Best Friend!”

In grade school, the strongest currency with which someone could attempt to make a deal was this – “I’ll be your best friend!” Social media is a lot like grade school. Friendship has devolved into a fleeting promise.

As Candace and I have been having some pretty weighty discussions over the past day, she questioned how many real friends I have. (For the purpose of this discussion, I’m counting the term “real friend” as that person who you could talk to about positively anything. They’re the one you think of when things go great or go poorly.) Not out of spite, but simple curiosity. The sad answer is that I have one real friend, three or four with whom I am close, and then a lot who fall somewhere outside of that inner realm.

This realization made me consider what we’re doing to ourselves via this ever-present social society in which we live. If you were to look at my numbers alone,...

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24 People in Connecticut Will Never See Tomorrow

No, the answer is not to ban all guns. But there is an answer. Somewhere.

Hunters and the joint efforts of conservation are viable reasons to have guns in the United States. But how do we deal with one man, carrying two small handguns, and killing 18 children?

Nothing else that any of us do in our jobs will matter today. 18 kids are dead. The system failed somewhere.

Hug your kids.

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Bye Bye iOS: 30 Days With Windows Phone

Writing about tech isn’t necessarily my job anymore, but I’m still a junkie for it at heart. As such, I wanted to delve in deep with Windows Phone 8 so that I could hold an educated opinion on it.

Yesterday I gave up my iPhone for day 1 of 30 with an HTC 8X. It should be an interesting experiment. I’ve been a big fan of the Windows Phone OS since 7, so I expect that I’ll have an easy enough month ahead. But what I really want to find are the surprises, whether they’re nagging problems, or things that surprise and delight.

Here’s what I know, going into this experiment:

  • Live Tiles are fantastic
  • There’s a decided lack of apps
  • Many of the apps are actually very good
  • I’ll miss Path, Spotify and Pocket

What questions do you have? Curious about anything surrounding the OS? Mind you, I’m not reviewing a phone, but rather an operating system.

Oh, and as a bit of a disclaimer, I’ll still...

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Leave the Series A on the Nightstand

My friend (we’ve met twice, so I can call him that right?) David Tisch brings about a point that I wish I could drill into the heads of more founders – Your relationship with your investors is not a one-night stand.

He’s talking, of course, about the subject du jour of the Series A crunch, which we’ve seen discussed all over the place lately. (As an aside, this is the smartest writing I’ve seen from Pando Daily since its inception, and something I hope that they do more often.) Alexia Tsosis of AolCrunch takes things a bit further, examining all of the pieces. It’s worth a read.

The fact is that nobody wants to do the morning-after walk of shame. That is precisely the issue that is facing Y Combinator, and it’s almost to a T an issue that I raised back when the YC/SV Angel deal was first formed.

As is true with every partnership that you form in your life, choosing the right people...

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Journalistic Integrity? Ruined.

SHAREABLES. Funny, interesting or unique things that we find around the Internet. AKA, not news.

But don’t tell that to the people in this comments section.

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Mentorship: Here’s My Selection Process

A few weeks ago I opened up the doors to mentoring companies. I couldn’t possibly have been prepared enough for the enormous response. It’s both humbling and terrifying.

The first thing that I had to do is come up with a process by which I decide whether or not I scribble on the metaphorical dotted line. I’ve played this out a few hundred times in my head, and it’s come down to a very specific set of questions that I have to ask myself.

1. What Can I Offer?

It would be very easy to accept every request that comes across my desk. But if I do this then I’m going to run out of bandwidth quickly, and I won’t be doing a very good job for anyone. So I start my process by looking at where the company is right now, and seriously considering whether I have a set of skills or knowledge that can help them. If I don’t, then I immediately thank them for their interest and explain in detail why I...

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Circa and the Age of News as Entertainment

A few months ago a group of incredibly smart people hired some incredibly smart writers and built an incredibly smart app. Dubbed Circa, it’s a bit like the antithesis of everything that the 24-hour news cycle has become.

Instead of long-winded editorials on the day’s happenings, Circa breaks down the events into a system that’s reminiscent of Cliff’s Notes. You’re able to quickly thumb through a story, being fed only the parts of it that are notable or interesting. For a quick catch-up on the news, it’s hard to beat what the team has done.

But it took me only 3 days to lose my motivation to open the app, and since then it’s sat fairly abandoned. It simply isn’t entertaining to me, so it feels like work to read what’s being written.

One could easily say that I’ve become accustomed to the spoon-feeding of news, and they’d be correct. But I also think that there’s something of note...

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