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<title>Jason Morrison</title>
<link href="" rel="self"/>
<link href=""/>
<name>Jason Morrison</name>
<title>Bulk populating Twitter lists with twurl</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;I collected a large number of Twitter usernames recently from conference websites (tryin' to bone up on a new topic) and wanted to put them all into a new list. No UI? No problem! To the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Twitter API&lt;/a&gt; we go...&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;p&gt;Create a list. Note its URL slug (its string representation in the URL).&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Create a new app at the Twitter developer site&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;p&gt;After it's created, go to &quot;Settings&quot;, scroll down, and change its access to &quot;Read and Write&quot;:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;;&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Note the consumer key and consumer secret.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;p&gt;Install &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;twurl&lt;/a&gt;. It's like curl, but for Twitter:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;pre&gt;&lt;code&gt;$ gem install twurl
&lt;li&gt;&lt;p&gt;Authorize &lt;code&gt;twurl&lt;/code&gt;:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;pre&gt;&lt;code&gt;$ twurl authorize --consumer-key your-key-goes-here \
--consumer-secret your-somewhat-longer-secret-goes-here
&lt;p&gt;Copy and visit the link it gives you, then paste the PIN code back into the console.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;p&gt;Add the screen names to the list.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Replace the list slug, your screen name, and the comma separated list of screennames that will go into the list with your own values:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;pre&gt;&lt;code&gt;$ twurl -X POST
-d &quot;slug=sweet-songs&amp;amp;owner_screen_name=jayunit&amp;amp;screen_name=donkeysong,brian,gabe5000&quot;
&lt;p&gt;And you're done! Go check out your list.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;This could be wrapped up in a Twitter-authed app, which I'll leave as an exercise.&lt;/p&gt;
<title>Hitting the road!</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;On November 28, my wife Lindsay and I are flying to India. We have
no return tickets, and little plan. I'm leaving a &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;great job&lt;/a&gt;;
&quot;professional ennui&quot; is the furthest thing from my motivations. What's going on?!&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; alt=&quot;Adventure Time!&quot; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h2&gt;It's adventure time!&lt;/h2&gt;
&lt;p&gt;If there's one common lesson I could distill from my collegiate and
professional engagements, it would be the value of diverse experience, and the
difficulty of &lt;em&gt;planning&lt;/em&gt; to build that experience. Sometimes you just gotta
jump in learning's way.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;We're young, not tied down, and have seen like 0.0001% of the world. So,
earlier this year, after getting engaged, we decided: let's hit the road! Our
plans are loose. As of now, we:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Have 1-way tickets to Delhi and 5-year visas to India. Many countries in
Asia have VOA (visa on arrival) for US citizens.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Got our arms jabbed (immunizations).&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Are brandishing a fat sack of doxy and a veritable menagerie of antibiotics.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Booked two days booked at a hotel to buffer our jetlag.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Asked a friend-of-a-friend to find a short-term lease in Delhi.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Are super frigging pumped. I mean, come on!&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I'll miss the crap out of my friends here in the US. We're flying around a bit
to visit folks before heading overseas - San Fran tomorrow through Wednesday,
then Buffalo, then Houston for Thanksgiving.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Then, on November 28, IAH-ORD-DEL.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h2&gt;Closing thoughts&lt;/h2&gt;
&lt;p&gt;And now, an enjoyable literary quote!&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal
conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint
correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able
to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new
thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are
helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think
properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the
airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their
architectural compromises and discomforts, in spite of their garish colours and
harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a
material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and
confinement of the ordinary, rooted world.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel&lt;/p&gt;
<title>Backbone.js video Q&amp;A</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;On Friday, October 14th, I hosted a two hour live Q&amp;amp;A chat for purchasers of the thoughtbot &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Backbone.js on Rails eBook&lt;/a&gt;, which I am co-authoring. We invited people who have purchased the book to submit questions ahead of time, and then join me in chat for a discussion.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I'm pleased that we are offering the recording and notes as a free resources. You can &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;download the Backbone.js on Rails live Q&amp;amp;A chat audio and notes&lt;/a&gt; over on the thoughtbot Workshops site.&lt;/p&gt;
<title>Backbone.js on Rails talk</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;On Tuesday, September 20, I gave a talk at the
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;New Hampshire Ruby Users Group&lt;/a&gt; on Backbone.js on Rails.
I'll be giving a very similar talk on Tuesday, October 11 at
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;boston.rb&lt;/a&gt; and a
version more targeted to front-end developers on Wednesday, October 26 at the
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Boston Front End Developers meetup&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I have posted the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Backbone.js on Rails slides&lt;/a&gt;
online, and the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;slide source is on my GitHub&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;As an aside, I'm using &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;landslide&lt;/a&gt; for the
slides - I love the resulting HTML and interface, though I've heard great things
about &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;deck.js&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;People found the resources sections useful. Many of the links are buried in the
presenter notes, so I'll repeat them here. There are plenty more online, and
I'm sure I'm missing some content. Please link to any of your favorites in the
comments, and I'll add them.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Isolation test with &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Jasmine&lt;/a&gt;:
&lt;li&gt;Spy/stub/mock, even your HTTP, with &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;sinon.js&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;If you're looking for factory_girl.js, it's called &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Rosie&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;guard-jasmine&lt;/a&gt; autotest your Jasmine with headless webkit (&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;phantomjs&lt;/a&gt;)&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Write in CoffeeScript and use the 3.1 asset pipeline with &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;jasminerice&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Get started with James Newbery's excellent blog posts on &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;testing Backbone with Jasmine&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Check out his &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;examples on GitHub&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Integration test with:
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;capybara-webkit&lt;/a&gt; for fast, headless, accurate WebKit testing&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Selenium for other browsers, or if capybara-webkit has issues.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;Push synchronization&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Rails &lt;code&gt;Model#save&lt;/code&gt; cascades to clients: &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;backbone_sync-rails&lt;/a&gt; over pubsub bus &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Faye&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Work-in-progress &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Software transactional memory&lt;/a&gt; sync: &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Future plans: &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;diff-match-patch&lt;/a&gt;, &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Operational transform&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Now.js&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Substack DNode&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Data.js&lt;/a&gt;: Data Manipulation and Graph Persistence for Node.js and the Browser. Can ride now.js transport.
&lt;li&gt;, above, is written with Backbone.js, and is open source &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Backbone on the server with node.js&lt;/a&gt;... with DNode or NowJS (?!)&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;Get started with Backbone&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Todo App example&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;James Newbery's jasmine examples&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;Further reading: Books on JavaScript&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;JavaScript: The Good Parts&lt;/a&gt; by Douglas Crockford&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;JavaScript Web Applications&lt;/a&gt; by Alex MacCaw (Spine.js author)&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Test-Driven JavaScript Development&lt;/a&gt; by Christian Johansen&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;JavaScript Patterns&lt;/a&gt; by Stoyan Stefanov&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;JavaScript: The Definitive Guide&lt;/a&gt; by David Flanagan&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;Further reading: Online resources&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Official Backbone docs&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Annotated source code&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Underscore docs&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;source&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Backbone Google Group&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Backbone on Rails eBook&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Peepcode episodes on Backbone&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
<title>Notes From the MIT Startup Bootcamp 2011</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p style=&quot;background-color: #ffa; padding: 1em; border: 1px solid #cc9;&quot;&gt;If you'd like to talk with other people who
made it to this event, check out the
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Hacker News discussion thread&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Yesterday, September 24 2011, I had the pleasure of attending MIT's 2011
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Startup Bootcamp&lt;/a&gt;. In its third year, Startup
Bootcamp brought an inspiring and thoughful collection of speakers who have had
a variety of startup successes.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;The event hashtag &lt;a href=&quot;!/search/%23sb2011&quot;&gt;#sb2011&lt;/a&gt; is a stream
of reactions and pull-quotes from the event - mixed here and there with
excited anticipation for
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;a dance festival in Goa&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Ten speakers presented a variety of viewpoints, insight, and food for thought.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;It was a mixed bag - yes, there was unnecessary focus on
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;vanity metrics&lt;/a&gt;
and the rah-rah of
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;startup theater&lt;/a&gt;.
Breathless celebration of hockeysticking uniques and of flying around to court
VCs makes for good TechCrunch articles. Like it or not, that's an inculcated
part of startup culture.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;But if you get past the Hollywooding and the Silicon Valley adulation, there
were gems of solid advice, grounded in experience, on hiring (Paul English of
Kayak), data-driven product development (Naveen Selvadurai of foursquare),
optimizing your life for personal growth (Drew Houston of Dropbox), identifying
underlying social and technological shifts that enable new products (Charlie
Cheever of Quora, Patrick Collison of Stripe), negotiation (Alex Polvi of
Cloudkick), the importance of on-the-ground and unscalable product development
tactics early on (Nathan Blecharczyk of Airbnb), earning and answering to the
responsibility of finding your own way in the world (Anthony Volodkin of
Hype Machine) and how important it is to empower yourself in perhaps the largest
disruptive theme of our time by learning to code (Patrick Collison of Stripe).&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Paul English&lt;/a&gt;, CTO and co-founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Kayak&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Recruit a diversity of success.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Paul spoke on three kinds of recruiting: companies recruiting new hires,
companies recruiting investors, and job-seekers recruiting companies.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;When you're recruiting, look for success, regardless of the kind. In fact, look
for a diversity of success. Paul once hired an olympic rower, and a chess
grandmaster, and couldn't be happier with these decisions. Find people who
operate at the top levels of excellence.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Some companies have a &quot;no assholes&quot; rule - at Kayak, they have a policy of &quot;no
neutrals&quot;. Like Charlie Cheever, who later discussed the importance of hiring
people you have high-bandwidth communication with, Paul encouraged building a
team of people who are fully engaged: &quot;intense and in-your-face - in a good way.&quot;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Leah Culver&lt;/a&gt;, CEO and co-founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Convore&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Show up, say yes.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Leah told an lighthearted and likeable story of her journey from big state
school CS major to Silicon Valley startup founder. Full of serendipity and
luck, she shared stories of driving a UHaul from her native Minnesota out to the
Bay Area (picked not primarily for its burgeoning tech scene, but for how much
better the weather is), getting started with Instructables, and bumping into
Pownce co-founders Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka at a party.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Have a good story to tell the press - you don't have to tell people the ugly,
dirty truth.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Another of Leah's pieces of advice was a common thread through the talks - that
of consistent applied effort. &quot;Show up,&quot; she said - in places with a critical
mass of startup people, such as Silicon Valley - and &quot;say yes&quot; to opporunities
that come your way.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Andrew Sutherland&lt;/a&gt;, founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Quizlet&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;I didn't just rush it on my parents that I was leaving MIT. It took two whole weeks.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Andrew shared his story of inspiration for an online learning tool. When he
hacked together a prototype to help study for a French III class in high school
and subsequently aced the test, he knew he was onto something.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Andrew discouraged market research - &quot;If I had googled for online flash cards, I
would have found other sites, that were not as good, and I wouldn't have made
Quizlet. Now, we're 10x the [volume] of our next competitor.&quot;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;This phrasing
&lt;a href=&quot;!/BobbieC/status/117616203874316288&quot;&gt;raised some contention&lt;/a&gt;.
I would reframe his advice as: focus on your own products rather than on the
competition, and don't be discouraged by incumbent players; rather, recognize
them as a validation of the market space, and proceed to out-execute them.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Naveen Selvadurai&lt;/a&gt; co-founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;foursquare&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;At first, go with your hunch. Later, with data.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Naveen worked for Lucent and Sun in college. This was important - it was
real-world learning. Seeing engineering culture, doing code reviews, shipping
real products. Sun had an open culture of learning where you can dive into
other products. &quot;How'd they build Solaris? File systems?&quot; Just sign up for
the mailing list.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Naveen shared seven pieces of distilled advice:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Keep good company.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Make something that people want.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Build around an atomic action.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Seek mentors early.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;At first, go with your hunch. Later, with data.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Balance unknowns with knowns.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Always be recruiting.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;p&gt;On the last point Naveen shared the four stages of foursquare's hiring strategy:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Hire friends&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Hire friends of friends&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Use an external agency (but they didn't find this valuable)&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Hire an internal fulltime recruiter.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;It needs to be someone's job to think about recruiting, seven days a week.
Additionally, as a founder, you must always be recruiting.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;!/ccheever&quot;&gt;Charlie Cheever&lt;/a&gt;, founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Quora&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Work with people you have really high-bandwidth communication with.
Understand how the other person is thinking.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Charlie shared great advice on early-stage tactics. Start with few users (Quora
started with fewer than fifty) and a low-cost MVP. Foster the community by
hand, be high-touch and, if your business builds on user-generated content, be
prepared at the beginning to build a lot of it by yourself. See how the
experiment goes, and then take the learning from that experience and apply it to
your MVP.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;He shared the importance of collecting metrics early on. With Quora, they
actually stored the entire webpage for every visit for every customer, so that
they could go back later, having identified trends or formulated hypotheses, and
see the site as their users saw it.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;They noticed a set of high-engagement users, looked at these users' expereinces,
and found that they had all used Facebook connect. Running with this, the team
spent time focusing on improving their social experience.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Charlie also left the audience with good food for though:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;What wave enables your product? Why is now the right time to build it?&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;For foursquare, it was GPS-enabled mobile phones. For Quora, it was that
&quot;normal&quot; people were comfortable sharing things online, and that the web was
turning into a mess; with Google turning up more content farm results, people
were moving onto safe harbors of organized information like IMDB and Wikipedia.
The timing was right.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;!/drewhouston&quot;&gt;Drew Houston&lt;/a&gt;, co-founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Dropbox&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Get out of your comfort zone. Learn a little about a lot.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&quot;Everything big starts small&quot; - Drew's original perception of startups was that
of Tolkien's Mount Doom. His original strategy to build a successful startup
was to be overwhelmingly prepared - nab an MIT CS degree, get a few years'
exerpience working for small companies and big companies alike, come back for a
PhD, maybe an MBA.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;He then related a story from Dropbox's origins: Drew had just settled into his
seat on a Chinatown bus from Boston, in which he could usually get in several
hours of undisturbed work. He popped open his laptop, and searched his pockets
for his ever-present USB thumb drive. &quot;Shit.&quot; Realization set in just as he
visualized, in his mind's eye, the thumb drive sitting on his desk at home.
&quot;Like any good engineer with a problem to solve, I opened my editor.&quot; Drew then
wrote the first lines of what would eventually become Dropbox. Today, his
company has a multi-billion dollar valuation and &quot;stores more files than Twitter
stores tweets.&quot;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Drew exhorted the audience to learn about a broad variety of topics: sales,
marketing, finance, accounting, product design, psychology, influence,
negotiation, organizational design, management and leadership, business
strategy. Buy books (&quot;today we have this amazing thing, Amazon&quot;), dip in, find
mentors, and surround yourself with smart people.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Wrapping up, Drew shared his advice for success:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Take on more than you're &quot;ready for.&quot;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Maximize how much you learn per unit time.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Stack the odds in your favor. Surround yourself with great people; you are the
average of your five closest friends.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;The fastest way to learn about startups is to join one.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Starting a company is one of the best ways for engingeers to change the world.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Alex Polvi&lt;/a&gt;, founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Cloudkick&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;No matter what number they offer, pause, count to 10 in your head, and then act as disappointed as possible.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Alex spoke on negotiation, specifically about his experience of his company
Cloudkick being acquired by Rackspace.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;If a VP of Corp Dev says &quot;strategic&quot; to you, they are talking about
&lt;li&gt;Acquisitions are a bit like romantic relationships: you often get the most
attention when you're looking for it the least. Once you are involved with one
party, others can sense it. You somehow become more desirable.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Once you have a term sheet from one prospective buyer, you have great
leverage. When others call you up, you can very quickly get to hard numbers.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;The best negotiation position is one of truth. Build something of value that
people want, and your position is irrefutable.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Alex also discussed the importance of taking care of your team, and the people
around you. Upon acquisition, he fully accelerated all employees' options -
whether they had been with Cloudkick for four years or four weeks, they were all
fully vested and could share in the company's success. It was important that
the acquiring party, Rackspace was on board with this - and they were.
Rackspace wanted the new team members to stick around not because they were
waiting to vest, but because they wanted to be there.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Anthony Volodkin&lt;/a&gt;, founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Hype Machine&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Venture Capital? You do not need anyone's permission to make stuff.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Anthony shared the perspective that VC or angel investment can be very
important, but it's not for everyone. &quot;I don't want to shut something off
because the math doesn't work. For people to not remember it. That would make
me sad.&quot;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Anthony's vision was a question: while people with cool friends can get
interesting music recommendations from that network, what about people without
cool friends? He knew that there was great taste and insight being shared by
music bloggers online, and sought to aggregate and distill it. &quot;I didn't want
to miss anything.&quot;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;(If music startups are your thing, Anthony couldn't recommend highly enough
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Dalton Caldwell's talk from Startup School 3 on music startups&lt;/a&gt;.)&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;Find your own way.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;He started Hype Machine from his dorm room. He didn't take investor money.
This gave Anthony and his team the freedom to run the company as they pleased.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&quot;We wanted to travel,&quot; he said - so they packed their bags and hung out in
Berlin for a month. It was cheaper than they would have thought, &quot;about six
thousand dollars,&quot; and incredibly fun. But if they'd had VC money? &quot;No way,&quot;
Anthony imagined an advisor's response, &quot;we thought you were, you know, going to
be working sixteen hour days. Now you want to go to Berlin and &lt;em&gt;maybe work&lt;/em&gt;?&quot;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;YCombinator? TechStars? Just fucking make something.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Anthony exhorted: it's okay to have a different process. Don't discount
investment and the accompanying advisors, but don't go blindly down that most
celebrated path. With a different process, it's easier to stand out, to be
differentiated. You can always get money if you are making something great.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;!/nathanblec&quot;&gt;Nathan Blecharczyk&lt;/a&gt; of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Airbnb&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;You have to have a vision, you have to be able to execute that vision.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Nathan shared a 2008 pitch deck for Airbnb (then AirBed&amp;amp;Breakfast) - the
first time this deck had ever seen the light of day.
Tiffany Kosolcharoen posted &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;photos of the slides on her blog&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;He highlighted its strengths - it had a problem statement, and had a bottom-up
business projection by analogy to CouchSurfing and Craigslist. He was also
quick to point out its weaknesses - it involved hand-wavy notions of unlikely
major player partnerships, and touted top down projections (&quot;If we can capture
2% of the $1.9B travel booking market... imagine!&quot;) that are quick to raise
doubt from savvy adviors or investors.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;The company was accepted into Y Combinator's Winter 2009 class. YC companies
are supposed to be heads-down; but at Paul Graham's behest, the cofounders
zeroed in their market focus to just New York and hopped redeyes back and forth
every few weeks. They met with their initial supply-side renteres in bars, and
chatted about how things were going. As the team refined the product and
identified sticking points, they could be on the ground to help optimize
listings. They'd go with people into their homes and take high-quality photos.
They found that the initial asking rates were a little too high, so they asked
their listers (after a few drinks) to lower their prices. Things clicked, and
soon they had handled $250,000 in bookings of which they collected 10%.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Fast-forward to the YC W09 Demo Day, and although at that point Airbnb has
already accepted Sequoia investment, they had prepared a Demo Day deck. Gone
was the hand-wavy top-down projection and partnership hopefulness, replaced with
a quarter million dollars of demonstrable traction, a tight initial market
focus, and a tight, clear problem statement.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Like many of the speakers, Nathan stressed the importance of finding quality
&lt;h3&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Patrick Collison&lt;/a&gt; co-founder of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Stripe&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/h3&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;It is impossible to motivate great people by something that is merely going to be profitable.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Patrick's talk was an excellent finish to the day. He delivered an essay full of engaging stories - I sincerely hope it will be posted online in full.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Patrick's story was of his trip from hardcore Lisp academic to startup founder. Along the way, he developed one of the first iPhone apps, an &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;offline Wikipedia&lt;/a&gt;, before the SDK and App Store, by debugging ARM assmebly. He shared the touching experience of getting emails form users whose lives he had changed; from bringing the world's knowledge to villages in rural Peru and Ghana to delivering the freedom to browse Wikipedia without overisght to people behind the Great Firewall of China. At nineteen, he co-founded and sold an online action tool, and is currently working on a new payment startup, Stripe.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;p&gt;The anthropological story of the last twenty years is that software is taking over the world. Even if you're a traveling violinist, you should learn how to program. Do all you can to ensure code is not a foreign language.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
<title>Hello, Octopress. Hello, blog.</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;h2&gt;On writing&lt;/h2&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I've written sporadically here for several years about programming and language theory, synthetic biology, amateur biology, running user groups and barcamps, multitouch and immersive interactions.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I've imported my old posts from WordPress into Octopress. That was -- oh wait, I was about to write about that experience before I even began. I was going to say how buttercream-frosting-smooth it was, and that's probably because I have a lot of confidence in exactly that, mostly due to their &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;well-coiffed htmls&lt;/a&gt;. Update! Turns out they're &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Jekyll migrations&lt;/a&gt; instead. Still easy-peasy.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I've &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;written more frequently and recently over on the thoughtbot blog&lt;/a&gt;, on development-related topics from from &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;little tips&lt;/a&gt; to &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;medium-size tips&lt;/a&gt; to &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;architecture deep-dives&lt;/a&gt;, from &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;product announcements&lt;/a&gt; to &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;high-performance bears&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I'll be traveling extensively over the next year, and will be writing about that, too. But that's a different post.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;h2&gt;On tools&lt;/h2&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I wrote most of my previous posts in Mephisto, which was kind of janky after a white, and then switched to WordPress, which is totally not Ruby, and more or less means I have to run a VPS and make sure I don't get &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;chainsawed by spammers&lt;/a&gt;. Also, I'm interested in switching to a toolset more near and dear to my heart. &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Octopress&lt;/a&gt; fits the bill.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;This also means I can write using vim and git, like a champ.&lt;/p&gt;
<title>SmartLab shenanigans</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p style=&quot;font-size: 19.5px; line-height: 28.5px;&quot;&gt;Whither lurk multitouch, tactile computing, and lab instrument hacking?  I've started to work on the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;SmartLab project&lt;/a&gt; again.  You can see what I am up to on the &lt;a title=&quot;SmartLab tumblr&quot; href=&quot;;&gt;SmartLab tumblr&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
<title>See you at RailsConf!</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">If you're going to RailsConf this week, let's grab some drinks and catch up!
I'm looking forward to hanging out with &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;my awesome coworkers&lt;/a&gt;, my Ruby friends from all around, and giving a lightning talk on &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;the BioWeatherMap Initiative&lt;/a&gt; at the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;ActiveResearch&lt;/a&gt; &quot;Science on Rails&quot; evening (&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Tuesday at 7:30pm&lt;/a&gt;).
&lt;strong&gt;Update: &lt;/strong&gt;I've uploaded my talk from ActiveResearch to SlideShare:  &quot;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;BioWeatherMap at ActiveResearch&lt;/a&gt;.&quot;
<title>DIYbio at CodeCon, BarCampBoston, Cambridge Science Festival, and Maker Revolution</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">In a whirlwind two weekends, I've given a &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;DIYbio&lt;/a&gt; talk with Kay Aull and Mac Cowell at &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;CodeCon 2009&lt;/a&gt; and will be at the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Cambridge Science Festival&lt;/a&gt; (&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;details&lt;/a&gt;), &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;BarCamp Boston 4&lt;/a&gt;, and &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;The Maker Revolution&lt;/a&gt; (Sunday at 1:00pm).
CodeCon was a fantastic experience - San Francisco was enjoyable as always, and it was stimulating to be around so many incredibly bright folks. Thanks again to Len, Bram, and all the organizers for putting it together and for hosting the BioHack! track.
I hope to record the talk material with Kay and Mac, titled &quot;DIY Synthetic Biology: From Design to Construction with New Model Organisms,&quot; so that it is available online in the near future.
<title>Kitmakers class</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">Monday, Jan 5 2009: Tonight is the first night of &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;nublabs&lt;/a&gt;' &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Kitmakers course&lt;/a&gt;.  I'm excited to see how it goes!
I'm primarily interested in building equipment for do-it-yourself biology, such as &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;an inexpensive, high quality gel electrophoresis apparatus&lt;/a&gt;.
-- cut to Thursday, Jan 8 --
...and today was the second night.  There were notably fewer people tonight, but it rocked anyhow.  I learned how to use the Bridgeport mill to do basic manual milling and how to use the digital readout, turned some aluminum in a lathe, and watched an intro to MIG welding.
Then, with &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Alex&lt;/a&gt;'s help, I put together a variable DC power supply with a variac, bridge rectifier (three of them, actually - but only because we blew two), and a resistor+capacitor to smooth the resulting voltage.  Photos:
&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;
[caption id=&quot;attachment_65&quot; align=&quot;aligncenter&quot; width=&quot;300&quot; caption=&quot;Gel box power supply, variable from ~0-200VDC. Variac is on the left; AC voltmeter, bridge rectifier and RC mounted to the board on the right.&quot;]&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;&lt;img class=&quot;size-medium wp-image-65&quot; title=&quot;Gel box power supply, variable from ~0-200VDC. Variac is on the left; AC voltmeter, bridge rectifier and RC mounted to the board on the right.&quot; src=&quot;; alt=&quot;Gel box power supply, variable from ~0-200VDC. Variac is on the left; AC voltmeter, bridge rectifier and RC mounted to the board on the right.&quot; width=&quot;300&quot; height=&quot;225&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;[/caption]
[caption id=&quot;attachment_64&quot; align=&quot;aligncenter&quot; width=&quot;225&quot; caption=&quot;Bridge rectifier plus RC with drain resistor for gel box power supply&quot;]&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;&lt;img class=&quot;size-medium wp-image-64&quot; title=&quot;Bridge rectifier plus RC with drain resistor for gel box power supply&quot; src=&quot;; alt=&quot;Bridge rectifier plus RC with drain resistor for gel box power supply&quot; width=&quot;225&quot; height=&quot;300&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;[/caption]
[caption id=&quot;attachment_66&quot; align=&quot;aligncenter&quot; width=&quot;225&quot; caption=&quot;Variable DC power supply, all snug in a shelf. Goodnight!&quot;]&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;&lt;img class=&quot;size-medium wp-image-66&quot; title=&quot;Variable DC power supply, all snug in a shelf. Goodnight!&quot; src=&quot;; alt=&quot;Variable DC power supply, all snug in a shelf. Goodnight!&quot; width=&quot;225&quot; height=&quot;300&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;[/caption]
Next week I'd like to test the power output on an oscilloscope, and start working on building a &quot;draft&quot; of an enclosure.
<title>New Year update</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">Hey folks!  It's been a while (whew... 6 months?) since my last update here.  Here are a few things I've been up to, and what my plans over the next few months are:
&lt;li&gt;Built and delivered &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;awesome web applications with thoughtbot&lt;/a&gt;, and will help to roll out a &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;beginning Rails thoughtbot training course&lt;/a&gt; later this January.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Attended RailsConf, RubyConf, the Lone Star Ruby Conference, and spoke at Boston.rb on &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Clearance, a small auth plugin for Ruby web apps&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Started learning more biology in earnest by taking a &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;cell- and micro-bio course at Harvard Extension&lt;/a&gt; and working with &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;DIYbio&lt;/a&gt;.  While the lecture is a very good one, as lectures go, I preferred the lab to the lecture and, as such, intend to do more hands-on learning in 2009.  A few projects I would like to undertake include:
&lt;li&gt;Working through &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Shoestring Biotechnology: Budget-Oriented High Quality Biotechnology Laboratories for Two-Year College and High School&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Working on at least one piece of equipment with DIYbio folks, such as &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Open Gel Box 2.0&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Participating in a DIYbio iGEM team.&lt;/li&gt;
If you are interested in keeping tabs on what I'm up to, I'd suggest either my &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;twitter feed&lt;/a&gt; or the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;DIYbio Google Group&lt;/a&gt;, as these are my highest-touch interactions these days.
<title>The Pradipta 416</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;a href=&quot;; title=&quot;Proud Member of the Pradipta 416&quot;&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; alt=&quot;The Few, The Proud, The Pradipta 416&quot;/&gt;&lt;/a&gt;
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">Tags from &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt; via &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;:
&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;&lt;img class=&quot;alignnone size-full wp-image-51&quot; title=&quot;delicioustags&quot; src=&quot;; alt=&quot;&quot; width=&quot;500&quot; height=&quot;691&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;
<title>Jason joins team thoughtbot!</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p style=&quot;text-align: left;&quot;&gt;A little while back, I resigned from my position at &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;VistaPrint&lt;/a&gt; to take a great opportunity at &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;thoughtbot, inc&lt;/a&gt; in downtown Boston.  I'll be starting with them on Monday, June 9, and am super excited to join their small and dynamic team.  Initially, I'll be working on &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;tools for the Nature Publishing Group&lt;/a&gt; like &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Nature Network&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p style=&quot;text-align: left;&quot;&gt;I got to hang out with some of the team at &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;RailsConf&lt;/a&gt;, see some top-secret &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Tee-Bot&lt;/a&gt; designs, go on some exciting Portland excursions and adventures, and I might have even learned a little Ruby or Rails along the way.&lt;/p&gt;
<title>DIYbio is alive!</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;DIYbio&lt;/a&gt; is an organization for the ever expanding community of citizen scientists and DIY biological engineers that value openness &amp;amp; responsibility.  &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;DIYbio&lt;/a&gt; aims to be an &quot;Institution for the Amateur&quot; -- an umbrella organization that provides some of the same resources afforded by more traditional institutions like academia and industry, such as access to a community of experts, to technical literature and other resources, to responsible oversight for health and safety, and an interface between the community and the public at large.&lt;/blockquote&gt;
Check out &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt; and, if you're in the Boston area, drop by our meetup next week!  Read &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Jason Bobe's summary of the first meeting at the DIYbio blog&lt;/a&gt;, and keep an eye on the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;DIYbio mailing list&lt;/a&gt; for details.
<title>Mephisto to WordPress</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">An easy way to import a Mephisto blog into WordPress is by using a &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Python script for extracting a WordPress-friendly WXR file from Mephisto&lt;/a&gt; (which can be imported via the WordPress web admin interface), which eventually worked like a charm. I had to modify it to use MySQL, and to look at a different date field for publication (my Mephisto install was returning Null in the field was looking at).
&lt;li&gt;Go grab &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Download &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;m2wp-mysql.diff&lt;/a&gt;. (Update 6/6/08: fixed the missing trailing newline)&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Run &lt;code&gt;patch -o;/code&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Now you can run &lt;code&gt;python -h&lt;/code&gt; and you're off and running!&lt;/li&gt;
A less effective method is to transform Mephisto's Atom feed into RSS, and import that into WordPress. This is a pain, because the feed does not contain comments, but here is how I did it before I discovered &lt;code&gt;;/code&gt;:
&lt;li&gt;Get the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;XMLStarlet command line XML toolkit&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;&lt;code&gt;xml tr atom2rss.xsl atom.xml &amp;gt; rss.xml&lt;/code&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Go to &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Import your rss.xml&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;Pull comments over by hand.&lt;/li&gt;
<title>Biological Simulation Languages</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">From the &quot;publishing old drafts for kicks&quot; department, some interesting notes on Biological Simulation Languages:
Efficient, Correct Simulation of Biological Processes in the Stochastic Pi-calculus
The little b language: shared models built from reusable parts
BioComputing resources from Luca Cardelli
<title>Bricklet announcement</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Mac Cowell&lt;/a&gt; and I have been working on a new project, coined &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Bricklet&lt;/a&gt;. Bricklet is an open and extensible platform for storing and sharing &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;standardized synthetic biology parts&lt;/a&gt; with the goal of fostering a rich ecosystem of synthetic biology software.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Bricklet currently consists of:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;li&gt;A proposal for a &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Part Description Language&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;li&gt;A proposal for a Parts Sharing Framework that supports a web of registries, selective publication, document revisioning, and provenance/attribution.&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Our intent is to implement ideas from the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;synthetic biology community&lt;/a&gt; and the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;BioBricks Technical Standards Working Group&lt;/a&gt;. We want to exercise these ideas with the hope of gaining insight into both their advantages and limits, with the intent to iterate in the future. Eventually, we may like to submit our ideas as patches to a project like &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Brickit&lt;/a&gt; to reuse existing functionality and build development mindshare.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;We are tracking the requirements, design, and implementation on the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Bricklet page at Google Code&lt;/a&gt; page. Mac and I will be presenting our progress at the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Standards and Specifications in Synthetic Biology Workshop&lt;/a&gt; at the end of this month.&lt;/p&gt;
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;Last weekend, I has the pleasure to attend &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;BarCampRochester&lt;/a&gt; which was a great time. Thanks to the organizers and sponsors for making this happen!&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I gave a session that introduced &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;synthetic biology&lt;/a&gt;, &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;iGEM&lt;/a&gt;, their motivations, and surrounding issues. I&amp;#8217;ve uploaded my slides in &lt;span class=&quot;caps&quot;&gt;PDF&lt;/span&gt; (1.5MB): &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Synthetic Biology at BarCampRochester&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Here are a few takeaways from some of the sessions I attended:&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;There was a great session and discussion about &lt;strong&gt;intellectual property: copyright, patents, and trademarks&lt;/strong&gt; &amp;#8211; in particular how these apply to software and why patents aren&amp;#8217;t necessarily evil (although the patent duration is surely out of touch with the speed of the software market). I&amp;#8217;ll be reading more about &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Open Innovation&lt;/a&gt;, with an eye toward its applicability to both software and science.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Al Biles&lt;/a&gt; led a brainstorming session about the &lt;strong&gt;nature of creativity&lt;/strong&gt; and what it means to be creative. This was an open-ended discussion with an exploratory nature, and was quite enjoyable. Al differentiated between P-creativity, which is an act that is original from an indivudal&amp;#8217;s perspective, and H-creativity, which is an act that is original with respect to all known history. He also recommended &lt;a href=&quot;;#38;s=books&amp;#38;qid=1207531237&amp;#38;sr=1-1&quot;&gt;Margaret Boden&amp;#8217;s &amp;#8220;Dimensions of Creativity.&amp;#8221;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;I learned about the difficultly of accessing supposedly &lt;strong&gt;open governmental data in the US&lt;/strong&gt; due to its distribution in proprietary or obtuse formats. Consider a database that is made accessible by taking screenshots from within the Oracle admin tool, printing these out, scanning them back in, and distributing the lot as a &lt;span class=&quot;caps&quot;&gt;PDF&lt;/span&gt;. Fighting the good fight, there are projects like those at the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Sunlight Foundation&lt;/a&gt; that focus on making this data more readily accessible.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Then, there are projects like &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;EveryBlock&lt;/a&gt;, which collates such data and lets you filter it by location, so you can learn about &lt;strong&gt;happenings in your neighborhood&lt;/strong&gt; from crimes to business licensing to permit issuances. This is a great trend, and I hope to see it grow both in the domain of making data accessible and making it useful.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Following up on the political theme, I was in a thought-provoking session called &amp;#8220;So you want to become a lobbyist?&amp;#8221; that took a look at the importance of some of the &amp;#8220;nuts and bolts&amp;#8221; political issues like &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;redistricting&lt;/a&gt;, and how effective grassroots movements are on a local scale (the consensus: very effective). Remy made an interesting point that grassroots means person-to-person, whether that&amp;#8217;s door-to-door or online.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Sam &amp;amp; Katie gave a refreshing talk about &lt;strong&gt;relationship branding&lt;/strong&gt;: 2 cool kids = 1 cool brand: &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Justin Thorp has a great post that he wrote post-BarCamp about &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;starting your personal branding in college&lt;/a&gt; that is spot on. Having attended a fair number of conferences, I was also caught slightly off-guard by the lack of biz card trading. Go go day job plug for &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;business cards&lt;/a&gt;!&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Finally, if you&amp;#8217;re in the Rochester, NY area, definitely check out the &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Society of Lectors&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/a&gt;, a group of folks who hold regular meetings to give BarCamp style presentations on a wide gamut of topics. Go brush up on your presentation skillz, and learn something new!&lt;/p&gt;
<title>Managing your research</title>
<link href=""/>
<content type="html">&lt;p&gt;There are a few activities that, arguably, comprise the bulk of science.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; style=&quot;border: 1px dashed #ccc; padding: 10px; &quot; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;They are, of course, not linear.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; style=&quot;border: 1px dashed #ccc; padding: 10px; &quot; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;And each one generates many artifacts.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; style=&quot;border: 1px dashed #ccc; padding: 10px; &quot; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;...many, many, many artifacts.&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; style=&quot;border: 1px dashed #ccc; padding: 10px; &quot; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
&lt;p&gt;Wouldn&amp;#8217;t it be nice to keep track of all these? (Especially in a distributed team!)&lt;/p&gt;
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