Inspiring Seals Quote

Came across the beautiful, inspiring poem ‘Invictus’ by William Henley today while reading ‘The Warrior Elite : The Forging of Seal Class 228’ a book about Navy SEAL training - I highly recommend it:

“Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”


Leaving Microsoft to work on emptyspaceads

windows-mobile.pngI have really enjoyed working at Microsoft in the Windows Mobile Multimedia Group as a Program Manager for the past 15 months. And I’d do it all over again in a heart beat. Windows Mobile was my favorite product group at Microsoft and as a former intern, I was able to specify this is where I wanted to end up. However, you don’t get to decide which team you end up on. Landing on the Multimedia Team was an awesome experience. What’s cooler than working on the multimedia experience on mobile phones? I got to work on interesting features that I can’t really talk about in this blog post. Suffice it to say, it was a good experience.

logo.png I left Microsoft on January 4th, to work on emptyspaceads, a company I founded and have been working full time on for the last month… and one that I feel has huge potential. More on that later… but if you’re impatient check out the emptyspaceads blog.

One last thing: if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re broke (like I was in October of 2006 when I started), Microsoft is a pretty great place to be. You can learn new things, build relationships with smart people, and most importantly have time to work on your venture on your own time. I feel start-ups are great, but it’s hard to pursue your own projects while working at one. Microsoft has reached the point in its existence that its employees (in most product groups) don’t work 100 hours/week, freeing you up to pursue your projects.


Every problem is an opportunity

Recently, I’ve been facing what I thought to be a big problem. I wasn’t getting as much out of my job as I could be… and it was really bumming me out.

I wrote the problem off as something I had to deal with. It wasn’t until I went on a long bike ride to Seward Park and back that I figured it out. I remembered a Stanford Entrepreneurial Podcast from a professor who taught entrepreneurial classes there.

So I’ve turned my problem into a learning opportunity. Here is my execution plan:

  • Pick key components of the software business that I want to learn about
  • Prioritize these areas
  • Spend one month on each of these areas (priority order)
  • During the month, learn everything I can. Seek out, meet, and learn from gurus in the area. Read articles and books if needed (do I even have time? :p).
  • Make the most of this problem… I mean opportunity

Lessons learned from launching

I want to record the lessons I’ve learned so that I don’t forget them. I also want to make sure others can benefit from my mistakes.

  • Be ready to work tirelessly to assure the site doesn’t cave under pressure - It takes more effort than you think. Will worked very hard on getting queuing working. Even so, we had thousands of dropped calls. You get ONE chance to wow users with your product. If it doesn’t work the first time, they’re not coming back - ever.
  • Monitor incoming links - Use software like Google Analytics to monitor incoming links. Know where your traffic is coming from by the hour.
  • Do damage control early & often - Be prepared to respond on all other blogs and places that mention your product. Thank the reviewer for their time and the readers for reading the story about you. Y ou should be thrilled! Then roll up your sleeves and get ready to handle a bunch of negative comments. Address each one if possible and invite others to come back to your personal/company blog to continue the dialog
  • Create many ways of providing feedback - Having a blog to link to, a contact form, and an email address is only a start. Consider having a phone number and a message board. Your web business lives and dies on customer feedback, so keep them happy.
  • Create ways for your users to come back - We had no bookmarking feature for our site relying on users to manually bookmark our site. Big mistake. We lost out on thousands of visitors because we didn’t offer these features earlier.
  • Ideally have a strategy of monetizing the influx of traffic - the first wave of traffic pretty much caught us unexpected. Before I go telling anyone else about this service I want to have a way we can monetize all the calls we’re making.

Hi, I'm David, a 6'6" entrepreneurial eagle scout from Kansas. I write about my entrepreneurial journies. You should stick around.

I'm currently riding my motorcycle from Seattle to Argentina, but you can contact me:

I'm currently in:

Here's a historical view of my trip below. You can also view a full screen version.