Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Swype Stopped Working on My Motorloa Droid

As I mentioned on this blog a while back, I'm a big fan of the Swype Keyboard for the Motorola Droid. It simply makes the phone MUCH better, which is why I was so stunned when it stopped working Monday morning. I had been using a leaked version of the software, and it apparently expired on me.

I felt paralyzed. My phone felt nearly useless without the Swype keyboard, and I would have paid nearly anything to get it working again.

Fortunately, we haven't reached that point yet. I was able to go to Swype's website, register for their beta program and download/re-install it. I've noticed a few differences between the leaked version and the new beta version. Most notably, everything seems smoother and more polished. I didn't think I could like Swpye more than I already did, but I was wrong.

I love Swype more than ever, and I am prepared for the day when they ask me to pay for their product. My credit card (errr Google Checkout account) is ready for action.

UPDATE: Says Swype's site: "Due to overwhelming demand we have temporarily closed the beta."

Your First TV Commercial

When you work at an internet startup, no one has ever heard of your company. Even your own parents don't really believe you when you tell them how great things are, how you're going to change the world.

"Sure, Andrew. I'm sure things are going great there. When are you getting a raise?"

Reaching millions of dollars in revenue doesn't convince your friends and family that you work for a real company. You're a private company. You can't show them public, audited financials. You can't point to a building and say, "We built that." It just isn't easy for people to understand what you're doing.

...until you run your first TV commercial.

When we launched our first commercial at TheLadders, it changed our world. Suddenly, total strangers had heard of us. I used to get blank stares from people when I told them where I worked, but then I started to get knowing nods. "TheLadders? Isn't that the company with the tennis commercial?" It was amazing. Instead of toiling away in anonymity, we were a REAL company.

Obviously, advertising has to make strategic and financial sense for a company, but you can't underestimate the morale boost for team members who see their company advertising on TV and finally get their parents to admit that they work for a real company.

Here are our three commercials:

Career Choice: VC or Entrepreneur?

Business school graduation is only a few months away, and I hear many of my classmates expressing simultaneous interest in both venture capital and startup jobs. I've done a little of both (although my VC experience was limited to a summer internship this past year), and I found them wildly different experiences.

Mark Suster's blog post on Monday rang true for me: What's it Like Being a VC?

In particular, the things Mark misses about being an entrepreneur are exactly the reasons why I'm returning to the world of startups rather than pursuing a VC career:

(1) VCs sit on the sidelines
(2) VC has less team camaraderie

I want the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. I want to live and breathe the emotional roller coaster ride of a startup. I want to own the results. I want to build a company and a team to share the journey with.

Business school has been a fun break, but it's time to get back to work.