Of Vertical Integration, Platforms, Apple & Google

Chris Dixon has an essential post today on Samsung and the tough choices they face going forward with regard to support for Android.

I’ve been thinking about this from a slightly different angle — the battle between Apple and Google, the competing visions they each bring to that battle, and the implications for mobile application developers.

Both Google and Apple have at heart a vertical integration strategy for their mobile efforts. For Apple, the focus is on tight integration between hardware which it controls and iOS, its mobile operating system, with the goal of making big profits from the sale of their hardware.

Google’s approach involves tight coupling of it’s OS (Android) and a services layer it controls (search, but also Maps, YouTube, email) with the goal of making big profits from those services.

For Apple, the operating system and the developer ecosystem it has built around it are simply a means of driving sales of more devices, and making more money. In that way, it could be said that the interests of Apple and most third-party developers are complementary.

For Google, the operating system and the developer ecosystem it is trying to build are a means to drive adoption of their core services on mobile devices. In many ways, their approach more closely resembles the path Microsoft took in the 1990s. And that path did not end well for most applications developers, as Microsoft expanded horizontally into a wide range of applications in order to make more money even though they made piles of money from Windows. Google, which makes no money from Android, is totally dependent on revenues streams from services; it stands to reason that they will have to be even more aggressive in their services efforts, expanding laterally into many different verticals.

Some alpha geeks complain or worry about Apple being too “closed.” That may be true in a limited and rather literal, way. But if you’re a third-party application developer, one could argue that in fact their ecosystem is more open to third-party developers than Google’s in that Apple is less interested in services for the reasons cited above. They’re dependent on third-party developers being successful, and supporting their platform, in order to make more profits from hardware. In other words: Be careful who you root for.


A Twenty-Eight Amendment: Part II

A commenter on my post on Friday about the need for a twenty-eighth amendment criticized me for not proposing any language. Fair enough, here you go:

Congress shall have the power and responsibility to regulate and control the distribution, sale, and ownership of firearms and other weapons in all ways necessary to ensure the safety of the people; and, no individual right to own or possess a firearm is granted by the Constitution or its Amendments.

I’m sure someone could improve upon the wording.

Why an amendment? Why not just some laws? Because we need a radical rethinking of the societal contract around guns in our country. This chart from Mark Reid on Twitter tells you the essential facts:


There are nearly 300 million guns in our country, nearly one for ever person (not household, person). The guns used in Newtown were legally purchased (as is so often the case with these mass murders), and in an incredibly cruel twist, by the murderer’s mother who was reported to have been a “gun nut.”

The problem is that we have too many guns, and it is far, far too easy to get a gun with incredibly lethal power. That has to end. As long as there are 300 million weapons floating around, these tragedies will continue to happen. Even if we do pass new laws severely restricting the sale of semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Because the genie is out of the bottle.

What need to happen is a substantial reduction in the number of guns in our country, and that will only happen if we change the norms of our society. We need to make clear that people who own, seek to own, make, manufacture or sell semi-automatic and automatic weapons are social pariahs. Those of you who own these guns or contribute to the NRA are also responsible for what happened Friday — you’re the ones who have agitated to make these weapons as easy to get as a bag of popcorn. Shame on you.

I think the push for an amendment to our Constitution — the first in 40 years — would allow us to start to have that conversation. If all we do is fight for new legislation, we’ll end at the same place — an argument about the Second Amendment.

Let’s reframe the debate and resolve this issue in the clearest way we can. Let’s make it crystal clear that gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. And let us declare, forcefully, that the ownership of semi-automatic and automatic weapons is sociopathic; an aberrant behavior that shouldn’t and won’t be tolerated any longer. Then we can take any number of steps to get these weapons off the streets and out of our homes.


Simple Is Hard

It’s 9PM. You’ve worked all day, made it home for dinner. And now you just want to chill. Grab a beer, plop on to the couch, and unwind for a bit. What do you do?

Most of us grab the remote and turn on the TV.

Some of us have started to dial up Netflix, Hulu, iTunes or TV Everywhere for our fix.

And more recently, particularly in homes with iPads or other tablets, we’ve had a third option — tuning into the Internet and all the glorious programming on it.

But how? How do you “turn on and watch the Internet”? — that amorphous, chaotic, noisy, sprawling beast where 72 hours (or more) of programming is uploaded to YouTube alone. And how do you make the experience as simple as flipping on your TV with your remote?

That’s the problem we’ve been trying to tackle all along with Showyou. Where some folks make apps that help you find a movie or TV show to watch, we’ve wanted to make an app that let’s you watch the Internet.


Showyou 4.o, launched just this morning, is as close as we’ve ever come to that goal, and to an app you can “Just turn on.”

We’ve focused the past four months on making an easy-to-use app even simpler still. Tell people that and you’re not likely to elicit the “oohs” and “ahhs” you get when you introduce a new feature or three. But as others have noted when you do it right simple is damned hard:

Our goal is to try to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you’re not aware really of the solution, you’re not aware of how hard the problem was that was eventually solved. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product.

For us this means showing you just the right videos to you every time you open the app. So you can just turn it on and start watching. And so it feels like magic.

We’ve done that by making it easy to connect your social networks to Showyou, bringing in videos from those social networks (as well as videos shared by the people and channels you’re following on Showyou) and displaying them in a grid that was easy and fun to browse and to explore.

And with Showyou 4.0 we’ve gone a step further. While you’ll still see our signature grid, it’s cleaner and more focused so you can spend less effort browsing and more time watching. This updated grid works and looks great on both the regular iPad and the new iPad Mini. And the list of videos we bring to you on the iPad now uses the same “Smart Feed” we introduced on the iPhone this summer.

Married to this more focused feed is a new carousel player. Just tap to start watching, and swipe to go to the next video.

Tap. Swipe. Play. It’s that easy. And it’s incredibly fun.

And if that’s still too hard, you can put the app in “autoplay” mode with a little Autoplay toggle at the top. If you have an Apple TV, the new carousel player is a delight to use with Airplay. It’s a glimpse of the future, a peek at how we’re likely to watch in the coming decade.

One of the lessons we’ve learned with Showyou over the past year and a half is that the way we interact with the tablet is different. We don’t quite “lean forward” the way we do in front of a PC; but we’re also not in a passive, lean-back mode, either. We want functional and useful ways to interact, but want those interactions to be as easy as possible.

With that in mind, we made a few other important changes with Showyou 4.0 on the iPad. Ways to lean forward, go deeper, but without furrowing your brow or breaking a sweat.

For example: you’ll now see a toggle at the top of the grid. Tap that and you’ll see a more detailed feed view with relevant information for each video in your grid — which friends shared it, what they said about the video. For some videos you’ll now see topics related to the video — tap on those and you’ll be transported to a new grid full of videos related to that topic. It’s the feeling you get browsing the web, the open-ended nature and secret thrill of going down the rabbit hole. But with the simplicity, ease-of-use, and consistency you get from an app.

These new topics screens are a good example of what we’re increasingly able to do with the huge amount of data we collect and process: over 11 million links to videos parsed and processed each day from the Twitter and Facebook feeds of people who use our app; over a billion social signals all together around nearly 100 million videos.

There are also dozens of smaller things, dozens of little touches that add up to something real, tangible. An easier to use tray that lets you surf through hundreds of channels and follow the ones you like with a tap. A much simplified sign up process. Intelligent handling of errors from the Facebook and Twitter auth services (any good app maker will nod their head in approval at this one; these are fragile systems and we’ve done our best to compensate on our end for a lot of that fragility).

In the end, of course, the irony is that you do all this work with the hope no one notices. As Jony Ive so aptly put it in the quote above, the goal we all have (or should have) is “to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you’re not aware really of the solution.” We hope people will feel that way about this latest version of Showyou.


In Between the Platforms

It is winter (almost) and we are discontented. [1]

The source of our current agita? We’ve been told there is a new gold rush, yet just a few companies have hit the motherlode so far (and maybe just one, really). And so as happens every time someone cries “Gold!” people have started to worry, to freak out. Maybe this new El Dorado is just another myth. </Gold Rush metaphor>.

In a business that absolutely fetishizes youth, one of the advantages of being a little older is it’s easier to stay calm during these predictable periodic Freak Outs. I think this is the fifth or sixth such episode I can recall over the past 20 years. Another advantage: you learn through painful experience that just as there are laws of physics there are certain immutable truths that apply to our digital world.

Here’s one such truth. If you create a free consumer-focused service, you’re competing with lots of other people and things and companies for a very finite resource: people’s time and attention.

That’s a particularly hard truth to accept for those who got used to the fresh and breezy ways of the web, which could and did deceive lots and lots of people into thinking they were building something special. The nature of the web — lots of very short visits to lots (and lots and lots) of sites — too often nurtures the illusion of growth. Just hook your web service up to Google Analytics or Kiss Metrics and watch the numbers climb. “Look at my up and to the right chart showing growth in unique visitors to my site!” Think of how many breathless posts you’ve read in just the past year or two trumpeting some incredible rise in unique visitors to some web service (or how many bro’grammers thumped their chest and told you they were “crushing it”).

But  as most of us have learned by now, lots of unique visitors doesn’t mean you’ll make money. You have to extract hard cold cash from those visitors (great businesses including Amazon, eBay, Fab, Etsy, Airbnb, Bandcamp have done this). Or, if you’re giving something away for free to people, you need to win their time and attention, the more the better. Why? Because attention, measured in units of time, is one of the best objective proofs we have about the depth of relationship between your service and the people who use it. The more time people spend on your service, the deeper the relationship you have with them, and the easier (generally) it is for you to sell some of that time to advertisers.[2]

And very few services are actually able to gets lots of attention from lots of people. This has always been true. Dig into a lot of those hockey stick graphs showing growing web traffic and you’d find a sad truth — lots and lots of short visits of a minute or two. A lot of people figured out Distribution on the web; hardly anyone solved the riddles of Retention and Engagement.

You might get 30 million unique visitors a month to your web service; but if they don’t stay around for long it’s unlikely you’ll ever make money from them. The only people who have made gobs of money from this arrangement are Google and various ad networks who aggregate all this shallow attention across lots of sites into something more marketable. And the clever souls who managed to flip their hockey stick visitor charts into an acquisition offer.

If you think that’s wrong or maybe too cynical, ask yourself this: How many web services from the first decade (call it 1995-2004) really built big (billions of dollars of value), durable businesses based around our attention on the web? I can only think of three: Yahoo!, Google, and AOL. How many since 2005? More, but not as not many  as you’d expect– Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, LinkedIn, and probably WordPress and Tumblr. Maybe Pinterest will join the list (too soon to tell). It’s never been easy to build a billion dollar business based on a thing in limited supply, our attention, regardless of the platform or medium.

At the end of the day only a few services have a strong grip on our attention. We only have so much of it to give. That’s the hard truth.

And that hard truth is made manifest on the mobile platform.  As Hunter Walk has correctly  noted people only have room for 20 or so apps on the main screen of their smartphones or tablets. If your app isn’t one of those 20, you basically don’t exist.The limited shelf space on the first screen of your mobile device reflects the limited time you have to give. The web sometimes obscured that reality.

Depressed? If you’re a real entrepreneur (or investor) you shouldn’t be. Get your app onto someone’s main screen, and you’ll find the opportunities may be even bigger on mobile than they ever were on the web. When you’re lucky enough to build such a service, you’ll be rewarded with gobs and gobs of attention. With our app, Showyou, the average session length on the iPad is over 40 minutes. On the iPhone it’s over 20 minutes. I know other leading app makers like Flipboard have seen similar usage patterns. I’ve been doing this 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it, except for Facebook.

So if you’re making something for consumers that’s free, don’t ask “mobile first” or “web first” — that question is settled. Most people will increasingly spend most of their time on smartphones and tablets, you need to make something specific and great for those devices.

Ask instead if you think yours is likely to be one of the 20-30 services that people allow into their lives. That’s a damned scary question. It’s the one every entrepreneur should have been asking all along. And it ought to send a lot of people running, scaling back their ambitions, or revising their plans at the least. [3] You have to have a plan for Distribution and Engagement and Retention. Getting onto that first screen requires you to meet all of those challenges (too many people think it’s just about distribution). Ask any app maker, even the most successful among them, and they’ll tell you these challengers are very real, they’re daunting, and there ain’t any easy answers right now.

But for some of us entrepreneurs, it’s time to dream those impossible dreams, to conjure up Steve Jobs, Ted Turner, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and all the others in the pantheon of the Crazy Ones. Because we’re in between platforms. When things are hard, and haven’t been figured out yet, and there isn’t a playbook. When people think you’re crazy and foolish and won’t give you any money. That’s when habits change, when opportunities arise, and the big new things get built and invented.  [4]

1. I’m talking about the here & now in the metaphorical-if-not-real Silicon Valley of course, not the England of Richard III:

Fred Wilson: Rethinking Mobile First

Vibhu Norby: Why We Are Pivoting to Web First

Fred Wilson: What Has Changed

Om Malik: Who Says Startups Are Easy?

2. Yes there are exceptions, and yes this is simplistic. Google has built the best free business on the web by converting relatively small units of attention (time) because they also are harvesting “intention.” And conversely, there are examples of services that chew up a lot of our time & attention but don’t convert that efficiently into money. Facebook is currently such a business; so are most mobile chat apps. And I should note it’s not always an either/or choice (free w/ attention, or paid for); historically some of the very biggest and best consumer services combined both, e.g., magazines, newspapers, cable television.

3. This is not to say there will only be 20-30 viable mobile businesses; rather, I’m arguing there will likely only be 20 or so big businesses on mobile, businesses worth more than $1B. There will certainly be dozens if not hundreds of smaller, very interesting and viable businesses. But entrepreneurs will need to be thoughtful about how much money they raise and from whom if they’re not going to be one of those big $1B+ businesses. Don’t raise $15M if you don’t think you have a real chance breaking into that Top 20 list. Conversely, might be an interesting strategy for a VC to invest smaller amounts in this next tier, to look for targeted niche players.

4. The honest entrepreneur should be very alive to this real threat: the big platform operators (Apple and Google for now) know all about the importance of those 20-30 apps. Why do you think Apple booted off all those Google apps, and Android is chock-full of Google service by default? They love them some vertical integration. Yikes!



I love Twitter. I’m coming up on six years using the service, and there are few other Internet services I’ve used as much these past six years.

If you’re in the tech industry, there has been a lot of gnashing of teeth about changes Twitter is making to its API. A lot of folks  see this as a bunch of techie-geeky inside baseball, that these are changes that only affect developers (and not real people who use the service), and for the most part they’re probably right.

But Twitter has thrived in large part because it has built an ecosystem. One where lots of people were encouraged to build cool tools on top of Twitter, tools that allow us to use, and interact with, Twitter in ways that best fit our needs.

And ecosystems, whether natural or technical, are extremely fragile. One small, seemingly inconsequential change can ripple outward to produce unintended consequences and devastating damage.

For example, you or I may not care about Tweetbot (an iPhone Twitter client beloved by many); but people I follow on Twitter do care about it. A lot. And, if changes Twitter is making to its API put Tweetbot out of commission, the people I follow on Twitter might not post as much. Because they don’t want to be forced into using a tool they don’t like. And that will make Twitter less valuable, perhaps, for me.

Today a rumor has swept through Twitter (of course) that the Twitter is killing off its Mac desktop client. It’s just a rumor. But this is the Twitter client I use more than any other. And without it, I’ll use Twitter less. I know this for a fact — my usage of Twitter has steadily increased with the availability of good (and sometimes great) desktop clients starting with Twitterific.

In the past, Twitter killing off its Mac client would have been a bummer, but not fatal. Some smart third party developer would have stepped in and filled the gap. And, indeed, this is what happened on the Mac and iPhone until Twitter acquired Tweetie (which in turn became the basis for all of its official iOS and Mac apps). But with the API changes they’ve just announced, they’ve made clear you’d be a fool to step in now to build a Mac client for Twitter.

And so then what? As Om Malik jokingly tweeted this afternoon, “so what are we supposed to use? their website?” I’ve never particularly liked or used the Twitter web site and I’ll use Twitter much less if I’m someday forced into that.

I’m just a small, inconsequential part of Twitter, one little user out of hundreds of millions. Twitter doesn’t care about me, and it won’t matter to Twitter if I use the service less.

But these seemingly small and trivial changes might cause others to use the service less, too. And it all starts to add up.  The rots sets in, things start to die off, and before you know it you’re looking at a dry and dusty land.


The Twitter OS Company

For people who build things based on the Twitter API, and who love Twitter, there has been some wringing of hands since this post by @sippey last week about Twitter taking more control of their user experience.

The gist of the concern is that Twitter seems to be increasingly focused on developers using their API to build more value within Twitter (and specifically within tweets), and that Twitter apparently would like their partners to be less focused on building on top of Twitter. As @sippey says in his post:

Twitter cards are an important step toward where we are heading with our platform, which involves creating new opportunities to build engaging experiences into Twitter. That is, we want developers to be able to build applications that run within Tweets.

There seems to be an assumption, at Twitter and among passionate third-party developers, that Twitter has to choose between being an API-driven message bus or a company that increasingly controls the full experience end-to-end.

That’s a false choice.

There is a simple historical precedent for the kind of ecosystem Twitter can and should build: it needs to think about the underlying message bus that Twitter powers as an OS, one that supports a wide range of applications built on top of that. Windows, Mac OS, and iOS are the models, not advertising-supported web portals.

Thought of that way, there is no reason why Twitter shouldn’t and can’t be in the application business as well as the OS business. Not just one application, but many applications. Just like Microsoft and Apple have produced Word, Keynote, iMovie, iTunes, PowerPoint and Excel.

Trying to provide an end-to-end, all-encompassing user experience in one client for Twitter is a fool’s errand, especially as we move towards a more mobile-based Internet. It’s going backwards. Fred Wilson got it exactly right in his post this weekend:

Mobile does not reward feature richness. It rewards small, application specific, feature light services. I have said this before but I will say it again. The phone is the equivalent of the web application and the mobile apps you have on your home screen(s) are the features.

That is why Facebook should (and it looks like will) break its big monolithic web app into a bunch of small mobile apps. Messenger, Instagram (not yet owned by Facebook), and Camera are the model for Facebook on mobile.

Bingo. Somewhat ironic that Facebook has figured this out first.

But there is no reason why Twitter shouldn’t and can’t take a similar approach. Twitter shouldn’t want to have just one app; they should make many single-purpose, best-of-breed apps. Build them in-house, or buy the best apps out there.

Because they control the OS — the Twitter message bus — Twitter will always have built-in advantages and should always be able to create best-in-class applications that often beat third parties. That’s fine. Do that, and let the third party ecosystem fill in around those opportunities.

Twitter can and should signal where people shouldn’t invest — be it photos, the basic real-time client, or other areas. And, set up an economic regime that allows Twitter to win and prosper either way. Tell third parties who have built apps off your platform that they have to incorporate your ads, or pay you to use the message bus if they don’t want to include ads.
Having a clear economic relationship with its ecosystem is essential. People build apps on iOS because they know what the rules of the road are. Third party developers know that Apple makes money from the arrangement and isn’t just doing it out of the good of their hearts, and that it’s in their interest to continue supporting iOS as a platform.

After all, the best ecosystems (including coral reefs) are those where everyone’s interests are spelled out, and where the each organism gains something from the others.


It’s about Adding a Cord, Not Cutting One (Reposted from the Vodpod Blog)

I wrote this post for the Vodpod blog a year or so ago, and thought I would repost here as it ties into a number of trends and themes on the blog.

Are people cutting the cord (i.e., getting rid of their cable or satellite TV)?

With Apple TV, Google TV, Boxee (the Boxee box is launching this week) and Netflix streaming coming to a huge array of devices, including most importantly the Wii and Xbox and PS3,  the challenge to the traditional television business is now present and very real.

But that threat isn’t about people cutting the cord. Instead, we’re adding a cord  — to the Internet.

The television business in the U.S. has been one of the one of the most profitable walled gardens, and one with the highest walls. Historically, it’s been difficult to get video programming on to your TV that wasn’t supplied by a cable network or television broadcaster or movie studio.

With our new Internet cord, though, we can get instant, on-demand access to programming on our TVs from places like YouTube, Vimeo, blip.tv and 1000s of other sites. The popularity of Netflix streaming — which, by some now figure accounts for 20% of all downstream traffic during the 8-10PM prime time window despite the massive limitations of their library — gives us a taste of what’s to come. On the Internet, we have 10,000,000s of clips to choose from. And that’s coming to a TV near you.

The history of cable television shows how this is likely to play out. As new programming sources are added, the amount of time we spent watching television goes up but the share owned by incumbents goes down. The amount of time we spent watching the traditional broadcast networks plunged as hundreds of new channels were added to cable networks. As we begin to watch more programming from the Internet, with it’s almost infinite supply of programming, cable and broadcast television companies have much to fear. (Graphic Source: tvbythenumbers).

For most American households, the television provides a hard-to-resist gravitational pull once we get home from work (source: Nielsen Webinar). Television viewership surges during the “prime time” hours (whereas usage of the web typically peaks in the afternoon, when people are still at work).

As it becomes as easy to watch YouTube as ABC on our televisions, what we watch during prime time will change. And this presents a huge threat to traditional broadcast and cable television, given prime time viewing accounts for 50% or more of total revenues from advertising for many cable and broadcast networks.

Arguing about “cutting the cord” misses point. That may, or may not, happen. But we’re definitely going to be adding a cord as we plug in our Apple TVs and Google TVs. And that will change things forever.


Rewind: On Netflix, Hulu and Kilar Bold Moves

In February, I wrote this post on Jason Kilar’s treatise on video licensing economics (a great 101 if you’re interested in media licensing).

In Kilar’s post, he makes a big stink about rights owners demanding a per user per month fee for their content (something that is standard in cable deals between folks like Comcast and channels like ESPN). I speculated that Kilar was pushing this out of fear — that he was worried about this big pot of money Netflix could spend on simple fixed-fee deals (instead of per-month, per-user fees), an area where Hulu doesn’t have the cash to compete.

Reading Megan McCarthy’s piece tonight on The Atlantic (hat tip @persingerscott) makes me think it was a more nuanced, and much bolder, move — indeed, a smart bit of chess playing by Kilar. As McCardle points out, when media companies push for traditional cable-style per-subscriber per-month license fees (accompanied by hefty guarantees of course) it puts enormous pressure on Netflix’s margins. Kilar (and Hulu) know that.

Whereas similar demands (which most certainly are being made) to Hulu are less painful for them. Hulu’s subscription offering is, at least at this point, non-strategic. It’s a nice to have. The main game for them is advertising. So they can better afford to advocate these stye deals, which in turn are painful for Netflix to digest.

I don’t know, of course. what Kilar was thinking, but it’s all a good reminder that there is a fascinating battle being waged right now for digital media rights, and that even an entrenched digital incumbent like Netflix is struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing terrain.


On the New Facebook Timeline

I haven’t seen it in action yet, just screenshots from people who have it enabled on their developer accounts. But, as Zuckerberg described the Timeline in his keynote I couldn’t help but think of a novel  from 11 years ago that I re-read this spring.

That would be “Turn of the Century” by Kurt Andersen, released in the midst of our First Big Tech Bubble of 1999, and in particular the protagonist George Mactier’s always-inventing brother-in-law who “proposes a chain of franchised, “mall-adjacent” cemeteries with video markers instead of headstones.”

Just like OnionSkin jeans in Super Sad True Love Story, Facebook Timeline-powered digital headstones are bound to happen. Bank on it.


Last night I watched Terrence Malick’s The…

Last night I watched Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line.”

Some movies you watch, enjoy, have a few laughs, are diverted from life for an hour or two. Others stay with you for days, weeks, months. The best, like the best novels, make you think about the Big Questions — the meaning of life, what is love, what is it to to do good, to live a good life. “The Thin Red Line” is like that.

It debuted in late 1998 — the height of Monicagate, when the American economy was booming and so many of us were seduced by the narcotic of easy money in the Dot Com boom. The film was an affront in so many ways to that era, and even though it was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, it of course lost out to a movie that more accurately captured the zeitgeist of the day, the amusing trifle “Shakespeare in Love.”

But that doesn’t matter. We’ve forgotten about “Shakespeare in Love” – it had all the staying power of an amuse-bouche – but great works of art endure, and indeed grow in their importance and impact. They change lives. But it takes abundant courage to make them.

That’s a lesson to keep in mind in our world here in the Valley, particularly in the era of increased froth, where the siren song of greed rings louder than ever.

Are you going to make something great, and enduring, that makes peoples lives better? Like Apple, Google, Wikipedia, WordPress, flickr, Square, Twitter, Kickstarter, Bandcamp, the Khan Academy (and, I hope, Showyou)?

Or, do you just look at business as a way to make a quick buck? Do you just want to start a grilled cheese franchise?

You are what you do.