Archive for February, 2010

PairUp Conference: Building a Startup

I will be speaking at the PairUp Conference April 8-9, 2010 in London; doing a pair presentation with Nick Pellant.  The both of us will be speaking on how to go about starting a tech startup, and focused on inspiring the youth of the UK! Read more


Growing up my family moved around every few years, which meant that I was the "new kid on the block" a handful of times.  Every new school I entered required me to learn a new system, and most of the time I was the only brownie, which made my social-life a little more challenging.  Being a child there was nothing I could do except learn to adapt.  By the time we made our final move to San Antonio, Texas where I started ... Read more

Testing Traditions

I come from a culture that reveres degrees, status, and tradition.  While I think those things are important, they just aren't important to me.  When I was 10 I told my mom I wasn't going to have an arranged marriage, her response: "We'll see."  We are still seeing...  At 18 I told my pious parents I was an atheist and they thought it was just a phase.  I wasn't a particularly troublesome teen, most people would have called me a goody ... Read more

Pre-Launch Prep

I've been advising a few pre-launch startups that are getting ready to do their first ever product launch.  From first-hand experience I know that the first product launch can be nerve-wrecking.  You expect the product to be pixel perfect, and all the features to be fully functional and bug-free.  But there is such a thing as spending too much time on perfecting the product, and forgetting that you need to be able to support load on the system.  What good is ... Read more

Getting Traction on Trendy Technology

As a startup founder I've been fixated on understanding technology adoption, and trying to not spread myself too thin: writing a web app, native apps for smart phones, and potentially an iPad app, or whatever else might come out in the next couple of years. Here's how I'm figuring out who will adopt my product and what technology to build it on: Who is my target customer? (age, gender, occupation - income level & usage model) What technologies have they already adopted, and why? What ... Read more

Think About Scale from the Start

If you are thinking about scaling a web application or service, congratulations, because you have users that liked you or were curious enough to sign up and stick around! You will of course be acquiring more users shortly.  While the trajectory of user growth is unknown, and depends a lot on your usage model (viral social network vs. word-of-mouth individual user service) there are a few things you need to address: Capacity - your site will need to handle more concurrent users, ... Read more

Epilogue: Femgineer to Femtrepreneur

Almost one month ago I left to strike it out on my own.  I remember leaving the building after saying goodbye to people that I had helped hire, and built a product with for over 3 years of my life.  The days leading up to my last day were filled with a bit of sadness, and apprehension.  I recalled all my fondest memories of team lunches, the burritos in the park, and the countless milestones and awards Mint had won. ... Read more

Importance of an IDE

The first time I saw my VP of Engineering use Idea Intellij I feel in love with it!  All those shortcuts, a debugger, running a server, refactoring code, inserting exception handling, and the ability to do auto-complete!  I was coming from an Emacs, NEdit, VI background, which are all powerful in their own right.  I loved Emacs, because I could switch between files quickly and compile in a single window, which is great for C and C++ development.  NEdit is great ... Read more

Ruby Tuesday: Debugging

When I was a freshman at Duke, coding away in Teer basement, I would often hear disgruntled engineers shout: "Damn, I've got 300 syntax errors, I left off the semicolon!  Why does everything have to be so exact?"  Those were the days of coding in C++, a language in which you had to actually compile, but hey it was faster than punchcards! Nowadays we have dynamic typed languages like Ruby that don't even require semicolons!  But that doesn't mean we're in the ... Read more

TalkShoe Podcast

I was interviewed this afternoon by Anne Swift.  She focused on my experience as one of the founding engineers at, and how that has helped me start my own venture.  Enjoy the podcast! Read more
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