THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE GONE GONE ALL GONE
Dorkbot DC is now defunct, but around that time a besuited fellow by the name of Nickf4rr showed up to one of the Dorkbot meetings to tell us about a new hackerspace, the first in DC. A few months later I checked it out, became a member, and spent most of the next seven years serving on the board of directors in various positions. I stepped down from the board earlier this year and am now concentrating my efforts on starting another DC-area hackerspace, this one with a feminist foundation, drawing my inspiration from Nick and my experience from those years helping run HacDC.
This entry was originally posted at http://bokunenjin.dreamwidth.org/60544.html.
“These acts of empathy and concern for human life are a choice of the player as much as they are Jensen’s in the story. Part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s appeal is how it lets you make a variety of choices, including the option to always go with violence as your solution. Jensen can just as easily stab thugs with the swords implanted in his arms as he can subdue and spare them. Those implants that let him better sense someone’s state of mind in conversation can also be used to intimidate and threaten them into doing what he wants. Sociopathy, cruelty, and avarice are equal in their humanity to mercy and compassion, though. Even if Adam Jensen turns into a murderer in your hands, those cybernetic replacements just let him better indulge in our basest impulses. That he still has the capacity for good and evil drives home the revelation lying inside Deus Ex: Our bodies aren’t what make us human. They just let us be human, whatever they’re made out of.”
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided | Adam Jensen
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided announced for PC, PS4 and Xbox One
We knew it was in the works and BAM! There is is. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided directly follows the aftermath of the Aug Incident, a day when mechanically augmented citizens all over the world were stripped of control over their minds and bodies, resulting in the deaths of millions of innocents. The year is now 2029, and the golden era of augmentations is over. Mechanically augmented humans have been deemed outcasts and segregated from the rest of society. Crime and acts of terror serve as a thin veil to cover up an overarching conspiracy aimed at controlling the future of mankind. You can expect a release date soon. Like E3 soon.
A relationship should be about building each other up, together as a team.
Don’t be in a relationship if it doesn’t improve your life over being single.
it’s ok to be with yourself.
Read this. And then read it again.
applies to friendships too
MHOX is a generative design studio. They develop body extensions and they are looking to change the way we see things, literally.
According to their website:
“Latest developments in bioprinting and biohacking let us imagine that in the near future it would be possible to easily print organic, functional body parts, allowing the human to replace defected districts or enhance standard performance.
This project is based on the idea of augmenting the sight sense, increasing the functionalities of the eye with ones currently handled by other body segments or external devices.“
They have three categories for their eye replacements:
- EYE HEAL replaces standard eye functionality, providing a cure to sight deseases and traumas.
- EYE ENHANCE sharpens sight up to 15/10, thanks to its hyper-retina. Moreover, the included visual gland allows the opportunity to aesthetically filter the visual signal. Filters (vintage, black and white, …) can be activated or changed swallowing EYE pills.
- EYE ADVANCE which provides the ability to record and share the visual experience, thanks to the included gland that supports wi-fi communication. Once activated the wi-fi mode through the EYE connection pill it is possible to connect the EYE like an external camera for several devices.
All the products in the EYE collection can be customized in order to preserve or change retinal morphology and information of the user.
The most amazing thing about this?
The EYE products are expected to be available on the market by January 2027.
There will have to be some obvious questions that we as humans will have to grapple with as the next decade of 3D printing, bioprinting, and the exponentially advancing nature of technology comes crashing in waves. Will we be dragged out to sea or play in the spray?
The future is coming and we need to prepare ourselves and put proper legislation, advance security measurements, and educate all who are going to be affected by this type of technological advancement if we expect it to actually work positively in the future.
A friend confessed to me the other night that his funded startup had failed.
“It was growing,” he said. “We were getting customers. We just weren’t getting them fast enough to continue getting funding.”
This is a familiar refrain with startup founders, and I personally know several founders whose businesses fit this bill (including my last funded company.) They have a business that works, with customers. It just doesn’t fit the ridiculous growth profile that most VC’s (venture capitalists) expect.
That’s the untold story of the estimated 80%+ of funded startups that fail. Most of them don’t fail because of a complete lack of acquiring customers. They fail because they stepped on the funding treadmill and hired ahead of revenue for anticipated growth–and that growth either didn’t happen, or didn’t happen fast enough.Fab.com — From Billion Dollar Valuation to Bust
Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the painful story of Fab.com, the e-commerce startup that raised over $330 million and then sold for a comparatively paltry sum ($15-50 million, is the estimate.) In the story of Fab.com’s death, these quotes stand out:
“By October 2011, Fab was generating $100,000 a day. It hired 80 people and grew to 750,000 users. Etsy veteran Beth Ferriera joined Fab as COO and David Lapter joined as CFO. Fab was called the ‘fastest-growing startup in the world.’
The company finished the year with 1.3 million users and an annual run rate of $80 million. It closed a $40 million round of financing at a $200 million valuation from top Silicon Valley investment firm Andreessen Horowitz. Jeff Jordan, who also invested in Pinterest, joined Fab’s board.
…’There was a real business there,’ a former Fab employee lamented. “It could have worked.’
Another agreed: ‘People used to rattle off things they bought on Fab to me. We had that [magic] that got people to open emails and engage with content … There’s no question the core business worked. That’s the frustrating part about all of it.'”
Then disaster struck: “Fab’s 2013 kicked off with a five-hour board meeting. The board — which consisted of First Round Capital’s Howard Morgan, Fab CEO Jason Goldberg, Andreessen Horowitz’s Jeff Jordan, Atomico’s Geoffrey Prentice, Tencent’s James Mitchell, and Allen Morgan — decided Fab needed to move faster. It approved a plan to increase Fab’s burn rate to generate $200 million by the end of the year. The plan would drain Fab of its remaining capital by August, but as long as [CEO] Goldberg was able to raise $300 million more by then, the company would be fine.”What’s Realistic for Businesses?
What I see here is a big example of a pattern that continually unfolds with venture-funded startups: The startup is growing, but in order to continue to attract financing, it needs to grow faster. That’s not realistic for 80%+ of companies. Most of them collapse when they fail to raise another round of funding. Some raise that round, like Fab, and then collapse when a board full of investors decides the company needs to “move faster” and “increase its burn.” Of course, everything will be fine if that plan works…but if it doesn’t, a successful business can go bankrupt literally overnight when cash runs out and investors refuse to throw it a lifeline.
Investors at the seed stage (the $10,000-$50,000 checks that most venture-funded startups accumulate at the beginning of their lifecycle) are conditioned to write 100 checks or more, and then only fund the “winners”–the ones that, in a year, are growing at 20% or more month over month. The other ones–the majority of the entire pool–won’t hit that target and won’t receive additional funding. That’s exactly what happened to my company last year–having received $640,000 in funding, we couldn’t hit revenue targets quickly enough, and thus couldn’t raise more capital, and failed.
The investors aren’t too bothered, because they (assuming they are professional investors, which all of mine were) have also been conditioned to know that 80-90% of the checks they write will return nothing. For the entrepreneur, however, this can be a tough situation. It certainly was for me. I went from running and selling two successful bootstrapped tech companies to falling hard with my first funded company.
I write this article not to denigrate VC funding, but to make entrepreneurs aware of what investors expect from your company. I now own or co-own two bootstrapped companies, Opportunity Space and 1Up Repairs, and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that both of them are profitable, growing, and generally doing well. However, neither of them have the growth rate that VC’s or “tech investors” expect. That’s fine with me; I’m content to make money running these businesses and serve happy customers.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t attempt to run a funded company again. But if I do, I’ll understand that we need to have a concrete plan to hit 20-30% month-over-month growth targets. This is exceptionally difficult. 80% or more of the businesses entrepreneurs start don’t fit this profile. 80% of the ones that do get funded (i.e. you’ve convinced investors that this is possible with your company) won’t make those targets and will fail. As an entrepreneur seeking funding, you need to understand this going in.Bootstrapping is Awesome — But It Has Pitfalls, Too…
Bootstrapping is hard in a different way. You never have quite enough money to do what you want. If you don’t get enough customers one month, you may be eating cheap food or pulling from your savings. You generally finance their growth with loans (which is what I did with my hosting company in the mid-2000s.) Those loans usually require a personal guarantee (i.e. you are on the line even if the business fails.)
But with bootstrapping, you are in complete control. You can grow as fast, or slowly, as you want. You can close for a week if you need to. There is a lot more personal freedom available to you–and there’s something huge to be said for that!
Tech companies, especially funded ones, tend to get a lot of press these days, but to me, the media isn’t telling the whole story. Sure, it’s great to write about the 0.1% of businesses that will have off-the-charts growth. But there are also plenty of interesting stories to be told about all the companies that employ people, serve happy customers, and make great money for their founders! From my perspective, it’s a lower-stress business to run, as well, which suits me just fine.
Last year, I had the idea of doing a podcast covering some of these entrepreneurs, and I came up with the name Real Business Revolution. As I’ve honed in on the past several weeks on what I’d like to do, ruminating over startup and business ideas, this came to the forefront for me again.
It’s said that Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation ever (probably because the job market for college graduates stinks!), so there’s definitely room in the market for a podcast that emphasizes running a real business that makes a meaningful impact in your community, hires employees, and serves customers — one at a time.
I’m not making any promises yet on what I plan to do, but I can say that I keep coming back to this, so I plan to set up a studio and get some interviews going. I’d like to speak with investors as well about their perspective on this. Is there room for a cohort of investors who invest in cashflow businesses instead of typical “high-growth” VC investing? There seems to be opportunity written all over this–both for entrepreneurs and for investors. I’d love to encourage more people to start real businesses with cashflow, customers, and continued growth — and to emphasize that it’s perfectly OK to build that sort of business instead of the high-stakes poker game of VC-backed startups.Copyright © 2008
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Well, no one’s come after me for spilling the secrets of the Yarn of the Month Club, so I guess it’s time to post another review. This is for March, so I guess I’m not surprised that there’s some green yarn.
Here’s the two samples:
With this came a Beanie Cap pattern and instructions for two squares using the yarn.
Pattern: Beanie Cap
No author given for this, probably because it’s too simple to claim ownership of it. It’s a basic toque with a k2p2 ribbed edge and stockinette body, a nice staple to have in one’s collection but probably not something I’ll be knitting up immediately.
Here’s the yarn in their baggies, so you have the names:
Let’s talk about the white one first…
“Fun and funky fur”
7 sts/in on US 5
98 yds Color 471 or 470
This is a pretty typical fur/eyelash yarn. I’ve done enough variants of fluffy yarn that I’m pretty comfortable with it, and it was nice that this wasn’t of the sort that sheds. I’d be kind of disappointed in getting this since it wasn’t exactly a new fiber experience for me, but I did learn something due to the swatch pattern:
The swatch has every 4th row as a sl1 p3 pattern, and it *really* tightens up the piece (which is otherwise garter stitch). That’s a good technique to know if I ever do a scarf out of an eyelash yarn again!
The swatch pattern leaves faint lines across the piece. I couldn’t seem to get them to show up in my photos, since the light characteristics of the yarn mean I’d have had to be more selective about my lighting, but you can feel them under the fuzz and I kind of like the effect.
“Soft and superwash – a workhorse of a yarn”
4.25 sts/inch on US 7
20% Wool and 80% Acrylic
447 yds Color 57 or 73
This is a wool/acrylic blend that didn’t really work for me. It’s got too much acrylic to block very well, and the “leaf” pattern of the swatch suffers for it, although it does result in the back looking especially like nostrils to me:
(Sorry about the excessively small depth of field; I forgot to switch camera settings)
Frankly, I think it does better as a nostril pattern than it does as a leaf, with them all running together like that, but it’s an old standard, I guess.
Pattern aside, I’m not sure what niche the Rübezahl yarn fills: it’s got too much wool to be useful for folks who can’t handle animal fibers, and too much acrylic for you to experience the greater flexibility in a wool fiber. I guess at least it has nice stitch definition, and it seems like it might be warm and hard-wearing for stuff like slippers?
I am, however, very pleased that I remembered how to do an umlaut on my mac, so there’s that.
Here’s the finished piece being held down by pins for blocking, but frankly it rebounded back to look almost like it did unblocked.
You can also see there that the white swatch is really not square. Oh well, it’s going to be hilarious when I put these squares together in a blanket because of the density, so why not the shape as well?
I’m not going to lie, with only two samples and one of them pretty meh, I’m not very impressed with this month’s offerings. But I still enjoyed knitting up the samples for the purpose of trying new stitch patterns, and I learned a useful thing about making eyelash yarn knit up more densely, something that I think will be useful for scarves and hats in the future.
If this had been my first sample, I’d probably be on the verge of giving up, but since I enjoyed the first one, I’m willing to be optimistic. I only bought a 3-month subscription, so after next month I’ll have to decide if I want to renew!