January 16, 2019

Learnings: Things I've made on so far.

This is a general blog post on my various schemes so far, loosely grouped around topic. Health paperworklabs.com | Turbotax for medical forms See ongoing progress in the newer posts on this site, like this one Founded with Mitul, we came up with the idea for paperwork labs when Mitul was describing the challenges physicians are facing with government paperwork. I built a simple “turbotax for medical forms” in Node, created the below video, and we’re now shopping it around clients. Read more

December 31, 2018

December Update

December 2018 Month 2: Still laser-focused on writing code and talking to users, but now have found a good potential co-founder, brainstormed a new, bigger problem with him (important!) and received some initial grant funding to take some of the financial risk off my back. Week 5 Could not grow further and missed growth targets again – started investing time into overhauling sunboxlabs.com and a completely new energy app idea. Read more

December 17, 2018

Thought: Gillets Jaunes sounds like russian

Glad to read this, after a few weeks of wondering how the Gillets Jaunes movement in France could organize through Facebook Groups yet no-one was drawing the parallels to the last time social unfairness was harnessed by a foreign power to turn out mass-protests. Apparently there’s no smoke to that fire.

November 30, 2018

November Update: starting up

November 2018 Month 1: Lazer-like focused on writing code and talking to users. After Elisa and I split up from doing giftlab.io, I decided to focus on soapdictate after I’d left swissnexSF. soapdictate is my other side-project, and I wanted to see if I could make it work. I left swissnexSF October 31st 2018 and switched to working on the soapdictate dictation app full-time. Week 1 quickly followed up with all contacts from job to let them know what i’m working on incorporated LLC with stripe atlas (more like aside project currently but don’t want liability), Did health insurance, worked from friends’ office. Read more

April 10, 2018

Learnings: Building swissnex SF's startup program

Originally posted as “8 learnings for startups (from swissnex SF Startup Camp)” at startupticker.ch and the swissnex blog. swissnex San Francisco connects Swiss startups to a Bay Area network, and provides tools, techniques, training, and workspace in San Francisco. Twice a year, the swissnex SF Startup Camp brings together startups from EPFL XGrant and Innosuisse Market Entry Camp, and any other Swiss startup (for a fee). Get in touch with any questions or see below for more information. Read more

March 27, 2018

Essay: As cities grow, nations will fade.

Originally posted at swissnex San Francisco as Back to the city Democracy was designed for the city 54% of the world’s population now lives in cities, and more humans move to urban areas every day. But with voters and power concentrated in metropolitan areas, are nations holding cities back? Democracy was designed to rule a city, after all – Athens. Maybe we’ve stretched the democratic system further than it was meant to be expanded? Read more

December 19, 2017

How-to: Blockchain experiments: Software that cannot die

A note on technical legacy What is lasting in the tech world? Architects build things that stay forever. Technologists build things that a week later doesn’t work because npm install’s libraries have changed. I read once that the average lifespan of a webpage on the internet is 8 months. The oldest software companies are Apple and Microsoft. Legacy in software is bad. It is a dirty word. Blockchain, because it is shared by all, may be a solution to this issue of splitting useful (but ephemeral) “built” software projects from capitalistic cycles, and allow them to be guaranteed to be run forever, as everyone is running them. Read more

July 20, 2017

How-to: $200 solar self-sufficiency — without your landlord noticing.

Building a solar micro-grid in my bedroom with parts from Amazon Originally posted on Hackernoon/Medium. See newest updates at sunboxlabs.com The problem Apartment renters need the landlord’s permission to install anything on their rooftops. This makes installing solar difficult for people who rent. Because most of the world lives in urbanized areas where renting is common, I think this is a problem standing in the way of solar adoption. Read more

December 30, 2016

Learnings: My first startup, Paper.

An archived version of the final website (started as Paper Furniture, ended up being called Smoke Furniture Co.) before we switched it off is here. 1 Team Team Team Cofounder Cofounder Cofounder. Team Team Team. I can’t stress this enough, and is the main point of learning I’ve brought. 2 Problem problem problem Find a hair-on-fire problem (vitamins vs. painkillers). There should be no substitution, and extreme urgency to try your project. Read more

March 18, 2015

Essay: Vipassana Meditation

A silent 10-day crash course in Buddha’s own technique. Introduction Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai by Flickr user Abhishek Thakur On my last day in Mumbai, India, I randomly visited the Global Pagoda, a gigantic structure (the largest of its kind) still under construction, rising like a giant spaceship over the wetlands north of the city. Expecting ostentation, I found a surprisingly secular take on a promise otherwise reserved only for religion, paraphrased: We want to end suffering by teaching everyone a technique to avoid the ups and downs of every day life. Read more

February 21, 2015

Essay: The Chicago Public Library

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man” — T.S. Eliot This quote is engraved in the wall of the Chicago Public Library, which is the largest public library anywhere. Here, citizens have unlimited access to the all the information they could ever want — internet, books and news. In here, information seems democratised and free for all. Read more

February 13, 2015

Essay: No

Sometimes saying “No” is the most positive thing to do. When do we say no? Saying no is an incredibly useful tool to weed out random or subpar options, to actively strive towards an absolute goal instead of being reactive to the noise around us. Naturally, a process of negating what you don’t want can only begin once you know what you want. Counterintuitively, the only way to find out what you want is often by saying yes to everything and gathering experience. Read more

June 11, 2013

Essay: On putting in the hours

Contrary to our cultural belief in natural talents, popular science is catching on to the idea that the path to success may be linear. And it may require no more than hard work. The claim (most popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers) is that there’s no such thing as a natural talent - talents are achieved through hard work, and it is never too late for anyone to start down that path. Read more

May 16, 2013

Essay: Up!

A simple solution to high rents and long commutes in cities was invented a century ago: building up. But San Francisco is restricted vertically to an extreme degree. Why? It’s not seismic issues, it’s a density limit called Prop M. Why do we limit our cities vertically in this way? The need for horizontal restraint is obvious: Society needs to define streetscapes, block sizes and green areas to decompress in. Building codes were established to bring some discipline into the city. Read more

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