Monday, December 8, 2014

Startup Grind Coming to Lansing!

I'm stoked to announce Startup Grind is coming to Lansing in January 2015!

Startup Grind is a global (55 countries, 125 cities) startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs.

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Grind recently launched in Lansing. Our first event will be in the second half of January 2015 featuring a rocking local entrepreneur. I hope you join us!

We host monthly events for Lansing entrepreneurs.  Each event features a successful local founder, innovator, educator or investor who shares personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies.  We offer yummy food + drinks and spend an hour filming an informal, intimate fireside-chat-style interview with our awesome person of the month followed by a Q&A and mixer.

Each event gets archived on – some of the past interviews were with biz legends like the founders of Nest, Capital One, Pinterest, Stripe, SoundCloud, Words with Friends, Intuit, Indiegogo... the list goes on and on.  These interviews are a unique peek behind-the-scenes at the life, journey and insights of those who have gone before, and are incredibly engaging and inspiring events.  Startup Grind was recently featured in Forbes magazine and is quickly becoming known as the Ted talks of the entrepreneur world.

Lets Build This Together!

I'm excited to be involved in bringing Startup Grind to Lansing. To take full advantage of this opportunity it is important to involve the community.

Please email me to get involved!

  • If you want to attend our first event.
  • If you want to volunteer to help.
  • Ideas on how Startup Grind can help Lansing.
  • Local media contacts to help spread the word! (name & email or phone)
  • Speaker suggestions (include speaker name, company, contact email,  & contact phone number)
  • Sponsor suggestions (include company name contact name, contact email,  & contact phone number) Ideal sponsors are those who are avid supporters of the local entrepreneur community or those who have services founders can benefit from. 

I'm already working hard with a team of people to line up killer speakers and put on valuable events. This is going to be an exciting addition to the already vibrant Lansing business community!

David Smith
Director, Startup Grind Lansing

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Apple Migration Assistant - Days to Minutes

I had a frustrating time using Apple's Migration Assistant. After some Google searching and the help of local vendor, Capitol Macintosh the process was quick. After the migration I was amazed at how seamless it was. I've checked all the apps I thought would be difficult like Inkscape and Gimp, but they transferred seamlessly.

The process worked so well that on my first login after migration all my windows were open just like I'd left them. It was just like using my old system.

Quickly Migrating Data
Quickly Migrating Data


I recently purchased a new Macbook Air since my previous one had a bad screen.

I was excited to upgrade from 4 GB RAM To 8 GB RAM, but not looking forward to installing my apps and getting the system configured like my old one.

Updating in Minutes instead of Days

I found out during the migration both computers are unusable. This is a problem when the process takes many hours or even days over WiFi.

Following these steps would have migrated me in under an hour instead of days:
  1. Get a Thunderbolt Cable
  2. Update both systems to the latest version of OS X.
  3. Turn off sleep mode (Energy Saver)
  4. Turn off WiFi on the new system (to ensure the process is using the Thunderbolt cable)
  5. Plug in the Thunderbolt Cable to both systems.
  6. Restart the old system and hold the T key on the keyboard.
  7. Launch the Migration Assistant from the new computer.
  8. Follow the prompts.
Other Tips
  1. If you need to stop the migration assistant press Command Q.
  2. If you need to restart the migration assistant and it keeps continuing where it left off restart the system.
  3. While migrating the computer goes into a special mode and can't be used for anything else.
Why oh why did Apple make this process so difficult? After I put in a couple hours of trial, error, and Googling it worked great. But why hide this information? Computers are great at sequencing tasks and knowing not to go to sleep in the middle of important operations. 

There are no prompts are hints to discover how to massively speed up this process. It is frustrating I had to learn everything by trial, error, and the help of local Apple Authorized Servicer Capitol Macintosh to understand the best way to transfer the data. How hard would it have been to put the 8 steps above into software to walk users through the process?

I won't go deep into the usability issues, but for starters putting total estimated time up front via various methods (WiFi, Thunderbolt, etc.) would have helped loads.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bitcoin Mining Needs to be Fixed

Bitcoin mining is a problem and needs to be fixed for bitcoin to be successful. Right now I don't hear anyone talking about fixing it, just putting on bandaids or worse, ​asking for irrational actions.
The problem stems from the way the block reward works. Essentially it is a lottery where a large prize (currently 25 BTC) is awarded every ten minutes. One buys tickets by providing hashing power to secure the network. The problem is that most participants don't want to 'win' once every few years. They'd prefer to get paid frequently overtime. To achieve this they pool their hashing power together and distribute the block award according to each participants participation level.
Whats the Problem?
The larger the pool, the less the variance in payouts and the more incentive to join the pool. This creates a problem because the pool operator is now in control of the security of the bitcoin network. If the pool operator wants to cheat or abuse the network they can do so.
The entire point of bitcoin is not to rely on trusted third parties, and having a single dominant pool operator makes that operator a trusted third party. Most assume the pool operator won't, but what if the pool operator is hacked, tricked, or otherwise coerced? Can a multibillion or even trillion dollar bitcoin economy thrive with this fundamental threat? No.
Whats the Solution?
The solution is to fix the block reward. Satoshi's white paper states "Proof-of-work is essentially one-CPU-one-vote" while that is technically true today, miners can vote by switching pools or buying hashing power at competing pools those aren't fixes. They are bandaids. The fix is to eliminate the need for pools at the root level.
What is Wrong with Bandaids?
The solutions I primarily see proposed today consist of asking (more like yelling) at miners to switch pools and asking all bitcoin owners to spend a percentage of their bitcoin wealth used to mine the network on a pool of their choice.
It is bizarre to me that selfish people in the community are yelling at miners for being selfish and stating they should switch pools. Miners could be asking the community why not donate BTC to pool xyz to increase the block reward and incentivize the switch. It is the same concept. Bitcoin shouldn't work through subsidies and perverse incentives. It should be fixed at the root so individual incentives align with network incentives.
Another bandaid is attacking the dominant pool operator either through block withholding or denial of service attacks. Does it make any sense for the bitcoin community to rely on periodic attacks when a pool gets too large? No clearly the problem should be fixed at the root so individual incentives align with the network incentives.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

How I lost 6 pounds in 5 days doing almost nothing.

This week I lost six pounds (170 => 164) with minimal diet changes and no working out.

My Effort:

  1. 3 hours on Sunday reading 20% of The 4-Hour Body
  2. Eating eggs for breakfast instead of fruit
  3. Eating beans and spinach instead of fruit, potatoes, bread, and rice.
  4. Being thoughtful about what I ate at 3 meals outside of my home this week.
  5. Turning the shower on cold for a minute or so (not sure if this contributed or not)

The diet primarily consists of eating meat, legumes, and vegetables

I'm still somewhat skeptical, but I'm proving myself wrong by doing it. I didn't think I could lose that much weight in such a short time frame and especially without major effort. In fact I may have eaten more than usual this week. I'm not sure how this will go, but I'll be happy to update in the future with continued progress.

A few weeks ago my pants were getting tight on me. In 2012 reading The 4-Hour Workweek changed my life more than any other book I'd read (thanks Brian!) and knew the author had a weight loss book that promised maximal change with minimal effort. I was interested in losing weight, if I didn't have to eat stuff I don't like, work out, count calories. Basically I wanted to lose weight without expending much effort or changing my diet much. This diet fit me perfectly because I like to eat a lot and I like to eat a lot of meat.

Going forward
The book advocates a cheat day where you ignore the diet and today is my cheat day so we'll see how it goes (fruit and beer) )

As my experiment progresses I'll post updates on this blog. If it is successful I'll have before and after pics :)