There’s no question dealing with huge datasets is a very challenging technical problem. Whether it’s distributing search queries (ie Google), calculating algorithms from huge datasets (ie flight services), or coming up with predictions from many data points (ie weather or stock market). Storing big data, and computing actionable insights from that data requires expertise, and lots of powerful machines.

But without the data, you don’t have that analysis. And sometimes getting that data is the more challenging aspect that prevents many copycat businesses from popping up. Here’s why:…


In the past week, I’ve read around 5 posts about influencer marketing, including one about using the 80/20 rule to identify top influencers to focus on.

It appears that more and more people have realized that paying for Facebook Ads, or sponsored tweets isn’t what social media marketing is about. It’s about reaching online influencers who can spread your idea/message/product to their followers in Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, …just not Facebook (that’s why I secretly avoid it. It makes me no money =)

Many services have popped out for people wanting to reach influencers. There’s Klout, the misguided product that isn’t really a game, but in actuality a very effective marketing tool. There’s PinPuff, a very good app for finding influencers in Pinterest (recently acquired). And there’s GroupHigh, a relatively new service for finding influential bloggers.…


As someone who has read, and done SEO since the late 90’s, you might think I love SEO. Well, I do like it, but secretly there’s a side of me that despises SEO. Well, let me rephrase that. I despise Google and their monopoly on search.

You know how people say the entry to starting an online business is little to nil? How anyone can just setup a website and compete with the big guys? They’re wrong. They might’ve been right in 2002, even in 2006. But afterwards, Google has just made it incredibly hard to rank for anything substantial, even if you’re following their guidelines.

But do we really need to depend so much on Google to survive?

Recently I’ve been reading a few startup stories and have been noticing a trend. I think we’re close to reaching a point where people might say “You know what? Screw Google …

Some people have no trouble coming up with ideas… it’s true – ideas are cheap. But what about ideas that people are willing to pay for? In my opinion, those ideas aren’t cheap – they’re valuable, and hard to come by. Unless you have spent a lot of time in a certain industry or niche, it’s hard to come up with real solutions to real problems people will pay for. There are billions of people on this Earth, and chances are someone has created a robust solution if it was a real problem.

That said, here are some ideas that I haven’t seen yet. They’re not just random ideas, they’re ideas I’m willing to pay cold hard cash for.

1) Web App Logs as a service

With Rails or any other application framework, it’s easy to write to logs. The hard part is parsing, searching and filtering those log files …


If you’re building a product – whether it’s a consumer app, or a SaaS, it’s very tempting to focus only on development, especially if you’re an engineer. You start to wonder how to scale it so a million concurrent users can use it. Or you dream about how you can incorporate cool technologies like MongoDB, Node.JS, or Voldemort.

There’s many reasons why people fall into this trap. We’re uncomfortable getting feedback from potential customers. We worry a potential competitor might move faster. And let’s admit it: developing and scaling a product is FUN. Finding customers, or getting feedback on the other hand, is abstract, fuzzy, and daunting.

I fell into this trap multiple times in prior side projects, and I vow now to make those mistakes again. For me, I strive for 60% time devoted to development, and 40% to marketing. While that may sound like a lot of …