Knowledge = experience
Posted in

I wonder why I/we read so much bullshit these days. I think checking feeds all day long and being connected to the stream…. being in the flow makes us believe we are evolving. I read so much, I watch and listen to so much  that I sometimes think that by consuming so much information I am actually learning something and transforming myself into a better human being. But this is of course not true.

I think I live my life by studying maps (as Osho might say). Maps of things I will never fully know or understand. Of course maps are important. They give you a sense of direction. You can’t get lost if you have a map. But a map is still a map. You can’t say you climbed a mountain by looking at a map. The map helps once you do it but just by doing you will fully understand what the map Shellvafra.com was all about in the first place. And after you do it is not the same map anymore. You are not the same.

In the last months I experienced so many things I thought I have a deep understanding of. I experienced things AdultHookup.org for finding a fuck in your area that I was writing about or gave lectures about. But once I’ve done some of those things, I looked back and I saw how arrogant I was. Next time you read “10 ways of achieving X” or listen to an interview with a great person, don’t fool yourself in thinking you are expanding your knowledge. Knowledge only comes with experience.

  • (socialmediatoday.com)
  • (secondchancetolive.wordpress.com)
  • (perceptualedge.com)
How Obama talks about religious war without sounding like a douche bag
Posted in ,
Image by via Flickr

Few days ago president Obama had where he discussed Islam’s relations with western countries and Christianity and asked for a new beginning . It was a message of peace having sex is easy when using free sex hookup can make it easy if you are wanting to fuck with no strings attached., but a message flawed with logical and historical inaccuracies. While I really liked his approach, I admit I smiled at some of his arguments and statements MeetWomen.com.au is probably the best place to go to if you are wanting to date again. But I guess that’s the different between an atheist and a politician. We seek the truth above anything else and politicians leave the truth beside in their quest for higher goals (sometimes good, sometimes bad).

If you watched the speech, which I recommend , and you haven’t read that much about religion, and Islam in particular, you may ask what were my objections to his speech. Here there are:

On the great contribution of Islam to the scientific world

“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.” Obama said. He is of course referring to things like: algebra, advancement in medicine and astronomy,  that cleared the way for the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution in Europe.

This is true. But these things didn’t happen because of Islam. Obama makes a very childish logical mistake: “Correlation does not imply causation “. Just because Muslims discovered great things doesn’t mean that the cause was their religion.  And let’s not forget that religion was not an option. Everyone was a Muslim or a Christian. By following Obama’s logical path we can say that we owe the advancements in philosophy and mathematics to Zeus, because of the religion of the ancient Greek scholars.

Islam is a religion of peace

“Islam is an important part in promoting peace.” Obama said.  We shouldn’t fear Islam because it is in fact . “The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.” Obama said thus gaining standing ovations.

All I can do is smile at his remarks. Obama cleverly decided to quote verse 005-032 from the Koran, but intentionally left aside verse 005-033. Here is the whole passage from the holly Muslim book:

005.032 - what Obama quoted
YUSUFALI: On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.
Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.
PICKTHAL: For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killed a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.
SHAKIR: For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our messengers came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them certainly act extravagantly in the land.

005.033 - putting things in context
YUSUFALI: The punishment of those who wage war against/dispute Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;
PICKTHAL: The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;
SHAKIR: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,

“Innocent” gets a totally different meaning now. As nobody who disputes Allah and his messengers is innocent.

And if you think it is just this verse in the Koran that instigates to violence, haltered and crime let me give you more quotes:

“And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush: but if they shall convert, and observe prayer, and pay the obligatory alms, then let them go their way, for God is Gracious, Merciful.” (Sura 9:5).

“And kill them wherever ye shall find them, and eject them from whatever place they have ejected you; for civil discord is worse than carnage: yet attack them not at the sacred Mosque, unless they attack you therein; but if they attack you, slay them. Such the reward of the infidels… Fight therefore against them until there be no more civil discord, and the only worship be that of God: but if they desist, then let there be no hostility, save against the wicked.” (Sura 2:187-189).

Mohammed said, “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” (Hadith Al Buhkari vol. 9:57)

Looking for more. Just read randomly from the Koran. The chances are you will find more verses about killing and slaughtering of “the innocents”.

Islam as an example for religious tolerance

“Throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.” Obama continued.

If you compare it with Christian killings and Christian intolerance Islam clearly wins some points. As in the Islam faith Jews and Christians are tolerated believes. To quote again from the Koran:

“Those who believe (in the Koran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians…and (all) who believe in God and the last day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” The Koran, 2:62

So as long as you are a Christian or a Jew and you pose no threat to the Islamic faith you are almost safe. The problem is all the modern discoveries and technological advancement alongside globalization and wide adoption of human and women rights are seen as assaults to the holy faith, a faith based on ancient traditions. And according to Koran, if that happens, killing is the way to go. What was the case hundreds of years ago when there were no planes and no Internet or TV does no longer applies.

Pacifism is the way

“Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered. ” Obama said.

Very nicely put Mr. President but I don’t think pacifism is something that resonates with the Islamic community as it does with Christians. To better express myself I will quote from:

Pacifism is generally considered to be a morally unassailable position to take with respect to human violence. The worst that is said of it, generally, is that it is a difficult position to maintain in practice. It is almost never branded as flagrantly immoral, which I believe it is. While it can seem noble enough when the stakes are low, pacifism is ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world’s thugs. It should be enough to note that a single sociopath, armed with nothing more than a knife, could exterminate a city full of pacifists. There is no doubt that such sociopaths exist, and they are generally better armed. Fearing that the above reflections on torture may offer a potent argument for pacifism, I would like to briefly state why I believe we must accept the fact that violence (or its threat) is often an ethical necessity.

……………….

Gandhi was undoubtedly the twentieth century’s most influential pacifist. The success he enjoyed in forcing the British Empire to withdraw from the Indian subcontinent brought pacifism down from the ethers of religious precept and gave it new political relevance. Pacifism in this form no doubt required considerable bravery from its practitioners and constituted a direct confrontation with injustice. As such, it had far more moral integrity than did my stratagem above. It is clear, however, that Gandhi’s nonviolence can be applied to only a limited range of human conflict. We would do well to reflect on Gandhi’s remedy for the Holocaust: he believed that the Jews should have committed mass suicide, because this “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence.”41 We might wonder what a world full of pacifists would have done once it had grown “aroused”—commit suicide as well?

Gandhi was a religious dogmatist, of course, but his remedy for the Holocaust seems ethically suspect even if one accepts the metaphysical premises upon which it was based. If we grant the law of karma and rebirth to which Gandhi subscribed, his pacifism still seems highly immoral. Why should it be thought ethical to safeguard one’s own happiness (or even the happiness of others) in the next life at the expense of the manifest agony of children in this one? Gandhi’s was a world in which millions more would have died in the hopes that the Nazis would have one day doubted the goodness of their Thousand Year Reich. Ours is a world in which bombs must occasionally fall where such doubts are in short supply. Here we come upon a terrible facet of ethically asymmetric warfare: when your enemy has no scruples, your own scruples become another weapon in his hand. It is, as yet, unclear what it will mean to win our war on “terrorism”— or whether the religious barbarism that animates our enemies can ever be finally purged from our world— but it is all too obvious what it would mean to lose it. Life under the Taliban is, to a first approximation, what millions of Muslims around the world want to impose on the rest of us. They long to establish a society in which —when times are good —women will remain vanquished and invisible, and anyone given to spiritual, intellectual, or sexual freedom will be slaughtered before crowds of sullen, uneducated men. This, needless to say, is a vision of life worth resisting. We cannot let our qualms over collateral damage paralyze us because our enemies know no such qualms. Theirs is a kill-the-children-first approach to war, and we ignore the fundamental difference between their violence and our own at our peril. Given the proliferation of weaponry in our world, we no longer have the option of waging this war with swords. It seems certain that collateral damage, of various sorts, will be a part of our future for many years to come.

Conclusion

I really appreciated president Obama for having the courage to address such big issues and I respect his strategy. But I am skeptical it will be enough. As long as religious faith is what drives men and God is the moral beacon of the world, I fear some nicely crafted speeches will not be enough.

  • (pajamasmedia.com)
  • (themoderatevoice.com)
  • (takepart.com)
  • (outsidethebeltway.com)
  • (outsidethebeltway.com)
  • (outsidethebeltway.com)
Frequent questions on why I became a vegetarian
Posted in ,

There are 5 months since I became a vegetarian. I don’t eat any type of meat but I do eat other type of animal products (like eggs or milk). This was a surprise for many of my friends who question my motives all the time. And they get really, really surprised to find out that I am not doing this just for health reasons, but also for moral reasons.

Here are the most common questions and my responses to all of them:

1. There are animals who eat other animals. We are animals so why shouldn’t we eat other animals? We are at the top of the food chain after all. 

Just because there are carnivore animals doesn’t mean we should do it. There are many natural behaviors of animals that we consider appalling when exhibited by humans. Things like rape (very popular with monkeys) or cannibalism (monkeys, birds and spiders).

In fact I believe as long as we consider ourselves above animals at an intellectual and moral level we shouldn’t permit killing just for the sake of our taste buds and old habits. Should we look at the world as a food chain? If so how can we claim we are better than animals? As Matthew Scully, a former speechwriter for George Bush, once said, ‘If reason and morality are what set humans apart from animals, then reason and morality must always guide us in how we treat them.’

2. Animals don’t have feelings or consciousness. Killing them is like breaking a rock. So why shouldn’t we eat them?

It is true that there is little research on what animals feel during their existence. If they do have feelings or not . So it all comes to personal decisions and other influences in our lives. But…. there is a big BUT here:

As long as we don’t have a lot of scientific experience to guide us, we should let our common sense guide us. I think Carl Sagan’s should also be applied to humans (and their feelings). From a purely anatomic perspective we share a lot with animals: nervous system, respiratory system, circulatory system etc… You could infer from these non-debatable observations that animals should also poses some sort of feelings. After all they do show signs of joy (ever seen a female dog playing with her puppies) or pain (the look on a cow’s face when she’s separated from her calves). Again we can not be 100% sure that those signs are not just some dumb reflexes but we should trust our common sense. And if common sense is not enough ….

Remember the inquisitors? Or the Nazis? Or the slave owners? Ever wondered how an Auschwitz soldier could go home, hug his kid, have soup with his family after a long working day (I do believe killing thousand of Jews a day was an exhausting task)? He did it because for him a Jew was nothing more than a dog or a plant. The same as protestants and atheist were for Catholic torturers or black people for all the white people in the past. Boy were they wrong you may say. And it is not like we now have scientific evidence that an atheist is indeed a living thing who deserves to be saved even because he doesn’t believe in God or that a black person is indeed on the same level as we do in spite of his color. We stopped doing all those horrible things because we evolved morally and intellectually. Why not go one step further? 

After all why is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference? There cannot be any intrinsic difference of worth between a puppy and a pig. …Only if you don’t want to think about this. But please think about it.

3. If you are against killing animals why aren’t you also against killing plants? Plants are also living things. Right?

This is somehow related to the previous question.  As I believe we should use our common sense and many other arguments to treat animals as emotional living things we should use our common sense against the plants. Plans are not animals. Animals  have strong emotions. Animals respond because they can not just feel, but they can see, hear, etc and possess the same senses as humans do. Plants have no nerve tissue. I eat plants because I don’t think I provoke them any pain or any other sentiment or feeling. I would argue that animals are a more highly organized form of life, with greater sentience and greater capacity for suffering.

4. How are you getting your protein then? We have to kill animals. You know….. for proteins.

I don’t want to get to deep into the subject of nutrition but:

5. I like eating meat! It’s tasty!

I call this "I don’t give a shit" argument. And most of the time is what all the people are in fact saying and only ask the above questions to show that have given a thought to this and found a justification for eating meat.  And what I usually say: "Maybe you don’t give a shit about a cow. Or a dog. I understand that a stake is that important to you. But think about other people too!"

The same land to grow meat for 20 meat eaters can feed 240 vegetarians. So with a vegetarian diet we could feed more that 12X than number of people we are feeding now. 40,000 children die of hunger every day. Horrible I know! And do you know what most of the poor countries do to support their economy? They export "the plants" for western counties cows and chicken. If we would be vegetarians there will be no global food problem anymore.

And it is not just the food.  The toll on water resources is equally grim: the meat industry accounts for half of US water consumption - 2500 gallons per pound of beef, compared to 25 gallons per pound of wheat. Polluting fossil fuels are another major input into meat production. As for the output, 1.6 million tons of livestock manure pollutes the drinking water. A vegetarian diet requires 300 gallons of water per day. A meat diet requires 4,000 gallons. That’s a difference of 3,700 gallons a day or 26,000 gallons a week. For each person that would move to a vegetarian diet. How many children die because lack of water?

This is it. Long post I know. I leave you with a few interesting quotes that I found on the web:

" I know I could not kill an animal with my own hands – so why would I eat an animal just because someone else does it for me? Linda McCartney once said, "if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian." What do you think she meant by this? My interpretation of this is that we simply would cease support our current treatment of animals if we had to participate more fully in the process."

“…there’s no way to treat animals well when you’re killing 10,000,000,000 of them a year… That’s just the United States” from  Mark Bittman at TED  video bellow:

" Humans proclaim to maintain a deep respect for life and I do believe, for the most part, this is true. But for some reason our stomachs seem to get in the way, and we use their likes and dislikes as our means for determining right and wrong. I say cannibalism and you say gross. Therefore we can clearly and quite easily place it in the "wrong" column. I say "dog meat" or "horse meat" and most of us have the same reaction. "Yuck" becomes equivalent to "wrong."

I say ribs, bacon cheeseburger, or tandoori chicken, and our reaction is completely different. Our moral opposition drains away in direct proportion to our salivation levels. And while I presume the majority of us do not want animals to suffer, it seems we have an internal on/off switch that allows us to detach from reality when the subject at hand has anything to do with our appetites." from

A guide to mind mapping
Posted in ,

I heard of mind mapping 3 years ago when it was a very fashionable buzz-word. Web 2.0 was at its peak and all the blogs were talking about it. Not to mention  there were some very appealing browser based mind mapping tools and some amazing desktop versions. I tried them all but somehow I never got hooked and got back to taking notes on pieces of paper. Some years passed, won moved to London and I who used mind-mapping techniques to lay ideas and structure them in a very attractive manner. I got hooked this time and now I use mind-mapping every day.

What is mind-mapping?

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. According  to

So it’s a way to express your thoughts and ideas while using drawings, pictures, colors etc….  The concept of mind maps developed from the idea that traditional linear note taking methods stifle creative thought. By laying out ideas in a linear way (i.e., arranging concepts in a structured method) our minds are limited to left-brain thinking (logical, ordered, detail oriented). Mind mapping ostensibly encourages right-brain thinking (stream-of-consciousness, symbolic, ‘big picture’ oriented). Sounds silly but it’s freakin’ awesome. 

  1. You start with a pen and a blank sheet of paper by writing or drawing the idea you intend to develop.
  2. Draw the related subtopics around this central topic, connecting each of them to the center with a line.
  3. Repeat for sub-sub-topics and so on.

How do I use it?

If mind mapping is so great why did I stop using them years ago. From one simple reason: Software mind-mapping solutions don’t work. For me at least. And I think that if you are the type of person that’s used to a pen and a sheet of paper when you are thinking going offline is the way to do it. So what I do now is:

Why is it working?

If you always scribble things on paper when you’re speaking with someone or when you’re thinking about something than you will love mind mapping. It just gives you a structure of putting your ideas to paper. There are some smart people out there with amazing semi-scientific explanations on why is this working. I came up with my own explanations. I think that having a method to draw and collect your ideas on paper gives you time to really think things through. You don’t need to jump to the next bullet…. but you take your time to draw a plane next to an idea about flying to a conference. I notice that I then have more ideas related to this because I am still thinking about it while a draw a silly plane. 

Also having a notebook with all your drawings in one one place allows me to go back to a brain-storming session that I had weeks ago. Without a notebook to hold them all together I would’ve lost the papers  and even if that wouldn’t have happened understanding some bullets with no connection would’ve been impossible.

What to do with it?

Use it to:

Give it a try.

Affiliate marketing in Romania
Posted in ,

I think that with the economy going so bad spending money wisely is more important than ever. That’s why I was always attracted to affiliate marketing. Unfortunately In Romania there was never a real solution for the local e-commerce players. Until .

was only an idea 6 months ago. Me, and were having a beer and discussing various niches in the market. And of course me and Lavinius started to talk about affiliate marketing. Beer was over… we got home etc… But in one month Radu calls us to show us his tool. “What tool?” we asked… “You know. The affiliate marketing thing”. He had built the whole thing in 4 weeks. I was blown away.

And after months of tweaking it he is officially lunching it to the public. It is an amazing step forward for the Romanian market but the tool is so great I can help thinking how it will work internationally.

A better question to ask
Posted in

Image via

Lately there a quite a few people who ask for my advice. I don’t know how good my answers are but I find that most of the time they are asking what they should do. “What should I do next to grow my business?”. “What should I do to raise money?” etc… They all seem good questions. And they are. But most important I think is to ask …. yourself: “What should I stop doing?”

We do a lot of stupid things. And we do them almost daily. But instead of tracking them and eliminating we focus on the next thing. You may say that in the end is about the same thing. Improving some aspects of your life/business by changing something. Because you change either by asking yourself what to do or what not to do. And you may be right. But this shift in the way you think of it I believe is fundamental. Here are some reasons:

1. You’ll focus more on the core problem rather that asking: “What next?”. And focus is something that a lot of us talk about but very few know what it truly means. As Steve Jobs puts it:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.

2. It is better to perfect something that is rather than adding something new on top of a shabby foundation. The question is not what to add but what to leave out. During Seedcamp we listened to a lot of people asking us for tons of features at uberVU. We started to work on features like crazy. We were all over the place. What we discovered pretty soon is that we did a superficial/lousy job in almost all the new areas. Now we are regrouping and working on eliminating all the features that are not working great or that don’t add a lot of value.

3. You will increase or develop your analytical skills. Because you will need to measure your results before deciding what you should stop doing.

4. It will force you to re-evaluate yourself and look in the mirror form time to time. One thing that I discovered this way s that collecting business cards is not the same thing as expanding your network. More about this in another post.

Next time when you want to move to the next level try asking yourself this question.

Leweb 08
Posted in

Image by via Flickr

I am not going to bitch about the lack of heating, food or wifi. summed it up very well already. One thing that I don’t subscribe to is the quality of the speakers. I think most of the speakers had very very good presentations, were entertaining and a pleasure to listen to. And that is not something I can say about most of the conferences I have attended. Here are the most memorable ones (be aware I missed some presentations).

had an amazing presentation about management. He tried to show basic management techniques by playing videos of famous maestros. Don’t know about you but I never got what the role of the maestro was anyway. What is to conduct if all the people in the orchestra follow a plan/song sheet anyway. Well, I was wrong. They are actually doing a lot of work and managing an orchestra is not so different from managing a company. They set the rhythm, they see that everyone is doing a good job, they are rewarding the good performers etc. They don’t go to have a tequila on the beach and leave the guys to do all the work etc. I can not explain the presentations in words. It is something you should see for yourself. Here are some of his old performances:

was one of the speakers….. I know! Paulo Coelho, the author of “The alchemist“, “Veronika Decides to Die ” and other popular books. He is like 70 years old and very active in all the social media space. I was amazed to find out he has, a Facebook account, a Myspace account. He is a Twitter fan, he posts a lot of YouTube videos etc. He could be my grandfather and . He had a very interesting discussion about the future of copyright. He is against it although he makes millions out of it. To prove it he pirates his own books and has a page on his blog called where he links all the torrent with his books. He admits that it is difficult to read a book on the screen and that is why people will still buy books for some time. But he thinks an author should write because he loves writing and not for making money… and the web should be your friend in distributing your work not a big wall to protect it.

was very entertaining, as always. When all the people were talking about the crisis and making money Yossi talked about the opportunities that this climate exposes. He was against portraying Facebook and Twitter as stupid toys that have no chance of making money and therefore should go bankrupt. What matter the most is that there are millions of users who love these services. It took Google 5 years to find a way of making money so we should give Twitter and all the other services a break.

had a report on the European activity on the web. And uberVU logo was one of the biggest one there. Thank you Mike!

Not to forget . He had a very sincere presentation about failure. His failures as investor and entrepreneur. The guy lost 30 million and he was ok. He said he is taking the tube now and working on the next big thing. Money come and go so you shouldn’t be so stressed out about it. Easier said than done. Here is an old video with him:

At the investor panel all of the speakers (, , and ) said they will actively invest in 2009, but that it will be a tough year to raise money. So bad news for new entrepreneurs or people who need to raise more money in the year to come. We’ll see!

talked about becoming an entrepreneur on the cheap. His ideas were kinda old. I knew them anyway but his presentation ruled. See it bellow:

was there and he did a live episode of . If you don’t know who he is watch some of his old episodes. You should understand why all the people in the audience were clapping like craz.

To sum up. Good conference, bad logistics.

The Techcrunch thing
Posted in ,

As you probably know last week. We visited Michael Arrington’s home and office, demoed our product to Michael and he wrote a very nice review afterwards (except the fact he wrote Backtype, which is another company, instead of uberVU).

But some people were that in that article Michael said that uberVU is a London based company, when the founders and all the employees are in fact Romanians. I can totally understand your frustration but here are the facts:

  1. uberVU is a technically a London based company. We are registered in London, our HQ is in London etc. And this helps a lot from a business perspective. Not a lot of people will invest in a Romanian company. Ask !
  2. We never bragged or even mentioned London to Michael or any other journalist/investor etc. We always say that we are from Romania. We have nothing to be ashamed! Whoever said that is an idiot! In fact we found that mentioning Romania is one way to grab some attention: “Haaaaaa…. Romania. Cool!” But Michael wrote the article and he probably checked where are we incorporated.

So again: sorry we have disappoint you! But it is not something we did on purpose!

Startup corporate culture
Posted in ,

Should a startup have a corporate culture? Should it be invented or should it come naturally? These are some of the questions that came thru my mind as I watched ’s presentation on Zappo’s culture, at Web 2.0 expo.

Start with the right corporate culture and the rest will follow is amazing advice, no doubt about it. But can any company do it? I think not. Most of,if not all, corporate cultures are mirroring the founder’s core values and I don’t think 1000 of hours of brainstorming can change that. Think for a second: Apple’s culture mimics Steve Jobs’s mania for perfection, Facebook is like a mirror image of Mark Zuckerberg … The same for Microsoft, Twitter, Ford, 37signals or any other company you like.

That’s why I think reading Jack Welch’s on corporate culture at General Motors Electric or Jason Fried’s advice on how to run a software company and trying to replicate that will fail miserably. Think hard who you are and what your core values are, put them on paper and this is how your your corporate culture will look like.

I am looking fwd for your thoughts!

Once you’re lucky, twice you are good
Posted in

Image by via Flickr

Tomorrow I am leaving for San Francisco. It is my first visit to the Mecca of web entrepreneurs: Silicon Valley. I am going of course to pitch to investors, to establish distribution deals etc. But I am also going to meet some of the biggest names in the industry.

And to prepare myself, to get into the right atmosphere I decided to read Sarah Lacy’s “Once you’re lucky, twice you are good”, a very romanced version of the Web 2.0 era. It is like the written version of “The pirates of Silicon Valley” (a movie about the birth of Apple and Microsoft that I really enjoyed). It might seem lame but trust me: for a geek (like me) that’s like reading Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.

Unlike the books who try to tell the “real” story by portraying the main characters like ruthless mavericks who will do everything to hut the jackpot, this one is very lenient on them. You can tell that Sarah is a big fanboy of the Web scene in San Francisco, that she holds great respect for all the Valley’s entrepreneurs and she probably has a crush for Zuckerberg. She calls him “The phenomenon”. But I kinda expected that after I saw Sarah’s interview of Zuckerberg.

But it is a very entertaining book, especially if you want to understand how all the investors and entrepreneurs relate to each-other, who is behind the superstars like Mark Zuckerberg or Kevin Rose or why 99% of all the Web hits happen in the Valley. I really enjoyed it and I can hardly wait to personally meet some of the protagonists of the book.

PS: We will try to keep like a video journal. If we can make it we will post all the videos on .