Day One of The Accelerator – Referrals

[peg-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”IMAG0061.jpg” image_size=”2048×1158″ ] The team has survived the first day of the LA Dodgers incubator. We had some great meetings today talking about the future of the product and thinking about synergies. We also managed to get some good code changes progressing through the pipeline.

The big event of the day (other than the picture above) was a QA session with Earvin who shared with us some of his business success stories. Some of that was his earlier ‘hustlin’ days when he made investments in TGI Fridays and Starbucks. He emphasized the importance of a strong magic brand that people will believe in, trust, and ultimately refer.

Referrals are going to be big for SidePrize because if we can get one person from a league, they will HAVE to share it to at least one other person and there is a desired outcome for every member (typically 10-12) in the league to join, which would make their Fantasy Football league the most exciting.

This encouraged me to do some sharing on Facebook and encourages me to share on my blog. Maybe I messaged you and encouraged you to join SidePrize.

Otherwise, we accidentally worked  a little late and didn’t have much evening time, except for a world traveler that came by to tell us stories and introduce us to a Concertina that he found amongst his travels in Europe. His nomadic lifestyle is intriguing. In a way, sharing stories and capturing attention is also related to referrals.

Sidenote: The Stock Market went down and the world was scared.

SidePrize, LA, and the Dodgers Accelerator with RGA

Have you ever played Fantasy Football before? Ever played in an NCAA tournament challenge with friends? At the end of June, I made a career transition to a new startup called SidePrize. SidePrize takes the same league that you have been playing with for years on Yahoo and ESPN fantasy sites and makes it more exciting. If you’re confident that your fantasy team is going to beat your buddy’s you can challenge them each week.

SidePrize Logo
Winners Get Paid. Friendships get Saved.
A Photo of the New Space Where We’ll Be Working

I came to Los Angeles this weekend. The big news is that SidePrize is a Startup Accelerator to accelerate us from an early product and early users to having very active users this NFL season. I’m confident that the ideas and people that we meet will lead us to be innovative and adventurous as we push forward on this company.  We’ll be working with the Program for 3 months, and it will involve substantial time in LA.

If you know me, have watched sports with me, follow me on twitter, you know that I can be a little competitive, but I can be even more hopeful for an exciting game/match/tournament. I go to a lot of Georgia Tech games (baseball, football especially)  and follow a lot of games each season. SidePrize is a great fit for me because it takes competition  and excitement to an action seeking behavior with friends that I know and talk to on a regular basis.

The program starts today and the team is already up and running (well, one of us is running, two of us are walking to the grocery store, and some of us are overcoming jet sleep)

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HD Voice

A man speaking on a mobile telephone
A man speaking on a mobile telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The telephone was invented standardized by Alexander Graham Bell back in 1876, to which the major infrastructure of copper wire for telephone communication eventually spread throughout the United States – two thin, barely insulated copper wires made up the majority of our telecommunications networks until high speed internet started taking off (and a little twisting allows those two wires to be able to carry high speed DSL)

But who talks over copper wire any more? Cell phones are ubiquitous, indeed, many non profits would suggest that a mobile telephone is more of a right than a privilege. When was the last time you used a land line? One of things about copper wire and the analog phone is that they were designed long before the microprocessor and we’ve also done a lot of acoustic research (we have noise canceling on my laptop and phone folks!) The traditional phone and wireless spec calls for the ability to transmit voice between 300hz and 3.4khz – that’s not a bad range for explicitly voice and might actually help isolate out bass or treble that would interrupt a call.

Thanks to the digital revolution though, we can send much more high quality audio though. With digital communications we can even take raw data and decided how to best compress it on the fly. Carriers are releasing HD Voice that will transmit 50hz to 7khz, so you can get more of the human vocal range, including bass voice and high pitch singing (the birthday song never sounded so clear.)

What grinds my gears though is that most of society hasn’t realized that this technology is accessible and usable online via services like Skype, Facetime, and Hangouts. If you’re doing a conference call, interview, or consulting call you can get a lot better communication with the higher quality audio (that just so happens to have the visual component as well if you want it). The real question is, how backwards is it that not even our technology companies are using this yet?

T-Mobile Test Drive

Over Memorial Day weekend, I decided to try the TMobile test drive to check out their service and what real 4g speeds are like. I had a few reasons to do this

  • My Phone is Nearly 2 years old
  • Tmobile is really pushing the no contract thing (which is good for consumers)
  • International calling and data seems nice
  • I currently have Sprint and data speeds can seem abysmal, especially in low service conditions.

I chose this weekend because I would be traveling down interstate 85 for the holiday and through some interestingly small towns. Sure enough there were some areas where tmobile was not dissimilar than Sprint, it may have been reporting “edge” speeds, but this often meant no requests went through. But, Tmobile surprised me because, at some points, it would have 4g LTE service in the country, which was faster than DSL (and where Sprint data is roaming on Verizon and is super slow.)

Overall, I was impressed by tmobile’s coverage when compared to Sprint, but I’m not sure that I want to switch yet. The nice part about Sprint is that it roams on Verizon’s network, which means that even if I’m in the middle of nowhere (particularly when camping 30 miles from civilization), I’ll probably be able to call someone – granted, I don’t know that people are actually used to dealing with direction requests over the phone any more since data and gps and so ubiquitous, but there is some sense of safety there.

This gives me a lot of hope for Google’s TiSP, though, it still wouldn’t roam on Verizon, the 4g LTE coverage would probably be pretty thorough.

Ps. I also found out that I should never get an iphone 5s, it fell off of a counter and cracked the screen. My multiple androids have always been alive after years.


Cofounder Questions : Tell Me About a Time You Bought a Car

This would be a good interview question for a potential cofounder or employee in any area where owning a car is a potential or potential norm – and in areas where it’s a questionable decision (San Francisco, NYC, Downtown Atlanta) to find out more about a person’s overall thought process.

Tell me about a time that you bought a car.

  • Where did you look?
  • What features were you looking for?
  • What kind of research did you do?
  • Did you sell / trade in an existing car? Why did somebody buy it for the price that you set?
  • Do you regret the decision?

The goal here is to relate on a “basic” everybody has done it experience. There aren’t generically wrong answers – a need for heated seats or additional cup holders is a great answer. You learn how somebody evaluates their decision making process. You learn what makes a feature make it or break it. You learn how a person does research and who they rely on for that research.