Monthly Archives: April 2010

Shervin’s Story & The StartupVisa Movement

Hey guys, there’s an awesome movement afoot here in Washington, DC, in favor of the StartupVisa program.  It’s a great program that’ll help bring the best and the brightest minds to the USofA.

Check out this video about the program and the story of my friend Shervin.

Still Running…

Me just after my 10 mile race

When I started running back in August 2009, I knew I wanted to track my progress, which I do with RunKeeper.  When I go back and look at the stats, it amazes me to think that in the last 9 months that I’ve almost run over 300 miles.

If you were to tell me in June of last year that I was going to run a 10 mile race in April, I probably would have laughed in your face.  But I did it. Prior to this recent journey, the most that I had run was probably in elementary school when we did the President’s Physical Fitness Awards.

So, what made this transformation happen for me? How did I go from someone who’s idea of running was to running to catch the bus to someone who runs long distances for fun?    I’d love to say that it was all in the shoes or that I just woke up one morning with the hunger but that wouldn’t be true.

The thing that made the most difference in my running journey was the community.  When I started running, RunKeeper added the feature to have your runs posted to Twitter.  I thought, “why not” and didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into.  By being open about my journey, I allowed myself to connect with all of my friends who were runners or who knew that they should be running but were putting it off.

Before I knew it, I had assembled this community of people around me that were there to cheer me on as I worked through the process.   One of our execs would give me crap when he saw that I wasn’t running before work.  (Thanks Joel!)  I’d swap tips and tricks with friends at church.  I even got notes from other friends who’d been struggling with fitness saying that me being public about my journey was an encouragement for them.

Friends, who’ve been part of this community, I can’t thank you enough.  Your voices are the ones that I hear at 6am, when I’d rather be sleeping but know that I should be out there running.   Together, you’ve helped me get to a place that I’d never thought possible.  Thank you!  Thank you!

One thing that I’ve noticed is that when you run a lot, everyone asks “what race are you training for?”  It’s funny.  Races are amazing.   Running with 10,000 people is this jolt of energy, like nothing I’ve ever experienced.   Sometimes, I feel like training for a race is like when you go on a diet  for 3 months and then binge eat when you’re all done.

No, I’m not training for a specific 10k, 10 miler, or a marathon.  I’m training for life.  God has given me so many amazing blessings and opportunities to serve him that I want to be there for every minute of it.    I want you all to be there with me.

And… I want you all to be there running with me.   The Web has done this amazing thing and has allowed us to connect with each other in amazing ways.  It’s been exciting to look at the new and interesting ways that we can be transparent about what’s going on so that we can more effectively connect with each other and connect with each other about things that we wouldn’t normally connect over. I love it when I post on Twitter or Facebook about some random interest that I have and end up finding that a friend has the same interest or talent that I do.

So what are you running towards?  How can we help each other?  Where can I be an encouragement?

The Apple iPad – My thoughts after 24 hours.

justin-ipad

Yesterday, I arrived here in the panhandle of Florida for some much needed r & r.  When I got in the door, what was waiting for me?  It was the Apple iPad. :-)  I’m not going to lie.  It’s one of the most amazing pieces of innovation that I’ve ever seen.

If you want the traditional review of the iPad, I’d recommend checking out the writings of Josh Topolsky at Engadget or Andy Ihnatko at the Chicago Sun Times.  They’ll be able to tell you about how the standard features play out.

For the last 24 hours, I’ve been thinking about what sets the iPad apart and where it’ll sit in the standard routines of my life.

The Web Browser – The Most Important iPad App

When word came out about the iPad, media companies rushed to create all kinds of apps to create experiences that were very similar to reading a physical magazine or newspaper.   I played with them all for a few hours.  The USA Today  and NY Times apps are really neat.  You  feel like you’re reading the newspaper.

Regardless, I quickly decided that instead of using the app to get my news, I’d just go straight to the website for the news.  The news and magazine apps all feel like I’m missing something or I’m not getting all the news that I’d get through the website.   So, I just go to the website.  I really don’t want a Facebook iPad app, I can just use the website.   For GMail, I don’t use the Apple Mail app. I just go to the website.

If you focus on the Web as the platform for getting your content distributed than you’re not restricted to Apple’s app walled garden.  You can post whatever you want and you can update whenever you want.   You don’t have to worry about making multiple versions of the same app for different platforms.   As my boss says, “The Web always wins.”

And… Let me say, the iPad is a sweet computer for surfing the Web.   When I’m watching TV, sitting at a coffee shop, or commuting, I can see this as the main way that I’ll surf the Web.

iPad Games — Bigger is really better.

The one thing that I think you’ll absolutely need separate apps for is games.  Until HTML 5′s Canvas takes off more, I can’t see games in the browser.  So far, I’ve downloaded Flight Control HD and Plants vs Zombies HD.  I had played Flight Control already and had just heard a lot about Plants vs zombies.

These games are amazing on the iPad.   Flight Control was great on the iPhone but it’s so much better on the iPad.  The size of the screen makes all the difference.   I played Sim City and Madden 2010 on the iPhone and I’d love to play these both on the iPad.

I’ve never been a HUGE video game player but especially with some of these more casual games, like Plants vs. Zombies, I could see myself getting hooked.   You can quickly see how the iPad is an amazing video game player.

A Better Kindle than the Kindle

Prior to the iPad, I had invested a lot of time & energy with the Kindle.  I’ve loved my Kindle and read a lot books on it.  Initially, I was worried about the iPad.  What would happen to all the books that I read?  But… Amazon released an app to read Kindle books on the iPad and it’s great.  So, there’s nothing to worry about.

With the back light on the iPad, the text and graphics for the book are so much clearer to read than when you read it on the Kindle.   I haven’t had enough time to tell you how it feels after you’ve been reading for a while.  I’ll let you know.  Being in Florida, I’m going to take the iPad to the beach this week to see how it reacts in direct sunlight.

Should You Buy It?

If you’re the kind of person that uses your computer to consume a lot of content and casually produce it, like write some e-mails or a blog post, then I’d highly recommend it.  The iPad is great for the things you just doing in daily life… for surfing the web, reading books, reading the newspaper, and watching video.

If you’re a professional writer or a heavy e-mailer then this is not the computer for you.  You’re going to want to stick with your MacBook.

More soon…

Sorry if this post feels kind of fractured.  I wanna write more later.  Stay tuned…