Hyperpublic Xmas Invitational 2010

Posted on December 23, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

If you worked here, you’d be participating in the most anticipated intraoffice pool tournament of the year today.  Our shit is so fun, make our shit your shit, quit your boring job and help us grow next year’s bracket from 6 to 32.  Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

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MICROSOFT…Vincent Chase…Hyperpublic

Posted on December 20, 2010. Filed under: startups, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Hyperpublic is about to go live with a local experience that is going to change things.  From our secret loft in the meatpacking district, we have been mapping the DNA of your neighborhood. We’ve been quietly building something awesome, and in a few weeks we are going to be less quiet.  When that happens, we’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’re going to unleash a product that is going to make consumers swoon, and then, like all great products, we are going to need to claw our way toward distribution.  That’s where you come in!

You are:

– The most creative, intelligent, hard working, hustling, day 1 marketer in New York City.

– You have experience taking a consumer facing internet product from launch to 100K users and beyond.

– You are a user of contemporary internet products and understand their adoption curves.

– You are not afraid to market against the likes of Craigslist, Yelp, Milo, or Google.

– You are versatile.  As capable of executing on partnership marketing and guerilla efforts as you are familiar with demand side and self serve ad platforms.

– You are a doer, self starter, resourceful and hungry.  You require little to no direction in order to achieve your goals.  You demand and earn respect through performance and accomplishment.

– Like everyone on our team, you take extreme pride in your work and are motivated by personal excellence and achievement

– You are addicted to traffic and analytics

Seriously though, if you want to own this, be put in a position of extreme responsibility and visibility, and work along side really talented and inspiring people, we’ll give you a job, very competitive compensation package, meaningful equity, and the opportunity to contribute and define something that is going to touch millions of people and change the way we interact with our local environment.  Email resume/online presence/products you’ve helped distribute to Jordan.cooper@gmail.com with “Day 1” in the header.

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The Social Challenge of Releasing Early

Posted on November 19, 2010. Filed under: startups, venture capital | Tags: , , |

A decision Doug and I made at the onset of our company was to work and build in public.  Doug was lucky enough to participate in Y-Combinator and many of the ideals, this included, that we embody as a team stem from that influence.  The natural tendency when building consumer facing products is to keep your product under wraps until it is “ready” for prime time.  We come from a school where as soon as something is functional, we push it live, and begin to collect data as we iterate and improve.  From an execution standpoint, this methodology has and continues to prove effective.  From a social standpoint, however, it can be challenging.

The challenge is as follows: friends and family who are engaged and interested in your progress can only see what is visible to the public.  They don’t understand that your product is literally a public construction zone, and that you know your UX isn’t compelling or “finished” yet.  It has been an ongoing process for me to try to explain to my dad, for example, what it means to build a data layer on top of all the objects in a local environment.  Or to help my ex-girlfriend from college understand how real estate is related to hyperpublic.com.  Or to tell the litany of early and supportive users why it is that we haven’t given them something more to do on the site than what’s available today.

What I’m realizing is that if you are trying to execute on a plan that calls for Minimum Viable Product pushes with ongoing iteration and progressive layering in of feature sets and enhanced UX, you need to have strong resolve not to sweat the social challenges of this style.  My partner Ben Lerer recently had a great observation about his own and many of our collective experiences as founders.  He said, “Listen, at the end of the day, there is not a single person on earth that is gong to fully understand the vision in your head.  Your team, your investors, your family, consumers, nobody can see the future of your company and product as clearly as you.  That’s okay, your job is to keep communicating and clarifying it as best you can and keep executing toward what you see in your head.”  I thought these were pretty insightful words and have shared them with a number of my peers.

Anyway, in an effort to help communicate the bigger picture for Hyperpublic we just threw up V1 of an about page.  Notice that it isn’t styled, isn’t succinct, and is definitely a work in progress.  True to form, we thought why not push early, get feedback, and iterate.

 

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Founders: Are you Leaning far Enough?

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: startups, venture capital | Tags: , |

I don’t write very much about my relationship with my partner Kenny Lerer, mostly because he’s not really one for the spotlight, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’ve absorbed from him over the past 10 months or so.  Yesterday at a breakfast I caught myself advising a young Dartmouth graduate with words that were not in my vocabulary before Kenny became my partner at Lerer Ventures and Hyperpublic.

This particular breakfast, I found myself listening to a relatively analytical young guy who had obviously spent a lot of time thinking about his next moves.  For some reason there was friction between his decions and subsequent actions.  What I told him, which is advice that Kenny has given me and other founders I know repeatedly, is that he really needs to “lean into” the direction that he’s decided to go in.

It sounds like a minor point, but I believe that this mentality is the difference between grounding out to the short stop and hitting a line drive into left field.  Many good entrepreneurs and strategists are able to assess a situation and make a good decision (let’s call that “pitch selection”), but that is only part of what makes you a great batter.  I’ve always been good at deciding what pitch to swing it, but there’s another decision after “pitch selection” that is extremely important.  Let’s call that decision “commitment to the pitch.”  If you decide to swing but sit on your heels and slap at it, you’ll poke the ball through sometimes, ground out frequently, but often make contact.  I’ll call that low commitment, low risk.

On the other hand, if you “lean into” the pitch, get on the balls of your feet, and swing hard and all the way through the ball without hesitation, your contact and results will be much stronger when you connect.  Granted, you’re going to whiff more often, and that curve ball is going to leave you on your ass in the batters box, but generally speaking, I believe you’ve got a better chance of putting the ball where you want to with this approach.

What I’m seeing is that despite much nuance in the course that you charter for a go forward strategy, exaggerating the most important aspect of your ultimate destination sets a tone and point to drive to that may be a simplification of the vision, but a necessary means to landing where you want to land.

So Kenny would say, and I think I agree, if the most important thing at Hyperpublic is that we end up achieving hyperlocality, despite an incredibly complex path to get there, we as a company really need to “lean into” that aspect of our product and our future.

Isolate the goal, exaggerate it, and don’t be afraid to commit heavily to what you’ve decided is correct.  Are you leaning far enough?

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5 tips for your first day at a new startup

Posted on November 8, 2010. Filed under: JumpPost, startups, venture capital | Tags: , , |

First days at work can be weird.  I remember my first day at General Catalyst.  I got there super early because nobody told me what time to arrive, sat at my desk attempting to look busy and re-reading every page of the company website which I had already read 5 times, and sort of waited for someone to give me something to do.  I remember thinking to myself, “my job for the next few weeks is just to build relationships with all these new people.”  As much as I wanted to have an impact on day 1, find the next Google right our of the gate, and come up the curve faster than anyone before me, the reality is there is a period of acclimation and integration that precedes any truly meaningful contributions you can make to a new company.

Here’s a list of the top 5 things to do when you are starting someplace new.

1) Listen: Listen intently to everything anyone shares with you.  You’ll have plenty of time to speak and show your talents, but the beginning is all about absorption of the culture, knowledge, and people that have to date defined the environment that you are entering into.

2) ASK QUESTIONS: Keep a note pad, write down every single question that comes up over the course of your days, and then corner somebody when they have a minute and get all your questions answered.  No question is too stupid, admit everything you don’t know (even if you feel like you should know it already).  Don’t waste time pretending to understand things you don’t.  Nobody cares what you know the day you arrive, only how fast you pick up what you need to know.

3) Your work can wait: If anybody asks you to hang out and grab a beer or see a movie, even if you have a ton of work to get done, always say yes. Your work can wait, it’s super important to build relationships and get to know the people you’ll be working with every day.

4) Be yourself: It’s hard to let your guard down and be yourself on day one, but the sooner you can feel comfortable in your own skin, the better off your going to be.  You have an opportunity and a responsibility to impact the culture of your company in a positive way.  Allow the great aspects of your personality to shine, even if they are not represented or visible in the people around you.

5) TRY: The only thing you need to worry about in the first few months of a new job is putting everything you possibly can into it.  This is a time to make sacrifices in all other realms of life until you have come up the curve and are contributing at a level that you are proud of.  By definition, you are going to be inefficient at the onset of a new job.  The best way to combat inefficiency is through effort and hard work.  Long term, tunnel vision and an imbalanced work/life situation will catch up with you, but short term I think it makes sense to let your family and friends know that you are going to be MIA for a few months while you’re finding your groove.

I guess this is on my mind because we have two new team members starting today at hyperpublic.  Welcome Eric and Jonathan.  Can’t tell you how excited we are to have you both on board.

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A picture speaks a thousand words

Posted on October 23, 2010. Filed under: JumpPost, startups | Tags: , |

I had a meeting on Friday with a super smarty.  We were talking about hyperpublic and I was trying to explain what I wanted it to become.  She sent me a note today saying that she spent all day walking around the city and couldn’t stop picturing small tag bubbles above people’s heads.  Here’s a doodle she drew around one element of our vision, which I love…

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Living in a State of “Anonymity PLUS”

Posted on October 12, 2010. Filed under: JumpPost, startups, venture capital | Tags: , , , |

As I sit here on this train, bound for the Meadowlands where I will undoubtedly watch the Jets destroy Randy Moss and the Vikings, it occurs to me that although unnamed, I am not anonymous in this crowd.  Miriam Webster offers the following 3 definitions of anonymous, none of which (save the most literal “not named”) describe my state on this train.

Anonymity would imply that I am unidentifiable, when that is not, in fact, the case.  The people who surround me here actually have access to enough data that they are able to categorize and classify me.  Despite the stigma around that concept, I am not concerned in the slightest.  Why? Because I control the data I am sharing with the people on this train.  In fact, because I control the inputs that define their impression or perception of me, I am actually excited for them to consume this “metadata on top of my physical presence.”

I wear a long sleeve green Rugby shirt in support of the Jets, which when paired with a time stamp (1 hour before game time) and location (on a train headed westward from Manhattan), identifies me as a Jets fan.  I am proud of this facet of my identity and wish to communicate it to all who will observe.  Why?

1)   I guess I seek the camaraderie. Other Jets fans in my presence will recognize me as one of their own

2)   I want to display that I welcome conversation and interaction with those who share my affiliation or interest

3)   I want to further the facet of my identity that I am showing, spread it if you will.  If I am able to convert others or strengthen/support the interest which I make visible, there is a reflective property where I actually strengthen my own identity (basic missionary theory)

4)   I see myself publicly tagged as “Jets” and it affirms my concept of myself and my level of commitment to what it represents.  The fact I make it visible to all reminds me that it is core to my identity

Clothes are but one example of a tool people use to communicate and control their public identity.  The woman to my left smiles upon eye contact, publicly sharing a “tag” of friendly (the most frequent tag on hyperpublic.com to date, btw), while the drunk to my right sits face cringed, communicating “misery” or “inapproachable.”  We were given the capacity to publicly display emotions through facial and body gestures, a sort of biological tagging system which non-verbally influences the level and type of engagement we have with our surrounding population.  These signals are completely public, the fact that we share them with everyone is an almost biological recognition that there is, indeed, potential value waiting to be extracted from those with who we share a physical, but not yet social relationship.

Our everyday, real world lives, do not exist within the bounds of true anonymity, yet the majority of internet products that attempt to digitally replicate or enhance real world life, feel an obligation to preserve the veneer of this false ideal for their users.  I believe we move through physical space in a state of “Anonymity PLUS.”  This is a state where we are aware that we are visible to an unfiltered public eye, and thus control and define the data which it is to our advantage and pleasure to broadcast widely.

Hyperpublic is an experiment in recreating that state of “Anonymity PLUS”.  There are no names unless you chose to tag yourself by one.  There is no such thing as private data here, but there is also no data here that you have not actively decided to push to the public.  There is undoubtedly value to be had by sharing that data which you want to be seen by all (think about the value of appearing at the top of Google results for example, how would you wish to define yourself to all who Google you). Our goal is simply to maximize that value by giving your public tags as broad a reach as we possible can.  You choose your green Rugby shirt when you get dressed in the morning, why not choose to display all the data you wish to communicate publicly?

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    About

    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)

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