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Monthly Archives: November 2007

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with 3 of my friends and previous co-workers from Dublin (from my AOL days) over drinks the other night and we discussed many things, one of which is their take on startups and the whole craze (if you will). Being a naive American, I simply assumed that they had the same perspective on the startup culture and the excitement around it, but turns out I was dead wrong (at least one of them did not share the same view on it as I did, and the conversation was mainly with him as the other 2 were too busy with their drinks). His take was that he did not really buy into the whole startup craze taking place here in the states, and to some extent in London and parts of the rest of Europe (but apparently not in Dublin).

Needless to say, this got me thinking about launching a startup and whether or not you take into account your international reach. Do most startups go into it thinking that they are just going to have a presence in the States and no where else? I am guessing that either they think that or have not even thought about international all together. There is an important lesson to be learned here in that you need to understand your target demographic and what the expected uses will be from your users. As if worrying about what your users in the States are going to do and how to react to it, imagine what the international community will do with it! One cannot assume that they product will be used the same in different countries, and if you do, you are sadly mistaken. Take for example when Chevrolet cam out with the Nova for Latin America. They could not figure out why it was not selling well. Duh, no va in Spanish means does not go. Not a good name for a vehicle, right?

Bottom line is that when you are building out your product, you need to give some serious consideration as to what other countries may take interest in your product and try to embrace the ways that they may want to use your product (of course take this with a grain of salt, there are certain things that you cannot change because it may go against a core piece of functionality, but at least try to be cognizant of other potential uses). After all, the web has created a forum for companies to launch products internationally fairly easily, so give some thought to our brothers and sisters abroad and try to accommodate where you can.


For the vast majority of those that read this blog, you most likely do not know that I have four kids (unless of course you read the about me page, but who does that right?). I know you are thinking, four kids, what were you all thinking. Having them has been a blast, and I could not imagine life without them. But, when one gets sick, they all get sick and let me tell you that a house full of sick kids is no fun. It seems that when it rains, it pours and right now it is pouring in casa de la Kern.

The natural reaction to this situation is to panic, freak out and wonder how in the world are we ever going to get through this (OK, well that is my natural reaction, not my wifes nor is it probably yours either, but stick with me here). That is exactly what you SHOULD NOT do. It is funny how the life lessons you learn in your personal life transcend over into your professional life, and this one is no exception. Things like this happen at work (well not exactly like this, but metaphorically speaking) and it is easy to get frustrated with the situation and go all doom and gloom. This is bad for you, your team, and your boss (after all, he / she will remember this come review time and that is not the kind of thing you want them remembering). Instead of going nuclear and blowing a gasket, rather you should stay cool, calm and collected. Rise up to the challenge and develop a plan of attack to right the situation and get back on track. I know, this all sounds like common sense, but sometimes (err I mean a lot of the times) we cannot see the forest for the trees. When you are neck deep in something and it goes south in a hurry, it is easy to freak out.

Next time you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic (remember, you could be me with 4 sick kids in your house and trust me that is NOT fun) just stay calm as a cucumber and get your barrings and you will pull through. If not, don’t worry, there will always be a next time and you can try again 😉 .

A little friendly competition is healthy, after all it is in our human nature to compete. In fact, competition is what drives us to be better, to look at things differently and make them better, in short, competition is good. There are rules to every competition, whether documented, unspoken or just understood. Trouble rears it’s ugly head when people take off the gloves, start breaking the rules and doing things their own way to either get ahead or put their competition down. Now that does not seem cool, does it?

In the event that you are not an avid Crunch head (just coined that term, kind of like it, reminds me of dead head, but completely different) um, I mean read TechCrunch on a regular basis, we at Mixx (let me just say how awesome it feels to say we at Mixx) had the pleasure of a nice write up by Mr. Arrington over the holiday weekend. Of course all the naysayers were out in full effect with their negative comments, but there were a lot of great comments as well, and to all of you I say thanks. There seems to be a good amount of people that are frustrated with the current social news sites for whatever reasons, and Mixx provides them an alternative, and we welcome anyone who leaves those sites or anyone who comes from where ever, we welcome you all. We recognize that all the other social news sites are our competition, and because of that we strive to get better each day, to listen to our users responses and needs and try to fulfill them however possible. This is all within the rules of engagement, and we will stick to it.

The game becomes unfair when your competition does something that is against the spirit of competition. That happened to us today, there was an article surfaced on how to administer a DDOS attack on us, and it was even being voted up. That is not cool in any way, shape or form. The game takes a bad turn with these kinds of actions, but it only stays that way if we or anyone in this situation follows suit. It is safe to say that we will steer things back on course from our side and I just hope that our competition does the same.

Given that the season of thanks is upon us, I thought it was appropriate to take a few moments and reflect upon all that I am thankful for. From a personal perspective, I am thankful for my loving wife, my wonderful 4 children, my parents and the rest of my family, my friends, my health, the roof over my head, my career, all of my colleagues that have extended a helping hand when they had nothing to gain from it, the list could go on and on. Needless to say, I am thankful for it all, and I am thankful to get the opportunity to see another day and all the goodness (and badness) that it brings.

From a business perspective, it is important for companies from time to time reflect on what it is that they are thankful for, and then they should react on all that they are thankful for by expressing their gratitude. The two greatest assets any one company should be thankful for are their employees and their customers. After all, those two groups of individuals make or break any company. Companies should be thankful to their employees for believing in what the company stands for, for dedicating their time to making the company better, for building quality products that their customers love, you get the picture here (and it goes without saying that each employee should be thankful to the company for taking a chance on them and employing them, but I am not focusing on what each person should be thankful for, just what the company should be thankful for).

Companies should also be thankful for their customers, after all, they are the ones who pay the bills and ultimately provide salaries (and then some if the company is wildly successful) for all of the employees. There are many ways for a company to express their gratitude to it’s customers, from open letters of thanks to promotions and give aways, to discounts and rewards, these are all just simply little ways to say thank you.

A simple thank you can go a long way and can have a great impact on the individual or individuals in ways that the giver of the thanks may not imagine. So in the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, take a moment to think of all that you are thankful and make sure you tell those people how grateful you are for them and what they do.