Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Yesterday afternoon I met with travel startup GeckoGo. They're part of the Facebook Fund startup class and are developing a travel content provisioning system. They've been around for a couple of years and have some pretty good traction in terms of users and even content. They were founded for some of the same reasons that urged me to start Vyoo. Discontent with existing offerings.

Looking at what's out there, it's a shame that there's so much money pouring into the travel space and some large incumbents, but nobody up to this point has captured enough of the market or even created a viable, one stop shop.

Looking at GeckoGo's offering, they are trying to put something like this together. Even such things as finding the right time of year to hit a destination haven't been done well, until now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ugggh.... Dell, What Are You Doing to Me? Dell Sucks!

Two weeks ago I had an experience with Dell that made me think twice about their crappy customer service. I've been a Dell customer for fifteen years. They sold me my second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth computers (my first was custom built). I know them well. Their customer service used to be top notch - award winning. Until about 5 years ago. They shipped most of it offshore. And they obviously began cutting costs, including the implementation of VOIP, making it difficult to try to work with the technician on the phone. And they began to treat you like the village idiot. A typical comment, "Sir, have you tried powering off for five minutes?" Are you kidding?

Unfortunately, there was a constant need to talk to tech support, because their products became suckier and suckier.

Anyway. Two weeks ago, my computer broke. I mean, broke! The screen just went black. I could boot into safe mode but that was it. I spoke to customer support. My computer (which was already a replacement for another broken Dell computer that heated up to unfathomable levels) was out of warranty. But the nice tech asked if I'd like to extend the warranty and then get it repaired. Was this a joke? I honest to god thought it was. So for a hundred and something bucks I bought the extended warranty. While they probably made money on the transaction, I undoubtedly saved myself from buying another computer. So they came out to fix my computer, on site. They replaced my LCD, my hard drive, and my video card. I felt like I had an almost new computer. Everything worked like a charm. For two weeks. Then the same problem happened again. This time they fixed it on the phone by fixing a driver issue. But the problem started again the next day. Now I need to send my laptop back to Dell...which will take 8 days, at least. Fortunately I have my roommates computer...but WTF?! I am I supposed to work on my business like this?

And now I'm wondering if the computer will ever be fixed? I mean, they replaced most of the guts of it already. And message boards are filled with customers experiencing the same issue.

So take at least 2 days (on each end) out of getting anything done when this happens - because not only do I have to try to fix the computer, but I have to setup all of my software again. What a damn hassle! The way I look at it, Dell owes me about 8 days + 8 (for sending it back) days of compensation. Or how about at least a computer that works?

For the record, I love the Thinkpad T60 I'm using.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What's Up?

It's been a while since I've blogged. For good reason. I've been incredibly busy with the business. While I'd like to explain everything I've been doing, I'm not at liberty to discuss it all. We haven't secured funding, but we've been having successful meetings with people.

One the business front, we've experienced out ups and downs with developers, UI people, psychologists, consultants, friends, family, etc. over the past two years.

This taught me two very important lessons or at least confirmed what I already thought I knew:
1) Involve yourself and your company only with people who share your passion. I'm not talking about someone helping you craft a mission statement or coding a few lines of code. I'm talking about people you bring into your inner circle.

While it's nice to just get people working with you (and sometimes that's a necessity early on), it will end up taking up even more of your time if they're not in it for the right reasons. This is a hard thing to realize. What I'm saying is, recognize people's value, passion, and interest - and plan accordingly. Don't make someone a founder just because you think you need someone. Don't bring on a CTO just because you need one.

2) Money talks.

For all of those tasks you need completed that don't require a vested interest in your company - find a way to pay people. I've had to ask for a lot of favors through the past two years. And it sucks, because nobody is on your timeline. I want things done yesterday. Realistically - they won't be done until next month. I imagine if I were paying these people fair market value, that would probably change things. It's a bit of a catch 22.