Fun with AI – Jerky Steve Jobs


I’ve been having a lot of fun with AI. One thing that I think is great is that you can ‘get advice’ from real people, at least you can get the AI to give you advice pretending to be those people… if they were famous enough to have enough stuff on the internet for the LLM to train on.

Here is some advice from a jerky Steve Jobs:

Well, well, well, it seems like we’ve hit a bump in the road, haven’t we? Let’s put a dent in this universe, shall we? Sit down, grab your favorite drink, and listen. If you thought this was going to be easy, you should have stuck to Sudoku.

First, let’s get this straight, products don’t fail, visions do. What’s your vision? What? Don’t have one? Then, there’s your first problem. Without vision, you’re just another no-name trying to hustle in the Silicon Valley rat race. No wonder the product isn’t shining. Remember, a product isn’t an item, it’s a solution to a problem. Is your product solving any problem? Or did you just push out something because your coding fingers were itchy?

Let’s talk about the product now. What’s wrong with it? What’s right with it? Can’t tell me? How do you expect your customers to figure it out? A product’s quality isn’t measured in lines of code or the time it took to design its logo. It’s about how it makes life easier, better, more enjoyable. In short, it’s about adding value. Is your product doing that?

And, oh boy, don’t get me started on your team. Are they A-players or just some people who know how to use a computer? If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. If your team doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t push the boundaries, doesn’t make you lose your temper once in a while, then they’re not the ones who’ll build the next big thing. Fire them. Hire the ones who can make your product a star.

Now, before I finish my rant, let me tell you something. It’s okay to fail. Heck, I got kicked out of my own company. But, I came back and made it the first trillion-dollar one. It’s not about the fall, it’s about the comeback. So, stop whining about your failure and start plotting your comeback.

You don’t need to be the next Steve Jobs. Be the first you. But for crying out loud, make sure you’re a damn good one. Get back to work now.

Some fun new marketing for telemedicine


I’m continuing to mess around with telemedicine marketing and SEO. In particular, I have been writing about some of the market leaders serving men – namely, Hims, Roman and Keeps. One of the places I’m trying to get the word out is on the AP News site – you can read my recent review of Hims vs. Roman vs. Keeps there. I tear down these three hair loss providers, and get a bit into the differences and similarities in their treatment options.

It’s still a really fascinating space. I’m looking forward to what these brands try to do in 2021; no idea if they’ll stick with their core, men’s health issues or if they’ll get into new topics.

Update in 2023 – so this was a great project, and I exited successfully in mid-2022.

A little recent press


I was recently quoted in a couple of e-commerce focused news outlets around the boost that a D2C brand can get from multichannel marketing. The basic premise is that I’ve seen success when email marketing is offered some “air cover” by targeted social advertising. You can see me quoted in TechNewsWorld and eCommerce Times.

Still into telemedicine startups


I’ve written a few pieces over on Medium about how I’m getting into telemedicine. For example, this one is about how I hoped telemedicine would adapt to help out during the COVID crisis. I wrote about how I liked the fact that the new telemedicine startup players have the infrastructure for diagnosis and care delivery, could provide access to anyone with a data plan (even in rural areas), were driving adoption of telemedicine, would make it safer to see a doctor (since you didn’t have to go to a crowded doctor’s office), could help with triage and treat other conditions during the crisis.

So far, I’d say that this is panning out, with players like Hims offering a large number of doctor visits for a huge number of conditions that go beyond their hair loss treatments and get into primary care, skin care and more. Pretty exciting stuff for the future of telemedicine and treatment delivery! I hope Hims and Roman and the like continue to innovate.

Instant Pot Chicken Rice Recipe


I’m getting really into my instant pot, and the family likes this simple chicken and rice mix. It’s pretty salty when I make it, which is probably why it’s so good.

Note that you do have to use brown rice. White rice cooks too fast.

  • olive oil
  • 3 cups broth
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bell pepper diced into large pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • .5 to 1.5 lb chicken breasts
  • 2 cups frozen peas or veggies
  1. lightly cover the bottom of the instant pot with olive oil, turn on saute
  2. once the oil is warm, cook the onion for 4 to 6 minutes, until it starts to turn transparent
  3. add chopped garlic, chopped bell pepper, cook for 2 more minute
  4. turn off saute
  5. add rice and spices. stir to coat the rice with the oil
  6. add the broth, stir to cover rice
  7. place chicken in pot on top of the rice (you may want to add some salt or garlic powder to the top of the chicken if it’s really sticking out of the top of the broth
  8. add lid to instant pot, set to pressure to high and for 15 minutes
  9. defrost the frozen veggies while the Instant pot is going
  10. when the instant pot is done, let it sit with the pressure valve still closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Release pressure
  12. take out chicken, set aside
  13. add defrosted veggies, stir, close lid and let it warm up the veggies

That’s it – a simple instant pot chicken rice recipe.

Hiring writers to help generate SEO friendly content


Does it make sense to hire writers for your online business or website? I’ve started to have a lot of success with outsourced writers – but only when I know the topics that I want them to cover, and also when I train them up on basic content guidelines and SEO. Additionally, I believe that a single person should be your editor so that you can keep the right tone and brand – I never publish anything without carefully reading it and editing it for clarity, SEO and brand.

Training someone on basic SEO shouldn’t be too hard, as long as they are competent and open to learning. Below is an email I shared with a new writer on how they should approach SEO.

My email to an outsourced writer explaining basic SEO tactics

When we write a piece for SEO purposes, our goal is to win search volume on the “focus” keyword/phrase, plus get some related search volume for longer-tail keywords as well. I like this overview, and will expound more below:

We need to be pretty calculating with the keyword phrases and terms that we use. Their position in the piece, plus the percent that we use them in the piece matter.

A) In terms of positioning the focus words in the piece, we need to have the header/title use the exact keyword phrase. We should have the exact keyword phrase used once in the first paragraph, ideally in the first or second sentence. This not only lets Google know that we are focusing on this term, it also lets people who’ve just made a search see the result near the top, so they know they’ve come to the right place.

We also must use the phrase, or some version of the phrase, in the sub-titles, at least a couple of times. And we’ll want to “naturally” sprinkle the keyword phrase, and variants of it, in the piece through the paragraph/body text.

B) The frequency that we use the terms is called “keyword density.” We want the term in there enough so that Google realizes what we are focusing on, but not so much that it thinks we are creating spam content. And we don’t want to be unnatural; our writing needs to keep the reader engaged. Sometimes this is easy, other times it requires some real editing. The easiest way to check the density is with this free tool:

An aspect of density that some people forget is that the phrase density matters as well; it’s not just the single words, but also the combination of words that mattes.

The tool above will help you understand when you’ve gone too far, but the general rough rule is that we want between 1 and 2% of all of the words in the text to be the keyword, and we don’t want more than 2% of the words to be any particular phrase.

B2) Synonyms are not a bad idea either – this can help catch other, related searches, plus make the piece less robotic. For example, I’ll use the term “startup” “early-stage company” “VC funded company” etc to mix it up and not just say “startup” over an over.

C) I’d also like you to visit google and search for the term that we are trying to win. Google will suggest other searches – if these seem relevant, than we want to have a “section” on them. Many of these will be questions, and we’ll want to have a subtitle that asks the question, and a paragraph below that answers it.

D) Please also visit the top couple of search results to see what those people have written on. We may find ideas in there that will help us with what we want to talk about.

E) It’s not a bad idea to have a link or two out to a related topic that is on an “authority” site – ideally a news article or university research piece. This may not be easy, so don’t bend over backwards to do it. It’s got to be “natural” enough to be helpful for a reader who clicks out.

Most importantly, we want to write great content that is interesting to read and answers the question(s) that the visitor has!!

Recent Quora Posts


I’ve been doing more and more of my writing on Quora, so this blog continues to lag. Here are a few of the most recent/highest read answers that I’ve posted on Quora:

Where can I find examples of investment deal memos written by venture capitalists? I write up an example VC investment memo, including the market opportunity, sales strategy and more.

Healy Jones’s answer to Would you make your company aware if you saw that they accidentally paid you twice your usual paycheck, or keep it a secret? Turns out I thought that I had this situation, and when I brought it up the result was more humorous than anything else!

Healy Jones’s answer to How can being a capital efficient startup help with its exit? My main point: the more the startup raises, the bigger the exit has to be to satisfy the VCs.

Creating a private Twitter list


Private Twitter lists are a great way to keep up to date on a group of companies, competitors, thought leaders, journalists, etc. – without anyone knowing who you are following.

Why create a private Twitter list?

Twitter lists are like a modern RSS feed – you can passively watch a lot of different companies/people and know about interesting news, trends, etc – without having to actively do any real work.

Keeping the Twitter list private means that the people you follow, and competitors, won’t know who you are following. This helps if you are following a list of customers and you don’t want your competitors to know. Or if you put a lot of time into creating a Twitter list that give you some kind of a competitive advantage and you don’t want someone else to benefit from you work.

I found that it’s not easy to find information on how to create a private Twitter list – not really sure why, as it’s very easy.

How do you create a private Twitter list?

  1. Click on your face in the top right 
  2. Click “lists”
  3. Click “create a new” list to the right
  4. Name the Twitter list it
  5. Make sure you select the “private” option
  6. Add people to the list, and there you go!

How do you make an existing Twitter list private?

If you already have a Twitter list and want to convert it from public, where anyone can see it, to Private, where only you can access the list, all you have to do is:

  1. Click on your face in the top right (see the image above)
  2. Click “Lists”
  3. Choose the list, from you lists in the middle
  4. On the left, click “edit”
  5. Choose “Private”, then save list


For the Love of Beans!


I’ve been making a ton of beans from scratch recently – and thought that I’d memorialize my little recipe. I use a crockpot, so it’s surprisingly simple. Six hours and really no work!

Slow cooked beans recipe

  • 2 cups dried beans, rinsed (I usually use black or pinto)
  • 4 cups broth (chicken or veggie are what I prefer)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning

Drop it all into the crockpot on low for 6 hours, and you are done!