Hugo needs to slow down and take a breath. Too much excitement in such a short time has me concerned for his health. Just kidding. 🙂 Hugo has been playing with the Fujitsu u1010 UMPC for a while and has posted a video overview of the littlest convertible UMPC. The u1010 is the first convertible UMPC with a full keyboard, although having watched the video it seems to be more of a gimmick to me than a useful feature. I am happy to see that Fujitsu has used the same digitizer palm-rejection technology that makes the P1610 so useful, although Hugo seems to think this is a negative since you can’t push on the screen with your finger to activate controls. I’d rather have a good inking experience and tap on the screen with my fingernail than have a terrible inking experience so I can push buttons on the screen. That’s just me. The u1010 looks pretty cool, if a bit big and clunky, but Hugo’s video drives home for me the fact that I have never seen acceptable performance out of any device with Intel’s newest mobile platform, the A1xx series. Given the battery life that devices with these slower processors deliver I view them as a big step back from the old Pentium M series processors. The M processors deliver far more performance while providing similar battery life so I’m not sure what we gain with the new A1xx series. Maybe they are a lot cheaper. Take a look at the u1010 video and see what you think.
One of the first things I did on the iPhone was to configure it for my e-mail. I’m still using 4Smartphone for my hosted Exchange account as I mentioned in my "Hosted Exchange 101" post earlier this week. I know that my provider supports IMAP, so I knew that I should be able to get the mail from the Exchange server to the iPhone.
Once I configured it, I ran into a problem: I was able to receive mail, but I was unable to send mail. A few minutes later, I had figured out the minor issue and just in time: this afternoon one of our readers had the same issue. Ken shot me a note indicating that he too uses 4Smartphone for Exchange but he could only receive mail, not send it. I explained these two simple configuration tips:
1. I used the Exchange tab on the iPhone, not the IMAP tab. Ken was using the IMAP tab, which might work but I’m not going to undo my mail settings to find out. 😉
2. Quite often people put their mailbox ID and password on the Incoming server settings, but not on the Outgoing server settings. This was my issue which is easy to resolve and Ken had done the same thing.
Once I passed this info to Ken, he added his credentials for the Outgoing server and he was sending mail without any issue. A common-sense, simple solution that’s easy to overlook when quickly configuring your e-mail client.
I spent the day with my Mom as it is Mother’s Day here in the US and it was a good time for all. Happy Mother’s Day to you all, either for you or your Moms. If you can’t visit your Mom as I did at least give her a call, and if you’re in North America don’t forget SkypeOut calls are free to anywhere in the world.
The founder’s reprieve between funding rounds never feels long enough. Way too often, you find yourself in a room asking your investors to pull out their checkbooks again. Recently, one of my investors tried to cheer me up: “Listen Matt, you aren’t a real entrepreneur if you haven’t run out of money a few times.”
I wish the mood was always so jovial. But I was not having a good week. This round of funding was going to be different, because this time I had no more money of my own to put into the company. That makes a big difference to certain investors. I didn’t know if my angels would be willing to put up more cash, and I had no where else to go.
The bank owned my home (I had already mortgaged it twice), my credit card debt was building up (again), and the company’s commercial bank balance dwindled dangerously close to zero. I had no idea how I was going to cover the month’s payroll and people won’t work long for companies that can’t pay them. I had put everything I owned into this ship and it was in danger of sinking.
So what did I do? I went salsa dancing.
It just so happened that this same week a close friend had asked me to go out to a local salsa club with him. It was important: He was supposed to meet a woman there, and he needed his wingman. In the past I would have shut down my social life to focus on the company crisis, operating in panic mode for days on end until I came up with a solution. This time was different: I had been in and out of the fire enough to know that I could go out for the night to try to relax for a few hours and the sky wouldn’t fall.
As we walked to the club, I outlined the current state of affairs at my company, and explained how dire the scenario had become. Throughout the night, he asked me repeatedly, “Seriously, Matt. What are you going to do?” Here was a guy with a stable 401k plan, who shreds his mail and takes long, careful periods of planning before making any major life decisions. When it comes to risk taking we are polar opposites. He looked at me in the way that one might look at a man whose fate is sealed. You could see it in his concerned—and confused—eyes: “I’m looking at a dead man. A dead man who has gone out dancing.”
I actually found myself consoling him that I would be okay. I told him the truth: I was scared shitless and really couldn’t see through to the other side of this one, but I knew I’d pull through. I knew this because I had done it before and there simple wasn’t any other option: I wasn’t going to die or starve to death, so there could be worse problems to face. I raised my drink to my friend.
“I will tell you this: If you want to be an entrepreneur, you better learn to be able to sleep in the fire. I’ll take that along with the danger of failure over going each day to a job with no reward any day, no matter how safe that job might be.”
I’m not advocating recklessness here, or attempting to romanticize the dangers of risk-taking; businesses are not built on irresponsible behavior. That is often how they are lost. Sure, I decided to go out dancing, but this doesn’t mean my problems weren’t in the back of my mind all night, because they certainly were. My business and my home were at risk – but large problems like these follow an entrepreneur everywhere they go.
What every founder needs to grasp is that there is a line between attentive concern and freaking out. There is a balance between letting a danger move you to aggressive problem solving, while not letting the stress break you down. I went home after an enjoyable night at the club, picked up my pen and put in some serious time cranking out as many creative solutions as I could muster. Then I turned off the light, crawled into bed, and fell asleep. I woke up the next day rested and ready to drive forward.
I survived. My investors didn’t give in to my funding pleas right away. They sent me away a few times and held my feet to the fire as the clock wound down. I remained calm, listened to their requests, and managed to work with them without “going Chernobyl” in the boardroom. Through remaining calm I came out the other side with signed checks and my company in tact.
The lesson here is that an entrepreneur has to learn to be able to live with fear and uncertainty – learn how to sleep in the midst of a fire. If we can’t handle the stress of high pressure situations with calm, our companies don’t have a chance.
Oh, I almost forgot: the girl my friend was supposed to meet that night eventually did show up… with her husband. Had I stayed home wringing my hands over my funding crisis, I would have missed the chance to razz him about it these last six months. (A nice reprieve if ever I had one!) So remember this: Some things in life are worth taking a break for.
Business 2.0 : Many of the new startups in the convergence space — such as Grouper, Mercora, Orb Networks, and Sling Media — have developed their products only for the Windows platform, though there are vague promises of Mac support sometime in the future. They might be missing an opportunity here. Going with the stylish little guy can give you hip hype with a lot less effort and money. Continue reading at Business 2.0 site…
Lost in the noise and fury around Qwest’s battle for MCI, was the news that Qwest is handing out nearly $7 million in executive bonuses, including $3 million CEO Dick Notebaert. In addition to Notebaert’s $2.97 million, Chief Financial Officer Oren Shaffer got $1.68 million and Executive Vice President Barry Allen $1.1 million. I think it might be too early to hand these out. I don’t think Q is out of the woods, and it would be good to see a more stable performance from the company before the top dogs get their bow-wow-wow!
Light Reading reports that a small consolidation in the VoIP business is going on right now, the latest deal being Finnish test vendor NetHawk Oyj’s purchase of Richardson, Texas-based ipNetFusion in a bid to boost its VOIP testing capabilities. The deal is being valued at $26 million. Recent deals include Tektronix’s $325 million buyout of Inet, Sprient and Empirix are the others who are out shopping. One of the major players in this market is Agilent Technologies, which has many hardware and software testing products for the telecom markets.