Author Archives: Andy Wibbels

About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks.

Uber Class Action Lawsuit Expands to Include Over 160k Drivers

From Vice:

“This past September, US District Court Judge Edward Chen granted the suit class-action status, clearing the way for drivers across the state to be included. Uber then tried to limit the size of that class, by saying many of its drivers had signed an “arbitration clause” — a legal agreement designed to force employees to settle grievances outside of the courts — that barred them from filing suit. Uber quietly inserted the clause into its driver agreement back in 2014. But on Wednesday, US District Court Judge Edward Chen rejected the validity of the arbitration clause, expanding the group of drivers eligible to sue Uber to as many as 160,000. He called the clause “both procedurally and substantively unconscionable,” since there was no clear way for drivers to opt out.

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Evernote’s 5% Problem

I have friends who are die-hard Evernote fanatics. I usually try it every six months or so, don’t get it, and give up, not really understanding what’s the big deal. Chris O’Brien writes about Evernote’s decline and essential product challenges: (via Jason Festa via VentureBeat)

“What winds up happening at Evernote conferences is that people go and they say, ‘Oh, I love Evernote and I’ve been using it for years and now I realize I’ve only been using it for 5 percent of what it can do,’ ” Libin said. “And the problem is that it’s a different 5 percent for everyone. If everyone just found the same 5 percent, then we’d just cut the other 95 percent and save ourselves a lot of money. It’s a very broad usage base. And we need to be a lot better about tying it together. And I think we have. We’ve got a few things we’re launching over the next few months to help with that.” Evernote had spread itself too thin, and there was no core experience. Though Evernote did, in fact, continue to push out new features and products, they never managed to fix the underlying problem.

VentureBeat: Evernote’s 5% problem offers a cautionary lesson to tech companies

Best Apache Solr Blog Posts of 2015

Just put together an ombnibus post on the blog at work of the best writing from the past year. Includes Solr authentication, Hadoop connectors, facets and stats, Docker, Spark, and increasing indexing and performance.

#10. Focusing on Search Quality at Lucene/Solr Revolution 2015

#9. Apache Solr 5.0 Highlights

#8. Solr on Docker

#7. Open Source Hadoop Connectors for Solr

#6. Solr as an Apache Spark SQL DataSource

#5.Hey, You Got Your Facets in My Stats! You Got Your Stats In My Facets!!

#4. Solr 5’s new ‘bin/post’ utility

#3. Solr Suggester

#2. Indexing Performance in Solr 5.2

#1. Securing Solr with Basic Authentication

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Unicorns vs Donkeys: Let’s Do the Math

Abhas Gupta writes about the impotance of the ratio of lifetime customer value to cost of customer acquisition – and what it means for startups on Medium:

Like Newton’s laws of gravity or momentum, most tech startups (see exceptions below*) who sell directly to their customers — both enterprises and consumers — must eventually obey the Fundamental Law of Growth: LTV/CAC > 3. There’s a lot of nuance as to why — a discussion that is better suited for a semester-long class than a blog post — but suffice to say that the LTV/CAC ratio speaks to a startup’s revenue trajectory, capital needs, and in turn, how much “irrational exuberance” is demanded of its investors. The lower the LTV/CAC ratio, the less efficient a company is at deploying capital and the more money it needs to fuel growth; conversely, the higher the LTV/CAC ratio, the more efficient the company is and thus the more value it creates for the same amount of capital. Though this can be derived, many before me have empirically observed that 3x is roughly the threshold needed to build big, sustainable businesses.

Read Gupta’s apply this analysis to startups like HelloFresh, Evernote, Oscar, and ZocDoc: Unicorns vs. Donkeys: Your Handy Guide to Distinguishing Who’s Who

Featured image from Flickr user Cathering/rumpleteaser.

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Lucidworks CEO Will Hayes and Clef BD Head Darrell Jones III on Why Diversity Starts at Home

Lucidworks CEO Will Hayes interviews Clef’s head of biz dev, Darrell Jones III about how individuals can make a lasting impact on youth and breed inclusivity in the organization from the ground up – and why Oakland is poised to be the Atlanta of the west coast – in this snippet, Hayes ask Jones about the common tech habit of hiding behind meritocracy:

“When I hear people talk about meritocracy… I question whose history they’ve been reading, whose life they’ve looked into and how objective that really is. You can’t expect children growing up on welfare with no access to education and mentors to be able to compete. For every thousand kids, you have one Barack Obama. You will have one Jackie Robinson. But far and away, the odds are not in that favor. That is privilege. When 50 out of 70 privileged kids do well and only 1 out of 70 kids here do well, I don’t want to talk about how the other 69 should have been better. I was a bright kid and when I was in the inner city of Chicago, I was surrounded by plenty of other bright kids. I’m here now and a lot of those equally intelligent kids, who had similar family structures — if not better because I had a single parent — don’t have the same outcomes. You can’t look me in the eye and tell me that’s meritocracy.”

Full inteview on Forbes.com: Why Diversity Starts at Home

The Top Five Things You Should Be Working On

Habitry co-founder Vanessa Naylon helps you preempt all your pre-New Years habit shaming:

“When you know you need to make a change, the number of choices and “should”s in the world can overwhelm you. It can feel difficult to know what exactly to try next. Let’s talk about the top five things you should be working on. But…

“There’s no list here, because you haven’t written it yet.

“Below you won’t find twenty things to do when you wake up or the habits of successful CEOs. (Why is “meditate” always on these lists? People love telling each other to meditate.) There’s no universal list for making you your best you. In the next three minutes, you’re going to create that list for yourself.

“First, don’t trip on other people’s habits.

“Other people’s ideas are cool for getting started, but you’ll waste energy and money if you choose habits that aren’t right for you. …

“Start with something you won’t discard in hard times: start with what matters to you.”

Read the full post on Habitry’s blog: The Only Habits That Matter

Dooce Walks Away: Why The Queen of Mommybloggers Stopped

From the XOXO 2015 conference, alpha queen mommyblogger Heather Armstrong talks about her 14 years of success and tribulations as a blogger and how the death of the banner ad and the rise of sponsored content led to her decision to exit the space:

For the last 14 years, Heather Armstrong shared her life online with honesty and wit—work and marriage, raising two daughters, struggles with depression and parenthood—earning her a massive audience. But it took a uniquely modern emotional and physical toll, contributing to her decision to walk away from full-time blogging earlier this year. Recorded in September 2015 at XOXO, an experimental festival celebrating independently produced art and technology in Portland, Oregon. For more, visit http://xoxofest.com.

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LinkedIn Expands Blogging Platform to All English-Speaking Users

Previously US-only, LinkedIn has expanded their blogging platform to include all English-speaking users.

The professional network expanded its publishing tool late Wednesday, granting long-form publishing power to more than 130 million English-speaking LinkedIn members outside the United States, according to LinkedIn’s Head of Content Ryan Roslansky.

From their blog:

Each week, members publish more than 40,000 posts on average. Posting on LinkedIn is a powerful way for members to underscore their expertise in their respective fields, extend their professional reputations beyond LinkedIn, and have valuable conversations with the largest group of engaged professionals ever assembled.

Venturebeat:

With many other channels available on the Web for networking, LinkedIn has been careful not to become stagnant and follow the likes of Bebo down the path of social networking irrelevance. By opening up its platform to more user-generated content, it’s looking to help drive engagement and encourage people to spend more time with the service. More eyeballs means more advertising dollars, after all.