Click the photo to see it at full size.

The photo above has been making the rounds on LinkedIn and Twitter, and I thought that it was worth repeating here.

Here’s the text written on the whiteboard:

  • Amazon didn’t kill the retail industry. They did it to themselves with bad customer service.
  • Netflix did not kill Blockbuster. They did it to themselves with ridiculous late fees.
  • Uber did not kill the taxi industry. They did it to themselves by limiting the number of taxis and with fare control.
  • Apple did not kill the music industry. They did it to themselves by forcing people to buy full-length albums.
  • AirBnB did not kill the hotel industry. They did it to themselves by limited availability and pricing options.

Technology itself is not the real disrupter…

Being non-customer centric is the biggest threat to any business.

In case you were wondering “Is it spelled disrupter or disruptor?”, it appears that either is an acceptable spelling.

Garrett Serack’s good counterexamples

Garrett, whom I know from my days at Microsoft, pointed out a couple of counterexamples on Twitter:

And he followed up that tweet with this:


Photo by Matthew Paulson. Click to see the source.

Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Monday, June 26

Tuesday, June 27

Wednesday, June 28

Thursday, June 29

Friday, June 30

Saturday, July 1

Sunday, July 2

Let me know about your upcoming event!

Do you have an upcoming event that belongs on this list? Drop me a line at and give me the details!


You can find out a lot of the Valley from the Twitter responses to the story about Travis Kalanick’s resignation as Uber’s C.E.Bro.

Alexia Tsotsis is Kalanick’s “Cool Tech Girl”

TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis’ tweet reminded me of Sarah Stockdale’s recent (and brilliant) article titled The myth of the ‘cool tech girl’ (and why she’s dangerous), a warning about the women in tech who try to “fit in” by going along with the brogrammers and end up perpetuating tech’s most toxic problems.
Some key excerpts:

The cool girl in tech plays ping pong, drinks beer at work, is “one of the guys”, participates in inappropriate slack .gif threads, says things like “she’s overreacting”, “I don’t consider myself a feminist, I just work hard”, “I’ve never experienced discrimination at work”. The cool girl doesn’t call out sexist remarks, she laughs at your ‘jokes’, she defends you to other women, and helps silence them. The cool girl is ‘one of the boys’.

The cool tech girl is a toxic myth, she helps men feel safe in their sexism. She enables the persistent and perpetual gender discrimination in our field. She’s hurting you, and me, and she needs to fuck right off already.

Congrats, Alexia: you’re a cool tech girl!

Bill Gurley plays Smithers to Kalanick’s Mr. Burns

Note to Gurley: Dude, in the final analysis, he created an app that combined crowdsourcing, taxi services, and 21st century serfdom. This sort of hyperbolic praise reminds me of the “making the world a better place” bit from the finale of Silicon Valley’s first season:

Gurley’s skewed picture of history also reminds me of this New Yorker comic by Tom Toro:

Click the comic to see the source.

For a longer look at where this inflation-of-importance mindset in the Valley comes from, check out part one of the BBC documentary All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, whose thesis is that computers have failed to liberate humanity, and instead have “distorted and simplified our view of the world around us”.

Michael Arrington is…well, Michael effing Arrington.

Stay classy, Mike.

As a reminder of the the company and culture created by the guy that Arrington is defending, allow me to refer you to these articles:


If you’ve always wanted to learn how to write mobile apps, but never knew how to get started, you should join Tampa iOS Meetup! It’s a beginner-friendly gathering of people who are either new to programming or new to iOS development that learns it by building an app at a time.

In this Tampa iOS Meetup, we’re going to build a Pomodoro timer app — a tool that used with the Pomodoro Technique, an ingeniously simple lifehack that many people have used to help them power past distraction, stay focused on their work, and be incredibly productive.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

Pomodoro is the Italian word for “tomato” and refers to the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that the technique’s inventor, Francesco Cirillo, used in developing the technique. The technique itself is pretty simple:

  • Pick a task that you want to tackle.
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes. Because Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, he called this 25-minute interval a “pomodoro”.
  • Work on the task — and nothing but that task — until the timer rings.
  • After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  • If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a five-minute break, then start another pomodoro.
  • If you have four checkmarks, take a longer break — typically 15 to 30 minutes — and reset your checkmark count back to zero. Then start a new pomodoro.

By breaking a large task or series of tasks into short, focused intervals, the Pomodoro Technique aims to have your brain to work in short sprints — which it’s evolved to do — and take regular breaks to help it recharge. The intended result is to ensure consistent productivity, motivation, and creativity.

Want to know more about the Pomodoro technique? Check out this video…

…and these links:

What will we do at this meetup?

There are a number of Pomodoro apps out there, such Focus Keeper (pictured above). In this meetup, we’ll build one that you can then expand upon and maybe even put in the store!

You’ll learn how to:

  • Write code that is automatically at regularly-timed intervals
  • Get user input in the user-friendliest and appropriate way
  • Use sound and animations to make a polished-looking app

What will you need to bring?

If you’ve got a MacBook, you’ll want to bring it (make sure you’ve installed Xcode), because we’re going to code this app during the session! I’ll set you up with a starter project, and then write the actual code that powers it. By the end of the session, you’ll be able to write your own Pomodoro productivity app and tweak it to make it your very own.

(And yes, you can still come if you don’t bring a Mac laptop.)

Will there be food?

Yes! In addition to providing us with the space, the fine people at Wolters Kluwer (and their doubly-fine representative, John Wang) will provide food and drink for free. The food varies; sometimes it’s pizza, sometimes it’s pasta, sometimes it’s sandwiches. There’s usually a vegetarian option.

Let’s give Wolters Kluwer a golf clap for making the meetup possible!

When, where, and how do you register?


Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Monday, June 19

Tuesday, June 20

Wednesday, June 21

Thursday, June 22

Friday, June 23

Saturday, June 24

Sunday, June 25


“Oh yeah, pointers.”


Pictured above: The Whole Foods in my neighborhood. Nice, isn’t it?

In what the press release calls “all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion,” Amazon has acquired Whole Foods.

Whole Foods — its full name is Whole Foods Market, but more people call it “Whole Paycheck” because of their reputation for the premium prices they charge for items that you won’t easily find at your run-of-the-mill grocery store — will still operate under its own name, with its current CEO John Mackey, and out of their Austin, Texas headquarters.

What does Amazon get out of the deal? After conquering the market for online dry goods, they’ve set their eyes on the only kind of shopping that we do more often: groceries. They’ve been experimenting with grocery delivery service for years with AmazonFresh, which serves a few locations: the Seattle area, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Sacramento, London, Boston, Dallas, and Chicago. Acquiring Whole Foods instantly gives them a well-known, well-liked brand and over 400 “showrooms” located on prime real estate that are frequented by customers with more than the average amount of disposable income. In the longer run, Whole Foods locations can serve as fulfillment centers, and distribution or pick-up points for online grocery orders.

What does Whole Foods get out of the deal? According to this Recode article, being acquired alleviates a number of business headaches, such as the “activist investors” that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey calls “greedy bastards”, as well as “slow growth, shrinking profits and increasing competition from traditional grocers, meal-kit services like Blue Apron,” and — oddly enough — “e-commerce plays like Amazon.”

My favorite Tweet about the acquisition so far: