Matt's blog

Thoughts on technology, startups and making the world a better place. Occasional detours to fatherhood and half-baked makers projects.

For the 140 character version, follow me on twitter.

Building this site

My biggest side project over the last few months has been building this web site. Here’s a quick overview of what I did, and some thoughts on the process.


If you had asked me a few months ago if I knew how to use HTML and CSS, I would have said “Defininately.” But, it turns out that what I actually meant was “Umm. Well, about a decade ago I learned how to create a really basic text document...

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$OPWR: A great day for do-gooder startups

Have you been following today’s big do-gooder IPO story? It’s got everything anyone in startup land would want:

  • Big Data? Check
  • Gamification? Check
  • Scrappy young upstart disrupting a boring old industry? Check
  • Billion Dollar Exit? Check

But, wait. Do a quick search of TechCrunch, Hacker News and Techmeme. There’s nothing there.

And, that’s a shame. Because, Opower is an awesome story for all the aspiring do-gooders in startup land.

If you haven’t been following them, Katie Fehrenbacher at...

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Organizing lessons from a ride sharing company?

(This one is for all you organizing nerds out there. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, than this piece probably won’t either ;)

Despite all the amazing advances in technology, we organizers seem to still mostly be doing leadership development and organizational development the good ole fashioned way, probably bested summarized by Cesar Chavez: “First you talk to one person, then another, then another…”.

So, I’m always looking for inspiration on new approaches. Oddly enough, I just found...

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Do-Gooders in Startup Land?! Meet Y Combinator's 1st Class of Non-profits

Silicon Valley’s top startup program, Y Combinator, graduated its first class of non-profit startups yesterday.

As the genre defining startup accelerator, this is a pretty big deal. YC is the same institution that brought us household names like Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit and many more.

Traditionally they’ve been very focused on finding the next billion dollar company—and they’ve been quite good at that. So, what will it look like when they start working with non-profits? Well, now we have a few...

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Software is eating the car

If you live in a city, take a quick look around. Something crazy is happening right in front of your eyes: the personal car is disappearing.

For decades, the convenience of owning a car has been so powerful that we’ve literally built our society around it. But, thanks to technology, and rapidly growing cities, that’s starting to change.

The best steel umbrella money can buy

It’s not technology that has made the car so compelling. Most of us don’t...

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Remembering Greg

10 years ago, the world lost an incredible human being, and I lost one of my best friends. 

It was our senior year and we were on spring break in a tiny beach town in southern Costa Rica. The rain had stopped falling, so we decided it was the perfect time to finally jump in the ocean. Unfortunately, no one told us about the vicious riptide. Despite the valiant efforts of some local surfers, we lost Greg to that riptide.  


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Members First, Coalitions Second

Fred Wilson, one of my favorite startup bloggers/VCs, wrote a great piece advocating for startups to focus on building users first, and then establishing relationships with brands:

When you are building your product and thinking about your go to market strategy, you need to decide who your first users will be and how they will take your product into the market. You can focus on getting everyday internet users first. Or you can focus on getting brands...

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DIY Photobooth

One of my favorite wedding projects was creating a DIY photobooth and a simple site to display the photos. Renting a photobooth costs north of $1k, so I thought I'd share what we did:

Setting up the photobooth

The setup for the photobooth was pretty basic. We used:

  • A laptop
  • A webcam (we used a stand alone one, which worked much better than the one on my Mac)
  • A printer with 4x6 photo paper
  • A bright light if you're going to...
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