Why Newark Deserved the Challenge Grant from Mark Zuckerberg

You know. I’m glad the public is aware of the education crisis in America and I’m not gonna lie, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah are the reasons people finally, well, seem to care. I can not be happier. What makes me sad are the cynical comments.

Mark Zuckerberg doing good for positive press because of some movie — ok, fine. The timing is bad and I can see why people would think that, but you guys. What motivation do Mayor Cory Booker or Governor Chris Christie have? Have any of you actually been to Newark? Or New Jersey? (Teterboro and EWR don’t count.)

So I challenge all of you, on the Internet, to please learn more about why Newark deserved the grant before spewing negativity. Here are some resources to get you started: The Oprah clip: click this. Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts: click here. My first hand experiences in New Jersey and thoughts: click this one. Slightly outdated round-up of Mayor Cory Booker’s background and accomplishments is here. More on the challenge grant via the WSJ. The thread where I posted that comment is on StartupEducation’s FB fan page. Click this to see the thread and while you’re at it, fan the page. Follow along. Then decide to critique.

Thank you.

Mark Zuckerberg, Mayor Booker and Governor Christie on Oprah

“It was the difference between my son going to college or jail.” – Governor Chris Christie on speaking with a woman whose number -son’s number- was chosen in the charter school lottery.

Mark Zuckerberg’s $100million donation is a personal one, and a challenge grant.

I have no words for what is happening and what will happen. These three men will change so many lives and hopefully, the start of a much needed reform in education.Glad to see so many high profile people ban together for the future of this country. THIS is why Honorable Mayor Cory Booker is going to be President of the United States someday.

If this topic does not interest you, at least watch this clip as Zuck allowed cameras into his home and the Facebook offices.

In case you’re wondering why this interests me, I’ve jotted down thoughts: Our country is in deep sh*t. Why Mayor Cory Booker is my hero and my dislike for New Jersey.

If you could invite three people to dinner who would you choose and why?

If you could invite three people to a dinner party (alive) who would you pick and why?

How many times have you been asked this question, in how many variations e.g. dead, alive, dead and alive, real or fictitious, etc., and how often does your answer change? That is rhetorical btw. Well I get asked this a lot and my answers change all the time so I’m gonna start documenting.

The other night during dinner with friends, these three sprung to mind first: Larry Ellison, Rupert Murdoch and Kanye West.

Everyone looked at me like I was insane but hey, these are the three people I’d give anything to see interact; imagine the conversation that can unfold.

Larry Ellison, one of the most crazy rogue in tech. Rupert Murdoch representing the fascinatingly crazy from media/entertainment and Kanye West who is just, well, unfiltered, foot in mouth crazy.

These three are so different, yet share the perfect amount of crazy to leave imprints in their respected fields, history and the world. Now whether we agree or disagree with them is a whole ‘nother story.

Who are your choices?

McDonalds 33% check-in vs foot traffic: does it matter? #perspective

The buzz today seems to be about McDonalds and the ROI discrepancy but does it really matter for a brand the scope of McDonald’s?


  1. In 2008, McDonalds’ net profit was 4.3 billion dollars and their advertising budget was $823 billion
  2. Foursquare Day took place on April 16th. Six months ago. McDonalds and Foursquare are still getting press
  3. Of the 45 brands/businesses that participated, McDonalds is the only company still being mentioned in press

Looking at the above, I wonder what McDonalds’ goals for participating were and if 33% more check-ins or 33% increase in foot traffic really matters to McDonalds.

Just throwing it out there.

If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough #fb

If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough

September 12th, 2010 | careers, startups

My most useful career experience was about eight years ago when I was trying to break into the world of VC-backed startups. I applied to hundreds of jobs:  low-level VC roles, startups jobs, even to big tech companies.  I got rejected from every single one.  Big companies rejected me outright or gave me a courtesy interview before rejecting me. VCs told me they wanted someone with VC experience.  Startups at the time were laying people off.  The economy was bad (particularly where I was looking – consumer internet) and I had a strange resume (computer programmer, small bootstrapped startups, undergrad and masters studying Philosophy/mathematical logic).

The reason this period was so useful was that it helped me develop a really thick skin.  I came to realize that employers weren’t really rejecting me as a person or on my potential – they were rejecting a resume.  As it became depersonalized, I became bolder in my tactics. I eventually landed a job at Bessemer (thanks to their willingness to take chances and look beyond resumes), which led to getting my first VC-backed startup funded, and things got better from there.

One of the great things about looking for a job is that your “payoff” is almost always a max function (the best of all attempts), not an average. This is also generally true for raising VC financing, doing bizdev partnerships, hiring programmers, finding good advisors/mentors, even blogging and marketing. I probably got rejected by someone once a day last week alone. In one case a friend who tried to help called me to console me. He seemed surprised when I told him: “no worries – this is a daily occurrence – we’ll just keep trying.”  If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.

A-fucking-men; the worst anyone can say is no.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – via TBWA/Chiat Day circa 1997 for Apple

Recipe: Baba Ghanouj

This is a first on PixelBits and I am pretty excited to share this with you guys!

Ok. So I’ve been spending a lot of time on Facebook Questions and took some time to answer ‘What are the secrets to making an excellent baba ganoush?‘ Seriously, my answer is just too good to keep to myself and on FB Questions, so I decided to share here too. So here we go!

(photo courtesy of tastyeatsathome)
Q: ‘What are the secrets to making an excellent baba ganoush?’

The same secrets to making all simple dishes standout: ingredients, time, care and attention to the little things. For this particular dish, ask yourself these questions before making.

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Are You 80 or 160?

An average person spends approximately a third of their lives at work. So it shouldn’t surprise me when people ask:

Do you work to live or live to work?

But I’m not going to lie. It does surprise me, for my answer has always been the same: “Why choose?” I’ve learned life is too short and unconsciously abide by the lessons I’ve learned. I wake up every day, excited to live and because work is a huge part of my life, I choose not to compromise my life by being miserable for a 1/3 of it, stuck in a job I hate. So it surprises -or saddens me- when people ask for whatever reason: ‘Do you live to work or work to live?’

Don’t waste your lives.