Our new Android App is coming!

Here's a preview of a promotional spot we're going to be airing on Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel soon: 

The Daily Curiosity iPhone app has arrived. Download the app for free here, and never stop learning: http://bit.ly/DailyCuriosty

Posted by Curiosity on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Funding announcement: Curiosity.com spins out and raises $6M

Today is a big day for our team. 

We're proud to announce two things: 

1. Our team building Curiosity.com has spun out of Discovery Communications and is now an independent company.

2. As part of the spin out, Discovery Communications has invested in our new company, along with Chicago's best tech investors: Pritzker Group, Origin Ventures, Chicago Ventures and Corazon Capital for a $6M round of funding. 

The last year has been a great ride, but there is no finish line. This is just the beginning and we couldn't be happier with the great partners joining in this mission. Now, onward to bring the web's best learning content in one place, for millions of people around the world to enjoy and have fun learning everyday!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in so many ways.

Never stop learning.

My first Svbtle.com post

Svbtle is "a new kind of magazine" I joined a while back but never got around to trying until recently. 

While Medium is very cool, I've found the content on Svbtle to be much more product and design focused, so I thought I'd try it out.  The  writing UI's are similar (easy markdown writing, clean workflow, drag/drop photos) but I'd say Medium is more elegant and design focused. 

Here is the post about the feeling of power: "People only feel 6 core emotions. Make them feel one more." 

What success looks like

Most people can't define what success looks like, even when they are getting ready to spend massive amounts of time and energy working on something.

Is it qualitative?  "I'll feel good about myself for just accomplishing this."

Is it quantitative? "I'll be able to do X amount of pull ups" or "I'll be able to make X amount a week consulting" or "I'll be able to pay off X amount of debt a month by then".  

Most people aren't sure.  They feel that something is just right to do, but then subconscious feelings of treading water get them down.  Then they quit, not fully knowing where they stood in their progress.  

Next time you are going to start something, ask yourself:

Who?  Who am I answering to?  What would they say? "You met X goal making X amount of money by X time?"...is that right?  Even if you're answering to yourself what are you demanding?

What?  What do I need to help me get there?  Tools, people, research? 

When? What day/time/hour will I set to check my progress? 

Where?  Where am I willing to go to do this?  Places I've never been skill set wise?  Out of my comfort zone?  

Why?  Have I backed up and answered the REAL root issue?  Am I rushing off with busy work to attack a symptom or am I disciplined enough to back up and attack the real goal/challenge/opportunity?  

How?  How will I measure this?  Money, time, clicks, etc?

Don't answer these critical questions and you'll just waste your time and those who try to help you fumble through pointless work.

GET more of this good stuff if you follow me on Twitter.

Hey sports fans, I need your feedback: hashti.me

**update** I've since taken hashtime offline.

I was watching the NFL Football Chiefs lose their season opener two weeks back.  OK, I wasn't watching all that much because they're not so awesome anymore and I'm not so much a huge fan anymore. So I started playing around with Twitter Bootstrap, a "sleek, intuitive, and powerful front-end framework for faster and easier web development".  The scaffolding is all about responsive web design.  It is cool enough.  I like jquery mobile a lot however.  This is different but since the whole demo was using Twitter I figured what the hey.

I thought a few weeks before "wouldn't it be cool if you could follow a game and teams all in once place without firing up TweetDeck?".  The entire sports universe isn't probably up to that type of social stream management...yet.  They'll have this in fantasy apps, but here's hashti.me anyway:


I only input a couple games and have more plans, but no reason to continue without good honest feedback.

*no, hashti.me isn't a drug reference. it is a quick attempt at Twitter reference + sports reference + $3.99 godaddy credit = brevity

*go landscape mode in iPhones (iPad is fine)...CSS isn't playing so nice with me right now when tweets appear.

*there is a better way than iframes (I know) but for now developing on the api is second to getting feedback on the proof of concept.

*if you're logged into Twitter you can post from within the page, but scrolling can still be a bit funky.

*Go Chiefs.

13 decent sites to learn to code

Friends keep asking me and while there is a lot of crap out there that promise to teach you to be a freelancer charging $100/hr in days or become a ninja, these are decent. Some will say don't learn to code, but here are some sites to learn to code the basics to at least be more knowledgeable. Some paid, mostly start free. In no specific order:

How to use dropbox to host your website for free

If you're just practicing front end development you don't need a web host to test pages out on mobile or any other device. This only works for basic 'static' sites (no database really...limited javascript, etc) but is perfect to see something online quickly.  For doing mobile and html5 development when you don't want to keep using iOS simulator (or don't believe it or want to send to friends Android devices to see how things lay out) it is perfect.

1. Put the index.html file in the Public folder (include CSS, JS files and folders as well)

2. Create the public URL for sharing like normal

3. Email, text, etc to yourself and open as normal on your mobile device.

4. If you want to get really fancy and put a customized domain with it:

  1. Go to settings in your domain admin (godaddy has it in domain management / information).
  2. Forward to your Dropbox URL
  3. You can mask (keeps the new domain) or unmask (forwards to the dropbox URL)

*If you totally screw up your files Dropbox even has versioning...not that you'd want to depend on it that much.

*It will take a few mins for changes to take effect and you'll want to clear cookies in your browsers if you're making a ton of changes.

Hope this helps.  Any comments: andy at odower dot com


Long time, no blog. No more.

I've been busy since the new year.

Recap of latest 9 month chapter:

Loving Chicago with my wife.

Replacing 'want, need, more' with 'thank you'. Feel much better.

Closed biz. More on that soon.

Started new gig @ cars.com. More on that soon.

Digging into code much more. Yep, I'd better have something soon.

Working out much more. Setting bigger goals.

Went to Canadian wilderness with family. Didn't want to leave.

All in all, a bunch of 1st world problems, losses and victories. I'm lucky to know great people.

Back in a few with a lot of takes...until then, a great quote that Mel likes:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

*Backstory to the pic: Muir invited Teddy to see Yosemite Valley in 1913. Teddy ditched his personal guard and escaped into the wilderness with just Muir for 3 days, camping under the stars. It was there that Muir convinced Teddy to save Yosemite and it eventually became a national park. Couldn't see it possible for any world leader to do something like that today.

How Google+ combines intent and social proof.

The three things that Freakonomic's authors will tell you that influence someone's decisions are: economic, social and moral. In terms of influence in commerce:

Amazon, Ebay and Google own economic.

Facebook owns social.  Obviously Twitter is coming, but not integrating with brands front and center the way Facebook does.

No one owns moral.  Maybe a non-profit brand like the Red Cross.  But most tie-in moral into their offering.  No one does it exclusively for commerce.  Tom's Shoes aren't bought just because they're a moral company.  Much goes into the messaging on the economic and social side.

The best brands tie in all three.

But, what happens now when Google combines economic and social?  Intent and demographics and context?

The difference between Facebook ads and Google ads are intent.  Most people don't search Facebook for their nearest restaurant or a shoe they want to buy.  Sure, they spend more time on Facebook but when it comes time to INTEND to buy they go to Google.

The new place to play is ads (insert daily deals here too) in context and discovery: where you live, where you socialize, where you are right now.  Best of all, the ads are smart and come to you...but they don't care about your real intent...they want to form your blank slate of a day with their intent.   Native apps (iOS, Android, Windows) and HTML5 apps with geolocation and social API integration are just the beginning.

With a new layer of social search results you be able to get your economic + social influencers in one place.

For those that don't care what the experts say, they just want to know if their friends own it, bought it, liked it, etc...you're all set.

Wait, I guess if you're friends would just join Google+ or Google will integrate Twitter and Facebook a bit more, then you'll be all set.  :(

The Top 12 Product Management Mistakes

Full credit to www.svproduct.com for this piece. When talking to start ups, the all too common theme is the product takes a back seat to the blue sky business model.  Assumptions and tunnel vision that people will instantly like + use + share your product give way to time wasting long term planning over the pragmatic build > test > learn > re-build cycle.

Maybe just print and toss this up on your wall.

Same goes for a new internal product or project at a large company.