Here are Nassim Taleb’s top 10 life tips, all worthwhile, from this profile:

1. Skepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.

9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Front page of Espn.com today is about a boy who could not win the spelling bee…

So I am going to attempt to consistently use Twitter… damn it.  I have enough distractions as it is.

Here is a cool idea that a friend recommended for Twitter… which is probably already being done.  When people go out, they want to know not only where their friends are, but if the place they are heading to is “happening”.  So he suggested creating a twitter group so people could rate the place in real-time.

For example, when I get to Slide tonight, I would twit “Long time outside… tons of dudes” or “Lots of people at Slide, good crowd” or “Super ghetto Asian”.  And on top of that, I would rank it 1 out of 10, with some relevant tags such as “Sausage fest, Fratty, Empty, Long line or Ghetto”.  This would save people millions of dollars in wasted taxi fairs.

Thoughts?

This isn’t a recent revelation, but I’ve noticed that I am much more productive at night than I am during the day… mainly because of distractions. It is not that I am surfing youtube, but my focus is split between managing people, answering emails, phone calls, chats, and the actually work I need to get done. Productivity is about momentum and if you can get on a work roll, you can get much more accomplished. So think of it as if you were to work on three different tasks vs. being completely focused on one task at a time.

So here is my proposed 3 step solution (to myself) for the next two days:

1) 55 minutes of focused work, 5 minutes of random work – I have emails and phone calls I need to attend to, but I am going to reserve the last 5 minutes of each hour to do that.

2) No email or phone for 55 minutes per hour – I went to a hear Iqbal Quadir speak at a LongNow.org event tonight; his last venture helped bring mobile phones to developing nations. Iqbal’s main point was that connectivity equals productivity. For me, that may not be necessarily true. Ryan Johnson asked me to develop an application that would turn off his internet and cell phone for a set amount of time, allowing him to focus on his work. Think about the gambler who goes to the casino and request to be blacklisted (not allowed to return). The next time he has the urge to gamble, he physically cannot.

3) Minute by minute goals – I am going to spend 15 minutes in the morning and map out my entire day in 10 minutes increments. The smaller the goal, the more focused and more motivated you are. I guess its like the NBA playoffs, its about winning the 1st quarter of the next game and not all 16 games… minus the flopping and horrendous refereeing.

Seems doable… I’ll let you know if it worked. If you need to reach me, find comfort in that fact that I will return your call, email, or ping within 55 minutes.

World’s Number 1 Best Flopper

Does being competitive translate into success?

I found out today that one of our competitors has been speaking unfavorably about us to our clients… even before we’ve launched a product. I am not sure if this is just jocking for position, fear of a startup, or typical of this competitor. Inevitably, business is in part about your competition and how can you be faster, cheaper, and better. But I think that if you create substantial value in the marketplace, you will position yourself to have a sustainable competitive advantage. Lastly, our ultimate goal is to not displace a company, but to solve a problem and provide a valuable resource to consumers.

I definitely see the value in showing how you are better, faster, and cheaper than your competition. But in this case, I am not completely sure this is a great strategic move by that competitor. Here is my reasoning:

1) Fear of a new startup before they have even launched show weakness in positioning. If your only competitive advantage is to rely your sales ability, then your product/value proposition to your clients is weak.

2) You want to create friends, not enemies. Even in an ultra-competitive business environment, you never know who knows who and when you will need a strategic partnership, advice, or help. Think about how many times you said to yourself, “I wish I were nicer to that person.”

3) You should be focused on your product, community, and clients. YouTube wasn’t focused on Metacafe, Facebook wasn’t focused on CollegeTonight, and Yelp wasn’t focused on Judy’s Book. They all focused on their community of users.

I am definitely a paranoid individual, obsessed with how to solve problems, execute ferociously, and create incredible value. But I also realize that there were startups before us, there will be thousands of startups after us, and our focus will be on our product. The rest will fall into place.

I say create your own revolution!

On a side note, here is a list of my competitors/people in the industry I am very impressed with:

1)  Dan Daugherty, RentBits.com.  Ex-Googler, super smart, providing a great solution, and I love his vision.

2)  The folks at ApartmentGuide.  I am very impressed with their professionalism.

3)  Cindy Park, Prometheus. Berkeley educated, sees all the angles, and is very analytic.  I know she’s doing great things for her company.  Not really a competitor, but she rocks.

4)  Dave Dugdale, RentVine.com.  Helpful, kind, honest, and generous individual.  Always willing to share and discuss new ideas.

So I’ve been MIA from friends, family, and everything to do with San Francisco because I was recently attending the Apartment Internet Marketing conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a great time, and I had the opportunity to discuss the RentWiki concept with loads of industry executives.

Day 0: D-Backs and Suns

Went to the Diamondbacks game with a couple of VaultWare peers, and spent a great deal of time with a gentleman by the name of Dirk Herrman, former branding director at AvalonBay. Obviously the multi-family housing industry will never be commoditized, but I think it is similar to real estate agents where there is only a limited amount of branding you can do (I personally do not care if my agent is with Century 21, Realty Executives, or XYZ No Fee Agency). Dirk is an extremely intuitive guy and we shared some ideas on RentWiki, the industry, and watched the Suns lose to the Spurs.

Day 1: VaultWare releases PadZing.com

Think Zillow for rentals… great idea, and a necessary resource for apartments to accurately price their units. I know that property management companies probably leave millions on the table by not accurately assessing supply and demand. On a side note, I wondering if PadZing is able to get more data than Zilpy.com.

As always, Mike Mueller was hilarious, entertaining, and memorable… entering the conference as Slash, I don’t even know who that is. VaultWare covered many new features, a consumer redesign, and released PadZing.com to the industry. A memorable moment was when someone asked about the ratings for PadZing and the entire crowd in unison screamed, “No!”. It was if someone had been stabbed in the chest with a butter knife by the devil himself.

Day 2: Speaking for the Social Media Panel

I had the privilege to speak about social media and the multi-family housing industry. I covered some of my favorite examples of social media including Wikipedia, PerezHilton.com, Bittorrent, and i-Tunes. I also discussed how social media has changed the way consumers find and receive information… and we are beginning to see it spill into the Multi-family housing industry.

I was limited on time, so I was unable to talk about the Social Graph, but I will do a post about it in the next day or two. My other panelists included Ed Spiegal, of RentMineOnline.com, and Ellen Cowen, of LinkedIn.com. Ed did a great job of causing quite the controversy. He explained how his product would eliminate the high referral fees of Rent.com… did I mention that Rent.com was a $45,000 sponsor of the event? But it was amazing to see the buzz in the room and Ed did a excellent job of creating momentum and interest for his product and social media in general.

The best part of the conference was that night when we all went to Barcelonas. Seeing all the conference attendees drinking and having a good time was quite the highlight. Our moderator, Israel Carunungan closed that place down… great job Israel!

Engage.com has been around for a bit, but is starting to gain some traction. Similar to RentWiki, Engage.com aims to use peer recommendations as a better vehicle to identify a potential mate. All the other dating websites have a solitary experience, contrary to real life when you usually get an introduction from a friend.

What about a peer recommendations website for friends? Unless this already exists, I think Facebook should provide you to view all friends of friends in a city, similar to the way Linked In connects you with business contacts.

Thoughts?

I do not think I’ve ever written the words “shout out”… or even said that, but I want to give credit to Clifford White, RentWiki’s proud lead developer, for building RentWiki.com almost all by himself. He put in a great deal of hard work and we had many nights with little or no sleep. Incredible job Cliff.

I feel like a mother after his son gets nominated for the Who’s Who National Award.