Sunday, April 26, 2009

Logging Miles

It's been about 2 months since I purchased my very first road bike -- and I'm loving it. The awesome thing about California is that being active and outdoors is very much ingrained into the lifestyle here, which is much different from what I grew accustomed to on the east coast. Granted, this was largely a result of living in a climate where 6 months of the year were eaten up by cold weather, but also being trapped in an urban jungle like New York. On any given weekend in California, people are skiing, hiking, bike riding, running, playing golf -- you name it. I had always wanted to get into biking due to the bike-friendliness of San Francisco, but working in Mountain View every day put a damper on how much time I actually had to ride.

Over the course of the last 2 months, I've put over 825 miles on my bike, mainly riding after work and on the weekends, which I never thought I'd be able to do. In fact, I just realized I've put more miles on my bike in 2 months than I have on my car for the entire year. Not sure if that will keep up, but I like that I'm keeping my carbon footprint relatively low.

I love riding because, in addition to a great workout, I've been able to discover parts of the city and Bay Area that I normally wouldn't be able to see. Here are some various pictures that I've been able to take with my iPhone during my various rides:

At least for the next 6 months, I'm definitely looking to keep up the pace of 120-150 miles per week and, if all goes according to plan, I'll have more exciting biking adventures soon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There's an App for that!

One of the best things about working at a startup is that, occasionally, you get to experience super cool milestones that you know you had a direct hand in. It was like that during the early days of Google, but that somehow got lost along the way.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from someone at Apple who asked whether we'd have interest in having the Howcast iPhone app potentially featured in an upcoming Apple iPhone television ad. After careful consideration, I had to make the calculated decision to agree to this proposal (trust me, this is the mental acumen and solid decision-making it takes to run a startup company), and after a few weeks of waiting to hear back from Apple about whether Howcast made the cut, there we were in our very first TV commercial!

I have to admit, I used to complain about Apple's "I'm a Mac" vs. "I'm a PC" ads because I had grown tired of seeing the SAME commercial format for the past 4 years. We get it - a Mac is way better than a PC, but I could do without seeing this guy 3 times a day. But, never again will I EVER speak ill of Apple's television marketing campaigns. In fact, you can run this video on an endless loop in front of me and I won't say a word.

So, without further ado, here are some screenshots and an embedded version of the commercial, which aired in the US on April 6, 2009.

I've really got to meet the guys who wrote the iBird Plus app -- they are charging $19.99 for that! The good news is that they clearly saved the best act for last. The "Itchy" iPhone commercial was shown during primetime throughout the week on shows such as Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, and my favorite show -- Lost, which was so cool to see. We also got featured on the American Idol time slots this week, which led to a huge spike in installs. (I guess I've implicated myself in admitting that I watch Idol.)

We were all pretty fired up to get this kind of exposure for Howcast so early in our existence; hopefully, it's the first of many TV appearances for our company. Maybe the next time the Oceanic 6 are barrelling into the Island, Jack can whip out his iPhone and pull up this video on Howcast. Now that would be awesome. Oh yeah, I forgot they are still stuck in 1976.