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Weekly Review #33: Mount Your Friends, Weatherbill’s story, and Networking Scripts

I heard about a friend who went Jordan after a Birthright trip, and after the bank teller heard he was from San Francisco, his eyes opened wide and he stepped out of the booth to immediately kiss the guy full on the mouth and plead for him to take him home. (Homosexuality in Jordan is punishable by death by stoning). Yikes, but also a funny scene for my friend.

Mount Your Friends is a bizarre indie game I had a blast playing with friends this week – you try to maneuver a succession of athletic men in speedos to climb each other to ever increasing heights, all to vaguely heroic music, random grunts, and utterly ridiculous athlete names (Ulysses Morgenstein, etc). Hilarious, NSFW, and fun.

Eric Barker has a comprehensive overview of all the ways music can and does affect us – standout quote for me was the correlations between radio airtime devoted to country music and the white suicide rate.

MailTester.com lets you check to see if an email address exists before you send it – handy.

The more female-dominated a college major is, the lower the average IQ score. But the IQs were drawn from student SAT scores, which are correlated with it Quantitatively, but not Verbally. Therefore the more Quantitative the major, the higher the IQ (and the fewer females in it.) So it’s more a reflection of women’s interest in math than anything else.

Fundersandfounders.com has a whole lot of pretty infographics portraying tech and startup info.

David Friedberg built Weatherbill (now known as the Climate Corporation) into a billion dollar weather insurance company. This large worthy post explains how:

  • For Friedberg, anything worth doing has to start with a deserving problem. The desire to build companies isn’t enough to get you through the process. “Why would you undertake any activity where you get your ass kicked every day, don’t get paid enough, and suffer through years of misery only to maybe find a problem worth solving?” he says. The only reason to do this is if you feel passionate about changing the world in a meaningful way. You have to start with a problem that really impacts people’s lives and then present a solution they actually want. This is how he felt about Weatherbill.
  • He built the perfect product at first, but didn’t know who his market was. After years of industry shows and cold calling, they finally settled on farmers and tailored it exactly to their needs.
  • “When you look at the markets in the world today, you can probably break it apart market-by-market and say, ‘Here’s something fundamentally flawed with the way businesses in this market are operating.’ Ask yourself, what are they doing wrong? Beyond that, how are governments not operating efficiently? When you look at it this way, there are 100,000 different ways to break apart the opportunity that exists for you to solve the big problems of today. It might take more than a weekend in the library or on the Internet to see, but they’re there.”

Freakonomics interview with the author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful reveals that weight is not a strong indicator for attractiveness – it’s all in your face.

I found the questions Derek Sivers asked in order to build his Woodegg startup guide for India very thoughtful and probing. Such question templates could certainly be used elsewhere.

Janet Chang’s Word for Word Networking Scripts for Entrepreneurs are an idiot proof script designed to get you talking with the important people. I need to remember this doc and to use it often…

Nikki Durkin tells the tale of how her startup failed, but more specifically, she tells how it feels like. It’s a fresh, wrenching perspective on failure from an industry that is always telling us to do it early and often.