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CoFounder Weekly #64: October 13, 2019

CoFounder Weekly is a weekly dose of fresh ideas.

🤔Thought Starters

👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner

😹 Funnies

🔦 Five interesting things on the internet

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🤔 Thought Starters


👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner

(here’s an award if you make it through the entire tweetstorm: 🏆)

😹 Funnies

(Use the LOL buttons below to vote for your favorite tweet)

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🏆 “Tweet of the Week” from last issue:


🔦 Five Interesting Things on the Internet

1) Here are the most and least frequently used emojis (via Unicode Consortium):

Related but unrelated: People who use more emojis have more sex and get more dates… (LINK)

2) “Learning to write with confidence” outlines a 6-step process writer Steph Smith uses to publish long form articles (LINK)

(What’s the longest article you’ve written? Send it to us and we’ll include in an upcoming newsletter)

3) “Is Anyone Going to Get Rich off of Email Newsletters?” explores the history and potential of newsletters. TLDR: Not really. As such, CoFounder Weekly will indefinitely be delaying our IPO (LINK)

Intimacy and weirdness and specificity don’t tend to be compatible with making money, at least not at Silicon Valley scale.

4) Do you spend a full minute citing the source of an idea before sharing the idea? Guilty. Derek Sivers suggests putting an end to that practice in “Don’t quote. Make it yours and say it yourself” (LINK)

When I first started reading a lot of books, I started quoting them a lot. When bringing up an idea in conversation, first I would mention its source — the book, the title, the author, and the subject of the book — before finally saying the idea.

After far too many times hearing myself referencing this book and that book, always naming titles and authors, I realized it was a lot of unnecessary clutter. I could see my listeners waiting for me to get to the point. It was inconsiderate.

5) Startup spotlight: Tripcost, an app that helps you estimate travel costs. Enter in your destination and trip length, and it spits out how much you should expect to spend. 

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Where’s Greg?,

Greg & Wisam

P.S. Subscribe to CoFounder Weekly here.

Live from Tokyo 🦖

CoFounder Weekly #63: October 6, 2019

CoFounder Weekly is a weekly dose of musings about startups…and life.

🤔Thought Starters

👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner

😹 Funnies

🌏 Musings from abroad (Japan edition)

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🤔 Thought Starters


👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner

Delian Asparouhov@zebulgar
In relation to this, I guess it is non-obvious what I'm expecting as a follow up email @roybahat wrote up the perfect guide outlining what the components of a perfect follow-up email are with an example Reading this can get you far in Silicon Valley
bit.ly/goodintros

Delian Asparouhov@zebulgar

When I meet with someone more junior, I try to help out and offer to introduce them to job opps, investors, mentors etc Always tell them to send me something I can FWD to that person Amazing how few actually follow up Those that do always end up in more interesting places

😹 Funnies

(Use the LOL buttons below to vote for your favorite tweet)

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🏆 “Tweet of the Week” from last issue:


🌏 Musings from abroad (Japan edition)

Wisam’s company got acquired and he’s currently celebrating in Japan. Greg is living his best life traveling abroad and is currently in Berlin.

Wisam’s random musings from Japan:

🦖 Didn’t realize the scale of Japan: Tokyo is largest city in the world! Osaka is #10. Japan is the world’s third largest economy. Tokyo is truly endless like no other city I’ve ever experienced. Even Manhattan feels kinda small in comparison.

🤔 Extreme manners (no eating while walking, no blowing your nose in public, no eating grapes in knife shop — found out all these the hard way 🤪) contrasted against men in suits passed out drunk in the streets every night.

🥴 Extreme hospitality (our translator from a workshop insisted on driving us 30 minutes back to the train station and then to our surprise ran in and bought us lunch) contrasted against aggressive xenophobia (felt very unwelcome a number of times).

🏆 Japanese do everything (most things) better. Incredible transportation infrastructure (bullet trains and well-designed subway with Apple Pay at every turnstile (NYC has just started piloting this)), very clean taxis with very polite taxi drivers, public bathrooms are everywhere and sparkling clean, incredible culture of pride and craftsmanship in all the work they do, one of the safest countries in the world, everything is open late, everything is orderly (people queue nicely to get into subways and go up escalators) and just feels smooth.

🤤 Incredible food & drink culture. Everything is so fucking good. Had two of my top five dining experiences of my life (Sushi Yu and Shirakaba) and probably best cocktail bar I’ve even been to as well. I want to eat it all. Most things are surprisingly cheap too. We had fancy ramen at fancy place in Ginza for ~$9 with ~$5 beers (~$2 craft beers at any 7-11).

👴🏼 I’m a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes and the excessive politeness can be a bit annoying — expect to hear “arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you very much) at least 50,000 times per day. Missing a bit of the NYC brashness ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

☠️ With all the cleanness and orderliness, it’s weird that smoking is still pervasive and they use an insane amount of plastic packing for everything.

What am I missing?

Greg’s random musing from Berlin:

📵 No phones

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Sayonara ✌️,

Greg & Wisam

Subscribe to CoFounder Weekly here.

🙏🇮🇱 Haggling in Israel

CoFounder Weekly #62: September 29, 2019

CoFounder Weekly is a weekly dose of musings about startups…and life.

🤔 Tweeter’s Digest: Thought Starters, Founder & Investor Corner, Funnies

🙏🇮🇱 Haggling in Israel

💖 Do you know someone who should subscribe CoFounder Weekly? Subscribe them here without telling them.

🤔 Thought Starters


👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner


😹 Funnies

(Voting is back! Vote on your fav tweet from last week below.)

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🙏🇮🇱 Haggling in Israel

By Greg Kubin

It’s been interesting to contrast buying things on the internet versus in marketplaces in countries like Israel and Indonesia.

Internet = mostly fixed price

Marketplace = negotiable

Marketplace vendors are sales pros. Here’s some of the tactics I noticed…and how I negotiated with them:

  • Give and you shall receive. Upon entering an antique jewelry storefront in the Old City (Jerusalem), a vendor greeting us with steaming hot cups of Bedouin coffee. He used the law of reciprocity - when someone does something nice for you, do something nice in return. Did we buy a necklace from him? No. But I certainly felt indebted.

  • No price tags! It’s a strangely effective tactic (that lots of software companies use too). Vendors only give a price if you express real interest. Dana asked one vendor in Jaffa the price of a dress. “Try it on first”, he said. She bought the dress.

  • You gotta be cool with walking away. Especially if it’s a market with multiple vendors with the same supply. In Bali, visitors of Hindu temples must wear a sarong that covers your legs. Naturally, the markets surrounding temples are filled with sarong dealers with very similar inventory. Walking away from a vendor and saying I could get another sarong next door was effective in cutting the price in half.

    #SarongLife
  • Another favorite question is when a vendor says “Name your price?” I found little downside in anchoring low. But not too low that it was offensive. More art than science, I suppose.

  • There’s a case to be made to pay full price to artists who make and sell their own handcrafted goods. Negotiation with them can feel like bad juju if you want to be a patron of the arts.

    I was working off instinct + experience negotiating software contracts + tidbits from reading books like Persuasion by Robert Cialdini — and so I’m by no means an expert marketplace negotiator. I’d love to know your best negotiation tactics. Email back with your reply!

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🍏+🍯,

Greg & Wisam

Subscribe to CoFounder Weekly here.

Notes from the road

CoFounder Weekly #61: September 22, 2019

CoFounder Weekly is a newsletter about what’s 🔥 and 💩 in startupville.

🤔 Tweeter’s Digest: Thought Starters, Founder & Investor Corner, Funnies

💻🌴Livin’ that digi nomad life

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🤔 Thought Starters


👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner


😹 Funnies


💻🌴 Notes from Bali

By Greg Kubin

I thought I’d round up some observations and learnings as we rounded up our 3rd week in Bali (and Lombok, Indonesia). I’m starting to understand why digi nomads like this place so much.

  • Airbnb is incredible. We’ve visited four parts of Indonesia on this trip (Canggu, Gili Air, Ubud, and Uluwatu) and booked each accommodation just one day before arrival through Airbnb. Each owner has hooked us up with transportation, massages, resto recommendations, etc. Hard for us to make the case to stay in a hotel when Airbnb is turnkey, way cheaper (most are $60-150 per night), beautifully designed, last minute, and full stack.

  • A 12-hour time difference between here and NYC actually kind of works. My 7am is your 7pm. Early morning is a great time to work here since I can catch up on everything that happened in the day. 9am or 9pm have been good windows to hop on calls.

    ↑ digital nomads in the wild ↓

  • 50% of our meals have been local Indonesian, 50% have been healthy vegan. Bali has a ton of vegan and plant-based options. The abundance of vegan options and the low costs of things (smoothies are ~$2, main courses are $5-10) actually makes it quite easy to eat healthy and satisfying meals for us vegcurious flexitarians. I haven’t eaten meat in a week 🌿.

  • Many Indonesians don’t use last names because they’re part of a village. That’s community. I feel like the term community has been slightly co-opted in startup circles as this growth hacky thing — it’s refreshing to see it organically.

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🍕 🐟🐟🐟,

Greg & Wisam

Subscribe to CoFounder Weekly here.

Rice to Riches

CoFounder Weekly #60: September 15, 2019

CoFounder Weekly is a newsletter about what’s 🔥 and 💩 in startupville.

🤔 Tweeter’s Digest: Thought Starters, Founder & Investor Corner, Funnies

💼 Job Opps

🍚💰 Rice to Riches: Starting an Airbnb in Indonesia

💖 Do you know someone who should subscribe CoFounder Weekly? Subscribe them here without telling them.

🤔 Thought Starters


👩‍💻 Founder & Investor Corner


😹 Funnies

(Vote on the funniest tweet of the week)

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🏆 Tweet of the Week from last issue


💼 Job Opps

Because aren’t we always looking for something new…?

👩‍💻CFW reader Tomas Hoyos' startup Voro (healthcare social network to find a doctor) is hiring for a Full Stack Engineer in NYC (or remote).

Hiring for any roles? Reply to this email and let us know and we’ll share with the CFW community of ~1,000 startup folks.


🍚💰 From Rice to Riches

By Greg Kubin

Imagine paying an employee…in rice.

Seems crazy from a Westerners point of view, but it happens in Indonesia!

Values are contextual.

Dana and I spent a week in Gili Air, a tiny island off of Lombok, Indonesia.

No cars, no police, lots of good vibes.

We were inspired by our Airbnb hosts, Thierry and Chloe, who moved here three years ago to open The Hangout, a 6-room homestay and community space. It’s quaint and cozy and eco-friendly and chill and…you get the gist. They’ve done an amazing job of integrating business and family life (they are raising two small children on the island).

Shortly before departing, we recorded a conversation where we discuss starting out, integrating with the local community, and how many Indonesians value family life and tradition over work and ambition.

Listen to our eazy breezy interview with Thierry and Chloe here.

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Island life 🌴 > city life 🏢,

Greg & Wisam

Subscribe to CoFounder Weekly here.

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