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Board Observers Weekly, February 10th

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Feb 10 -- Microsoft is Back, Twitter's Impact On Brains, Steve Jobs Fun Facts, Fundraising Mistakes, Youtube Changed The World, Instagram's Launch. This is Your Brain on Twitter — Backchannel. To demonstrate the power of tweets, Twitter’s ad researchers turned to neuroscience. Here’s what happened. Twitter’s senior director of market research, Jeffrey Graham is always looking for ways to show the effectiveness of ad campaigns on Twitter — surveys, home visits, data models.

One of the more interesting studies involved two groups of people watching the NCAA basketball tournament on television. One group was permitted to bring their phones and tweet all they wanted. The other had to leave their phones outside and somehow manage without a second screen. But Graham felt that Twitter could really make a mark using a technology he learned about in an advertising research association’s report. There was one obstacle.

“People wear a headset,” he says. So Graham’s team arranged a study at Twitter’s UK headquarters. Then, during 45-minute sessions, they alternated between normal Web-surfing activities and using Twitter — reading their timelines, tweeting, and other birdy stuff. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella makes a big impression in just a year. Satya Nadella’s appointment as Microsoft CEO a year ago was surprising. A protracted search for Steve Ballmer’s successor had many expecting the nod to go to an outsider to steer Microsoft into the future, not the then-unknown 22-year Microsoft veteran. Microsoft even attempted to massage any concerns by strategically announcing Bill Gates was "substantially increasing" his time at the company. It’s still not clear whether Gates is really dedicating up to 30 percent of his time at Microsoft.

Nevertheless, Nadella created a mission statement to drive Microsoft forward with a mobile and cloud focus, and so far he seems to be steering the software giant in the right direction. A fresher and newer Microsoft emerges under Nadella It's a year later, and Microsoft feels fresh, new, and less concerned with the legacy of Windows. Nadella has indeed executed on some of Ballmer’s product plans, but he appears to be taking a slightly different path than Ballmer would have likely taken.

How YouTube changed the world. Matthew Holehouse The 40-year old MP for Witney scrapes plates into a bin, while his wife helps their children get ready for school in their handsome kitchen. “Watch out BBC, ITV, Channel 4. We're the new competition. We're a bit wobbly, but this is one of the ways we want to communicate with people properly,” says David Cameron. It is October 2006 and WebCameron, a new YouTube channel, is born. Ten months earlier Cameron had won the Conservative leadership on a platform of reaching the voters others could not.

In the eight years since, YouTube has become a raucous town square for those who aspire to power, good and evil. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign included 30 staff working on YouTube Many politicians have attempted to ride the YouTube tiger. In September 2012, Nick Clegg uploaded an apology for breaking a vow on tuition fees to YouTube. From the anarchy, a new generation of politicians has emerged. Matthew McGregor and Stephen Muller worked on the president's online campaign. Surviving Your First Phone Screen with a VC Firm — Toba Capital Blog. Surviving Your First Phone Screen with a VC Firm Here’s a very common situation you’ve likely witnessed while fundraising: CEO (over e-mail): “Hi Mrs. VC, I’d like to tell you a little about our company, ______, that is helping solve the problem of _______, a pain felt by millions of people each year. We’d love to come over for an in-person meeting to tell you more about how we’re changing the world.”

VC: “Sounds interesting… let’s do a 20–30 minute phone call first to see whether there’s a mutual fit. As an entrepreneur, it’s understandable to view this situation as a bad omen or blow-off. Yet, consider the investor’s perspective. Think of the VC phone screen as a first date. To help you get that second date with a VC (while keeping in mind that you can also break up with your potential investors at any point in the process), we’ve written a checklist of items to consider before the encounter: 10 Unusual Things I Didn’t Know About Steve Jobs Altucher Confidential. Posted by James Altucher I was standing right next to Steve Jobs in 1989 and it was the closest thing I ever felt to being gay. The guy was incredibly wealthy, good looking enough to get any girl, a nerd super-rockstar who had just convinced my school to buy a bunch of NeXT machines (which, btw, were in fact the best machines to program on at the time) and I just wanted to be him.

I wanted to be him ever since I had the Apple II+ as a kid. Ever since I shoplifted Ultima II, Castle Wolfenstein, and half a dozen other games that my friends and I would then rip from each other and pretend to be sick so we could stay home and play all day. I don’t care about Apple stock. (Well, I do think it will be the first trillion dollar company). Or about his business successes. So, 10 Unusual things I didn’t know about Steve Jobs. 1) Nature versus Nurture. 2) His father’s name is Abdulfattah Jandali. 3) He made the game “Breakout”. 4) He denied paternity on his first child, claiming he was sterile.

Fundraising Mistakes Founders Make. There’s a lot written about what you should do when you raise money, but there hasn’t been as much written about the common mistakes founders make. Here is a list of mistakes I often see: • Over-optimizing the process A lot of founders try to get way too fancy with tricks that they think will help them raise money. It’s actually quite simple; if you have a good company, you will probably be able to raise money. The process is simple: Get intros to investors you want to talk to and reach out to them, in parallel, not in series - this is important, see (3).Explain to them why your company is likely to make them a lot of money. Some founders try things like carefully timing news articles, casually mentioning to one investor that they'll be having dinner with another investor, claiming their schedule is really packed except for one specific hour, and other tricks - but if you just build a good company, you generally won’t need to. • Over-optimizing the terms • Not hearing no • Pitching poorly.

Welcome to Instagram. We’re really excited to launch our first version of Instagram today, free in the App Store. Instagram makes mobile photos fast, simple, & beautiful. When we sat down three months ago to start designing our product, we looked at digital photos and realized very few exciting things had happened in the last 5 years. We’re setting out to change that, and this release is our first step along the way. Some of the problems with photos we heard from users that we tried to solve: 1. 2. 3.

We’re looking forward to seeing your photos & hearing your feedback on our app. A huge thanks to our fantastic beta testers, who have given us the tough love that every app needs as it’s being created, and taken some stunning photos along the way, from San Francisco to Barcelona, Sao Paulo to Amsterdam. Want the app?