Jessica Alba: Running A Startup Is Really Hard; You Have To Be Passionate About What You Do

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Kicking off the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 sessions were The Honest Company co-founders, actress Jessica Alba and Brian Lee, also of ShoeDazzle, Teeology and LegalZoom. The two teamed up to launch Honest, an e-commerce startup offering a line of eco-friendly products for baby, family, and home. The company raised a $27 million Series A from General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Institutional Venture Partners in March this year, and first experimented with the trendy subscription-based service model for selling products, later opening up to offer the ability to directly buy from the website.

Given that Honest isn’t really a « tech » startup — Lee described it as a « mission-based company » — it faces different sorts of challenges than some of the other startups in the industry. But one thing that’s not different from the rest? According to Alba, « it’s really, really, really hard » to do a startup.

« It’s so hard, » Alba said, « you’re…

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The art — and science — of sharing a secret

Originally posted on

Studies show the personal health benefits of sharing your private hopes and fears with trusted confidantes. But what if you feel alone?

You keep secrets from each other; you keep secrets from yourselves. Secrets bond you; secrets drive you apart. Keeping a secret can be a burden, or it can delight you. Sharing secrets can be a relief, whether it’s with your old friend or new therapist.

For children, learning to keep secrets is a vital developmental milestone. In one study, researchers asked kids who were three, four, and five to play hide-and-seek and to keep a secret about a surprise. Abilities to do the two tasks correlated strongly with each other, and with the kids’ social cognition. At three, the kids were fairly hopeless at these tasks; by five, most of them could keep a secret, and had the cognitive development to match.

For adults, this is expected behavior…

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Want to Get Your Hands on the Arduino Zero Before Everyone Else?

Originally posted on MAKE:

[new_gallery ids="398863,398864"]

The new Arduino Zero board was announced by Massimo Banzi back in May at Maker Faire Bay Area, and will probably ship towards the end of the year. However if you want to get your hands on the board months ahead of everyone else, now’s your chance.

Arduino has just announced that—after the great response to their beta test of the Arduino Tre—they’re making 20 Arduino Developer Edition boards available for beta testing. However, unlike the Tre beta test which was invite only, the Zero beta test is going to be open for applications. But bear in mind that this isn’t just an easy way to get you hands on free hardware. Arduino really needs someone with both the time, and interest, to work on some specific issues ahead of the general release of the board later in the year.

…we set up a list of…

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Add a Bluetooth Interface to Your Kitchen Scale

Originally posted on Hackaday:

Kitchen scale

When [Adam] found himself in need of a force meter, he didn’t want to shell out the cash for a high-end model. Instead, he realized he should be able to modify a simple and inexpensive kitchen scale to achieve the results he desired.

The kitchen scale [Adam] owned was using all through hole components on a double-sided PCB. He was able to easily identify all of the IC’s and find their datasheets online. After doing some research and probing around with a frequency counter, he realized that one of the IC’s was outputting a frequency who’s pulse width was directly proportional to the amount of weight placed on the scale. He knew he should be able to tap into that signal for his own purposes.

[Adam] created his own custom surface mount PCB, and used an ATMega8 to detect the change in pulse width. He then hooked up a Bluetooth module to transmit…

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Network Controlled Decorative LED Matrix Frame

Originally posted on Hackaday:

LED-Pixel-FrameThere is nothing better than a project that you can put on display for all to see. [Tristan's] most recent project, a Decorative LED Matrix Frame, containing 12×10 big square pixels that can display any color, is really cool.

Having been built around a cheap IKEA photo frame this project is very doable, at least for those of you with a 3D printer. The 3D printer is needed to create the pixel grid, which ends up looking very clean in the final frame. From an electronics perspective, the main components are a set of Adafruit Neopixel LED strips, and an Arduino Uno with an Ethernet shield. The main controller even contains a battery backup for the real time clock (RTC) when the frame is unplugged; a nice touch. Given that the frame is connected to the local network, [Tristan] designed the frame to be controlled by a simple HTML5 interface (code available on GitHub)…

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Why your 20s are so important

Originally posted on

Meg Jay caused a storm with her TED Talk in 2013. « I am living proof you’re wrong! » steamed one incensed commenter, while the very next wrote, « This is truly inspiring! » What got people so hot under the collar? Her thesis that one’s 20s are not a throwaway decade, and that planning for life needs to start happening … right now. Here, the talk gets a cool graphic treatment from our friends at Superinteressante magazine in Brazil. (Click the image to enlarge.)


Image credit: Karin Hueck and Rafael Quick

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How we scaled OpenStack to launch 168,000 cloud instances

Originally posted on JavaCruft:

In the run up to the OpenStack summit in Atlanta, the Ubuntu Server team had it’s first opportunity to test OpenStack at real scale.SM_FS_15K_Frt_web-lo

AMD made available 10 SeaMicro 15000 chassis in one of their test labs. Each chassis has 64, 4 core, 2 thread (8 logical cores), 32GB RAM servers with 500G storage attached via a storage fabric controller – creating the potential to scale an OpenStack deployment to a large number of compute nodes in a small rack footprint.

As you would expect, we chose the best tools for deploying OpenStack:

  • MAAS – Metal-as-a-Service, providing commissioning and provisioning of servers.
  • Juju – The service orchestration for Ubuntu, which we use to deploy OpenStack on Ubuntu using the OpenStack charms.
  • OpenStack Icehouse on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
  • CirrOS – a small footprint linux based Cloud OS

MAAS has native support for enlisting a full SeaMicro 15k chassis in a single…

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