Best of Andrew Chen's Blog
Minimum price
Suggested price

Best of Andrew Chen's Blog

2006 - 2010

About the Book

Forward by Eric Ries, author of Lean Startup.

Authored by Andrew Chen.

This book is the best of Andrew Chen's blog, curated and formatted into a 984-page PDF that you can keep with you at all times.

  • Share this book

  • Categories

    • Startups

About the Author

Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen is a blogger and startup executive focused on advertising and social media. He writes the blog Futuristic Play and was most recently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), a Silicon Valley-based firm with $2B under management. At MDV, Andrew pursued initiatives in digital media and advertising and helped source internet investments for the firm.

Prior to MDV, Andrew was director of product marketing at Audience Science, where he co-founded the ad network business and was instrumental in growing the network to thousands of websites with over 5 billion ads served per month. He also led teams to handle the company’s initiatives around MySpace and Yahoo, two of Audience Science’s most strategic partners. In addition, Andrew played key roles in winning the company’s initial brand advertising clients, which now include dozens of top-tier publishers including AOL, IAC, ESPN, Washington Post, among others.

Andrew holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Best of 2006
  3. Early nerd memories ;)
  4. Random notes on early adopters
  5. YouTube and Monetizing Social Networking
  6. Do hardcore Microsofties suck at startups?
  7. 5 ways I screwed up my first website
  8. Potential consumer business models
  9. The myth of (business) prodigy
  10. Taking a vacation is productive too!
  11. Cultural perspectives on failure and innovation
  12. Yelp: An example of a high-value advertising model
  13. Inventory glut in social media
  14. Winners don’t quit, and quitters don’t win…
  15. Geniuses versus very smart people
  16. Designing for other people versus designing for yourself
  17. Flash will dominate the media-sharing web
  18. Autmated models versus human experts
  19. Product versus Experience
  20. Simplicity and choices for users
  21. Splitting equity between partners
  22. Why BitTorrent Inc. is no sure bet!
  23. Best of 2007 Q1
  24. Only nerds ask: “Is the Web 2.0 bubble collapsing?”
  25. Why build a vertical ad network?
  26. Meeting people in Silicon Valley
  27. 10 tips for meeting people at industry events
  28. Eyeball companies versus revenue companies
  29. My second bad website :)
  30. 3 lessons from a web idea that didn’t go anywhere
  31. 10 ways to verify assumptions
  32. Why do people avoid checking their assumptions?
  33. How to do market research via LinkedIn :)
  34. Dolt versus DoIt
  35. Verifying startup assumptions, Part 2
  36. How to tell the difference between eyeball companies
  37. Web + Games = ?
  38. Game design tutorial at the GDC
  39. What’s broken about online dating?
  40. What’s broken with online travel?
  41. How do you find a badass co-founder?
  42. Best of 2007 Q2
  43. Eyeballs versus dollars: What should startups focus on?
  44. Quick thought on eyeballs versus dollars…
  45. 24 hours into Twitter
  46. How to build a product in 7 days
  47. The myth of the 7 day product
  48. What’s the #1 opportunity in online advertising?
  49. 10 obvious strategies to ruthlessly acquire users
  50. Where to find startup ideas for the “Average Joe”
  51. 7 ways to define an emotionally engaging product
  52. Entrepreneur-in-Residence in 3 flavors
  53. Is Google the next Wal-Mart?
  54. Widgets = ad networks
  55. Google: A tale of two graphs
  56. How to fool VCs into thinking you have traction, Part 1
  57. How to fool VCs into thinking you have traction, Part 2
  58. Level up for features instead of freemium?
  59. How to fool VCs into thinking you have traction, Part 3
  60. How do you find a badass co-founder, Part 2
  61. Rule of thumb: Is 1-9-90 really correct?
  62. Is Facebook killing dating sites?
  63. Adwords is not enough for success on the consumer web
  64. Cracking the code: Analyzing viral strategies
  65. Need a solid Web 2.0 business idea? Go upstream from a proven model
  66. Forget advertising - is virtual goods the killer revenue model for Web 2.0?
  67. How does the online ad gold rush impact your Web 2.0 site?
  68. How do you apply math to Web 2.0 websites?
  69. of invites sent out, per user on average
  70. of virally added users, per user on average
  71. of widgets outside
  72. of widget impressions
  73. Stop asking: “Does the world need another social network?”
  74. Your site will succeed or fail in the first 10 seconds
  75. Is your site really viral? Viral Branding versus Viral Action
  76. of invites sent out, per user on average
  77. of virally added users, per user on average
  78. Is a Facebook user the same as a regular user?
  79. How to fool VCs into thinking you have traction, Part 4
  80. What is your W2SAT* score? (*Web 2.0 Startup Aptitude Test)
  81. How much is a Facebook user worth, anyway?
  82. What every Web 2.0 entrepreneur should know about virtual goods
  83. Best of 2007 Q3
  84. Oh “SNAP” = Social Network Application
  85. What’s your viral loop? Understanding the engine of adoption
  86. Are people like lab rats? Using reward schedules to drive engagement
  87. Reward schedules in HotOrNot
  88. Viral marketing is not a marketing strategy
  89. Social network convergence and private/public networks
  90. Yahoo’s Mash: Analysis of viral marketing technique
  91. Great article on different types of “Platforms”
  92. 5 things that make your social network monetize like crap
  93. Best of 2007 Q4
  94. Couple quotes on Facebook in Wired, Fortune, and NYT
  95. WSJ article describing the difficulty of monetizing UGC
  96. Ad networks: Winner-take-all or Everyone-wins?
  97. Technology always changes, but people always stay the same
  98. Why bloggers and press don’t matter for user acquisition
  99. Do you ever say, “MySpace is sooo ugly?” This blog’s for you…
  100. Why your friends list get polluted over time
  101. Is your website a leaky bucket? 4 scenarios for user retention
  102. 5 ways to break past the San Francisco echo-chamber
  103. Best of 2008 Q1
  104. Public and private spaces, and why YouTube comments are so awful
  105. Are your SEO efforts working, or failing?
  106. Quick professional update, and what an Entrepreneur-in-Residence actually does ;-)
  107. How will continued social media growth affect overall online ad CPMs in 2008?
  108. Does Facebook reflect your true friendships? How about e-mail?
  109. How does internet ad spend compare to other media?
  110. Take the driver’s seat on web stats, don’t be a passive observer
  111. 10 signs you’re a product fanatic
  112. Not everything can be free!
  113. For-profit app developers versus For-attention app developers
  114. Quantitative approaches to consumer internet
  115. The design of social spaces
  116. Reader Question: Are there new opportunities in social networking?
  117. Reader question: About college…
  118. Facebook and Platforms conference: Graphing Social Patterns (San Diego) recap
  119. Facebook viral marketing: When and why do apps “jump the shark?”
  120. Reader question: Does Facebook + performance ad network = awesome?
  121. Rethinking Facebook’s “Daily Active Users”
  122. Google’s second click versus Facebook’s second click
  123. Reader question: What’s the difference between “Viral Marketing” and “Word of Mouth?”
  124. Bridging your traffic engine with your revenue engine
  125. Best of 2008 Q2
  126. Faceoff between Facebook app analytics startups
  127. How NOT to calculate ad revenue
  128. Your ad-supported Web 2.0 site is actually a B2B enterprise in disguise
  129. 5 factors that determine your advertising CPM rates
  130. Viral coefficient: What it does and does NOT measure
  131. iGoogle start pages: Vertical integration of the first, second, and Nth click
  132. Moving to SF and joining the tech community - Lessons from my first year
  133. Viral marketing, activation, and retention metrics - commentary on Dave McClure’s Web 2.0 presentation
  134. Vertical ad networks: What are they, and why did Cox just buy Adify for $300MM?
  135. Facebook Apps: Why they’re focused on fun instead of utility
  136. Lessons from the casino industry on engagement metrics and lifetime value
  137. Social network marketing: Getting from zero to critical mass
  138. Social network death spiral: How Metcalfe’s Law can work against you
  139. What’s the value of a user on your site? Why it’s hard to calculate lifetime value for social network audiences
  140. User retention: Why depending on notification-driven retention sucks
  141. Data Portability Is The Social Network Data You’re Hoarding Treasure Or Trash
  142. Users, customers, or audience - what do you call the people that visit your site?
  143. 5 steps towards building a metrics-driven business
  144. Social Gaming Summit: Recap and observations
  145. Social gaming design - Bartle types versus Web 2.0 participation pyramid
  146. Where are all the video startups? Maybe Content=King, online and offline
  147. MySpace versus Facebook: Analysis of both traffic and ad revenue, using Google Trends
  148. Best of 2008 Q3
  149. Obama and McCain: How political marketing has evolved from offline to online
  150. What are you really trying to measure?
  151. From analog dollars to digital pennies: The crisis in traditional media
  152. Yahoo’s BOSS program doesn’t go far enough: Why not open up Yahoo search traffic?
  153. Online advertising during a recession: 5 key trends for ad-based startups
  154. Are Web 2.0 startups wasting their time with Web 2.0 early adopters?
  155. Recency Frequency and Monetization (RFM): Optimizing your notifications strategy
  156. Virtual economy for notification “credits” on Facebook apps
  157. omg I’m just a startup, I can’t do those fancy analytics!
  158. 7 ideas for billion dollar companies in the online ads
  159. How to start a professional blog: 10 tips for new bloggers
  160. Virtual goods: Who will be the of virtual item sales?
  161. Early adopters vs the Mainstream: Google Insights points out websites only used by Silicon Valley nerds
  162. Counting your big pile of Benjamins: 5 startup tips for maximizing ad revenue
  163. and peer-to-peer lending in the economic downturn
  164. Remnant ads and the advertisers who love them
  165. Gaming versus gambling ARPUs
  166. How to measure if users love your product using cohorts and revisit rates
  167. Open mobile platforms and Facebook developer refugees
  168. The first 6 steps to homegrowing basic startup analytics
  169. Best of 2008 Q4
  170. Go-to-market strategies for vertical social products
  171. 4 major cultural differences between Games people and Web people
  172. Virtual items design: Build it yourself or use UGC?
  173. How to generate awesome test candidates for A/B testing
  174. Slate on split testing in the McCain and Obama campaign (robo-calling versus text messaging)
  175. Ad-based versus direct monetization: Which one is better for you?
  176. What would Facebook look like if it sold out to ads? Click here to see…
  177. How to calculate cost-per-acquisition for startups relying on freemium, subscription, or virtual items biz models
  178. Freemium business model case study: AdultFriendFinder ARPU, churn, and conversion rates
  179. Best of 2009 H1
  180. How to create a profitable Freemium startup (spreadsheet model included!)
  181. Warren Buffett’s bio “The Snowball” and lessons for startups
  182. Which startup’s collapse will end the Web 2.0 era?
  183. Twitter’s public/private space design, aka “How to find girls on Twitter”
  184. 5 warning signs: Does A/B testing lead to crappy products?
  185. Free To Freemium: 5 Lessons Learned From
  186. App monetization: Gambit launches, funnel metrics, and ARPU vs “CPM”
  187. Friends versus Followers: Twitter’s elegant design for grouping contacts
  188. “Stealing MySpace” and my personal experience monetizing MySpace ads
  189. 3 key ideas from a recent Freemium dinner conversation
  190. Talk to your target customer in 4 easy steps
  191. I want more tools to reach my readers, not monetize them!
  192. How do you do concrete interviews for non-technical people?
  193. Creating value versus optimizing revenue
  194. Benefit-Driven Metrics: Measure the lives you save, not the life preservers you sell
  195. Why you should make it easy for users to quit your product
  196. Why metrics-driven startups overlook brand value
  197. Matt Humphrey of Bumba Labs on User Retention Curves
  198. Best of 2009 H2
  199. Built to Fail: How companies like Google, IDEO, and 37signals build failure-tolerant systems for anything!
  200. Social design explosion: Polls, quizzes, reviews, forums, chat, blogs, videos, comments, oh my!
  201. Does Silicon Valley noise detract from long-term value creation?
  202. What if interviews poorly predict job performance? What if dating poorly predicts marital happiness?
  203. iLike, Lookery, Google Voice: Recent platform lessons from app developers
  204. How desktop apps beat websites at building large active userbases
  205. BBS door games: Social Gaming innovation from the 1980s
  206. Building the initial team for seed stage startups
  207. Why low-fidelity prototyping kicks butt for customer-driven design
  208. How to keep visual design consistent while A/B testing like crazy
  209. Whenever ad networks talk about their “targeting” remember the Netflix prize
  210. 5 crucial stages in designing your viral loop
  211. How helpful is venture capital experience to building startups?
  212. Building lifestyle companies versus VC-backable startups: Is it walk before you run?
  213. How social gaming offers create value for everyone (not just Facebook, Zynga, and Offerpal)
  214. How Facebook could clean up the offers industry
  215. Are social gaming offers scamming users? A detailed analysis of Techcrunch’s Scamville article
  216. What I’m reading: Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg
  217. The question that got me to leave Seattle for greener startup pastures
  218. Adding design to an agile development process
  219. Product design debt versus Technical debt
  220. Does every startup need a Steve Jobs?
  221. Update on the Steve Jobs post from an Apple alum (Updated again!)
  222. Minimum Desirable Product
  223. Best of 2010
  224. What I’m reading: Interaction design, Riddles, and more
  225. Notes on customer acquisition and viral marketing from First Round Capital CEO Summit
  226. Minimum Desirable Product and Lean Startups (slides included!)
  227. Best of 2011
  228. Retention metrics roundup of articles and links
  229. Quora stats: 150% growth in January, 160k monthly actives, 18k daily actives (lower bound estimate via Facebook app data)
  230. Bonus stats: Instagram up 40% in Jan, 300k MAU, 35k DAU (lower bound estimate based on Facebook app activity)
  231. Stanford CS major seeks sales/marketing monkey
  232. Quora: What is considered a significant number of users for a free consumer internet product?
  233. Quora: What are the best metrics for measuring user engagement?
  234. Quora: How did MySpace, with a smart team of people, do such a bad UI/UX job with the new design?
  235. 2011 Blogging Roadmap: “Zero to product/market fit”
  236. Designing for distribution with Eric+Eric (YC 2011, Mochi Media)
  237. When has a consumer startup hit product/market fit?
  238. Why it’s smart for consumer startups to grow first and make money later
  239. When Does Paid Acquisition Work for SaaS Startups?
  240. “Anyone can start a Groupon!” and other startup myths
  241. How to use A/B testing for better product design
  242. Simple is Marketable
  243. Don’t compete on features
  244. Linkedin acquires Connected – congrats to my sister Ada!
  245. All of 2012
  246. Why you’ll always think your product is shit
  247. Ask me anything!
  248. Top tweets recently on startups, tech, and more
  249. How sheep-like behavior breeds innovation in Silicon Valley
  250. Why I doubted Facebook could build a billion dollar business, and what I learned from being horribly wrong
  251. Quora: Will CPE (Cost Per Engagement) advertising ever take off?
  252. Visual Basic, PHP, Rails. Is Node.js next?
  253. The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs
  254. Google+ and the curse of instant distribution
  255. Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing
  256. How do I learn to be a growth hacker? Work for one of these guys :)

The Leanpub 60 Day 100% Happiness Guarantee

Within 60 days of purchase you can get a 100% refund on any Leanpub purchase, in two clicks.

Now, this is technically risky for us, since you'll have the book or course files either way. But we're so confident in our products and services, and in our authors and readers, that we're happy to offer a full money back guarantee for everything we sell.

You can only find out how good something is by trying it, and because of our 100% money back guarantee there's literally no risk to do so!

So, there's no reason not to click the Add to Cart button, is there?

See full terms...

80% Royalties. Earn $16 on a $20 book.

We pay 80% royalties. That's not a typo: you earn $16 on a $20 sale. If we sell 5000 non-refunded copies of your book or course for $20, you'll earn $80,000.

(Yes, some authors have already earned much more than that on Leanpub.)

In fact, authors have earnedover $13 millionwriting, publishing and selling on Leanpub.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub

Free Updates. DRM Free.

If you buy a Leanpub book, you get free updates for as long as the author updates the book! Many authors use Leanpub to publish their books in-progress, while they are writing them. All readers get free updates, regardless of when they bought the book or how much they paid (including free).

Most Leanpub books are available in PDF (for computers) and EPUB (for phones, tablets and Kindle). The formats that a book includes are shown at the top right corner of this page.

Finally, Leanpub books don't have any DRM copy-protection nonsense, so you can easily read them on any supported device.

Learn more about Leanpub's ebook formats and where to read them

Write and Publish on Leanpub

You can use Leanpub to easily write, publish and sell in-progress and completed ebooks and online courses!

Leanpub is a powerful platform for serious authors, combining a simple, elegant writing and publishing workflow with a store focused on selling in-progress ebooks.

Leanpub is a magical typewriter for authors: just write in plain text, and to publish your ebook, just click a button. (Or, if you are producing your ebook your own way, you can even upload your own PDF and/or EPUB files and then publish with one click!) It really is that easy.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub