Category Archives: Darren Herman

A Book You Say? YES, it's True!

If you’ve heard the rumors about me authoring a book, I’d like to confirm them.  I’ve spent the better part of the past six months putting some new thoughts down on paper as well, as, massaging some content from this blog and am about 90% ready to release.  The remaining 10% is just logistical:  ISBN number, distribution, etc.

I’m extremely excited about this as it’s one of the craziest things I’ve done.  I never thought I’d ever write a book and after I read the manuscript, I’m still shocked.

The book is about entrepreneurship and digital media.  It’s not supposed to be a how-to start a company, or a bible on the future of digital media, but if you are an entrepreneur who has an emerging company or is contemplating starting one, it would be extremely relevant to you.  Every entrepreneur goes through ups and downs of startups and I’m looking forward to sharing those with you.

The book will be available through Amazon.com and through this blog in due time and may be available digitally for those who would like to save some paper.

So hang tight, I wanted to publicly confirm the rumors before they got back to me again (thanks Jon!) and keep checking back here, as the book will be ready within the next 45-90 days.  I’m certainly excited!

Back in Action (Happy New Year!)

I took a brief blogging hiatus as Sherri and I ventured to Mohegan Sun, Saratoga Springs, and a few days in Vermont.  It certainly took a little getting used to, but switching off [connectivity] completely was an amazing feeling.

Here are a few pictures from our trip which were taken with my new camera that Sherri gave me for Hannukah.  My friend Lee knew I was in the market for a camera and he highly recommended it, and I’ve been nothing but impressed.

Click the thumbnail to see the full image:

Bright Tree

Barn in Wild

Tractor Sign

Chess

Old Town

If you are interested in seeing more pictures from the set, click here.

Digital media and technology postings to resume shortly… need to catch up on my RSS feeds!

Happy New Years to everyone.  Lets have an amazing 2008…

The Media Kitchen Bakeoff 2007: Preparation

There’s been a lot of buzz at work leading up to tomorrow’s bake-off.  I guess when you work at a place called The Media Kitchen, you have to assume that you’ll be dealing with food at some point.  Over the past few days, I’ve been consulting with friends and family about what I should bake… cookies, brownies, pie, cake, tarts, etc.   Between my wife’s collection of William Sonoma cookbooks and my mother’s collection of Bon Appetite magazines, there was no shortage of recipes to chose from.

Following traditional “Darren” ways, I traveled the road less taken and found a random recipe online for a chocolate cake and improvised on top of it.  I added a few spices that weren’t on the list, created a fudge topping that has a pudding like consistency, and created a mess in the kitchen that had my wife less than smiling.

Pot of Chocolate  Cake Pots

I absolutely love to cook.  I didn’t grow up in a house that baked, but we certainly knew how to entertain.  My mother was/is the queen of entertaining and growing up around her was inspiring in the kitchen.  There is a big difference between how the two of us cook:  she follows recipes perfectly and I improvise along the way.

Sometimes my food is terrible and other times, tasty.  I’m hoping that after all of my improvising for tonight’s cake, it’ll go over well for the judges tomorrow and will win.  If not?  Oh well, I’ll try again next year!

What My DNA Could Tell Me

I was going through my TechCrunch feeds this evening and saw that Michael Arrington purchased the 23AndMe DNA test. Honestly, I’ve been debating purchasing this as well. While at dinner last Friday evening, my cousin’s husband, Matt, was there and he’s an emergency room doctor. He brought up many points on why 23AndMe may not be the best thing to take but he admitted that he hadn’t looked at it too seriously.  One of his most valid points was that since this was so new, it would almost certainly have errors.  Do you want to live with those errors?

I’ve been going back and forth about the psychological impact about what 23AndMe could tell me. What if it tells me that I’m more apt to die at age 45? Why would I want to live in fear?

23AndMe Risks

On the other side, what are the insurance implications? Are insurance carriers going to enforce this to get into their best programs? These titans will do everything they can to protect their business.

Rightly or wrongly, I think dating sites should add a 23AndMe feature where people who have taken the test can let people know more about them, based on the results. Could be interesting…

Your thoughts?

It's Almost Ski Season…

SkiFor those of you who really know me, I love to get away on winter weekends and travel to Vermont.  Sherri and I took our first step this weekend by solidifying a sloapside condo rental at one of my favorite Vermont mountains, Bromley.  We’ll be heading up in December, January, February, and March.  If you happen to be up in southern Vermont during that time, let me know.

While not the toughest or largest mountain in Vermont, Bromley is the Vermonter’s mountain with it’s sister mountain, Stratton, about 15 minutes away.

Skiing isn’t the only thing I do in Vermont… I spend quite a bit of time reflecting on the year and getting away from the hustle of Manhattan.  Usually, I have longer blog posts when I come back because I can analyze things better.

Our first trip up is scheduled for late December… and I’m already excited!  Time to go get the skis tuned-up.

Top Web Celeb, Zurich, New Theme on Ramblings

Got an email tonight from a friend who noticed me on a list of Top Web Celebrities. I share some good company on the list, including Kevin Rose (Digg), Jason Calacanis (Serial Entrepreneur), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and others. Not bad company to keep.

I’ll be speaking in Zurich on November 7. If anyone is going to be in Switzerland from the 7-9th, I’d love to get together with you. Feel free to reach out and we’ll coordinate.

I installed a new theme on my tumblr log this evening, Ramblings. Thoughts? Also, there are some great new pics and thoughts posted. You know it’s Fall when pumpkins are out.

What To Buy An Entrepreneur for the Holidays…

Holiday Gift Guide 2007 

Entrepreneurs are a rare breed; we never seem to have enough time to finish our business plan, work on due diligence requests from VC’s, or to stress test our upcoming release… but for whatever reason, we seem to have everything we need.

This means: t-shirts from 10 years ago, pens from the 1 cent bin at CVS, a single pair of shoes that have been to a combined 50 events (weddings, bar mitzvahs, trade shows), a blazer that used to fit over our beer gut in college, and the same inspiring books that are collecting dust on our coffee tables.

The holidays are just around the corner and with about 60 days of shopping left before the big day, I thought I’d compile an entrepreneur friendly list that you can send out to your friends and family. Most of the items aren’t something an entrepreneur would buy, but I can almost guarantee they need them. Whether you’re the wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/friend of this rare breed of human [entrepreneur] these should be some solid items that you cannot really go wrong with purchasing. Items range from $14 – $650 though most fall within the $25-100 range.

Please note that I’m not financially motivated to recommend one item over another. I am getting ZERO kick-backs. These are purely items that I think would benefit entrepreneurs and should inspire some ideas of gift giving. If you have any product/service ideas that should be included on this list, please contact me as I’ll be releasing another list much closer to the holidays.

Clothing

Calvin Klein Short Sleeve Cotton T-Shirts: we’ll never admit it outright, but the majority of us wear regular t-shirts under our button-downs. Because of this, the imagery on our t-shirts show thru and it looks terrible. Check out these extremely affordable undershirts that are soft and light… guaranteed to be a hit and something the typical entrepreneur would never buy. Helps out big time when you’re pitching VC’s and your nervous as ever… don’t let those sweat stains develop!

Hugo Boss Black Lawrence Dress Shirt: classy yet snazzy. With a black shirt, you can’t go wrong. It’s trendy enough to wear it out at night but conservative enough to wear to your Series A funding dog-and-pony-show. Make sure you don’t have dandruff because it certainly shows up on black, but black generally makes everyone look healthier. Not a bad choice at all.

Charcoal BlazerIsland Soft 3 Button Charcoal Blazer: You need a blazer so you might as well have a nice one. While not the cheapest, this blazer is versatile: you can wear it to your next meeting with your advertising clients, to your first board meeting, or to your hot date at Gramercy Tavern. While not the cheapest on this list, you pay for quality. Goes great with the black button down featured above (Hugo Boss). You’ll score big points at the upcoming nextNY event or NY Tech Meetup because you’ll be better dressed than 99% of the room.

Bacci Bucci Shoes

Bacci Bucci Shoes: How scuffed are your current shoes? Look down. Are these the same shoes that you walk down Astor Place in and also, Rivington? If you then wear those to Central Park, then it’s time for new shoes. These should be your special shoes that you wear when you have your biz dev/corp. dev meetings. Why? Because when you sign that big deal, you want to look down at them and see your smile. If they aren’t shiny, then you need new ones. These shoes fit the blazer and shirt perfectly and as a bonus, they’re extra comfortable.

Office Enhancements

I never recommend giving a gift that would be strictly for the office as one could usually buy with a corporate card, but these are enhancers. If you’re jumping from startup to startup, or want to give something a bit better than one would receive as standard issue, consider the following:

Moleskin Pocket Ruled Notebook: The great authors wrote in them. Why not you? Whenever I write in mine, my IQ jumps 10 points. They survive the rough handling of your bags, the spills of frappucinos, and can contain pages of complex notes- certainly should be on your list. Comes in all sizes – I prefer the smallish ones and generally go through at least 1 per month. Beats legal pads or the schwag you get from Ad:Tech!

Porsche DesignPorsche Design Aero Pen: Other than the really cool factor of owning a Porsche pen, I have always found that having a nice pen brings good luck. When you’re signing your Series A documents or selling your equity over to your acquirer, signing with a luxury pen makes the day that much sweeter.

Magnetic Business Card Case: Always be closing. If Boiler Room/Wall Street is right, then having your business cards on you all the time is imperative. Instead of putting them in your pocket only to have the corners creased, put them into a nice case that can be pulled out in crowds with positive appeal. The case is small yet firm and will protect enough cards that should last thru DEMO or TechCrunch 40. Not only will it hold your cards, but it’ll keep the biz cards from the associate you just met from Union Square Ventures, Sequoia and Kleiner.

Brendhaven MetroliteBrendhaven MetroLite Green Bag: You’ve just walked into the office of DFJ Gotham and put your nappy bag down on their beautiful conference table. In walks Tim Draper and he’s looking at your dilapidated bag on his furniture… good start to the meeting. Start strong. Walk in with confidence. Have a nice bag holding your goods. I like a little color in my bags as it livens the mood, but that part is totally up to you. This bag has some extra compartments to hold your iPhone, business card case, and to protect your Aero Pen. Cool. If you’re still using your LL Bean bag from 5th grade, time to change. Trust me, it’s for the better.

Miscellaneous

Eagle Creek TravelEagle Creek Comfort Travel Pillow: Red-eye’s on JetBlue or Virgin America aren’t exactly the most comfortable… your neck is almost guaranteed to hurt the next day when you’re sitting in Accel’s boardroom or eating at Buck’s of Woodside. An extremely cheap investment of under $20 could net you a good night’s sleep and a healthy neck. You certainly want to look into this.

Starbucks Gift Card: Buying $4 latte’s isn’t in the typical startup budget, but having a venti in hand is surely comforting. If you’re bootstrapping and working out of random Starbucks, this is really helpful. Now you can afford to talk to different angel investors and buy them coffee… also, there is no shortage of Starbucks in NYC.

Ansel Adams BookAnsel Adams: Our National Parks: Everyone needs a little inspiration once in a while. Ansel Adams is a world-renowned artist and photographer and much of his work can be found in very cliché spots. The national parks are absolutely gorgeous and are extremely vast… the ability to inspire anyone. If your new Adobe AIR app isn’t functioning correctly, and after 9 hours of staring intently at it isn’t giving you any insights as to why, step back and flip thru the book… it’ll surely take your mind off of the code.

Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure: The book that initially inspired me to create something great… a great memoir/diary of a technology company pre-bubble in Silicon Valley. It’s amazing to read other people’s trials and tribulations and learn from them… a quick read and something anyone would appreciate who is related to the technology industry. It’s an older book (90s) so you can get some copies used (and cheap). I’ve recommended this book at almost every entrepreneurial speech that I give.

Gotham Dream CarsGotham Dream Car Gift Certificate: This gift is for anyone who has an appreciation of automobiles. If you’re looking to rent an exotic car for the weekend getaway or to join GDC’s next Dream Car Tour, this is an amazing gift, one that the entrepreneur wouldn’t buy himself or herself. Luxury this is, not something that benefits the company perse, but could give the entrepreneur the once in a life-time experience or the motivation to go public or sell that social network they are building to buy these cars outright.

High-End Stationery: If you’re looking to give the uber personal present, high-end stationery could be right up your alley. After every VC pitch, you should be sending thank-you notes. You should be writing to your business development partners. Get off Twitter, Facebook, and email and go long-hand. We’re entrepreneurs, go against the grain. Stationery is making a comeback. The person I’m referring to here doesn’t have a website and handles holiday cards, invitations and stationery out of her private office in Westchester, NY. Click the link to contact me for the info… by appointment only.

Feel free to share this with your friends and family… also, let me know your thoughts as to what should be included. The more, the merrier… happy holidays, they are right around the corner.

Welcoming Fall…

Fall FoliageFor whatever reason, I feel like fall arrived today here in Westchester County. As I drove around, the leaves were changing color to beautiful reds/yellows and pumpkins were being sold at all the markets.  It’s an absolutely  beautiful season and also, one of my favorites.

Fall stands for quite a bit, but most notably: change.  Leaves change color, menu’s change at restaurants, clothing options change, and even time changes (daylight savings).  Fall keeps you on your toes and gets you ready for a challenging season:  winter (my favorite).  Lots of changes ahead and in due time, they’ll become apparent.  I look forward to sharing with everyone!

If you’d like to view a fall foliage slideshow on Flickr, click here.

One amazing thing about fall:  Dave Matthews Band is coming back for one more show on November 13 @ IZOD stadium.  You can bet that Sherri and I will be there…

Change to the Blog

Hello world. It’s been an amazing experience writing this blog. I’ve met people from all over the world who have interesting ideas and fascinating companies. You’ve also given me tons of feedback about this blog and I’ve listened…

Recently, Michael Galpert told me to utilize full RSS feeds. The reason I couldn’t do so was technical (we had a glitch in the backend), but now, we’ve enabled them. HTML formatted and images! So, RSS is up and running fully. If you’ve not subscribed, here is the link. Thank you to Michael for the tip… and I know a lot of you wanted this as well.

Another change to this blog is going to be that the front page (where this is posted) is going to have between 0-2 postings a day, not many more…. I want to post thoughtful and intellectual postings to the blog instead of a multitude of random thoughts.

TumblrIntroducing… Ramblings. After having my second espresso in my life (last night), I stayed up late and had the epiphany to create a tumblog for my random style posts. This will allow me a lot more flexibility without dilluting the front page of this blog. You’ll notice a new tab above the fold entitled “Thought Stream.” In the next 24 hours, I am going to change the name to “Ramblings,” but you get the point. Click the link and you’ll get to my tumblr page. The posts will vary from digital media and entrepreneurial ideas to random hockey/baseball and personal things.

Just wanted to introduce these changes as they were all products of listening to you, my readers. Thank you so much for your feedback and continued support of this blog!