Category Archives: Darren Herman

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!

Time To Light 2 Candles… It's a Big Day!

This blog turns 2 years old today and it’s been one wild ride. When I started this blog, I had no idea what it was going to turn into, but over time, it has really come into it’s own. I try and focus on marketing, advertising, media and technology but most of it comes from a startup or entrepreneurial point of view. Why? Because that’s what I love. 405+ posts later and over 600 reader comments… I think I’m on the right path.

I’ve determined that life is too short to do things that you’re not passionate about and this blog allows me to share my thoughts, feelings, and ramblings with anyone in the world that wants to listen.

Based on my own Tag Cloud, the most frequent topics I write about are:

  • advertising
  • apple
  • entrepreneurship
  • Internet
  • marketing
  • metaverse
  • second life
  • startup
  • venture capital
  • virtual world

Over the past 730 days (2 years for all of you quick people), I’ve met some incredible people that found this blog through search engines, comments, YCombinator, MyBlogLog, or other areas of the web that seem to drive traffic. I’ve been fortunate to advise on fundraising, help negotiate business deals, advise on shareholders agreements, inform the finance community on the games industry, add my two sense to multiple journal and trade articles, introduced business partners, and made lasting friendships with people who recently came to my wedding. All of this… stemmed through this blog.

When people ask me, “why do I blog,” you can now see why!

Every post is not created equal, but in each post, there is a tidbit of myself that hopefully comes across in a clear and concise nature. I’m excited to be writing and by the looks of the RSS feed, we’ve got ~390 of you reading… and really appreciate your comments and thoughts on each posting!

Don’t be a stranger… feel free to drop me a line or comment on a post and I’ll certainly get in touch with you.

A toast to the future….

Back in the Big Apple

About 3 weeks ago, I was married to an amazing woman named Sherri and we took off for a mixed tour of the WestYosemite Darren Coast’s National Parks and Spas for our honeymoon. I blogged a little bit throughout the honeymoon (wherever there was Internet service) and spoke to one or two folks, but all in all, I was really shut-off from reality and had no idea what was going on in the digital media world…. and I’m still not caught up yet (over 1300 RSS feeds to browse).

Sherri did a terrific job of journaling our honeymoon online so that our friends and family could see what we were up to. Blogging is also an amazing way to recap everything so you don’t forget things. Here are a few posts from our trip:

There are some great pictures and interesting reviews in each of the posts… enjoy!

BTW: My iPhone died on the trip for the SECOND time and will be going to the Apple store today to get it fixed (hopefully). Please don’t call, as I can’t answer. Email is best.

Business Idea: Mobile Phone Wipes

Do you have an iPhone? Do you constantly touch your screen and then put the phone up to your face? Think about how many germs are on that screen… I’m not the only one talking about it, read this article.

This idea came to me a while ago when I realized that I had not seen a consumer brand of wipes for the phone. I know that many of the wipe brands for computers are techy such as 3M, but what about a fun and simple consumer brand? Consumers love having a reason to buy things due to their health. It’s a necessity.

The cost of wipes are cheap and you can easily kick this business off for under $10k. Getting into this business has a bit of inventory overhead, but it shouldn’t be too bad. You can buy in bulk and sell to stores OR, you can sell direct off the web.

Do a Google search for mobile phone wipes and you won’t see any companies listed. Room to grow….and the media helping by reporting on germs and health isues.

Roadtrip: Leaving in 6 hours…

Roadtrip USASherri and I will be embarking on our honeymoon in about 6 hours as we leave Westchester County for the wilderness out west.  We’ll be spending over 28.5 hours in our rental car over the next 14 days as we navigate ~1500 miles of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and California.

We’ll be spending time exploring the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, and Yosemite.  I’m extremely excited to hike around these beautiful parks and to view America’s most beautiful wilderness.  Intertwined through everything, we’ll be staying at the Boulders (Arizona), THE Hotel (Las Vegas, NV), Ticklepink Inn (Carmel, CA), and the Fairmont (San Francisco, CA).  The contrast of the forest and luxury should be extremely interesting.

Posting will be fairly sparse (will write a few times a week) but we’ll be maintaining HermanWeb and updating it with pictures and such.

See everyone back in NY in mid-September!

It's Official…

Sherri & DarrenSherri and I tied the knot this weekend in front of about 250 of our closest friends and family. We’re extremely excited that we could share this special event with people who flew in from all over the globe including Africa, Europe, Vancouver, California, Austin, Florida, and many other places.

I was totally disconnected from the Internet for about 24 hours on Saturday as the groomsmen took my iPhone away during a photoshoot and didn’t let me have it back until early this morning…. and I didn’t feel any sense of digital withdrawl. Can’t say that too often!

What I absolutely loved was that people would come up to me and tell me how much they enjoy reading (mostly Sherri) and this blog. Blogs are an efficient way to communicate and allows us to stay in touh with family and friends from all over. The feedback that we received was excellent! Thank you to all of our readers.

Sherri has posted a nice recap of the weekend here and I’ve uploaded some crowdsourced photos to my flickr account. Professional photos will be deliverd in a few weeks but these should suffice for now.In The Air

We’ll be leaving September 2 for two weeks to explore the whitewater of the Grand Canyon, the lizards and animals of Yosemite, the river in Zion, and the beautiful scenery of Bryce. Of course we’ll be making stops in Vegas and at the Boulders in Arizona for a bit of pampering, but we’re looking forward to a significant portion of our honeymoon outdoors. Due to the trip, posting will be extremely light for those 2 weeks.

Thank you again to everyone who came out to make last night the most memorable evening of our lives!

Swapping an iPhone for a Leatherman

Sherri got me all excited with her most recent posting on HermanWeb:  our honeymoon.  The wedding has been overshadowing our grand trip, but I can’t wait to get to Arizona and start our trip through the national parks (Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Yosemite) and a few luxurious hotels/resorts.

Back when I was a camper at Camp Echo Lake in Warrensburg, NY, I went on a 4 week trip outwest, sort of like a teen tour.  Of those 4 weeks we spent out west, we camped/hiked for 2 weeks and the remaining 2, we spent in amusement parks, touring cities, and staying in hotels.  The trip was one of the best in my life and still reminise about it to my good friend, Adam, who I grew up with and also went to camp.  Totally unrelated, did you know CEL has a Facebook group?

We’re going to be trading in our iPhones and Blackberries for Merrels and Leathermans, but it’s a change we welcome and should be an unbelievable trip.  We’ll be live-blogging the trip from the road on HermanWeb but I’m sure I’ll post a few tidbits here.  We’re not leaving yet (Sept. 2), so there shouldn’t be a posting slow-down on the blog.

A conversation I can’t wait to have:

  • Darren:  We saw Sequoia whilst outwest
  • Friend:  How did it go?
  • Darren:  Wen’t great!
  • Friend:  Did they give you a term sheet?
  • Darren:  NOT Sequoia Capital!  Sequoia National Park!

A Bad Way To Wake Up – Spammers

I woke up at 5:45am today to go to the gym.  Usually, before I go, I check my email to see if anything urgent came in over night.  Well, nothing urgent came in, other than over 5,000 “Return to Sender” emails for a penis enlargement for Man XL.  It looks as though someone broke into my GMAIL account and sent out a heck of a lot of emails.

Not only is this frustrating for the short term, but it’s scary for the long term.  Why?  My GMAIL account has so much information within it (sensitive, confidential) and for the future of web applications, this does not bode well.  Security on the web is going to need to be significantly improved if you think Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs is going to put their financial data online for web applications.

I changed my password immediately on GMAIL but don’t know what else to do.  I cleaned up my inbox, but may have missed some emails (deleted by accident).  If you had sent me an email after 11PM EST last night, please resend.  I am now debating on moving my entire email infrastructure away from GMAIL onto my own domain, so I’m not relying on anyone elses email.

Would love to hear your thoughts on what I should do….

Frustrated in New York.

Where Did Morals and Ethics Go? Or Am I Too Old School?

I’ve been pondering this posting for quite some time and I thought there was no better time to post it than today, as NBC Universal and News Corp are about to roll-out their YouTube Killer.  I think my parents did an excellent job raising me.  They weren’t too strict at all but certainly set ground rules.  I think I ‘stole’ a pack of baseball cards when I was 5, but that was because my mother was rushing me out of the store when she realized I had a pack of cards in my hands, when we were halfway down the block.  I ended up getting lectured about stealing – and I don’t think I ever did it again… until I was about 12.

The bulletin board systems (BBS) were getting popular and people started trading software on their computers.  Note:  Trading.  Not buying and selling.  “Warez” became a popular term amongst a niche crowd and I remember programs like HotlineSW.  These programs helped me figure out where to find the latest version of Photoshop or Kais Power Tools (back in the day, I was very into graphics).  The interesting thing was, is that I downloaded all of these programs for free but purchased hundreds of dollars of books to teach myself how to use them.

Adobe started cracking down on all of the pirated software vendors and users so I stopped downloading illegally.  Friends of mine continued with the justification of, “I’m downloading 1 copy of maybe 5 programs… the industry is not going to come after me, as I’m a guppy in a sea of sharks.”  That maybe true, but what about morals and ethics?

Fast forward to the end of highschool and into college.  Fanning started Napster (with the ‘lost’ roomate) and we began downloading MP3s like no tomorrow.  Artists started yelling and screaming, record labels flipped out, and the world was going to meltdown it seemed.  Well, it didn’t.  The music industry is still adjusting to post-Napster days (Kazaa, Morpheus, eDonkey, etc) but I stopped downloading illegal music.  Personally, I took a stance that artists need to get paid for their work, and if they want me to download it free, they’ll let me know, but if not, I’ll buy it in the stores or on iTunes.  Also, I prefer to own the album/CD, as I like coverart and the package.  However, millions of people are taking music files that are being sold in stores and are acquiring them free.  illegally.  What about morals and ethics?

The video game industry is facing a huge issue of piracy.  I’ve heard numbers quoted that of every game sold in South America, 10 games are pirated.  That’s a 1:10 ratio.  Ridiculous.  The number may actually be higher, I’m just too lazy to factcheck this article (they don’t pay me enough, that’s a JOKE, it’s my blog).  Why buy the games if you can get them off the grey market for free?  Good question – but what about morals and ethics?

I had a recent meeting with a very prominent venture capitalist who was giving me some advice on a new venture I’m advising.  He told me to side with the ‘bad guys” as that’s where the consumers are.  He said eventually, the industry will have no other choice than to play-ball.  However, by siding with the ‘bad guys’, I’m contributing to a major problem in the industry and not paying attention to my personal morales and ethics.  How is that supposed to work?

Companies who have taken the rebellious routes include Napster, Kazaa, YouTube, IGE, and others.  I don’t consider Skype rebellious as they legally facilitated phone calls across the world, just through a new technical structure.

I’m 25.  I’m not 60.  Am I really that old?  Am I wrong here for thinking this way?  I realize that rebels tend to be successful, but at what price?  What are your thoughts?  Maybe I was raised too conservatively?