The Dynamics of Power: A dialogue between grandmother and granddaughter

Last night my mother-in-law Mary L. babysat my two year old daughter Eve while my wife and I went out to dinner. What follows is a dialogue, written by Mary (known to Eve as “Mare Mare”), left on the kitchen counter. It may veer from non-fiction to fiction in ways I can’t tell. Here for your reading pleasure.

The dialogue begins with Eve already in bed, and Mary watching TV in the living room.

EK = Eve Kalanithi, my daughter

MM = Mare Mare, my mother-in-law

Grandmother Dialog, Page 1

Grandmother dialog, Page 2


My mother-in-law is awesome

Hardware Startup Basics

In the past year, Dave and I have been asked for tips from lots of hardware entrepreneurs, just starting out. No one is ever an expert, but we now have some real experience in this domain and love to share our successes, failures, and the key takeaways those experiences provide.

Marc Barros, an awesome guy and founder of camera company Contour, has been organizing Hardware Workshops to share  (sometimes hard-fought) knowledge on what it’s like – and what it takes – to run a hardware startup company. He asked Dave and I to talk about some basic numbers for a hardware company – how much to charge for your product, how to pay a factory, and so forth.

The presentation went well so we decided to share the slides publicly. Hope you find it useful. Questions and comments always welcome.

Post Mortems

Sifteo is an interesting company: we combine a game studio, a hardware development and software development group along with a retail focused sales and marketing team. Add to that an underpinning of startupness. What you get is an interesting amalgamation of cultures and working styles.

One thing I love from game development culture is the concept of the postmortem. I don’t think this is that common among startups generally, but it’s excellent. It’s a simple idea. The development team gets together after a launch and discusses openly two things: WHAT WENT RIGHT and WHAT WENT WRONG.

The benefits are:

learning. start-ups move fast and it’s easy to keep cranking without actually sitting back and understanding what is going on.

criticism. the culture around post-mortems openly airs critiques that many people don’t feel comfortable giving outside this safe zone. You hope everyone can be direct with one another, but that’s not a trait we all have. The postmortem provides this space, and it doesn’t take a genius facilitator to keep the discussion away from finger-pointing.

These post-mortems often take the form of interviews or articles for bigger projects. Game Developer Magazine features post-mortems each issue, generally written by the key developer or designer of a given game.

This practice seems super obvious to one culture but (from what I can see) is rare in others.