From Dimes to Dollars

Don’t wait. Don’t wait for other people to give you permission.

image -Jason Calacanis, Host of This Week In Startups, CEO of


Photo credit: Jonathan Lopez

by Ben Lopez

This past Sunday I was visiting my family and having a wonderful little afternoon spending time with them. That is until a tornado hit in the back yard, and the neighbour’s roof narrowly avoided destroying the side of the house as it blew off. Something tells me it’s not going to be a good week…

You may have noticed I haven’t been around much lately. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I’m wading through some difficulties right now, the cleanup after the tornado the least of my troubles, and I need to square a few things away before getting back to business as usual.

Sometimes you don’t just get hit hard, but with many things at once, and it’s not easy to maintain your everyday routine. It turns your life upside-down. My lease was suddenly compromised recently due to circumstances beyond my control, and I’ve been forced to spend a good amount of time seeking property as the clock ticks down. I have resigned from both my Google News syndicated writing position that has since plateaued, as well as stepping down from my marketing director spot when I saw disaster on the horizon and took an early exit. And after taking a moment to check the status of my former company yesterday I’m glad I did, as they seem to be at a complete standstill.

I postponed my own startup to pursue these positions that I foresaw getting me ahead, but I’m now behind the curve. Hey, that’s why they’re called risks, because there’s a definite possibility you could lose, and in this case, I lost. But like Jason Calancanis frequently alludes to, crying about it will do nothing for you, it’s time to move on.

Kind of puts me back at square one, doesn’t it? In the weeks to come I will have to make a firm decision on how to proceed, and what projects to pursue next. I could feel sorry for myself, or I can look at the positive learning experience this was and give myself a pat on the back for taking the initiative to resign while there was, to the untrained eye, still potential on the surface. Sometimes you just need to cut your losses and move on when your gut tells you to. Maybe you’re in what you consider a good position, but you see trouble down the road; just remember that objects are closer than they appear.

But it may be for the best, there are plenty of new opportunities, and I have a whole list of Plan Bs. Think about how many hours are in the day, and the sheer mass of what can be accomplished if you’re truly dedicated and uncompromising in your work focus. Whatever lies ahead, one thing is for sure: From Dimes To Dollars is here to stay.

What difficulties have the D2D readers seen coming their way? Share what you’ve learned from overcoming them: you never know who may find encouragement in your words.


We never try to sell to the dumb consumer. We always try to sell to the smart consumer.
- Matt Rutledge

The dumb customer is easily distracted and quick to move on no matter the value of your product or service.  Market to the smart ones indeed!


We never try to sell to the dumb consumer. We always try to sell to the smart consumer.

- Matt Rutledge

The dumb customer is easily distracted and quick to move on no matter the value of your product or service.  Market to the smart ones indeed!

D2D Response To Anti-Comment Agenda From Tumblr Staff Blog


Why John Gruber doesn’t have comments on his site:

Bijan Sabet likes comments:

My experiences with comments haven’t been as positive. Blogs with good comments do exist, like Bijan’s and many of the small tech and VC blogs that I assume he reads, but they’re unusual.

I’m fiercely…

by Ben Lopez

Have you ever wondered why Tumblr hasn’t introduced a native comment system to make things a hell of a lot easier for everyone?  Well, Marco Arment, Lead Developer at Tumblr, gave us that answer loud and clear yesterday in the blog post above.

In a word, he despises comments.  In his own words, he tells us, “I’m not a very good ‘team player’…I also disagree with the widespread notion that comments are ‘discussion’, or that they form a ‘community’. “  It goes on and on with heaps of negativity and apprehension, likely stemming from a past incident (“my experiences with comments haven’t been as positive”), if you wish to read the full blog post.  The problem with this is that as Tumblr’s lead developer, I’m sure he has a pretty good say in what features are (or are not) introduced to the site.  This makes it likely that Mr. Arment is a major contributing factor holding Tumblr back from the next logical step, which is a native comment system.

So why do I have to go and make a big deal about it publicly?  Why didn’t I just share this with him directly and be done with it?  Well, I had intended to leave this response as a direct comment for him on his blog, but I think you can guess why that didn’t work out…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this because I want to bash Marco or Tumblr, and if he wants to refrain from allowing comments on his personal blog, that’s fine.  I love Tumblr.  I’m never going back to any other blogging platform, and trust me, I’ve tried them all.  I’m saying this out of love for Tumblr, and the totally awesome community we have have.  I just want to see that community aspect fleshed out with standardized comments before we start losing some of its great contributors out of frustration.

Tumblr is of course a private business, and they’re free to do as they please.  But if this was my company, I’d be looking past my own bias, and the bias of my employees to provide solutions that are best for my users, not me.



by Ben Lopez

Another week, another recap.  So, who pre-ordered iPhone 4?  Not many of us, I imagine, seeing as it sold out in an afternoon (don’t feel bad, I missed it too).  But you’ve heard that already, let’s get to what you may not have heard this past week:

This week’s highlights:


 We have a lot of social media going on in our life these days, don’t we?  While it’s sometimes convenient and enjoyable, there’s a whole lotta noise making its way in with all those spammy Twitter updates, and damned Farmville notifications every 5 seconds.  I take a look at the top annoyances and how you can avoid them.

imageI share a great classic quote from Walt Disney on your work in relation to the time you spend with your family.  Family first, don’t let them slip away as you get caught up in your work.

image My good friend Phil Ricci shared a story that I thought was just completely ludicrous; the New York Times apparently things we’re just completely unprofessional to use the word “tweet”.  My question to them: what the hell else are you going to call it?  See my full response here.

imageLast, but certainly not least, a little something for iPhone users in celebration of the iPhone 4 this past week.  I’d been wanting to do it for a while, so I finally set aside some time to do an in-depth review of Opera Mini for iPhone.  Is it really “six times faster” as they claim?  Speed tests are explained in the review.

For tomorrow’s post, I wanted to get back to a more core business focus for a while, but damn it all, after reading one of the Tumblr staff blogs, it absolutely requires a response.  Don’t miss this one…

Oh, and if anyone happens to have a recommendation left at this point (unlikely) and would like to be kind to Dimes To Dollars, you can do so in the techstartups, or entrepreneurs category by clicking on the respective link.  Thanks for reading!^_^

PS: Special thanks to Jon Lopez Photography for the awesome Dimes To Dollars Photo shoot! 

A man should never neglect his family for business.

image Walt Disney

The World: by Phil: Don't Tweet Here, Says NY Times

imagePaul Suarez, PC World

Jun 12, 2010

Apparently some of us journalist/blogger types have been throwing certain social media terms around willy-nilly before they’ve made their way into standard English. According to The Awl, Phil Corbett, standards editor at The New York Times has had…

This is a joke. These days we’re so worried about public acceptance, we neglect practicality. We call them ‘tweets’ because, really, what else would we call them? I suppose we could say, “A message shared on the website” since according to Corbett anything that hasn’t yet made it into Webster’s is mere degenerate slang. But that would be a little redundant, especially if you had to make a tweet reference multiple times in an article…



by Ben Lopez

Opera Mini made a nice splash in tech blogs, and as a top trend on Twitter when it launched in April.  I thought it was a little buggy, but performed well overall.  After allowing some time for an update (and it has been updated), I sat down for some serious Opera time to deliver an in-depth review.

My initial impressions are that it’s not a bad browser.  The interface is very nice, and in fact I preferred it slightly to Safari’s.  For instance, it’s nice to have a reload button in the fixed dock, so I don’t have to scroll to the top to reload as in Safari.  Tabbed browsing appears a bit wonky at first with the shuffle animation that is used, but it’s very solid.


Another nice feature is a clean, simple home screen that imitates the desktop version of Safari’s “Top Sites” screen as a spot for favourites.  This is strangely absent on Safari.

Speed Tests:  I tried a variety of sites for speed tests, with fairly consistent results.  Opera was almost always faster, though not even close to their “up to 6x faster broswing” claim.  Six times faster than what?  Here are two basic examples to give you an idea of the speed comparison:

-Graphics-heavy webite ( Safari: 11.08 seconds, OM 7.69 seconds

-Light-graphics website ( Safari: 7.18 seconds, OM 6.83 seconds

So good interface, good speed, but the browsing falls just a little short.  The biggest problem here is that there’s no control over how far you can zoom in, it is entirely automatic.  So essentially any other site that is not in neat columns become very cumbersome to navigate due to this.  Clicking links is also strangely spotty, and does not always proceed to load the page.  Other small annoyances include defaulting to load the “mobile” version of many sites, not the “touch” or full versions, and occasionally not resizing to fit the screen.


While it holds a sleek interface and is quite speedy, there’s no substitution for elegant navigation.  If they can tweak the touch sensitivity and give us more control over our zoom, I certainly think it can hold it’s own.  But for the time being, stick with Safari.


Hi Dimes to Dollars,
Thanks for your reply to my HTC Evo write up. After re-reading it, I agree that I was a bit harsh on Apple, so I updated it below the videos. Also, with all the work I've done here on Tumblr trying to figure everything out, I still can't figure out how to directly reply on people's post on their sites so I'm listed in the notes under that article (like you did with my article). Any Ideas? Thanks.


Hey AJ,

The comment system is incredibly bad here at Tumblr, unfortunately, with many themes intentionally disabling the ability to add comments (more on that here).  You hear me Tumblr?  We want native comments and a true PM system for pete’s sake!

Anyway, thanks for your reply.  In my opinion, a true intellect is one that’s always looking for the best answer, even if it means reconsidering their former opinion.  You have my utmost respect, kind sir.

Cheers, my friend!



by Ben Lopez

The problem with social media these days is that we’re constantly being pushed to make everything connected, and encouraged to share exactly what we’re doing, buying, and where we are. What does this equate to? NOISE, and lots of it.

Perhaps you read somewhere in one of those dime-a-dozen SEO e-books that maximum exposure is critical.  Well, not when you’re scaring off users from your website and social media accounts, readers from your blog, and potential customers for your business with information overload.  You wouldn’t call someone 10 or 20 times a day to tell them you’re playing a game, would you?  Of course not, that’s just not socially acceptable.  When you post things online, think of it as a real life conversation, and remember this when considering how often you want to inform people of every minute detail.

It’s inefficient for all of us; the chronic poster loses subscribers, friend interactions, and it is more difficult to keep track of their own activities due to the very clutter they themselves create. For the rest of us, it clutters our friend feeds, RSS feeds, and inboxes like nobody’s business, good grief. Same concept as people that forward a dozen or more e-mails a day. You’re my friend, and I still like you as a person, but at the end of the day it’s just bothersome to delete all those e-mails. In the same way, it’s bothersome unsubbing/unfriending, hiding individual apps, and tweaking my display settings due to the pseudo spam of others.

My advice: DO NOT LINK TWITTER to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Myspace account, or else we’re all doomed to suffer endless pages of “LOL yea i no” and “help me tend my crops in Farmville!”. Assuming you don’t post a new article every hour, auto updates from your blog are generally considered acceptable. If you play games, get rid of the ridiculous number of updates that flood both your wall and our friend streams.

Follow these simply rules and it’s entirely possible our planet may not be doomed (maybe). What do you think? Is there still a chance of redemption, or is society beyond hope?

Posts I Liked on Tumblr