Race Review: Marine Corp Marathon - Finisher!

We ran the Marine Corp Marathon in Virginia/Washington D.C. on 10/30/2011 - something to check off the ol' bucket list!

The day before the marathon, it was snowing in the late afternoon but fortunately cleared around 9pm (the storm moved North and 10 million people lost power). We woke Sunday morning to a brisk 34F temperature, combined with a strong 20 mph wind. Wind chill was somewhere in the 20s.

Like many of the 39,000 runners, we took the Metro to the start at the Pentagon. After a .75 mile walk in the dark, we arrived at the sweat check. The Marines had built out numerous warming tents, helping to ward off the cold for a bit. As the 8am start neared, we stripped off the outer layers and checked them (along with dry clothes) and headed to the start. I think it was at this point that I lost feeling in my toes.

The starting line was quite crowded, and as I'd read, the corrals were a mere suggestion which seemed to ignored by most people (if you run this next year, my advice is to head to the front and avoid all the walkers in the 3:30 corral). Once the starting gun went off, the crowd moved across the starting line fairly quickly. Clothes, hats and gloves littered the course from this point until Mile 7 or 8; I've never seen so many items discarded.

My feet thawed out after a bit and things warmed up to about 45F - still windy, but more than bearable. The course wound through Virginia, crosssed into Georgetown at Mile 4 and through some beautiful part of Rock Creek Park. We encounted the two biggest hills at Mile 2.5 and Mile 7, after which we only had the hill at the finish to conquer.

Miles 10 - 20 were incredible. We ran past the Lincoln Memorial and into a throng of screaming people. The majority of the distance through this part of D.C. was packed with people and incredibly scenic at the same time. I hardly noticed the miles melting away.

We crossed back into Viriginia at Mile 21 and ran through the "blah" part of the course - an out-and-back through a hotel area. The final mile returned to the starting area and ended on an uphill to the Iwo Jima momunment. This last 0.2 miles looks pretty easy on the map, but it was actually really hard. The finish line was just past the crest of the hill - ouch.

Post-race was a bit of a hike to Rosslyn, but it felt good to keep moving. The change into dry clothes was great as it was cold/windy. The Metro and taxi lines were incredlby long so we ended up walking about 2 miles back across the bridge into D.C. and through Georgetown to our hotel.

Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:

Organization – Incredibly well organized and staffed (organized by the Marines, whaddya expect?). Grade: A

Course - Wow, just wow. Great, scenic course. Lincoln Memorial. Congress. Smithsonian museums, crowds four deep in some spots.. Grade: A

Aid-stations - Very large, with Gatorade and water that didn't come from a gardenhose! Pretty insane due to number of people. Oranges (?) distributed randomly with wet peels all over the pavement.. Grade: A-

Swag – Great medal, incredibly bad red long sleeve cotton shirt..  Grade: B

Bubble Boys

Great story in New York mag ("Bubble Boys") - captures the current feel around here very well.

Plus, a nice shout-out for StartX (fka SSE Labs) and WiFiSlam.

Huang is sitting amid a cluster of tables in AOL’s Palo Alto offices, a space dedicated to StartX, an accelerator for start-ups involving Stanford students. Huang’s start-up is one of ten fledgling companies selected in the spring session by the accelerator, which helps them with everything from legal issues to accounting to office space to connecting with financiers. His company, WiFiSlam, analyzes local wireless signals to create a kind of indoor GPS. Fire up their Android app, and a little dot on a map tells you where you are. Commercial uses could include museum walking tours, private-security coordination, or navigations systems for malls.

Random List of Books I've Read Lately

I've read a bunch of books lately, including:

  • Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky - Sarah Lacy. Incredibly interesting book about entreprenuer's in China, Brazil, etc. Tom Friedman already has me concerned enough about the future competitveness of U.S. and this book just added to it.
  • The 48 Laws of Power - wow, super dense. This book took me a lonnnng time to read. Each law can be read in 20 mins or less, but digesting one can take days. This book is best read a little at a time. Highly recommended.
  • Red: Sammy Hagar - continuing on with my journey reading rock biographies. This book was actually well written and entertaining. I had no idea that Hagar was raised in near poverty in SoCal - good story about someone who worked hard for everything they have.
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us - interesting book on the psychology of motivation. Pink quantifies something I learned (more than once) as a co-founder - nothing beats intrisic motivation. Not salary, title, bonus etc. People shine when they are passionate.
  • Bossypants - Tina Fey. I am a huge Tina Fey/30 Rock fan. Don't buy this book, it is surprisingly awful.

Startup Economics: Millionaire developers?

I ran across this statement today

Everybody in town is competing for developer talent. The market price for a proven developer working at a startup in a talent acquisition by Zynga, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, RIM, etc... is roughly $1M to $1.5M with a 3 to 4 year lock in.

Reminded me of pre-IPO Google. The mid-level developer was brought in with promises of 4 yrs = $1m (cash + stock). At an IPO of roughly $80 and a high of $700, people did better than $1m, if they sold at the right time.

Google had about a 9x increase in market value from IPO to peak stock price. Is it reasonable to think that Zynga, Facebook etc will do the same? Far fetched? Hard to know if LinkedIn will do something equivalent and go from $18 to $162 (9x).

If this is all true/likely, it is quite a contrast to other areas of the economy. This chart illustrates the divide

In 2010, the median household income by state ranged from $35,693 in Mississippi to $65,028 in New Hampshire. California, with the highest median home price in the nation and home prices that far outpaced incomes only ranked ninth with a median household income of $61,021.


What ever happened to all that chatter that we didn't need more CS grads?


Juntos Wins the BASES Social Entrepreneurship Challenge!

Last week, Ben Knelman and the team at Juntos won the Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, part of the BASES $150k Challenge!

Big congrats to the team - as one of their mentors at SSE, I've been continually impressed with the progress the team has made in the last several months.

Their Demo Day presentation is next week, check it out if you are attending the sessions!