May 24, 2012

Book Short: Internet True Crime

Book Short:  Internet True Crime Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet, by Joseph Menn (book, kindle) was a bit of a disappointment.  I was really hoping for more of an explanation of how the “business” of Internet crime works — what the economics are like, what the landscape/scope/sectors are like, who the players are. What I got was a bit of a true crime novel, the story of Barrett Lyon and Andy Crocker, who are respectively a geek and a cop, and their very specific stories of tracking down a handful of internet criminals around a handful of technical tactics (DDOS attacks and botnets).  It wasn’t bad, the stories were ok and occasionally entertaining, but it was very narrow. It felt to me like there is a much more interesting story to tell around criminals who USE the Internet to commit crimes as opposed to people attacking the infrastructure.  Has anyone ever run across a book like that?


February 16, 2012

Book Short: Steve Jobs and Lessons for CEOs and Founders

Book Short:  Steve Jobs and Lessons for CEOs and Founders First, if you work in the internet, grew up during the rise of the PC, or are an avid consumer of Apple products, read the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs (book, kindle).  It’s long but well worth it. I know much has been written about the subject and the book, so I won’t be long or formal, but here are the things that struck me from my perspective as a founder and CEO, many taken from specific passages from the book: In the annals of innovation, new ideas are […]


May 10, 2011

Blogiversary, Part VII

Blogiversary, Part VII Today marks the seventh anniversary of OnlyOnce.  I haven’t marked the date with a post in three years, but here was my last such post (with links to prior posts in it).  In sum up until now, my reasons for blogging have been written up as: “Thinking” (writing short posts helps me crystallize my thinking) “Employees” (one of our senior people once called reading OnlyOnce “getting a peek inside Matt’s head) My book reviews help me crystallize my takeaways from books and serve as a bit of a personal reference library I like writing and don’t get […]


April 26, 2011

Guest Post: Staying Innovative as Your Business Grows (Part Two)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I write a column for The Magill Report, the new venture by Ken Magill, previously of Direct magazine and even more previously DMNews. I share the column with my colleagues Jack Sinclair and George Bilbrey and we cover how to approach the business of email marketing, thoughts on the future of email and other digital technologies, and more general articles on company-building in the online industry – all from the perspective of an entrepreneur. I recently posted George’s column on Staying Innovative as Your Business Grows (Part One). Below is a re-post of […]


April 21, 2011

Backwards

Backwards I came to an interesting conclusion about Return Path recently.  We’re building our business backwards, at least according to what I have observed over time as the natural course of events for a startup.  Here are a few examples of what I mean by that. Most companies build organically for years…then start acquiring others.  We’ve done it backwards.  In the first 9 years of our company’s life, we acquired 8 other businesses (SmartBounce, Veripost, Re-Route, NetCreations, Assurance Systems, GasPedal Consulting, Bonded Sender, Habeas).  Since then, we’ve acquired none.  There are a bunch of reasons why we front loaded M&A:  […]


April 14, 2011

BookShort: Vive La Difference

Book Short:  Vive La Difference Brain Sex, by Anne Moir and David Jessell, was a fascinating read that I finished recently.  I will caveat this post up front that the book was published in 1989, so one thing I’m not sure of is whether there’s been more recent research that contradicts any of the book’s conclusions.  I will also caveat that this is a complex topic with many different schools of thought based on varying research, and this book short should serve as a starting point for a dialog, not an end point. That said, the book was a very […]


March 14, 2011

Guest Post: Staying Innovative as Your Business Grows (Part One)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently started writing a column for The Magill Report, the new venture by Ken Magill, previously of Direct magazine and even more previously DMNews. I share the column with my colleagues Jack Sinclair and George Bilbrey and we cover how to approach the business of email marketing, thoughts on the future of email and other digital technologies, and more general articles on company-building in the online industry – all from the perspective of an entrepreneur. Below is a re-post of George’s column from this week, which I think my OnlyOnce readers will […]


December 20, 2010

The iPad’s Limitations as a Business Device

The iPad’s Limitations as a Business Device I love my iPad.  Let me just start with that.  I’ve found lots of use cases for it, and it’s very useful here and there for work.  But I’ve seen a bunch of people trying to use it as a primary business device, which I can’t quite figure out.  Here are the things that prevent me from making it my main business device: lack of keyboard (can mitigate with the keyboard dock, which I have) lack of mouse (not a killer limitation, just takes some getting used to, also the arrows on the […]


October 18, 2010

Why CEOs Shouldn’t Mess with Engineers

Why CEOs Shouldn’t Mess with Engineers I went to the Vasa Royal Warship Museum in Stockholm the other day, which was amazing – it had a breathtakingly massive 17th century wooden warship, which had been submerged for over 300 years, nearly intact as its centerpiece.  It’s worth a visit if you’re ever there. The sad story of its sinking seems to have several potential causes, but one is noteworthy both in terms of engineering and leadership.  The ship set sail in 1628 as the pride of the Swedish navy during a war with Poland.  It was the pride of King […]


August 20, 2010

Feature Request, Part II

Feature Request, Part II In Part I, I asked for time zone alerts on cell phones for off-hours and a mechanism for alerting people when they’re replying-to-all when they were bcc’d. Today, I ask for an iPhone (and I suppose Android) app:  turn a photo of a whiteboard into a Word or PPT document!


August 17, 2010

Investment in the Email Ecosystem

Investment in the Email Ecosystem Last week, my colleague George Bilbrey posted about how (turns out – shocking!) email still isn’t dead yet. Not only is he right, but the whole premise of defending email from the attackers who call it “legacy” or “uninteresting” is backwards.  The inbox is getting more and more interesting these days, not less.  At Return Path, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of startup activitiy and investment (these two things can go together but don’t have to) in in front end of email in the past couple years.  I’d point to three sub-trends of this theme […]