Category Archives: On the level

Leaving My Job to Run a Tech Startup

It’s been a great ride at NPR Digital Media, but a new venture has really taken off and demands my full attention.

Today, I will announce the full beta launch of  my new project — HookBook — a social networking site to take relationship histories online in meticulous detail. I had a conversation last week with Mark Zuckerberg, and he agreed that my technology was a huge breakthrough in charting what we call the ‘coital graph’.

The concept is simple. Everyone who’s ever had a relationship  has a relationship past, and that past is usually pretty complicating for new relationships.  So why not get everyone’s dirty laundry out in the open, completely transparent. Imagine being perfectly comfortable with your new relationship because you know everything about your new lover’s past. Now, you’ll know every sordid detail of your partner’s prior life before you even go on your first date.

Log on to HookBook and you see all of the people in your network and all the people they’ve slept with — relationships, summer flings, drunken  hookups — charted in a network diagram. For each partner listed on a member’s profile page, you can view details of the encounter and how it ended. Egos, narcissism, lack of trust, mental instability, poor communication, cheating — these are just a few of the issues that bring relationships down. And we can chart those too.

(HookBook profile page)

(HookBook member profile page)

Unlike most social networks, HookBook has a lucrative revenue model. Jilted lovers can purchase contextually relevant ads next to an ex’s name. Individuals who want to control their ad space can purchase their whole inventory for a convenient monthly fee, depending on their stature (A and B-list celebrities and politicians have a higher cost-tier for their ad inventory.) We are also inking partnerships with companies in the online self-esteem space who are very interested in HookBook’s ability to behaviorally target certain types of customers.

Third-party developers can share in the revenue by writing apps for the HookBook AppStore. Our best-seller, the National Pasttime App, charts your past escapades on a baseball diamond and calculates statistics for Strike Outs and On Base Percentage.

HookBook’s privacy terms state that we will never accept payment to remove an embarrassing hookup from a member profile. Like all personal information, HookBook believes one’s sexual history should be public and permanent on the web.

I encourage all of you to sign up for HookBook and begin exploring your pasts. Finally, I want to give thanks to my wife, who is  very supportive of this new venture. Despite having just given birth to our first child, she’s agreed to return to work earlier than planned because, above all else, we value our lifestyle.

Jen and I are Building our Dream Home

That’s right! We absolutely love it here and we’re building our dream home in the outlying Washington DC suburbs. We can’t even believe our luck! Someone just stalled construction and left a half-finished home, and we’re going to take it over and finish it to our ideal specifications. Jen and I constantly complain that we don’t have enough room to buy more stuff. That won’t be a problem anymore.

Jen and Javaun at our new home site

The lot is situated on several acres of old growth Virginia forest, which we’re clearing to make room for an extended garage, concrete patio, and tetherball court. Not counting the 3 story deck, the home will be about 12,000 square feet. It overlooks the highway and is just minutes from a mall that has a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant and the largest indoor Laser Tag in the DC beltway.

Honestly, we never thought we could afford a home like this, but it’s amazing what you can do with financing. Jen and I got a 5 year ARM with a 1.5% introductory rate that won’t adjust for at least 6 months. Because home prices always go up, they’re also extending us an equity line of credit for an additional $80,000.

Jen and Javaun at our new home site
Our new neighbors are awesome! They’re helping us pick out molded falcon sculptures and bronze torches for our front gate.

One downside is that we can’t ride our bikes to work anymore. Our commute is increasing from 30 minutes one-way to about 4.5 hours roundtrip. But I think we’ll be really comfortable in our new rides, thanks to the home equity advance. Jen and I are each buying one, since she gets up 20 minutes earlier than me and it’s therefore impractical for us to carpool.

We’re going to have 16 guest bedrooms and are really excited to host all of our old friends. Come and see us!