Over the past two years I’ve published lists of what I call tweetphorisms (tweets + aphorisms). Check out part 1 and part 2. Here’s the third round!


  • Knowledge and conviction seem to be inversely correlated in most people
  • Silicon Valley vs San Francisco: the choice is great weather and boredom or bad weather and fun.
  • As a parent I rarely punish bad behavior. I reward good behavior to the point that opportunity cost of bad behavior is too high 🙂
  • He who never arrived at school afraid of being beaten up was… a bully.
  • A way to understand how developed a nation is is watching how drivers treat pedestrians.
  • When government policies fail, many think that whoever implemented them was evil. Why is it so hard to think they were just wrong?
  • One of the benefits of doing well is be able to say what you believe is true. Also one of the benefits of not running for office.
  • Some have a hard time changing their mind because they think that when they change their mind they change their values.
  • In life you should aim very high. Because, if you miss, you may still end up high enough.
  • In my world everything is possible, some things are probable, few are likely and nothing is certain
  • One of the reason that such few people are successful in business is because few understand the concept of probability tied to risk
  • Two benefits of the crisis, less pollution, less money for corruption.
  • The ego concept has evolved over time to only mean big ego. But having the right amount of ego is essential to do well in life.
  • Being Jewish is a culture that sometimes comes accompanied by a religion.
  • Americans think Europe has a lot of crazy laws. Europeans think America has a lot of crazy lawyers.
  • I think all languages should start calling countries by the name they chose for themselves. We would all learn more about the world.
  • Shaving used to be the only activity that felt like it would last for weeks but only lasted a day. Now it’s shaving and updating apps.
  • The problem with generalizations is bad generalizations, others are extremely useful, in business and in life.
  • You are only as happy as your saddest child
  • In German the word for blame and debt is the same: schuld
  • A company stops being a start up when it becomes self sufficient, profitable, sustainable.
  • International security worries nowadays are not about tanks, but about banks.
  • Knowing how to explain yourself is almost more important than having something to say.
  • Hedge funds exist because even though information is widely distributed intelligence is not.
  • Copyright holders make a mistake calling file sharers Pirates. Pirates are likable characters for kids.
  • Holding yourself to a high standard is great. But for happiness sake, better set somewhat lower standards and overachieve.
  • Many think there’s a lot of value in secrecy. But in start ups there is a lot more value in sharing!
  • I would love to see a calendar that is made of days of the year from 1 to 365 without regard to weeks of months.
  • People think that an IPO makes people rich when what it does, is it makes them liquid.
  • I wonder what the world would be like if transplanting a brain was as easy as transplanting a kidney
  • Universities make a mistake funding research through teaching. Being good at research does not mean being a great teacher.
  • What works best in the world is capitalism moderated by a welfare state.
  • One positive aspect of Twitter is that it encourages people to disclose things that otherwise they would keep to themselves.
  • During the last decades, we have gone from wanting to know to wanting to believe. Last time we did that we got the Middle Ages.
  • Maybe Catholic countries have more problems in becoming democratic because catholicism isn’t.
  • When dressing formally men are supposed to look all alike and women to make sure that none of them look alike.
  • Entrepreneurs are smart people with a compass for opportunity
  • 10 years later: the Internet Bubble was not Internet destroying the financial sector but the financial sector destroying Internet.
  • Considering how unAmerican Jesus was in his thinking it is surprising how much he is followed in USA
  • Some say there are too many people in the planet but I think that there are more people to come up with solutions to our problems.
  • I wonder how many products we use regularly would improve if there were no patents.
  • Complacency: if you repeatedly tell people how great they are they may not be so for much longer.
  • The problem with experience is that it makes you apply old solutions to new problems
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Twitter just tried that useless sponsored trend bar that is of no benefit to users known as the “dickbar”.  After this failure, Twitter will probably try regular ads. That will be less annoying but still not the current Twitter experience.  Now one way Twitter could make tons of money and keep their wonderful experience intact is to charge businesses.   How would this work?  Well if a brand wants to be on Twitter, and most brands in the world already are, so say if they want to STAY on twitter, they will be charged something like $10 per month per every 1000 followers they have on Twitter.  Why would the brands pay?  Because they use twitter to reach their customers.  In this way it is brands that will think about how to make the best use of Twitter and Twitter continues to look and feel the same way while they make money for bringing followers to businesses.

Facebook could do the same btw, charge businesses to open pages and groups and let people do it for free.

In all this I would make an exception for media businesses or businesses who enrich the eco system.

A few months ago I published a list of what I call tweetphorisms (tweets + aphorisms). Here’s the second round! You can also check out my spanish list here.

  • I started Fon because I wanted WiFi everywhere. I recommend that your next start up solves a problem that is dear to you.
  • The Stop sign system is a waste of energy. They should replace Stop signs for Yield signs.
  • Twitter should allow you to hyperlink, it would look better and save characters.
  • Small victory in the world of the intercontinental traveler, an empty seat next to me.
  • If you want to understand Wikileaks 250K cables at a personal level think what would happen if all your emails were visible to everyone
  • As a father of four I can tell you that there is nothing genetic about sharing. The younger, the more selfish 🙂
  • Fashion can be interesting but expensive clothes rarely are
  • Having oil makes countries dumb
  • It is absurd to speak about gender equality, genders are by nature different. Feminist objective should be “equal pay for equal work.”
  • Twitter is like a classroom, of all the people you follow there are always a few who raising their hands all the time
  • Frequently people ask me to invest but even more frequently they ask me if I have key managers to recommend. People are more important than money
  • I know people who never update their software and somehow, they seem very happy
  • Religion is a proof that absurdity is more comforting than ignorance.
  • Unread messages should self destruct after a week and sender notified.
  • One of the key uses of Skype for me is that green check showing me whether I have connectivity or not.
  • There is a fine line between experience and prejudice
  • Europe must introduce the concept of personal bankruptcy if it wants people to take the business risks that innovation requires.
  • Entrepreneurs who are afraid of VCs taking over their company forget that VCs are VCs because they cant be entrepreneurs.
  • As much as you may like your smartphone or iPad, dont you love it when you go back to your laptop?
  • 3G is great (when you can’t find WiFi)
  • A weakness of democracy is that it takes very different skills to get elected than to govern.
  • Made in USA sells in USA, made in Japan sells in Japan, made in Germany sells in Germany, made in Spain does not sell in Spain, why?

I would like my twitter client to come with twitter speed numbers. I would like to know how fast my Timeline is moving in terms of tweets per hour. How fast my @mentions are moving. So then people would recommend say to get an ex number of people you follow until you reach a certain Twitter speed and then stop because otherwise you can’t possibly keep up. @mentions feed speeds would also be a measure of relevance of whatever it is you are tweeting.

First the usual disclosures. Google is an investor in Fon. Twitter has no relationship with Fon, but I know Ev Williams a little and some investors like Chris Sacca well. Personally I think that neither investments nor friendship will taint the objectivity of this post, but disclosing is better than non disclosing.

Now the post.

Google knows that Twitter is both an opportunity and a threat. Twitter is a threat because it is instant search – compared to Google’s crawled (slow) search – but also because, in many cases, Twitter yields better results. For example, what is the point of collecting a 3-year link history for a fashion brand and give search results if the most relevant information about that fashion brand may be that 5 minutes ago a hugely followed celebrity says she’s crazy about it. Twitter is now big enough to move the needle in the real world quickly enough for Google to miss it.

Now here is the opportunity:

Google is great at creating hierarchies of information. The original idea of Google, which comes from science, is that “he/she who is linked to the most must be saying the most relevant things”. Now what is missing is that same analysis but cranked on Twitter data.

How would I refine search in Twitter? To me there are two measures of Twitter relevance. One is how many followers a persons has, and the other one how frequently this person is retweeted. In my opinion, the opportunity for Google is to use its computing power to come up with very relevant, instant answers to problems using Google results, Twitter results and when using Twitter ranking according to followers and retweets. To that, it should add PINGED results, namely results whose location on the web has been volunteered as in blogs or news. To see a ping search engine check out Technorati in which I am an investor.

Google created a meritocracy on the internet. If you have a high Google ranking, what you say, for example in your blog, matters more in search. Well, I think Google is the company most equipped to blend crawled search with real time search by combining Google results, Twitter results and PINGED results (results that were not crawled but picked up from recent blog and news pings).

Here’s a small experiment I did called “unfolding news” that shows the beginning of a twitter+news+blog results. This is what you get when you search for “ash cloud” in unfolding news. This is what you get when you search for “ash cloud” in Google. Unfolding news is an experiment that does not use Google results, but I find it more useful than Google for learning about things that are happening or “unfolding”. Google could do a much better job blending “old web” and “new web” sources.

Conclusion: instead of wasting time with Buzz emulating or copying Twitter, Google could complement Twitter with what Twitter needs most, making sense out of searching something in Twitter.

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Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Skype should add Twitter to its app. It should then merge. How? By adding the s command and the t command in Twitter. So, when you are in Twitter, you can say @martinvars and get to me with anyone reading, or d martinvars, to write directly to me. But then you could also t martinvars and text sms me: s martinvars to skype me, or t martinvars to call me.

The easiest way to do this would be for Skype to buy a big Twitter client like Seesmic or Tweetdeck and integrate it into Skype.

The key here is that Skype already has people’s phone numbers because of Skype Out and these need to be merged with Twitter names.

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