Miles Beckett

Creator of lonelygirl15. Co-founder/CEO of EQAL. Medical doctor. Rabble-rouser.

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The #Dorner #LAPD Story is Tragic, Scary, Terrifying, and Oh-So-Meta

I’m back. Yes, it’s been awhile. The holidays. New Years in New Orleans. Lotsa work post-acquisition. Blah, blah, blah. No excuses, back to blogging.

Anyway, this Dorner story is fascinating. it’s tragic, scary, and terrifying, but it’s also a fascinating example of how news propagates through our new media network of Twitter, blogs, and traditional outlets like CNN. I’m curating all of the activity online with a Storify that I’ll be updating regularly and attempting to provide a balanced perspective.

But… what’s even more interesting is observing how information flows across the new media landscape. Here’s how I experienced the story today:

  1. Heard on NPR that there was a manhunt for a former LAPD officer who had killed another police officer and a civilian
  2. Saw an update on Flipboard, a story on the LA Times website, updating that...

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The role of empathy in product design

Good product design is about building a tool that solves a problem. Great product design is about empathizing with your users and building a product they completely fucking love (or hate). Indifference is the enemy. It’s all about sex, love, and violence (thanks for the inspiration Dave!).

Like it or not, we’re just talking, domesticated apes, and no matter how intellectually enlightened we like to think we are, each of us is moved as much by emotion as logic. (PA1) If you want to build a product that moves your users, then you must understand their needs, wants, and desires. You need to get inside their heads Inception-style.

Professional UI/UX designers have formalized this idea into a comprehensive user-centered design process, at the heart of which are idealized user [personas](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(user_experience) created by synthesizing feedback from...

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“Don’t worry, it isn’t porn”

BuzzFeed recently featured lonelygirl15 on a list as one of the Top 20 most important online videos of all time (wow!), and it got me thinking about how the show came to be. It actually almost didn’t. Many times.

I’ve learned over the years that taking the direct approach in business is always the best. Having an uncomfortable conversation is never easy, and everyone prefers to avoid conflict. This is why so many people are passive aggressive or simply avoid difficult situations. But, if you want to actually solve a problem and communicate effectively, you need to cut to the chase.

This was one of those times where the direct approach worked, even though it meant I had to explain to our top choice for the lead role why lonelygirl15 wasn’t porn.

We had spent weeks wading through hundreds of headshots and dozens of auditions searching for our star, and Jessica Rose was...

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Small tasks, big goals

How do you achieve your goals? When you think about a big goal that you want to achieve, it can be overwhelming and often you don’t know where to begin. Back in 2005 when I was slaving away as a surgery intern, I realized that medicine wasn’t the right fit for me and I decided to switch careers into the burgeoning world of online video.

Google had recently gone IPO, MySpace was blowing up (in the good way), and podcasting had recently been invented and was rising to prominence. Everything indicated that the advertising base, audience scale, and content syndication tools were in place for online video to finally become a major industry. I wanted to be a part of it.

Needless to say, I had zero connections, little experience producing videos, and very little technical knowledge. The goal seemed overwhelming and the number of steps I needed to take to achieve my goal seemed to...

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New beginnings

After months of negotiations, it’s now official - EQAL has been acquired by Everyday Health.

It’s been an incredible few years founding and growing this business from an idea to over 80 employees and a successful exit. The lessons I’ve learned are numerous, and I’m looking forward to sharing all of them with as much transparency and candor as I can stomach (or legally divulge).

Over the past few years I’ve watched the LA startup community go from wannabe to reality. I’m a mentor at Launchpad LA, an advisor to several of the best startups in LA (IMHO), and a product geek at my core.

I haven’t done much blogging in a long time, except for a couple stints on TechCrunch and PandoDaily, but I figured it would be fun to try my hand at it again.

My next post will be something juicy… I just need to cook it up…

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