Melissa Miranda

Startups, UX, Design, and Some World Travel

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Story 17 of 100
There once was a man who owned a brown hat. It was not just any brown hat. It was a very special brown hat. It had once been in high fashion and Prince Charming of Dakotia had worn it more than a few times when he was courting a very fine lady who will remain unnamed. The hat cast just the perfect shadow over his face giving him an irresistible air of mystery, and it hid his very bald head.

One day he asked the fine lady on a boat trip down the river under the bright blue summer sky. No sooner than they had rowed past the great willow where the swans nest, a breeze picked up, grabbing just the tip of his hat. His heart skipped a beat as his hat flew up higher than the willow and spiraled down landing just down the river. “My HAAAAAT!!” He rowed madly as fast as he could, rocking the boat so much that the lady was hanging on for dear life. She could not swim. “Please! Mind the boooooaaat!” she pleaded digging finely polished nails into the wood. “My HAAAAAT!!!” was his only response, his only focus, he would do anything for that fine piece of molded felt that was getting soaked and ruined for every second it floated on the water.

The hat was recovered, her interest in him was not. She was furious, and demanded to be taken immediately back to the safety of land. She never saw him again.

And the moral of the story is that context matters. Had it been her hat, his actions would have made him her hero and at least secured him another date.

Story 17 of 100. #the100dayproject #100daysofstories by @melissamiranda and @leladjakovic. We take turns writing lines

Story 17 of 100
There once was a man who owned a brown hat. It was not just any brown hat. It was a very special brown hat. It had once been in high fashion and Prince Charming of Dakotia had worn it more than a few times when he was courting a very fine lady who will remain unnamed. The hat cast just the perfect shadow over his face giving him an irresistible air of mystery, and it hid his very bald head.

One day he asked the fine lady on a boat trip down the river under the bright blue summer sky. No sooner than they had rowed past the great willow where the swans nest, a breeze picked up, grabbing just the tip of his hat. His heart skipped a beat as his hat flew up higher than the willow and spiraled down landing just down the river. “My HAAAAAT!!” He rowed madly as fast as he could, rocking the boat so much that the lady was hanging on for dear life. She could not swim. “Please! Mind the boooooaaat!” she pleaded digging finely polished nails into the wood. “My HAAAAAT!!!” was his only response, his only focus, he would do anything for that fine piece of molded felt that was getting soaked and ruined for every second it floated on the water.

The hat was recovered, her interest in him was not. She was furious, and demanded to be taken immediately back to the safety of land. She never saw him again.

And the moral of the story is that context matters. Had it been her hat, his actions would have made him her hero and at least secured him another date.

Story 17 of 100. #the100dayproject #100daysofstories by @melissamiranda and @leladjakovic. We take turns writing lines

Filed under the100dayproject 100daysofstories

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Once upon a time there was an owl that peed in its pants. In fact, it had no idea that it was even peeing in its pants because the diaper absorbed all the wetness. And then one day mom owl forgot to buy diapers. So she sat owl down and said: “It is time to learn to use the potty”. “What’s a potty?”, owl asked. Mom owl explained about the potty with a little book about a baby owl learning to use it, and the owl got very scared. The diaper was just fine! Why change?
And then owl understood. The reason to change was because change was fun. Owl already knew how to pee in the diaper. Now it was time to learn a new technique ­ peeing in the potty. With that attitude, owl learnt very quickly and mom never had to buy another pack of diapers. This went on for some time until owl decided it was once again time for change. In the meantime, it had learnt to fly so it was time to learn to pee and fly at the same time. Mom was not so thrilled with this new technique so owl only practiced it on Sundays.
And the moral is, if you need to potty train, just forget to buy diapers. And consider an umbrella on Sundays.
Story 09 of 100. #the100dayproject #100daysofstories by @melissamiranda and @leladjakovic. We take turns writing lines in one minute flat.

Once upon a time there was an owl that peed in its pants. In fact, it had no idea that it was even peeing in its pants because the diaper absorbed all the wetness. And then one day mom owl forgot to buy diapers. So she sat owl down and said: “It is time to learn to use the potty”. “What’s a potty?”, owl asked. Mom owl explained about the potty with a little book about a baby owl learning to use it, and the owl got very scared. The diaper was just fine! Why change? And then owl understood. The reason to change was because change was fun. Owl already knew how to pee in the diaper. Now it was time to learn a new technique ­ peeing in the potty. With that attitude, owl learnt very quickly and mom never had to buy another pack of diapers. This went on for some time until owl decided it was once again time for change. In the meantime, it had learnt to fly so it was time to learn to pee and fly at the same time. Mom was not so thrilled with this new technique so owl only practiced it on Sundays. And the moral is, if you need to potty train, just forget to buy diapers. And consider an umbrella on Sundays. Story 09 of 100. #the100dayproject #100daysofstories by @melissamiranda and @leladjakovic. We take turns writing lines in one minute flat.

Filed under the100dayproject 100daysofstories

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Once upon a time there was a bathtub that really wanted to be a shower. And every day it looked up in envy at that shiny 100 nozzle shower head, marveling at the height and reach of its waterfall. “I’m just a big fat basin” he would moan at night. “I have no purpose as nobody at this hotel has time for baths any more.” Until one day a 350lb hairy man climbed inside the bathtub. He didn’t even touch the shower! And he got the poor tub all dirty and the poor tub got him all clean. As he was lying there in the warm water, he got inspired to write a poem. He named it ‘The Good Old Tub in Haggerton Hall’. “At last, my writer’s block is no more and all thanks to this lovely tub” he shouted in excitement as he exited the tub. “Huh, it’s me that inspired him, not that silly shower head.” The next day a little bitty person climbed in who could not reach the shower at all. She splashed and laughed, and threw her six little yellow ducks all around. It was the best bath of her life in such a roomy tub. And ever since that day the tub knew he was loved. He didn’t want to be a shiny shower anymore.

And the moral is of the story is, big tubs have more fun and certainly more room.


Story 04 of 100. #the100dayproject #100daysofstories by @leladjakovic and @melissamiranda. We take turns writing lines in one minute flat.

Once upon a time there was a bathtub that really wanted to be a shower. And every day it looked up in envy at that shiny 100 nozzle shower head, marveling at the height and reach of its waterfall. “I’m just a big fat basin” he would moan at night. “I have no purpose as nobody at this hotel has time for baths any more.” Until one day a 350lb hairy man climbed inside the bathtub. He didn’t even touch the shower! And he got the poor tub all dirty and the poor tub got him all clean. As he was lying there in the warm water, he got inspired to write a poem. He named it ‘The Good Old Tub in Haggerton Hall’. “At last, my writer’s block is no more and all thanks to this lovely tub” he shouted in excitement as he exited the tub. “Huh, it’s me that inspired him, not that silly shower head.” The next day a little bitty person climbed in who could not reach the shower at all. She splashed and laughed, and threw her six little yellow ducks all around. It was the best bath of her life in such a roomy tub. And ever since that day the tub knew he was loved. He didn’t want to be a shiny shower anymore.

And the moral is of the story is, big tubs have more fun and certainly more room.


Story 04 of 100. #the100dayproject #100daysofstories by @leladjakovic and @melissamiranda. We take turns writing lines in one minute flat.

Filed under the100dayproject 100daysofstories

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Stopping on a hike in Torres del Paine, I crouched down to get the flowers in front.
Been wanting to upload photos I’ve taken for a while now! For my 100 day project I’m sharing one per day #100dayproject

Stopping on a hike in Torres del Paine, I crouched down to get the flowers in front.
Been wanting to upload photos I’ve taken for a while now! For my 100 day project I’m sharing one per day #100dayproject

Filed under 100dayproject

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Tiny Post logo named one of the best startup logos.
“Tiny Post is a small, simple and fun iPhone app that allows you to take a photo, add a filter, add some text over the top and share it with your friends. The logomark hints at the app’s function, with a horizontal bars that indicate text, but manages to also be simple and minimalist.”
Made us smile. Thanks for the love!

Tiny Post logo named one of the best startup logos.

Tiny Post is a small, simple and fun iPhone app that allows you to take a photo, add a filter, add some text over the top and share it with your friends. The logomark hints at the app’s function, with a horizontal bars that indicate text, but manages to also be simple and minimalist.

Made us smile. Thanks for the love!

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The d.school idea for energizing a big room of people- a spontaneous Rock Paper Scissors championship.

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Interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek

I was interviewed by Karen Klein on Bloomberg Businessweek. My blog post about being pregnant and becoming a mom while doing a start up caught her eye.

I tell my story because a lot of investors decide to fund companies based on pattern recognition. Paul Graham has admitted to be fooled by entrepreneurs who look like Mark Zuckerberg. The more success stories of women doing startups, pregnant or not, the better our chances of getting funded in the future. 

I also hope to inspire other women to take the risk of starting their own companies. Doing a startup means taking a huge risk, perhaps the risk is a little bigger if you’re a woman, but my story proves that it’s certainly possible to succeed.

Here’s Karen’s piece in Businessweek:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-14/pitching-a-startup-while-pregnant

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The Secret Pregnant Founder

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Pregnant. That was my big secret when I was pitching (and winning :)) at Women 2.0 a year ago. Not only am I a female founder, I’ve also led my startup while becoming a mom at the same time. 

I wish we didn’t have to have this debate so I could be working instead of writing my story. I wish there wasn’t any bias in Silicon Valley. I wish I didn’t have to think carefully about how I could write this so I could still be perceived as a strong and capable individual, not a victim of gender bias or a privileged super hero (or whatever they are calling Marissa and Sheryl). But I write because we need more women in tech, and to inspire someone to join us here is to contribute to the solution.

Truth is that women are treated differently in Silicon Valley. Most people are not aware of their bias, just like symphony orchestras had no idea they were judging female musicians differently until they introduced blind auditions. Just like that, they went from being 90% male to 50-50. We don’t have blind VC pitches here, nor do we have a rigorous data set for Steven Levitt to write a chapter for the next edition of Freakonomics, so we’ll never really know how the gender bias plays out for sure.

I can say that I’ve walked into a dinner of aspiring entrepreneurs who were all male and been asked point blank: “So, how come you here?” because it was inconceivable that a woman would be founder. I also know that some smart VCs recognize their bias and are actively hiring women to source deals (so they don’t miss the next Pinterest). Silicon Valley is human, complete with faults and desire for self improvement.

I do know what it’s like to fundraise while pregnant. Awkward. Do you disclose?  Will they think that just because their wife decided to stay home you will too? Or will it all be irrelevant because the one woman you are pitching to in the room will automatically figure out that someone with your body type would never wear such an outfit unless the midline was out of sorts, and the guy in the room will notice that an excel document labeled Baby List is hanging out on your Chrome download tool bar? That’s what happened one pitch meeting, as they happily told me “we knew it!” when I ran into them again late into my 8th month. 

There is hardly any precedent for a pregnant founder pitching. Not long ago, there also used to be little precedent for couples founding companies together. Married founders give investors pause, I know because I’m married to my co-founder. It’s funny to hear VCs wonder out loud how someone could work with their spouse because they could never see themselves working with their wife, and I smile to myself at the utter irrelevancy of that observation. Investing is such imperfect science.

Now that the roster of successful married founders is growing, (thanks to EventBrite, Bebo, and hey even Y Combinator since PG’s wife, Jessica, also works there), investors no longer bat much of an eye at funding married founders. I hope the same will be true of women, and down the road in a more gender-equal future, pregnant women.

Since you are wondering what the F happened when I had the baby, I’ll tell you that we hired a great team that could execute the details while I directed high level strategy taking care of baby. We launched Tiny Post 2 weeks before I gave birth, and released a major update 2 weeks after, and grew like bottle rockets with Apple promoting us around the world. 

Was it hard? Harder than I could ever have predicted. It wasn’t just the sleepless nights or pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome, it was being responsible for a tiny human who didn’t come with an operating manual. A few times a week, I was able to walk to the office with baby sleeping in a carrier and bounce on a ball at my computer, but it was really having the full support of my co-founder and team that made it possible. It really took all of us to get through it. I’ve been back at work full time for a while now, feeling refreshed and driven. We’ve got something up our sleeve that will be revealed soon.

Am I going to get stuff accomplished as a founder and a mom? Yes. Being an entrepreneur takes guts to try to accomplish something when all the odds are stacked against you. Perhaps the odds are a little steeper for women, and once in a while I notice it, but I don’t want to get hung up on the gender bias. The best way to have more women at the top is to climb up there myself.

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The Case of Teeny Avatars - When Design Follows Engineering

Sometimes it’s so easy in Photoshop to re-design an app screen and change the size of an element:

"Look at those teeny avatars! Wouldn’t it be better to make them 30px high instead of a measly 25px?" And with a quick drag of the transform tool, your design is more beautiful and you go home happy…

Until engineering wants to shoot you. As it turns out, all those measly little avatars have been stored in S3 at 25px and your quick resize means that someone needs to run a script and resize all 3 million of them. Small task? Maybe, but depends on how many to-do’s are on their plate.

Luckily, the backend for the app that I’m helping is clean enough that engineering can get it done with minimal effort, but I’m glad that I caught that implication and got engineering go-ahead before going home happy or digging my heels thinking that 30px is the way it HAD to be.

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Getting Hubby to do Laundry

I’ve noticed that doing the laundry is a habit with a peculiar trigger: running out of clean underwear. 

2 Christmases ago, my mother in law bought my husband a kilo of new undies, and now that I think about it, I’ve been the one doing laundry ever since. 

So instead of a “talk” about getting husband to do more chores, I’m going to do a little shopping so that I’ve got, oh, 1 extra week of clean underwear than he does.

Let’s see if this works!

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Photo from Kristina. Here we are with you Josh, in front of a campfire at the beach the last night we were in LA. Isobel cozy in your arms, and you in Christine’s, Zeyad excited about everything, Aria fussing to be walked around. Starry sky, Yoram on the grill, Sidd and Shally telling jokes, Hilary walking a little dog, Kieran and Sim running around. You were wearing your fuzzy Patagonia jacket, a favorite. 
Love you. Melissa

Photo from Kristina. Here we are with you Josh, in front of a campfire at the beach the last night we were in LA. Isobel cozy in your arms, and you in Christine’s, Zeyad excited about everything, Aria fussing to be walked around. Starry sky, Yoram on the grill, Sidd and Shally telling jokes, Hilary walking a little dog, Kieran and Sim running around. You were wearing your fuzzy Patagonia jacket, a favorite. 

Love you. Melissa