Justin Keller

Founder of Commando.io

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Stripe put my startup out of business before I launched

For the last four months I’ve been traveling the world as a digital nomad (Stockholm, Romania, Prague, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin) and working full-time on my 3rd startup, Charge Control. The entire premise was to piggyback on Stripe and allow Stripe users to specifically create rules to prevent and reduce fraud and chargebacks. Yesterday my high hopes and dreams were shattered when Stripe released Radar.

First, let me congratulate Stripe. They have a track record of building amazing product and Radar is no exception. Radar not only allows users to create specific rules based on a plethora of inputs, they also have machine learning that automatically blocks high risk transactions.


At this point after reviewing Radar, it does not make sense to continue working on Charge Control. Stripe’s offering is superior and included free in their platform. There may be a market for integrating with

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Case-insensitivity with OS X using git

Today, I got bitten by OS X being case-insensitive while using git. I had a directory models with JavaScript files in it named account.js, project.js, and event.js. I decided that the models should be capitalized. Sure, no problem using trusty mv.

When I looked in git though, no changed files. WTF? I even tried changing another file and committing. Looking in the web GitHub file browser, the files were still all lowercase.


Turns out the solution is to use git mv -f.

➜  models git:(master) git mv -f account.js Account.js
➜  models git:(master) ✗ git mv -f project.js Project.js
➜  models git:(master) ✗ git mv -f event.js Event.js
➜  models git:(master) ✗ git status
    On branch master
    Changes to be committed:
      (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)

          renamed:    account.js -> Account.js
          renamed:    project.js -> Project.js

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Open letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee and Greg Suhr (police chief)

I am writing today, to voice my concern and outrage over the increasing homeless and drug problem that the city is faced with. I’ve been living in SF for over three years, and without a doubt it is the worst it has ever been. Every day, on my way to, and from work, I see people sprawled across the sidewalk, tent cities, human feces, and the faces of addiction. The city is becoming a shanty town… Worst of all, it is unsafe.

This holiday weekend, I had my parents in town from Santa Barbara and relatives from Denver and Rochester New York. Unfortunately, there was three separate incidents and countless times that we were approached for money and harassed.

The first incident involved a homeless drunken man in the morning coming up to their car and leaning up against it. Another bystander got frustrated with the drunken man, and they got into a heated pushing and shoving altercation.


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Online sportsbooks… A security and fraud nightmare

I’m a bit of a sports fanatic, especially for my local San Francisco Giants and 49ers. However march madness is my favorite, it’s like a religious holiday. Brackets, upsets, cinderellas, and those buzzer-beaters. Ohhhh my!

At any rate, I enjoy putting money on some of the madness games, and asked my friend who is an avid sports gambler which site he uses. He quickly responded 5Dimes…

“They have the best lines, most proposition bets, and nice tiered bonuses.”

The first yellow-flag (i’m not even at red yet) is their payment processor (where you provide your credit card deposit). It is hosted by a completely obscure 3rd party, and seems to rotate frequently. I pressed on though, as I had some great picks. The second yellow-flag, none of their site is encrypted via https. This definitely made me uneasy, but, gotta get those picks in.

I do have to give their betting platform some credit

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China… We need to talk.

As of late, all we seem to hear about is China hacking. Forbes. Anthem Healthcare. Microsoft. Why is it that the citizens of China are so naughty and malicious on the internet?

As the founder of a US based startup Commando.io, I just looked through all of our paying customers, and not a single one is based out of China. Yet, a quick grep of our logs revealed that most attacks against Commando.io originated from Chinese IP addresses.

I know it can be dangerous to paint with broad strokes, but the fact that no revenue comes from China, only attacks, and potential compromise, leads me to seriously consider geoip blocking all requests from China.

Why is it that China is such a bad participant on the internet?

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Being a single founder with a speech impediment

I’ve been working on Commando.io full-time for the last six months. I’ve put everything I have into the company. My life savings (twice over), waves of constant stress, and declined lucrative offers at other bay area startups. Commando.io is my lifes work. I truly love working on it.

I’ve had a speech impediment (stutter) ever since I was in grade school. In casual conversation I am usually fine, in-fact when I tell people I have a stutter they are usually surprised. Until recently it has been a complete non-factor with my startup because I’ve been able to communicate all electronically. I consider myself to have decent marketing and design chops in addition to an engineering background. I’ve been able to grow Commando.io to thousands of users and started making revenue this month.

However, lately I’ve been taking meetings with investors, doing phone calls with potential enterprise

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The shower epiphany

I can with ultimate confidence tell you that I do my best thinking and brainstorming in the shower. It’s something unknown, a mystery that will elude scholar’s, but somehow complex things and abstract ideas become clear and concise in the shower. It just all makes sense somehow.

On many occasions I’ve been stuck on a problem with my startup, thinking about optimizing a block of code, or what new feature should be created. I then hop into the shower, and then while feeling completely tranquil and transparent, have profound Eureka moments. If only I could get a full eight hours a day of my superhero shower time, I would be unstoppable.

It just goes to show that most often the brain is overwhelmed with too many thoughts, background tasks, and noise. If you remove these distractions, and filter your brain to a smaller focus, its truely astonishing the results that can be achieved.

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My hand written notes from Startup School 2013

Terribly sorry about the horrendous handwriting. My penmanship clearly needs a bit of work.

 Phil Libin / Founder, Evernote


 Dan Siroker / Founder, Optimizely

 Ron Conway / Partner, SV Angel


page 3

 Chris Dixon / Partner, A16z

page 4

 Diane Greene / Founder, VMWare

page 5

 Balaji Srinivasan / Founder, Counsyl

page 6

 Chase Adam / Founder, Watsi

page 7

 Jack Dorsey / Founder, Twitter/Square

page 8

page 9

 Mark Zuckerberg / Founder, Facebook


 Nathan Blecharczyk / Founder, AirBnB


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Tesla model S and the three laws of robotics

Model S

On Wednesday there was a claim of a nearly brand new Tesla model S catching on fire. See the video posted on YouTube:


Speculation was rampant that the highly touted and supposedly insanely safe battery pack was the culprit. The rumors did not go over well with TSLA stock, which also by chance got downgraded earlier in the morning by Baird.

Tesla quickly fired back though, with an official statement of:

As soon as the vehicle collided with the object, it started running diagnostic tests. It found a problem and told the driver to pull over and immediately get out of the vehicle. After that, the vehicle started to smoke, and then the fire started. The design of the Model S purposely vented the fire to the front and side of the vehicle so that the driver compartment was not compromised.

Did everybody fully digest that? The model S, a piece of

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