Showing posts from April, 2010

Could 2011 Be Venmo's Year?

2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

2009 was Twitter's year. 2010 is looking to be FourSquare's year. Twitter is in a better shape today than ever before, but it no longer has the buzz it had last year around this time. FourSquare's buzz will also subside. That is the nature of the innovation market. If they don't make the mistake of selling the company, (FourSquare Must Cut A Deal With Yahoo) I think FourSquare will go on to be a viable business that is no longer always in the headlines. Some company will take the space that FourSquare will at some point exit. Which company will that be? I might be proven wrong, but if I had to take a guess, if I were forced to come up with one name, the horse I am betting on is Venmo.

2011 could very well be Venmo's year. Venmo is a hot possibility that some venture capitalist wanting to strike gold needs to lap it up fast. The Venmo team deserves to go work full time on their beautiful product. T…

Reimagining The Inbox The Simple Way

2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

If You Like Your Inbox, Keep It

Like Obama never tired of saying on the campaign trail for health care reform, if you like your current coverage, you get to keep it. So if you like your current inbox where you get emails from your friends and family and those dictators in Nigeria, you get to keep it. You actively would have to choose to go for the multi inbox option. (Obama's Got Momentum: He Could Defy History In November)

The Inbox As A Spectrum

All human beings are created equal, but that does not apply to emails. All emails are not equal. And the inbox has to reflect that.

Inbox 1

This is the inbox that you see when you log in. These are emails sent by people whose emails you have saved as contacts. These are emails sent only to you and not to a group of people.

Inbox 2

Emails sent by people whose emails you have saved as contacts, but these emails have also been sent to other people at the same time.

Inbox 3


Dropio's Indian Cofounder Darshan


The FourSquare Appeal For Me

(1) Cutting Edge

FourSquare is on the cutting edge. (Fractals: Apple, Windows 95, Netscape, Google, Facebook, Twitter) I would add FourSquare at the end if I were doing this blog post today.

2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

(2) New York City

I love this city like no other geographical location on earth. FourSquare is the hottest technology company in town, and it is one of the hottest tech companies out there, period. They are a hometown gig. That is illustrious. I take unabashed hometown pride in FourSquare.

Silicon Valley Vs. New York City
Dennis, Fred, Scott: Tweet Boom Tweet Boom
Silicon City
New York City: Transformed Forever?

(3) Mobile

The mobile web is bigger and growing faster than the old web. There location is key. Location is the starting point of the FourSquare experience, and that is so in sync with the mobile web.

The iPhone, Nexus One, Or Droid?

(4) My People

This is key. I am a Third World guy. This is existential to me. This is spiritual. T…

What Are You Doing Monday? Come Meet Al Wenger

Reshma Saujani: Innovation, Ethnic Pride, Thought Leadership

Start-Up NY: Innovation and Technology Startups in New York

Reshma Saujani's Innovation Advisory Board is hosting an event on the evening of May 3rd called "Start-up NY: Innovation and Technology Startups in New York".

Moderated by prominent tech blogger Meghan Asha, Saujani has gathered six panelists with backgrounds in venture capital, education, politics, entrepreneurship and social networking to discuss technology and innovation in New York City.

Panelists include:

Albert Wenger, Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures (The event is near Union Square)
Dina Kaplan, Co-founder,
Evan Korth, Clinical Associate Professor, NYU; Organizer, NY Hackathon
Franklin Madison,Technology Program Director, ITAC (Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation)
Nate Westheimer, Executive Director, NY Tech Meetup; Co-founder, AnyClip
Reshma Saujani, Community Activist and Democratic Congressional Candidate, NY District…

FourSquare Must Cut A Deal With Yahoo

Carol Bartz wanting to buy Yahoo is no longer a rumor, this TechCrunch post makes it more than official.
TechCrunch: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz On Foursquare: It Depends On How Much Money They WantThe topic on everyone’s lips was Yahoo’s rumored talks with Foursquare ..... Bartz’s response: “It depends how much money they want.”Selling FourSquare would be a mistake, a huge mistake, a fatal mistake, taking $10 million at a $80 million valuation from a VC firm would be a good move, but the best move at this point would be to take $10 million from Yahoo upfront and then $10 million annually thereafter to be reevaluated in two years to add location to as many Yahoo properties as possible. Just like Twitter took $25 million each from Google and Microsoft to let them offer tweets as search results so as to be able to claim they also now do real time search, FourSquare should also make money by letting Yahoo be able to say Yahoo now does location in a big way.

Take $10 million right away, and the…


"Where do you live?"

What do you do? Where do you live? When you go to an event, those are some of the first questions people who don't know you ask you. They can be nice ice breaker questions. They open up the conversation.

Where do you live? That can also be a question asked by someone who really prides himself/herself in knowing the names of many different neighborhoods in the city. When I was new in the city, I did not realize that. I'd say I live in the city. Then I started saying I live in Brooklyn. People would say, where in Brooklyn? I'd say near Prospect Park. And people would get impressed. Wow, we have a Park Slope dude over here. I did not live west of the park, but south.

Cultural diversity is my favorite thing about this city. People from every little town on earth live here. How do I know that? People from every little town in Nepal live here. I know that. And Nepal is the poorest country on earth outside of Africa. So I am extrapolating that. Peo…

Digital Dumbo: Here I Come

Dumbo. Directly under the Manhattan Brooklyn overpass. At first I did not know the full form name. But it was a great sound, like Yahoo, or Google, supposedly meaningless, but a great sounding name. I thought some of the techies in town came over to this semi vacated part of the city, drove away the rest of the inhabitants, mostly homeless people, and took over. That is what Dumbo feels like.

Dumbo is special in the NY tech ecosystem. I am not aware of another geographical locale quite like it. There are some very cool office spaces around town, some of which look like abandoned artist spaces. But Dumbo is the only place that is not one office, or even one street, but an entire neighborhood, although it is not that big of a neighborhood.

Ignite, Set It On Fire

Come to think of it I lived in Brooklyn for my first few years in the city. I lived south of Prospect Park. That is quite a distance from Dumbo. But a few times I walked from Times Square to where I lived. I'd start out arou…

The Jack Dorsey Story

I came across this post on TechCrunch linked to from Fred Wilson's blog. It is really something. Jack (@jack) is the guy who invented Twitter. The first tweet is like the first phone call. The post is worth the read.
The guy is from the Midwest. He grew up in St. Louis. A guy who went to the same high school as me in Kathmandu and the same college in Kentucky lives there now.He started out at Missouri State.He taught himself programming early.He has a thing for New York.  ".....One night, I couldn’t sleep, I just had to write a prototype script. It would sit on a server, take incoming emails, broadcast them out to a list, and also record them in a database that I could view on the Web.” That was the first glimmer of Twitter......But for a variety of reasons, dNET did not get traction in the market, and so Jack embarked on a period of freelance programming before joining a podcasting start-up called Odeo, primarily to work with Evan (a.k.a. @ev) Williams, formerly of Google....…

FourSquare Office, Dropio Technology


So I checked into the FourSquare office near Cooper Union at precisely 4:16 PM. I walked in and there was no receptionist just three rows of people, mostly guys, staring at their screens. I caught a glimpse of Naveen (@naveen) from a distance. The guy I had met in the elevator walked over to me and said I needed to email Evan, and that he was out for a few days. He was the one who handled job applications.

4:16 PM @ FourSquare

I emailed Evan once I got back, but one very likely scenario: I never hear from FourSquare. They are hot, they must be getting a firehose of resumes daily. They might not even actively be looking. Oh, well. But I will give it a few days before I come to that conclusion.

I am suggesting thinking of the behavior of a large number of people approaches science and has to be given the same respect as coding. They might not bite. I carried on that same meme to my conversation with the MeetUp CTO Greg a few hours later. MeetUp has a great team of techies as i…

4:16 PM @ FourSquare

Not Union Square Ventures

I am in a job mood and I have decided to show up at the FourSquare office later today. 4:16 PM sounds like a good time to show up.

FourSquare HQ
36 Cooper Sq
at E 6th St
New York, NY 10003
Marketing DirectorBusiness Development DirectorJobs: Everything Else .... Dying to join foursquare and a rock star in an area not listed above? Send your resume to anyways with a note on how you can help!I am not a developer/coder although I think you should check out my LinkedIn page to see all the languages I have picked up along the way, only two of which I was ever formally taught. Some of my strengths I have talked about here: Union Square Ventures Job Opening: I Am Applying. Fred Wilson thinks I am "overqualified" for Union Square Ventures, or at least for the two open positions, so I must be just right for FourSquare, I figured, the hottest tech company in town.

I Have Been Quoted In Fast Company
2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbo…

I Have Been Quoted In Fast Company

This morning I had a DM - direct message - on Twitter from Shane Snow. (bio)(@shanesnow): Hey great meeting you the other day. Did you see your quote in the fastcompany story last weekend? Anyway, stay in touch!

I remembered this guy vividly from Fred Wilson's blog yesterday, but we have met? I shot him a DM: We met? I am quoted? Where? Send me the link. Thanks.

Fred Wilson: A DJ

Then I am thinking to myself, wait a minute. Is this the same guy I talked to at the FourSquare party?

4/16: I Found Myself A Party: Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night

I went to the Fast Company website and did a search on FourSquare.

Foursquare vs. Gowalla: Inside the Check-In Wars | Fast Company
Foursquare Steps Up its Location-Based Content With Zagat, HBO
Foursquare Adds Another Big Partner: Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine
Playing Foursquare: A Mobile Social Game That Makes Friend-Finding...
Foursquare Offers Analytics to Businesses, Enables Easy Customer...
Gowalla + Foursquare + Brightkite + Yelp + Google …

Not Union Square Ventures


2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

I am not suggesting all four spaces carry equal weight; they don't. Location carries more weight than all the rest put together. 2010 is location's year. By now that is conventional wisdom. I can see why, and I buy into it. But these strike me as spaces to watch for this year. One of the other three might claim 2011 as their year. And I am open to adding other spaces to the list if I can find them, read up on them, imagine them. This list of four is by far not exhaustive. Charlie (@ceonyc) had a blog post a few weeks back (my comment) that ranked high on my vision grid, and he talked about some spaces he would like to see action in as an early stage investor. And he does not even touch upon these four spaces. So what you are looking for impacts what you see. There's plenty of exciting stuff happening in many directions. The 2010s will be what the 1990s should have been but weren't. We will dream big again, only this time there will be less fluff. Real businesses will …