Showing posts from October, 2010

Digital Dumbo 21

"Can I come in?" I opened the door slightly and said.

"You are the first person to show. Come in," said organizer Kaitlin Villanova from across the hall.

Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (3)

I got off the train at Union Square because I was running a little early, maybe a lot early. That gave me more walking distance. I take joy in walking. Right by Union Square on the sidewalk I got randomly stopped by an Ethiopian woman with a Masters from New York University who worked for a children's organization. It was a nice talk. I sent her a Facebook email the following day.

Microsoft's Gesture

New York Times: Microsoft’s Push Into Gesture Technology: was buying Canesta, a small Silicon Valley company that specializes in gesture-recognitiontechnology. ..... “I’m excited to be way out in front and want to push the pedal on that,” Mr. Ballmer said. .... could equip PCs, televisions, cars, cellphones and other devices with gesture recognition features. .... James Spare, chief executive of Canesta, who is a former Microsoft executive. “There is no other company more committed to natural user interfaces than Microsoft,” Mr. Spare added..... Last year, Microsoft acquired 3DV systems, a company with similar gesture recognition technology. That deal coupled with the Canest
Image via Wikipediaa purchase may prevent competitors from acquiring these 3-D abilities and cut off potential intellectual property squabbles. Canesta has secured 44 patents in this area and has more pending. I have a feeling Microsoft just might regain its dignity through this move. I don't see it gaini…

Executive Change At Twitter

New York Times: Why Twitter’s C.E.O. Demoted Himself: for all its astonishing growth, Twitter has succeeded in spite of itself ...... I’ve screwed up in many, many, many ways in terms of managing people and product decisions and business ..... he excels at understanding what Internet users want and contemplating Twitter’s future, but isn’t a detail-oriented task manager. I don't know much about Dick Costolo, except that he sold FeedBurner to Google like Evan Williams sold Blogger to Google. To Ev's credit, Blogger remains my favorite social media platform, more so than Facebook and Twitter. It is that sentiment that gave me the confidence to speak my mind here: Twitter Is Massively Complex.

First Time Entrepreneurs Getting Screwed

Mike Arrington: "That first company I started made a lot of money for the venture capitalists – nearly $30 million – but next to nothing for the founders." I have heard this story from someone else I know. His first company got sold for a lot of money - multiples more than Mike's - but he made only a tiny bit of money in the process. In other words, he got screwed.

Unique URL For Facebook Updates

Image by Google via CrunchBaseWhile I was reading this TechCrunch post about the father of Google Wave jumping ship to go join Facebook, I came across something I have wanted a long time. For a long time I have wanted every Facebook update of mine to have a unique URL that gets automatically fed to the search engines. My privacy settings on Facebook have been to Everyone from the outset.

Am I Smart?

When you start talking in terms of a tech startup with IPO ambitions, I think it is fair for people to ask if you are smart. I am smart. I am plenty smart. I am a ton smart. But I don't walk into a room thinking I am the smartest person in the room. I don't think I ever have. Because when I enter a room, I am not looking at a mirror, I am looking at other people. I am eager to listen to what others have to say. And when people are being themselves they are interesting as a rule. I l-o-v-e making small talk with street vendors, for example. The street is not a room.

Binary Investments, The Middle Kingdom, And Super Exits

Fred Wilson: The Fallacy Of Bimodal Returns: startup returns are not bimodal. They exhibit more of a power law curve. There will certainly be one or two venture deals every year that generate 100x or more. And there will certainly be quite a few total busts. But there are a lot of outcomes in the middle of those two. Binary is the term used by Ron Conway, the guy in Silicon Valley who invests like he had perennial diarrhea. I read him using the term in a TechCrunch blog post a few weeks back. Binary works for him. It works because he has a track record over almost two decades, or at least a decade and a half, of not having missed out on any good deal in the Valley. He has been in all the top companies. He has also managed to get into FourSquare. And he keeps spreading the love far and wide. This past year I think he put 60% of his money into New York companies.

Engineering, Creativity, Sector Reform, Sector Revolution

Fred Wilson: The Creative Phase: The digital technology revolution was, from the day the transistor was invented in the late 40s until the early part of last decade, largely about engineering. It is still very much about engineering but I've been thinking for a while now that as this revolution matures, it is becoming more and more about creativity and less about engineering. Fred calls it creativity and says maybe that is not the right word. He talks about engineers having become less central to tech startup efforts, and then backpedals, wait, I don't mean to say engineers are not important, they are.

A Blogger Is Not A Columnist

Image by UMDNJ School of Nursing via FlickrWhen some companies decide to get into blogging they realize they have finally figured out a way to make it more possible for more people at their own pace, at their own time to read their press releases. If you missed one of ours, dig into the archives, they are all there.

Some celebrity journalists or public figures in general think blogging is about becoming a newspaper columnist, something they always wanted to do, but no big name newspaper saw the light, and hence, people, people, people, here's my blog, get enlightened.

Social Graph, Social Concentric Circles


Vinod Khosla's Green Tech Sweep

TechCrunch: Khosla Completes The VC Triumvirate At Disrupt: In 2004, he created Khosla Ventures to invest his own money and began to dive deep into greentech, while still keeping his hand in infotech. Always known for being a risk junkie and identifying big opportunities early, he started to build one of the deepest portfolios of greentech investments in the Valley. Last year, he finally took outside money, raising $1.1 billion for two new funds, including a seed fund.... His greentech portfolio covers everything from power generation, batteries, and advanced hydrocarbons to water, plastics, and chemicals.

VCs Have To Raise Money Too

Intellectually they know, but at an emotional level a ton of tech entrepreneurs end up feeling VCs were just born with the cash to dispense with, if they will just open up the wallet and dole out the money, don't they realize the world needs to be changed?

Cyber Warlordism

States are going to do what states are going to do. With Russia it was nuclear weapons technology, with China it might be cyber. There will be no casualties, but there will be losses. The elements that have to be factored in are the non state actors, the criminal gangs, and the terrorist groups and even the occasional misguided teenager. What is the extent of havoc those non state actors could create?

Nexus Two, Take One

Image by Getty Images via @daylifeGoogle doing Nexus One early this year - or was it late last year - was a big departure for the software giant. It does not feel that way any more because the company by now is into wind farms and cars and monorails. But back then hardware, any hardware, felt like a big departure.

Google Car, Google Monorail
Offshoring The Wind Harvesting: Google Wind

Other than that the Nexus Two would have the newest version of Android, what would be the rest of the features? Will it just have the best of the best phones now? What additional features could there be?

Phones Not Tied To Carriers

Image via WikipediaLaptops don't come tied to cable internet companies. Why do phones come tied to phone companies? You should be able to buy a phone, and it should be wi-fi enabled, and you should not have to pay anything in addition to what you pay for your internet access, and you should have Skype on your phone, and that is it. Smartphones are app heavy in the first place. All they need is internet access. What they need is wi-fi.

Is Brazil The Microsoft Of Soccer?

Image via WikipediaBrazil is supposed to be one of the eternal powerhouses of soccer. Or so I thought. This year a lot of the old powers were gone by the wayside. Italy was nowhere in the picture. England was out fast. France, did they even qualify? This year saw a new world order in soccer.

Facebook Photo Album: Brasil

Social Is A Pendulum Swing

Image via WikipediaThis tumblog post got me thinking about a theme I have thought about for a while now and have been meaning to blog about.

Social that is all the rage is a pendulum swing. The pendulum will inevitably swing the other way. That does not mean we will all go back to doing Google searches, if we ever stopped doing that. The pendulum swing is going to mean that there is going to be a renewed focus on the individual at some point down the line.

Ageism And Entrepreneurship

I believe you can start a company at any age. I believe you can join a startup team at any age. I don't believe a startup has to do with coding and coding alone. There is always room for startups in every industry, in every sector of the economy.

Does Robert Scoble Know Me?

Image via WikipediaMaybe he does. Likely he does not. I have left a few comments at his blog. I have retweeted a few of his tweets. I have a Direct Message from him on Twitter, and I know enough about him to know that does not make me special. I mean, that guy has thousands of "friends" on FourSquare. He asks to be stalked. I don't think he has self esteem issues. I think he is a social media guinea pig to himself. He wants to go out there and try it out. He once retweeted one of my tweets. He has replied to one or more of my comments at his blog.

Larry Is Not Done Yet

Image via WikipediaLarry Ellison is not done, if he is ever done.
Reuters: Oracle CEO claims can prove wrongdoing by new HP CEO: Hewlett-Packard Co's incoming CEO oversaw a scheme to steal Oracle's software by rival SAP AG..... Oracle seeking some $2 billion in damages ..... Then HP hired SAP's former CEO, Leo Apotheker, to replace Hurd and named former Oracle COORay Lane as its chairman. ..... Ellison said in a statement that Oracle intends to subpoena Apotheker, but it could not do so because the executive has been living outside the jurisdiction of the San Francisco area court that will try the case..... Apotheker is due to start work on Monday at HP ..... "A few weeks ago I accused HP's new CEO, Leo Apotheker, of overseeing an industrial espionage scheme centering on the repeated theft of massive amounts of Oracle's software. A major portion of this theft occurred while Mr. Apotheker was CEO of SAP," Ellison said .... "HP's Chairman, Ray Lane…

Microsoft: Smartphone, Tablet, Bar Code

Image via CrunchBase
TechFlash: Microsoft Tag claims front-runner status among next-gen barcodes: Microsoft this morning claimed new momentum for its Microsoft Tag technology, which lets people scan color barcodes with their phones to automatically connect to online sites, phone numbers and other corners of the digital world. According to Microsoft, more than 1 billion Tags have been printed in the past four months, fueled by heavy usage in magazines and other print campaigns.

I Am In Finance, Microfinance

Reverend, What Do You Do?

Microfinance as a for profit, high tech proposition.

Paul Graham: Disrupt


China, The US, And The Economic Crisis

Social Ties And Social Media

Image via WikipediaChris Dixon: You Need To Use Social Services To Understand Them: I’ve made more strong ties through Twitter (and blogging) than I have through any communications medium I’ve ever used before...... I barely tweeted or blogged for a long time .... the insistence of Caterina, who had the foresight to insist that everyone at Hunch blog, tweet, contribute to open source projects, etc. ...... I now get some of my best ideas from responses to tweets and blog posts, and have developed dozens of strong relationships through the experience. This Gladwell article in The New Yorker has been making the rounds. Biz Stone talked against it in an article in The Atlantic. He figured between The New Yorker and The Atlantic one is the Republican Party and the other is the Democratic Party. Chris Hughes countered the Gladwell article almost immediately at his tumblog.

Net Neutrality, Google's "Monopoly," Internet 2



(Source: Business Insider)

Self-Serve Makes Sense For GroupOn, Also FourSquare

Image via WikipediaYipit: Groupon Reveals Its Future Lies In Self-Serve: “Groupon Stores is a place where your favorite, local businesses can sign up, create a store page, and post deals at anytime for you to see. Welcome to the future of Groupon.” ..... if self-serve can dramitically increase the number of available offers then personalization should improve..... Receiving offers is already one of the leading reasons for consumers to follow businesses on Facebook and Twitter

Sunshine, Water, Rest, Air, Exercise, Diet

Image by Joi via FlickrThe best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.

~Nursery rhyme

(Via Caterina Fake)

Not Yet The Era Of Grassroots Governance

Dean 2004 - and I was part of it - was a little too early. But Obama 2008 finally had the grassroots lay a claim to the presidency. So the electioneering part is done. But we are not yet in the era of grassroots governance. 2009 did not feel like 2008. 2010 has not felt like 2008. It is because we are not there yet. is a big step in the right direction, but we are not there yet. Not enough data has been released. And not enough data is being served in compelling ways for the grassroots to munch upon. A thing to do is to make it possible for the people at the grassroots to follow the debates and discussions and votes on Capitol Hill in meaningful ways. Who is saying what? What are their track records? What are the implications of what they are saying and how they intend to vote? What would be the Web 2.0 version of the Congressional Budget Office?

Reverend, What Do You Do?

Image via WikipediaA black comic once asked Jesse Jackson on national television, "But, Reverend, what exactly it is that you do!" Let me try and answer that question for my well wishers.

Me and my small team are exploring the idea of a microfinance tech startup, one a microfinance junkie currently at Wharton, another a techie. Clean tech, bio tech, nano tech, microfinance: microfinance might be at the bottom of that sexy ladder in some ways, but I believe it is in the same league. It is one of the next big things. And it is very real. Education, health, credit: all of humanity deserves to have access to those three things. The term computer has not meant the same thing year after year, decade after decade. The term microfinance is not stagnant either.

Sleek Data Centers


Will Online Ads Rise To The Occasion?

Image via WikipediaA New York Times that is completely digital, completely global, completely social, completely mobile and completely ad driven should make more money than the New York Times that is about to be its ancestor. If not the web is a chimera. And I don't believe it is. On its part the New York Times has made the mistake of not fully converting. On the other hand the ad platforms are not really there yet. The ads on display don't make as much money as they should. And the New York Times has not exhibited the Gawker aggression of going out there and getting your own ads at much higher prices.

Cure For The Common Cold, Aka The Great Recession

Da iPad


Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (2)

Image via WikipediaThe first step is to just be able to bring up the topic: gender. A lot of men get defensive about the very topic. There are two types of men: good men and bad men. Those men who get defensive are not good men.

The second step is to have honest conversations. There will be many, many rounds to such conversations. There will be a lot of back and forth. It is important to not abruptly stand up and walk away. It is important to make people feel like they are being listened to, they are being heard.

The third step is to try and identify problem areas and possible solutions. That also will take place in more than one sitting.

Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (1)


Event At Hunch: Angel, Super Angel, VC

Image via WikipediaFred Wilson and Chris Dixon remind me of each other, although I met Chris only for the first time yesterday, and it was my second time meeting Fred in person, although it feels like I meet him near daily since he blogs daily, and I drop by when I can. I greeted him at the very outset - "Hello Fred, so very good to see you" - and then pretty much left the space for the crowd. It felt like an AVC community thing to do. We already meet you most days, let others have a go at you now.

A Facebook Browser? A Facebook Operating System?

Image via CrunchBase
TechCrunch: Another Chrome OS Engineer Defects To Facebook In The Build-Up To Launch: 99.99 percent of my working day is currently spent in Chrome ...... a mildly worrisome trend occurring leading up to the launch of Google’s first desktop operating system: defections. Also interesting: what does Facebook want with these guys? ..... the talent continues to pour into Facebook — and much of it from Google

TV's Future

Mark Suster: The Future of Television & The Digital Living Room: Video will be inextricably linked to the future of the Internet and consumption between PCs, mobile devices and TVs will merge...... with the introduction of Apple TV, Google TV, the Boxee Box & other initiatives it’s clear that this battle will heat up in 2011 First and foremost it is about bandwidth. There is need for faster broadband at cheaper prices that competition will bring. This is a public policy issue. Then it is about the shocks to the old guard industries that the new technology will bring. Old business models will get toppled. New business models will come into play. Content creation will get vastly democratized. Movie production should not be a Los Angeles or New York thing. Movies should be made where the people are, and they are everywhere.

Big Churns In The VC Industry

Image via Wikipedia
Paul Graham: The New Funding Landscape: After barely changing at all for decades, the startup funding business is now in what could, at least by comparison, be called turmoil..... the previously sharp line between angels and VCs has become hopelessly blurred. .... Super-angels compete with both angels and VCs. .... most of the changes will be for the better. To those who have been regular readers of the blogs of the major venture capitalists, this churn is not news. The fact that there has been some major churn has been talked about for months. But what people make of the churn, now that's a different story. The best minds have been overall positive with the developments. Looks like entrepreneurs now get to shop around more. There is much more early money available. And that money is not blind money. Early stage investors tend to be more hands on.

Fractals: Mandelbrot


Change The Ratio: Fred Wilson, Rachel Sklar

54 W. 21st Street
Suite 1001
New York, NY 10010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (ET)

Tech, Women, Diversity

Fractals And FoodSpotting

I don't know but I am guessing there are a few different players in what I call the specific check in space, but I only know one: FoodSpotting. And if there are others, FoodSpotting sure has the best seat in the house. Checking into a book, or movie or music is not actually checking in. It is not location specific. The Like button by any other name.

Much of the special going out involves eating and drinking for many people. And each such check in place, by definition, is a business. Caching. As opposed to when someone checks into Central Park - and people do - that is hard to monetize. Street vendors: don't count on them.

Steve Jobs: Android Rant

Wow. This guy shows no signs of slowing down. This dude Steve Jobs, CEO of the past decade, dubbed the most remarkable comeback story in the history of business, Larry Ellison's best friend, is just warming up, it looks like.

"There are one or more strategic opportunities in the future," says he. You got to watch out for those. Word is already out he wants to take another crack at the netbook. He could also be thinking in terms of the natural user interface, 3D computing, and gesturing as opposed to touching. Gesturing is cleaner.


Google Search: Skipping Social, Going To Location?

Looks like Marissa Mayer is getting busy already. The social butterfly of the Google corporate world has been setting trends for years. Now she attacks location front and center, looks like. (Marissa Mayer: Location, Local) It was not possible for the Android company to have stayed away from location for too long. (Mashable: Google Puts the Emphasis on Location in Search)


Net Neutrality, Clean Tech And Political Fights

Image via WikipediaWired: What Solar Needs: Its Own Karl Rove: Eighty percent of Americans rated solar power favorably, compared to 39 percent for nuclear and 32 percent for oil. Seventy-four percent believe that solar is a “long-term solution for the country’s energy needs.” ..... 94 percent of Americans see solar as important and 80 percent want to see subsidies transferred from fossil fuel to solar...... Unfortunately, the public also said solar is too expensive, will remain an intermittent source of power, and can’t really directly compete with coal or natural gas. Only 41 percent thought solar was affordable, and only 34 percent thought it was reliable..... Seventeen percent said solar would “never” be the largest source of new electricity for whole cities. Most of those polled were largely in the dark about the subsidies provided to oil and gas. Just 19 percent correctly estimated that the fossil fuel industry gets more than $10 billion in subsidies. Freedom is not free. The …

Net Neutrality Reworded

Image via WikipediaFred Wilson: A Net Neutrality Case Study: Maybe we shouldn't call it Net Neutrality. Maybe we should call it a bill of rights for consumers on the Internet. There are still landowners on the internet - like in the early days of America - who feel like they are the only ones who need to be able to vote. That is blasphemy. Fred Wilson is not new to the debate. But I really like his emphasis this time. Maybe net neutrality is a phrase that is not serving us too well. It makes it sound like there are two equally valid viewpoints. No, there are not. People for segregation and people against segregation were not both equally right. The internet is not a company, it is not a commercial venture. The internet is like the airwaves; it belongs to everybody.

Twitter Is Massively Complex

Image via WikipediaTechCrunch: Why Twitter Is Massively Undervalued Compared To FacebookTwitter should have had more users than Facebook, (Goal: A Billion People On Twitter) but that is not what we see. It is Twitter's fault. It is not like Twitter has ever had problems raising money. If you don't have problems raising money, you don't have problems hiring the engineers you need. Twitter was bogged down focusing on scaling: I always thought that was a bogus argument. Show me the Facebook fail whale.

I have thought long and hard about it, and I think the reason Twitter has not scaled like it should have is because Jack Dorsey went ahead and became Chairperson. What was one person's invention got handed over to a committee to grow and scale. They say in Africa it takes a village to raise a child. Maybe it does. But I don't think that applied to Twitter. It is a DNA thing. The founder CEO will make big bets. People who took over will not dare to. The other founders s…

Like Father, Like Son

TechCrunch: Looks Like Top Gun 2 Is Cleared For Takeoff — All Thanks To Larry Ellison’s Son: It has everything you need in a movie: California, drinking, jets, tragedy ..... the son of Oracle founder, ultra-billionaire ...... 27-year-old David Ellison, who was all of 3 when Top Gun came out in 1986 ..... he just happend to raise $350 million dollars from JPMorganChase to co-finance a slate of films with Paramount
Larry Elli Son.

In The News

TechCrunch: Why Twitter Is Massively Undervalued Compared To Facebook: These days they are often mentioned in the same breath. .... Jobs invited Zuckerberg for dinner at his house to talk about Ping two weeks ago .... there would be friendship with significant benefits for both parties if Apple and Facebook could strike a deal

Africa: Size Matters

The best parts for me: China Part 2, India Part 2. Doing whatever it takes.

(Via BoingBoing)

Business And Charity

Image via WikipediaWall Street Journal: World’s Richest Man: ‘Charity Doesn’t Solve Anything’: he could do more to help fight poverty by building businesses than by “being a Santa Claus.” ..... “The only way to fight poverty is with employment” ..... “There is a saying that we should leave a better country to our children. But it’s more important to leave better children to our country.” ..... He has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to his foundation and has funded millions of dollars in joint-venture projects with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This reminds me of the gay marriage debate. The last scientific figure I read had gays at 1% of the population. As in, one per cent of the people are biologically gay, they do not choose to be gay. That is who they are. Some put that figure to be 10%. I think it probably is 1-2%.

Men and women marrying works. It works for 98% of the population, or those among the 98% who choose to marry. But it does not work for everybod…

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Image via CrunchBase

I am in my 30s. Isn't it a little too late to be asking that question? I take solace in the fact that we live in an era when people will have a few different careers before they retire and go ahead and die. That would be fine except I seem to be having a few different careers at the same time, in parallel: no complaints. I have tried to learn positivity from my man Obama.

Finally I might have found it: a for profit micro finance startup with IPO ambitions. (Microfinance: The Next Big Thing?) And the fact that I am about a year away from my green card feels like no hindrance at all. I will just get someone else to incorporate the company. The conversation is in full swing, the work is on.

Google Car, Google Monorail
Physically Aware Internet
Solar Panels To Roll Out
To Natural User Interface
Offshoring The Wind Harvesting: Google Wind
Etsy, GroupOn, Zynga
Becoming Whole With The Mobile Web
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Before this I have been emailing my 12 line…