Showing posts from 2010

I'll be at Incubate 2.0; there's a crowdfunding panel!

I'm excited that Incubate 2.0, held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, has a special panel focusing on crowdfunding, moderated by Robert Scoble.  I'll be attending the event and networking; if you want to chat, drop me a note or catch me at the event.  The crowdfunding panel is on Day 1 (Nov 17th) at 2:30 pm.  I may have a few copies of my new paperback book on crowdfunding, to hand out.

Below are the event details, verbatim from Incubate 2.0.

Disclosure: no positions

Whether you are running a local incubator, building an angel network or in charge of an economic development agency, your main problem is: How do I help my entrepreneurs succeed?

Incubate 2.0 brings you answers.

Over the last decade, entrepreneurs have not only created successful businesses but applied their understanding of technology, their vision of the future, and their passion for growth to help fellow entrepreneurs. The innovations that entrepreneurs have created for each…

The Crowdfunding Revolution book now available!


I've been busy for the last while, writing a book The Crowdfunding Revolution, which is now available in ebook format on Amazon, Scribd, and very soon B&N NOOK.  I welcome you to have a read; it's been quite a journey writing it.  Any press, putting it on suggested reading lists, etc, are all very helpful.  I'd really like to get the word out.

Disclosure: no positions

Bumping apps between smartphones: note to Apple/Google et al

Bump for iPhone or Android shows how powerful and convenient it can be, exchanging info between mobile devices of willing parties.  So why not "bump" apps too?

At a recent Mobile Monday networking event in San Francisco, the panel talked quite a bit about various themes to get traction for an app, all which focused on online techniques (virality, getting featured, targeting, etc).

So where're the killer traction techniques which involve physical presence?  It was ironic to be at a physical networking event, with an audience of people all having smartphones talking shop about apps, and no great way to conveniently share apps.  There's a real parallel here to an inefficiency that Bump solves for exchanging info -- it takes time and imposes a real disruption when you want to download an app which someone else exposes you to.  So a lot of people say they'll try out an app "later" and never do.  What would be really cool to see, is the concept of Bump applie…

The Moller Skycar should be a sky-van

The Moller Skycar is one of the all-time top stories at the intersections of dreams, vision & uber-cool technology.  And if there were an award for the longest-running in this category, it would be a top contender.  Barring the historically momentary reality-distortion-field that was the Segway scooter (a.k.a. "IT"), which purportedly would have cities built around it, it's hard to think of another story which would more radically advance the way we transit and live.

But the Moller Skycar efforts look to me to be surfing the wrong initial wave.  It feels like a classic case of over-focus on delivering a version 5.0 as the 1st release.  Why develop an initial market for Skycars based on passenger transportation?  Executing a huge dream is already up against the exponential laws of complexity.  Why not push the passenger Skycar to a later-term goal, and 1st develop a completely computer operated sky-van for transporting packages and goods?  This would skirt a lot of co…

The Big Bang of Crowdfunding: Startups as a Public Asset Class

This is Part 3 of "The New Face of Venture Capital" series.  It talks about the imminent "big bang" of crowd-funding in startups and content creation due to startups becoming a public asset class.  When Wall Street gets involved, things move.  This could easily be a 1000x force-multiplier for crowd-funding.  Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

The Big Bang of Crowdfunding: Startups as a Public Asset Class
I have many deeper thoughts. Feel free to contact me about them.

Disclosure: related IP, no positions

Podcast on Venture Capital and Crowd Funding

I was recently featured on a GrowVC podcast regarding the state of affairs with Venture Capital, and talked a lot about the trend towards crowd-facilitated startup creation & crowd-funding in general.

The talk turned out really well, I encourage you to give it a listen.

Disclosure: no positions

App drag-and-drop between devices: cross-device continuity is the future of the UI

The next "killer app" across all forms of end-user devices (smart-phones, tablets, HDTVs, PCs, etc) is the ability to "drag-and-drop" any application between any device, giving a seamless and continuous UI experience.  In effect, this mobilizes mobile and web apps, and makes all devices which a given user interfaces with, part of an overall continuous UI tapestry.

A quick look at the the direction in HDTVs, sets the stage for this next wave of UI innovation.  An important trend in newer model HDTVs is to offer apps/widgets, which can be downloaded/upgraded from an online "app store" as needed.  You name it: video Skype, Hulu, Netflix, Twitter, whatever.  Whether these be native apps or "web apps", they ought to evoke parallels to every other modern type of mobile or desktop platform.  What's occurring is none other than a convergence of end-user platforms, each with their own strengths.  But the key is that many of the same apps are offered …

Pixel Qi game-changer: transforms tablets & portables into a Kindle!

If you ever wished that screens on tablets (iPad, Android, etc) could switch to a Kindle-like e-paper mode (for power savings, ease of reading), yet still have all the benefits of standard LCD for power browsing & apps, early seasons greetings!  The startup Pixel Qi, in some ways a spin-off from the OLPC project, is demoing it's trans-reflective (transmissive-reflective hybrid) screens at Computex 2010 and is nearing production, outsourced at major production facilities.

When there's enough ambient light, the screens can act in a passive reflective mode, much like e-paper devices such as the Kindle from Amazon (AMZN).  This is great for a high-resolution black & white mode that can operate even in strong outdoor sunlight, enhanced with a form of "color hinting".  But they can also operate in a more familiar active back-lit chromatic mode of LCDs.

This is a real game-changer for nearly every type of mobile device, but especially for transforming the future of …

Goby: the best search engine for what's going on

Imagine if Google was good at allowing you to search for what's going on.  Then, it'd look like Goby.

This area of search is notoriously difficult to serve well using a standard search engine, like from Google (GOOG) or Yahoo (YHOO).  Most users, myself included, hop around to a multitude of bookmarked sites which list interesting events, as well as track related email lists in the hopes that we are presented with a reasonable representation of what's going on.  It's actually a lot of work, and who knows how many cool events slip through the cracks using this form of "manual search".  Worse yet, if you travel somewhere (even a short drive), most of your information is no longer relevant to your new locale.

In a way, almost all problems with search of "what's going on?" and "what to do?" can be summarized as contextual problems.  One such problem with generic search engines is that they don't understand the context of the user (what…

"Ask Twitter": incentive driven responses for social networks

Now here's a startup idea that I'd love to see materialize: allow people to embed small financial incentives to questions asked on twitter.  Would be great to plug into PayPal (EBAY), Kachingle or other micro-payment play.  Google (GOOG), you were looking for a way to out-do twitter, no?

There's all this latent power of social networks, formed by people with at least a little disposable income and who have followers in their networks.  In the same way that someone would jump on Yelp to find out where to eat or go, why not send a query to your Twitter or Facebook networks?  They would potentially have more context information about you and your preferences than would say be known by Yelp in it's efforts to direct you to a particular set of venues.  But what makes it more interesting is that a person may want to trade off money for time -- for example if they don't have the time or wireless bandwidth to play around with surfing the web or using mobile apps, they may …

Best of Finovate Spring 2010 in San Francisco

I spent most of the day at this year's FinovateSpring 2010 interviewing and chatting with many of the players.  Rather than summarize my thoughts on all the companies I talked with, I've culled the list to what I believe represents eight of the more promising companies.  Not all companies demonstrated or exhibited; some only attended.

Blippy: Essentially, "twitter for purchases".  Blippy is sure to elicit reactions of disbelief in much the same way that Twitter did, but it's revenue generating potential (IMO) far outweighs anything like Twitter.  In a lot of ways, Twitter popularized the meme of publicizing one's private life minutia in real-time. Blippy piggy-backs on this now "market-proven" meme, and allows people to publicize their purchases in real-time.  It's hard to stop thinking about powerful ways which having this kind of information can be used by real business: brand placement (what kind of cigar does Brad Pitt buy?), real-time viral …

The New Face of Venture Capital, Part 2: Rise of Crowdfunding

This is Part 2 of a presentation I've created to help Limited Partners and entrepreneurs understand the future of successful Venture Capital. Part 1 is here. Part 2 explains why conventional VC networks & outlier identification produce poor returns, and how crowdsourcing/crowdfunding will be used to augment or replace them and to create high-return VC of the future.

The New Face Of Venture Capital, Part 2
I have many deeper throughts. Feel free to contact me about them. If you find this useful, feel free to pass the word.

Disclosure: related IP, no positions

The coming "Finder's Economy": intermediation of life online

While a vast majority of the media seems preoccupied with what the Next Big Thing will be online, there is scarcely any coverage of a monster future trend which will sweep across nearly all interesting online sites. And it represents a multi-billion dollar market, which will transform and touch not only the way that people utilize online services, but also online search.

Before diving in, a quick look at the macro economics picture will set the stage for what I call the upcoming "Finder's Economy". If you at all believe that our planet's exponentially growing human population (~7 billion) is running into carrying capacity and resource constraint issues, then it follows that we will consume incrementally less per-person, over time. And stuff will become more expensive. So how do we transform a world of billions from a consumption to a services economy? This is the environment which will yield the "Finder's Economy".

The Finder's Economy is to onli…

The New Face of Venture Capital : a roadmap for LPs and entrepreneurs

This is a presentation I've created to help Limited Partners and entrepreneurs alike, wrought from a life in startups and studying the business of innovation. It's an overview of forces at work, driving sub-par returns in the Venture Capital asset class, and identifies the attributes of VC which will yield viable startups and stronger returns to LPs.

Currently, the IRR across the VC industry is dismal, and will continue to be so, except for those innovative firms who adapt and pioneer the necessary new model. If you ask entrepreneurs, they will tell you VC is broken, because it doesn't serve their needs. And LPs know it by way of poor returns. The global financial system collapse has masked many of the secular trends in VC and technology innovation, which were destined to collide with an archaic VC industry in any case. The biggest such trend, rate of change, is unrelenting and driving radical change in the industry. Sadly, a number of VCs I've talked with don…

50 Trends for 2010 and Beyond. Predictions from

Global warming shifts focus from CO2 to soot. While it's fairly well agreed that CO2 has a warming effect, the frequency absorption effect diminishes for each marginal quantity. Soot has been recognized as a potentially more pressing problem in many recent articles, including those from NASA, Scientific American, BusinessWeek and U.S. News. Soot has a nasty effect of accelerating thawing of ice & snow, as well as inducing precipitation, thus exposing the underlying darker layers to absorb more heat. I even did my own study from GISTEMP data here, showing a potential for soot as a warming accelerator. Perhaps COP16 should be about soot & particulate reduction? Nice health care kicker.
Major GMO crop blights. Some GMO crops will experience catastrophic disease, pest and weed infestations due to lack of genetic diversity. In case you're wondering, in the U.S., GMO accounts for upwards of 90% of soy, 60% of cotton, and 50% of corn. This will send shock-waves throug…