Semil Shah

Semil Shah
I am currently working on a few project: (1) product marketing and distribution for Swell; (2) working in venture capital and currently an investor in Developer Auction, Paddle8, Instacart, Hashicorp, Exitround, HelloFax/HelloSign, and a few more to be announced soon; (3) have been a long-time columnist for TechCrunch; and (4) am building Haywire Media as my blog and video forum. Previously, I spent six (6) months in 2012 as an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm investing in software startups for consumers and the enterprise, as well as in cloud technologies and infrastructure. Prior to this, I've held operational roles at Votizen and Rexly (acquired by Live Nation) and have also been an Official Columnist at TechCrunch since January 2011, where I write a weekly column on Sundays ("Iterations") and run a weekly television show on Thursdays ("In the Studio)," where I host founders, operators, and seed-stage and venture capital investors in the TechCrunch TV Studios. I have written extensively on the forces changing high-technology venture capital, how the industry is transforming, and consumer-facing and enterprise IT technologies. For more information, please visit: blog.semilshah.com/about CrunchBase profile →

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Latest from Semil Shah

  • Clawbacks and Startups Don’t Mix

    Clawbacks and Startups Don’t Mix

    The story emanating from the Zynga is a wake-up call for startups. Reports allege the company threatened to reclaim stock options originally granted to employees who, in the eyes of the company, were not performing to levels on par with their equity holdings. I don’t know what’s true and what’s not about the Zynga news. Therefore, I’m not going to comment on the… Read More

  • The Rise Of Pinterest And The Shift From Search To Discovery

    The Rise Of Pinterest And The Shift From Search To Discovery

    The current toast of the web is Pinterest, the visual pinboard for collecting and sharing content online. The “pinning” phenomena is spreading from its modest beginnings to appearing in national media outlets. There are over 2.5m monthly active Pinterest users on Facebook. A co-founder of the site has over 500,000 followers on Pinterest. Ron Conway (an investor in the… Read More

  • Iterations: Swords and Shields in the Merchant Economy

    Iterations: Swords and Shields in the Merchant Economy

    “The American Dream,” loosely defined, is made up of a few building blocks. The right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. The opportunity to advance, whether through education, sport, entertainment, or enterprise. Perhaps have a family, live in a house, run your own business. Over the past ten years, for a variety of factors, the pursuit of the American dream got… Read More

  • The Facebook iPhone

    The Facebook iPhone

    In The Facebook Effect, David Kirkpatrick posits the great social network is the one entity that could bully Apple, today’s most powerful technology company. As the iPhone and other iOS devices have paved the way toward an unprecedented level of convergence, the collective power of Facebook’s user base presents a daunting challenge to Apple: specifically, could Facebook… Read More

  • The Mobile Picture Wars, The Moskovitz Manifesto, And Other Big Themes From TC Disrupt SF

    The Mobile Picture Wars, The Moskovitz Manifesto, And Other Big Themes From TC Disrupt SF

    TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 is over. After three days of launches, pivots, interviews, and demos, I’ve finally had a chance to catch up on sleep and digest what just happened. In no particular order, here are my thematic takeaways from this year’s conference: Day 1 1) The Mobile Picture Wars Rage On: I was naive to think the mobile picture-sharing wars started and ended last year… Read More

  • The Fragmented Mobile Information Race

    The Fragmented Mobile Information Race

    Mobile devices are shifting many individual computing behaviors, perhaps none more significant than how we search for and receive information. Right now, it’s moving at warp speed. In between the time I finish this draft and its posted, it’s entirely possible another company or service launches in this space. Every time we “swipe open” our mobile devices, we seek… Read More

  • How Discovery Will Drive Transactions

    How Discovery Will Drive Transactions

    All year, I’ve heard some variation of this phrase: “A big shift, from search to discovery, is underway online.” I’m still figuring out what this means. I’d like to share my thoughts on it, and I’d like to hear what “discovery” on the web means to you. First, I do not believe that there is a “shift” from search to discovery. Read More

  • Another Reason Facebook Wants a Web of Real Identities: Commerce

    Another Reason Facebook Wants a Web of Real Identities: Commerce

    Last week, Facebook’s marketing head, Randi Zuckerberg, caused a stir when she asserted that online anonymity has to go away. But the reason large, powerful networks are pushing for a world in which our verified and authenticated identities exist online isn’t simply to stop cyber-bullying and to create incentives for users to behave more nicely. This is about money. Part of… Read More

  • The Primary Colors of Secondary Markets

    The Primary Colors of Secondary Markets

    I find myself conflicted about secondary markets. My cautionary side wonders how these private stock sales can potentially distort incentives within companies and artificially impact valuations. The libertarian side of me, however, says all in business is fair game. Everything can be bought or sold. Everyone has a price. There’s clearly supply and demand in this market, but its effects… Read More

  • The Underground Promise Of Turntable.fm

    The Underground Promise Of Turntable.fm

    One of the most prolific vinyl collections belongs to a DJ who only surfaces every now and then. And when he does, legions of fans wait on baited breath, desperate to taste the latest brew from Josh Davis, otherwise known as DJ Shadow. DJs like Shadow usually begin creating underground.  Their music is the result of months of sampling and cutting to form entirely new sounds. These new tunes… Read More

  • The Twitter Endgame: IPO, Chess, or Roulette?

    The Twitter Endgame: IPO, Chess, or Roulette?

    Reports are swirling that Twitter is in talks to raise $400 million, valuing the company close to $8 billion. It seems as if it was only yesterday that Twitter raised $200m from Kleiner Perkins. At the time of Kleiner’s investment, some pundits chuckled beneath their breath, claiming the old venture firm was paying up on price in order to claim a bit of equity in social networks, which… Read More

  • The Way We Eat

    “Where should we grab some food?” Perhaps no other question has motivated more consumer technology entrepreneurs. Well, I say that only half-jokingly. While restaurants and these services continue to compete for our dining dollars, a host of new consumer web startups have mushroomed to fill in some gaps and create interesting new ways for us to chow down. New companies like Gobble… Read More

  • Google’s Six-Front War

    Google’s Six-Front War

    While the tech world is buzzing about the launch and implications of Google’s new social network, Google+, it’s worth noting that Google isn’t just in a war with Facebook, it’s at war with multiple companies across multiple industries. In fact, Google is fighting a multi-front war with a host of tech giants for control over some of the most valuable pieces of real estate… Read More

  • Is Google Asking The Wrong Question With Social?

    Is Google Asking The Wrong Question With Social?

    Today’s soft-launch of Google’s new social galaxy, Google+, raises one interesting question: Can Google, a massive, multinational, cash-rich, consumer technology company with multiple successful productivity applications and services, take its dough out of the oven and bake a social network into their bread?  Over the past year, Google has undergone some big changes. Chief… Read More

  • The Music Runs Through Our Veins

    Many years ago, as an avid Knight Rider fan, I would use a handheld cassette recorder to record the audio portion of the show so I could hear it on road trips. Pretty bizarre, yes, but we didn’t have a VCR. I’d do the same when a popular new song came on the radio, waiting patiently to hit “record” and write the music to cassette tape. Over time, this turned into… Read More

  • The Illusion Of Social Networks

    The world is full of illusions. Magicians use a cascade of mirrors, smoke, and misdirection to trick their audiences into believing the unbelievable. In the process, they mystify them, capturing their attention. None of these magicians, however, hold a candle to the illusions provided by the characters who dance on television channels. For decades, the masses have been planted in front of… Read More

  • The P2P Evolution

    The P2P Evolution

    Many years ago, after graduating college, I came home before moving to NYC, wondering how I would scrounge together the money for the first month’s rent and security deposit so my friends and I could all live together in the Big Apple. I had one month to get the cash, and instead of going out for traditional, hourly-wage work, I decided to go through all of my old stuff and throw it on eBay. Read More

  • Iterations: The Seed Stage Dandelion Effect

    Two phrases heard often from entrepreneurs are: (1) “I’m looking for a technical co-founder” and (2) “We’re hiring engineers, developers, and designers.” Unless they have networks to pull from, recruit 100% of the time, or are just plain lucky, their odds of finding the right people are not pretty. For those hunting for technical co-founders, their venture… Read More

  • True Colors: Bathing Mobile In An Entirely New Light

    True Colors: Bathing Mobile In An Entirely New Light

    Color Labs is assumed to be the newest combatant in the photo-sharing wars. Many people ripped its floppy launch, interface, crashes, and some are feeling creepy about the Chatroulette aspect. Then there was the backlash to the backlash, where believers applauded the vision, risk-taking, and promise of mining meta-data from phones. Even with the latest update pushed out last night to address… Read More

  • Mobile Messaging March Madness

    On Thursday, I used Yobongo all day, which helped me find a new lunch spot, run into an old friend, and meet a Yobongo co-founder. That afternoon, I thought it would be a good time to write about the new group and mobile messaging wars for TechCrunch. A few hours later, Color Labs launched, to put it mildly. And, as I was editing this post on Friday night, Disco appeared, the new… Read More