Semil Shah

Semil Shah
Semil Shah is 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; (4) am building Haywire Media as my blog and video forum. Previously, He 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, he has held operational roles at Votizen and Rexly (acquired by Live Nation) and have also been an Official Columnist at TechCrunch since January 2011, where He write a weekly column on Sundays ("Iterations") and run a weekly television show on Thursdays ("In the Studio)," where he host founders, operators, and seed-stage and venture capital investors in the TechCrunch TV Studios. He has 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. CrunchBase profile →

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Latest from Semil Shah

  • On Mobile, The Location Arrow May Finally Be Pointed In The Right Direction

    On Mobile, The Location Arrow May Finally Be Pointed In The Right Direction

    From time to time on Twitter, I’ll unknowingly dip my toes into contested waters. There are some debates which run deep, like strong ocean currents. Occasionally, I muster up the courage to write about my personal preference for iOS over Android (as well as Apple’s ecosystem advantage vis a vis others), or to write about how native mobile apps will provide the consumer touchpoint… Read More

  • A Tweet About Mobile That Took On A Life Of Its Own

    A Tweet About Mobile That Took On A Life Of Its Own

    I’ve been fascinated with mobile startups like Uber and Snapchat, among others — but not for the standard reasons. Yes, they’re both great products and ideas, but the one aspect I found most interesting  with Uber and Snapchat is its users never directly interact with the web. Even Instagram, Twitter, and other fast-growing mobile-focused products can be touched through the… Read More

  • QuizUp’s Mobile Play May Be Anything But A Trivial Pursuit

    QuizUp’s Mobile Play May Be Anything But A Trivial Pursuit

    About every three months or so, the early adopter tech crowd fixates on a new mobile app as the hip, new thing. It’s not too similar from fashion, I’d imagine, when certain looks go in and out of style. With mobile apps, however, those that break through the noise of the App Store do usually have something unique and compelling about them — for instance, FrontBack designed… Read More

  • Ephemerality Aside, Snapchat Sends Its First Permanent Message

    Ephemerality Aside, Snapchat Sends Its First Permanent Message

    In Silicon Valley and the consumer technology world at large, the zeitgeist surrounding Snapchat is undeniably the talk of the town. In a way, it has been for the entire year. I wrote a post on Snapchat’s rise in February 2013 and it generated an intense level of feedback. A seemingly small, unassuming outfit which builds a social, mobile application from the shores of Venice Beach… Read More

  • How Mobile Alters Traditional Network Effects In Marketplaces

    How Mobile Alters Traditional Network Effects In Marketplaces

    On the web, marketplaces are the stuff of legend. With properties like eBay and Amazon, among many other, an online marketplace harnesses the openness of the web, more efficiently matches supply with demand without too many intermediaries, and leverages network effects to capture economic value during each transaction. A key component for a marketplace to work, however, is liquidity —… Read More

  • App Indexing, Predictive Services, And Unlocking Mobile Distribution

    App Indexing, Predictive Services, And Unlocking Mobile Distribution

    There is a “perfect storm” brewing in consumer mobile: Developers, companies, and investors see the explosive growth of smartphones (with no sign of slowing down), yet consumers only have so much bandwidth to interact with a small set of apps, let alone enough time in the day for another app. Consumer eyeballs are fixated on smartphones, triggering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities… Read More

  • Fancy Hands Enhances Mobile Search In Novel Ways

    Fancy Hands Enhances Mobile Search In Novel Ways

    This weekly column has been focused on mobile lately and will likely stay this way. Last week, I wrote from a devil’s advocate position to consider situations in which entrepreneurs may not want to enter the market “mobile-first.” This week, I want to take a slightly different approach and highlight one app (which also has a web presence) that I’ve come to use so… Read More

  • Rethinking The Seductiveness Of Mobile-First

    Rethinking The Seductiveness Of Mobile-First

    Editor’s Note: Semil Shah works on product for Swell, is a TechCrunch columnist, and an investor. He blogs at Haywire, and you can follow him on Twitter at @semil. For the past few months, my weekly column here has been focused on some aspect of “mobile.” There’s no denying the scope of the platform shift, user volume, and consumer attention. Yet, for… Read More

  • The Precise Art Of Mobile Push Notifications

    The Precise Art Of Mobile Push Notifications

    I may sound like a broken record when I consistently reference this phrase in my weekly column: “mobile is the only under-hyped thing in tech.” Yet, it is hard to argue with, and if we agree to agree, then within a mobile context, almost everything we can do with our phones and apps is under-hyped, as well. Take mobile push notifications, for example. As entrepreneur Ariel… Read More

  • The Future Of Mobile Taps And On-Demand Services

    The Future Of Mobile Taps And On-Demand Services

    One of the hottest trends in “mobile consumer tech” is the idea where one can simply just tap their phone and receive a range of services in the form of on-demand labor. While many services are in this crowded space, there is one which exemplifies the trend: Uber. As we all know by now, launch Uber, wait for it to grab your location, request a car, and you’re on your way… Read More

  • The Harsh Realities Surrounding Mobile App Investing

    The Harsh Realities Surrounding Mobile App Investing

    Rohit Sharma from True Ventures likes to say: “Mobile is the only under-hyped thing in tech.” I think he’s right. Yet, for mobile developers and mobile founders out there, an overheating iOS app ecosystem hamstrung by distribution challenges makes for a tough game, a game many technology investors have often decided is not worth the risk and prefer to wait and chase things… Read More

  • Mobile Apps, Card Interfaces, And Our Opposable Thumbs

    Mobile Apps, Card Interfaces, And Our Opposable Thumbs

    This is a post about “cards” as an interface in mobile apps. I am not a designer. I am also unable to mention every single app that uses cards — feel free to mention others in the comments. Additionally, I don’t know which apps should be credited with popularizing cards, or when that happened. For this post, it doesn’t matter. I’m also going to be talking… Read More

  • For Mobile Developers, iOS 7 Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

    For Mobile Developers, iOS 7 Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

    Leading up to last week’s Apple event and the unveiling of the iPhone 5s, the Internet may have led you to believe that “Android is better.” The reality for startups, however, is more nuanced. When it comes to the first choice developers have for starting in mobile, Apple still leads the competition, as mobile expert Steve Cheney asserts these advancements place iOS roughly… Read More

  • The Scale, Competitiveness, And Industrial Strategies In Mobile Computing

    I will admit upfront – I am finding it hard to keep up with all the major moves happening in mobile and among the top technology companies. I realize intuitively all these moves are critically important, but I had to sit down last night and catalog each and every major event, dating back to when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, to put a basic framework around the industrial strategies… Read More

  • Five Forces Fueling Frontback’s Fame

    Five Forces Fueling Frontback’s Fame

    “Not another photo-sharing app!” is an oft-heard or tweeted phrase. After Instagram combined the power of a networked camera, nostalgic filters, and snappy sharing to various networks to create a mobile phenomenon before selling to Facebook, and after SnapChat created a new behavior with more private photosharing that never touched the web (or Facebook), a new iPhone photosharing… Read More

  • A Story About Threading The Needle On Mobile

    A Story About Threading The Needle On Mobile

    As some of you may know, I’ve been lucky to be a small part of the team behind Swell, a new kind of radio experience built initially for iPhone. After spending many months in stealth mode leading up to our public release at the end of June 2013, I finally had some perspective to look back and reflect on all the little product and strategic decisions the team made to deliver what is, in… Read More

  • Required Reading Regarding Mobile

    Required Reading Regarding Mobile

    It’s cliched, overplayed, and the obvious new normal: mobile is the big, fundamental force driving consumer tech. Yes, we all know that, but even taking a few steps back for a minute, we should stand in awe of just how much of a massive platform change this is. “Tectonic” might be the right word. Readers of this site and column will already know this, but what I wanted to do… Read More

  • Harry Houdini, Lock Picking, And Entrepreneurship

    Harry Houdini, Lock Picking, And Entrepreneurship

    It’s summer here in Silicon Valley, and for my column this month, I’ll try to finally polish and publish some of the old posts that have been collecting dust in my “drafts” folder. Usually, I try to make the column timely, but not this time. Almost two years ago now, my wife and I visited a museum in San Francisco to an exhibit called “Art of Magic,”… Read More

  • From Fail Whale To Uncaged Bird, Twitter’s IPO Drumbeat Will Get Louder

    From Fail Whale To Uncaged Bird, Twitter’s IPO Drumbeat Will Get Louder

    Do you hear that faint drumbeat? In the background. Barely noticeable, amid the frenzy around Facebook’s stock price resurgence, or the noise of your Twitter stream, there is a slow, steady drumbeat afoot looking out to 2014 and the public offering for the microblogging platform. In the rocky year since Facebook’s much-discussed IPO, the rollercoaster of the stock price has… Read More

  • How Social And Primary Sources Affect Online Media Brands

    How Social And Primary Sources Affect Online Media Brands

    Throughout high school and college, I took a heavy dose of political science and history classes. As a result, those teachers and professors stressed the importance of investigating primary source documents and analyzing them on their own merits versus secondary sources (like textbooks, for instance), even though we were all issued textbooks, essays by subject matter experts, and a range of… Read More