Column

 

  • With Apple’s Novel Acquisition, A Chance To Reinvent The Book

    With Apple’s Novel Acquisition, A Chance To Reinvent The Book

    Apple’s acquisition of BookLamp, a Boise, Idaho-based startup billed as a “Pandora for Books,” is a key move in the battle over the future of our printed-and-bound friends. When we combine this information with the rumors swirling around a potential smartwatch product from Apple, we can start to gaze into the future of publishing. Read More

  • The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part Two

    The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part Two

    In the second of a three-part series exploring the constants of game design, we delve into talking about elegance, naturalism and the role of time. Read More

  • The VP of Devil’s Advocacy

    The VP of Devil’s Advocacy

    In the 2013 film, World War Z, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is riding through the streets of Jerusalem as Jurgen Warmbrunn (Ludi Boeken) explains how the city was able to avoid the zombie apocalypse: The tenth man. If nine of us look at the same information and arrive at the exact same conclusion, it’s the duty of the tenth man to disagree. No matter how improbable it may seem, the tenth man… Read More

  • How Can We Make Recruiting Better?

    How Can We Make Recruiting Better?

    Recruiting is broken. In fact, it is so broken that almost no one I have ever talked to about the subject has offered up a point of disagreement. Not one person has said, “I love recruiting” or “We find that recruiting works just great for us.” Among the Valley’s cognoscenti, today’s startup truism is that recruiting is the most important function of a… Read More

  • The Most Important M’s In M-Commerce

    The Most Important M’s In M-Commerce

    A few customer groups are driving a disproportionate share of growth in smartphone use and mobile transactions. For entrepreneurs looking to build the next billion dollar m-commerce company, it pays to understand who these groups are, what their mobile activity looks like, and how to best serve them. When it comes to finding customers in mobile commerce, remember the Three Ms: moms… Read More

  • Why A Stupid App Like Yo May Have Billion-Dollar Platform Potential

    Why A Stupid App Like Yo May Have Billion-Dollar Platform Potential

    Yo! Is tech turning too stupid for its own good? Attempts at building better healthcare systems do not get the kind of investor interest that a new app called Yo! seems to be getting. While the whole world was deriding (and downloading) Yo!, the company quietly (well, not quite) raised further funding at a $10 million valuation. Read More

  • BMW Vs. Tesla: A Real Live Innovator’s Dilemma

    BMW Vs. Tesla: A Real Live Innovator’s Dilemma

    Elon Musk has defined the standard for a future mass-produced electric car – it must cost around $40,000, have a range of 200 miles, and be comparable to a BMW 3 series. BMW is now delivering its new i3 to the US market in accessible volumes. There are lots of great lessons for entrepreneurs to learn from watching the BMW versus Tesla battle. Read More

  • Startups Are Finally Hacking Healthcare

    Startups Are Finally Hacking Healthcare

    New companies are going around the traditional “front door” of FDA approval, insurers and healthcare institutions by launching ‘Healthcare 2.0’ companies that target consumers and self-insured employers, upending the health sector through the use of innovative digital and social technologies. At a recent forum we hosted for founders and leading industry execs playing… Read More

  • How Informed Consent Has Failed

    How Informed Consent Has Failed

    “That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon.” – Chief Justice Roberts in Riley v. California, dismissing the comparison of smartphones to physical items The quote above from Chief Justice Roberts in Riley v. California has implications far beyond the holding of that case. In rejecting the government’s… Read More

  • The First Trillion-Dollar Startup

    The First Trillion-Dollar Startup

    In 1957, eight entrepreneurs decided to do something that seemed crazy. They launched a new tech company called Fairchild Semiconductor in a small town south of San Francisco. The entrepreneurs had a difficult start, but Fairchild eventually became the first major computer chip company in the region. Read More

  • How To Save Books

    How To Save Books

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a time of triumph, it was a time of disaster, it was the publishing industry in 2014, just after mighty Amazon fired a new salvo in its war on traditional publishing by announcing its $10/month Kindle Unlimited book subscription service. At first glance this might seem useless and ridiculous: Read More

  • The Modernization Of Computer Science Education

    The Modernization Of Computer Science Education

    Most people, especially in Silicon Valley, are aware that there aren’t enough engineers graduating from college today. By 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that there will be 1.4 million computer science (CS) jobs available, but only enough graduates to fill 30 percent of these jobs. What’s perhaps even more troubling, but frequently overlooked, is that the engineers who… Read More

  • The Crowdfunded Hardware Ecosystem

    The Crowdfunded Hardware Ecosystem

    In the past six years crowdfunding has become a popular, if not the most popular, form of financing for hardware startups, potato salad distractions notwithstanding. Over the years we’ve seen a variety of successful crowdfunding campaigns translate early crowd love into great venture capital rounds. We’ve even seen a few, like Oculus, manage to use successful campaigns to… Read More

  • New York To Bitcoin Startups: Get Permission Or Get Out

    New York To Bitcoin Startups: Get Permission Or Get Out

    Bitcoin allows people to build financial technology without asking for permission, but if New York state has its way, this won’t be the case for long. The New York Department of Financial Services released a series of proposed regulations last week that could shut down the digital currency startup ecosystem as we know it. Deemed “BitLicense,” it may help “Big… Read More

  • The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part One

    The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part One

    In the first of a two part series exploring game design, this article discusses the idea that games operate within a universe of defined constants, meaning traits to do with play that stand independent of platform, audience or technology. Read More

  • The Problem With Founders

    The Problem With Founders

    Feeling bored at work? Just go start a company. Feeling depressed about life and lack any direction? Just go start a company. Broke up recently? Just go start a company. Had a parent die and can’t move on? Just go start a company. (To be fair, I overheard that one last year. Apparently the idea is that you get so busy you can’t think about anything else. Grieving 2.0?) The irony of… Read More

  • We Can No Longer Unbundle Microsoft Office

    We Can No Longer Unbundle Microsoft Office

    This spring we witnessed the big three OS manufacturers — Microsoft, Apple and Google — continue to unbundle their versions of Microsoft Office apps for mobile, including versions of PowerPoint, Excel and Word for iPad. You’ve also seen Craig Federighi’s endurance test at Apple’s WWDC where he juggled all three Apple devices in order to demo the concept of app… Read More

  • How Smart Lending Dumbed Down

    How Smart Lending Dumbed Down

    Between 2008 and 2010, Wonga was doing something mind-bendingly stupid: sending letters from fake law firms to borrowers behind on their loans. It sounds like a bad office prank. They even took the firm names from apparently still current employees — except when you consider that they did it 45,000 times and that it will cost them £2.25 million to give each injured party just £50… Read More

  • Immersive Infections

    Immersive Infections

    Immersive technology will put the user into the digital shoes of their own avatars, experiencing video games, simulations, learning opportunities and even romance on new levels, so it goes without saying that while we can expect all that grandeur, there will be people who try to ruin it, for money. Read More

  • Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    This is a post about good vs. evil and right vs. wrong, but don’t worry, it’s highly technical. Let’s start with Stormfront, the white-supremacist hate site that attracts circa 300,000 unique American visitors per month, and the recent analysis of its members (and follow-up) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in the New York Times. Some numbers you probably didn’t expect: Read More