Column

  • Industry Convergence In Financial Services Is Accelerating

    Industry Convergence In Financial Services Is Accelerating

    These days everyone wants to create the next Uber for anything, and the word “disruption” is mentioned across boardrooms and management meetings in nearly all industries. But while discussing the true meaning of disruption and which fintech startups are worth keeping an eye on, incumbents are at risk of overlooking players that once were customers and partners that can quickly… Read More

  • Consider Pitching A “Virtual Startup” To Your Boss

    Consider Pitching A “Virtual Startup” To Your Boss

    Over the years I’ve been part of several of startups, and I love the energy, excitement and sense of risk that comes with launching into uncharted waters. My last startup was acquired in 2007, and I’ve been working at the acquirer ever since. A bit over two years ago, I got the itch to do something entrepreneurial again. When I talked with my boss about quitting to build a new… Read More

  • Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation

    Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation

    On April 2, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is in hot water with government regulators in six European countries over its practice of tracking users’ movements across the web to sell targeted advertising. The kerfuffle illustrates the bind that the world finds itself in over tracking – the collection and sharing of data on users’ browsing habits to help sites… Read More

  • The Micro VC Shakeout

    The Micro VC Shakeout

    When we started Bullpen Capital in 2011, there were about 30 or so “microVC” or “micro-seed” funds — and we knew them all. Today, four years later, there are likely over 220 micro VC funds and growing. In fact, I joke with my partners that “we will likely get to 400 before we go back to 40.” That line always elicits a nervous laughter, as it captures… Read More

  • Silicon Valley Can Accelerate Social Impact Globally

    Silicon Valley Can Accelerate Social Impact Globally

    Silicon Valley’s influence is undeniable but its global impact has always been a passive byproduct of success at home. To make a lasting, material difference, there needs to be a concerted effort to expand its reach in a substantial and sustainable way. For the better part of the last century, the Valley has been a bedrock for technological progress and era-defining industry. From… Read More

  • Back To The Future In Enterprise SaaS Selling

    Back To The Future In Enterprise SaaS Selling

    Given the success of Box, it’s hard to imagine that founder Aaron Levie believes he should have done something differently in the company’s early years. However, while speaking to Storm Ventures’ Jason Lemkin at this year’s SaaStr conference, Levie revealed exactly what he would have changed. Although it is somewhat hidden in the rest of the interview, Levie points out… Read More

  • You Need To Be A Billion Just To Make A Million

    You Need To Be A Billion Just To Make A Million

    I always love peering into the world of executive recruiting. As a grad student and as a writer, the thought that there are people out there chasing other people to get them to work at massive wages always seemed to me like a bounty hunter scene out of a strange science fiction movie. Sometimes the wages offered are as much as $1 million; sometimes, that’s not enough. Competition in… Read More

  • Don’t Turn Internet Independence Into Government Dependence

    Don’t Turn Internet Independence Into Government Dependence

    April marks the 20th anniversary of the commercialization of the Internet, ironically, the very same month that the Federal Communications Commission’s new Open Internet regulations were officially published, tossing the Internet into a public utility model characterized by stagnation and ambiguity. The rules kill the “permissionless innovation” they purport to protect by… Read More

  • A Journey To Intelligent Design

    A Journey To Intelligent Design

    If you’re looking for zeitgeist Biblical metaphors for the tech sector, you can’t do much better than the Tower of Babel. Human civilization a hundred years after the Flood; monolingual and gathered in a city called Babel. They become possessed with the mission of building a tower to the heavens. Which they begin… Read More

  • Slightly Slighted, Apple’s Diehards Still Do The Launch Day Lineup

    Slightly Slighted, Apple’s Diehards Still Do The Launch Day Lineup

    While the atmosphere outside the store was generally similar to previous launches, a glaring difference was the fact that I wasn’t waiting outside of an Apple Store. I was sitting on the sidewalk outside of the upscale fashion boutique Maxfield, on trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Read More

  • What The U.S. Can Learn From Europe’s Growing Commercial Drone Industry

    What The U.S. Can Learn From Europe’s Growing Commercial Drone Industry

    Drones are an auspicious future technology that can service a vast number of professional industries. Businesses around the world are discovering the great benefits that drones can provide. However there is a notable difference in the economic growth of the drone industry in Europe compared to the rest of the world. For example, in Europe, the number of companies deploying drones for… Read More

  • The Marijuana Industry And Its First Crossroads

    The Marijuana Industry And Its First Crossroads

    Marijuana has come a long way in the United States since California launched its first-in-the-nation medical program 19 years ago. Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis to some degree, and public perception of the plant is clearly shifting. Medical marijuana is being used in treatment of a variety of illnesses including several types of seizures, cancer and… Read More

  • Is Seattle Silicon Valley’s Next Favorite Stop?

    Is Seattle Silicon Valley’s Next Favorite Stop?

    In the last ten years, the Seattle tech scene has changed quite dramatically. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the only gigantic software companies in town were Microsoft and Amazon. For a time it even became common knowledge that most Seattle-based startups had only two viable exit strategies: go public, or get acquired by Microsoft. Read More

  • The Apple Watch Can Be A Sixth Sense

    The Apple Watch Can Be A Sixth Sense

    The world around us is screaming with signals our original five senses don’t detect. Unlike some snakes, we can’t sense infrared with our naked eyes and unlike ducks and geese, we don’t have a native intuition for magnetic fields. But we’ve got pretty incredible brains, which we’ve used to craft ways to augment our five basic senses for a very long time. Read More

  • We Are All Venture Capitalists Now

    We Are All Venture Capitalists Now

    “I would again draw an analogy to venture capital,” observes Ben Thompson, in a typically incisive Stratechery post eviscerating the new streaming service Tidal. “The importance–and amount–of venture capital has never been greater. The truth is that because so many folks can now get started it is that much harder–and more expensive–to cut through… Read More

  • Commandments For The Speed Of Security

    Commandments For The Speed Of Security

    PF Chang’s. Domino’s. eBay. Home Depot. Nieman Marcus. Sony. That isn’t just a list of wildly successful companies, it’s also a list of hacked companies; companies whose security was profoundly, publicly compromised. And it’s just a very small sample of a much larger set. The problem is not just that our industry’s approach to security is compromised but a… Read More

  • Why WeChat City Services Is A Game-Changing Move For Smartphone Adoption

    Why WeChat City Services Is A Game-Changing Move For Smartphone Adoption

    Last month, WeChat launched City Services in select towns across China – if you’re already a user of WeChat, simply change your location to one of the three pilot cities and the language to Chinese and you’ll be presented with a wide array of additional services that may be accessed from right within the app. As the name says it, it basically is trying to solve all problems… Read More

  • The Future Of Marketing Automation

    The Future Of Marketing Automation

    According to industry expert David Raab, almost 70 percent of marketers are either unhappy or only marginally happy with their marketing automation software, and according to Bluewolf’s new “State of Salesforce” study, only 7 percent are seeing good, measurable ROI from those investments. There’s a lot of fragmentation and dissatisfaction in this category despite the… Read More

  • The Basics Of Open Patent Licensing

    The Basics Of Open Patent Licensing

    A new trio of open patent licenses can help encourage innovation, reduce patent trolling, and help attract top engineering talent. These licenses aren’t just for idealistic hippies. They are legal tools that have been put into practice by software companies like Google, Twitter and Dropbox. Last month, I gathered a panel of experts at General Assembly in NYC to talk about open patent… Read More

  • Who’s Afraid Of Superhumanity?

    Who’s Afraid Of Superhumanity?

    When I was eight I determined it my destiny to be one of the X-Men, a superhero born with extraordinary abilities. It seemed there were many bad things I could stop if only I were stronger, faster, smarter. To make a positive difference in the world, I had to be better. But there was just a very small chance I was carrying the X-gene, and so I would lie in bed each night and pray to God I… Read More

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