Column

 

  • Waiting For VC

    Waiting For VC

    I spoke to the VC on Wednesday. He said he would have his decisions “fast.” He said the great thing about his VC firm (as opposed to all of those “others”) is that it has absolutely no problem making a quick decision. “Our lawyers are all ready. The deal is boilerplate. We can send the money to you right away.” Now it’s Friday. “Did anyone… Read More

  • Funding The Right Stuff

    Funding The Right Stuff

    People are saying that Silicon Valley venture capitalists have lost their way. They argue that we invest far too much money in startups that are either addressing trivial markets or problems that affect a few privileged 20-somethings. “The entire Bay Area appears to have given up on solving anything but its own problems,” wrote Christopher Mims of The Wall Street Journal on July 7… Read More

  • Do You Feel Pressure Or Do You Apply Pressure?

    Do You Feel Pressure Or Do You Apply Pressure?

    One obvious yet under-appreciated law of business physics is: For any given company, the larger the company becomes, the more opportunities emerge to screw it up. Another obvious but not well-understood law: The more screwed up your company, the more people will complain about it and blame you. If we take these two together, it is easy to see that without intervention, the larger your… Read More

  • Hardware Case Study: Why Lockitron Has Taken So Long To Ship

    Hardware Case Study: Why Lockitron Has Taken So Long To Ship

    There has been renewed excitement at Lockitron HQ in the last few weeks as we pass shipping to our 3,000th backer. Following an incredibly oversubscribed crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2012 — during which we raised over $2.3 million (and garnered 15,000 backers) — we had to adapt our manufacturing plans and shift to volume production from our originally planned run of 1,000 units. Read More

  • Software Entrepreneurs Must Go Mobile-First Or Die

    Software Entrepreneurs Must Go Mobile-First Or Die

    If you’re building an enterprise-software company, mobile must be core to your product strategy; it can’t be an afterthought or add-on. And you must build an elegant, easy-to-use mobile app, because employees and consumers far prefer mobile apps to mobile websites. Read More

  • Predicting A Future Free Of Dollar Bills

    Predicting A Future Free Of Dollar Bills

    Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy. Is this a realistic vision of the future, or are we only ever likely to see such scenes in science… Read More

  • Humans And Computers Will Come Together For Middle Work

    Humans And Computers Will Come Together For Middle Work

    Jon Evans’ post “Welcome To Extremistan! Check Your Career At The Door” on TechCrunch warns of mass penury for this generation and the next as the dual horseman of the techno-apocalypse, robots and software, strip humans of their ability to make a living. Don’t believe this dystopian vision of the future for a second. Read More

  • Hardware Is The New Software

    Hardware Is The New Software

    Nest. GoPro. Beats. Jawbone. Oculus. All hardware companies and each of them accorded multi-billion dollar valuations either in private investment transactions or acquisitions by some of the largest technology companies on the planet. Read More

  • The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    “Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper any more. It’s the culture,” quoth Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, prompting some eyebrow-raising by Guardian and New York Times columnists. And here’s some more from TechCrunch…but my stance is a bit different. “The culture”? That’s an oxymoron. There is no such thing as majority… Read More

  • How Real Will Wearable Games Be?

    How Real Will Wearable Games Be?

    Wearables, primarily smartwatches, are in many ways a compelling idea. Yet do the actual wearables we’re seeing offer anything like that? From a gaming standpoint are they really that big of a deal, or are they more a case of high-hopes and maybe-one-days? Read More

  • Lessons From Sourcebits’ Road To Acquisition

    Lessons From Sourcebits’ Road To Acquisition

    Globo, an enterprise mobility and telecom software services company, acquired Sourcebits, a design-led engineering company that builds mobile apps for enterprise and consumer markets. The acquisition seems to be for capabilities. In a tough hiring market, teams with execution maturity at an enterprise level make perfect sense. The sale also strongly points to the growing appetite of tools… Read More

  • Israeli High Tech Gets Aggressive

    Israeli High Tech Gets Aggressive

    Israel has always taken a disproportionate share of global media attention. This has long held true in international politics, where Israel would prefer a little less attention, but also in high tech where the media attention on start-up success has often been overstated and anecdotal. Read More

  • The New Fast Food

    The New Fast Food

    By market cap, McDonald’s is a $100 billion business — that’s two-thirds of Amazon. At $19 billion, Chipotle’s worth a whole WhatsApp. Hell, Taco Bell’s parent company is almost worth 1 and a half Twitters. Whither the next unicorn(s)? Food. Read More

  • Who Watches The Watchmen?

    Who Watches The Watchmen?

    In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s talk a little about how horrifically paranoid and counterproductive the US government has become. And I’m not even talking about Congress! Instead I mean our old friend the No Such Agency, who, it turns out, have been singling out for special treatment anyone who displays any interest in tools which might make the NSA’s life more difficult. Read More

  • The Government Once Built Silicon Valley

    The Government Once Built Silicon Valley

    Last month, I received an invitation to participate in the “Startup Global Design Workshop” hosted by the White House Business Council and Business Forward. The organizations are working on bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and Washington. Currently, small-to-medium-sized enterprises are responsible for 98 percent of U.S. exports. As part of the President’s Nation… Read More

  • Christensen Vs. Lepore: A Matter Of Fact

    Christensen Vs. Lepore: A Matter Of Fact

    Nothing gets keyboards clicking like a good controversy. Recently Jill Lepore, a history professor at Harvard, published a fierce article in the New Yorker accusing another Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen, of being a quack. Lepore didn’t use that word, but she may as well have. Christensen is a business school professor renowned for his “Disruption Theory” about… Read More

  • The Numinous Veil Of Ignorance

    The Numinous Veil Of Ignorance

    In watching the latest drama unfold over Facebook and its experimentation with users, I’m moved to argue that sometimes you can be too honest. For game makers especially sometimes it’s better for users not to know, for you to hint and inspire but never reveal the inner secrets. To preserve the numinous magic, it’s often better not to show the man behind the curtain. Read More

  • Startups And The Un-Banking Of America

    Startups And The Un-Banking Of America

    Historically, when looking for opportunity in the financial industry where technology can have the greatest impact — for investors and entrepreneurs — the best place to start has been with one of our oldest institutions: banks. However, while critical to our economy, banks are generally inefficient, have high fixed costs and don’t exactly elicit happy thoughts from the… Read More

  • The Supreme Court And Your Software Patents

    The Supreme Court And Your Software Patents

    The Supreme Court recently issued its long-awaited opinion in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, known more affectionately in many circles as the Supreme Court case deciding whether software is patentable. Although the Supreme Court did not tackle that broader question in its June 19 opinion, it did address whether CLS Corp. should be allowed to patent the concept of mitigating settlement… Read More

  • Unscaling The Healthcare Economy

    Unscaling The Healthcare Economy

    Health care delivery has always been among the top targets for founders seeking to dramatically improve our lives while building great businesses. Yet, with very few exceptions, most founders find it difficult to build scalable software-defined businesses for providing high quality care. Read More