Column

 

  • The Internet Is Held Together With Bubble Gum And Baling Wire

    The Internet Is Held Together With Bubble Gum And Baling Wire

    Did you know that, to quote an angry hacker: The Internet from every angle has always been a house of cards held together with defective duct tape. It's a miracle that anything works at all. Those who understand a lot of the technology involved generally hate it, but at the same time are astounded that for end users, things seem to usually work rather well. Today I want to talk about all of… Read More

  • Facebook Bought Oculus VR To Create The Metaverse, Or Why Angry Kickstarter Backers Need To Chill

    Facebook Bought Oculus VR To Create The Metaverse, Or Why Angry Kickstarter Backers Need To Chill

    There are many people out there who take a pessimistic view of Facebook. To them, Mark Zuckerberg is a huckster, out to sell us the snake oils of distraction and dopamine in exchange for our eyeballs and personal data. I take the more optimistic view. Read More

  • Automating Layouts Bring Flipboard’s Magazine Style To Web And Windows

    Automating Layouts Bring Flipboard’s Magazine Style To Web And Windows

    Good layout design frames a story and impacts how you are informed by the content. For example, in the hallways of Sports Illustrated, editors hang up every page of the print edition to be reviewed and manually tweaked before publication. Read More

  • Let’s End The Search For Mobile TV

    Let’s End The Search For Mobile TV

    Mobile TV has never been a thing. Since the Sony Watchman in 1982, we’ve been excited at the prospect of mobile TV, but no matter how good our devices are, there still seems to be something missing. As recently as this January, Josh Elman noted to John Borthwick that the results of the Homescreen 2014 study show that even now, no one keeps mobile video apps on their smartphone homescreens; we… Read More

  • A May-December Media Strategy Could Help Locally Focused Startups

    A May-December Media Strategy Could Help Locally Focused Startups

    In Silicon Valley, it’s sometimes easy to focus solely on social and other types of cutting-edge, digital advertising when advising startups on their marketing strategies. But these businesses can also amp up customer acquisitions by combining their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest strategies with old-school, traditional-media marketing campaigns. Read More

  • After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging

    After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging

    I was driving to a meeting in San Francisco when I got the message: “Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion.” I pulled over and watched as messages started to stream in. Everyone had the same question: Is Facebook crazy? As the CEO of the only smartphone messenger more popular than WhatsApp in the US, I gave them all the same answer: “No.” In fact, we had expected something like this for… Read More

  • Real Engines Of Growth Have Nothing To Do With Growth Hacking

    Real Engines Of Growth Have Nothing To Do With Growth Hacking

    Imagine you're a 17-year-old girl at a well-to-do high school in Los Angeles, and you just discovered Snapchat. Until that moment, every time you thought about sending risqué photos to your romantic interest, you had to worry about images of your naked self ending up on the internet. When you wanted to gossip with your peers about a crush or a friend or an enemy, you had to worry about your… Read More

  • Enter The Blockchain: How Bitcoin Can Turn The Cloud Inside Out

    Enter The Blockchain: How Bitcoin Can Turn The Cloud Inside Out

    Drop whatever you’re doing and go read Maciej Cegłowski’s absolutely magnificent essay Our Comrade The Electron, an astonishing history of the amazing Russian engineer Lev Sergeyevich Termen. Make sure you read right down to its punchline, “the most badass answer imaginable.” But if time is short, or you struggle to read English, please at least read its angry rant, from which I quote: Read More

  • Lawyer, Disrupt Thyself

    Lawyer, Disrupt Thyself

    According to TechCrunch, law is the sector with the least VC investment. I’m not at all surprised by that. I’ve been practicing law for nearly 25 years, in myriad settings (large firm, GC at a tech company and now GC at a venture capital firm), and I’ve seen precious little innovation in my field over that time, and certainly nothing that promises to be “disruptive” in the way VCs look… Read More

  • Why You Shouldn’t Decide Anything Important At Your Board Meeting

    Why You Shouldn’t Decide Anything Important At Your Board Meeting

    There is an old saying in poker that if you don't know who the sucker at the table is - it's you. The same can be said of critical decisions in a board meeting or frankly any other meeting where major decisions are ratified. If you're turning up to important meetings hoping to persuade the critical people who attend to a decision you're trying to make and have already "counted your votes," you… Read More

 
  • Why Can’t A Startup Build A Self-Driving Car?

    Why Can’t A Startup Build A Self-Driving Car?

    On a 10- to 20-year horizon, large-scale technologic innovation is going to center around machine intelligence, robotics and sensors. Each of these fields requires gargantuan amounts of capital and a lot of patience, a combination well beyond the scope of even the most progressive venture capital firm. Read More

  • Avoid Stagnation: Acceleration Trumps Incubation

    Avoid Stagnation: Acceleration Trumps Incubation

    Interest in startup accelerators and incubators has exploded in the past several years, but how effective have they been? One thing that has become clear is that “incubator” and “accelerator” refer to two very different models for startup workspaces, and the distinctions may have significant effects on startup success. Read More

  • Hey! You! Get Off Of Our Bandwagon

    Hey! You! Get Off Of Our Bandwagon

    The Book of Berners-Lee And lo, it did come to pass, as prophesied by the geeks of yore, that in the twenty-fifth year of the Web, the world entire, from Kathmandu to Timbuktu to Zanzibar to New York, began to notice its devouring by the Law of Moore. And the eyes of the world were turned upon those places where that Law had been birthed, and numberless throngs of geeks still teemed, and… Read More

  • Potcoin, A New Cryptocurrency To Help Ease The War On Drugs

    Potcoin, A New Cryptocurrency To Help Ease The War On Drugs

    It started with one evocative name shouted into the phone from one developer to another: “Potcoin!” The Founding Fathers had to work for years to craft a Constitution that would grant the government the power to “coin money.” However, three developers in the frozen north, who were only able to provide me with pseudonyms because the businesses and investors they’re associated with… Read More

  • Predicting The Next IPO Wave: The Era Of The Enterprise

    Predicting The Next IPO Wave: The Era Of The Enterprise

    Over the last three years, we’ve seen an increasing number of tech IPOs – many from consumer facing companies that we’ve long known were headed for an IPO. I’m talking about Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Yelp, Groupon, Zynga, etc., which most casual observers could see from a mile away. Markets tend to be swayed by sexy consumer offerings; however, we should be paying close attention to the… Read More

  • What Games Are: Patreonomics And “Supposed To Be”

    What Games Are: Patreonomics And “Supposed To Be”

    When considering the economics of games, I'm more and more fascinated by the potential of a scalable patronage model and seen on Patreon. But also by the games industry's continuing resistance to new economics in the face of innovation. Read More

  • How To Build Habits In A Multi-Device World

    How To Build Habits In A Multi-Device World

    Editor’s Note: This excerpt is authored by Nir Eyal and appears in Michal Levin’s new book, Designing Multi-Device Experiences. Nir Eyal is also the author of Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit Forming Products and blogs at NirAndFar.com.  Allow me to take liberties with a philosophical question reworked for our digital age. If an app fails in the App Store and no one is around… Read More

  • Success, Reality And The Myth Of “Up And To The Right”

    Success, Reality And The Myth Of “Up And To The Right”

    Despite what many are led to believe, great startups rarely move linearly "up and to the right." They zig, they zag, they take detours and often “pivot” several times to get to a positive outcome. The BlueKai story is a great example of this point, which I make often to entrepreneurs. Read More

  • Secrets, Lies And Startup Leaks: Mitigating Tech Company Paranoia In An Age Of Constant Crisis

    Secrets, Lies And Startup Leaks: Mitigating Tech Company Paranoia In An Age Of Constant Crisis

    It’s been an interesting few weeks for Silicon Valley insiders. Secret, the anonymous messaging app, has caused several communication crises for some prominent tech companies, and many more are no doubt on their way. By making the entire revelatory process anonymous and shareable, even seductive, the app’s attracted tech company leaks and spiteful rumors like never before. Read More

  • Software Patents Are Bullshit

    Software Patents Are Bullshit

    "Patents are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution for a single purpose: to promote the progress of science and useful arts." Alas, when it comes to software, it is difficult to imagine a system worse at this than the current one. Everyone knows this--and most people will readily admit it--but no one, with the possible eventual exception of the Supreme Court, is willing to do anything about it. No… Read More