Column

  • The Portability Angle Of Tech Immigration

    The Portability Angle Of Tech Immigration

    In 2001, I was working for Outride, Inc., an early pioneer in context sensitive search and browser history-based personalization. After the dot-com boom, search became passé. The startup couldn’t raise more money closed and its technology assets were acquired by Google. The founders of Outride were giving glowing recommendations to engineers to get them hired at Google and a few joined. Read More

  • This Industry Is Still Completely Ridiculous

    This Industry Is Still Completely Ridiculous

    Things are getting pretty strange out there. Roughly a year ago I wrote a post entitled “This Industry Is Completely Ridiculous.” Since then, as you probably already know, our world has gotten even more surreal. If anything the ridiculousness is accelerating. It’s like the tech industry is subject to a Moore’s Law of weird. Read More

  • There’s A Big Difference Between Using Facebook ‘At Work’ And ‘For Work’

    There’s A Big Difference Between Using Facebook ‘At Work’ And ‘For Work’

    If you’re an employer, how do you solve a problem like Facebook? Roughly 61% of office workers use social media during the day and Facebook takes up a huge share of that surfing. Its highest traffic actually occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm. All told, this 1.5% drop in productivity adds up to 12 billion hours wasted per year with a cost of $650 billion dollars to the… Read More

  • What We Didn’t See From Wearables At CES

    What We Didn’t See From Wearables At CES

    At CES this year, we saw everything from stickers that tracked heart rates on babies to virtual reality headsets that didn’t make you throw up. Talk of the Apple Watch took a backseat, but wearables were a hot topic in sunny Las Vegas. Back in the drizzly reality of winter in Cincinnati, we’re contemplating how wearables will seriously make the leap in 2015. Read More

  • What Do Uber, Zenefits And Public Health In A Kenyan Slum Have In Common?

    What Do Uber, Zenefits And Public Health In A Kenyan Slum Have In Common?

    The old saw about effective management goes, “You get what you measure.” Today, whether you call it growth hacking or business intelligence, successful large corporations and lean young startups have become fanatical about measuring their customers. The leaders of the pack – like Uber (which collects data on the supply and demand of their riders and drivers) and Zenefits… Read More

  • VCs Are Ripe For Smart Alternatives To Fund App Growth

    VCs Are Ripe For Smart Alternatives To Fund App Growth

    With 1,600+ apps making their debuts in the app stores daily, the pressure is on app developers to stand out from the crowd and acquire users at scale. However, app developers aren’t the only ones feeling the strain. The tremendous growth of the global app economy — powered by more than 2.5 million apps in the App Store and Google Play combined — is also stretching… Read More

  • Why Are E-Commerce Startups Bullish On Retail?

    Why Are E-Commerce Startups Bullish On Retail?

    It’s a tough time to be an old-school retail company. This past summer, I was walking around Chicago with a realtor. We were looking for popup spaces in Lincoln Park for Ministry of Supply, and she pointed out an American Apparel. “They’re not doing well,” she whispered. “That space may become available.” Six months later, Warby Parker moved in. Read More

  • Box Has Always Been About Reshaping Enterprise Software

    Box Has Always Been About Reshaping Enterprise Software

    One of Box’s earliest marketing stunts was a series of billboards on California’s Route 101 in which it made no bones about going after enterprise content management (ECM) big shot, Microsoft SharePoint. While many would like to pigeonhole Box as storage or sync and share, Box has always had other ideas. From the earliest days in its transition from a consumer to enterprise… Read More

  • Security For Startups

    Security For Startups

    In the past two years, cyberspace has clearly changed in ways that threaten every online business, big or small. Startups now use the cloud infrastructure that mature companies do, and quickly aggregate large, juicy caches of private user data and payment credentials. As malware infestations scale to scour the “long tail” of targets, they don’t discriminate between the Fortune… Read More

  • Uncle Sam Needs More Geeks

    Uncle Sam Needs More Geeks

    One of President Obama’s guests at this year’s State of the Union address was Kathy Pham, a health IT expert formerly of Google and IBM. Pham recently joined the federal government to make it easier for veterans to access the benefits they have earned – like her brother, who earned a Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan. Kathy is exactly what this country needs. Uncle… Read More

  • What Changes At ModCloth And Nasty Gal Mean For E-Commerce

    What Changes At ModCloth And Nasty Gal Mean For E-Commerce

    Recent weeks have brought some major shakeups to the e-commerce world as Sophia Amoruso stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal and Eric Koger stepped down as CEO of ModCloth. While some may wonder if such personnel changes signal the fall of vertically integrated retail, I believe the industry is entering a new phase where successful players will look and behave more like retailers and less like… Read More

  • Building A Great Company May Not Be Enough To Get Acquired

    Building A Great Company May Not Be Enough To Get Acquired

    The dream of many entrepreneurs is to build a successful business that can go public or be acquired for a large sum. While IPOs are hard to come by, acquisitions are more common. The mantra is that good companies are bought not sold. In other words, the best companies are sought after and not desperate to sell. But how can startup founders or CEOs ensure that they’re the ones who are… Read More

  • For Mobile Growth Pay Attention To Markets Beyond The US And China

    For Mobile Growth Pay Attention To Markets Beyond The US And China

    In 2014, China-based Alibaba had a record-breaking IPO on the U.S. stock market, China surpassed the U.S. in terms of purchasing power, and the country earned itself a new position in the world economy. But China’s not the only emerging region we need to pay attention to. Other countries are quickly following China’s lead and solidifying their positions in the technology marketplace. Read More

  • Recapping Week One Of The Silk Road Trial

    Recapping Week One Of The Silk Road Trial

    Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the Silk Road online black marketplace, is facing a number of Federal charges related to allegations that he facilitated the illegal activity of marketplace users. Week one of the trial ended with the Defense’s cross examination of the State’s first witness, the undercover agent who infiltrated the Silk Road. Read More

  • The Hidden Psychology Of Why Customers Come Back

    The Hidden Psychology Of Why Customers Come Back

    Psychological factors affect the decisions we make every day. Of course, most of us are blissfully unaware of the tendencies that influence our actions. However, businesses can use the hidden psychology driving our behaviors to yield big profits. Read More

  • For Startup Executives, Age Shouldn’t Matter

    For Startup Executives, Age Shouldn’t Matter

    There needs to be a model that leverages each individual’s strengths: teaming the older visionaries who have incredible domain expertise with younger entrepreneurs who have the energy and ambition to run a company. My team and I call it “Co-Creation”. Read More

  • The Greatest Investments Not Financed In 2014

    The Greatest Investments Not Financed In 2014

    Last year was a fun one to be in the business, generally, of evaluating and taking business credit risk, and the non-investment grade universe of companies and the venture sector, specifically, were no exception. The unambiguous commercial success demonstrated by companies like Airbnb, Uber, and WhatsApp provided extra stimulation to the already fertile, and some said frothy, U.S. venture… Read More

  • Courts Ill-Equipped To Police Cyber Threats And Cyberbullying In The Anonymous Age

    Courts Ill-Equipped To Police Cyber Threats And Cyberbullying In The Anonymous Age

    Anonymous messaging apps, including Yik Yak, Whisper and Secret, have become a disturbing element of the cyber landscape. These anonymizing apps are quickly becoming a fact of life for schools, parents, children and many other groups in our present day social media scene. Read More

  • Foreign Founders Should Look Beyond Silicon Valley

    Foreign Founders Should Look Beyond Silicon Valley

    With an increasingly global map of startup hubs, Silicon Valley needs to look not just at the factors bringing talent in, but also the negative factors diverting talent elsewhere. When a hub’s defining trait is optimism, is any time spent thinking of the darker side of foreign founders’ life in Silicon Valley? Read More

  • Mobile Commerce In 2015

    Mobile Commerce In 2015

    The past year has represented a tipping point in mobile commerce investment, so as we enter a new year, we wanted to take stock by updating our m-commerce market map and offering our predictions for 2015. Read More