Column

  • The Real Reason Open Source Startups Fail

    The Real Reason Open Source Startups Fail

    The recent news around Nebula shutting its doors has stirred speculation that OpenStack startups are struggling because of the state of the OpenStack market. I even read a piece claiming that the OpenStack dream is on “life support.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that winning in open source requires a playbook that is drastically different from one… Read More

  • Behind PayPal’s Foreign Assets Violations

    Behind PayPal’s Foreign Assets Violations

    In 2009, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted an individual named Kursad Zafer Cire. Mr. Cire was believed to have run a network that facilitated the sale of nuclear technologies to countries such as Iran, Libya, and North Korea. He was a known bad actor. But from October 2009 to April 2013, PayPal continued to allow payments to be made to Mr. Read More

  • The Power Of Earned Media In Social Images

    The Power Of Earned Media In Social Images

    Brands are spending large amounts of money on sponsorships, in particular in sports, which are seen as a unique way of engaging emotionally with fans. Ideally the brand will be featured prominently in an image of a star player scoring a key goal for the home side and reap the benefits of being connected to a moment of collective glory. Anecdotally brands get “a lot” of exposure… Read More

  • The Valley Of The Sith Lords

    The Valley Of The Sith Lords

    Twitter just gave the bird to startups, and I am not talking about their logo. By now, you have probably heard that Twitter is going to cut off third-party access to its firehose of data. DataSift, one of several startups that rely on this access for their business, are now scrambling to reassure customers that their product is going to continue to work. “Blindsided” is how… Read More

  • Are The Fortune 500 Ready For Mobile Search?

    Are The Fortune 500 Ready For Mobile Search?

    On April 21 Google will be making significant changes to its mobile search algorithm to promote sites that the search giant feels are mobile friendly (aka #Mobilegeddon). Mobile friendly sites render different layouts depending on the size of the browser screen, and as mobile penetration rates prove, with more people accessing the web through mobile devices, the decision makes sense. Read More

  • What Happens At AngelPad

    What Happens At AngelPad

    I’m in the car of my co-founder Karan Gupta driving to a brewery in San Francisco. I’m thinking we are all going to get drunk — really drunk. Wishful thinking. It’s past midnight, I’m sober as ever and I’m emailing angels, founders and VCs we met earlier in the day. Life of a founder. But hey, I’m not complaining! Read More

  • New York-Based Tech IPOs Signal East Coast Tech Validation

    New York-Based Tech IPOs Signal East Coast Tech Validation

    Silicon Alley’s digerati are poised to celebrate what’s been years in the making as the locus for tech public offerings expands beyond Silicon Valley. Further evidence is mounting that New York’s scene is building momentum thanks to marquee public offerings are anticipated from Etsy to Gilt Groupe, AppNexus to Outbrain, with many more expected in the offing. Read More

  • The Risk Of Reviewing The Reviewer

    The Risk Of Reviewing The Reviewer

    Reviews impact everything: what brands we trust, what we purchase, what we eat, and even how we travel. Online reviews have factored into my purchasing decisions as a millennial. I was barely a teenager when Yelp was founded, and today, over a decade later, reviews have transformed the online consumer landscape. Yet what does the future hold as we enter an age when even the customer –… Read More

  • A Connected Planet, Digital Telepathy And Other Passions Of Ramez Naam

    A Connected Planet, Digital Telepathy And Other Passions Of Ramez Naam

    Ramez Naam started his career in technology at Microsoft in 1995, where for six years, he worked on early versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook before launching a nanotechnology company in 2001. Those were the early days for nanotechnology — before everyone realized that its real commercial applications were at least a couple of decades away. Read More

  • Yahoo Answers Is Not Research, Or How Two Startups Are Fighting For The Future Of Knowledge

    Yahoo Answers Is Not Research, Or How Two Startups Are Fighting For The Future Of Knowledge

    We’re told never to forget the ultimate laziness of humans, but when it comes to research in the internet age, sometimes that laziness can shock even the most prepared of minds. Students in grade school have grown accustomed to “remixing” internet sources to create their research reports, copying a line from here and a line from there into a massive kludge of plagiarism… Read More

  • A New Revolution Modernizes The Revenue Supply Chain

    A New Revolution Modernizes The Revenue Supply Chain

    These days, marketing technology companies (MarTech) are white-hot. No one can deny the incredible opportunity these startups have presented for venture capitalists. The value of these applications is the ability to enable marketing teams to identify prospects more quickly and convert them into qualified leads for sales more effectively. Read More

  • Whatever Happened To PaaS?

    Whatever Happened To PaaS?

    In 2009 I discovered Google App Engine and fell in love. Its promise: any software developer could build web apps available to anyone, anywhere, 24/7, without having to worry about server configuration, or database setup, or OS versions, or security patches, or load balancing, or scaling. Automatic scaling! All we had to do was write our code; App Engine would handle everything else. Read More

  • As Vertical Marketplaces Rise, Craigslist Faces Its Demise

    As Vertical Marketplaces Rise, Craigslist Faces Its Demise

    Craigslist is one of the largest marketplaces on the Internet today, but as we see it, not for long. Over the last several years, we’ve watched businesses and consumers shift away from Craigslist and toward vertical marketplaces. The shift implies an abundance of exciting vertical marketplace investment opportunities. Read More

  • Is Competition Really For Losers?

    Is Competition Really For Losers?

    While declaring “competition is for losers” has become fashionable among unicorn-chasing VCs, most founders still reject this line of thinking. They know there is a gray area, and that large markets with multiple similar companies can produce multiple success stories. Nevertheless, any startup that can’t explain why they will be 10x better versus their competition on a… Read More

  • Why Hollywood Needs To Make Technology A Priority

    Why Hollywood Needs To Make Technology A Priority

    Every day, it seems there are new headlines on the strained relationship between technology and entertainment. Variety’s recent “Broken Hollywood” story was essentially a battle cry from entertainment heavyweights sounding off on the biggest challenges they’re facing in an industry undergoing a great deal of turmoil. In 2015, when we’ll see an estimated one… Read More

  • Examining Tech Solutions To Natural Disasters

    Examining Tech Solutions To Natural Disasters

    When Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, it struck a very vulnerable target. The Pacific nation is considered one of the world’s poorest and is ranked by the United Nations’ WorldRiskIndex as the most disaster-prone country. Yet for a storm significantly stronger than Hurricane Katrina, Cyclone Pam resulted in a relatively low number of casualties. Early warnings helped save scores of… Read More

  • Securing A Huge Growth Round

    Securing A Huge Growth Round

    Pitching VCs is a serious challenge at any stage, but asking for a $30-60 million check is usually the sale of a founder’s life. Convincing an investor to accept a valuation that most normal people think you’d deserve in a year’s time (at best) piles on the challenge. I’ve recently been working with a few of our portfolio companies on these kinds of deals and wanted… Read More

  • Stop Fearing Artificial Intelligence

    Stop Fearing Artificial Intelligence

    As yet another tech pioneer with no connection to artificial intelligence steps out to voice his fears about AI being catastrophic for the human race, I feel the need respond. While I respect Steve Wozniak’s technological contributions to our culture, I fear that he, like so many others (Musk, Hawking, Gates), is poisoning the well for fear of something he doesn’t truly understand. Read More

  • Connecting The Dots Between Tax Day, Identity Theft And Digital Transformation

    Connecting The Dots Between Tax Day, Identity Theft And Digital Transformation

    It probably is no surprise to the security professional community that once again, identity theft is among the IRS’ Dirty Dozen tax scams, according to a recent IRS.Gov Newsroom article. Criminals use stolen social security numbers and other personally identifiable information to file tax claims illegally, deposit the tax refunds to rechargeable debit cards, and vanish before the… Read More

  • The Implications Of The Seed Funding Boom

    The Implications Of The Seed Funding Boom

    Josh Kopelman wrote a great post recently highlighting the current state of the early-stage funding market. One of his main points was that the Series Seed round is becoming so easy to raise that founders aren’t being tested and thus often surprised when it becomes difficult to raise their Series A. Read More