Column

  • Peering Into The Minds Of The 4.3 Billion Unconnected

    Peering Into The Minds Of The 4.3 Billion Unconnected

    In a recent column on TechCrunch, I wrote about the mental challenges faced by the world’s 4.3 billion offline population, when trying to use the Internet for the first time. After all, they’ve never experienced the Internet before, lacking what UX experts call a ‘mental model’ of how basic internet services work, or why to even use them. In this post, I’ll shed… Read More

  • The Mexican Valley Of Startup Death

    The Mexican Valley Of Startup Death

    The startup universe revolves around Silicon Valley, but there is life on the other planets too. Long has the entrepreneur community been used to the term “startup valley of death” and come to fear it. As most accelerators claim, once you make it out of the ditch, you’re on your way to fame and glory. But not in Mexico. Read More

  • Mainstreaming The Smart Grid

    Mainstreaming The Smart Grid

    The October anniversary of Hurricane Sandy — which knocked out power in over 8,100,000 homes in 17 states and was the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history — has served as an opportunity to reflect on how we view our power grid. The practice is important. Stephen Lacey provided some of the best analysis of what caused the storm and how utilities are adapting the grid. Many… Read More

  • Mo’ Data Mo’ Problems

    Mo’ Data Mo’ Problems

    The most exciting promise of Big Data—and if you hate that term, you’re not alone, but I think we’re stuck with it now—is this: the data collection happening on an increasingly gargantuan scale, parsed by modern data-processing and pattern-recognition algorithms, will unearth powerful new insights into our world and, especially, human behavior. Unfortunately this is… Read More

  • A World Without Net Neutrality Already Exists

    A World Without Net Neutrality Already Exists

    People have wondered how an Internet without net neutrality would work. Net neutrality is more than just a debate, it’s not a hypothetical, and it’s real and alive today with SMS. It is currently hypothetical that on an Internet without net neutrality, companies would need to “pay to play” and live by arbitrary, ISP-devised rules for accessing consumers who want and pay… Read More

  • Preparing For An Acquisition

    Preparing For An Acquisition

    Silicon Valley is ground zero in the fight for technology talent and market share, and acquisitions are a great way to fuel that growth. Small acquisitions can help fill a business need quickly and are easier to close than big deals. Read More

  • PayPal’s Bitcoin Integration And The Future Of Digital Currency Adoption

    PayPal’s Bitcoin Integration And The Future Of Digital Currency Adoption

    Recently, PayPal announced several partnerships aimed towards enabling certain PayPal merchants to be able to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment from their customers. This was a significant announcement on multiple fronts as many had wondered if and what PayPal’s foray into the crypto-currency space would be. Read More

  • Let’s Make Bitcoin The Biggest Humanitarian Tool The World Has Ever Seen

    Let’s Make Bitcoin The Biggest Humanitarian Tool The World Has Ever Seen

    News junkies of the world may be forgiven for becoming the latest tech skeptics: 2014 has been a year of global mayhem. Instead of creating a connected civic safety net, it seems like tech platforms simply amplified messages and images from ungovernable parts of the world. Boko Haram kidnapped girls in Nigeria, and we fought back with mostly futile hashtags. ISIS broadcast its brutality… Read More

  • Startup Weekend On The Turkish Border Unites Two Countries’ Entrepreneurs

    Startup Weekend On The Turkish Border Unites Two Countries’ Entrepreneurs

    It’s not unusual to encounter a Startup Weekend somewhere in the world. The trademarked event that brings together individuals eager to build and present it before a panel of entrepreneurship experts and investors is well known and widely replicated. Read More

  • Identity Wars: Why Apple Pay Is About More Than Payments

    Identity Wars: Why Apple Pay Is About More Than Payments

    With their array of shiny new features, bigger screens, and better hardware, there’s been no shortage of attention paid to the launch of the new iPhones. Early reviews seem to indicate that the company has, yet again, come through with another massive success. Read More

  • Against Acceleration

    Against Acceleration

    Startups should give up equity for only one of two reasons: work or cash. Startup employees and advisors work in exchange for equity (and salary) and they can be fired if they don’t perform, shutting down their vesting. I’m an advocate of bringing on advisors with defined deliverables, earning somewhere around 100 basis points or less unless they’re working part-time at… Read More

  • Trading Huge Telecom for the Startup World: RelianceCM’s Big Risk

    In Recession’s Wake RelianceCM Rebuilds A Tech Brand

    Editor’s Note: Fara Warner is the editorial director for This Built America and Aol Tech, which includes TechCrunch and Engadget. She has worked for the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company and was the 2007-2009 Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan. Corvallis, Oregon seems an unlikely high-tech town. Once a center for logging, small produce… Read More

  • Real Estate Joins Brazil’s Big Startup Industries

    Real Estate Joins Brazil’s Big Startup Industries

    Add real estate to the industries that have captured the attention of venture investors in Brazil as real estate marketplace VivaReal closed a $41.3 million Series C with Spark Capital and Lead Edge Capital. The raise is one of the largest in the country this year, following big investments in HotelUrbano and NetShoes. Read More

  • Crowdfunding Ain’t The Bank

    Crowdfunding Ain’t The Bank

    We in the games trade like the crowdfunding avenue in so far as the money that it brings, but we still struggle to not hold our communities at one remove as we might investors. As a result we are often mistreating fans even when we don’t mean to. We need to get better at the skill of community. Read More

  • Requiem For A Unicorn

    Requiem For A Unicorn

    Marc Andreessen has said that there are 15 companies per year that generate 90% of the returns for VCs. Startups jockey for position in the “Billion Dollar Club.” In the world of startups we don’t have the S&P 500, we have the “Unicorn 50.” Read More

  • Crowdsourced War

    Crowdsourced War

    Roughly 5,000 gallons of blood has been spilled in Eastern Ukraine, if the United Nation’s estimates that at least 4,000 have perished are any indication. Much of this bloodbath was avoidable; in fact, in 90 percent of potentially survivable battlefield mortalities, uncontrollable bleeding was the top cause of death, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research found in 2012. Read More

  • Uber Über Alles

    Uber Über Alles

    Oh, Uber. Such a great service…run by such short-sighted, thin-skinned executives. Clue: when people criticize you and/or your company, suck it up, take the criticism on board and apologize/adjust if warranted, then shut up and move on. Do not muse aloud, even at a quasi-off-the-record party, about forming million-dollar funds to attack and silence your critics. Read More

  • SF Has An S&M Problem

    SF Has An S&M Problem

    It’s a Friday night, and I am on the prowl. I’m with my friend Edgar, and we are looking for evidence of the increasing S&M problem among the denizens of America’s startup capital. We all know the story the past few months: it’s really bad right now, but don’t worry, everything will get better in time. But it is not getting better, and it’s time to call… Read More

  • Marketplaces Are Eating Firms

    Marketplaces Are Eating Firms

    If software is eating the world, then marketplaces are one of the agents of destruction. Marketplaces are eating every type of firm on the planet. Let’s look at where the feasting is happening. Read More

  • How To Raise Venture Capital In A Frothy Market

    How To Raise Venture Capital In A Frothy Market

    Raising venture funding may have just gotten a little tougher. A major investor recently announced that venture capitalists are “taking on an excessive amount of risk right now – unprecedented since ’99.” Read More