Column

  • The MBAs Are Fleeing, Should SF Be Worried?

    The MBAs Are Fleeing, Should SF Be Worried?

    Bubble, bubble, bubble. Are we in one, are we already done with one, are we getting closer to one? These questions have the dual benefit of being completely impossible to answer while having a high enough salience to tech readers to ensure that the almighty advertising machine gets stoked for another cycle. Let’s throw some more coal into the fire. We already had our massive discussion… Read More

  • Cory Doctorow: Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free

    Cory Doctorow: Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free

    The technical implausibility and unintended consequences of digital locks are big problems for digital-lock makers. But we’re more interested in what digital locks do to creators and their investors, and there’s one important harm we need to discuss before we move on. Digital locks turn paying customers into pirates. Read More

  • Managing Talent In A Networked Age, Part I

    Managing Talent In A Networked Age, Part I

    Success in Silicon Valley is all about people — about how companies build lasting alliances with talented teams of entrepreneurial employees. Outsiders sometimes think that recruiting and keeping great people in the Valley requires offering Google-like perks or eye-popping compensation packages. In fact, it’s far more powerful to treat an employee like an “ally”, be… Read More

  • It’s Time For An Open Standard For Cards

    It’s Time For An Open Standard For Cards

    Cards are fast becoming the hot new design paradigm for mobile apps, but their importance goes far beyond mobile. Cards are modular, bite-sized content containers designed for easy consumption and interaction on small screens, but they are also a new metaphor for user-interaction that is spreading across all manner of other apps and content. Read More

  • Little’s Law Is Big For Startups

    Little’s Law Is Big For Startups

    Traffic, traction, growth. We all know that these terms are prerequisites to success. As we launch our startups we hope for initial customer acceptance, which would lead to traffic, traction and finally growth. In some cases, we’re willing to pay for traffic. In most other cases, we work around the clock to ignite organic TTG. Read More

  • Using Big Data To Fight Pandemics

    Using Big Data To Fight Pandemics

    Last year, I gave a talk at WIRED 2013​ on how anonymous and aggregated mobile phone data can be used to understand and combat the spread of infectious diseases. I described a study that we carried out in my research team a few years ago, where we analyzed aggregated and anonymized mobile data from Mexico during the H1N1 flu outbreak in the spring of 2009. Read More

  • The Rise And Fall Of The Full Stack Developer

    The Rise And Fall Of The Full Stack Developer

    It seems as though everyone in tech today is infatuated with the full-stack developer. Full stack may have been possible in the Web 2.0 era, but a new generation of startups is emerging, pushing the limits of virtually all areas of software. From machine intelligence to predictive push computing to data analytics to mobile/wearable and more, it’s becoming virtually impossible for a… Read More

  • The Larger Implications Of Electronic Payments Adoption

    The Larger Implications Of Electronic Payments Adoption

    While global efforts to increase financial inclusion (expanding access to savings, credit and insurance products) can have profound implications for individuals given the emergence of the digital economy, the ability to send and receive money in electronic form is potentially more transformative. Read More

  • Disrupting Democracy

    Disrupting Democracy

    You have to grudgingly admire the black-hat political hackers who have pwned the American electoral system. First, entrench a two-party system; second, gerrymander districts into tortuous shapes; third, cultivate an electorate so polarized that no matter how much voters dislike their incumbent, they hate the alternative worse; fourth, profit! It’s elegant, horrifying brilliance. Read More

  • Steve Jobs Still Casts Long Shadow At Web Summit

    Steve Jobs Still Casts Long Shadow At Web Summit

    I spent this past week in Dublin at Web Summit, and I couldn’t help but notice, we are still fascinated, dare I say obsessed with the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs more than three years after his death. If you knew the man or even had a meeting with him back in the day, interviewers wanted to hear about it. Heck, even TechCrunch got into it this week with a retrospective of… Read More

  • European Startups, Get Your Pitches Together

    European Startups, Get Your Pitches Together

    I’ve pitched at least 250 investors over the years, mentored hundreds of startups and have plenty of fail behind me. So I feel I know a thing or two about pitching, and European startups are so often really rather bad at it. Austria, and specifically Vienna, is famous for classical music and Sachetorte more than tech startups, but I’d heard good things about Pioneers Festival and… Read More

  • Trends That Will Revolutionize The Retail Industry

    Trends That Will Revolutionize The Retail Industry

    In retail, innovation is the name of the game. Increasingly, retailers are staying ahead through unique in-store experiences that inspire shoppers through social lifestyles. Take a look at STORY, a Manhattan retailer that continually changes everything in store, from products to fittings to events based upon different themes like “Love” or “Made in America.” They… Read More

  • Working With A Chinese Factory, Hardware Entrepreneur Edition

    Working With A Chinese Factory, Hardware Entrepreneur Edition

    I have to admit, before I decided to fly to Southern China this past week and dig deeper into the hardware ecosystem, I knew very little about anything to do with manufacturing. Sure, I looked at hardware-related investments, as every investor does these days, and tried to apply concepts of unit economics to the products, but I could not assess very intelligently whether the… Read More

  • To Create A Habit, Focus On The Reward

    To Create A Habit, Focus On The Reward

    On May 1, 1981, American Airlines launched its frequent flyer program AAdvantage. Since then, a flood of loyalty programs have attempted to bring customers back through rewards. Today, you can become a card-carrying member of just about anything: hotels, supermarkets, drugstores and pizza chains. If you’re in a store, chances are someone will ask, “Would you like to join our… Read More

  • The Harsh Reality Of The New Enterprise World

    The Harsh Reality Of The New Enterprise World

    It’s all getting harder in the B2B world. That’s the bottom line. A board member of mine recently told me a story about the “good old days” of enterprise software. He said he remembers a software company in the 1990s where they were looking at doing a deal with a big customer. The vendor quoted more than $100 mm for the product. The customer wanted to spend $90 mm. Read More

  • The Backbone Of American Elections: Pen And Paper

    The Backbone Of American Elections: Pen And Paper

    Apple will soon put a touchscreen computer on our wrist. High school football is being reshaped for both players and coaches by the latest video technology. And a Silicon Valley pundit is waxing visionary of a future wheredigital technology enables telepathy between humans. And yet, in this techno-wonderland, in the most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world, this… Read More

  • Is Mobile Gaming The New Core Gaming?

    Is Mobile Gaming The New Core Gaming?

    With mobile gaming revenue set to eclipse console next and year and PC by 2017, the question should be asked whether what we currently call “core” gaming really is any such thing any more. Or are mobile phone games the true inheritors of that mantle. Read More

  • Fundraising Acceleration Is The New VC Investment Thesis

    Fundraising Acceleration Is The New VC Investment Thesis

    There was a quite a jolt on Friday from the news that Slack, a company whose eponymous enterprise communications platform was first publicly launched this year, raised $120 million in new venture funding from KPCB and Google Ventures. Even more eye-popping was the valuation: $1.12 billion. Although Slack pivoted from an earlier incarnation as a games company called Tiny Speck, such a growth… Read More

  • Salesforce’s Service Cloud 1 Is A Wearable Technology Trojan Horse

    Salesforce’s Service Cloud 1 Is A Wearable Technology Trojan Horse

    Imagine a scenario in which an oil rig worker suddenly hears an alarm sound from somewhere on the rig. The adrenaline rush begins and the worker knows he has to move fast. The sound of the siren is not a clear signal as to where the trouble is, but the smartwatch on his wrist indicates exactly where to go and what needs to be done to fix the problem. As he works to fix it, each step is… Read More

  • Two Worlds Colliding: How LinkedIn Could Take On Salesforce

    Two Worlds Colliding: How LinkedIn Could Take On Salesforce

    Today’s B2B sales and marketing folks struggle with the overwhelming number of channels for finding and reaching new leads. The customer “funnel” continues to expand as buyers do more of their own research before raising their hand to connect with a sales rep. But imagine if you could make the funnel taller by identifying leads when they’re just browsing your site… Read More

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