Column

  • 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

  • The Future Of French Robotics

    The Future Of French Robotics

    French robotics can boast of several innovative robotics startups, entrepreneurs and researchers. But robots aren’t ubiquitous in the French industry, which has experienced steady decline in the past decades. Couldn’t robotics help? Read More

  • The Potential Of Beacon Technology

    The Potential Of Beacon Technology

    After indoor positioning with Wi-Fi, beacon technology is a massive step forward in ambient context identification, which is why this technology is all the buzz of late. Beacons allow for background positioning and detection, giving new power to a phone that can make it truly “smart.” Read More

  • The Challenge Of Connecting The Unconnected

    The Challenge Of Connecting The Unconnected

    Every time we return to or sign up for an Internet service (e.g. Facebook, Google, Gmail, YouTube, etc.), we rely on what UX experts call a “mental model” for navigating through the choices. A mental model is essentially a person’s intuition of how something works based on past knowledge, similar experiences and common sense. So even when something is new, mental models help… Read More

  • San Francisco’s Short-Term Rental Solution

    San Francisco’s Short-Term Rental Solution

    After two-and-a-half years of intense policy discussion and countless hours of public testimony, this week Mayor Ed Lee signed into law legislation I authored that will for the first time regulate short-term rentals in San Francisco. This legislative process was a test of whether or not we could find a reasonable solution to a policy issue posed by the new tech economy — and I… Read More

  • Why Is It Bad For Tech To Eat Jobs?

    Why Is It Bad For Tech To Eat Jobs?

    Most jobs suck. Yours probably doesn’t–after all, you’re a member of the highly educated, cutting-edge TechCrunch demographic–but most jobs, almost by definition, are done by people coerced by the fear of not having enough money into doing work they mostly don’t want to do. We should be ecstatic about the prospect of robots doing that work for us. Shouldn’t we? Read More

  • Changing The Rules Of E-Commerce

    Changing The Rules Of E-Commerce

    In late summer, Mayfield and CRV co-hosted a dinner for entrepreneurs at e-commerce 2.0 companies, including Brit& Co, Dolls Kill, Dropship, Indiegogo, Kiwi Crate, LeTote, Massdrop, Pebble, Peek, Poshmark, The Hunt, Tophatter, Touch of Modern, Trendalytics, Udemy and Urban Remedy. Over dinner and drinks these executives discussed the factors making e-commerce cool again for investors… Read More

  • Why Online Retailers Continue To Open Brick-And-Mortar Stores

    Why Online Retailers Continue To Open Brick-And-Mortar Stores

    In an age when new technology and the growth of pure online-only retailers have industry analysts questioning the future of brick-and-mortar stores, what are online retailers doing to grow their businesses and gain market share? Why, opening up physical storefronts of course. The benefits that physical spaces provide make up three of the top reasons why online retailers are setting up shop… Read More

  • Myths And Misconceptions Of Our Wearable Future

    Myths And Misconceptions Of Our Wearable Future

    Wearables as a second brain. The Internet of Self and Things. One trillion sensors…. There’s no doubt that a sensor-laden world is the buzz of the town. The next Big Thing. In fact, there is so much buzz that many consumers probably dismiss it as hype. Yet, in spite of all this hype, as a 30-year veteran of Silicon Valley’s semiconductor and sensor industry, this is about as… Read More

  • Cookies Are Dead: User-Based Attribution Models Are The Only Way Forward

    Cookies Are Dead: User-Based Attribution Models Are The Only Way Forward

    Cookies are the base tracking mechanism for most companies running online marketing initiatives, yet cookies are dying out rapidly because mobile usage is increasing and most mobile browsers don’t support third party cookies. In fact, cookies simply don’t work across all mobile devices, and multi-device usage is no longer the way of the future, it is what is happening right… Read More

  • Salesforce’s Reinvention As A Marketing Behemoth

    Salesforce’s Reinvention As A Marketing Behemoth

    Windows. Beyond aesthetics, the new layout crystalizes the efforts of the company to communicate that, outside its core CRM and B2B business, it has cemented its growth into customer analytics, digital marketing and social media. Contrasting with its previous CRM focused communication, Salesforce is now taking about “connecting with customers in a whole new way” in its landing page. Read More

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