Column

  • How To Better Predict Unicorns

    How To Better Predict Unicorns

    Of course Airbnb is worth a billion dollars. There’s an expensive asset there sitting unused. People often struggle to make rent. Hotels are expensive. Of course Uber is worth a billion dollars. Taxis are awful; expensive, unreliable, and the last one I took I’m pretty sure I was sitting in some sick. Read More

  • The New York Times And Its Faustian Facebook Pact

    The New York Times And Its Faustian Facebook Pact

    Quality news content providers are between a rock and a hard place, the second worst decision they could ever make is to give their content for free for Facebook to host, but probably the very worst one is not to. Read More

  • What Startups Can Learn From LearnVest’s $250 Million Acquisition

    What Startups Can Learn From LearnVest’s $250 Million Acquisition

    When LearnVest, one of the hottest startups in Fintech, announced its acquisition by Northwestern Mutual, the $250 million deal raised some eyebrows. While this partnership may seem unlikely at first, it actually makes a lot of sense for both parties. Read More

  • Ad Tech Is Dead, Long Live Marketing Tech

    Ad Tech Is Dead, Long Live Marketing Tech

    VCs and public market investors cringe when they hear the words ad tech. It’s no wonder why. The segment has been soured by an over-saturation of ad networks and poor performing IPOs. Rocket Fuel’s stock is down more than 80 percent since its IPO in September 2013, while Millennial Media is down 94 percent since it went public a year earlier. Read More

  • Bio
    The Genome Engineering Revolution

    The Genome Engineering Revolution

    Over the years, the debate surrounding the ethics of genome engineering research and applications has cultivated a sense of fear among us that societies depicted in movies like Gattaca, or the book Brave New World, could come to fruition. Although these scenarios seem socially impossible execute, they were ultimately deemed scientifically farfetched because the complexity of such tasks… Read More

  • Should You Build Or Acquire?

    Should You Build Or Acquire?

    “You could regret this decision for the rest of your life… from the beach of your own private island.” That was the advice my lawyer gave me when I was staring at a nine-figure acquisition offer as the sole shareholder of my five-year-old startup. The valuation was good, the terms were clean, but I just couldn’t say yes. Lots of people say they aren’t in it for… Read More

  • The Ultimate Interface Is Your Brain

    The Ultimate Interface Is Your Brain

    The final frontier of the digital technology is integrating into your own brain. DARPA wants to go there. Scientists want to go there. Entrepreneurs want to go there. And increasingly, it looks like it’s possible. You’ve probably read bits and pieces about brain implants and prosthesis. Let me give you the big picture. Read More

  • Europay, MasterCard, Visa: A Primer

    Europay, MasterCard, Visa: A Primer

    The cyber breaches and system hacks affecting Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and other large retailers over the past two years have resulted in billions of dollars of credit card fraud. This growing epidemic has led to increased calls for a more robust credit card security system. Read More

  • How Do I Know If I Should Take A Job At A Startup?

    How Do I Know If I Should Take A Job At A Startup?

    Imagine if someone asked “would you invest in this company?” Your answer is going to be similar. With a few additions. Here’s the checklist I would follow. Read More

  • The Importance Of Founders

    The Importance Of Founders

    In a prior era, some considered it best practice to bring in “professional managers” to run the businesses started by creative and hard-working entrepreneurs once those business began to scale and appeared to need “adult supervision.” The term “upgrade management” is still occasionally heard among investors but never in front of founders. Read More

  • How Telecoms And The Indian Government Stop Net Neutrality In Its Tracks

    How Telecoms And The Indian Government Stop Net Neutrality In Its Tracks

    Hidden under the guise of enabling the Indian population with faster and more reliable services, the major players in telecoms, such as Airtel and Reliance, have adopted new policies that could undermine the basic building blocks of Internet access in India. Read More

  • Why Apps Need A New Data Center Stack

    Why Apps Need A New Data Center Stack

    The Internet has changed a lot about people’s lives in the past couple decades. Web and mobile applications let us search for information, buy products, and communicate frictionlessly, from anywhere — at speeds and in ways never before possible. We get movie recommendations on the dashboards of our cars, produce and publish videos on our phones, and buy thermostats that predict when… Read More

  • Facebook Development Through The Years

    Facebook Development Through The Years

    At the recent F8 conference, listening to Mark Zuckerberg announce that FB Messenger was going to open up as another developer platform, as Facebook did back in 07, brought me back to a different time. In 07, Facebook was different. You could invite large masses of your friends to play all sorts of games and through the Platform, build a new breed of application. Facebook Platform in 07 was… Read More

  • Apple Watch And The Future Of App Design

    Apple Watch And The Future Of App Design

    The launch of the Apple Watch represents the latest proof point that we’re only going to have more devices to consider when designing mobile apps. Not only does it represent a huge opportunity for more personal experiences, but it presents user interface designers with the increasingly complex challenge of scaling themselves to design for Web, mobile, tablets and wearables. Read More

  • Peter Thiel Is Wrong About Lean Startups

    Peter Thiel Is Wrong About Lean Startups

    Before I dive into the many ways that Peter Thiel gets the lean methodology as wrong as a glowing review of 50 Shades of Grey, let me say this: He is one incredibly savvy dude. Most of the time, Thiel undoubtedly deserves his confidence in his business intuition. Sometimes, however, he does not. His total, utter misunderstanding of Lean Startup methodology springs to mind. Read More

  • Can You Fear Me Now?

    Can You Fear Me Now?

    I write to you from Aqaba, Jordan, a town made famous when conquered by “Lawrence of Arabia” and Faisal al-Hashimi 99 years ago, at a confluence where today four nations divide a mere 25 miles of coastline. So I have travel much on my mind. And it seems to me that the influence of travel on technology has hit another inflection point, and traditional travel companies have much… Read More

  • How Silicon Valley And Washington Can Come Together

    How Silicon Valley And Washington Can Come Together

    As technology permeates nearly every aspect of our lives, it has become an increasingly political topic. On one hand, Washington and Silicon Valley have seemingly never been closer with recent visits to the Valley by President Obama, new cybersecurity legislation, news at RSA that the Department of Homeland Security plans to open an office in the Valley, as well as the surge of Silicon… Read More

  • An Alternative To Convertible Debt In Emerging Markets

    An Alternative To Convertible Debt In Emerging Markets

    Cities across the planet have been trying and failing to replicate Silicon Valley’s talent for going on 50 years now. However, it’s not talent per se that makes Silicon Valley what it is. It’s the investment ecosystem that attracts the talent. It’s the assurance of major acquisitions that attracts the investors. “What Silicon Valley does better than… Read More

  • Who The Smartphone Revolution Left Behind

    Who The Smartphone Revolution Left Behind

    How many of us have been tempted to chuck our smartphones into the ocean while on vacation to stop the incessant buzzing of incoming emails and texts from interrupting what is supposed to be down time? While many of us have become increasingly desperate to unplug – there’s even a growing industry of “digital detox” vacation spots – in our love-hate relationship… Read More

  • How To Make The Most Of Your Startup Accelerator Program Experience

    How To Make The Most Of Your Startup Accelerator Program Experience

    Seed accelerators have been around for 10 years now and their popularity doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon. Sure, criticism for the programs themselves and the proliferation of different programs around the world have taken some wind out of the sails, but primarily, joining an accelerator program – or rather, being accepted to an accelerator – is still considered… Read More

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