BERLIN– Yesterday at the Next 11 conference, I interviewed Rovio’s Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka on stage. You may know him as the man who brings us all different versions of Angry Birds, Angry Birds toys, possibly an Angry Birds movie, and– as you’ll see in the clip below– an Angry Birds line of hoodies.
He has a big announcement: Angry Birds downloads have topped 200 million. To put that in… → Read More
Before there was Hashable, there was Tracked, Michael Yavonditte’s attempt to build a better Yahoo Finance. It was little too complicated, and not social. “I felt like I was on the wrong side of history,” he tells Chris Dixon in this episode of Founder Stories.
So Yavonditte (who had previously sold advertising startup Quigo to AOL for $360 million) started from scratch, recruited a new team… → Read More
Blip.tv started five years ago with a focus on helping budding video producers manage and distribute their shows across the Web. Slowly but surely, though, it’s become a video destination in its own right with 3 billion cumulative video views—currently closing in on one billion a quarter. In light of that growth, it is now fully embracing its destiny as a video destination with a redesign… → Read More
For the third set of interviews from last week’s excellent SFMusicTech event, I talk with David Hyman, the current CEO of MOG, the co-founder of Addicted to Noise, former CEO of Gracenote and one of the smartest and most experienced pioneers of the digital music revolution.
Hyman’s MOG is one of the most interesting and important contemporary start-ups. Like Pandora and Spotify, MOG is… → Read More
In part III of Erick Schonfeld’s interview with the man of many interests, Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary discusses his daily-deal wine venture, Cinderalla Wine and throws props to similar deal delivering sites like Lot18. Overall, he says, on the need of these sites to strategically position themselves. “I think the acquisition of consumers might be on the verge of being mapped” says Vaynercuck, “the… → Read More
The Gillmor Gang — Craig Burton, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, and Steve Gillmor — survived the week of Google AeeEeeI/OUuu, Facebook slimeware, and the embalmerization of Microsoft with nary a scratch. Robert Scoble briefly joined via the iPad and FaceTime from a layover at O’Hare, but he couldn’t hear us and we could hear him say so, over and over. Kinda like Facebook, who somehow got its Dumb… → Read More
Should music artists be like the authoritarian Steve Jobs? Is it their responsibility to know what their fans want better than they do? Evan Lowenstein, the successful singer-songwriter and the current CEO of StageIT, certainly seems to think so. In a recent article tantalizingly entitled “The Artist to Fan Relationship: Dating, Love, Texting and Marriage”, Lowenstein argues that “as an… → Read More
When it comes to publishing apps on the iPad, there are two models: 1) social readers that bring all your realtime news feeds together like Flipboard; or 2) single-title apps from major publishers like the New Yorker, The Daily or the New York Times. Those two models are also dividing along the lines of subscriptions versus ad-supported/free.
In the video above, Flipboard CEO Mike McCue makes… → Read More
Like many start-ups, Meebo has been on a recent hiring spree. In this episode of Founder Stories, CEO Seth Sternberg tells Chris Dixon, “for 12 weeks we had to hire a salesperson a week and if we didn’t we would have missed our revenue numbers later this year.”
But it’s not just new salespeople populating Meebo’s workstations. “We started this year at about 130 employees. I think we… → Read More
Earlier this week, I spent a most enjoyable day at the SFMusicTech Summit, the Bay Area’s top Internet music event put on by the digital impressario Brian Zisk. The highpoint for me of the summit was interviewing Brandon Boyd and Mike Einziger from the chart topping rock band Incubus.
From Einziger’s limousine jokes to Boyd’s confession on “feeling dirty” about self-promotion to both… → Read More
Should founders innovate based upon customer feedback or is it better to develop from within and let consumer adapt. In this episode of Founder Stories with host Chris Dixon, Meebo’s Seth Sternberg discusses his philosophy: “Users tend to be very good at giving you incremental product suggestions.” But they are not product visionaries. “They may be asking for something that would be… → Read More
If you have been watching TechCrunch TV interviews lately, you may have noticed the videos are much sharper, crisper and much higher quality. The reason: we’ve gone HD. We are now using a new workflow with HD cameras and HD video switcher. Our shows from New York (Fly or Die and Founder Stories) have always been produced in HD at AOL Studios. But, now our San Francisco studio has gotten the… → Read More
Ze Frank thinks that the future of play is a “hot thing.” That’s why he founded Star.me, his soon-to-be fully public startup. And that’s why he’s shifted his focus from stand-up entertainment to stand-up entrepreneurialism.
But why has he gone from being one of the web’s top entertainment stars to yet another star-struck startup guy? As he told me last week when he came into the… → Read More
Meebo, which connects users with their friends across social platforms, emerged from the ashes of an idea Seth Sternberg and his team had for “file sharing between friends that had IM in it.” Those early days of development saw more misses than hits—“kind of depressing” says Sternberg in this episode of Founder Stories.
After more than a year of tinkering, Meebo finally found its magic… → Read More
Ze Frank wants to send us all back to kindergarten. Star.me, Ze’s soon-to-be fully public startup, which raised $500,000 from star-struck investors including Gary Vaynerchuk and Ron Conway, is an attempt to reinvent the kindergarten’s star system of rewards.
As Ze told me when he came into the TechCrunchTV studio earlier this week, “stars are good.” They make us human, they allow us to… → Read More
Following our visit to Berkeley Bionics to talk with the team about their inspiring artificially intelligent, bionic devices, we were lucky enough to visit The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (VMC) to speak with those involved in the clinical testing of this new technology as part of patient treatment.
Berkeley Bionics has been working in conjunction with VMC Chief of Spinal Cord &… → Read More
Netflix is leading the charge when it comes to streaming movies and TV shows over the Internet. It’s no longer focussed on DVDs, even though it is about to ship its 3 billionth disc. As bandwidth to the home increases, streaming will just continue to become more popular. At the Wired business conference earlier this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted that gigabit-per-second speeds to… → Read More
Tablets and electronic book readers are on a collision course. In this episode of Fly or Die , ChrunchGear editor John Biggs and I discuss the pros and cons of the new BlackBerry Playbook and the Color Nook from Barnes & Noble. The PlayBook is fast and a solid effort from our much-beleaguered Canadian friends. But is it too little, too late?
If you are a BackBerry user and want a tablet… → Read More
Today during her keynote talk at Social Loco, Google VP of Location and Local Services Marissa Mayer outlined some of the core goals driving Google’s local and location strategies, and how social will tie into that. The gist: Google wants to create serendipitous experiences, and to present you with contextually relevant information before you even search for it. But there are still plenty of… → Read More
About a month ago, I was one of the very first people to ride an Uber car in New York City a few hours after the company put a few test cars out on the streets. It was supposed to be a secret, but I found out about it, and texted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick while I was in the car. Last night was Uber’s “official” launch in New York City with about 100 cars which can be summoned via an iPhone app. … → Read More
The Gillmor Gang — Kevin Marks, Danny Sullivan, JP Rangaswami, John Taschek, and Steve Gillmor — christened the new Gang studio with a surprise welcome to Kevin Marks. It turns out he’s joining salesforce.com on Monday, following JP (six months), JT (7 years), and me, who is celebrating my one year anniversary. Kevin has been a forceful champion of open standards at Apple, Technorati, Google… → Read More
Vibrating sex toys have been around for over a century, starting out as crude steam powered devices and now resembling something very cool that you might pick up at an Apple store. Sex toys have been the source of giggles, controversy, pleasure and up until the last 5 years, were not a mainstream product. They were devices you bought and had shipped in unmarked brown packaging or slipped into a… → Read More
Can gadgets betray us? Is the Pope Catholic?
But Vamosi’s new book goes beyond a critique of Apple and Google. When Gadgets Betray Us is a broad warning about how the latest technology hardware – from smart meters to… → Read More
TweetDeck’s new iPhone app came out a couple days ago. It is completely redesigned from the ground up and looks more like it’s Android cousin than the first TweetDeck for iPhone. Instead of cramming as much as possible into an iPhone screen, TweetDeck stripped everything out but the essentials. The result is a spare mobile stream reader that packs a lot of punch. We take a look at the new… → Read More
Does founding a non-profit organization require the same skills as founding a traditional start-up company? Are the most successful social entrepreneurs as skilled in personal reinvention as the top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs?
All week long we’ve been running clips from the Founder Stories interview with the GroupMe Guys, co-founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. In the video above, they answer some rapid fire questions about how to impress startups during an interview (give great product feedback), what do they look for in “social engineers,” and what is the hardest part of running a startup (delegating and… → Read More
The Gillmor Gang — Danny Sullivan, Doc Searls, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, and Steve Gillmor — endured technical glitches and a dissection of the disruption formerly known as TV before settling into a debate about privacy. I know, sounds like the usual nonsense, but this show was high quality nonsense. I forget who brought up the famous iPhone/Android hidden recording file crisis, but things… → Read More
Happy Earth Day everyone!
And to have a good Earth Day, and I mean a really good one, you need to watch a three minute video that was released today. It’s called Water Changes Everything and it’s been made by charity: water, an amazing non-profit organization founded by the incomparable Scott Harrison and actively supported by many Silicon Valley notables including Michael Birch, Jack Dorsey… → Read More