December 9, 2012 by Fred
AVC regular Dan Ramsden posted a thougtful essay on GigaOM yesterday. After I read it, I sent Dan an email and I said “do you think big beats little in this phase we are in?” Dan replied that he did and asked me what I thought.
I think David beats Goliath all day long if you are focused on the right sectors. Clay Christensen has shaped my thinking on this. You just need to look for sectors where the incumbents can’t and won’t adapt to new emerging models and where the innovators look like and are being derided as “toys”.
I told Dan that Arduino, 3D printers, Kickstarter, and Bitcoin are four “toys” that I think will radically reshape some big industries in this decade. Of course it may not be Arduino as we know it. Or it may not be Bitcoin as we know it. I will avoid commenting on Kickstarter since we are investors there.
The leaders in 3D printing today may not be the leaders in 3D printing tomorrow. All you have to do is look at the big guys suing the little guys to know that there is a lot of innovation and change afoot in 3D printing right now.
I have said this before. The more I hear people laughing at, deriding, and dismissing something the more I think it is likely to be a big deal. I remember when the common refrain about Twitter was that nobody wants to know what someone had for lunch. Well maybe they do. And maybe Bitcoin will be accepted in Starbucks someday. And maybe your phone will be made from Arduino components and the cover will be 3D printed. And maybe the movie you are going to see in the theater today will have been funded on Kickstarter.
Maybe is a powerful word. If maybe represents something big and powerful then it is worth chasing that maybe. And it is worth funding it too.
November 7, 2012 by Dorie Clark
At the recent Inbound Marketing Summit, mobile was the belle of the ball ? the trend considered most likely to fundamentally shape marketing in the coming years. At the conference, I caught up with my fellow speaker Tim Hayden, SVP of Mobile Strategy for Edelman Digital. Here are five tips he shared about the future of mobile, and what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.
October 30, 2012 by BBC News
3D objects are created by sending a digital file or scan to a printer which then builds the item layer by layer – a process know as “additive manufacturing”. The range of objects the technology can manufacture is rapidly expanding – in the medical …
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October 24, 2012 by Jacquelyn Smith
Consider it the Apple of the world.
October 18, 2012 by Joe Kloc
The giants of the technology world — Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft — are locked in a host of epic struggles. Amazon is battling with Apple for a share of the e-book market — a conflict that is emptying the coffers of already struggling publishing houses. Meanwhile, Apple and Microsoft have filed patent-infringement suits against mobile firms that run Google’s Android operating system. To best each other, the five companies also fight proxy wars over everything from GPS maps to book distribution, leaving a trail of defunct startups in their wake. In 2011, for instance, Google acquired 79 companies, only to shut down most of them and put their talent to work on other projects. Here’s a handy map for keeping track of all the strategic battles for people, ownership, and market share being waged across Silicon Valley today.
October 16, 2012 by (author unknown)
Moms more likely to own smartphones, tablets compared to general consumers
October 13, 2012 by Marcus Wohlsen and Michael V. Copeland
Over the past few years, enough complaints have come Google’s way claiming it games its search results to rank competitors lower that the company felt compelled to post a FAQ, “Facts about Google and Competition.” In response to its self-posed question “Does Google have a monopoly on search?”, the company says: “No. On the Internet, competition is one click away.”
Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz may be close to suing Google for antitrust violations. Photo: Center for American Progress
For federal regulators, that answer might not be good enough anymore.
According to reports late Friday, the feds are getting ready to pull the trigger on an antitrust lawsuit against Google for allegedly using its massive scale to squash competition and keep online advertising prices high.
Based on a wide-reaching investigation that began more than a year ago, Federal Trade Commission staff are readying to recommend that a suit be brought against the search giant, according to the New York Times. If the commission decides to bring a case, it would be the largest anti-trust suit brought by the FTC since a similar legal case took on Microsoft in the late ‘90s. Microsoft lost, but the ultimate resolution dragged on for years. Google did not immediately respond to a Wired inquiry seeking a statement on the FTC’s possible move.
As with Microsoft, the Google investigation has poked into virtually every part of Google’s business. The gist is that as Google has expanded beyond its core search business, into things like online shopping and smartphones, it is using its muscle to favor Google products over competitors. So rather than showing results from say, another shopping engine or restaurant recommendation service, it favors Google’s own versions of those products. In the mobile world, the FTC is looking at whether handset makers have the freedom to pick and choose the Google products they want if they choose to use Google’s free Android mobile operating system.
Even if the final recommendation of FTC staff is to sue Google, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen. Bringing a formal suit requires three of five FTC commissioners to vote in support of legal action. In September, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said a decision on whether to sue would be made by the end of the year. In Europe, a similar antitrust investigation into Google is already moving forward as European regulators look to lessen Google’s grip on the Internet.
In a settlement recently pitched to European Union antitrust regulators Google reportedly proposed to clearly brand all links to Google services returned in a search to mark them as distinct from “neutral” search results. The Texas attorney general’s office has also been investigating Google’s search practices for the past two years.
Google has long denied any anti-competitive practices, and for its part had this to say: “We are happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business.” The FTC did not immediately respond to a Wired message seeking comment.
If some websites have problems with how they turn up in Google’s search rankings, web users themselves don’t seem to find Google’s results wanting. Last month in the U.S., a full two-thirds of all web searches were made using Google, with Microsoft’s Bing a very distant second and Yahoo coming in third, according to comScore. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why other sites that don’t fare well on Google would claim that a low ranking equals internet invisibility. But it’s hard to believe that any settlement the company reaches in the event of FTC action could do much to harm its own rank as the world’s de facto default search engine.
October 3, 2012 by (author unknown)
The phrase “3D printing” refers to a group of technologies for printing solid objects from digital designs, technologies which are rapidly becoming cheaper and more accessible. Colloquially, “3D printing” has two definitions. Definition 1: a revolutionary movement in which workers will own the means of production. Definition 2: a novelty technology that, at its most impressive, yields trinkets that could pass for being made in China.
September 18, 2012 by (author unknown)
Visual Ruler | measure real lengths for iOS – Measure real lengths and distances on the ground. Snap a picture, draw your length â�” it’s that easy!
September 18, 2012 by Andrew O’Connell
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about risks to China’s manufacturing dominance, factors such as rising wages and a downturn in total factor productivity. But 3D printing? Really? Yes, writes George Magnus in the FT. The official name for the technology is “additive manufacturing,” and it will change the way the world thinks about making stuff, Magnus says, because it allows companies to produce locally and respond quickly to changes in demand. That means no giant inventories, no giant shipments. With additive manufacturing, a field where the U.S. already has a competitive advantage, companies will want production to be close to design — and to customers.
It’s more than just a novelty: Ethan Clay’s Whalebone Cafe Bank in Pittsburgh really does accept small deposits and make small loans. A $100 deposit earns you $5.50 per month in credits for ice cream, waffles, and coffee in the store, says the Wall Street Journal. For loan interest, you pay real money. Clay, who started his operations because he was annoyed at the way financial institutions do business, says he aims to become the neighborhood bank. State regulators seem perplexed, but they say the ice cream is good.
Terry Marks, the new CEO of Hooters, is undertaking a makeover of the ultimate guys’ place. He doesn’t want men to be embarrassed to list Hooters on their expense accounts — and he doesn’t want women to veto the idea of a meal there, says Bloomberg Businessweek. He says this can be done without “putting wool sweaters on the Hooters girls.” In other words, the waitresses will keep their tight-fitting uniforms. Revenue dropped 3.4% last year.
September 13, 2012 by jeremiah_owyang
(Above pic: Techcrunch Disrupt featured 329 global startups over 3 days in San Francisco)
I just visited dozens and dozens of startup booths (so you don’t have to) at the massive Techcrunch Disrupt held in San Francisco, I also attended in 2011 and published my notes. I’ve been attending Techcrunch events since they were held in Mike Arrington’s backyard with beers, bbq, and a bouncing black lab over 5 years ago, they’ve come a very long way and Mark Zuckerberg said it was larger than his own Facebook conference.
There was an all-star cast of tech-arati including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Marc Benioff, Jack Dorsey, Tim Draper, Ben Horowitz, David Sachs, Kevin Rose, Aaron Levie, Cory Booker, and even Jessica Alba. In addition to the main stage pronouncements there was 204 companies in the startup alley as well as vertical specific days, and 125 in the international rows. I attended the third day, which had many international startups, as well as hardware innovators. Here are some of the interesting companies segmented by market:
Early Funding Birth B2B, SMB, and Enterprise Startups
New opportunities to serve businesses, both small business, enterprise and local merchants emerged, here’s a few worth noting:
- Taptara: The real standout enterprise player I saw was Taptera, which stems from former Genetech mobile team who spun off this enterprise class provider of mobile apps that stem around field productivity, collab, and collateral features. They have 6 major features including a directory system called Colleagues, Collateral built on Salesforce for curated content, Crescendo built on Box.net which offers presentation features for tablets and beyond, an Events feature that Disrupt was built on, and Concierge a Social profile CRM tool for sales teams. Business model is $10 a month per seat, with 20 employees, and only 15 mos old after raising just over $3.25m (pic)
- Alicanto: This novel approach for SMB retail: Alicanto is a virtual CMO for local marketing. Small mom and pops that are struggling to battle with big box and chain QSRs will need this contextually relevant artificial intelligence to provide non-MBA business owners to effectively market with ads, direct marketing, and even suggest partnerships with local merchants. (pic)
- Moovia: If Linkedin and Basecamp had sex. This application first provides employees with collaboration tools, but then encourages teams to score colleagues with their team based skills. As a result klout like points are distributed based on skillsets, and data can be used in a variety of other ways in the future. (pic)
- Kerio Workspace caters to SMBs offering a collaboration toolset built on their existing program. This company has been around since 1997, has 200 employees and stems from a legacy of voip products and beyond. This collaboration tool offers a heavy duty user interface for heavier collaboration with social features.
- The Fan Machine: Social marketing platform The Fan Machine caters to marketers to reach French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. They’ve 25 employees and have received $1m in funding and strive to compete with Buddy Media, Wildfire, and Extole.
- Freshdesk, which is 1 year old, offers social support and call center SaaS technology for SMB. With 80 employees and $6m funding, they tout 2k customers and offer 3 modules including: 1) Email., call and ticket systems. 2) P2P support tools, 3) Social CRM and news feed management of customers complaining in public. Biz model is $9 a mos per agent with an average of 10 agents. Competes with Zendesk.
- Superlead, a Brazillian startup offers lead generation tools for SMBs that include landing pages, lead gen pages, call to action features, and analytics. With only 7 employees they’ve raised 350k Euros.
Blue Chip Tech Companies offer Infrastructure to Fledgling Startups. Rackspace, HP, Best Buy, Ford, Microsoft all had booth presences to reach out to startups to offer infrastructure, business accelerators, resources, and partnerships. Here’s a few of the booth offerings:
- SAP was featuring big data quant analytics platform Hana, and showcased white label retail apps. They’re seeking to partner with startups and get them on their platform at early stage. (pic)
- Best Buy was here on hardware day offering a business accelerator program called New Blue, designed to help innovators get resources, distribution, and opportunity under existing BestBuy product labels called Insignia and Rocketfuel. (pic)
- HP, Rackspace were offering cloud and hosting to the myriad of fast growing startups.
- Ford has launched a Silicon Valley lab and offers both BugLabs (SW) OpenXC (HW) for developers to get involved. (pic)
Consumer Startups Revolved Around Themes –With a Few Interesting Technologies
Across the hundreds of startups featured, I walked by every booth, here’s a few consumer style apps, websites, and hardware companies that caught my eye:
- Shopperception, a South American retail startup, uses $100 Xbox Kinect bars to analyze real world shoppers to measure engagement pre point of sale and had several analytics dashboards. (pic
- Game Genome Project offers a “Pandora for Games” to recommend which games (and soon apps) which users should find and use They’re business model is a CPA model
- MakerBot, 3D printer, will be available for $2k and creates plastic figures, tools, toys, and devices, and will move to other forms of more pliable materials in the future.
- Interaxon, a Brain wave scanner, is a headband which measures brand activity, and will have uses for gaming, workplace productivity and eventually grab multiple forms of brain activity to track our Body APIs. (pic)
- Government sponsored Enterprise Ireland was present and has an evergreen fund of $350m for startups and larger org. Code 2040 offers a summer internship for US students of Latino and African American heritage who are interested in technology.
- BoostedBoards, an Electric skateboard takes you uphill and home for $1200. Made $100k on kickstarter (pic)
- Double Robotics, an iPad Robot is emerging, and for $2k you can be in two places at once with this remote controlled robot. (pic)
- Zoop, a Square competitor from Brazil has three input capabilities for local merchants includes Pin based security entry. NFC, SmartCard, Magnetic strip canning. They take a 2.75% fee charged to local merchant. (pic)
- Totally.me, a pre-launch social aggregator claims better than Flipboard with Pinterest style feed display. Content is de-duped and has other aggregation and features. (pic)
- Chronos offers a body data tracking application that tracks your daily time usage by your phone. This can be used to optomize how you spend time during the day, and competes with Latitude and Lift but claims more automated features. Biz model is fremium with lead gen CPA and ad models.
- Lit, a highly coveted free statndinga motorcycle stays upright with gyros. (no not Greek food) (pic)
- SuperManket: This one made me shake my head in amusement as well as practical application. SuperManket (yes “Man”) is a new dating tool where men advertise themselves to women (who control the experience). See screenshot of list of options, apparently “aging millionaire” was a top way men wanted to self-describe themselves. Business model is fremium and male members pay for positioning (think SEO) and ability to see who’s peeping their profile. (pic)
Most of these startups will not stand the test of time, and from year to year, I didn’t see as many trends changing other than the lack of SoLoMo companies from Disrupt 2011. One of my mottos is ABR: Always be Researching, and I hope these findings helped others who couldn’t attend the event.
August 7, 2012 by Patty Seybold
Just about every airline now offers mobile apps and a mobile-optimized website. That’s because travelers rely on their mobile devices to get things done while on the go. Alaska Airlines mobile journey to-date is informative because the company has changed its implementation strategy a couple of times since 2005 and is likely to continue to do so.
What remains constant is:
- The focus on a target group of customers: Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyers
- Prioritizing features that are both urgent and repetitive for day of travel
- The engagement of customers in the actual development process
- Implementing a layer of APIs between the airline’s operational systems and the customer-facing apps
- Designing a mobile web site that will support all handheld devices
- Optimizing the standard web site for tablets and laptops/PCs
- Combining mobile platform-optimized apps with integration to mobile web functionality
Like many mobile development teams, Alaska Airlines and its partners from Ubermind/Deloitte use agile SCRUM development, starting with user stories and coding in two-week sprints. But what they do that’s different from many such projects is to engage their target customers—loyal frequent flyers—to test the deliverables every two weeks.
Alaska Airlines’ Evolves Its Mobile Strategy
Catering to Frequent Flyers Pays Off
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Senior Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, August 3, 2012
NETTING IT OUT
Alaska Airlines has a relatively modest budget for mobile app development, yet the airline is hitting home runs with its mobile apps. Their strategy: focus on addressing customers’ needs on the day of travel. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Airlines frequent travelers are quite happy with the current functionality. These frequent flyers are also intimately involved with prioritizing and testing new mobile functionality.
In terms of its mobile development strategy, Alaska Airlines has moved from a write once/run anywhere approach to one that optimizes native apps for each mobile platform. They have evolved their mobile website, m.alaskaair.com, to mirror the functionality of their iPhone and Android apps for all mobile device users, are evolving their alaskaair.com website to be tablet-friendly.
As mobile development has become more important with Alaska Airlines, it’s bringing some cultural changes. Agile development around user stories is more popular. Arming employees with convenient access to the same accurate, up-to-date information that customers have has also become a high priority.
June 29, 2012 by Ken Krogue
LinkedIn may be the best source of sales intelligence on the planet for finding and reaching out to a prospective customer.This is definitely the month of LinkedIn with my fellow columnist George Anders’ Forbes cover story telling the latest in the LinkedIn story. And when you are done here, Susan Adams, a Forbes Staff expert on LinkedIn, gives you four more tips and four additional articles about using LinkedIn.From our perspective in the inside sales industry, we have found LinkedIn has become one of the leading tools inside sales reps use to connect to and meet qualified prospects.
June 14, 2012 by Carmine Gallo
Walk into any Apple Retail Store when it opens in the morning and you might notice that all of the new MacBook Pro notebooks with retina display are positioned at exactly the same angle. Employees who open the store use an iPhone app as a level to tilt all the screens to exactly the same angle (the Simply Angle app is a popular choice to measure degree of inclination). How Apple positions the angle of computer screens is just one of the fascinating nuggets of information I learned after spending one year researching the Apple Store experience (read about the Apple ?5 steps of service? in this previous column).
May 30, 2012 by Patently Apple
Apple’s patent relates to a stylus that is provided with an optical sensor, such as a camera, that is used in determining a location and movement of the stylus relative to a touch screen display of a computing device and/or tablet.
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May 30, 2012 by Computer Graphics World
ROCK HILL, SC — 3D Systems has acquired Bespoke Innovations, a startup based in San Francisco that is bringing a more personal approach to the way a broad spectrum of medical devices are developed and used. Bespoke develops proprietary, integrated …
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May 30, 2012 by Ubergizmo
… but here we are with something radically different – Korean Emart has placed 3D QR code sculptures throughout the city of Seoul, where it will depend on the position of the sun as the QR code can only be scanned between noon and 1 pm every day, …
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May 25, 2012 by Audrey Watters
This week’s visualization comes from The New York Times, which tries to shed a little light on Facebook’s initial public offering by showing how it compares to the 2,400 technology IPOs that have occurred since 1980.
The visualization begins with a timeline of tech IPOs that runs up until last week. Until then, Google had the largest market capitalization with a value of $28 billion at its launch. The next image in the visualization series then adds Facebook to the mix — the animation makes the other IPOs literally shrink in comparison. Facebook’s value at launch was $104 billion.
Screenshot from the New York Times’ tech IPO visualization.
The bubbles for each company reveal their value at the time of IPO, the percentage change after one day of trading, and their value three years later.
Found a great visualization? Tell us about it
This post is part of an ongoing series exploring visualizations. We’re always looking for leads, so please drop a line if there’s a visualization you think we should know about.OSCON 2012 — Join the world’s open source pioneers, builders, and innovators July 16-20 in Portland, Oregon. Learn about open development, challenge your assumptions, and fire up your brain.
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May 22, 2012 by (author unknown)
Analysts commenting on Facebook’s IPO have highlighted a major issue in mobile computing: that it’s incredibly difficult to monetize on mobile devices. Adaptive design is an elegant solution to the thorny technical problem of having to deliver a content experience on multiple devices. And engineers love more than anything to apply the same hammer to multiple nails. Unfortunately, users do not agree. Desktop web browsers, tablets, and mobile devices are fundamentally different and are used in very different ways. Across our properties at CBS Interactive, we have experimented with a variety of adaptive and direct designs and are learning the hard way that a one-size-fits-all solution delivers a subpar user experience.
May 18, 2012 by (author unknown)
Jay Leno’s biggest hobby is car collection, he has a lot of old cars, the only problem is he can nowhere find a spare replacement part. But Jay and all the guys at …