Tech Market Analysis


If you follow the tech media you would be subject to a lot of narrative biases that are completely off base – and this includes the value of email and phone calls.

TL;DR

Tech news keeps proclaiming “phone calls are dead,” which is useful except that the data suggests the exact opposite. Calls are changing but not dying.
All the data actually suggests with the growth of mobile, inbound sales calls will double from 30 billion to 60 billion in 3 years (source: Kelsey)
In fact 61% of all mobile searches where a customer contacts a business it is via a phone call (source: Google). Much more data in the full post.
It’s why the first company I ever invested in as a VC – Invoca – just announced a $20 million funding by Accel Partners. They have grown at a 200% CAGR over the past 4 years
This 1-minute video shows exactly what Invoca does

THE FULL STORY

I’m sure you’ve heard the meme that “email is dead” – if fact if you Google it you’ll find a long list of articles that will mislead you.

Some quick data that I pulled from EmailisNotDead.com (mid 2012)

There are 2.9 billion email accounts. This figure is predicted to reach 3.

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Without DogVacay my Thanksgiving would have been ruined. That’s a fact. And I’m not an investor. I just had to tell this story. It’s a great one about entrepreneurship, friendship and the collaborative economy that is helping families in need across the world.

The Background

Every year my family meets in San Diego for Thanksgiving. My 3 siblings & I make the trek to spend 4-5 days with the 9 grand children, my mom, my cousin and few other very close family members. It’s the one time per year that my entire family decompresses and spends high-quality time together under one roof. We rent a house through HomeAway and all stay under one big roof.

This year the night before the journey my brother got a call from the person who had committed to watch his dogs that she wasn’t able to watch them after all. Panic ensued as we couldn’t bring the dogs to San Diego and my brother’s three kids look forward to this great trip all year.

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I spoke this past week at the LeWeb conference in London, which was a superbly well run event with a very quality production team. Kudos. The 20-minute video of my presentation is here if you’re interested.

And it was convenient for me because we also held our annual London board meeting of DataSift, who helps companies processes and analyze large volumes of social plus enterprise data in realtime.

Final le web london (june 2013) from Mark Suster

The topic of the conference was “The Sharing Economy” and as I read many of the session title descriptions I realized that people would be talking more about “collaborative consumption” (think airbnb, taskrabbit, uber) than about why people are sharing more on Instragram & Snapchat.

You can of course view the presentation in SlideShare above

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This week I attended the All Things D Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes. It is always a stellar event.

The good and great of the tech industry were there: Tim Cook, Sheryl Sandberg, Dick Costolo, Max Levchin, etc.

But Elon Musk stole the show.

I thought Michael Lazerow’s Tweet best captured the mood of the crowd

I’m sure you know, but Elon was the co-founder (and largest shareholder) of PayPal, the most important payment transfer technology of its era and still the most instrumental to date. He said he wanted to found this company (he had founded a previous company that sold for about $300 million) because he thought the Internet was a big idea.

He was interested in a few other big ideas. Energy independence (so he founded Tesla and Solar City). And space travel (SpaceX). His goal in the second project is to help humans avoid extinction.

I have never sat in a room with an individual where I felt more inspired and humbled.

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My Blackberry died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.

It seems so long ago that we had to start hiding our Blackberry’s in our pockets to avoid always being chastised.

If you were caught sending out an email on your Blackberry you had to quickly whip out your iPhone to show that – wait! – I have one of these, too.

It is stunning to think about the blind spots that market leaders can develop. For years Palm had such a significant lead in the PDA market it seemed inconceivable that they would be replaced.

I remember when I first saw one advertised in a magazine when I was on a flight from England to the US. I was the proud owner of a Psion, founded by the company Bill Gates once famously said he feared more than any other. I bought a Palm when I landed, ditched my Psion and never looked back.

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I wrote this post a long time ago. When I did it was a little too close to home for a company to have me publish it.  Much time has passed. And I felt it was instructive still so I thought I would publish.

I decided to water down some details to protect the innocent. But both stories are still accurate. I hope it still resonates.

A while back I received a frantic phone call from the CEO of a company in which I invested. He had just received notice from a major media organization that they were going to run a very negative news story.

As you can imagine we began scrambling.

Our first request of the journalist was an appeal for time to digest his information, determine its accuracy, respond to his claims and then the story was his to run with. He granted us a few days.

The founder was as dumbfounded as I was. We had sat down with the entire executive team on 2 separate occasions a year before the journalist called  and had a stated policy to be as “white hat” on this issue as the best in the industry.

We had greatly limited our feature set as a preemptive response to never be on the wrong side of this issue.

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