Tech Market Analysis


You know the old saying about trust … “It takes years to build and seconds to destroy.”

And once destroyed it is very difficult if not impossible to repair. You need to be the guardian of your own reputation. You need to constantly ask yourself whether your actions in rapidly scaling an online community are worth the potential downsides of destroying trust amongst your users.

I talk about this often with startups in which I’m involved. For example, I have had rigorous debates about the need to crack down on explicit online content – even in the face of lower growth.

My arguments aren’t from a prudish perspective – I’m an ardent believer in free speech – but from a practical one. There are some communities in which “anything goes” is the norm (think Reddit) and others where a zero tolerance approach is required (Disney).

Another fine line companies are skating is with how much user information they make publicly available. Tred this line carefully. We all remember the brushback Facebook had when they launched Beacon.

For those with shorter memories what Beacon did was publish your actions and purchases into an open stream. And famously one person reportedly bought an engagement ring and his soon-to-be fiancée discovered this inadvertently through an automatic posting. The guy was understandably pissed off. And Facebook quickly withdrew Beacon.

Were Facebook not already on a path to becoming a dominant part of the web, this crossing of the trust barrier might have dealt an existential blow. And luckily Facebook handled this fiasco well. Mark Zuckerberg made a very public mea culpa that was well received (including with this writer).

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Trello versus Asana


Posted on Aug 14, 2012 | 94 comments

For the past several years I’ve undertaken many initiatives to “get more organized,” which basically means to make another attempt at implementing and running a solid task list that I can share with others with whom I collaborate.

 I seem to be really good at kicking off well-structured lists, but less good at “working them.”

I know there’s no real point in creating a task list if you’re not actually going to open it up and parse through tasks.

My working theory is that the best task lists would be fully integrated with email since that’s where we spend much of our working lives anyways.

I guess I should therefore check out Streak, which several people have suggested.

And I’ve promised myself that I would sign up for Boomerang, which I’m genuinely excited to give a go at. I think I’ll add that to my to do list.

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Over the holiday I became aware of a new tech blog that aims to have deep insights into the next generation of technology, which they call The Hypernet.

Why should you care?

Well, it is established by some of the industries more successful investors – Mike Maples and Roger McNamee.

My favorite post was this one (image above) in which they talked about their 10 hypothesis for technology investing.

It maps to a lot of my own views so I was interested to learn more. If you click through to Roger & Mike’s blog you’ll see that this blog post then links to a detailed presentation on the topic.

The ones I focus on the most are 2-7 and 10.

Hope you enjoy it. And I hope they keep up their early momentum.

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There are certain topics that even some of the best journalists can’t fully grok. One of them is profitability.

I find it amusing when a journalist writes an article about a prominent startup (either privately held or preparing for an IPO) and decries that, “They’re not even profitable!”

I mention journalists here because they perpetuate the myth that focusing on profits is ALWAYS the right answer and then I hear many entrepreneurs (and certainly many “normals”) repeating the same mantra.

There is a healthy tension between profits & growth. To grow faster businesses need resources in today’s financial period to fund growth that may not come for 6 months to a year. The most obvious way to explain this is with sales people.

If you hire 6 sales reps in January at $120,000 / year salary then you’ve taken on an extra $60,000 per month in costs yet these sales people might not close new business for 4-6 months. So your Q1 results will be $180,000 less profitable than if you hadn’t hired them.

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Fred Wilson recently posted a great video on his blog with the CEO of Forrester Research, George Colony. The money slide is the graphic below.

The chart shows three scarce resources and their improvements over time. The top line is available storage (S), the middle line represents processing power (following Moore’s law) or (P) and the bottom line is the Network (N).

In it he asserts that the web is dying and in its ashes will see the rise of the “App Internet.” The App Internet is different than the HTML Internet (aka The Web, WWW and in the mobile arena “The Mobile Internet” or short-hand HTML5) because the “presentation layer” and “client side” functionality are defined by applications that run on your mobile device and connect into the open Internet back-end to exchange information with other web services.

He’s right about this. But only temporarily in my view.

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Early today I gave a keynote at the VCJ Venture Alpha conference here in San Francisco. I was asked to speak about the topic of “what is going on in the venture capital world and what is the next big thing after social networking?”

// Future of VC Internet

Tough topic, but what the heck?

Next week I promised to follow up on PE Hub, one of the main journals VCs read about our industry, with a detail description of some specifics that are happening. Watch out for that – I will have a lot more details.

I’ve listed some great VCs in the presentation. I’ve left off many great ones. It isn’t intentional. You can’t cover everybody in a prezzo. Please don’t read anything into that. Some of the big ones I left off was Tim Connors of PivotNorth and Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures.

And all feedback welcome! See you in the comments.

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