Thursday, May 28, 2009

Riding a wave

Google's Wave announcement, and wonderful post by Tim O'Reilly (here) feels like a leap towards parity between desktop and cloud based applications. Of equal import is the way Google is implementing via open protocol and open source. An implementation that, no doubt will continue, if not accelerate the downward pricing pressure on applications.

This is important stuff.

Check out the clip below...for my smart friend Larry who loves waves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NY entrepreneur happenings

Over the past couple of weeks I had the opportunity to attend and speak at a couple of NY sessions that were remarkable for their similarities and differences.

NY Video Meetup (450 attendees) led by Yaron Samid has become the focal point of the NY internet video community. The 90 minute session consisted of 10 minute presentations by 5 companies to the general audience:

Volomedia-Ad insertion and campaign management
SesameVault- Video management platform
Clearspring- widget advertising/mgmt marketplace Video aggregation, but with a real-time twist

After the presentations and high quality audience Q&A, 3 VC's (me, Howard Morgan from First Round, and Sita Vasan from Intel Capital) gave feedback, from a funding perspective, on the companies.

Though named 'NY Video Meet-up' it's clear, and apt that video is a loosely defined cornerstone of these sessions. As much time is spent getting exposure to the business around internet video, as is being spent on producing, distributing and viewing experiences.

The Funding Post. was attended by 100+ entrepreneurs. This sold-out event was one of a series of entrepreneurial 'boot camps' held throughout the US by the Funding Post founders, Joe Benjamin and Joe Rubin. Attendees came from across the US and were all in young start-ups ranging from medical devices, to consumer goods, to hardware and software.

Attendees get a full day of intensive 'real-world' counsel on business plans and pitching for dollars. They use this background for exposure to funding sources. A win/win for all concerned. VC's get deal flow and entrepreneurs get access.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wolf at the door?

It seems as if there is a growing buzz around WolframAlpha. The company, founded by Stephen Wolfram, CEO of Mathematica, is close to releasing a new take on search. Similar to Twitter, which is honing a real-time slant to search, WolframAlpha will differentiate from what we think of as traditional search, by providing direct answers to inquiries.

They position the Company as a computational knowledge engine because, rather than pointing an inquiry, which has a computational answer, to another site, it seems as if this engine has a knowledge base, and engine that will efficiently deliver an answer without a requirement to click away.

This is a big time objective and Stephen Wolfram gives some background to his thinking here .

While spending a few minutes on search, take a look at the Google slides, and counter-slides from Consumer Watchdog, about whether Google is a monopoly.

One of the laws of markets is that when they get large enough, they fragment into many sub-markets. Often-times, these subsidiary markets can surpass their parents in size and influence. I suppose it's no coincidence that Twitter and WolframAlpha, two young entrepreneurial companies are poised to add tremendous value in areas that were ripe for more established companies to pursue, had they not been obsessed with competing in yesterday's market.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Conversion ratios

Courtesy of Zak, here's a link that gives the results of a survey looking at conversions of site visitors to sales.

Looks as if the 'rule of thumb' 1% is about right

Monday, May 4, 2009