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Friday, April 30, 2010

Could 2011 Be Venmo's Year?


2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

2009 was Twitter's year. 2010 is looking to be FourSquare's year. Twitter is in a better shape today than ever before, but it no longer has the buzz it had last year around this time. FourSquare's buzz will also subside. That is the nature of the innovation market. If they don't make the mistake of selling the company, (FourSquare Must Cut A Deal With Yahoo) I think FourSquare will go on to be a viable business that is no longer always in the headlines. Some company will take the space that FourSquare will at some point exit. Which company will that be? I might be proven wrong, but if I had to take a guess, if I were forced to come up with one name, the horse I am betting on is Venmo.

2011 could very well be Venmo's year. Venmo is a hot possibility that some venture capitalist wanting to strike gold needs to lap it up fast. The Venmo team deserves to go work full time on their beautiful product. They are onto something big.

Granted 2009 was 2009, the year of the Great Recession, but plenty of companies were getting funded despite that, and FourSquare was not one of them. They landed at South By Southwest last year with a thud. They were not going anywhere trying to raise money. They approached Yelp. Yelp would not invest. FourSquare's fortunes started picking up only later in the year. Location became a buzz word, and by now all that pain from early last year must feel like a distant memory.

Venmo does frictionless payments. Venmo is in the mobile web space. But it can do the old web good too.

I don't think Venmo will get called the next FourSquare like FourSquare is being called the next Twitter, and I don't think the buzz will be with any one company in 2011, likely it will be fractured and distributed among a few different names, and we might not even have to wait for 2011 to roll around; it might happen earlier. But Venmo sure is in sweet space.

When I said to Iqram (@iqram) last night at the Digital Dumbo party (Digital Dumbo: Here I Come) that 2011 could very well be Venmo's year, he immediately sent $10 to my Venmo account for my "kind words." That's what the email says. At the after party of the NY Tech MeetUp when they presented, Kortina (@kortina) sent me 40 cents, and that is how I got started on Venmo. That was a few months back.

Frictionless Payments - 10 Tech Trends for 2010 - TIME
Friction in onlin payments | Institute For The Future
The Future of Money: It's Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free...
Frictionless - and Almost Free - Payments?

@iqram, @kortina, @venmo


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Reimagining The Inbox The Simple Way


2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

If You Like Your Inbox, Keep It

Like Obama never tired of saying on the campaign trail for health care reform, if you like your current coverage, you get to keep it. So if you like your current inbox where you get emails from your friends and family and those dictators in Nigeria, you get to keep it. You actively would have to choose to go for the multi inbox option. (Obama's Got Momentum: He Could Defy History In November)

The Inbox As A Spectrum

All human beings are created equal, but that does not apply to emails. All emails are not equal. And the inbox has to reflect that.

Inbox 1

This is the inbox that you see when you log in. These are emails sent by people whose emails you have saved as contacts. These are emails sent only to you and not to a group of people.

Inbox 2

Emails sent by people whose emails you have saved as contacts, but these emails have also been sent to other people at the same time.

Inbox 3

Emails from mailing lists I might have subscribed to.

Inbox 4

Emails from everyone else. This is not the folder for the spam emails. The current spam folder gets to hold ground.

Addendum

An email that should have showed up in inbox 3, if it shows up in inbox 1, you get to tell the system it belonged in inbox 3, and all future emails from that address would end up in inbox 3. You teach the system as you use it.

Also you get to set an expiry date on the various inboxes. All emails in inbox 3 that are more than a month old, please delete them without asking, something like that. Because even Gmail has a space limit.

And there should be an easy way to delete contacts. If you ended up saving an email address you did not mean to save, delete. Free the soul.

I think with this simple change, the inbox could see new life. Inbox 1 could again become something to always look forward to. And this suggestion is not to displace the already in place concept of threaded conversations and the other goodies.


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Dropio's Indian Cofounder Darshan


Me: I just found out you cofounded Dropio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop.io Why did you leave?
Darshan: yup! helped build out the tech team there, and then hopped to a startup i began in high school - http://bit.ly/4DLylg

In case you did not realize, the Indians are statistically significant.

Darshan Somashekar - LinkedIn
Video Interview With The Founders of Drop.io
somashekar.com
Darshan Somashekar| Facebook
Darshan Somashekar| Guest of a Guest
Darshan Somashekar (darshan) on Twitter
Darshan Somashekar| CrunchBase Profile
Darshan Somashekar, Associate Consultant, Bain Company, Boston..
Darshan Somashekar's Profile - Indaba Music
drop.io pr
RRE Ventures – Drop.io Completes Second Round of Investment Led by...
LWALA artist auction event - Jacob Robbins, Darshan Somashekar...
ImagineEasy Solutions: A tiny company with big ideas.
EasyBib.com - American Libraries Buyers Guide
Credo Reference and EasyBib join forces to simplify student research
2009 Finalists: America's Best Young Entrepreneurs: Drop.io...
Drop.io File Sharing and Collaboration Portal Review from AppVita...
Easybib.com, Comprehensive Information About Easybib | Quarkbase


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Thursday, April 29, 2010

The FourSquare Appeal For Me



(1) Cutting Edge

FourSquare is on the cutting edge. (Fractals: Apple, Windows 95, Netscape, Google, Facebook, Twitter) I would add FourSquare at the end if I were doing this blog post today.

2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments

(2) New York City

I love this city like no other geographical location on earth. FourSquare is the hottest technology company in town, and it is one of the hottest tech companies out there, period. They are a hometown gig. That is illustrious. I take unabashed hometown pride in FourSquare.

Silicon Valley Vs. New York City
Dennis, Fred, Scott: Tweet Boom Tweet Boom
Silicon City
New York City: Transformed Forever?

(3) Mobile

The mobile web is bigger and growing faster than the old web. There location is key. Location is the starting point of the FourSquare experience, and that is so in sync with the mobile web.

The iPhone, Nexus One, Or Droid?

(4) My People

This is key. I am a Third World guy. This is existential to me. This is spiritual. This is religious. This is fundamental. I was born in India, grew up in Nepal next door. I was in my 20s when I landed in America. I have to move towards one world. The First World, Third World dichotomy is a little too much for me. It makes me uncomfortable. My startup that I have put to rest after a rough 2009 wanted to bring a ton of new people online. But I perhaps made the mistake of thinking in terms of the old web. Mobile is perhaps the way to go. Four billion of the six billion plus people already can access mobile phones. And so perhaps software is where it is at. How simple can you make it? If they can do voice over their mobile phones, could they do a mightily stripped down version of FourSquare? Before, way before, a full web experience? Could they check in as a way to protest and tell the world that they are protesting? Checking in even the illiterates could do.

This is the number one reason I want to work for FourSquare: 4:16 PM @ FourSquare.

FourSquare Must Cut A Deal With Yahoo
Digital Dumbo: Here I Come
FourSquare Office, Dropio Technology

The First Major Revolution Of The 21st Century...

What Are You Doing Monday? Come Meet Al Wenger

Reshma Saujani: Innovation, Ethnic Pride, Thought Leadership

Start-Up NY: Innovation and Technology Startups in New York

Reshma Saujani's Innovation Advisory Board is hosting an event on the evening of May 3rd called "Start-up NY: Innovation and Technology Startups in New York".

Moderated by prominent tech blogger Meghan Asha, Saujani has gathered six panelists with backgrounds in venture capital, education, politics, entrepreneurship and social networking to discuss technology and innovation in New York City.

Panelists include:

Albert Wenger, Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures (The event is near Union Square)
Dina Kaplan, Co-founder, Blip.tv
Evan Korth, Clinical Associate Professor, NYU; Organizer, NY Hackathon
Franklin Madison,Technology Program Director, ITAC (Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation)
Nate Westheimer, Executive Director, NY Tech Meetup; Co-founder, AnyClip
Reshma Saujani, Community Activist and Democratic Congressional Candidate, NY District 14

A question and answer session will follow.   The event will be broadcast live at Livestream.com and recorded for a broader audience.

Reinforcing Saujani’s commitment to entrepreneurship, economic diversity and innovation in New York, the “Startup” summit is the first in a series of ideation panels. In the coming months, additional summits will focus on cleantech, biotech and public-private partnerships.

We hope you can join us for the event.

WHEN
May 03, 2010 at 6:00 PM
WHERE
833 Broadway
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003
Google map and directions
Reshma Saujani: Innovation, Ethnic Pride, Thought Leadership

FourSquare Must Cut A Deal With Yahoo


Carol Bartz wanting to buy Yahoo is no longer a rumor, this TechCrunch post makes it more than official.
TechCrunch: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz On Foursquare: It Depends On How Much Money They Want The topic on everyone’s lips was Yahoo’s rumored talks with Foursquare ..... Bartz’s response: “It depends how much money they want.”
Selling FourSquare would be a mistake, a huge mistake, a fatal mistake, taking $10 million at a $80 million valuation from a VC firm would be a good move, but the best move at this point would be to take $10 million from Yahoo upfront and then $10 million annually thereafter to be reevaluated in two years to add location to as many Yahoo properties as possible. Just like Twitter took $25 million each from Google and Microsoft to let them offer tweets as search results so as to be able to claim they also now do real time search, FourSquare should also make money by letting Yahoo be able to say Yahoo now does location in a big way.

Take $10 million right away, and then another $10 million for the first year, and turn the various Yahoo properties into a major project. Expand the team. Get a new office space. I recommend Dumbo. (Digital Dumbo: Here I Come) If not Dumbo, then Williamsburg. Actually, Williamsburg would be far better. Cooper Union is too cooper.

If FourSquare can cut a deal like this with Yahoo, it can cut a deal like this with many other major web properties. It could fund its growth with all that money. You go to VCs, you get diluted. You make money like this, you don't get diluted.

Hire me to work through some of these deals: 4:16 PM @ FourSquare.

Yahoo would be a great first customer for FourSquare. You have to understand, Yahoo used to be Google, it was hot. It was so hot, selling to Yahoo was the first exit strategy the two Google founders thought of. It was Yahoo that refused. We already have a search engine, they said. Over the past decade Yahoo has tried to regain some of that lost glory. In FourSquare they see a chance of that happening. Yahoo mistakenly thinks buying FourSquare will do it for them. It won't. Instead if they cut a deal with FourSquare, that will cost them much less money, as less as one fifth, and could actually do the trick of making Yahoo a hip company all over again.

Yahoo is going through an identity crisis of sorts, and cutting a sound deal with FourSquare might just be that thing it needs.

FourSquare needs the money to grow. Yahoo needs location. Cut the deal. How will FourSquare add location to the Yahoo properties? That is a whole another blog post, or preferably a job.

TechCrunch: Don't Sell Out FourSquare. Not Now. Not To Yahoo
Business Insider: Yahoo Considers Buying FourSquare For $100 Million
The Fabulous Life Of Dennis Crowley, The Most Wanted Man In Silicon Valley












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Manhattan?


"Where do you live?"

What do you do? Where do you live? When you go to an event, those are some of the first questions people who don't know you ask you. They can be nice ice breaker questions. They open up the conversation.

Where do you live? That can also be a question asked by someone who really prides himself/herself in knowing the names of many different neighborhoods in the city. When I was new in the city, I did not realize that. I'd say I live in the city. Then I started saying I live in Brooklyn. People would say, where in Brooklyn? I'd say near Prospect Park. And people would get impressed. Wow, we have a Park Slope dude over here. I did not live west of the park, but south.

Cultural diversity is my favorite thing about this city. People from every little town on earth live here. How do I know that? People from every little town in Nepal live here. I know that. And Nepal is the poorest country on earth outside of Africa. So I am extrapolating that. People from every little town from every country must live here. I think that is true.

I had a whole bunch of audio cassettes of Hindi music with me  when I came to America late in 1996. My next door neighbor in college - Luke Payne - once asked me, "Can I ask you something? Why do you listen to the same song again and again?" And the dude was a music major.

Do all Chinese faces look the same to you? Then you must not be Chinese.

You have to have my global perspectives to see the texture of Queens. Black might be a race, but brown is not a race. It is not even a race.

When I was living in Brooklyn, I was living in Little Bangladesh. When I went grocery shopping, people would start talking to me in Bengali, which I understand a big chunk of, but can't speak back. They just assumed I was Bengali.

"Are you from India?" I have never replied to that question with a no anywhere in the US. I am half Indian, I was born in India. Wtf! It is just that I grew up in Nepal.

But in the "heartland," when you get asked that question, there is usually a follow up question.

"Are you a Patel?'

"No, I'm not."

"Are you a doctor?"

"No, I'm not, but I am very smart."

No, thank you. There is no town in America that does not have at least one Indian doctor. And Patels own motels all over the place. I once saw a huge billboard by the interstate highway in Tennessee: "Motel, run by Americans!" That does not happen all that often. My people pretty much have the motel business covered.

Where do you live?

That is sometimes a class question. Are you rich enough to live in Manhattan? Or do you live in the outer boroughs?

I have a healthy feeling about money, but money does not even begin to grasp the cultural diversity of New York City, and there Queens rules. New York City is the Amazon forest of humanity, and Queens is a big part of it.

The Dying Languages, In New York New York Times The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago....... the languages that make New York the most linguistically diverse city in the world. ..... languages born in every corner of the globe and now more commonly heard in various corners of New York than anywhere else. ...... New York is home to as many as 800 languages — far more than the 176 spoken by students in the city’s public schools or the 138 that residents of Queens, New York’s most diverse borough, listed on their 2000 census forms.


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Digital Dumbo: Here I Come


Dumbo. Directly under the Manhattan Brooklyn overpass. At first I did not know the full form name. But it was a great sound, like Yahoo, or Google, supposedly meaningless, but a great sounding name. I thought some of the techies in town came over to this semi vacated part of the city, drove away the rest of the inhabitants, mostly homeless people, and took over. That is what Dumbo feels like.

Dumbo is special in the NY tech ecosystem. I am not aware of another geographical locale quite like it. There are some very cool office spaces around town, some of which look like abandoned artist spaces. But Dumbo is the only place that is not one office, or even one street, but an entire neighborhood, although it is not that big of a neighborhood.

Ignite, Set It On Fire

Come to think of it I lived in Brooklyn for my first few years in the city. I lived south of Prospect Park. That is quite a distance from Dumbo. But a few times I walked from Times Square to where I lived. I'd start out around midnight, and be home by dawn. That is a great way to experience summer in town. It is much better than throwing up on a subway platform or inside the train: I have done both. And no, I was not drunk during those walks. The truth is I am not much of a drinker. One beer for one evening is as far as I prefer to go. Like last night, the MeetUp people had an entire refrigerator bulging with free beer - free for us, a bunch of money for them, but hey, they are a profit making dot com, who cares; yes they exist, profit making dot coms - but I took just one. (FourSquare Office, Dropio Technology)

A few days back I had an email from the First Round Capital guy Charlie; I am on his mailing list for cool tech events in town. Two events for the week looked at me. Sam Lessin was speaking at the MeetUp headquarters on Tuesday, and it was a MeetUp that sounded really, really cool, but I had never heard of. And there was this Digital Dumbo thing for Thursday that looked so great and fun, but there were no spots left. I shot a quick email to Sam. Can you get me in? Since it was taking place at the Dropio office.
Thursday, April 29th
7:30PM Digital DUMBO #15 Drop.io On In

While our application lives in the 'clouds', we set up people-world headquarters in DUMBO in ye-olden-days of 2008. Now in the spring of 2010 we are prepping to roll out the next generation of rich media file-sharing... Join us to celebrate

RSVP: http://digitaldumbo.eventbrite.com/

Drip.io HQ
68 Jay St #413
btw Water & Front
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Date: April 29th, 2010
Time: 7:30 - 10pm
When I brought that up with Jacob, the other Dropio speaker at the MeetUp, he taught me the secret way to get into the Dropio office. He casually mentioned it was like a cocktail for people who worked in Dumbo. I tried to unlearn the secret way and said, "In that case I will not come. I don't work in Dumbo." Hacking a site is one thing. But hacking a site's office, um, wait, I don't even hack sites. But thanks, Jake.

Social Media Week: The Best NY Tech MeetUp Ever

Charlie has blocked me from leaving comments at his blog. I retaliated by hyperlinking his name Charlie to the most famous Charlie video on YouTube: 2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments. Charlie bit my finger, Charlie blocked me on his blog.

And today I have a Facebook email from none other than the guy who runs the show, the organizer of Digital Dumbo. How cool is that? And the guy read about my interest in Digital Dumbo at my blog. That is even cooler. People who read my blog are, by definition, cool. Andrew Zarick is now officially cool.

Not having read up on it, not having been to one event yet, this is what I have to say about Digital Dumbo. Everyone who works at any tech company in Dumbo should be able to attend. Heck, everyone who works for any tech company anywhere in the city should be able to attend. I guess what I am saying is turn Digital Dumbo into a block party in Dumbo. May would be a great month to start in that direction.

Digital Dumbo Block Party. Get the city involved. You want jobs? Buy me beer.

Digital DUMBO| Facebook
digitaldumbo on Twitter
Digital DUMBO #15 Drop.io On In - Marketing - Design- Eventbrite
Digital DUMBO
Digital Dumbo #12: One Year Anniversary Sponsored by Carrot...
Digital DUMBO Drinks
Dumbo NYC, Brooklyn » Archive » Digital Dumbo Drinks #2 (26Feb2009...
Dumbo NYC, Brooklyn » Archive » Event: Digital Dumbo #14 (DumboNYC..
Digital DUMBO Hosts Its First Event, Bringing Over 100 Digital...
» Twestival YVR to Digital DUMBO NYC – we've got you covered
Digital Dumbo - A Digitally-Anthropomorphic Social Elephant
Blood, Sweat and Fear: David Skokna at Digital DUMBO - HUGE
Digital Dumbo - Yöshi Sodeöka
Invoke: Twestival YVR to Digital DUMBO NYC – we've got you covered...
Twitter / @digitaldumbo/Digital Dumbo Agencies
MediaPost Publications Just An Online Minute...Digital DUMBO Gets...
Brooklyn Heights Blog » digital dumbo
HUSH | Backdoor » The After Party: Digital Dumbo, Lucky #13
Digital DUMBO #15 Drop.io On In Mixer
DUMBO Named New York's Digital District | NBC New York
Digital DUMBO| Andrew Zarick
Brooklyn Cupcakes at Digital DUMBO| Brooklyn Cake
Digital DUMBO Drop.io On In - NYC Calendar | Guest of a Guest< Digital DUMBO Drinks
Brooklyn's DUMBO Neighborhood Becoming The Home for New York's...
Anna Zach @Digital DUMBO on Vimeo
Digital Dumbo Stream Discussion
NYConvergence: Outside.In, Carrot Creative Host Digital DUMBO Drinks
Flickr: Digital DUMBO
Digital DUMBO #7 | The JAR Group
DUMBO Digital District of New York | AD60
Digital DUMBO #15 Drop.io On In: Thursday, 4/29 at 7:30pm at Drop...
space150 - space150 Sponsors Digital DUMBO #8
Why Digital DUMBO Matters? | Andrew Zarick
HUSH Studios vs. Digital Dumbo on Vimeo
Carrot Blog — Recap: Digital DUMBO Drinks #4
Digital Dumbo #15 - Drop.io On In | Small Business Complete
foursquare :: Digital Dumbo #14 #NYDD :: Brooklyn, NY
NYConvergence: Carrot's Germano: DUMBO is NYC's 'Digital District'
Digital DUMBO #14 « Christopher M Kennedy
Digital DUMBO #14 Sponsored by Invoke at The Dumbo Loft in...
HUSH | Backdoor » 365 Days of Digital Dumbo
Paint The Town Red - Hootsuite Creators Host Digital DUMBO #14
foursquare :: Digital Dumbo #14 #NYDD :: Brooklyn, NY
Digital Dumbo #11 Purple Sangria Digital Festivus - Society of...
Digital Dumbo #11 Purple Sangria Digital Festivus - Garysguide...
Cupcakes Take The Cake: Kumquat Cupcakery For Digital DUMBO
“How do you fit a mountain into a teacup?” -Digital Dumbo
Digital Dumbo | NBC New York


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The Jack Dorsey Story

I came across this post on TechCrunch linked to from Fred Wilson's blog. It is really something. Jack (@jack) is the guy who invented Twitter. The first tweet is like the first phone call. The post is worth the read.
  • The guy is from the Midwest. He grew up in St. Louis. A guy who went to the same high school as me in Kathmandu and the same college in Kentucky lives there now.
  • He started out at Missouri State.
  • He taught himself programming early.
  • He has a thing for New York. 
".....One night, I couldn’t sleep, I just had to write a prototype script. It would sit on a server, take incoming emails, broadcast them out to a list, and also record them in a database that I could view on the Web.” That was the first glimmer of Twitter......But for a variety of reasons, dNET did not get traction in the market, and so Jack embarked on a period of freelance programming before joining a podcasting start-up called Odeo, primarily to work with Evan (a.k.a. @ev) Williams, formerly of Google....... The very first tweet was an internal one that Jack sent out at 12:50 p.m. on March 21, 2006: “just setting up my twttr.” A few minutes later, he tweeted innocuously: “inviting coworkers.” This was the beginning of the Twitter revolution....... Jack and his colleagues lugged big plasma screens across the country and set them up in the hallways of the conference to display the live Twitter chatter about the conference sessions in action, one at the registration desk and one at the exit from the main conference room.......“We were really good at getting the right friends in. We had a lot of high-powered, vocal bloggers using Twitter at South by Southwest. They were talking about it non-stop at the conference. And the press happened to be watching, too. And it just blew up.”....... I was really surprised by the velocity.....“We weren’t really ready to take money right away, but we got a note from someone. We went to meet them for breakfast at the top of this hotel in San Francisco and had a pretty good conversation. We were still kind of forming the company and whatnot. When we got back to the office thirty minutes later, we found a scanned image of a check for half a million dollars in our inbox.”.......It was not where he comes from, but ‘Is this guy fun to work with? Is he going to challenge us? Is he smart?’ This person was going to take a seat on the board.”.......Fred Wilson says he likes to think of himself as the entrepreneur’s consigliere..... The beauty of being a venture capitalist is we’ve seen all these issues a lot of times......... “Fred had our phone on priority dial, so he could reach us at any time.......He is very engaged and whenever we need something, we call him up. He is excited to do anything for us.” Jack points out that Fred isn’t just focused on big-picture strategy, but also on the nitty-gritty features of Twitter as an avid user. “We listen to what he thinks and what he needs from the product,” says Jack. “And that has been a great way to get into the relationship and for both of us to trust each other more. As we worked on the product together, we began to learn, ‘Oh, this is how Fred is, and this is how Jack is.’ We began to learn each other’s faults. And that couldn’t really happen any other way.”........ I want a VC who is always thinking a few steps ahead of me....... “We had a lot of conversations with people down in the Valley,” Jack said. “At the end of the pitch, the person across the table would say, ‘Well, we’ll let you know fairly soon, like in an hour or so. We just want to talk internally, but we’re really excited.’ We didn’t react well to that. We wanted to be questioned, we wanted to be challenged, and we wanted to see some of their thinking around actually developing this product.”....... Jack found more of those challenging VCs on the East Coast than on the West Coast. “I think it was just an attitude thing,” he said. “I found the East Coast to be a little bit more aggressive. They say what they mean in the hopes of just moving on right away. On the West Coast, people were a little bit more laid back. If they thought we were going down the wrong path, they wouldn’t necessarily say it, but they might make it known in an indirect way. I just didn’t appreciate that at all.”........“We turned down a bunch of VCs,” Jack said. “We saw a name, but there wasn’t enough behind the name immediately. A VC has to show me right away that I can trust them. It’s hard to do. But when it’s right, it’s right. And we were very fortunate in it being right with Fred. He was very aggressive, in a good way, in a thinking way. He had no subtlety at all. But more importantly, he was a day-to-day user of our service and he obviously loved it. He came to the pitch with a bunch of requests for features and lots of questions about why we had done what we had done........ During their courting period, Fred showed Jack he could provide more than just money; he could contribute to the product’s vision and direction to help lead the company to success. If your VC doesn’t show you that passion for your product and your own personal success, as well as an ability to add value during the due diligence process through their strategic or product insight, then he and his firm may not be the right business partner for you. As Dorsey put it to me, “When selecting our VC partner, I knew I was hiring a boss I couldn’t fire.”....... The entrepreneur is your client. It’s a very weird relationship because the entrepreneur is not exactly paying you, even though they really are paying you. But they absolutely can’t fire you. In fact, you can fire them. So it’s among the weirdest kinds of service relationships that one could come up with.”.......the best entrepreneurs don’t focus on the money, they focus on their dream for the business......Are you done? If you are, then exit. If you’re not, keep going for it.”...."





FourSquare Office, Dropio Technology

FourSquare

So I checked into the FourSquare office near Cooper Union at precisely 4:16 PM. I walked in and there was no receptionist just three rows of people, mostly guys, staring at their screens. I caught a glimpse of Naveen (@naveen) from a distance. The guy I had met in the elevator walked over to me and said I needed to email Evan, and that he was out for a few days. He was the one who handled job applications.

4:16 PM @ FourSquare

I emailed Evan once I got back, but one very likely scenario: I never hear from FourSquare. They are hot, they must be getting a firehose of resumes daily. They might not even actively be looking. Oh, well. But I will give it a few days before I come to that conclusion.

I am suggesting thinking of the behavior of a large number of people approaches science and has to be given the same respect as coding. They might not bite. I carried on that same meme to my conversation with the MeetUp CTO Greg a few hours later. MeetUp has a great team of techies as it should, but it does not officially have a team of sociologists, and psychologists and group dynamics specialists in house. I have always wondered why. I have seen that as a gap to be filled.







Dropio

The NYC Tech Talks MeetUp was at the MeetUp headquarters. I showed up a little early. It was scheduled to start at 7 PM. Sam Lessin, the founder of Dropio, and his team member number two, Jacob, both took turns talking. (It is entirely possible Jacob is not on Twitter.)

That thing between Twitter and Blogger is Tumblr. Similarly the NYC Tech Talks MeetUp meets a need that the much larger, much more general NY Tech MeetUp does not. I really appreciated the lack of bar background noise after the talk was over. You could actually hold conversations, and talk to people in normal tones of voice. The MeetUp has been put together by the MeetUp CTO Greg. (@gwhalin)

Sam (@lessin) and Jacob did not have five minutes. They must have talked for over an hour. They used a whiteboard. That made it more intimate than a PowerPoint presentation. They answered a ton of questions. I asked Sam a question, "So you build the architecture, and scale it out, then what do you do next? What do your product teams spend most of their time on these days?" Analytics, he said.

Later one on one I asked Jacob about this Digital Dumbo event on Thursday at the Dropio headquarters. He said it was like a cocktail party for those who worked in Dumbo. Then, I said, I'd not be interested, I thought it was a more general tech event.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

4:16 PM @ FourSquare


Not Union Square Ventures

I am in a job mood and I have decided to show up at the FourSquare office later today. 4:16 PM sounds like a good time to show up.

FourSquare HQ
36 Cooper Sq
at E 6th St
New York, NY 10003
I am not a developer/coder although I think you should check out my LinkedIn page to see all the languages I have picked up along the way, only two of which I was ever formally taught. Some of my strengths I have talked about here: Union Square Ventures Job Opening: I Am Applying. Fred Wilson thinks I am "overqualified" for Union Square Ventures, or at least for the two open positions, so I must be just right for FourSquare, I figured, the hottest tech company in town.

I Have Been Quoted In Fast Company
2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments
Selling FourSquare Would Be A Mistake, Partnering Would Be Genius
Dennis, Fred, Scott: Tweet Boom Tweet Boom
4/16: I Found Myself A Party: Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night
If The Tweet Is The Atom, What Is Location?
The iPhone, Nexus One, Or Droid?
Silicon Valley Vs. New York City
The Foursquare Rap: Badges Like Us
Location! Location! Location!
Social Media Week: The Best NY Tech MeetUp Ever
Craig Newmark, Dennis Crowley, Jennifer 8 Lee: Koreatown
Dennis Crowley: I Underestimated Him


What can I do for FourSquare?
  • I see FourSquare going IPO, (Selling FourSquare Would Be A Mistake, Partnering Would Be Genius) and I see the intermediate steps. I see FourSquare in the big scheme of things: Fractals: Apple, Windows 95, Netscape, Google, Facebook, Twitter.
  • I am outstanding when it comes to group dynamics. 
  • I am not a coder, but I could pick up some of the language fast, enough to be able to deal with coders. Teams of coders need big picture people like me. 
  • I would be good at tactics, strategies, negotiations, deals.  FourSquare needs this more than most things right now to grow to new heights. 
  • I have a thing for digital fights. "I believe in being nice, but that does not apply to my enemies." Larry Ellison. Sometimes you need that, like when Yelp decided to copy FourSquare. I liked how Dennis came swinging back. 
  • Reference: Fred Wilson. 
I Just Became Friends With Anu Shukla
Anu Shukla Has Found The New Frontier In Advertising


Monday, April 26, 2010

I Have Been Quoted In Fast Company

This morning I had a DM - direct message - on Twitter from Shane Snow. (bio)(@shanesnow): Hey great meeting you the other day. Did you see your quote in the fastcompany story last weekend? Anyway, stay in touch!

I remembered this guy vividly from Fred Wilson's blog yesterday, but we have met? I shot him a DM: We met? I am quoted? Where? Send me the link. Thanks.

Fred Wilson: A DJ

Then I am thinking to myself, wait a minute. Is this the same guy I talked to at the FourSquare party?

4/16: I Found Myself A Party: Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night

I went to the Fast Company website and did a search on FourSquare.

Foursquare vs. Gowalla: Inside the Check-In Wars | Fast Company
Foursquare Steps Up its Location-Based Content With Zagat, HBO
Foursquare Adds Another Big Partner: Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine
Playing Foursquare: A Mobile Social Game That Makes Friend-Finding...
Foursquare Offers Analytics to Businesses, Enables Easy Customer...
Gowalla + Foursquare + Brightkite + Yelp + Google Maps=Checkin...
From Addiction to Apathy: The Five Stages of Foursquare Use | Fast...
Twitter Gut Checks Foursquare With "Points of Interest," Adds...
Foursquare Goes Mainstream, Teams With Bravo TV | Fast Company
Foursquare's Digital Graffiti, a Legally Nerve-Wracking Taste of...
Checking in at Foursquare's Hot Tubbin', Rooftop, Rock Star Moment...
Foursquare Makes Geotagging Generous, Points to Charity's AR...
Foursquare's Celebrity Mode Allows You to Avoid DJ Pauly D Like an...
Wall Street Journal an Foursquare: Geolocating City Newsrag...
Is Foursquare Poised to Rule Local Advertising? | Fast Company
foursquare| Fast Company
Foursquare Vows to Stop Those Cheating "Armchair Mayors" | Fast...
How Foursquare Can Steal Local from Twitter | Fast Company
Tweetsii Taps Twitter Locations, Mashes-Up Gowalla and Foursquar...

Kevin Rose was at the same party? If I had known I'd have stayed on longer and I'd have made a point to say hello to the guy.

Checking in at Foursquare's Hot Tubbin', Rooftop, Rock Star Moment...

"Paramendra Bhagat, an entrepreneur and Foursquare user at tonight's party says he started using Foursquare in February, when user activity started picking up dramatically. "When people say Foursquare is the next Twitter, I believe it," he says."



Not Union Square Ventures


Union Square Ventures Job Opening: I Am Applying

2010: Location, Random Connections, The Inbox, Frictionless Payments


I am not suggesting all four spaces carry equal weight; they don't. Location carries more weight than all the rest put together. 2010 is location's year. By now that is conventional wisdom. I can see why, and I buy into it. But these strike me as spaces to watch for this year. One of the other three might claim 2011 as their year. And I am open to adding other spaces to the list if I can find them, read up on them, imagine them. This list of four is by far not exhaustive. Charlie (@ceonyc) had a blog post a few weeks back (my comment) that ranked high on my vision grid, and he talked about some spaces he would like to see action in as an early stage investor. And he does not even touch upon these four spaces. So what you are looking for impacts what you see. There's plenty of exciting stuff happening in many directions. The 2010s will be what the 1990s should have been but weren't. We will dream big again, only this time there will be less fluff. Real businesses will get built. Old industries will get reinvented. New industries will see light of day. These are exciting times.

(1) Location

I'd be rooting for FourSquare even if it were half the size of Gowalla, but it makes it easier to root for because it is crushing the competition. But like the Google and Amazon people will tell you, don't spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror. Focus on customer feedback more. Grow.

Selling FourSquare Would Be A Mistake, Partnering Would Be Genius

The mobile web is bigger and is growing faster than the old web. Location is key to the mobile web. FourSquare has itself a sweet, sweet spot. All the best to Dennis (@dens) and Naveen. (@naveen)

(2) Random Connections

Chatroulette Is For Real

We could have had Mark Zuckerberg, but instead we lost him to the Valley. We should try better with Andrey. We want people all over the world to be able to meet random New Yorkers. There's the fun in sharing.

(3) The Inbox

ReadWriteWeb: Gmail Becomes an App Platform: Google Adds OAuth to IMAP ....Syphir, which lets you apply all kinds of complex rules to your incoming mail and then lets you get iPhone push notification for your smartly filtered mail.
Rapportive - an incredible GMail contacts plug-in.
Your Inbox as Platform: Google Calendar More Closely Integrated With Gmail

Everything is email, if you think about it. When I first started blogging, I was like, great, I no longer need to flood people's inboxes. All I have to do is send them a link to a blog post. Facebook is email. People who don't know you don't email you, and people who email you are only one click away if you want to know the latest in their lives. No need to call them up, or ask them. Twitter is the ultimate email. Eric Schmidt even called it that, but he was a little miserly in the description. A poor man's email? I am poor, everyone is poor by Eric's standards, but hey! FourSquare is email. I am emailing you my location.

Don't give up on email. Email is here to stay. There is so much that can be done with the inbox. I am glad some startups are looking into it.

For now all I want is about four different inboxes. Inbox 1, emails only from individuals whose addresses I have saved. Inbox 2: emails from those people that are going out to more than me. Inbox 3: emails from mailing lists I have subscribed to. Inbox 4: everyone else.

(4) Frictionless Payments

Venmo is my FourSquare in this space. I take hometown pride in Venmo. But then supporting FourSquare and Venmo is like supporting Obama. (Jupiter And Obama) It helped that the guy was outstanding. I get the impression Venmo is also a leader in this crowded space. It was listed in Time magazine as one of the top 50 sites of 2009, along with Drop.io, another hometown goodie. (@lessin)

It is like this, there was barter trade back in the days. Then they had coins, some coins were as big as cart wheels. Then paper money. Then plastic. Then PayPal. We are about to hit the next phase. That is where Venmo comes in.

In my homevillage in Nepal growing up, I saw rice used as currency. Farm workers got paid in rice. Vegetable vendors would give you vegetables for rice. And it was pretty smooth, as in frictionless, enough to give Kortina a run for his money. (@kortina)

What I am telling you, Kortina, is rice as currency is pretty cutting edge, and there was major trust involved.


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