“The bursting of the dot-com bubble in the fall of 2001 marked a turning point for the web. Many people concluded that the web was overhyped, when in fact bubbles and consequent shakeouts appear to be a common feature of all technological revolutions. Shakeouts typically mark the point at which an ascendant technology is ready to take its place at center stage. The pretenders are given the bum’s rush, the real success stories show their strength, and there begins to be an understanding of what separates one from the other.”—
One thing I’ve noticed is that many of the founders of our portfolio companies are extremely self critical themselves. They tend to be intellectually honest about the challenges, shortcomings and areas of their respective products that require attention.
Startups are hard. They are really hard. I think most folks that have never been in a startup don’t realize how unbelievably hard people work in a startup company. And you gotta be an optimist at heart because the odds are against you. So that combination of being self critical and being an optimist is quite a combination.
In the midst of startup life - excitement, stress, anxiety, thrill, success and disappointment - I always value when founders are the first one to point out what needs to be fixed or improved.
Here’s a recent example. On the day we closed the Boxee investment, I sent Avner an email saying congrats and how excited I was to be an investor in his company. His response was basically that they were excited as well but there was a lot of work to do.
Those are often the most successful entrepreneurs in the long run.
I’ve blogged & tweeted a bunch about the Tmobile G1 powered by Android.
My dad just picked up a different G1. It’s the new Panasonic DMC G1. My brother has a link on his blog of a review of this new camera.
It takes great photos. Here’s my dog Jackson. Shot in low light, ISO 400.
For the past year, I’ve been using three cameras. For serious photography, I use my Canon EOS 40D. For everything else I use the iPhone. I still have a compact Canon SD800is that I use from time to time. Especially when I’m on the run and I know I’m going to need a flash. Lauren uses it more than me at this point.
The Panasonic G1 won’t replace my 40d and it’s too big for every day use.
At least for me.
But it’s still a fine camera if you don’t want a big DSLR. My dad really likes it and he’s a big time shutterbug.
We used to use desktop computers at our house. Now we all have laptops. The “study” in our house is just another room where we can read, work or play. but the computer is no longer tethered to that room.
The same thing is true at my office at Spark. I don’t have a desktop computer there either. I have a laptop connected to a large monitor.
I keep all the important data I need on that laptop and the rest of it is in the cloud - either backed up (jungledisk) or syncd (still issues but we’ve come a long way).
For years, I’ve used the 15” PowerBook and then MacBook Pro. It had everything i needed. But as I started traveling more and more the weight just got me down.
That led me to buy the first MacBook Air when it came out earlier this year. It’s super light and gorgeous. It became my main computer but very quickly I realized that it didn’t work for me. It felt underpowered, couldn’t swap the battery, the single oddly layed out USB port was a drag and the first model maxed out at 2 gigs of RAM.
I was thinking about going back to my old MacBook Pro and dumping the MacBook Air and getting a low cost netbook. My friend Dave Winer has been on the leading edge of netbooks for some time now. There is something very appealing about those devices. They are inexpensive, the battery lasts a long time and they are small & light.
I tried out an Eee PC in a store the other day. But I couldn’t see myself getting one as they are currently configured. Michael Arrington lists three problem with netbooks on his post today. I agree with them - poor screen, challenging keyboard and little horsepower. There is another issue at least for me and that is the software. Running Windows XP isn’t something I want to do.
So whats the answer for me? I recently picked up the latest 13” aluminum MacBook.
It’s the best laptop I ever owned. And I use it for everything.
“What matters isn’t any individual Twitter message and whether it’s right or wrong. It’s the organism as a whole, the aggregate, that lets people stream what they’re witnessing in real time to the world. That aggregate stream gives us more information, faster, than anything before. It’s news, and it’s incredibly valuable.”—I Can’t Believe Some People Are Still Saying Twitter Isn’t A News Source - Michael Arrington - TechCrunch
“We bounced around ideas on what the future of TV should look like,” Mr. Avner wrote on Boxee’s company blog a few months ago. “What a truly connected experience means? How people will share? How would they interact? How would they discover content? What is the role of the Web? What kinds of apps people will run on their TV? We drank beer. We smoked. We dug deep. We called it Boxee.”—It’s Living Room 2.0 | The New York Observer (via fred-wilson)
“You can take the boy out of webtv, but you can’t take the webtv out of the boy :)”—my friend Bruce Jaffe in an email to me right after we announced the Boxee investment. Bruce was on the deal team at MSFT when they bought WebTV Networks
Recently more and more of my non-technical friends are checking out Twitter.
A great example is my wife Lauren
I think she is getting a kick out of reading my various tweets now. She has started twittering as well. It may get a little embarrassing but we’ll see.
One thing I hear from some non-technical people is the reaction to public tweets. “Do you mean, anyone can see my twitter updates?”
My answer of course is “yes”. That’s the best part in my mind.
But for some people that doesn’t seem natural. At least right now.
It’s not yet obvious to everyone but Twitter has always had privacy built in. You can create a Twitter profile and keep it private if you want. That means only people you approve of will see your tweets.
Many users actually have multiple Twitter profiles. One is public while the the other is private. Some workgroups within an office setting find this setting useful too.
Add-on-Con is the very first conference designed specifically for developers and marketers of browser extensions and add-ons is being held on December 11th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
Our portfolio company OneRiot is co-organizing it along with Adaptive Blue. Speakers include folks from a number of cool startups as well as large companies like Mozilla Corporation, Google and Microsoft.
The registration fee is $150. But you can use the discount code “bijan” and save $50.
Since this summer I’ve been using Boxee. It runs on our Apple Mac Mini which is connected to our plasma television at home. And we love it.
With Boxee I can stream popular shows from Hulu, Next New Networks, CNN, CBS and others. I can also check out our family and friends photos on Flickr and listen to my favorite artists on Last.fm. And I can watch our home videos that live on a server on our home network.
Boxee uses the same tiny remote control that comes with all Macs. And the UI is optimized for the televison. So you don’t need a clunky mouse & keyboard in your family room. I also find Boxee great on my laptop when I’m traveling or on vacation when my MacBook turns into the traveling media center.
But Boxee also has two other things behind it that are important. It’s social. You can see what your friends watch & recommend. Then, with a click, you can enjoy it on your big screen too.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that our firm, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures have co-led an investment in Boxee. I’m really looking forward to working with the Boxee team and Fred Wilson who is also joining the Boxee board of directors. Fred has an excellent post about Boxee on the USV blog that you should check out.
I’ve had a hard time containing my excitement about this product. It was behind my post, Sentimental Streaming. I couldn’t do it with FrontRow but I can with Boxee :)
Boxee is still in closed alpha but send me your email address if you want to try it out. I have a few connections over there. And if you do join, you can follow me on Boxee if you want. My user name is ‘bijansabet’. Keep in mind the software is still alpha. Lots of stuff in the works.
“Here’s the thing: Your Tumblr, while clever, will not pay your bills. We want to fix that. So we’ve made the TypePad Journalist Bailout Program. While we can’t promise it’s going to replace having a full-time writing gig, it gets you up and running with your own site that you can start to benefit from.”—
ooh. typepad is feeling the tumblr heat (via fred-wilson)
He [Obama] received a scaled-down list of news clippings, with his advisers wanting to keep him from reading blogs and news updates all day long, yet aides said he still seemed to hear about nearly everything in real time. A network of friends — some from college, others from Chicago and various chapters in his life — promised to keep him plugged in.
He reads blogs? Hears about everything in real-time?
“The classic interruptive [ad] model is a pretty uninspired way to really get to a consumer,” Mr. Kendall said. “If we build ad products that really take advantage of how users interact on Facebook with each other, it will be much more effective over time.”—
Some people look at Google with disdain, they worry about privacy or they worry about market domination or other such things.
I’m a Google fan. I use their products all the time. And I applaud them for taking big bets like Android as well as their approach to deploying smaller, incremental apps from Google Labs and other product teams.
But don’t get me wrong. Google has left many areas open for innovation by other companies. The list is long and attractive.
But that doesn’t tell me what my friends think about LeBron James or what people are thinking & talking about right now and in the moment.
Twitter Search provides something different. Twitter Search is a real time social search experience that shows you what the millions of Twitter users are talking about right now. If you do a Twitter Search on LeBron James you will see things like tweet.
I love that.
Another example is OneRiot. OneRiot (formerly known as Me.dium) launched their social search product yesterday. While Twitter Search tells you what people are talking about right now, OneRiot will show you where people are surfing online right now (results are based on the current popularity among their 2million user base). So a LeBron James search will show this result.
I’m quite biased of course. We are investors in both Twitter and OneRiot.
But I encourage you to check out these search engines even if you aren’t a Twitter or OneRiot user.
Lauren and I have a sort of a ritual on the kids birthdays
After they goto bed, we take a look at older photos of the kids and see how much and how fast they’ve grown.
We also look at home videos of the kids from years gone by.
It’s a great feeling. I love watching these videos
But home videos have a long way to go.
Capturing video was always hard. But the equipment is getting better, cheaper and less complicated. The new FlipHD looks promising. That’s a good sign of things to come. Editing is easy with tools like iMovie but still very time consuming.
And getting that video on your big screen isn’t easy…yet. Import HD video from a camcorder on your home server and try to stream it on your big screen. How do you do that?
Well you could buy a MacMini and use FrontRow. Or you could use AppleTV.
But you gotta make sure you transcode your home videos to a format that Apple supports. I do that in our family but it’s a hassle to say the least and I’m sure a show stopper for most people.
We need something that can handle any video format you wanna throw at your big screen.
We need a better way to do sentimental streaming.
Because that content is way better than anything Hulu has to offer.