He also points out that we have been active in NYC and perhaps we should have an office in NYC.
Here are some thoughts that come to mind after reading his post.
0. On a personal note, I love NYC. I grew up in Long Island all the way through high school. My first girl friend was from queens. I went to a zillion shows at CBGBs. I’m also a yankees fan :) My parents still live there.
1. My partner Santo lived in NYC before moving to Boston. He has an apartment there. My other partner Dennis lived in NYC before moving to boston to join Spark. At any given week one of us are in NYC. I’m in nyc today too. (hey charlie: wanna meet at the ShakeShack for lunch :)
2. We are proud of our 10 investments & entrepreneurs in NYC and will no doubt make more investments there. I’m very excited about all of the innovation and creativity in NYC.
3. One thing to clarify from Charlie’s post is that we have made more than 21 investments. Several of our companies are in stealth mode or haven’t been announced yet. So the percentage of our investments in nyc isn’t quite that high.
4. We are about to announce a new addition to the Spark team. He’s another new yorker. He will be based in boston but still keeping his place in nyc and will spend a lot of time there as you can imagine.
5. I’ve been thinking a lot about location and proximity to our investments. Our NYC entrepreneurs tell me that they interact with me and my partners as much as if we were actually living in nyc. That’s good. It’s just not that far between boston & NYC. At the same time consider the opposite where two east coast firms invested in SF-based Twitter. But I am paying attention to this.
6. And while we are active in NYC we invest everywhere and simply look for the best teams on the planet with the best ideas (e.g. we have made 7 investments on the west coast, 2 in CO and even 1 in Ireland).
I think traveling is just part of the job. For all of us in this business. Startups and investors alike.
The kids watched the movie “Ratatouille” today. They loved it. It’s a cute movie but there was a line I heard today that caught my attention:
"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends" (via IMDB)
That line came from the fictional food critic character, Anton Ego, played by Peter O’Toole.
It’s a great quote and something that all of us in the startup world should remember.
The home page at Tumblr has evolved several times since the company was formed less than a year ago.
It started as a page with the basic info on what a tumblelog is and then asks for email and password and then presto - you have your own site.
The home page then evolved to include a number of new things like Tumblr Radar which are the most interesting & popular things amongst the hundred of thousands of Tumblr powered sites and it included various groups like - Staff Picks, Music, Art & Artists, Sweet Themes, etc.
Tumblr just released a new home and I absolutely love it.
For the person that isn’t a Tumblr user yet, the information is very clear on what Tumblr is and how to get started. Clean and straightforward.
But the coolest thing they launched is a new thing called Explore.
Tumblr Explore shows off the latest posts or you can navigate by color. Stunning.
Within Explore you can also check out Tumblrverse which shows off the latest tumblr posts around the world.
Then there is the music part of the home page where they have teamed up with the Hype Machine to show you what’s hot on the Tumbr and Hype Machine.
With all of this new stuff, they also managed to keep Tumblr Radar and the various directories and groups. And thank god I’m still in the Staff Picks :)
“I’m gripped by “Smash N’ Grab”. This ain’t Crocs music. This ain’t made for Sephora. This is the sound that drove your parents away, that they didn’t only tell you to turn down, BUT THROW OUT!”—Bob Lefsetz review of the new AC/DC record. After this review, I’m getting it.
I have been on the beach in Delaware over the last few days.
So my blogging has been light. Actually yesterday, I didn’t post anything the whole day which was a first for me in a long time I think.
My in laws are down here and I’ve spent a bunch of time with 4 of my nephews. All of them are older than my kids. They range from ages 9 to 16. And watching and talking to them taught me a few things about mobile.
1. Holy freaking cow do these text a lot. I always knew this was the case but watching it first hand is incredible. They put to shame the most addicted VC & blackberry. It’s fast, furious and seemingly constant.
2. They know which of their friends use the same carrier or not. They care because “in network” text messages are free and out of network isn’t.
3. They know how to jailbreak their iPod touch.
4. They want a low cost iPhone
5. They don’t need 3G. They don’t even need data plans. They just need text plans
6. They take photos on their mobile phones. They either share them phone<->phone but rarely if ever does it go phone-to-web. and never web-to-mobile for photos. Seems like a big opportunity to offer the youth market a better way to privately and publicly share & store mobile photos. Just for them.
7. All of their parents have at one time or another paid a very large bill for text messages.
8. MySpace messages are losing out to text messages
9. IM is losing out to text messages.
10. My oldest child is 9 years old. Wondering when we will give her a mobile phone. still deciding that one.
5. My raid5 box at home is getting dusty. I’m storing everything in the cloud. photos are on tumblr and flickr. videos are on veoh, vimeo and .mac gallery, everything else is on mozy. verizon fios makes this easy. Storage works. Now we need smart sync
At Spark, we typically make early stage investments. That means before the product has been built and/or pre-revenue. Most of the time we are the first VC investors in a company. And in these investments we will invest between seed investments of $250k up to $5M-ish. Initially.
But we also keep some dry powder in our funds for larger, later stage investments as well. In this area we like to see a company that is executing their plan and where we can help the company step on the gas and scale the growing business.
This latter scenario is behind our latest investment at Verified Identity Pass which operates Clear. My partner Dennis led our investment in the company.
Clear is targeted at business travelers or frequent flyers. As a Clear member you won’t have to wait in airport security lines. For those of us that travel a ton that is a huge deal. That’s because Clear has an agreement with 18 U.S. airports and with the TSA.
There is a 2-step enrollment process. First step is online and the second step is at the airport. Applicants create an online account and fill in basic bio info. Then you goto a Clear enrollment center (typically an airport for now) and bring 2 forms of government issued ID (passport and drivers license). Give them your fingerprints and they will also take your iris image. The annual fee is $128.
Once you are a Clear member you can sail through the airport security line. In some airports, Clear has their own specific lanes and in other airports the Clear customer service agents will help you with the bins and help you get thru the checkpoint. And wait there is more :). They will also help you gather your things after the checkpoint.
I miss Muxtape. To tell you the truth, I didn’t get Muxtape at first. I thought the UI was fantastic but I didn’t get how to navigate or discover.
Charles Forman told me awhile back that he would just open up 4-5 random muxtapes in the morning and then play and FF until he found tunes that he liked.
But then two things happened:
1. Muxfind came out which provided a great search engine for Muxtape
2. Muxtape added scrobbing so all of the music playback history was recorded in last.fm.
After those two things, I was hooked.
But now it’s gone for now. Fortunately I never stopped using Hype Machine which is also integrated with last.fm & twitter. And I listen to songs from the folks I follow on Tumblr thanks to Streampad. Streampad isn’t yet integrated with last.fm but hopefully Dan has that on his todo list.
In the meantime, 8tracks seems to be getting a lot of attention. Here’s my first 8tracks mix. I like it. The best part is that I didn’t have to upload mp3s to create this mix but I had the option if I wanted to.
I wonder if I could create an 8tracks list from the people I follow on Tumblr.
Or what about a way to create a mix from my Tumblr tunes that could export and share with non-tumblr users.
But the zinger in the article is when Alex states:
I think Twitter belongs to the category of Paradigm-Changing Technologies That Can Safely Be Ignored, like MySpace. It’s so 2002, no one goes there.
Huh? MySpace is a big deal. Many folks go there and while it may not be the darling of the tech blogs it’s a huge. They have 73 million users in the United States alone and revenue is large by any standards.
So while its easy to say negative things about new products and services, I have a suggestion for those that look at the glass as half full. Dare to be an optimist. Think different.
“The whole summer was full of surprises. The best was that the hypothesis we were testing seems to be correct. Young hackers can start viable companies. This is good news for two reasons: (a) it’s an encouraging thought, and (b) it means that Y Combinator, which is predicated on the idea, is not hosed.”—Paul Graham, Oct 2005, after the first YC summer program.
Rather than offer my opinions on each company I came away with a few thoughts.
0. It was interesting to me that none of the companies were building facebook apps. I dont’ think the word myspace even came up. Several companies in the group were building stuff ontop of twitter including a news site. Real time news is perfect for Twitter and someone is going to crack that nut.
1. One of the companies is gunning for Tumblr. It’s called Posterous. I just don’t know how or why they could pick on something so cute.
2. The energy level in the group was amazing. THose entreprenuers were pumped. I found out that Paul Graham encourages each company to stop work for a week and practice, practice and practice their demo’s. It paid off.
3. Each demo/presentation was limited to 6-8 minutes. I loved that format.
4. Paul & Jessica are doing something important with Y Combinator and I’m glad they are doing it in Cambridge in addition to Mtn View. And I’m glad we are investors in IILWY which is a YC company. Our first one but probably not our last.
Search boxes aren’t in any stock themes yet, but they’ll be included soon.
There’s still more to do. We’re not segmenting, so text without spaces between words (such as German compound words or most Japanese text) isn’t properly indexed yet. Advanced search operators (and, or, not, phrase) also aren’t supported yet.
And, of course, there’s much more we’re planning to do with this. Stay tuned.
Congrats guys. That was a lot of work and it looks great. Going to add it to my theme shortly!
We have two choices in order to consolidate these — either opt for all-purpose services such as Facebook (as tens of millions have done) or use our blogs as the aggregation point or hub for all these various services. Facebook, for instance allows you to share photos, aggregate your digital droppings, share comments with friends and exchange messages, but it doesn’t give you a unique identity on the web. In contrast, blogs with social features could allow you to do exactly that.
I want my own unique identity online. I don’t want to be defined by Facebook.
Blogs will become social and evolve from a personal newspaper of sorts to a new thing all together. It’s a new category and that’s why we invested in Tumblr last year. In my (wildly biased opinion) Tumblr is the easiest to use.
And it’s the only one with the built in social features that I want like reblogging, dashboard, notes, friend following).
The Bug blog has all the info here. They are looking to hire across the board:
We are actively interviewing for folks that can write linux device drivers, help with marketing and outreach (like our .edu program), or help write technical documentation. You can see more details for each of these jobs at www.buglabs.net/jobs.
We are also keeping our eyes open for a controller, biz dev, and ops person with loads of experience with start-ups, CE, light manufacturing, the works.
If this is you, or someone you know, let me know at matthew[at]buglabs.net
In addition to these great positions, the company has recently moved to SoHo and last night we announced a new round of funding.