Thoughts from last night: What’s Next in Tech 09

Last night I participated in What’s Next in Tech which was led by Scott Kirsner and held at Boston University. I was on the VC panel with Neil Sequeira from General Catalyst and Michael Greeley from Flybridge.

Few thoughts from last night:

-Scott started the evening session by asking the audience if they are generally optimistic or pessimistic about what’s next in technology & opportunity. I think every single person raised their hands and said they were optimistic.

-I thought we had a nice discussion about exciting opportunities in technology and the concerns we have. In some cases we have similar interests & concerns but it was also clear that our firms also see the world & opportunity differently from one another. That isnt’ a bad thing.

-There were a number of questions about seed capital availability. I mentioned our involvement in TechStars Boston and Start@Spark. I’m really excited about both programs.

-We had a monitor on stage and were able to see Tweets tagged #whatsnext09. I thought it was great that Scott took some questions from those tweets as well.

-Scott asked the VCs if we had any questions for our fellow panelists. Neil asked outloud how I could be a Yankees fan. That got the home crowd grumbling and hissing a bit. Thanks Neil :)

-Yesterday, the news buzzing on twitter was the death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. Scott jokingly asked me if celebrity obits was the future business model of Twitter.

-Offline, someone asked me if we would consider making investments in applications & services built on top of Twitter or would we avoid it because “we already made an investment in the category”. That’s a very good question. I am very interested in applications and services built on top of the Twitter platform. I think there are lots of opportunities and I’m seeing some interesting companies use the Twitter API for media sharing, enterprise, payments, gaming, affinities, sports, marketing, tech support, content aggregation….the list goes on. Having said that, I wouldn’t invest in a company that is a direct or likely Twitter competitor for obvious reasons.

I was a bit tired after a long day in New York City earlier in the day and I hope it didn’t show. Thanks to everyone that participated and thanks Scott for inviting me.

(photo courtesy of Steve Garfield).

So first I was all, “Wow, that’s sad news but I am not qualified to blog anything about this musician, since I never could’ve honestly counted myself as a real fan.” And then I went home and the first thing I typed into my iTunes search box was “Michael Jackson” and then before I knew it I was mouthing, “I’m not gonna spend my life bein’ a color,” dancing around the kitchen. It happens.

RIP Michael.

http://blip.tv/play/AYGLoDCYiSs

I’ve never met Tim O’Reilly. But after following him on Twitter and watching his talk from the 140conf, I hope to meet him sometime soon.

Tim starts about a minute into this clip. I really enjoy his insight about Twitter, publishing and communities.

Here’s one of several great lines:

“And I think that [is] one of the lessons here for anybody involved in Twitter, and particularly anybody who’s thinking that Twitter is going to lead them to the next media empire. You see these people saying, "I could have millions of followers and have such an impact.” That’s really not the point. The point is to figure out how you can add value to the community that you’re a part of. That’s really the secret of social media. It’s about amplifying a community.“

Full transcript here.

(Source: http://blip.tv/)

Big Boxee News

There is an event happening right now in San Francisco. It’s the Boxee SF meetup and you can watch it live here. The NYC Boxee meetup attracted nearly 800 people. It will be interesting to see how many people show up in SF.

There are a number of things planned for tonight. Here are a few of them.

Boxee App Store

Avner and the Boxee team are going to share a bunch of things at the meetup including the results of the Boxee Dev Challenge. The apps from the developer community have been incredible.

Boxee does Windows

To date, Boxee has been available for Linux and MacOS users. Tonight the Windows release goes into public alpha as well. From now on the Mac, Linux and Windows version should remain in sync. Thats good news for many Window users that have been waiting to try out Boxee.

MLB


After the last board meeting, Avner showed me a version of MLB.TV Premium running on Boxee that they were working on. Tonight, thanks to a partnership with MLB, Boxee users can watch thousands of baseball games live and in HD along with DVR functionality and in game highlights. That is very cool – especially for someone like me (yankee fan living in boston!).

Tumblr.

I love this one. You can stream music and watch photos from the people you follow on Tumblr on Boxee. Tumblr on the big screen…oh yeah!

The Boxee team (around 10 employees) have been working like crazy to get this release out the door. I’m blown away with their talent, ambition & drive.

Nicely done!

(update: TechCrunch covers the update as well here)

While my life is frenetic, the world around us is chaotic, and as I like to say “something in my world somewhere is totally fucked up every single day”, I generally achieve a very deep calm.  On the surface I appear to be extremely busy, but at my essence I hear the birds chirping and think of fields of golden retriever puppies.

Brad Feld – Deep Calm

Brad’s got it right. I’m trying to get better at this. Making improvements.