Revisiting apps that sync

I’ve been bitching about syncing forever. Syncing my iPhoto libraries – nightmare. Syncing an iPod or iPhone with different Macs – impossible. Family calendar and work calendar with my wife and work schedule – fussy. Contact sync between gmail and MS Exchange – frustrating world of dupes.

Then one day, a few years back, i realized i gave up on sync. I just lived without it because I lived with my data streaming from the cloud. Gave up on MS Exchange and went with gmail. Photos moved to flickr and tumblr. Music streams from the network.

This was satisfying but I still quietly yearned for content sync. Having a local copy of your data is extremely useful and important. 

And while sync still sucks with many apps there are a number of apps that have absolutely nailed it.

1. Dropbox – This is one of my all time favorite products. It just works. My documents, family videos, kids scanned art, report cards, everything, all live in Dropbox. All of that content is sync’d to every Mac I own perfectly. And it even sync’s with iPad and iPhone in a sorta magical way. 

2. Kindle. Reading books on the iPad with the Kindle app is a joy. Kindle nails the sync perfectly. Content I purchase show up on any kindle app and it keeps track of all sorts of useful things along the way too (ie current page) . 

3. Evernote. I’m a new Evernote. Well, I’m new to trying to again. I first gave it a shot when it first came out but it felt big and buggy. But I decided to give it another try after reading Albert’s post the other day. Evernote is basically a way to keep structured notes of every kind in the cloud and it syncs perfectly across devices. I use it on my iPhone and iPad and it works fast and easily. I keep track of board mtg action items, family notes, vacation planning, recruiting, and much more.

In a world where we use more connected devices than less, I believe that streaming will continue to play an important role in content distribution and consumption. But I haven’t given up on content sync yet either. And these 3 apps – dropbox, kindle and evernote, are showing that it can be done.

The iPad is also too heavy to comfortably hold in most ways for long periods, and its wide range of software capabilities can be distracting. When you’re holding a Kindle, all you can do is read. When I read on an iPad, I always want to go check my email. And my feeds. And Tumblr. And Twitter. Just for a minute – The Kindle update

marco is so right but I can’t buy a kindle. i just don’t want that many devices in my life. I already feel like i have too many. so for the time being at least, i’ll continue reading with my heavy, distracting device :)  

Flipboard – wow!

I wrote about Flipboard last week

but that was before I had Twitter working with it. 

This morning I received an email from the Flipboard folks saying I was good to go. I entered my Twitter credentials in the app and, oh. my. god. It’s fantastic.

Flipboard takes all the links that are passed around from the folks I follow on Twitter and creates this rich, ipad native experience. 

People powered and beautiful. I love it. 

How come you’ve never acknowledge your Iranian background and heritage? I feel like you should use your position to support Iranian entrepreneurs the same way that some other VC’s ( i.e Shervin, Hooman, etc) do.

I’m half iranian (dad) and half korean (mom) and was born in New York.

I’m not sure I understand the question. Are you asking me to promote Iranian founders or to invest in Iranian startups? 

I love my family but I don’t take into account someone ethnicity when it comes to my investments. 

A follow up to my strategic investor post

I received a fair amount of feedback (offline and online) to my post about whether startups should bring on strategic investors or not.

I’d like to clarify a few things:

First, that specific post was inspired by a specific company going through a difficult experience with a strategic partner.  

Second, I pointed out in the original post and in the comments later that there are times where a strategic investor can be helpful and we encourage it. For example we have worked with a number of helpful strategic co-investors several times and will continue to do so – like Time Warner Investments, Comcast and others. 

I do believe then as I believe now that founders and startups need to be careful when choosing their investors – and that is true whether it’s an angel, VC or a strategic. Everyone one of these groups has their pro’s and con’s depeding on the situation. My intention was to help entrepreneurs navigate some of the issues that could arise when taking a strategic investment. 

A few thoughts about some rules I keep on this blog

This morning it occured to me that I’ve got a few rules I keep on this blog. Here are two unrelated examples:

* * *

Yesterday, I met with a very smart and interesting founder. He’s building a product and going after an interesting space.

I asked him a question during that meeting about some a specific consumer behavior I’ve noticed on social nets for some time but we never really had time to finish the discussion about that question.

So I left the meeting excited about what he’s up to but at the same time still curious about my particular observation/question. 

I was going to write a blog post later in the day to air out this question but I thought this might make this particular founder nervous about possible disclosure. My question/observation came to me many moons before this meeting but the founder probably doesn’t know that. So a blog post could lead to resentment on his part or frustration. I take confidentiality seriously so the blog post is going to live in my head instead of the page. It’s a challenge in my line of work but it’s the path I feel is best.

* * * 

The other thing I try to do on this blog is keep it positive.

I do this for you and for me. I try to surround myself with positive people. And it would be too easy for me to write about stuff that bugs me like how my political party (repeatedlybums me out or my dismay with market research firms. My friend Fred has MBA Mondays on his blog. Maybe I should start “Wednesday Rants”  :)