The enterprise products we use and the things they have in common

At our firm, Spark Capital, we use a variety of enterprise web services for internal use.

We use Dropbox to share documents within the partnership. We share things like portfolio board presentations, financials, legal documents, investment history within the partnership. (we are testing Box.net as a way to share information with our Limited Partners). 

We use 37Signals’ Highrise to keep track of all deal flow across the partnership.

Several years back we ditched Microsoft Exchange and Share point, and happily use Google Docs, Gmail and Drive.

We use Skype to video conference between our NYC and Boston office and with founders all over the planet. 

(We have started to experiment with Yammer. I don’t think it’s gonna stick for us but we’ll see)

All of these enterprise products have several things in common.

1. We didn’t need to hire anyone to install or manage this for us. We made the decision as end users first. 

2. We didn’t need to speak to a salesperson to get started.

3. They have great mobile experiences

4. Strong network effects. 

Enterprise software has come a long way over the past 15 years or so.

We have made a number of investments in the enterprise space and will likely continue to do so. But within the enterprise space, we tend to favor those that have some, if not all, of the characteristics listed above. They are powerful characteristics and we celebrate how they have impacted us as users inside of the enterprise. 

It’s been a wonderful Thanksgiving spending the day with close friends and family.

We kicked off the day with the first year of the Sabet Friends & Family Turkey Trot at our house. We had three races for different age groups. A 100 yard dash for the 5-9year olds, a .75mile run for the 10-13year olds. And a 3mile run (or walk) for ages 14 and older.

And then this afternoon we had a big dinner followed by an equally big dessert.

Now we are all chilling and watching the Patriots destroy the Jets.

A good day

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Hallway Chat, #11.

Our longest podcast to date!

Today @nabeel and i discussed:

  • iPad Mini
  • are Apple’s best days behind them
  • why nabeel is taking the android plunge
  • the future of digital cameras
  • where will the best consumer electronics come from in the future
  • our different take on Eric Feng’s post App Prosperity
  • discovering other podcasts

You can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Thanks for listening!

Update : looks like this episode hasn’t made it to iTunes yet. Hopefully it will get there soon!

Knowing how to hack

A few weeks ago, Dennis Crowley and I were hanging at ITP. Dennis was kind enough to show me around. I saw students creating and building some really interesting things including a foosball table dennis hacked to a display and student id card scanner so players could keep track of scoring and games. Very cool stuff.

For those of you that aren’t familiar, before co-founding Foursquare, Dennis created Dodgeball along with Alex Rainert while students at ITP.

While we were in George Agudow’s office at ITP, Dennis told me that he essentially built Dogeball with ~1200 if-then-else commands. He was completely self taught and here’s some random Dodgeball code that Dennis sent me. I love the comments the best.

The Dodgeball story & code is a perfect example of what Paul Graham was getting at in his recent post, “How To Get Startup Ideas”.

Knowing how to hack also means that when you have ideas, you’ll be able to implement them. That’s not absolutely necessary (Jeff Bezos couldn’t) but it’s an advantage. It’s a big advantage, when you’re considering an idea like putting a college facebook online, if instead of merely thinking “That’s an interesting idea,” you can think instead “That’s an interesting idea. I’ll try building an initial version tonight.” It’s even better when you’re both a programmer and the target user, because then the cycle of generating new versions and testing them on users can happen inside one head.

Scratching your own itch by building your own stuff is ideal. We saw it with David at Tumblr. Jack/Ev/Biz at Twitter. Dennis at Foursquare. Joel/Jeff at Stack Overflow. Charles at OMGPOP. Brian at Admeld. And many others that I’ve left off this incomplete list.

It’s not possible for every founder but we continue to see more of this and I believe it’s the best way to get going.