Marketplaces Vs. Middlemen
The NYT covered a company called cater2.me the other day under the headline “The Middleman is Thriving on the Internet.” Throughout the article the author refers to the company as an example of middlemen, including in the following: The middlemen have put the chefs front and center with their clients. “We never white label a product,” says Mr. Lorton [co-founder]. While this is...
Protest Is Good, Disruption Is Better
I am supportive of the #occupywallstreet protest as an exercise of First Amendment rights. I too am frustrated with a financial and economic system that has made the rich richer, has hollowed out the middle class and has ever more American families living in poverty. I am, however, skeptical about the protests’ long term impact. While the protests may draw more media attention to the...
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. We are having the Union Square Ventures portfolio summit where for one day founders and/or CEOs of our portfolio companies come together. It is an amazing opportunity for everyone involved to learn from each other and hopefully establish relationships that will continue to bear fruit during the year. It is also a great reminder that by now we have...
My Facebook Setup
Following f8, there has been a new explosion of discussion around Facebook’s voracious data gathering. For instance, Facebook keeps cookies on your machine even when you are logged out which allows them at least in principle to track your visits to sites with Facebook social plugins. Add to that the Ticker, which is really just Beacon redux with better timing and some semblance of an...
Asking For Introductions (How To)
Mark Birch has a great post today about using LinkedIn correctly when asking for introductions. Very timely as I was planning to write about introductions today and now need to write only a fraction because Mark covers everything else (he links to some prior posts which are also worth reading). And now for my two small additions that may be specific to me but probably will work fairly well for...
How Schools Destroy Learning
Couldn’t resist an attention grabbing headline here after spending yesterday morning with my daughter on the kind of homework that just completely takes the fun out of learning. In geography her class is learning about latitude and longitude. As homework they got a work sheet that made them look up about 15 cities in the US based on Lat/Long and write down the Lat/Long for another 15 based...
Google Wallet and In-App Transactions
Google’s announcement of the initial availability of Google Wallet was interesting but not because of any immediate impact. Initially, this will be the equivalent of a large field trial as it will be available only on Nexus S phones and only on Sprint. Much of the coverage has focused on using Wallet to pay merchants in the real world (e.g. in a Cab or at Macy’s), but Google Wallet...
The Information (Mini Review)
While on family vacation in Scotland at the end of August, I read James Gleick’s “The Information.” If you have limited reading time and are looking for something practical or applied this is not for you. But if you have an interest in some of the foundations of not just computer science, but also physics and really all of life, “The Information” provides an...
Fighting Comment/Forum Spam
Comments and forums seem like an odd place for spam especially when they don’t permit HTML. What could a spammer gain? The only thing I can think of is possibly a link to their profile. Yet, last week a company I know was hit by a massive spam attack on its forums. Based on volume and frequency and the inclusion of HTML (even though it clearly didn’t render) it appears that the...
Today’s post is over at the USV blog, announcing our investment in Wattpad. Wattpad is an amazing community for sharing and reading stories. Go read the blog post or watch their video.
Google: Owning versus Organizing
When Larry Page became CEO, I set out my hopes for how Google might evolve its role in the Internet marketplace under his leadership. In particular, I was hoping that Larry would be: Supporting independent third party services instead of either trying to acquire them or competing head on with them. Figure out how to succeed by making others succeed. While the purchase of Zagat is a rounding...
Regulation and Job Creation
The GOP debate brought more talk of a “wet blanket of regulation” weighing on economic activity. Apparently even President Obama thinks that environmental regulation is at issue here and has sadly rolled back some clean air standards. That’s quite ironic at a time when the Chinese are tightening their air quality standards and when we should be looking at creating (clean) tech...
Yesterday, Yahoo fired CEO Carol Bartz. Whether or not you agree with that, one thing is clear: firing someone over the phone is wrong. Much as it may be difficult this is a message that should be delivered in person if at all possible (for a remote contractor might have to use Skype). Hearing that Bartz was fired over the phone reminded me not just of “Up In the Air” but also of...
Blog post today is over at the USV blog where I talk about jig, the service launched by the TastyLabs team. It is a way of formalizing the #lazyweb and getting help from friends, followers and strangers. I have a couple of needs posted there, so if you have suggestions please post them there!