Entrepreneurial

As video chat becomes easier, text chats still rule

Sean Parker and Google are both pushing group video chat products pretty hard right now. Parker’s latest product is Airtime, and Google’s is the Google+ Hangout. The idea, it seems, is that video conference calls offer a better, more social experience.

But based on my totally unscientific research and observations about how I communicate with friends and family, phone calls are pretty much out, as are video chats. Text messaging is the preferred method of communication; I really only video chat with friends and family who are abroad, and because of time differences, these happen pretty infrequently. Phone calls, and voicemail especially, are seen as almost rude impositions among my friends. So I have serious doubts about Airtime and Google+ Hangouts.

But the main reason I’m skeptical that my peer group will adopt video chat is because of an app called I’d Cap That, which my friends have wholeheartedly embraced. The app adds a random sort of edgy, and perhaps NSFW, caption to a user’s photo. (The new paid version, released today, allows for custom captions.) See the I’d Cap That Twitter page for a sampling of captions.

This is how the communication chain tends to work with this app: One person sends an embarrassing photo with a sophomoric caption to a group of friends and laughter ensues, followed by a flood of group text messages. It’s playful social interaction that is kept in a tight circle of friends and not shared over larger social networks.

And judging by the ads Google aired for its hangouts, this is pretty much the playful kind of group exchange Google had hoped to foster via its video chat platform. The main difference of course is that it’s all done over text, so interactions are quick and easy.

Stanford entrepreneur: If you’re 20 and you haven’t started a $1 million company, “you’re kind of a failure”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Recently, New York magazine featured Feross Aboukhadijeh in a piece titled “Bubble Boys”. Aboukhadijeh is a Sacramento-born, 20-year-old computer science student at Stanford who has been characterized as among the school’s most heavily recruited students by a course adviser. The piece suggested he may ultimately be among those geeks to succeed the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

While perhaps a stretch, it’s easy to see Aboukhadijeh’s appeal. A year ago, Aboukhadijeh created a small media sensation with YouTube Instant, a site that invites visitors to scan YouTube videos in real time, and which Google was at one point interested in acquiring – along with Aboukhadijeh.

Do you want to sell sugar water or do you want to change the world?

– Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?” – Steve Jobs

I sometimes wish that instead of working on Internet and software projects, I worked on cleantech or biotech projects. That way, when I came home at night, I’d know that I had literally spent my day trying to cure cancer or prevent global warming. But information technology is what I know, and it’s probably too late for me to learn a new field from scratch.

How the cloud changed venture capitalism

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

In this three-part series I will explore the ways that the venture capital industry has changed over the past five years that I would argue are a direct result of changes in the software industry, not the other way around. Specifically, Amazon has changed our entire industry in profound ways often not attributed strongly enough to them.

I believe the changes to the industry will be lasting rather than temporal change. Venture capital is in the process of its own creative destruction with new market entrants and new models of innovation at the precise moment that our industry itself is contracting.

Entrepreneur Peter Yared: Social is “so over”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. –

Entrepreneur Peter Yared doesn’t mince words. In April, after TechCrunch misreported some of the circumstances around a Facebook employee’s termination, Yared wrote a widely read post titled “Why TechCrunch is Over” in which he called its founder, Michael Arrington, “insane,” adding that it “must be hard to live amidst a rapidly declining site.”

In more recent posts, Yared has called Twitter “primarily a broadcasting platform with very few active users” and unusable for “normal people.” He has also suggested that if he were to start a company today with either entrepreneurs Mark Pincus, Evan Williams, or Mark Zuckerberg, he’d go with Pincus “given what we now know” about Williams and Zuckerberg. (Both have been accused of elbowing their early co-founders out of the picture.)

Note to entrepreneurs: Your idea is not special

– Brad Feld is a managing director at the Boulder, Colorado-based venture capital firm Foundry Group. He also co-founded TechStars and writes the popular blog, Feld Thoughts. The views expressed are his own. –

Every day I get numerous emails from software and Internet entrepreneurs describing their newest ideas.

Often these entrepreneurs think their idea is brand new – that no one has ever thought of it before. Other times they ask me to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect their idea. Occasionally the emails mysteriously allude to the idea without really saying what it is.

Silicon Valley recruiter on tech hiring frenzy: “Everyone’s desperate”

Robert Greene, the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based GreeneSearch Inc, specializes in recruiting hands-on talent for technology-focused companies, primarily startups. He provided his perspective on the current boom in technology hiring.

Q: How would you characterize the tech hiring market now?
A: It’s very competitive right now. It’s been like that for a while; it’s probably heated up even more of late. You have the bigger companies – Groupon, Zynga, Google, LinkedIn, companies that have been proven and successful – and then you have all these startups.
The supply doesn’t meet the demand.

Q: Is there an advantage to being a small company?
A: The advantage they have over those (big) companies is that they can move really quickly. They’ll do everything in a day and make an offer and hope that person will accept right away before they get into the bigger companies. Those are their selling points. They have to move quickly, they have to be agile, have to have the compelling story, have to give equity, along with competitive salaries.

from MediaFile:

Tech Summit Q&A, day 3: “Unsexy” tech companies

The third day of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit saw a lot of discussion about the valuation and  potential of "sexy" social networks and lesser known startups.

Saad Khan, Partner at CMEA Capital, talked about investing in LiveOps and Pixazza, two companies the former which he called "unsexy", and how they "stitch together the world's labor force."

One could say that Real Networks Chairman Rob Glaser, who saw his company's Real Player go from being the standard used in streaming media on the Web to a bit-player, is familiar with what is and isn't "sexy". Here he is talking about revamping his company around phenomena:

Dave McClure: SEO still relevant

A T-Mobile G1 Google is shown photographed in Encinitas, California January 20, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Dave McClure, venture capitalist and founding partner of the Silicon Valley tech incubator 500 Startups, remains a staunch advocate of search engine optimization and its benefits. He shares some of his thoughts about SEO with Reuters.

Q: Do you think it’s harder for startups to gain traction with SEO now that Google and other browsers seem to be more quality focused?
A: People can build a history in three to nine months. It’s not forever. There’s quite a bit of traffic being driven by search and quite a bit of monetization.

Realtime search engine Topsy raises $15 million

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Chief of the Venture Capital Journal and contributor for PE Hub, both Thomson Reuters publications. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. –

BlueRun Ventures, Ignition Partners, Founders Fund and angel investor Scott Banister (co-founder of Zivity) joined a $15 million Series C round for Topsy, the San Francisco, California-based company announced today.

Western Technology Investments joined the round, which brings to $30 million the amount of equity and debt that Topsy, a provider of real-time search engine services, has raised since 2008.

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