For my early readership, Fred Wilson warned me that it’d be difficult to write posts as long and thoughtful as my original post for this series — he was right and I missed last week. Therefore, I’m going to try altering the format to just provide the 11 item curation.
About 11 Thoughts For A Thursday: With an endless firehose of opinions, comments, blog posts, articles, tweets, etc., I felt there was a lot of great insight being drowned out. I plan to surface insight that interests me, both new and old. I’ll also be working to extract perspective from some great minds that aren’t very vocal in public print. I am always looking for great insight, so hit me up on Twitter @popo if you spot any.
1. Apparently the mobile web is dead and it’s all about native apps now, according to stats from Flurry. Basically the ‘mobile web’ in this instance has to do with browsing websites from your mobile device — aka, using Safari or Chrome (Safari dropped from 12% to 7% usage from March 2013 to March 2014. What’s happened is that the content people would be viewing in a browser, is still being viewed but rather in specialized apps with built-in browsers. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest — these are all essentially mobile web browsers these days, but not *technically*. Content links simply open in those apps themselves as they have built-in web browser functionality — I recall that a lot of content years ago use to open externally into the Safari app on your mobile device.
Something to take from this data is that your company should likely have an app. Although I do question whether all businesses should have their own apps — like restaurants or plumbers. Those businesses might be just offering content like their menu, hours, and photos of their work. At the moment as a consumer, it’d be tedious to have to download an app each time I wanted info for that type of a business. Maybe that experience becomes frictionless someday.
2. Om Malik wrote a post a few weeks ago about ‘Tweet-diarrhea‘, in which he says it all started with Marc Andreessen. Now it does seem like others at Andreessen-Horowitz are following suit, including a 41-tweet perspective on ‘full stack’ by General Partner Balaji Srinivasan, which then ends up getting retweeting practically tweet-by-tweet by Marc Andreessen. Honestly, I love the insight and perspective that Marc is adding, but any insight over 2 tweets deserves a blog post in my opinion. Having to scroll through my feed the other day of those 41-tweets (FORTY ONE!) was cluttered and annoying. Was it really easier for him to tweet all of that vs blog it? If you have that much to say, blog it and let others curate it into tweets.
3. My hometown Buffalo is holding a $5 million business competition: 43North. There are 11 awards from $250K – $1mm each. You can submit a plan, a startup or an already established business. If you’re a winner, you give up 5% equity and move the business to Buffalo. This is the first year of the program, so they lack a brand, but being the largest competition in the world, I really thought this would get more press than it has. Business (plan) competitions in tech seems like an outdated concept given incubators and accelerators these days, but this competition is open for most all industries. The competition is part of the “Buffalo Billion”, in which NY State is trying to jumpstart the economy here in Buffalo and attract businesses to create jobs.
4. Fred Wilson wrote about the 43North competition and the nugget of wisdom was in the comments section by FAKE GRIMLOCK, in which he said, “YOU WANT REAL JUMPSTART? PAY 50% SALARY OF ALL STARTUP DEVS IN BUFFALO FOR 1 YEAR. THAT HOW STARTUP A TOWN.” Brilliant idea. I have no political clout or know how to run with that idea, but I’d love to see New York implement that.
5. The other comment nugget from Fred’s post came from James Harradence, whom said “They should add some sort of immigration angle. A young person with entrepreneurial ambition would find access to the US market very attractive.” Craig Kanalley (Buffalo Sabres Social Media Director) added, “Couldn’t this be tied to universities somehow? Come for education + incentives to stay.”The University of Buffalo (UB) has a ton of international students, whom we educate and most then leave the area. Why? Well for one thing, in my opinion and from what I’ve heard from some, there are two campuses for UB, one is in Buffalo and one is in Amherst (a suburb of Buffalo). The majority of students are at the campus in Amherst and they think that is Buffalo. Most haven’t been downtown or if they have, they went to Chippewa (a street that encapsulates a couple blocks of bars/nightclubs geared towards the younger crowd). I wish there was a big initiative by UB to get students more intertwined and exposed to all of downtown Buffalo — our architecture, our parks, our museums, and our awesome neighborhoods that are different in their own rights. I know we could cut off some of the brain drain. We have a great opportunity with nearly 40,000 students attending that school each year.
6. Sam Altman was named the new president of Y Combinator (YC), taking the reigns over from Paul Graham. He’s 29 and Re/code did a piece about him that’s worth the read — he’s a fascinating guy. Warning: The article will make you feel lazy after reading how much Sam accomplishes in a day.
I digress, I really wanted to bring up his blog post The Founder Visa (again). It’s an open proposal to the US Government to allocate 100 visas to founders per year, under the direction of YC. This is after no(?) progress being made when YC requested 10,000 per year, five years ago. Essentially the argument is that we welcome all of these super smart people from other countries to the USA, educate them, then kick them out to go back to their home countries to start businesses, create jobs, and compete with the USA — because it is so difficult for them to stay here permanently. I admire YC’s initiative and I found it amazing how many people were quite frankly pissed off at YC (see comments) finding the proposal self-serving in that YC would want all the power over these visas — ultimately giving YC an advantage over entrepreneurs trying to stay in the USA. I understand the reaction, but it sounds like a bunch of whining. YC is trying to open the door to government for all VCs to have this opportunity, but the initiative needs to start somehow — and the simpler the better. YC has proved itself a leader in funding entrepreneurs that build companies that have created thousands (tens of thousands?) of jobs in less than ten years time.
7. Uber is doing $40mm/week and are doing more trips in SF than the taxi industry. It’s great to see this success for Travis Kalanick and team. He opened his home to me years back while I attended TechCrunch Disrupt. His energy was infectious. He’d have these late-night “jam sessions” as he called them, in which a bunch of super smart geeks would come over and they’d be whiteboarding up any of their startup ideas. They’d be going til all hours of the night and this was a regular thing! This is of course when he wasn’t schooling you at Mario Kart in his basement. Hunter Walk (Partner at Homebrew) had some interesting ideas about restaurants paying for your Uber if you dined with them — or discounting your bar tab.
8. Interesting idea from former TechCrunch writer Nick Gonzalez (Nervora), “What if apps of the future eschewed advertising and instead made money by mining cryptocurrency in the background while in use?” From those I’ve spoken with, this seemed far-fetched, but it was accomplished this past week — even if it wasn’t with permission from the users. It does seem there must be something our idle plugged-in devices could be mining while we sleep or are watching Netflix. Who remembers SETI@home?
9. During the Oscars last month I tweeted, “‘What’s a tweet? What’s Twitter? What’s a selfie?’ – thoughts by likely 50% of the people watching the Oscars right now”. I was wrong. Twitter’s audience for the Oscars was 37mm vs ABC’s audience of 43mm. Ellen’s selfie picture got 32mm impressions, although that doesn’t include all the impressions that picture generated from TV and print media showing off that picture. Twitter has become the second screen experience.
11. Lastly for a laugh: Startups Anonymous: “What I’d Really Like To Say To Investors”. This post literally made me laugh-out-loud at one point. Being in the thick of fundraising for my startup Act Away, some of these comments are spot on.
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