Archive for September, 2011

By Tony Fish, founder AMF Ventures and member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital.

One of the ‘events’ at Being Digital, on 11-12th October 2011 @ Innovation Warehouse, will be BeingMe, it is the PM session on the 12th.

BeingMe will explore the digital interactions that create personal data that is waiting to be exploited. Data is being created as you live your digital life from your click stream, key strokes, movement, location, search terms, your relationships and from your friends/associates actions towards you.  This data or signals can be run through an algorithm to deliver insights, personalization, intent and context which should improve your over-all digital experience, however, that same data also contains signals that can determine your reputation and your influence and help companies make a judgement if they want to do business with you and on what terms.

To help form a digital reputation or understand influence you need to determine someone’s Authority, Credibility, Expertise, Location, Proximity, Reach, Relevancy and Trust and these are the topics we will get deep and dirty within this session.  It is a paid for event and tickets start at £90 ex. VAT. More details are here  http://beingdigital.eu/ or Register Here and use mashupdigital to get a 20% discount.

BeingDigital has three other big themes (Social, Local and Open) at the summit giving you the flexibility to participate and attend one or all four themes. Meet early stage businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs building, creating and pushing the boundaries of digital business and the new generation of digital and social technology products.

I will be there and will be joined by Simon Rogers Guardian Datablog, Datastore and News editor for the Guardian, William Perrin Founder, Talk About Local, Steve Bridger Builder of Bridges, Elizabetta Camilleri CoFounder & CEO, Salesgossip.co.uk, Nick Halstead CEO & Founder, Mediasift, Chris Thorpe Founder/Technologist, Andrew Wanliss-Orleb Head of Product, Founder Echo Echo, Frida Sandin Merchandising Specialist, Avail Intelligence, Kalia Colbin Chief Marketing Officer, MiniMonos.com, Lawrence Buchanan Principal, Digital Transformation, Capgemini UK, Ishmayal Syed Technology Innovation Architect, Aviva, Azeem Azhar CEO, Peer Index


HOWEVER – if your preference is to hear from the kids who want to present about their digital experience and views, and not the start-ups and experts, then why not come to  “Digital Footprint Summit Learnings and Insights from the Screenagers” on Thursday, November 3, 2011 from 10.30 AM to 4:00 PM (GMT).

The Digital Footprint Summit is all about social, personal and identifiable data and will focus on first hand perspectives from those in this generation. During the event we aim to explore what Screenagers really think about trading their personal information and how their attitudes will create a change for the ecosystem.

Traditional media suggests that this generation is “careless with privacy”. We will look beyond that view. Instead of patronising and protecting, we will seek to understand where they see as engagement, relationship and conversation.

The keynotes and debate will focus on:
If the Facebook generation’s notion of privacy becomes the norm, what does it mean for services?
Does sharing personal data really allow companies to serve customers better?
What the Screenages see as visionary based on their current experience and what could happen if their data was available ?
What will they trade and what will they see as valuable?
How to implement visualisation techniques to make the use of your data acceptable.
User interface, boundaries and what is acceptable for privacy.
By speaking to and with the generation who are living it, this conference hopes to tease out some assumptions, views and insights and in doing so, provide a more balanced viewpoint that will help shape innovative, research, development and strategy.

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Article from SF Gate.

“Chamath Palihapitiya, a former executive at Facebook Inc., made the first two investments for his new venture fund, buying stakes in business-software maker Yammer Inc. and private-stock exchange SecondMarket Inc.

Palihapitiya’s fund, called the Social+Capital Partnership, led a $17 million investment in Yammer, a San Francisco company that makes social-networking programs for businesses.

The fund, which announced both deals separately Tuesday, bought its SecondMarket stake from existing investors. SecondMarket lets investors trade shares of closely held companies before they hold an initial public offering.

After a four-year career at Facebook, where he worked on mobile products and expanded the company internationally, Palihapitiya left this year to form Social+Capital.

The Palo Alto fund is raising about $300 million, with an eye to investing in Internet technology, health care, education and financial services. Before joining Facebook, Palihapitiya spent a year at venture-capital firm Mayfield Fund.

“The things I like tend to have very disruptive elements to an existing established infrastructure,” Palihapitiya, 35, said.

“SecondMarket disrupts the IPO process by giving you completely different alternatives. Yammer is highly disruptive to established enterprise software companies.”

With Tuesday’s investment, Yammer has now raised $57 million. The company, started by PayPal Inc. co-founder David Sacks, provides software to more than 100,000 businesses in 160 countries, serving clients such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Ford Motor Co. Existing investors include Charles River Ventures, Emergence Capital and U.S. Venture Partners.

“Social networking is destined to have as significant an impact on the enterprise as it has already had in our personal lives,” Palihapitiya said in a statement.

The SecondMarket deal, meanwhile, involving buying stock from employees and early investors, Chief Executive Officer Barry Silbert said in a blog posting.

Shareholders of the New York company sold about $13 million of stock at a valuation of about $160 million, in what the company expects to be an “annual liquidity event,” Silbert said.

SecondMarket helps investors in privately held companies buy and sell their stock. The company has handled transactions totaling almost $1 billion, Silbert said Tuesday. Shareholders of Facebook, Twitter Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. have sold stock on the exchange.

Palihapitiya was joined by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and actor Ashton Kutcher in buying the SecondMarket shares.”

Read more here.

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by Martin Zwilling, Forbes Contributing Editor

A startup begins with a great idea, but all too often, that’s where it ends. Ideas have to be implemented well to get the desired results. Good implementation requires a plan, and a good plan and good operational decisions come from good people. That’s why investors invest in entrepreneurs, rather than ideas.

People and operational excellence have to converge in every business, large or small. Microsoft found this out last year when their market capitalization, once at $560 billion in the year 2000, had fallen to $219 billion, allowing them to be passed by Apple at $222 billion, who grew from $15.6 billion during the same period. Both had access to the same technology, people, and market.

So what could have happened here? I found a good summary of the relevant keys to business operational excellence in a new book by Faisal Hoque, called “The Power of Convergence.” His focus is on repeatable practices to maximize business opportunities in large companies, but I’m convinced that these apply equally well to startups:

  • Clearly define your value chain. Your value chain consists of customers, partners, vendors, internal systems, and your own team. Make sure you understand this chain, as well as market dynamics, to drive operational innovations and every decision. Apple has been able to innovate at an amazing pace to define and meet new market opportunities.
  • Visualize abnormal or suboptimal performance. Recognizing and understanding deviations enables a startup or any business to take corrective action quickly. This requires executives and a team that understands the parameters, and is focused on customers, quality, and continuous improvement.
  • Facilitate the power of your team. Startups need to empower their people to take action in the absence of orders. That doesn’t mean abdication in setting corporate policies, which provide parameters to ensure that individuals have to ability to act collectively in the company’s best interest. Steve Jobs has a committed team.
  • Communicate effectively with the team and customers. Communication is a challenge in any organization, but it’s a particular challenge when you’re working in a startup, where customers, products, processes, and the team are new. Most founders forget that communication becomes exponentially more difficult as the business grows.
  • Measure value flow and performance. Measuring performance may seem self-evident, but many entrepreneurs mistake this task as a point-in-time or a one-time event. In operationally excellent startups, performance measurement is an ongoing effort throughout the process chain, not just at the outcome.
  • Define response mechanisms. Anticipating and planning for worst-case scenarios, and having a Plan-B, will enable the quick-response and pivots required to put a startup back on track. Metrics are required for ensuring the return to a known good baseline.
  • Maximize technology architecture and standards. Continuous innovation to maintain your competitive advantage does not mean that you can ignore current architectures and standards. These must always be leveraged produce optimal intended product outcomes.

What every business needs is a convergence of business and technology elements to optimize return and competitive positioning. All too often, entrepreneurs posit a new technology or idea, without understanding that a successful business is a never-ending process of adapting and improving all the elements in a business – especially business model, processes, and people, as well as technology.

Apple, with Steve Jobs, has demonstrated a rare convergence of technology, market understanding, business process, and people. Are you focused on all the right execution principles in your startup to do the same?

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L’Shana Tova

May the New Year bring you and your family the blessing of health, peace, safety and comfort.

As we begin another year, we continue to go through turbulent times, but with the strength of family, friends and faith all will persevere.

We say continue “Thank You” to the sons and daughters of Israel and the United States who fight for our heritage, our way of life and the freedom we hold so dear.

We salute their bravery, courage and their commitment to “Duty, Honor and Country” and pledge to always support them.

As we enter this New Year, our family does so with “Hope for the Future”.  This New Year we will also face the test of courage and leadership to get all through turbulent times.

On this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur our family wishes and prays for Health, Safety and Love of Family for all.

Best regards – L’Shana Tova and if you have time enjoy this link  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlcxEDy-lr0

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Article from Business Insider.

“Douglas Leone of Sequoia Partners just finished on stage at TechCrunchDisrupt, and he had some interesting advice for young founders: stop talking.

On stage with Mike Arrington, he gave the following advice for small startups:

Little companies have really 2 advantages: stealth and speed. You [Arrington] come from the world of speed and no stealth.

The best thing for little companies do is to stay away from the cocktail circuit….We at Sequoia have never released a press release in 35 years….Then run like a son-of-a- gun. Don’t say anything to anybody.

Leone contrasted the startups from when he started in 1988 with the companies he sees today. Back then, startups were building infrastructure — like chips — and that took an older founder with some experience at a big company, then a team 15 or 20 people who would lock themselves in a building and spend 12 and 15 months building “fundamental IP.”

Now, a couple of young smart people can create a beta Web site over a weekend and iterate from there. A lot of younger founders “don’t know what they don’t know,” and that creates the temptation to talk too much.

He’s worth listening to: Leone claims that Sequoia has never lost money on a fund, and has returned between $15 and $20 billion to its limited partners on an estimated total investment of between $5 and $7 billion. The company’s early investments include Yahoo, Google, and YouTube.”

Read more here.

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