Good morning, All,
We prepared this newsletter before the news hit last night that Steve Jobs had died, and although we did work with him in the mid 90s, in the days when he was out of favor at Apple, rather than add yet another eulogy, we give you the word of Jobs himself before proceeding with our regularly schedule program:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future,” he told Stanford University graduates during a commencement speech in 2005. “You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and has made all the difference in my life.”
Apple introduced the new iPhone 4S and the big new feature is Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant (Take A Look At Siri, The iPhone’s New Voice-Powered Personal Assistant http://read.bi/rhiPrK. Yes, you will have to wait for the iPhone5 for all of the cool new features Apple has been promising.: http://read.bi/rgrTas
For the New Yorkers who waited in lines around the corner last week at the Metropolitan Pavilion to hear when Paul Graham would be bringing Y Combinator to this coast, well, you’ll no doubt have your iPhone 5S long before that happens. Paul Graham will not be opening a Y Combinator incubator in NYC. He made that abundantly clear as he pretty slammed the city, basically contending that we’re focused on money, first and foremost, and would never be anything more than second-best to the Valley. (Full disclosure: we were not there, but we did have boots on the ground, taking copious notes and thank you, N.) Oh, and at least New York has surpassed the formerly second-best Boston, he noted. Huh?
Is it a contest? And was all of that really necessary? More importantly, why did he bother coming, if the main point was to insult us? Well, he’s looking for the next Y Combinator class of startups, and yes, you are allowed to return to New York, or wherever you may happen to hail from afterwards. Whew!
Let’s talk about money-grubbing. When was the last time you did a Goog search, where the top few results were not advertiser-based? And let’s not even go into Facebook and their recent move to suck up what they can of the web. He went on to say that New York is more about social media and Silicon Valley platform companies like Google and Facebook, that can be worth hundreds of billions of dollars – and where they dictate terms of service and don’t seem to bother themselves with anything so mundane as privacy, which we try to respect on this coast and in much of the free world.
Graham also took swipes at Gilt Groupe, one of the New York’s great success stories, and Fred Wilson, who turned down Airbnb when they were first looking for investors. Yes, he slammed the weather, too, joking about having a “damp philtrum” (the area between the upper lip and nose) – which he pretty much had turned up in the air all evening – from all of the east coast humidity. Interesting to see the TechCrunch California spin on the evening (YC NYC: Paul Graham Shares The Antidote To Startup Poison http://tcrn.ch/nuNhQS), as opposed to BI and TNW (Paul Graham on why New York City won’t beat Silicon Valley http://tnw.co/pQmdPa and Embraced By New Yorkers With Open Arms, Y-Combinator’s Paul Graham Tells Them New York Is Second-Rate http://bit.ly/obNHhY, respectively).
We don’t completely disagree with Mr. Graham, btw, when it comes to SV v NY based investors. The West Coast investors are more willing to take chances on unknown quantities and we do hope that at least some of the local investors in the room took heed. And interesting to note that Cali-based investors have been opening offices on the East Coast and new incubators and accelerator are springing up all the time to help foster entrepreneurs. Paul Graham’s Y Combinator alums have had success, but the British-born, East Coast-educated former New Yorker’s incubator isn’t the only game in town. He himself pointed out that he had his first success in New York, and you can, too. Or in Boston, London, Chili or Uganda and if all else fails, remember: think globally; act locally, and damn the torpedos, no matter where in the world you happen to be. Onward and forward.
For you edification this week
And speaking of privacy issues: HowTo: Setup secure and private Facebook browsing. This will take you through securing your Facebook account, enable settings for improved privacy, disabling features where your Facebook information can be shared with third-party sites, and finally setting up your browser for private sharing: http://bit.ly/nHJSCq
…and more privacy issues: The sneaky rascals: LinkedIn ignores its members. Again. LinkedIn has changed its security settings to allow third-party
advertising, which includes allowing LinkedIn to use profile information,
names and photos. What?! Not to worry. Help is on the way. Piece includes
links to shut out the spammers: http://bit.ly/pZAHQ1
Competitive Research 101 for Startups. Whenever I get pitched by a startup, I always look to see it they’ve properly identified the competition, writes Ben Yoskowitz, founding partner at Year One Labs in Canada. For starters, I can guarantee you that someone is already working on the same idea. It’s a universal truth. But more importantly than that, competitive research and analysis is one of those areas that is often horribly lacking from any pitch. There are a few reasons for this: http://bit.ly/q7FGxE
Reflecting on my Summer at 500Startups There are a number of accelerators and incubators out there – deadlines are coming up – and we thought you might appreciate some insight into what it’s like being part of one, from one entrepreneur’s point of view: http://bit.ly/oQZgLf
How to Estimate Startup Costs. You can calculate starting costs by making three simple lists, a few educated guesses and then adding them all up. And yes, the piece does include a worksheet: http://bit.ly/prdtKI
Something we stumbled up, and it looks interesting, so we thought we’d share. Any thoughts/opinions/feedback would be welcomed and as far as we can tell, there are no particular deadlines: Advise.me – We take your business to the next level by pairing you with some of the brightest and most successful minds in the industry. We provide or find you funding from some of the best angels and VCs and leverage our incredible network to put your company in the spotlight. Currently in New York and San Francisco, we are global. Apply here: http://advise.me/gsi-apply/