140 Characters Who Helped Shape the Tech World

140 Characters Who Helped Shape the Tech World

It was Peter Thiel who said, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.” It looks like flying cars may be slowly rolling out, with Singapore’s flying taxi trial set to begin in the second half of 2019, but who the hell are those 140 characters to whom Theil might have been referring? As a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and Quora, he certainly knows what sorts of characters tech can breed.

We’ve been involved in the tech world since the nascent days of Web 1.0 in New York City – with monthly trips to Silicon Valley at the time, as well – and over the years, have encountered many of those characters, upfront and personal, for better or for worse. Of course we have stories to tell, but that’s for a later date and a much longer opus.

Some were true innovators who created platforms and software and devices that forged an entirely new industry. You may not be familiar with their names, but their contributions should never be forgotten. Some forgot their original drivers, whether it was to not be evil or to connect the world, tracked the world’s population in ways and to an extent to which it had never been tracked before, storing it and parsing out that information to the highest and/or any and all bidders, and paying no heed to the concept that we might have the right to be forgotten. Read More...

Web 2.0 Is Now Correction 2.0

Web 2.0 Is Now Correction 2.0

i2clipart.com

Apple announced a downturn in expected revenue, and the market choked. Which followed on the heels of the Facebook stock plunge as a result of its myriad privacy issues.

What happened? Let’s look at the Apple playbook: for years, Apple has released a new iOS ahead of the sales of a new phone. The new iOS slows down older phones, in order to induce people to buy the new one. Which might have a few new features, but not enough to warrant the purchase of a new phone, save that the older models are now artificially slower.

Planned obsolescence. Read More...

Flying Cars Are Coming. The Next Installment of Those 140 Characters Is Here…

Flying Cars Are Coming. The Next Installment of Those 140 Characters Is Here…

weasley’s flying car | Ashley Wheat | Flickr

As you know, we’ve been wondering about who those 140 characters are who Peter Thiel may well have been referring to when he said, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.”

Since we’ve personally been in the industry since the early days of Web 1.0 in New York and spent a considerable amount of time in Silicon Valley as well, we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to attempt to identify some of those characters, many of whom we’ve met and/or have gotten to know. Over the years, we’ve seen people and companies come and go. Some were bad timing. Many were simply bad ideas. Some were acquired for unbelievable amounts of money, only to disappear forever, leaving the then suddenly wealthy founders looking like geniuses. Tech is a constantly shifting landscape and people and companies come and go and fortunes made and lost at Internet speed.

Here are our picks for the next 40 of the 140, with some anecdotes and insights on the developing industry and its rising stars and investors, in no particular order. Without further ado, we’re letting this baby fly. Onward and forward. Read More...

We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. So who are these characters???

We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. So who are these characters???

Peter Thiel, Photo: Wikipedia

It was Peter Thiel who said it, as we all know, and now it seems that at long last, we may well be on the verge of seeing flying cars. Or at least driverless hover-taxis will be taking off next year in Singapore. That could be a start. When we saw this article, we were reminded of Thiel’s quote and since we’re approaching the year’s end, when people and publications typically do their wrap-up “Best ofs,” “Worst ofs,” or “Top Ten Something or Others” lists, we decided that instead, it’s about time that someone attempted to identify those 140 characters that we’ve heard mentioned all this time.

Since we’ve personally been in the industry since the early days of Web 1.0 in New York and spent a considerable amount of time in Silicon Valley as well, we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to do just that. Over the years, we’ve seen people and companies come and go. Some were bad timing. Many were simply bad ideas. Some were acquired for unbelievable amounts of money, only to disappear forever, leaving the then suddenly wealthy founders looking like geniuses. It was the Wild West, all right, and for the most part, a matter of too much money being thrown at too much youth and inexperience in those heady days of Web 1.0.

Some were true innovators who created platforms and software and devices that forged an entirely new industry. You may not be familiar with their names, but their contributions should never be forgotten. Read More...

What’s the #1 Criteria for Success in the Startup World?

What’s the #1 Criteria for Success in the Startup World?

When he spoke at our  investor breakfast a couple of months back, New York Angels chairman Brian Cohen said that Bill Gross, founder of idealab, a startup studio and arguably the prototype for tech accelerators, asked what was the one criteria that mattered most in a successful exit of a company. Was it the amount of money they raised? Or was it smart leaders that mattered. After all the research that he had done at idealabs, Gross concluded that it was timing that was the #1 criteria for success. Timing, meaning when you went to market – think Six Degrees, the first social network in the Web 1.0 days, v Facebook.

It’s all about timing. Read More...

Big Tech is riding the same rails as robber barons of the past

Big Tech is riding the same rails as robber barons of the past

The Last Spike, 1869.

The tech industry – in particular, the FAANG stocks – have hit a strange inflection point. They’re taking a beating on Wall Street. And Facebook is under attack from all sides.

There was The New York Times piece (Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis), which was written with the assistance of no less than 50 sources.

An international committee of foreign governments has requested that Zuckerberg appear before lawmakers to face inquiries, particularly into disinformation, election meddling and privacy issues. Zuckerberg refused. Read More...

Anyone Can Start a Company – Not Everyone Can Build a Business

Anyone Can Start a Company – Not Everyone Can Build a Business

 

It’s not easy building a business – and do notice that we say ‘building a business’, ’rather than ‘starting a company.’ Anyone can start a company. Not everyone can build a business. To help you to get to the latter, we thought we’d offer some handy do’s and don’ts. They’re obvious enough. One would hope, although we are admittedly the consummate optimist.

There are two popular misconceptions of which founders need to be disabused (ok, there are many, but we’ll break it down as we go): Read More...

Entrepreneurial Wisdom: Overnight Success Takes 10 Years

Entrepreneurial Wisdom: Overnight Success Takes 10 Years

We’re going to share a tale and some wisdom that angel investor and serial entrepreneur Stephen Messer shared with our attendees at one of our recent investor breakfasts:

“This is your community. It’s a lonely, lonely place, as you know. And everyone tells you how great it’s going. It’s not. When everyone says it’s so great – it’s going horribly. So I give you lots of kudos for making the effort – it’s not easy, but you’ll do great. It goes horribly, horribly, horribly for years, then it goes great. That’s sort of the thing about entrepreneurship, as you know. Read More...

Are we witnessing the waning days of Web 2.0?

Are we witnessing the waning days of Web 2.0?

Jeff Bezos lost as much as $14 billion in personal wealth during a brutal day for Amazon stock. Reported TheStreet.com, “The Nasdaq fell 4.1%, led in part by declines in the mega cap FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB) , Alphabet (GOOGL) , Netflix (NFLX)  and (AAPL) were down 4.13%, 5.06%, 8.38% and 4.63% respectively.

Amazon (AMZN) stock fell into correction territory, falling 6.15% on Wednesday and almost 14% since reaching a record high of $2,039.51 on September 4. Stocks are defined as being in correction territory if they decline between 10% and 20% from a bull market high. Read More...

What is a post scientific world? Only AI may know.

What is a post scientific world? Only AI may know.

Much has been written about AI, both utopian and dystopian. Elon Musk has launched a billion dollar crusade to stop the AI apocalypse. Bill Gates insisted that it was a threat, until he changed his mind. Mark Zuckerberg is a big supporter, insisting that “AI makes human life better.” Then again, he also told Congress that Facebook is not a publisher – until the issue came up in court: Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes.

Remember when Facebook apologized after ‘the algorithm’ blocked the Declaration of Independence as ‘hate speech?’ And that was just an algorithm that was wrong or defective. Read More...

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
%d bloggers like this: