We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. But who are those characters…

We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. But who are those characters…

Peter Thiel, Photo: Wikipedia

As we know, it was Peter Thiel who said it, 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.

There were also the 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...

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

The expression may have been around forever, but the tech cartel certainly gives it a new spin.

We know that Google tracks your movements (without your permission), like it or not. Last week, ZDNet reported that an API bug in Google+ exposed 500,000 users. Google admitted that it had suffered a security breach and hadn’t bothered to tell anyone because it wasn’t legally required to. Now the company is shutting down one time potential ‘Facebook killer’ Google Plus, and the wags certainly had a field day with the virtually ignored platform, reporting that G+ users were inconsolable – both of them. Read More...

If the News is Too Good to be True, Chances Are…

If the News is Too Good to be True, Chances Are…

Credit: onsizzle.com

 

Jeff Bezos seems to have made certain people in Washington (DC) quite happy last week. Of course, our red flags always go up with any announcement.

The big news was that Amazon has agreed to give all warehouse workers a $15 an hour minimum wage, thus satisfying Bernie Sanders, who had been after the company – and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos – for quite some time. As the AP reported, Amazon jumps out ahead of its rivals and raises wages to $15, and Sander (D, VT), hailed it as “a shot heard round the world.” Read More...

Life After Google Has a Solid Foundation

Life After Google Has a Solid Foundation

Google, et al, testified in Washington last week before the Senate Commerce Committee over issues ranging from election meddling to transparence. Apple, Amazon, Google and Twitter, alongside AT&T and Charter, were all there. In case you were distracted by yet another Senate hearing that was taking place, Ex-Google Employee Urges Lawmakers to Take On Company. Said The New York Times, “In a harshly worded letter sent this week, the former employee, Jack Poulson, criticized Google’s handling of a project to build a version of its search engine that would be acceptable to the government of China. He said the project was a “catastrophic failure of the internal privacy review process,” adding that ‘that there is a “broad pattern of unaccountable decision making.”

“We acknowledge that we have made mistakes in the past, from which we have learned, and improved our robust privacy program,” Keith Enright, Google’s chief privacy officer, said in his opening statement. Read More...

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