Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google Developers Day 2007 - Jeff Huber Keynote from San Jose

I am at Jeff Huber's keynote. Its been slow so far, bringing everyone upto speed on all of Google's developer tools and API.

One interesting one is mapplets = google gadgets API + google Mashups API. I'd love to see real cool Apps, the demos were just ok.

Here is Google Gears - sounds promising. I maybe seeing big dreams because of my background of the big vision to make all Applications Mobile with my first startup Coola in 99.

Othman Larakin, the product manager is presenting.

- Access to Apps online and offline.
- Google Reader Offline allows you to download last 2000 RSS feed messages for offline access.
- Adobe has been everywhere, I saw Kevin Lynch last week at Saleforce Developers Day. He is here now showing Apollo and Gears.
I already love Apollo and Flex. Kevin's demo is very indepth, better than all the Google demos before him, more by his passion, tempting us to develop on Apollo. Kevin is promising to integrate their APIs with Google Gears API.

I am a tech entrepreur and involved as advisor of many cool tech startups. So I look at every event and presentation from that perspective. So look for an opportunity for your startup in all this to create differentiation, take you closer to other smart startups to collaborate and make even smarter products and services and have fun through it all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Web2.0 Aquisition spree and Google Dev Day

Fox Interactive buys Photobucket for $300M, Ebay buys Stumbleupon for $75M all cash (according to techcrunch), CBS buys for $280M all in 1 day! Wonder who Y! is talking for acquisition, cyworld maybe?

All these aquisitions are valued on consumer user numbers, wonder how many overlap.

Personally I don't see these as bubbles or consolidations, but the competitive market is heating up and all the big players are looking for strategic advantage with the supported user base, so good technology is in and user numbers is the validation.

I am heading to Google Developers Day today, which has been moved to San Jose Convention Center to hold 5000 people where Google will announce Google gears and they are smart to have it available for Mac (yay!)

Energy of Linkedin Team and listening to the market

I attended Lunch2.0 at Linkedin last week. I love the energy of startup teams, so needless to say that I could associate a face to linkedin which is a product I love and use a lot, was exciting.

Couple of surprises!

- Linkedin has 11 million users and has 100 employees. As an entrepreneur the number of employees in a company and who does what always fascinates me. Linkedin started out as a consumer platform and after a period of lull, added cool UI features and downloads. It has not splashed dollars on much PR, and it shows in the organic growth and the type of excited marketing people they have.

There was contagious energy in the room from the linkedin team, adding to the fact that Guy Kawasaki and Justin Kan of were there.

- Allen, co-founder and the VP of Products spoke about their vision of the product and was open to hear market feedback. One fascinating observation is that linkedin product folks thought we should not connect to anyone we do not absolutely know as the spirit of the product was to help the consumer connect with maybe 100 people they know well. I respect the privacy of anyone who does not want to add everyone to their network, I do not seek out strangers to connect, but thought bulk of linkedin was built on strangers connecting to reach into each other's networks.

This prompts me to write here because startups start with a vision to solve a problem, products are built, but companies take a life of their own with two factors pulling them outbound and shaping them to the business they evolve into -
1. Customers who pay, drive the attention and resources of the company. In linkedin there was a huge business operations group which brings revenues.

2. Marketing, focusing on viral play, especially for successful web products drive viral features. Linkedin grew virally only because people could invite others so easily with their support for uploading outlook calendars and because recruiters contact strangers to connect to their networks to expand the reach of their linkedin networks.

The day before lunch2.0, I was at Shally Steckerl's presentation at HRCA at Y!. I went to learn the recruiter's market and understand their needs and pains. Shally gave an amazing presentation showing tools and technique for recruiters to find their candidates. Shally was an expert search engine user and I learnt a lot.

Shally is a linkedin fan and gave his email for all to connect to him on linkedin saying he could reach 7 million of the 11 million linkedin users. During the weekend I was at TIECON where a Y! VP after a panel told a swarming crowd that he would accept all linkedin invitations. So I don't know but I suddenly keep hearing about linkedin as a way of life.

Its evangelists like Shally who drive the user adoption of linkedin and recruiters who pay as customers.

I left with the feeling that the 100 people of linkedin were hungry and looking to scale much larger and think of their product as nimble and in early stages than 11 million of us see it in our daily lives.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Empowering People thru Entrepreneurship by Ebay's Meg Whitman at TIECON2007

Meg Whitman gave an awesome keynote session at TIECON 2007 at Santa Clara Convention Center Sat May 19th, 2007.

First, I loved how down to earth Meg was and very personable with a honesty in her answers.

Meg presented lot of stats about Ebay as a business. Interesting she sorted it as the core ebay auction business, craigslist, paypal and skype.

Her lessons on leadership were inspiring:

- Right person for the right job at the right time with the right values
- Reorganize early and often (change is good and keeps you alert)
- Hire ahead of the curve
- Focus - she mentioned art of exclution not inclusion.
- Mission motivates
- Get out enough - meet customers, goto conferences, stay in touch with market.

One theme that resonated throughout the talk was "Don't compromise your integrity". She said to cultivate this in the company she tells her staff"would you make this same decision if your mother or sister or kid was in the room?", that would serve as a guiding principle to always make decisions with integrity.

More on leadership that has worked for her always, that can help all entrepreneurs:
- Enable, don't direct
- Its always about customer experience
- Level the playing field often
- Make size an advantage (for large companies)
- Distruptive Ideas are vital (she calls people in companies who are good at distruption and innovation and not structured execution as "baby tigers" and says companies should promote them among all the big structured managers)
- Constant innovation of core business should come from within (its an mindset,its in the DNA, cannibalization doesn't scare Ebay)

She had a piece of advice for women entrepreneurs and CEOs (woman and men) to let go, the ability to not be a perfectionist in all your roles as parent, spouse, home maker will help to get more productive in all of them.

All in all a very inspiring and intellectually stimulating hour spent well that will linger in our minds for a long time!