Category Archives: Uncategorized

SXSW 2012

Here are the 41 bands I saw this year at sxsw…

” “= You sucked; “!”= You didn’t suck; “!!”= I’m gonna buy your album; “!!!”= I’m gonna buy your cd & tshirt and tell my friends how awesome you are.

Alabama Shakes !!
Youth Lagoon !
Y la Bamba !!
Pillow fight !!
Thee oh sees !
The wedding present
Say anything !
Zola Jesus !
Andrew Bird !!!
Jimmy Cliff !!!
Punch Brothers !
M Ward !
Yellow Ostrich !!
Hundred Visions !
Fanfarlo !!!
K Flay !!
Slow Club
General Fiasco !
Cashier No 9 !
Delta Spirit !
The War on Drugs
Magnetic Fields !!
The Love Language !
Reptar !!
Clap Your Hands Say Ya !!
Nada Surf
Crystal Antlers
The Twilight Sad
We Were Promised Jetpacks !
Polica !
Polarsets !!
of Montreal !!
Clock Opera !
Django Django !!!
Pennywise !!!
The Shins !!!

Brain dump of startup ideas #4

– travel/restaurant/event to do list. Scrape friends feeds on social networks to tell me who has gone to those places in the past. Pull up friends’ yelp/google reviews if any. If other friends use the app, show me others who have similar things on their to do list. Inherently viral when users use the app to reach out to their friends for advice on these things.

– wifi enabled power outlets, light switches, extension cords. App to control it and program it. RfId for quick tagging from phone

– wifi connected home doorbell, peephole camera, mic, speaker that lets you interact from anywhere using your iPhone

– daily labor site to find yard workers/handyman/etc, aimed at getting unemployed Americans some of the jobs that go undocumented today.

– free tshirts w/ marketing messages for homeless people, paid for by brand advertisers

– ebay for Bitcoin. (putting peer to peer goods into the market should reduce the need for currency swap services)

– indie rock band made up of internet entrepreneurs. Call the band “Internet Famous”

– mobile event tickets… save or upload to your phone, let venues use them for free, and later monetize by letting people swap tickets at the last min

– hardware device to enable peer to peer live streaming of TV/cable channels

ACL 2011

” “= You sucked; “!”= You didn’t suck; “!!”= I’m gonna buy your album; “!!!”= I’m gonna buy your cd & tshirt and tell my friends how awesome you are.

Miniature Tigers
Cults !!
An Horse !
Reptar !!
Fools Gold !
Delta Spirit
Santigold !
Sara Bareilles !
Coldplay !!!
Kanye West !!
The Antlers
Cowboy and Indian !
City and Colour
Alexander !!!
Iron & Wine !
The Moondoggies !
Fitz and the Tantrums
Skrillex !
Wanda Jackson !!
Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr !!
The Airborne Toxic Event !
Broken Social Scene !
Death From Above 1979 !
Fleet Foxes !
Empire of The Sun !

Brain dump of startup ideas #3

– front end routing for all web traffic for a site, which lets you do things like route /blog to WP Engine, /store to Shopify, and everything else to your main server. Lets you also have redundancy so if one host goes down those URLs can redirect to a second host.

– tool to anonymously solicit commercial public comments to your Facebook posts. Advertisers bid to respond and the user gets a cut. Show rest of comment thread anonymously to vendor to get them to see the value and pay to continue posting.

– photo site that takes your entire photo collection and logically determines which are good ones and creates you an album

– Windows and Mac utility that puts your laptop in “presentation mode”. Turns off screen saver, power saver, turns off all popups such as IM and reminders, and has a timeout to switch back to normal mode in an hour (customizable). Still displays low battery alert though.

– mechanical turk worker complexes to give jobs to homeless people

– better email. Blah… boring

– private Likes for Facebook to “bookmark” posts for yourself

– timemachine. By pulling together all puclic geo/compass/time tagged images, video and audio and creating a virtual representation of the past that you can navigate thru. Sell cheap camera with wifi & solar power for people to mount in car or yard for security or other reasons (API to trigger alerts/actions, public/private option), let people search to trace an object through time (bike, person, car/licenseplate), merge photos by location and time for smooth, free use if contributing content, paid if not contributing, iPhone app to snap & tag interesting things to contribute

I’ll test yours if you test mine

While working with several startups I’ve realized it would be useful to have a community of alpha testers who are eager to secretly test your new app and give you feedback before anyone else lays eyes on it… even before you stealthily launch your private beta.  This would also be useful in cases where you think you’ve fixed that annoying bug and you push to the Apple app store, only to realize a a week later when the app is approved that the bug is not fixed.

But what would motivate people to join this community?  How about only allow people to join if they also are building an app that they needed someone to test?  It would be an alpha tester “dating” site… “I’ll test yours if you test mine”  This would also ensure that all members are savvy enough to be able to navigate tools like TestFlight.

I don’t want another Rate My Startup site.  I want a community of hard core alpha testers.  Please email me the URL when you are ready for me to secretly alpha test it.

Sell your startup and move to Brazil

I was fortunate to be able to join a bunch of great people (too many to name) this week on the GeeksOnaPlane trip. We visited Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Our mission was to meet with entrepreneurs, investors and government officials to learn a little bit about their tech startup culture and to share a little of ours.

I feel that I understand what’s going on in Brazil much better than I do Chile, so I am going to just cover Brazil in this post (I was tired after going non-stop for 4 days in Brazil and unfortunately I did not join the group in Argentina so that I could return to the US for a friend’s wedding. Hopefully someone else will write a similar post on Chile and Argentina.)

Here is what I observed:

– the country recently overcame a period of hyper inflation and their currency is now stable
– taxes are high and complex, but also stable
– nobody thinks the govt will lower taxes any time soon to spur more business growth
– they have a rapidly growing middle class (consumers!) = opportunity
– Sao Paulo is the tech & business hub
– Rio de Janeiro wants to be the tech & business hub
– Rio is a beautiful city but businesses moved to Sao Paulo over the past 30 years due to drug related crime
– Rio is aggressively cleaning up it’s image by pushing the drug gangs out, closing and remediating their environmental catastrophe of a landfill (see film “Waste Land”), and building infrastructure to host the upcoming World Cup and 2016 Olympics

Brazil’s Startup Scene
– most startups I met are creating consumer internet businesses that copy successful US business models
– most are first time entrepreneurs, because until recently there wasn’t an appetite for engineers to take risk relative to getting a high paying govt job; this is changing because of the opportunity presented by the growing number of middle class consumers
– Brazilian VCs suck; they make investments to grow established businesses rather than investing in the riskier early stage companies that are innovating
– entrepreneurs are inexperienced and lack guidance when it comes to raising money. VCs rape entrepreneurs by taking huge equity stakes for a small investment (I heard one case of a guy giving up 80% of his company for a couple hundred thousand dollars!)
– entrepreneurs don’t collaborate with each other; again due to lack of experience they don’t understand the value of the feedback they would get from an open culture where ideas and data are shared, rather than being stealthy
– there are very few successful entrepreneurs advising and founding new startups; I think this is because there aren’t many exits and the entrepreneurs that get acquired are staying with their companies long  afterward
– big established companies don’t think they can be disrupted by startups. They believe that startups should and will just go after new opportunities rather than reinvent old industries using technology. I guess a big disruption has never happened there before. They’re in for a shocker.

Brazilian consumers have money to spend and their culture is similar to the US. There will be a land grab this decade to bring the types of products and services that we have in the US to Brazil. Local entrepreneurs are racing for it, but could really use our help. They need our experience and our money. I mentioned to the organization that hosted part of our trip,Brazil Innovators, that they need to get an entrepreneur exchange program going. I hope they do. They should recruit Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to come to Brazil for 6 months after they sell their company and before they start their next one, and send some Brazilians to work in Silicon Valley. The knowledge transfer that would occur from such a program would be tremendous and I bet some folks would stay. Startups cofounded by an experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneur plus a local Brazilian entrepreneur would crush it down there right now.