Archive for the 'Technology' Category

The incredible rate of tuition inflation

November 20, 2015

This graph, presented at Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller’s Ted Talk on online education is truly amazing. With all of the attention paid to healthcare costs, the rate of inflation for higher education is substantially higher.

Coursera is addressing this issue by making great content from great universities available globally. Courses are free (certificates may be paid for).
Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 4.13.40 PM

The impact of this approach is revolutionary.

Aside from using technology to make educational content more widely available, Coursera has the potential to reduce the costs of traditional higher education be offering more efficient (cost effective) ways to deliver basic lecture-hall type courses. In the longer run, it could even create downward pressure on educational costs be creating competition.

Should education be thought of as a fundamental human right? Yes, and approaches like this make it a reality. Our world is getting better.


Media consumption on devices

September 26, 2011

Jason Calacanis asks the question: what’s your primary consumption device? For me, the answer has been evolving based on what I own.

TV. First off, my TV is the big loser.  Other than live sports (mainly basketball and tennis) I don’t use it.

Apple products. I own an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, and purchased them in that order. I also own an Apple TV. (Yes, call me a fan boy.)

I really don’t use the Apple TV for much beyond watching the occasional movie.

My iPhone has been the big loser in terms of media consumption.  It’s always better to use either the iPad or Air.

The MacBook Air (11′) has displaced much of my iPad usage. Because it’s so light, it’s been winning the battle for what I travel with and what I use on the couch.  The iPad still wins for watching a movie or reading a book in bed.

The Air also has the advantage of being a good creation device – when deciding what to take on a trip.

I suppose in any scenario, Apple is the winner 🙂

I’m now wondering how education “consumption” is changing across devices.

Great presentation regarding history of

May 16, 2011
> Be afraid of our customers, because those are the folks who have the money. Our competitors are never going to send us money. Jeff Bezos

Foursquare usage curve

September 9, 2010

Update – Foursquare investments and valuation:

September 2009 – $1.35 million Series A, $6.35 million valuation
June 2010 – $20 million Series B, $115 million valuation
June 2011 – $50 million Series C, $561 million valuation
February 2014 – $77 million Series D, $650 million valuation
January 2016 – $45 million Series E, ~$325 million valuation

Interesting Scott Painter interview – founder of my old company

September 3, 2010

For my fellow Internet Brands/ friends, this is an interesting interview of Scott Painter.  The CarsDirect history starts about 16 minutes into the video.

The Cult of Personality and Tech Brands

May 19, 2010

In a pretty short time span, many very big name tech brands have risen and fallen.  In thinking about this, in a very non-scientific way, it certainly seems that the stronger brands are generally associated with a strong personality – whether good or bad.  Does a company need to be associated with a person?  More for fun than anything else, here are some examples:

  • Microsoft = Bill Gates. Arguably, Microsoft has gone a bit sideways since Gates stepped down as CEO.  Balmer can’t play the role of authentic tech company founder.
  • Amazon = Jeff Bezos. Amazon is the oldest company among the big and still strong dotcoms.  Amazon has had an amazing run.  Bezos deserves even more credit than he gets.  He can never retire.  Never.
  • eBay = Meg Whitman. The company really grew under her leadership.  Who is eBay now?  eBay used to be fun and cutting edge.  I rarely use it anymore.
  • Yahoo! = Filo and Yang, especially Yang. Yahoo! has completely lost its center.  I’m not sure I know what Yahoo! stands for and why I should use it.  Yang had a second run, but it was too late.
  • AOL = Steve Case. This is a sad story for sure.  AOL is working on its umpteenth comeback.
  • Apple = Steve Jobs. This is probably the strongest personalty association.  I almost feel like I bought my phone and computer from the guy.  I’m thinking about buying one of his iPads.  There’s a reason Apple’s stock price tracked Jobs’ health issues.  However, perhaps, Jobs is becoming “the man.” Read the rest of this entry »

Would Apple Look Smart to Enter Online Search Fray?

May 4, 2010
Pretty compelling case for Apple entering search category by SeekingAlpha.…

Third Party Platforms – Building on Thin Ice

April 13, 2010

Twitter announced that it will be launching its own application.  It’s a smart move for Twitter for a host of reasons.  Unfortunately, the move doesn’t bode well for the TweetDecks of the world (i.e., companies that have been building a business on the Twitter platform).

This story has repeated itself over and over again in a variety of ways and contexts.  For example, building a business on the Facebook platform is a scary proposition.  Facebook has repeatedly changed the rules for application developers, and will continue to do so.  iPhone/iPad application developers are likewise subject to the whims of The Apple.  Even if platform changes don’t drive you out of business, they certainly make it hard to plan (which ultimately impacts the value of a business). Read the rest of this entry »

Portland Startup Observations Through the SplashCast Lens

March 27, 2010

I agreed to participate on an Oregon Entrepreneurs Network panel discussing the demise of my old company, SplashCast (SplashCast – What Happened?).  This morning I received a reminder email and thought that I should do a bit of prep work. As my homework I created an advice list (of sorts) for entrepreneurs in Portland. 

Here’s my list. It’s a bit loose and in no particular order.

1. In Portland, bootstrapping should be considered financing option #1. When it comes to financing your company, consider bootstrapping options first.  Very simply, it remains quite difficult to raise money in Portland (relative to Seattle, Bay Area and LA).  There has been a lot of discussion about the reasons (which gets a bit tiresome).  The reality is that it’s relatively more difficult here.

Bootstrapping usually means moving more slowly, but raising money takes tons of time and focus too.  Furthermore, the cost of launching a new product continues to decrease.  in 2010, a very small team can do a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

Cool = Watching March Madness Live on iPhone

March 20, 2010

Even better when UW makes it to Sweet 16.