On the blockchain: platform first or app first?

Posted by & filed under Strategery.

I was emailing with a friend recently, who asked: “On the web, in order to build a platform you first need a hit app. Do you think this dynamic is different in blockchain?” It’s a great question, and one I have been thinking about a lot lately.  First, let’s unpack the idea that the way… Read more »

Learning by doing

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I had lunch yesterday with someone who has been investing in the crypto / token space recently — having pooled together a small “fund” from friends and family.  It’s a short-term vehicle (like, 6 months), and a large part of the goal is simply to become hands-on familiar / capable investing in token sales /… Read more »

Keeping it simple

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We recently had our daughter’s birthday party, and we held it in a public park near our house, where there’s an old parks department building.  The sun plan was outdoors, but of course it thunderstormed and we didn’t have a back-up plan.  So we called an audible and asked if we could use the back… Read more »

What’s your medium?

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Yesterday, I caught up with my old friend Gary Chou.  Gary was the first General Manager of the USV Portfolio Network (predating Brittany and Bethany), and has since been running Orbital, a community space and “studio for building networks” (which happens to be in the original Kickstarter building on the Lower East Side).  We got… Read more »

Getting in over your head

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I was out last night with some of the little league coach dads, and we got to talking about whether it’s better for our kids to be bumped up a level (but be at the lower end of skills/experience) or stay back a level and have a chance to really excel.  The consensus was that… Read more »

Where do web standards come from?

Posted by & filed under Strategery, The Web.

I’ve spent the better part of the last six years thinking about where web standards come from.  Before joining USV, I was at the (now retired) urban tech incubator OpenPlans, where, among other things, we worked to further “open” technology solutions, including open data formats and web protocols. The two biggest standards we worked on were GTFS,… Read more »

Venture capital vs. community capital

Posted by & filed under Events, Strategery, The Web.

Photo: Rudy (Loïs) Pignot I am in Paris this week for OuiShareFest, and spoke yesterday morning during the opening session.  OuiShareFest is in its third year as a large international gathering of folks interested in the peer/collaborative/sharing/networked society, put on by the community organization OuiShare. The topic of this year’s fest is “lost in transition”, and… Read more »

Bureaucracy and Trust

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Yesterday, I spent the day at a meeting on “city innovation” at Harvard’s Kennedy School, with 30 or so CIOs, CTOs, and other technology executives from around the country. I did a short presentation on predictive analytics and cities (slides here) — thanks so much to everyone who sent in comments and who emailed me… Read more »

Predictive Analytics and Cities

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It’s been a big year for predictive analytics.   I’ve been following Nate Silver’s blog on the election, and his deep data analysis cut through the noise, was consistent, and ultimately proved correct.   And to look at another (eerily prescient) example, look at this 2006 prediction of what a major coastal storm could do… Read more »

Striking the Right Balance

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It’s hard to find the right balance when bringing technology into our lives.  I do think lots of us suffer from some form of internet / social media addiction, and it’s getting easier and easier every day to bring all of that with us everywhere we go. This will only continue to accelerate (and I… Read more »

Analog + Digital, Revisited

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I’m still frustrated with how book buying works. Totally randomly, we ended up watching the Tom Wolfe documentary on TV Friday night.  It was really great — incredible to get a behind-the-scenes look at how he operates.  He is clearly a master of the interview and a master researcher.  He has an incredible way of… Read more »

The Taxi Business & Working for Sellers & Buyers

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I am writing this from 30,000 feet on my way to San Francisco. I have a great car service which I use every week when I travel.  This morning, I ended up having a long conversation with Reda, one of my regular drivers, about Uber and how it’s shaking up the taxi and car service business…. Read more »

Getting Closer

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Last night, Andy Murray won the US Open — his first grand slam victory — in an epic 5-set match (tied for the longest ever).  I was on a train and missed the whole thing, unfortunately.  But the story is great — Murray won the first two sets, then dropped the second two, only to… Read more »

Tennis, Psychadelics, and Entrepreneurship

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I’ve always thought of tennis as perhaps the most difficult of sports.  It’s like hitting a baseball, but while you’re running, and with 90% of the addressable target area out of bounds (in the net, outside the lines, etc).  To top that off, you’re a team of one, battling yourself, inside your head.  So it’s… Read more »

Instant Magic

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Yesterday afternoon, I caught up for a coffee with Andrew Parker.  After a wide-ranging and enjoyable discussion about app ecosystems and tech policy, we talked a bit about speed.  This post (which I’ll keep short, in its own spirit) is about why speed is so important, awesome, and magical. I wrote recently about reinventing the… Read more »

Reinventing the Home Row

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I have been intrigued recently by apps that give a new spin on what have previously been stock features of the phone.  Apps that a) improve upon in minor ways or b) really try and re-invent some of the basic things we do every day. Above is a snapshot of my new “home row”.  Sort… Read more »