Monday, May 28, 2007

London Calling

I am in Boston about to hope on a plane to London. This week includes trips to London, Dusseldorf and Bonn. Should be busy. I think it's been 3 1/2 years since I have been to Europe so it's definitely overdue. Trip report later. I have a feeling that there will be more than a few trips to Europe this year...

Star Wars Recap

The Star Wars convention was awesome. For my son Tate it was a superbowl of activities. We traveled to Los Angeles via the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner. Once we arrived in LA we tool the Metro Red Line Subway, which was his first subway trip and in his opinion the best part of the whole day. At 7th street we switched to the Blue Line which deposited us at the LA Convention center. There we found the oddest collection of freaks and nerds ever to be brought together in my lifetime. I think if you could have rounded up all the Storm Troopers alone you may have had a regiment of several thousand ready to attack the rebels.

The convention was broken up into a commercial area where you could buy just about anything you wanted, a fan hall with things like Jedi training classes and then a variety of meeting rooms and other stuff. We really just spent out time in the commercial and fan hall as well as getting pictures with just about every character you can imagine. Here Tate is with his Jedi outfit and a Storm Trooper helmet which might be a good birthday present in the next couple of months…

Friday, May 25, 2007

Star Wars Anniversary

Tate and I are off to the Star Wars convention today to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars. Nerd pictures to follow shortly...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Unintended Consequences

It was great to hear from my many friends and acquaintances when we announced our Series B round. It's almost funny when you realize who follows what you are doing and are kind enough to reach out and say congratulations. What wasn't as exciting were the avalanche of unsolicited calls from service providers and salespeople for products we don't really need. It is as if there is a wire that comes out and there is an army of people who wait to see where money is flowing and they are waiting to reach into the river to take a swipe at the fish, er money.

As someone who does a lot of business development and sales, I can totally appreciate the need to reach out to people you don't know and to reach out to people who you think might need your service or product. Where I have a problem, is in the lack of qualification of a prospect. Something on the order of 80% of the solicitations have no relevance to what we do in any way shape or form. Accountants? Ok, that makes sense. Banks? Check. Lead generation services? Not exactly.

In addition to the really bad hit rate, which I think speaks to some laziness on the part of the sales professional or telemarketer, is the method of reaching us. We have a generic phone number that goes into an IPPBX and I get an email with the message attached. When I get a chance I play those messages. Some people are slightly more crafty and they go to our website and look up our email and send a direct email to either Shawn, myself, or both of us. Ok, a little more effort.

The really smart ones actually do a little bit more homework. In my case that would be finding my blog. Once they have found my blog, if they actually look around and read some stuff they will find that I put my cell phone number on here. The very small handful of sales professionals who did this managed to get me on the phone last week. While I didn't welcome the unsolicited interruption, I did in fact either channel those people to the right person or told them there wasn't a need for their product, albeit as quickly as possible. Hats off to the resourceful.

CNN Center

Originally uploaded by brikmaster.
There was this mural at CNN Center in Atlanta I saw this morning while walking around. This particular piece had a number of news terms on a wall. I thought that given the rise in user generated video, this particular segment 'Raw Video In The System" had a funny double meaning as the old and new media worlds collide.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Blogging Birthday - 3 Years and counting

As of today, I have been blogging pretty regularly for 3 years. Back in 2004 when I started I don't think I imagined I would keep doing this. Now, 882 posts later, I find it more enjoyable than ever although my ability to move to a long form of narrative has never materialized. For those who keep tabs on me through this vehicle, thanks for the kind comments and your continued interest.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We raised a $12 million Series B

The press release is here. We are extremely excited to be working with Venrock. They are a firm with a great tradition of working with entrepreneurs to create great companies. We had met them when we were out raising our Series A, and are glad that we are now in business with them as we move forward in a growth period of our company.

We are also excited to have our previous investors, Avalon and Masthead, involved in our Series B as well. Both firms have been great supporters of ours and I'd like to send my thanks out to the various partners at each firm. We really appreciate their insight, support, and continued involvement in the building of our company.

Without the great team we have built, we wouldn't be able to accomplish the things we have so far, nor would we be able to deliver on the vision we have going forward. A big thanks to our team for all their hardwork and dedication. We expect to do big things in the coming year.

We started this company with the intent to work closely with the carriers to develop a category of applications and to work to build this category in unison with them. We appreciate the support we have had from all of our carrier partners so far and look forward to delivering on the promise of an exciting revolution in mobile data applications.

Most important to me though, has been the support of my wife and my kids. My wife has been a world class startup wife, raising our kids, running the house, and continuing to work 75% time as an attorney. I can't thank her enough for her belief in what we are doing and her strength in helping to make that a reality. Without her, none of this would have been possible.

We have a lot of exciting announcements coming very quickly and we look forward to sharing the news as it becomes available.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Location Free P990 Not Available in US

I had someone post a comment to my Location Free post and they asked whether or not the Location Free software for the P990 I found worked in the US. In fact it doesn't. I was pretty bummed and I don't understand why it doesn't. Sony customer service confirmed that it doesn't work and didn't have a release date.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Google History

Have you checked out Google history? You should. It is awesome, and brilliant and scary, all at the same time. If you have read my blog before and wondered about my posts on Attention, or went and read some Goldhaber stuff, or checked out, and you still find that this topic is a bit academic or difficult to grok, then I suggest you go check out Google History.

A week or two ago, I read a post about Google history and quickly signed up and allowed the logging of all my data in a variety of categories. Then I forgot about it, much the same way I keep my Attention recorder running on my browser (By the way...When is going to fix their security certificate? Very disappointing, but that is another post...).

Earlier this week I went in to see what was in my Google history goodie bag. The main page is a chronological listing of all the pages I clicked on from now going backwards. I have this in as well but I get to block out certain domains I may not want to record (things like ego surfing my site statistics). Not here, everything gets recorded. Not really a problem, but still kind of freaky when you sit down and think about it and then multiply me by the population of the web world who uses Google. I am creeping you out yet?

I can then slice it more finely by looking at just news, or images or videos etc. especially for Google related services. Not too shabby.

I then click on trends which slices out the top queries, top sites, and top clicks. Are you still wondering why they are making so much money in advertising? Hold on there is more...I almost forgot to add you can slice that by week, month, all time etc.

My favorite part though, and where I think it all really comes together is the tab called interesting items. Here Google has determined other searches, pages, videos and gadgets that might be relevant to what I have been up to while surfing on the web. The list of pages is pretty impressive as we have been doing the fund raising exercise and the top 10 list for me includes nine venture firms and a buyout firm. Uncanny. I am curious though on how they rank them. Could it mean that the sum total of my interests (wireless, media, etc) when intersected with venture fund raising means that these are the best prospects for closing a round with those specific venture firms? Hard to say. In any event I was pretty surprised that there weren't fantasy football references or NFL draft results or other items which given the recent NFL draft would make the most sense. Maybe the algorithm is skewed?

In any case, if you have the slightest interest in Attention or wanting to understand the data you are throwing off when you mindlessly browse and search the web, I would certainly recommend that you check this service out. In any event, Google isn't the only company tracking this data (Yahoo, Doubleclick, AOL, etc.) and I think it is important we all be cognizant of the invisible transactions we are all generating behind the scenes with our web based actions. A final note is that I am not a Google hater or fearer as I know some are. I use Blogger, Google, Gmail, Google Apps and occasionally Google Maps. I get that the price of the services I am using are a value exchange that they need to offset by profiling me in great deal to yield high advertising returns. I would however like for Google to give me the option to keep my own copy of all the data they are keeping on me in the event that I want to use it for my own benefit somewhere down the road. You know, like when I am trying to decide which venture firms I should call on first, or which ones I should cross off the list. :-)

Maker Faire and The Star Wars Convention

On May 24th Star Wars Celebration IV, which is a 30th anniversary celebration of the release of Star Wars, comes to the Los Angeles Convention center. My son Tate loves Star Wars so we are going to head up for one of the days to check it out. We saw a bunch of Star Wars types at Comic Con last summer and this figures to be a total blow out for nerds.

The weekend prior the Second Annual Maker Faire takes place up in San Mateo. I mentioned the Maker Faire to Tate before I had heard about the Star Wars event. If given the choice he would do both but if pushed I think the Force is a bit stronger in him. Tate and I have had a lot of fun doing different projects and I think if we could swing it he would really love the Maker Faire. I showed him the promo podcast for the Faire and it really stuck in his head, so much so that last night whe we were talking about having to choose only one of the events, he drug out all his toys and made his own "Maker Faire" on the floor of the family room. Picture here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I like to cook and am a fan of a wide variety of cuisines. I tend to go in phases both in terms of what I am cooking and what I am sampling while pumping up the frequent flyer miles.

Around two years ago my friend Jonathan who manages a bunch of the top bands today (Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Gym Class Heroes) took me to an old warehouse style noodle shop in Soho for lunch. It was amazing. I didn't recall the name of the place but I knew that if I ever ended up in Soho for lunch I had to find the place. A couple of weeks ago, while in NYC, I had coffee planned with Jonathan and the day before I was determined to find that place he took me took. That place is Kelley and Ping. A slightly blurry picture can be seen here. The featured dish was Roast Pork in Chicken broth with egg noodles. If you are a noodle freak, this is a must stop.

The following week on the left coast, I stopped in at Osha Thai Noodles and had an equally good bowl of noodles although this time with duck as the meat.

Needless to say, Noodles are on my list right now. Know any good places where you are?

Rabble Schwag

We are going to be getting some new Rabble wear for our community in the next couple of weeks but in the meantime we rolled out some stuff on a CafePress storefront that you can see here.