Is this the next Google?

A small team of us are quietly beavering away on an Asia Pacific equivalent to Y Combinator.  A group called Seedcamp is pulling together a similar operation targeted at Europe.  They are commencing their program in early September with a week long bootcamp in London for a group of 20 teams chosen out of 270 aspirants.

The Financial Times has a full list of these 20 teams and quotes Seedcamp exec, Saul Klein: “We want Seedcamp entrepreneurs to build the next Google. We want European kids to believe that they can succeed from Riga, Istanbul or Hertfordshire.”

A Great vision and one to which we aspire for the Asia Pacific region. Given the anticipated growth in the region I’m glad we’ve got an Asia Pac strategy.

Check out the teams participating in Seedcamp below: (UK) – aims to be the foremost online destination for the sale and promotion of original art and craft by the worlds’ freshest artists and makers

Avenue7 (London, UK) – Community for teenage girls to talk fashion with their friends

Buildersite (London, UK) – Buildersite is a web-marketplace for construction services.  We aim to provide homeowners and tradesmen with the largest and most trusted venue for transacting business online

Content Syndicate (Dubai, UAE) – Helps content providers and buyers commission, distribute, buy and sell content, that’s exclusive, customized and personalized for their requirements

Debatewise (London, UK) – Debatewise will enable people to compare the collective wisdom of one side of a debate with the collective wisdom of their opponents, to help them make up their mind about anything (Moscow, Russia) – is a simple and effective tool for referral tracking and reward administration for referring job candidates, clients, investors and other prospects

KillSushi (Cadiz, Spain) – Currently in stealth

Krogos (Bucharest, Romania) – Software development

Kublax (London, UK) – Online personal finance management service

Maple and Leek (London, UK) – A social networking site aimed at inspiring like minded over 50s to build an online community of friends and fellow explorers

OpenEra (UK) – Online real estate information systems provider and the developer of the new and exciting Reavia portfolio collaboration service

Picolex (Paris, France) – Currently in stealth

Price Delivered (London) – The place for consumers to discover and share genuine bargains

Project Playfair (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Applying the concept of hypertext to numbers to track how they flow through an organization

RentMineOnline (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – Online rental marketplace

The School of Everything (London, UK) – A marketplace for independent teachers and classes in anything and everything

Tablefinder (Sweden) – Tablefinders’ mission is to aggregate the world’s online bookable restaurants through an awarding and open community

Tickex (London) – Tickex is a search engine for tickets to live events – concert, theatre and sports. In one search, Tickex aggregates results from all the major primary and secondary brokers

Wall Street Docs (Frankfurt, Germany) – Currently in stealth

Zemanta (Ljubljana, Slovenia) – Zemanta provides content intelligence platform for automatically enhancing content to make it web-ready

Google Gadgetry: It’s Official


It’s official – the race is on to see who can speculate the most about a Gphone.

Daniel Langendorf is currently far out in front in the spec stakes.

If it looks and feels anything like his description or Lorin Wood’s designs then count me in.

Features I like:
* own OS, and not beholden to any telco
* at least n95 quality camera
* embedded direct to socnet updating
* mobile ads instead of subs for features.

Are Research Labs Redundant?


Former IBMer Irving Wladawsky poses the question in a post titled Reinventing the Research Lab. In this piece he speaks about Paul Horn, who notched up an impressive list of feats while he headed up IBM Research.

But Paul’s key impact, as Irving points out, is that he laid the foundation for corporate R&D in the 21st century. Having recently left my role with a research institute I can identify with and I totally agree with his take.

Essentially, the concept of extended elapse times and the hand overs necessary to get research productized under the traditional research university style lab structure has become redundant. The challenges are out in the real world, not in some ivory tower, and researchers need to get their hands dirty, delve into the rock face and only then will they emerge with true nuggets…elegant, innovative solutions to problems, as well as new ideas that might lead to fundamental advances in science and technology.

Irving notes that start up companies have done away with the gaps altogether, significantly decreased the time-to-market for new products and services… these competitive pressures have made it unaffordable to continue supporting [any] research labs that have only a loose connection to products and customers.

I agree with him that fundamental research, knowledge, and top talent are [defnitely still] needed – in fact they are more important than ever given the rising complexities of the problems to be solved, and the increased opportunities to apply new technologies and science to solve them. But the culture of the research labs had to drastically change. [my highlighting] They had to become far more involved in helping develop the highly sophisticated product and services that their breakthroughs hopefully lead to. Above all, they had to go out to the marketplace and learn first hand about the increasingly complex problems that desperately require their breakthroughs, knowledge and talents.

Unless research labs are able to fundamentally restructure themselves they will, as Irving notes – disappear altogether or become shadows of their former selves.

[Photo of Darpa’s Mobile Lab in Antarctica courtesy of cham0152]

Social event streams: are you drinking from the fire hydrant


Distilling pattern recognition depends a lot on one’s ability to let go, open up, become a sponge and absorb. Some of us have an innate ability to do this – no drum beat, ego tap or self promo involved – we just do it.

So it’s interesting when others who feel like they are drinking from the fire hydrant [Dave McLure intimates at this is his awesome post: Facebook = Platform + Graph + Feed. It’s that Simple. (& so am i)] ((raising shields – I ain’t saying Dave is simple here, far from it))  revolt against the constant flow of change.

We saw this today in a riff between Robert Scoble and a few others on Twitter about the concept of “friend” and the ability of people like the Scobleizer to have thousands of friends spread across a panoply of social networking services. Its simple -he can do this and keep up a meaningful relationship with all of them because he is excellent at sifting, analysing and being immersed in the conversation…all at once and all the time – an aysnchronous gush of data.

Remember that you create your social event stream. Here are four ways to ensure your are comfortable with its flow:

1. Constantly evolve your key influencer strategy – who and what matters to you. Think about the main influences that set your career, social, family paths and if needs be formulate these influences into tiers much like you set auto rule for your emails to punch certain folders.

2. Choose your data feeds and social networking platforms wisely. There’s no need to be on every shiny spangled social network. Find one’s that resonate with your key influencer strategy and stick with them.

3. Set your “friend” policy in advance and stick to it. Can anyone be your friend on Facebook. Do you allow anyone to follow your twits. Do you only respond to direct twits. Who will you accept data files from on Pownce.

4. Be asynchronous. Assidously sift your incoming information … its like running, the more you do it the easier it is to get into a groove. And then respond, enter the conversation and engage in dialogue. You make the quality of the water exiting the fire hydrant so much sweeter by doing so.

[Picture courtesy of the awesome Stuck in Customs]

A shotgun approach to localism


Partially as a result of having tapped into a conversation with William Gibson and the heightened awareness about how locals versus multinationals approach a similar service in a specific geographical locale courtesy of the conversation we had at Innovation Bay last nite with eBay Australia & New Zealand MD, Simon Smith, I totally resonated with Chris Brogan’s post about The Power of Local Social Media.

Chris called his post a shotgun, but the blast has delivered some laser guided insights:

If I show up at an airport terminal, I wish there were a social media PACKAGE to collect for my phone or my iPod. It would have local podcasts about the area, the restaurants, the night spots, parks, and/or options on whatever other things might matter to me. I like photos? Here are the local Flickr groups, and a videoblog post of local areas to watch. I want to run? Here’s some annotated Google maps PLUS a 15% off coupon (digital) for the local running store.

I suspect this would work best if the package was tailored to meet Chris’s specific interest areas. Tailoring that gets more specific based on what modules have resonated with him in other cities.

[Picture courtesy of Stuck in Customs]

Facework: good for your health too!

I read the article in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday [Facebook labelled a $5b waste of time]. And then I heard the author of the report, Richard Cullen, being interviewed on the radio while I was driving – thankfully my car isn’t equipped with instant feedback loops or Richard’s company SurfControl wouldv’e been swamped by a tsunami of abuse.

Reference my previous post about Australia being called laggards. Quite frankly, if we believe the gumpf Richard is pumping out, we should be labelled far worse.

Thankfully there isn’t much chance of us being sucked in by such blatant twisting of the facts. If you were begining to wonder, here’s hope: Zest Digital’s Steven Lewis has a great response with an excellent tongue in cheek heading – Facebook set to destroy Australian economy by tomorrow.

And yes, I got to hear about Steven’s post through a comment from a colleague on Facebook: thanks Laurel.

Of course, I could just step outside for a corporate sanctioned smoko, but I’d much rather have a Facebreak.

UPDATE: Ross Dawson has a great response as well titled Companies that close networking doors jeopardize their future – I couldn’t have said it better.

By the way, I don’t agree that we should be going on a media bashing campaign. This article in the traditional press has been a great catalyst for getting the real story out there and for calling out Richard Cullen’s vested views. Ross’s consistent approach of showing proven benefit is to be commended.

Australian 2.0: Legendary Laggard?


Ross Dawson has called corporate Australia “a massive laggard – two to three years behind many countries – in terms of takeup of web 2.0”.

It’s an interesting comment. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Australia 2.0 – taken from a position in 2028, what will we be saying about then about this era, what key decision points would we have taken in 2007/8 that set the path for an Australian business, social and technological revolution that widely influences the rest of the planet. Or are we doomed to be laggards and followers.

Are we too risk averse in Australia – are we resigned to sit back and enjoy the good life that comes with a resources boom, even though anyone with two brain cells will tell you it cannot last? Are we diversifying enough into other areas and shoring up for a shift in the markets?

Hang on, we are doing some great things in other areas, I hear a plaintive cry… finance, life sciences, green tech. Sure, but are we doing enough to break out of the laggard mould that Ross casts us in?

Crystal ball for me, 20 years into the future. What do YOU see. What changes can we make now?

Life Media


A strand of thought in 139 characters:

what comes after what comes next – social media melds with life sciences…life media, virtual worlds meld with real world …life media

More on this topic to come…

[Picture of Shanghai Bund courtesy of Stuck in Customs]



S’funny how some folks are wondering at the seemingly disproportionate amount of attention Facebook, Apple and Google are getting these days. Well Dave McLure sums it up eloquently as always in a comment on TechCrunch:
in case you luddites haven’t noticed, the three most interesting and innovative companies out there these days are Google, Apple, & Facebook. for most developers and entrepreneurs who know their skinny ass from a Cobol program, they tend to pay attention to these things. Mike tends to write about them. gee, think that’s a coincidence?

if you guys want to read about boring shit or lots of Web 1.0 leftovers, then take a hike & go read some tired old dead tree computer magazine.

jesus fucking christ get a clue.

Nice one, Dave.

Besides the reference to Facebook, Apple and Google being the real deal, my title for this post is also reflective of an article I’m writing on Facebook apps. I’ve pinged a select few folks on this, but would love to open it up for broader comment too. What do you think are the ingredients for the perfect FB application?