Chris Sacca: How to spell VC in lowercase

lowercase capital

Former Google Head of Strategic Initiatives, Chris Sacca is following up on his 20 or so personal investments with the formation of a new early stage venture fund.

To be named Lowercase Capital, this new $5m fund is perhaps a reminder to all venture capitalists that they are service providers first and foremost and as such should look at themselves in the lower case.

Notably an investor in Omnisio, Photobucket and Twitter, I look forward to seeing what else Chris finds interesting out there.

[via TechCrunch]

How to download and build the latest mobile phone and other gadgets


Further to my post about Makers and 3d-printing machines…I can see a day coming where we believe it to be pure arrogance that a company could design a product, have it manufactured and distributed to retail stores in the belief that consumers will buy their latest gadget.

In this next now, imagine getting a news alert (ok, a tweet) late one evening from an influential source (anachronistically, a friend) telling you about the latest 3d design released by company X. You love this new gadget so you pay for and immediately download the specs straight into your 3-d printer. You click print and then go to bed.

The next morning you eagerly head down to your studio and sitting in your printer’s out tray is your new shiny phone.  It’s been printed out for you and what’s more, it contains your personalized brand, the same as all your gadgets.

No major punt by Company X, they’ve simply uploaded a design spec. No supply chain. No negative impact on the environment by shipping goods all over the place. And for you – no hassle, instant gratification and a device for far cheaper than any gadget delivered to your store or doorstep today…

A final assumption: your 3-d printer has a port for recycling any device it has made as well.

Grassroots, open source, replicable 3-d printing: RepRap

I’ve been enjoying reading Cory Doctorow’s latest novel, Makers, which tracks the growth of a grassroots 3-d printing revolution in a post-GFC-like world. You can follow the novel in parts here.

A real life example is the RepRap movement. A group of people have come together to develop an open source 3-d printer that can replicate itself. Check out the video below:

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.

5 ways influence is rapidly changing the media and advertisting landscapes

On Tuesday I’ll be co-chairing the Future of Influence Summit together with Ross Dawson. It’s an extremely topical area as we are rapidly seeing a complete shift in the media arena as a result of innovations in influence. I personally predict that the whole concept of an advertising industry is about to be turned on its head and that this is already more well advanced than many industry players are aware of.

Ross has pointed to five key trends that are the leading edge of this transformation:

1. The democratization of influence

It used to be that influence was a direct result of a person’s placement on some form of elevated platform – the CEO of a multinational, politician or a journalist with a media empire backing them.

These folks are still heard, but more and more voices of influence are emerging from completely left of field. Tools such as Twitter have liberated the great unwashed masses. Anyone can start a movement and many are.

2. Quantifying influence

How well a brand campaign runs has always been one of the advertising industries great smoke and mirror acts. No more. Influence is becoming far more measurable. In fact, as Ross points out, there will be more metrics for individual influence as well and these will be used as for more accurate guide to who we hire and do business with.

3. Individual reputation trumps corporate influence

We are more likely to trust a company based on the reputation of the individuals running it than ever before. Steve Jobs drives Apple’s influence. Jeremiah Oywang’s move from Forrester to The Altimeter Group was more about him as a key influencer than about Forrester.

4. Influence is the new media

We listen to those who we trust, we listen to those who deliver us value. If a newspaper continuously delivers news items well after you’ve digested them from your personal newsfeed, the newspaper’s influence over you will decrease significantly. Ross sums this up well – publishing itself won’t get an audience – only influencers will create views.

5. The influence economy is born

Again, Ross has this covered: the $550 billion advertising industry may be transformed.

I’m really looking forward to the conversation next week.

Cluetrain Manifesto, A Decade Later

Ten years ago the Cluetrain Manifesto emerged as the voice of the Internet, coalescing the pioneers who were forging the links into this brave new world of connectivity.

Ten years ago I was one of the signatories to the manifesto. Here’s what I had to say at the time:

The language of humanity, our collective consciousness, is what is driving the Internet forward to beyond the hype – may your train continue to lay down the tracks.”

It’s quite a wonderful feeling to take a moment and pause in my/our journey. We’ve come a hell of a long way. I remember the first time I dialled into this thing called the World Wide Web – from a terminal at the University of Cape Town, on the slopes of Table Mountain. I remember buying my first book from Amazon and being enthralled when it arrived. I remember hacking together my first webzine and the feeling of endless possibility when I started getting comments from people all around the world. I remember the joys of investing into what seemed like crazy ideas to many of my colleagues and watching those turn into thriving businesses and I remember watching a few flame out brilliantly too!

Ten years on where are we? The first rickety tracks are well and truly laid – I still order books through Amazon, buy and sell through eBay and talk to friends and colleagues via Internet telephony, but I do these as second nature now.

We are now also beginning to not only grasp, but utilise our collective consciousness through real time tools such as Twitter.

But there is still so much more. For example, I am currently assessing the educational sector and see so much opportunity for improving how we teach, how we learn. More on that in another post.

That’s about as much time as I currently have for a pause, now to get on with the future…