Entrepreneur’s Rule Numero Uno: Value First

In a wide ranging interview with Kevin Rose, Silicon Valley venture guy Chris Sacca unveils how he became so well connected into the Valley’s machinery.

The video is an hour long, but it contains some real nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom.

The part that resonates most for me is when he talks about creating value, before you ask for value back. That for me is the number one rule for entrepreneurs: VALUE FIRST!

Chris continues this meme, “If you are insightful and helpful, people will gravitate to you.”



Foundation 07 // Chris Sacca from Kevin Rose on Vimeo.

Open Mobile Markets: How To Drive Impetus

Open mobile platforms and markets are all the rage.

Apple generated $30m in the first month with its iStore, and has attracted a plethora of app developers of all shapes and sizes – from Electronic Arts through to start ups like Palo Alto-based Tapulous.

The first Android-powered GPhone is about to hit the streets and this means the Android market will be open for business. RIM is working on something similar and Microsoft is creating a platform for selling apps on its Windows Mobile systems called SkyMarket.

But take a closer look at the Android Market and one thing is glaringly obvious – it’s relatively deserted. Sure it’s a chicken and egg thing, but what made Facebook’s F8 platform so successful in gaining immediate impetus was the critical mass element.

Currently, only a handful of apps are ready for Android – MySpace has a basic version of its soc network ready, imeem’s Internet radio service and a number of weather related apps are the pick of the bunch.

Where is everybody? EA’s Spore, which is the best mobile game I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing would be a great marquee.

So here’s the rub. The beauty of the iPhone Store was that you could generate revenue immediately. The Android Market is currently missing that key revenue enabler – a closed commerce system.

As the number of app markets proliferates and the total addressable market mushrooms I suspect we’ll see a number of meta solutions appear. In particular meta systems that can market, track and monetize apps across all the platforms as well as tools that allow developers to code once, and release cross platform.

In the meantime, app store owners need to focus on getting traffic in the door, app developers buzzed about their platform and a monetization mechanism in place.

iPhone App Development Grows Up: Goldminers and Litigators Arrive

Last year the flavor was Facebook’s F8 Platform. This year it’s been all about iPhone apps. Fast followers, like Google, with Android, and RIM are emulating Apple’s app store, but the defining moment(s) that point to the platform having reached a stage of nascent maturity are twofold:

* firstly, the Sydney Morning Herald has cottoned on to the fact that there is good money to be made from developing apps – I’ll let you read the piece written by Asher Moses for yourselves, but I suspect/hope the developers will now descend on this new vein of “easy” moola;

* secondly, an iPhone developer has taken on Coors in a litigation over a beer drinking app emulation that users the iPhone’s tilt motion. Brave move, I wish Hottrix luck and hope their law firm is taking this on purely on contingency.

It will be great to see more developers tapping into these mobile app stores, but the key will be in keeping up the quality in the apps.

Google Gets Customer Satisfaction, E-Business Benefits

Google’s customer satisfaction rating in 2008 has leapt 10% on the back of its transition from a search engine to a full service portal, according to a report from the University of Michigan.

The annual e-business report measures the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) and Google achieved 86 on the 100-point scale, one of the top ratings for any service company.

Not surprisingly, though, MSN and Yahoo lagged with an unchanged rating and a 3% fall respectively.

You can download the report here.

Google Insights: Search Trends Revealed

Google recently released its Insights product, which Andrew Chen describes as an insanely useful product. If you are a trendfollower or coolhunter then this is absolutely true.

Be warned though, as with many things in life, you get out what you put in – read Eric Schonfeld’s take on inputting “twitter” rather than “twitter.com” for a true representation of the microblogging tool’s US coverage.

How Much Do You Rely On Google? Web Services Redundancy Is A Big Issue

Reading this post from Steven Hodson I am forced to wonder whether putting all my email eggs into Google’s basket is a good idea.

I use gmail almost exclusively these days. I even route my corporate email through Google’s mail solution.

He makes a good point regarding customer service, but as a user, we should also seriously consider some form of redundancy when it comes to the web services we rely on. I don’t have the answer here, but believe this is a very serious issue.

VentureWrap: Friendster, SpaceX Raise $20M Funding

One of the earlier social networking pioneers, Friendster, has continued its Asian-led comeback with a $20 million infusion from IDG Ventures and previous investors [Benchmark, DAG Ventures, Founders Fund and Kleiner Perkins].

In addition to the cash Friendster has secured Richard Kimber, formerly Google’s South Asian Regional MD, as CEO.

Also raising $20 million is SpaceX, the Elon Musk-led space transporteer. The round was provided by Founders Fund. Musk is a former South African and founder of Paypal and Tesla. The recent test of their Falcon 1 rocket hit a snag with stage separation lock. This led to the craft not achieving orbit. Elon has unequivocally stated that they are still on track – the message from this funding round backs him up.

Founders Fund are having a busy time of it lately. One of their other portfolio companies, Facebook, is apparently contemplating empowering staff to sell off a portion of their vested stock. This accords with the philisophy of letting founders cash out along the journey, which has been a key Founders Fund differentiator – extending it to all employees is an interesting move.

Incidentally LinkedIn is also reportedly [via VentureBeat] contemplating this route.

Y Combinator-Backed Omnisio Is YouTube’s First Post-Google Acquisition

Omnisio has been acquired by Google as YouTube’s first acquisition since they were themselves acquired a few years back. You can listen to the recent Metarand Unplugged audio interview with the video annotation startup’s CEO, Ryan Junee, here – in it we talk about the company and their journey through Paul Graham’s Y Combinator program.

Besides Ryan and his two fellow Aussie co-founders, Paul must himself be over the moon — from woe to go this must’ve been one of the quickest exits for Y Combinator. Atherton-based Omnisio launched in March 2008.

The best part – Ryan is a committed serial entrepreneur and I fully expect we’ll be hearing more great things from him in the near future.

While Ryan did not disclose to us the quantum of the deal, Michael Arrington has surmised it as being in the $15 million range.