Most of you, probably like myself, read a ton of articles, feeds and news stories a day (usually before lunch)! I ran across Brijit via Tim's site and an article he linked to. At first I thought, "oh no, not another one of these social experiments". After checking it out though, I like it. Basically, there's a bunch of freelancers (ok, basically at this point community members who do the work for peanuts) who take popular articles and post summaries, no longer than a paragraph or so. First reaction, again, was screw it, what's the point. But after going through a bunch of articles, I got a kick out of simply reading summaries and technically reading 10 times as many "things" as I would were I to try and get through each and every article. At the same time, I wish it were a bit easier to set up "feeds" so to speak of only the articles from specific sites you want (hence, saving me the time scanning a ton of articles which aren't relevant to me). I'm sure this is coming though....hint, hint, wink, wink Brijjit!
Ignore these points at your own risk! (Great points Mark!)
Most people probably are not aware of this issue and rightfully so don't care as they are not affected. At the same time, as I happen to have the T-Mobile version of this phone, I stumbled upon this issue:
Problem: Our Kaisers currently lack proper D3D (direct 3d) drivers and are therefore performing at a fraction of their actual capabilities. This results in poor video playback, poor camera/image performance, and bad performance in video games and other video-intensive software.
Although owners of this phone-series have been pleading with HTC for driver updates, it doesn't seem like HTC really cares or wants to offer drivers. Their solution is to wait for future hardware and to buy it when it becomes available. Nice response, ya think?
Anyhow, on the site XDA Developers, a bunch of owners have ponied up money to solve the problem themselves. Anyone who is able to create the necessary driver can score more than $5000, growing daily. Users on the site are pledging money as we speak to increase the bounty for whoever manages to create this fix. If it is created, I am game. I love the idea of resolving an issue this way. Screw HTC for not stepping up to the plate to offer a resolution.
This is a random thought but still has me wondering. I tend to jump either on the bike or stepper at the gym to warm up or cool down. As I find this extremely boring, I try to kill the 20 minutes time reading a magazine. At best, I might read Men's Health (German version). At worst, and typical, Gala (the German version of People......highly mind-numbing fare but it does the trick to divert your attention from boredom). They don't have much selection in terms of magazines at the gym where I work out.
Anyway, to get to the point. It seems like a lot of mainstream magazines like printing playlists from celebrities to either demonstrate music they listen to when working out, or just listen to generally (such as is the case with these playlists on iTunes). Well, did you ever notice that the music is always mainstream? There's never really anything there that isn't one of the (current) top hits. I can't imagine that these things are for real. Either all celebrities have nothing but mainstream musical taste or we're expected to be really dumb. This is not a highly critical issue but anyone know what the deal is? Is this really bad advertising or force-feeding of music?
If you haven't done so, you've got to check out World Golf Tour. If you've ever played golf on a gaming console, this will blow you away. One of our portfolio companies provides a part of their back-end technology so I've been playing for quite a while now. It's a high quality game just as good as any console, in your browser. I can't say I've been as addicted as some (and some others). At the same time, it is quite addictive and I can only imagine if this were around back when I was in college. Yeah, it used to be a beer a hole, which made the 17th and 18th quite fun, but it was on a crap, 1st generation Nintendo Playstation. Stay tuned for upcoming developments in regards to these guys. I'm sure many bosses will!
There has got to be a better way to register people for services on the web. For some reason, I get peeved every time I register for something and have to enter and then re-enter my e-mail address. It's a small issue, but still. I can't understand that something better hasn't established itself on the Web. OpenID is not yet the solution and I don't see it becoming one soon. It would be so much simpler if you could simply "identify" yourself to your computer (be it with biometric or whatever) and hence not need to register for each new service (cookies also are definately not what I mean by this). Best would be a "one-click" button on a site asking whether you want to register or not. Done! Someone will get this right eventually!
I sat with an acquaintance from the VC community yesterday and we reminisced a bit about the European venture scene. As we've both been a part of it directly for 10 years (and indirectly for longer), we've seen many folks come and go. We also noted that it seems like turnover at funds has gone up some recently and at times it's difficult to track who is where. This brings me to the point. I am often asked by entrepreneurs who are pitching us or whose projects we've already funded "who is still active in the venture scene?" Obviously this question comes up when discussing a potential syndicate or lead for a follow-on round. I thought it may be helpful to give my perspective on this from where I sit.
The dominant player on the scene is Index. You read about them, you hear about them, you bump into them and most, like myself, respect them. They've managed to do quite a job in perching themselves at the top of the totem pole here in the Euro VC market (love or hate their style). Closely up there with Index are Accel and Balderton. I may not cross paths with them as often, but I sure hear their names a lot. Wellington seems to be the fund mentioned when it comes to local players in Germany but unfortunately, I have not met them on many deals in the past year. They tend to be a bit down-cycle from us in terms of when they like to invest (as well as where). I also obviously know Mangrove well, having co-invested with them on verwandt.de. Hasso Plattner Ventures is establishing themselves nicely here in Germany. Out of France, I see Partech quite a bit as they have investments in Germany (and even locally, being a backer of Hamburg-based Qype). 3i is one of the names you often hear but I haven't seen much activity coming out of their corner. Obviously this is due to the pull-back on early-stage venture investing. TVM, Earlybird, as well as Target are names still mentioned in the German market but here too I haven't had as much interaction. This is most likely due to their all being in fundraising mode which is understandable.
This is a highly subjective list. It's my view and not representative of the whole VC market. I know of many other funds such as Amadeus, Pond, Iris, DLJEsprit, Soffinova, Grazia and so on who may be just as active if not more so than some of the players I mentioned. But you have to understand that this is a relationship business. You never have enough time to dedicate to relationship building with everyone you'd like to work with. It would be impossible to be close with ALL the players. At the same time, we do our best to be connected to as many of the relevant players as possible. Further, we're always happy to see new players enter the market or older teams establish themselves better. At the same time, we're sad to see people and funds go but this is simply the nature of the business.
What does it mean? Well, it's any way possible to gain a benefit online by using illegal or unfair tactics (obviously all open to debate on whether illegal or unfair) for personal gain. A bidding bot on eBay is digital doping. "Feeding" comments on a blog under multiple aliases is digital doping. Using tactics to bolster reviews is digital doping. I don't think I came up with the term but I sure am seeing more and more of this. Curious to see what repercussions there for this in the future.