Category Archives: Startups

PandoMonthly - March 2012 - Sarah Lacy Interviews Path's Dave MorinOne of the hottest startups to hit the tech scene has got to be Path. This private social network was the center of attention at tonight’s edition of PandoMonthly, a monthly event hosted by PandoDaily, the tech publication started by journalist Sarah Lacy just a few months ago. If you’ve never been to one of these events, you should definitely try to go because for entrepreneurs and those eager to break into the scene, this is one of those events that will shed some light and help answer questions you might have about starting your own business and understanding life lessons that famed technologists have gone through. And as tonight’s subject centered around Path, logically the one being interviewed by Mrs. Lacy would have to be none other than Path’s founder, Dave Morin.

Held in the Mission district of San Francisco at Madone Studios, this was PandoDaily’s second monthly event and I must say that tonight’s talk with Mr. Morin was perhaps the best one yet. Entrepreneurs, journalists, tech enthusiasts, and those who work in Silicon Valley all attended to better understand what makes Mr. Morin tick and what he did to overcome all the obstacles to create the antithesis of Facebook. Ms. Lacy wasted no time getting down to the nitty gritty–but instead of talking about anything truly scandalous or outrageous, Mr. Morin was peppered with questions about his humble beginnings at Apple to what he created at Facebook and then ultimately to his failures and successes with his very own startup, Path.

On average 140 million tweets are sent a day, which is up nearly 100 million on the amount posted on a daily basis a year agoSix years ago, one of the world’s most life-changing digital communication tools was born. It was six years to the day when a man named Jack Dorsey sent a simple message on what was a simple system which simply said “just setting up my twttr“. From there, a new form of social media was born that has helped spur a bit of a revolution on not only text messaging, but also with mobile applications. It wasn’t until a couple years later when Twitter pulled their famous guerrilla marketing at SXSW. From there, the world started to pay more and more attention to the company. And in successive years, even celebrities, politicians, mainstream media, and brands are recognizing the potential of the microblogging platform and are definitely standing up to pay attention to how it’s moving forward.

Today, in honor of their sixth birthday, Twitter has shared with the world some fascinating stats on how far its come since its startup days. Just over the past year or so, the company has seen some significant shake-ups, with two of the original founders leaving to start another company and the other exiled one re-emerging to take the helm of one of the most popular companies here in Silicon Valley. It has also seen some remarkable growth in investments–it now has amassed over $1.1 billion in funding from the likes of Charles River Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway, Chris Sacca, DST Global, Kleiner Perkins Caufeld & Byers, and many others. And with that $1.1 billion in the coffers, Twitter has certainly made good use of it. Within their last year alone, they’ve acquired companies to help fill their ranks or absorb into their collective to make the service even better. Companies like Tweetdeck, BackType, Summify, Dasient, and Posterous are all notable acquisitions, all of which total just a fraction ($45.2 million) of their total funds.

All of these efforts (and then some) have definitely helped spur innovation and create a massive community where all you do is communicate with one another using 140 characters. Granted, you’re not necessarily going to be posting things on your friend’s wall or creating a photo album or even having groups, but even without all of this an impressive number of users have signed up to the service. According to Twitter, when Mr. Dorsey first sketched out the notion of Twitter back in 2006, no one thought that the service would have the success that it has had. Now, as of today, there are over 140 million active users on the site–140! And out of that number, Twitter is processing over 340 million tweets per day–they equate that to over 1 billion tweets every 3 days! Not bad for a service that has helped break news about political events and news, sporting events, Academy Awards, disasters, weather, gadget announcements, and even cultural and historic revolutions.

Now, with plenty of funds in the bank and millions of users, what lies ahead for Twitter? They’ve made some significant strides in building out brand pages for businesses, redesigned Twitter.com to have a real-time stream that is devoted to creating a very unique experience, broadened their advertising platform for brands, and even started to figure out a way to monetize their services so that they can finally make some real money.

On Twitter’s official post marking the anniversary, they quote Mr. Dorsey as saying “I’m happy this idea has taken root; I hope it thrives.” Well Mr. Dorsey, I’m pretty sure that with over 140 million active users and the buzz that has been generated over the past five years, rest assured that people are not going to be leaving Twitter for some time.

Happy Birthday Twitter!

Photo Credit: On average 140 million tweets are sent a day, which is up nearly 100 million on the amount posted on a daily basis a year ago via The Telegraph. Taken by PA.

Eventbrite's At The Door Card ReaderIf you’ve ever had to register for a party or an event, chances are that you’ve had to sign up using Eventbrite. Nearly anyone who’s anyone that has hosted an event has used the ticket service. Perhaps the ticketing powerhouse that will surely rival any of its nearest competitors, Eventbrite is a juggernaut eager to help make buying tickets easy and social. The four-year-old San Francisco-based company is always on the lookout to try and find ways to improve the event registration space, and today, they’ve just unveiled what could be the crown jewel for all event planners.

Known as the At The Door Card Reader, this device will be especially helpful for those planners who are pre-charge their attendees to come by, but also understand that on game day, there will be those stragglers who realize they didn’t register and will try and get in at the door. Well, normally the person at the door will have to charge the fee, but what if the attendee doesn’t have enough cash? Then they’ll need to get cash and what if you don’t have exact change? Believe me, it could wind up being a total mess. You probably don’t want to deal with that headache–instead, just use what most people probably have on them: a credit or debit card. And that’s exactly where the At The Door Card Reader comes in. Through the use of this card reader, you can easily sell more tickets and merchandise and track those sales right through transactions done with the card reader.

Sqoot failGetting people to your event can be quite difficult, we all know that. So coming up with some gimmicks or some humor can help bring in people. But if there’s one thing that will have the opposite effect, it’s being misogynistic to your attendees.  That’s exactly what Sqoot, a daily deal API that allows developers to monetize their apps, did in a “fun, harmless comment” on their registration page by stating that if you were a woman and thirsty, female event staffers would get it for you.

Wait…what?

Yes, that’s right…on their Eventbrite registration page for the Boston API Jam, Sqoot founders,  Avand Amiri and Mo Yehia, thought it would be humorous to make light of the fact that not a lot of women attend hack-a-thons, and by making this misogynistic remark, they would find lots of women clamoring to register. Well people are definitely now paying attention to the hack-a-thon and they’re definitely interested in engaging with Sqoot. Unfortunately for Sqoot, they’re experiencing their “Rush Limbaugh” moment and things aren’t looking real good for them. The tech community has been up in arms over the past few hours disagreeing with the way that Sqoot handled the situation and for their insensitivity towards women.

Data streamOne of the things that has probably plagued a lot of brands since the start of the social media era has been how to consolidate all their information and systems into one place. Just over a year ago, one particular startup chose to state their case for why their product would be useful to helping control the activity surrounding a company’s social presence. In February 2011, Echo, a real-time platform that enables companies to implement applications of scale for social TV, commerce, real-time commenting, and social content aggregation, just celebrated their one-year anniversary since they unveiled their flagship product, Echo StreamServer. For some, the belief in using real-time is a bit far-fetched, but in today’s use of social media, people (consumers and businesses) want to get feedback and news out instantaneously. No more waiting five hours before news hits the airwaves. People want it now. But while Echo clearly believes in the real-time philosophy, what they are striving to do is to kick it up a notch and bring the social to you, not the other way around.

Right now, many companies are simply giving their data away to the social networks. By forcing people to visit sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube, you will be enabling the customers to seek other profiles to fall in love with and befriend. This leaves the door open to a competitor stepping in or perhaps even giving away a good chance at them learning more about you and your brand. Echo’s StreamServer looks to be a tool that will enable your brand to completely control and monitor all the activity from a number of different sources. This holistic approach will enable them to leverage things from real-time comments on services like Twitter and Facebook, to creating a second screen experience, and even live, social events through a single platform. One social dashboard to rule them all, if you will.