Category Archives: Startups

UberConferenceIf you’re involved in the business side of your company, chances are that you’re going to have sat in on a conference call with more than two people. We’ve all been there wondering about whether or not the company even has a dial-in number, putting it on a calendar, jotting down notes and figuring out who said what–it seemed that the only thing that the traditional conference call services really care about was highlighting this, but not really any additional services. It was all about connecting people to accomplish a simple phone call, but not really connect them.

UberConference aims to solve this dilemma and help disrupt the boring old phone calls of yesterday that many business-types are accustomed to. The winner of TechCrunch Disrupt New York, this service brings what they call a “whole new visual dimension to audio conference calls”. It appears to want to be more context into your ordinary conference calls in a manner that you’ll derive some more value out of it. Started by Craig Walker, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with tremendous experience in VoIP technology–he created DialPad in 2001 and co-founded GrandCentral which was acquired by Google in 2007 and became Google Voice–the service puts forth some creative features designed to help you get the most out of your conference call so you won’t have to stress out about its aftermath (e.g. who said what? what did they mean by that? what did he say about that thing?).

Bravo TV's Silicon Valley reality show

If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area over the next several months and at a tech event, you might be able to catch a glimpse at the latest reality television show to be filmed here. Silicon Valley, a new reality show focused on young tech entrepreneurs produced by Randi Zuckerberg, has just begun taping its inaugural season to be debuted on the Bravo television network later this year. Although considered to be a working title, Silicon Valley will center around probably 5-6 main characters living in the Valley trying to make it big with their startups and ideas. Who knows whether the cameras will follow them throughout the city and other locations as they attend investor meetings, parties, conferences, and other social gatherings, but if they do, I’m sure that things will be very well planned in advance.

What is definitely known is that the main cast of characters has moved into a luxurious home in the Castro district of San Francisco affectionately called “The Villa” where they’ll be living and filming most of their exploits and adventures (a la Real World).  UPDATE: As Kim Taylor points out in the comments below, “The Villa” is not the homebase for the entire cast–in fact, only Ben Way and Hermione Way live in this home.

There’s space at “The Villa” for co-working and private parties and maybe even other social events. But beware, if you go to one of these events, you’ll probably be in the spotlight along with the cast since it’ll be ground zero for filming for the show.

Postmate's Get It Now Campaign with Dynamo DonutsToday is a special day: it’s National Doughnut Day! No, I’m not kidding you…the first Friday each June  is considered to be National Doughnut Day and a lot of bakeries and doughnut shops are probably vying for your attention as they are practically giving out doughnuts left and right. But one small problem for those of us still working in an office…just how are we supposed to go to a Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts if we’re stuck in the office? Obviously we would have access to a car and can drive there, but sometimes the practicality of it, not to mention the logistics of getting there, is bewildering and not efficient.

Fortunately, Postmates has come to the rescue.

Here in San Francisco, this fledgling, yet growing and strong startup, has decided that since people can’t go to the doughnuts, it will help bring the doughnuts to the people. All day Friday, with every delivery transaction you make through their one-hour courier service via their Get It Now app, you’ll get a free delivery of Dynamo Donuts! That’s right, just use their iPhone app and request a delivery to you and your courier will drop off a package containing two of the most delicious doughnuts here in San Francisco.

Facebook mobile appBy now you’ve probably heard about Facebook’s recent outage. You know, that time when everyone’s productivity either went up or was further distracted by Twitter or Google+. This afternoon, for at least a couple of hours, the massive social network took a brief hiatus and decided that people needed to take a break. It’s quite fascinating that today’s outage occurred, not because that it’s anything new, because it isn’t — Facebook has suffered and endured multiple outages over the past eight years of its existence and still managed to keep a fairly good record of uptime. Actually, because of where the company stands right now and its incredible influence over hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, websites, and services.

Facebook is now officially a public company–an entity with far-reaching implications on others that interact with it. This outage, no matter how short of a duration, can pose some risk, albeit most likely minimal, in terms of people’s confidence in investing in Facebook. Frankly, could the social network stand further scrutiny over its stock? It’s currently selling for around 22% below what it started out with a week ago. But that’s not the biggest issue that concerns me and maybe others. It’s actually the fact that now with Facebook playing such a pivotal role in services and applications, shouldn’t the company be a bit more forthcoming and proactive in helping inform the public of any of these outages so that alternative plans can be thought about or implemented?

Did you know that API stands for Application Programming Interface?  You hear that acronym thrown around all the time these days, but what does it stand for? Why should you care? And most important, how do they impact your business?  These questions and more were discussed during the Social Media Club of San Francisco’s panel discussion at @Mashery HQ in San Francisco, Tuesday the 15th of May.

Moderating was Christopher Saad, the Chief Strategy Officer and Co Founder of Echo. @Chrissaad’s Echo works with sites such as Lady Gaga, Discovery Channel and Universal Music Groups. Raj Kadam, Co-founder and CEO of @ViralHeat and works extensively with sentiment analysis, analytics and engagement for social media and real time web. Roland Smart, VP of Marketing at Involver which powers more pages on Facebook than any other platform. Muray Mckerlie, Co-Founder and VP of Sales & Marketing of Whit.li, an API that creates “Relevancy Ratings.” And to round out the panel, Tyler Singletary, the Developer Evangelist for @Klout and manages the API platform. He also has a brother at Twitter!

API’s are open data systems that allow anyone to create and customize rules to build upon the original data and create what might be needed for your own business or organization. If your not sure what an API is, s simple, fun explanation of API’s is offered by BBYOPEN on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/7r7QpIDEI_o

It was an open discussion also in the way that the seating was set up for the event. Rather than have the 5 panelists that face the audience as if lecturing, the chairs were a bit “helter skelter “off to the side. It set the stage for an engaging and open conversation about how API’s influence us today especially in the world of Social Media.