Here’s the thing, learning never ends. It’s true what they say, the more you learn the less you know and this certainly applied to this week. We were in Luxembourg this past week interviewing David Schreiberg, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist, former Bureau Chief of Newsweek in Buenos Aires and digital media expert and the man that pretty much has been instrumental in the migration of print to digital media. It was mind blowing.
In an article in Paperjam.lu (in French only) Mr. Schrieiberg says (translated from French): “New media were defined as a reaction to traditional media: it is first media that are delivered in digital form. We are in a transition phase, which will continue for many years, a transformation phase in which businesses must reinvent itself. We are still far from what we see at the moment is that the early stages.”
So after sitting in his grand, post-war four-story brownstone-style home office decorated with a stunning art collection from Argentina, Colombia, Italy and all the places he and his wife (also a journalist) have put pen to paper, I realized that here is what I learned this week.
1. Smart people ignite me. Writers even more so. Being in awe of someone’s ability to put together words that move you is a superb motivation.
2. Content rights will, for the forseeable future, will continue to keep us watching in a walled garden and on the hunt for shortcuts and work arounds. We just wanna watch stuff.
3. Everyone loves to hate the bad guy – Apple is pushing, we bitch about it and yet we don’t stop buying Apple products or using iTunes. We just want content and cool stuff. Humans are that way.
4. Running a company is hard work, getting your work done at the same time even harder. Pushing the envelope so organic growth keeps happening, the hardest.
5. EIB bankers from Finland are negative, closed-minded, this-can’t-be-done know-it-alls. Control – Alt- Delete.
6. Italy’s clean tech scene is rich with technology and innovation that no one really knows about, it’s not all Berlusconi here in Italy.
7. HBO nailed it with Game of Thrones. Sean Bean. Check. Just call me Khaleesi.
Posted by Tattletech on Jun 3, 2011 in Things We've Learned This Week
We didn’t learn much this week. Actually we were reminded the same stuff keeps happening over and over again with slight variation. In fact, the entire human race is like a scratchy old record that keeps getting stuck on that same spot where you scratched it after dropping it on the floor when your parents came in and busted you playing the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album with the woman covered in whipped cream as the cover art. Phew. That was a long sentence; also, too much?
Here’s what we learned.
1. There is no satisfying some people. So sometimes walking away is the best option.
2. Things are never what they seem and then they always are.
3. Our new favorite start up is www.mancx.com cause their tagline is this: Information will be free. At a price. Check them out, it’s the simplest of concepts – information, who has it, who wants it, what will you pay for it? Follow them on Twitter @mancx.
4. ink’s Alexandra Crabb ran her first marathon and that impressed us. Send her a note to say congrats on her First.
5. Still trying to get our heads around intelligence versus wisdom.
6. There are too many holidays in Sweden (and Europe for that matter).
7. Organization makes you agile.
8. Gummi Bears are really good warmed up in the sun and even better when trying write witty blog posts.
Posted by Tattletech on May 16, 2011 in Things We've Learned This Week
Image via Wikipedia
Let’s just get right to it, shall we?
1. According to the great orb, Wikipedia, there was no reference to Friday the 13th before the 19th century, so I am fairly certain that some poncy British guy had a really un-kick-assy day and decided to pass that along to us for the next ba-zillion generations. However, if you check the great orb again (under Rate of Accidents), you will see that some smart pants Dutchies doing some math discovered that the “rate of accidents” is actually lower on that day. So, you know what I learned? Just get in your Audi and drive down to Positano and live it up Steinbeck style a la 1953.
2. Companies that “wing it” will never get far.
3. Agility only comes from being super focused. Also, less wine.
4. You can never go back, well you can but you will have to do some serious attitude adjustment.
5. Parents have Facebook but they don’t use it, rather they still send you 9,000 emails that include photos, stupid jokes with 1972 fonts and clip art.
6. The debate over content is just heating up.
7. Guest bloggers are super awesome.
8. You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.
First, let’s just say we saw some scary stuff this week and we won’t even go into current affairs, or why, for the love of all that is good in the world, one British self-proclaimed tech pop-tart even has a career…wait… it’s ok, I’m ok….anyway, where was I? Oh yea scary week – the promise of new a TV experience that Google wants to make for you, TV ownership in the US falls for the first time in 20 years, Smart TVs that will take over the entire TV ecosystem and the fact that a bunch of VC guys decided to throw even more money into mobile advertising which no one can actually even measure. (see GlibHippo for their mantra on measurement)
So what did we actually learn?
1. When TV sales drop and it’s credited to poverty and the fact that young folks aren’t watching their junk on a TV, we might have a problem and also, why the frack are we still listening to Nielsen?
2. Mobile Advertising only makes up like one-third the revenue of online advertising, so do these VCs think THAT is where the investment needs to go? Green tech? Solar? eHealth? Guys… wake up, it will never be the gold rush that TV advertising was. $25 million invested into Jumptap already, really?
3. Every tech company needs a good marketing director or VP. Not a guy that came from sales or engineering or product marketing, but someone with a real communications and marketing background that can steer the ship. It’s pretty critical.
4. Jetlag sucks
5. Just cause you’re a start up doesn’t mean you have to be cheap, you need to be smart about how to spend your money. If you want something for free, be prepared for that not to be on your terms.
6. User, and I mean mass market users like your mom or those folks in the middle of Ohio that use your app, don’t give a flying rats ass about your code or API or product roadmap. They only wanna know what cool new features you have and how it makes their lives better, happier or more bubbly — yea, here’s a tip, in B2C, it’s all about them.
7. You can’t get a super good idea of how good or bad your product is with less than 20 people testing it.
8. When you don’t have internet and need it, it’s like a bad hangover and a kick in the stomach with accordian music playing in the background, PLUS a chav family jabbering away in the background about William & Kate’s wedding.
9. A great team around you is just as good as Elijah Craig on the rocks.
10. It doesn’t take 30 days to design a blog for your company, if it does, you are overpaying and didn’t do your homework.
11. Product marketing should not be in charge of marketing, did I mention that already?
12. Apparently, a Beerrita is the next best thing to a slice of heaven on earth
13. All of the back slapping and self-promoting in the world doesn’t make you a better reporter, hostess, smarter, blogger, entrepreneur, it just makes you like you didn’t have friends growing up as a kid.
14. And, why for the love of good red wine, does Samsung thing no one fracking noticed that they STOLE the name Tab (and the font is very samey) from the Coca-Cola beverage Tab? Does no one care? Here is their ad and HERE is Tab.
15. Why can’t the fine folks at Archer just make more? It’s a cartoon, and 13 is just not enough for ONE season.
This post is not for the faint of heart…it will take you straight into the heart of darkness a la Joseph Conrad… ok, maybe not that dark. So remember this is the end of a trade show week.
1. An attempted mugging is not a great way to start off the week, it makes you feisty and ready to punch anyone that crosses your path. It also makes you stereotype which makes you feel dark on the inside. Fortunately, a good block and tackle plus a punch in the ole kisser of any would-be attacker makes you also feel empowered.
2. Most people suck and trade show people suck even more. I don’t care if you are in a hurry cause you stayed out too late, hit your snooze button 4 times and are now late to what you think is the most important meeting with RIM you will ever have in your life, there is no excuse for being rude. Good manners cost nothing. Oh and your tie sucks.
3. Swedes rule. Period. Never in my life have I met a collective group of smarter, nicer, sexier, innovative people in my entire life. Yea and dont even try and argue with me on this point, I will punch you.
4. Never miss a party, no matter how tired you are.
5. Still, as predicted, devices and operators will always take center stage at big trade shows. Save your news for after unless you are a novelty or in clean tech.
6. Coffee dealers should be roaming about the show in abundance like they had 5 years ago. People with backpacks of coffee roaming the show floor bringing happiness to everyone.
7. Mostly, mobile folks are uber geeks with no ability to talk about anything other than platforms, AR, operating systems and devices. Get over yourself. Save a life or something.
8. I’m still in love with mHealth, cleantech and any other mobile technology that is good for me and the planet
9. High heels at a trade show still rock. I will never give them up, so for all your 20 somethings that think you are so cool in your flats, you can bite me.
10. Booth babes or guys, big oversized fuzzy animals with humans inside and tacky marketing chicks dressed like cops handing out citations cause you have more than one mobile phone, are stupid. Just a plain old waste of marketing dollars. Oh and BTW, nice job printing all that paper that just gets thrown away or blankets the ground. Very eco of you. (oh and what IS the point of asking grown ups to collect Android pins?)
11. Eric Schmidt had NOTHING to say, he simply vomited up words that said nothing. Give us someone else next time.
12. The coffee and sandwich lady in Hall 2 at Medus is super nice. She smiled and called me guapa every time I greeted her. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy all over. Gracias.
Posted by Tattletech on Jan 31, 2011 in Things We've Learned This Week
Yea, this week, we made our week end on January 31 just cause we wanted to. Tough week, tough week. Most of the things we learned surprised us and then again, not really. Between armchair politics of retweeters on Egypt, Android dethroning Symbian and ZenRobotics taking on demolition waste, we don’t know where to start, except here.
1. Free will scuttles in the swamp of fear.
2. Folks like to tweet about current affairs even when they know little about it.
3. Americans really don’t know where Egypt is. (via @jimmus).
4. Google launching a Holocaust Archive makes me have indigestion.
5. Not saying anything, says something (and loudly).
6. You can never have enough handbags or pocketbooks, as us Southerners call them.
7. Outside of the tech industry, most consumers don’t know what a connected TV is.
8. Cable is NOT dead no matter how many emerging tech pubs tell you it is.
9. Sometimes start ups outgrow the publications that got them where they are today.
10. Futility reigns. See Mobile World Congress 2011.
11. Opening a can of whoop ass does make you feel better.
12. Finland produces some great minds and the best example of true innovation in clean tech, eHealth and ICT – see Mendor, ZenRobotics, DealDash, Hermopharma, FeedBackCatalog, Multitouch.
Tough week, even though it ended in Barcelona, it was the final event of the 2010 and we give thanks. But the week did bring some insight we can’t even print here, but what we did learn we will share with you.
1. Barcelona is really pretty at Christmas time and all those annoying sweaty tourists are joyously missing.
2. When you approach a table with three VC’s and not one of them gets up to 1) offer you a chair or 2) offer you a glass of wine from the bottle they have on the table; They are just impolite and have no manners. Run away.
3. Surprisingly, it is still very much a man’s world when it comes down to old school networking and investment discussion.
4. If a man turns to you and says, don’t worry we are just talking about VC stuff, walk away, that guy is a jerk.
5. People take advantage.
6. Reality is a prison.
7. Fishnets with a knee-length black dress are a perfectly acceptable attire for a cocktail party with uptight European VCs and money men in Barcelona at La Pedrera.
8. Clean tech is sexy, ICT is a boring piece of re-hashed, re-heated slop.
9. If the bartender can’t make a Gin martini, leave.
10. If a man walks into a dinner meeting already making excuses for how tired he is, or how busy he is or how annoyed he is by his own circumstances, get sick and leave.
We were on the ground in Barcelona at the Eurocan European Venture Contest – essentially the final of all finals for the best start ups in Europe (including a handout of 30,000 euros in cold hard cash) in ICT, Life Sciences and Clean Tech. This isn’t a popularity contest or for the faint of heart like some of the other more pop culture VC/Tech contests out there. This was about a year-long slog through regional contests with tough judges and a bunch of hoops to jump through. Our guess is that you won’t see most of these final 25 start ups (many with revenue already) in the other pop tech scene cause they are busy making money, bootstrapping and well just can’t be bothered with yet another 20-something booze fest with the trendies. We digress.. again.. so more on that later…(Our favorites: TaxiPal, Defendec, (both from Estonia BTW) and Denmark’s Lithium Balance)
But what we actually learned will indeed change the face of venture in the Nordics forever. A new 150m Euro fund is being raised out of Finland and is backed by three heavyweights, and I mean heavy, tipping the scales. We do know that it is expected to launch in Q2 2011 and it is comprised of three men – Telco pioneers and a Finnish investment, fixer, numbers man direct from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Yuuup. You heard that right. So what does that mean for the regions government backed incubator programs and seed round VC firms? Nothing. But what does that mean for the Nordics sad shape of affairs with A round and up VC firms? A lot – the region has seen a handful of firms whither away, no new funds are being raised, several are shut down and the current “names” haven’t had an exit or IPO in ages. So this group of Finnish cowboys are taking matters into their own hands and putting Finland squarely on the map where it belongs. I’m told by one of the three founders that the fund is going to be for extreme innovation with long term strategic commercial appeal in Clean Tech, ICT and Life Sciences. – JLH
Posted by Tattletech on Dec 4, 2010 in Things We've Learned This Week
Well, another week gone – this one took us from November into December without pause. Not sure why that keeps happening. One thing we can say is that it was seamless.
Tons of stuff out there this week — snow storms, more WikiLeaks stuff, Last.fm with a loss of 2.8m GBP (see TechCrunch article), and the fact that UGGS can finally be worn (not by me of course) for their true purpose – to keep your feet warm.
But that’s nothing considering what we really learned this week:
1. Basically, no one knows what they are doing. Period.
2. Simple technology is often the best and most well adopted by users. (Ge.tt)
3. No one really knows what real-time means.
4. Last.fm can’t get their act together. Face it.
5. Connected TV‘s will happen. Get ready.
6. CES 2011 is already a pain in the ass.
7. People love to bitch and whine. It’s winter. It’s cold. Live with it.
8. Things will always get better.
9. Sometimes you find kindness in places you never thought you would find it.
10. Love is a stubborn youth. (La Roux, not me)
Posted by Tattletech on Nov 26, 2010 in Things We've Learned This Week
Right. Fresh off of a trip to Berlin for Mobile 2.0 and the Nordic Seed Capital Initiative Tour, our heads have been filled with a lot of stuff like why do mobile operators still not get it and what are they actually up to day after day?
1. The Nordic incubator scene spins its own web – they have their own hierarchy, methods and vision for how to incubate a start up.
2. Bjorn von Siemens wants to add value to the start up community by translating old economy standards into successful behaviors in the new economy.
3. LindenVC is the new VC model for incubating innovation.
4. Berlin is a very hip city that knows how to make Manhattan properly.
5. For the second time, it is a jagged volatile communications landscape out there, start ups need to KNOW who they are before they start talking.
6. For reals, the 20-something working kids use Facebook for everything and think it will over-take LinkedIn.
7. Most women/girls have an iPhone and BlackBerry
8. Talk is cheap & actions always speak louder than words.
9. The news cycle never ends, even on a Friday after US Thanksgiving day.
10. Four Manhattans are really the limit.