Perhaps I'm getting jaded, but I somewhat agreed with Vinod Khosla's comment yesterday at Techcrunch Disrupt where he said there was too much linear thinking going on with startups and something like announcing a UI change in Microsoft's IE did not belong at the conference.
Some of the low-points of the conference:
- Several "check-in" companies checking into products, places, people, websites and who knows what's next - checking into shoes, hairstyles, weather?
- Several companies making it easier (somewhat) to manipulate, filter, stream real-time content
- Several companies enabling gamification of everything
Perhaps this is just natural evolution taking its course and perhaps this will lead us to some really compelling user experiences and value propositions down the line. Perhaps...
However, there were only a few ideas that got me thinking "Holy s****", this is a big idea and could change some part of the world fundamentally. So here are my "meta-idea" picks from the conference, all of which fundamentally deal with data:
- The big idea - leverage the collective brain-trust of an enterprise. The implementation: Opzi - "Quora for the enterprise" - supercharge enterprise productivity by aggregating the collective knowledge of an enterprise and making it easily accessible and addressable down to each employee
- The big idea - users own and wield their own online data. The implementation: Shwowp - "Yodlee for the people, by the people" - enable users to aggregate their own shopping history/date and then selectively share this with retailers to drive better deals.
- The big idea - take mobile analytics beyond web analytics. The implementation: Apsalar - "Kissmetrics for mobile" - in-depth analytics to survey, track and optimize users as they flow through and across your mobile apps.
- The big idea - present real-time information at the "right-time". The implementation: Datasift - tuning and filtering Twitter streams to your liking. I would have liked to see a use-case (e.g. commerce, research, brand monitoring) other than more personalized consumption.
And here are shoutouts to two Venrock-backed companies, Redbeacon and CloudFlare, that presented at the conference. We are excited about the prospects for both these companies and look forward to continuing to work closely with them!
The first is Redbeacon which won Techcrunch50 last year. Redbeacon's vision is to do to local service providers what Expedia/Travelocity/Orbitz did to airlines i.e. make it super-easy to search, compare and book local services (plumbers, electricians, gardeners, trainers etc.). Redbeacon announced it was expanding its service to Seattle, launching with several media partners (NBC Bay Area, SF Gate, Tribune/Fox Seattle), and launching its widget for inclusion on any website. We believe Redbeacon has the potential to disrupt the $150B local advertising and lead gen market. Last year's Techcrunch50 video here:
The second is CloudFlare which won an Innovation Award at this conference. CloudFlare's vision is to serve smaller websites and provide them the performance and security infrastructure that only the largest Internet giants can afford. Value prop: speed up your website by 30% and protect your website's visitors from spam/malware attacks. CEO Matthew Prince showed how CloudFlare is signing up 2 customers (websites) per second today. TC Disrupt video here: