Jun 20

LeWeb London: Scoble and Keen

A Debate: Andrew Keen, Internet Entrepreneur & Broadcaster vs. Robert Scoble, American blogger, technical evangelist, and author, Rackspace Managed by Milo


AK has written a book, with the thesis about oversharing, where public and private are indistinguishable, which destroying us as human beings.. Living in public, whittles away us as human beings
MY has seen a lot about RS, his home, his children etc. RS has 1.7m following him on G+ RS does not know if what he does is dangerous; it has brought so many good things happening. MY has asked if there was bad experiences. RS likes being met when out (not had anything at home yet). People bring things to him, he has had great experiences. MY says he has built his career on this
AK asks who is the real scoble. Is it derived from the public or is there a private scoble. If he lost the followers, then could be cultivate himself. RS says he was the same 10 years ago, would find the geek and find him He keeps somethings private, but there is an element of living online.

AK asks who would go as far in public. Not that many, RS says some people would get fired, he got invited to better to parties. RS says that the addictive nature of things, people drive and text, it is killing people. MY asks if the problems are more mundane, that people just waste time.. AK thinks it is more than that. that there is a bigger problem. AK says they sell personal data, RS says Facebook sells access to data. AK asks what is the difference

AK says social companies are treading on thin ice, people are getting wary. If you think you can make a fortune selling data, then you are in a surprise, as it is moving to privacy as the next big thing. THinks social has climaxed

RS disagrees. Many people are changing their behaviours in response to social.

MY asks AK about realtime etc..wrote a column. As Scoble says, it’s when your server knows your drink before you want. AK says that there is so much data that they know our social life. RS says that at the party last night he was handed champagne, he hates it, he has told the world he like Oban. He would have wanted that instead.

MY asks about if assuming that the internet knows what he likes…then you stop receiving things about other stuff. So the filter bubble. RS wants the filter to work for people, so they can filter things, that he says, So they only get what they want from him. AK says that with filter bubbles you only get your knowledge confirmed…and you will get this for your personal lives. AK says we are destroying serendipity. RS says no, he will get a new whisky offered. RS says you know new things through advertising.

AK asks about highlight…they can engineer serendipity. That is doing away with accident. AK thinks social media is doing away with social, it reflects only the person, not social interactions. MY asks how does it not get infuriating, with all these people after him

Jun 20

LeWeb London: Nik Halstead and Datasift

Nick Halstead, Founder & CTO, Datasift & Milo Yiannopoulos, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Kernel


NH sells a lot of data to financial markets; eg looked at Facebook IPO and sentiment around it. You can look at patterns, at back testing and at predictions. THey look at inflections. In most days, there is a certain amount if talk, so see if it is changing from baseline enough,. Another usage is content in twitter going to news sites, They help media optimise their stories to get traffic, to understand their audience

NH announcing that they are working with Wikipedia, look at how people are editing things. Datasift allows you look at stream, what is being edited, track subjects etc. So Wikistats looks at the articles that are being edited and what is being done. This is faster in realtime, you can see things happening now, see trends

MY asking about his initial product, the retweet button etc, for news articles. NH was one of the first to understand social sharing…someof this got sold to Twitter, they did it before them. MY asking about funding, it is $50m NH has had plenty of experience of EU funders, had to go to US for funding, wonders why the EU people behaved the way they did. NH sees a strong trend of US VCs coming to UK, s US is saturated.

MY asking about where he is based,…not in Shoreditch, based in Reading. NH says look at the companies that have exited, a lot are in the M4 corridor. It may not be easy for consumer space, but for companies and infrastructure and companies, it is a great place to be. Gov need to broadcast there are other centres of excellence…Thames Valley is good

MY talks about the madness of crowds, but NH does the opposite, sifts it down. NH customers have a number of ways of doing this. It could be for influence etc, or is it stock markets. They have worked with people to handpick people, to get strong influencers. So Klout looks at patterns etc.

NH is interested in looking at the research opps with wikipedia. Look at NLP, the wikipedia is great source. There are about 100 firms that build commercial products on top, so wikipedia will be another stream of usage

Jun 20

LeWeb London: Baratunde Thurston

Baratunde Thurston, Comedian


BT has been looking at the future before, looking @futureof Now looking at telling stories in a real time world. We are in an area of increasing speed, volume and sources of information. It creates and opportunity for stories to be told. YOu see satirical stories built with digital tools, very quickly. The internet allows you to react quickly, you have to have the ability to do that. Work out how you can cover it is live; storytelling when the story is happening. The Onion had lots of tools to cover things live. Get stories out in reaction to what is happening, eg with the Oscars, started posting archive material once. Then started preparing for events, starting writing provisional stories.

Has also done public services..eg live-hate tweeting, about Twilight! He uses power for good, goes to opening weekends and live-tweets the film as he watches. Asks questions that other media wouldn’t. It has led to many people not seeing it

Another way for real-time story telling, is go on all channels at the time, The Onion created story, filling it out as it went. (gunfire in Washington) They created the story, rolled out in ‘real time’ . As a reaction from media, they were reporting that were under investigation. Their first tweet got sent out….and some journalists got caught out…and then may have turned against it. There was a call that it should have been labelled as satire.

You need to adjust for each platform. Speak the correct language for the platform. So Foursquare is a good platform; a friend and himself ran a campaign to be a mayor of a restaurant. Did rallies outside of the place. Went into the place and there was a man being confused about what it was; he ended up losing the race, as he was out campaigning for another friend!

With swine-flu, he created an account called @swineflu and then followed people who were worried about flu. Created face-licking parties on Facebook. Created new stories for different platforms

A story about ‘abortionplex’ being built, ended up with a location on Yelp, which got over 300 reviews on there. People joined in the story! They added more to it This was building a conversation into the platform.

You also need to experiment in transparency. He wrote book partly in public (How to be blacK) He looked at chatroom later, it seemed to get people more engaged.

Think about the new ways to share, how to propagate the stories. knodes and plexus and attentive.ly and skillshare were all new ways of reaching out and sharing

The world creates stories, you can fill them in, communities and inhabit and interact and engage in ways that are beyond pandering and short of abdication of responsibility.

Jun 20

LeWeb London: The Future

All-Star Entrepreneurs Discuss the Future
Chad Hurley, Co-Founder & CEO, AVOS Systems
Kevin Rose, Partner, Google Ventures
Niklas Zennstrom, CEO & Founding Partner, Atomico Ventures
Moderated by Michael Arrington, General Partner, CrunchFund


MA says this is an open ended topic…they can talk about the future or whatever they want. MA asks why they do anything everyday, they don’t need to, but they work hard. Why?

NZ says there is so much exciting stuff, so many things happening, so many opportunities than before, so it makes me think there will be even more. Passionate about helping people reach potential.

MA asks if it is about giving back, or is it still competitive? NZ says yes, still wants to win, still wants to compete. CH is here to have fun, to build new things, to solve problems. KR says it does not feel like work, loves tech and wants to see the latest stuff. It never feels about work, I get excited about ideas, a great way to spend time. MA thinks all of them have competitive spark

MA asks CH what he does? CH has created company, an internal dev platform, eg delicious, and doing new ones, eg Zeen.. Allows people to build online magazines. They have 40 employees, across 3 markets (US, China, NZ) MA asks wy delicious, is that old news now? CH has rebuilt it, they are redefining service and will be doing more innovation.

MA asks NZ about his company, is he there everyday? NZ says he has a global footprint, with offices in London, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Istanbul and opening in Tokyo. He works across the world, expanding the business. Need to expand quickly. If you don’t go out fast you will have copies. There are lots of locals. MA asks if he has backed a copycat…NZ says no. YOu need to differentiate between evolution and Skype.

MA asks KR what next? KR gets passionate about helping people develop things, about giving them ideas, about seeing things come into fruition. He is a little burnt out of doing new things, so taking a break. Liking investing. MA asks as KR has not had the HUGE exit, but as an investor he’s been doing great, it’s like a hit parade. Why is he good at picking companies, but not ness building them. KR thinks it’s down to execution.. MAde a load of mistakes; he sold to Revision3 to Discovery..but not huge. MA d not think that KR has had what he wants and that is a problem. MA bests KR does..KR agrees he is bugged by that. It is not ness the dollar amount, when you get to a certain level, it is the same thing. KR wants to create something massive, it’s personal. KR does not know if he will get back out there, will stick with what he is doing for a while. Always have ideas, has things he wants to build.

MA asks what there is? Skype was useful from day 1, the others not so much. KR thinks there is opportunity in TV apps, about commerce, realtime QVC and gaming etc, about purchasing things. NZ would wait to see if it works and then would try to help with expansion. NZ says you have ideas, but you never know if it will work. They did not know if Skype would work, but they would have to try. KR things CH is doing great things, reusable components you can try. reuse, iterate. CH says it was painful to restart all the time., In Google, they saw the tools and saw how much easier it made it

MA asking about KR Chevy Volt..he got it because he had free electricity at Google. But he has a Porsche 911S…and bought a new one recently, the Turbo…why have both! KR always liked Porsches…a compnay he was advisor for sold, he got his money for the shares. THe founder was a Porsche guy, and they got one together…(KR was embarrassed at having to tell this story)

MA asks in the next 5 years, what will be important. NZ thinks about connections, about more of economy online. Today it is about building products, making it easier, it used to be tech, now it is products that can solve problems. THere are still sectors, like health and education that are ready. CH would like to see things become easier, passive, more personalised, more useful. Tracking data etc CH does not necessarily care what friends are doing but cares about what he is doing. MA thinks the guys are being too pragmatic! CH wants to be practical..thinks about personal problems. NZ says there are financial crisis, environment etc and tech can help them solve. YOu can use big data to give better tools. MA asks if Google does look at crazy stuff. KR says there is lots of stuff, but he does seed stuff, so small. He like the quantified self, all the devices to track the person. That will be an interesting space to watch. Looking at mobile, there is a handful of apps they use everyday, we know about 3-4 of these, what else are there. Eg cash free payments? NZ says using phone, email, calendar. They are lacking in innovation there. NZ says a big area is enterprise. They are still inefficient. Would like to see more things happening there.

Jun 20

LeWeb London: Nick’D’Aloisio and Summly

Nick D’Aloisio, Founder, Summly & Bobbie Johnson, European Correspondent, GigaOm UK


ND is pretty young, had no idea of the dotcom boom the first time round (he’s 16). Now he has a company that has attention. ND looks to customise content for the mobile screen, long form content has limitations, with data and screen. Adding a new summary of content layer, working with publishers to do this, to allow you to scan. They are trying to make discovery a lot easier. ND has been working on the product hard for last 6 months. The summaries are algorithmically driven. BJ asks about the hard tech that he has to deal with, eg NLP etc. ND says there are constraints, that meaning is hard to get to. The summary is preview layer, not a substitution. ND is working with a good team of people who have been working with this tech for years

ND received funding in Nov; got some good advisors, met some great people The team is meshing. They have been able to cheery pick, people need to think the same way to get what ND is talking about. They are trying to bring everything together (he’s trying to decide on school arrangements)

BJ asks what his day looks like. ND has an academic scholarship, had covered a lot already, got time off from school. Needs to decide what his lifestyle will be, now, how can he do school and work at the company. He wants to continue to learn…not just to go to university.

ND says they launched a demo in Dec, after the funding. Been getting feedback, building and working on it. Trying to get people to play with beta and then move forwards it. They are focusing on coherent summaries…they will only get the best summary etc

BJ asks about the relationship with publishers. ND thinks he offers another outlet, another way of discovering the content. This is about medium level of content. Publishers have been interested. Talking to a user, he finds engagement is higher if clicks through, summary has increased engagement. ND is not looking to offer a substitution, but a way of finding people.

ND has been overwhelmed by what was being offered, the opportunities and PR, but has move to focus more on the product, focusing on delivery, not publicity. He is focusing on building relationship…learn how to work with people, Build loyalty and trust. He’s been fortunate with a lot of great advice. THe weirdest moment has been meeting Yoko Ono, was very surreal.

Jun 20

LeWeb London: Paul Davison and Highlight

Paul Davison, Founder & CEO, Highlight & Milo Yannopoulos, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Kernel


MY wanted to hate Highlight, but looked into it and did not. PD says that services make it easy to share about what you like etc. This happens in real world too, with T-Shirts etc, But you don’t know more about who you are walking by, how you connect with them, the real world is like a bizarre version of Facebook, where you just have the one picture., nothing else. But know you have technology that changes what is possible, you can walk into a room and know what is possible, who people are and what they like. How can we live like this when we don’t know enough!

PD wants to build the way of you knowing who are experts, who is nearby etc It can tell you who is interesting…MY how does it know who is interesting? PD the app has decisions to make when people are close. Should it send a notification…it asks if friends, if there are friends in common, have they crossed paths before. It asks contexts. Is it daytime or nighttime, at work or at play. It learns and makes itself better

MY thinks it sounds like the most annoying thing in the world; so how do you scale notifications etc PD says you can look at response rates, can balance it. If they respond to lots, then send lots. PD says they it is not about meeting people, most of the time you are not in the mode to do that. It is about surfacing metadata, about knowing more to give choices. You can get value out of networks without messaging people, it is about context. with Highlight want to move onto the next level of connections.

MY asks about how to you manage people you do not want to meet, the creepy people, How can it help in that situation. PS says it should help, it should give context and inform how you react. There are plenty of edge cases to dig into and figure out what they should be. When the web came out, we called it cyberspace, it was a dimension that had not existed before. You needed to figure out what to do and how to behave. Would it be used for commerce. But we figured it out. ANd now there’s more to figure out. It’ll take a while to do.

MY says you are in control of what the norms are..what repsonsibility do you have to inform people, get people informed on what is happening. PD says you have an incentive to build a product that people use often, and we want to make the world better. There are so many amazing stories about its use, about how great things happen. The app surfaces loads of connections, makes the office better, makes connections. Unlocks potential to connect more. It makes the world a smaller place, creates empathy.

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Klarna

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Co-Founder & CEO, Klarna & Tim Bradshaw, Digitial Media Correspondent, Financial Times


Klarna is a payment system, that focuses on the merchants, to create frictionless services. Some is about paying on delivery. They create a buying experience, that is like a Like button. 30% of online sales in Sweden is this.

The problem has been the same…it has never been solved. Everytime you checkout it is hideous. Too many password, data etc. How can it be simple, like clicking a button, without setting up accounts etc

Last year it was about $2billion, it is in 6 countries. They are looking at UK. Ask the merchants about dropout process, there is something broken, so potential to fix problems. The payment space is swamped with companies. You have customers with cards, you have a Wallet, you have Visa, you have fraud preventions etc…so if Visa produces something like verify be visa, it can kill it. Klarna owns the whole stack; you get the goods and then you pay for it. It is similar to credit card – you pay later. You only need to use name and address. We have ways of identifying risk, with your online behaviour when checking out. Eg if you buy 3am, it says something about whether you will pay etc. We collect lots of data, we know what you buy, when etc. Gives us millions of data points, It tells us about behaviour

Klarna is already partly a bank, they have a licence, they allow deposits etc. Building the structure allows us to create something unique. To create something great you need more than the payment infrastructure as well. The hard thing is to innovate, a new thing. Look at a bank, they could do it, but their compliance department says no, they get something that is not user friendly. Legal need to facilitate things happening, get something that works In EU, we can passport the banking licence throughout, so could open in any new country

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Three themes to thrive in real time

Jeremiah Owyang, Partner, Altimeter Group –
“Three themes to thrive in real time”

Being faster than real time…is about anticipation. It’s been difficult to do in tech space. Anticpation needs experience and an understanding of what is in play. When it comes to companies connecting to customers, there will be a lot of balls in play, There are opporutunies and threats here

Looking at some of the small peices now. Looking at the sources of information for a company. So press, research, people, etc. There are 5 at the moment..there are going to grow. Then paid, earned owned, that’s another 3 – they come together with convergence media. Then there are different screens. At least 5. So at least 75 ways for a customer to find oyu – then they have 7 layers….so that 535. Then for each product line

That’s a LOT of information. Companies are putting together this data to make predictions about what is happening )eg Target sending our predicted ads)

There are 3 themes – dynamic customer journey. adaptive organisations and the sentient world.

JO was sitting in Times Square trying to count the mesages. THere are so MANY choices, how can you choose. It’s a dynamic customer journey, it changes. SO hwo can inflexible static organisation change with the customer.

Look at photos, 250m go onto Facebook each day. SO how do companies take advantage of photos. Tesco allowed people to scan images to buy goods from the subway. Food could be ordered from journey. In Times Square, American Eagle combined display ads, you could go to the booth and take a picture and that got shown on the screen as well. They had paid, owned and earned in the same place.

YOu need to understand what influences your customers. How does dynamic journeys shift the experience. And if you can find the hot path, share info when needed, are adverts needed – it becomes information

Looking at the sentient world. What is smarter, the college graduate or tomorrow’s fridge. Where are they going? The fridge can clean up, can manage energy footprint and make sure always have food in fridge.

To approach this world, you need to break into parts and looks at in different angles. How do you look at the world. People are measuring their own body. Smarty pyjamas for babies can help you track how they are growing. Google are testing the glasses, which will add sentience to world

IF everything is data, where is the signal. How do you communicate with inanimate objects. And how do you sort all this out, who are the companies who can answer this question

You need to anticipate, that is key advantage. Use the theme to think about what to do next

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Eric Migicovsky and Pebble

Eric Migicovsky, Founder & Lead Designer, Pebble Technology & Loic Le Meur, LeWeb Founder


EM had the idea, started working on smart watches at Netherlands. Enjoyed commuting my bike, but wanted to see what has happening via wrist, not get phone out. Hacked together a watch, continued after graduating. Took a long time, had not made hardware. Took longer than expected. Graduated in 2009, shipped beta in Oct 2010. Started with a Blackberry linked watch. After that got into Y COmbinator, moved to Silicon Valley in 2011. Then started looking at iPhone. You need cash for prototypes. Made 600 in garage, as test

Started talking online; customers started talking about them, Their first customers…found via rumours that Blackberry launching watch and then writers had to follow up about the start up that was doing it. So at WWDC last year, the apple allowing background programmes, they moved to iPhone. Kickstarter, had been using it and backing people. The hardware companies in the Valley get together and that was talked about it. It is aimed at creative, rather than hardware. Em had tried to raise money from institutions, not very successful. Had some angel backing, but not beyond that. The could not demonstrate a user base.

They put it on Kickstarter. Got $10m in 30 days…the first $1m in one day. People talking about it, tweeting. They are planning that Pebble will have a SDK so people can build apps for the watch as well Will be able to build apps for sports etc

Pebble is an epaper based watch, so won’t get washed out outdoors. Partnered with RunKeeper. Gives HUD for Runkeeper etc. Leaves 3 buttons for app developer to do things. The first batch is 85k

Q: What lessons learnt? So pebble the fist for hardware, but won’t be last. So can use it for prototyping, to get about 50k. YOu can find out of people want what you want and if they will pay for it. Pebble was not the first product, so created a pitch that was for a larger community. It is a short pitch, to convince people to buy it first. They focused on 3 use cases – running, cycling, using it around the house.

Em now needs to ship the most awesome watch people for their backers. From there, they will look at creating a developer community. The future could be a colour screen, need colour e-ink. Heart beat is difficult to get – but watch is open for other sensors to be connected. Work on production started right after Kickstarter. They have been buying components. They had to put in large component orders, to get the supply chain in place, to manage the large leadtimes. Shipping in autumn. not confirmed date.

Biggest challenges are building the volume. People backe dus out of nowhere. Need to deliver against expectations. Opportunities to grow with functionality. It is designed to be a sports watch, designed for water, charge to last a week, easy to charge. Can take a beating.

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Martha Lane Fox and Michael Bracken

Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion & Michael Bracken, Executive Director of Digital, Government Digital Service, Cabinet Office with Roxanne Varza, Startup/Tech Journalist


After the accident, MLF used tech to keep in touch with people. She was asked by the last gov to help disadvantaged people get on line, There are 8m adults in UK not been online, mainly older and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Save money, connects people, gives access to jobs and services. That’s what she looks to encourage. A few years ago, MLF wrote a report, that may not be the heavy piece of thinking, but says if gov use web better and more efficient, we should not pay for sub-standard service from gov online, want to make it a better service.

MB is trying to make it easier to get people to access to gov services. It’s an engineer led section, dev quickly, fail fast, very different to usual government. They are being driven by user need – faster, cheaper and simpler. They behave as not in a monopoly. Previous behaviour was not good; they have a whole generation not engaging with state, so this is a chance to reset expectations. They run it as a startup. For example. testing gov.uk, eg stat maternity pay. Most people who use this, don’t want to answer a long form. Now its 3 questions to get the answer – how much maternity pay do you get. It is easier

MLF is saying the gov is looking around world for examples. THe UK gov is doing things differently, or trying to. look at techcity etc. It is hard and will take time, but is interesting. Some govs are acting like this, et Lithuania, etc they started from a different point, without the legacy. Lithuania thinks it’s simple, get gov online, the people are following. MB says the big challenge..the ones that get it right are small, or federated. But UK is complex, challenge is to make it fair. We need the innovation from tech companies, coming into the supply chain. THe tech infrastructure was held by a few large companies, We are breaking this down. It is expensive, and this model becomes more efficient. If good, then people will use this channel, which makes savings.

MB has taken contracts, not ness renewed, saved over half billion, as a by-product, as making better user services. We are working out what the potential value is. They need to be driven by user need, not just the numbers. They fall from £12 for face to face to <50p for digital transactions MLF looking at the other sectors, ef homeless charities. 50% of homeless people have mobile but the charities are not set up for this. So gov is one thing, the charities are another to focus on. MLF raised a challenge - race online, to get people online in UK. Getting people and companies behind this to get people online. Raceonline was OK, got 2.5m online but not all of them What is the barrier? MLF talks about the benefits. They need a reason. The defining thing about this organisation is they are trying to get activity across a huge number of organisations...the charity is 6 weeks old. We know the biggest barrier is people not understanding the benefits. They have a PC offering - £95 for those on benefits. They look at access as well. IT is only a small pilot at the moment, not results there yet. MB is looking at changing things quickly. Looking at open source. We left it to dev and engineers to select the tech that was the best for the job. We put it up on github and they drive to improve it. Changes model of gov selects and locks in, they are open about choices and if something is better, we will move this MLF is working with Alice Taylor (3D printing toys) A number of diff ones, putting social and tech together

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Facebook

Christian Hernandez Gallardo, Director, Platform Partnerships, Facebook & Jamillah Knowles, UK Editor, The Next Web

When Facebook built. it did not intend to be a games platform, but partners worked on this. Partners bring along the ideas, FB provide tools and ways to get the idea out there. in EU there are pockets of activity, London, Berlin, Paris Istanbul etc. There are plenty of new startups trying to do things. There is lots of success of companies going global from EU basis. 50% of top gaming platforms on FB on EU.

There are no plans to let people build ‘inside’ Facebook. It’s a platform to be built on. Eg Instagram used it for identity and distribution. Use platform to build on and off with the API. YOu have to think of FB as a distribution, to push people to mobile app, HTML5 etc…

Music is inherently social. Deezer and Spotify are becoming the owners of this space. They are active on FB, they use it to acquire and retain new users. FB have killed some of the viral channels, people are building better social experiences. YOu have to build a fantastic product, focusing on social design, making sure there is the same experience across the channels

Yesterday, they announced about Olympics, they partnered with IOC. Launched a portal, a discovery point to connect with real voices of Olympics (eg athletes) Will be a social Olympics. Allows people to consume in their own way.

We do technology integration with media. Apps and integration. eg also working with Olympic broadcasters. They are a place where passion gets expressed. How do you capture that and build on it.

They are developing a programme for partner companies, they are trusted to work with FB., there are 200 companies worldwide helping people work on with FB. But the key area is mobile. We look to improve this, build app centre. They are working to try and get people add a social layer onto the apps, eg how would you do it with AirBnB,

Facebook is 8 years, old, no idea what it will be when his some is 13. The revolution has started, the layer is social, discovery etc, That will only get amplified

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Uber and Hailo

Team Uber vs. Team Hailo
Moderated by Michael Arrington, General Partner, CrunchFund
Travis Kalanick, Co-Founder & CEO, Uber; Shervin Pishevar, Managing Director, Menlo Ventures; Adam Valkin, Partner, Accel Partners; Jay Bregman, Co-Founder & CEO, Hailo

LIVEBLOGGED (just notes, as not easily to transcribe)

Uber are in 13 cities, New York, San francisco and Washington are biggest. The idea came from LeWeb in 2008. They were after a cab, can they push a button to get one. They started in SanFran.
Hailo in London, starting in Dublin, more cities on the way. Launched in Nov 2011

It’s a multibillion dollar industry in London. Smartphones have made it easy to create something like this.

Hailo is meter rate, they make them more efficient so they get more fares. Uber adds a premium

Hailo focusing on growth, rather than profit..’purposely unprofitable’. Uber is profitably in some markets

Uber has been in London 5 days – will be interesting to see what happens how they do head to head. Uber seems to do better is there is no great taxi service; that was what it was, but in washington that has changed. THey have driven product from the experience

JAy thinks the market is big enough for the pair of them. Hailo is focusing on the driver experience as well…they want to create a platform for the drivers, to make it more social, to make their day more profitable. Get the drivers on board first, before paying customers. Done it well in London, using the same plan for other markets. Get drivers to localise it first.

Hailo will be in US by end of year. Looking at linking cabs efficiently…Hailo will have a problem in New York as you can’t despatch a taxi (so says Uber)

Uber have had issues in Washington, as they have had issues with the taxi commission

Hailo provide a virtual hailing service, solving the line of sight problem. The NY gov has asked for proposals about cabs…so Hailo has submitted one. But believe they can still launch
Uber is not tapping into an existing infrastructure, trying to make something different. So in NY, demand is outstripping supply, so get long waiting times. They are working on improving supply

Uber have brought on a COO….(who is European) USed to work with Priceline to help them go global. Will be working in EU

Both companies have a lot of growth to do, to roll out to cities.
MA asking if there could be both companies in one app…Uber will be adding the ability to choose what you get, cab or limo etc

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Box

Aaron Levie, Co-Founder & CEO, Box & Mike Butcher, European Editor, TechCrunch


Box does ‘boring enterprise software’ but look to make it interesting. What they are trying to do is build simpler software, that makes it easy to use. TO MB, you are using an individual as a trojan horse into the enterprise. Now people can bring their own solutions to solve business problems, so that is where growth is coming from. AL thinks it is a massive change as to how tech adopted.

AL announced today about a move to London. 12-15% of growth from EU, this is organic. Want to double this. Will open London office and expand from there. There is massive consolidation happening, as the enterprise players cannot change fast enough, they need to buy into it. There are lots of companies where IBM used to solve problems is now too expensive, where you can now move to the cloud. The market is moving to where you need to approach tech differently in the enterprise. Tools are fragmented, so bigger players are taking opportunity to consolidate

Box also looks at collaboration tools. MB asks if can work with things like Huddle. AL thinks there are opportunities, to work together. Box are exposing platform, to allow next generation to work on top of it, so that they become more of a platform. MB asks whats to stop Saleforce entering now? AL says this is happening all the time, Google did it. Thinks there will be lots of entrants over the years. Box thinks they have a competitive offering.

The seed funding for Box came from Poker winnings…then raised more angel investment. MB thinks we need more of this in London. AL thinks you need great tech and it’s the best time to be a startup. MB thinks we may be reaching the end of a cycle…are they going to be able to get through the next cycle? Box is not near an IPO, so not impacted too much from short term Facebook stuff. It has rebounded a bit now…

MB asking about early stage startups having to raise money now? Al not sure if that is right (although would not give financial advice) It is better to have money than not, so take advantage of that opportunity.

MB asks about company culture, how do you do this, create one that works? AL says easy to create a different culture than IBM…the Valley is so competitive for talent so culture is one areas that can make you different. Build sustainable cultures helps you survive.

MB asks about how much more complex will it be? AL says yes, it will be. So Greece can impact Silicon Valley, so technology will respond to that, so you have systems that will help through this. Digital supply chains span the globe, need tech to help people work this way, across countries and people.

Jun 19

Leweb London: Badoo

Ben Ling, COO, Badoo & Robert Scoble, American blogger, technical evangelist, and author, Rackspace

Badoo is a sharing and location network – to find people and things. YOu can see interests and similar people., 150m users, 10s of millions monthly users. BL thinks it stands out as it is open platform and they have reached critical mass so friends get friends. RS talked to someone who had been stalked, she assumed this would enable new kinds of stalking. BL thinks the general space of social discovery is a new one. and people choose what to show. Badoo you can choose if to show location. Users share location, but Badoo only does approximate location. Thinks that is sufficient. The radius changes based on population density. Badoo wants to be the best, easiest and fastest way to meet people, It was dating, now it is more. Badoo think it is to bring people, but does not set what to do with them

The easiest thing is to chat with people, it has real time response. You can interact directly. RS asks if you can find people who are knowledgable in a specific area. Badoo are working on this. RS asked about the money. BL says they monetise by allowing users to promote themselves and to buy premium features. THey have been profitable for 2 years.

Badoo do not break out specifics, but mobile is growing faster than the web. When they think about the future, if everyone is on something like Badoo you can interact with anyone nearby with shared goal or common interest. Badoo looks to solve the problem of meeting people, to break down the barriers. As you grow, you add barriers about meeting people. THis is about reducing the friction.

RS asking about social glasses (eg from Google)…are Badoo thinking 2-5 years out? BL yes, they are. THey have a great opportunity. They are popular in EU and Latam, Opportunities in asia and North America. Nearterm they look to scale up and move into those markets

BL says they are partners with Facebook, and they can login with Facebook, add photos. It allows authentication of identity with Facebook. They are thinking about creative ways to leverage that.

RS asks about social proof, that knowing about friends let you know something about a person. BL says working on this. Badoo is largely leveraging the existing infrastructure – phones and location in an intelligent ways. RS asked if any games in plans. Badoo have encounters, which has game mechanics. But no plans for games. Looking at what G+ are doing with APIs, then Badoo goal is to allow access to it. Video chats is a frequently requested feature and looking to add this. Badoo thinks this is networking for everyone. Badoo thinks that the biggest problem is scale

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Robert Scoble (Photo @adders)

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Bradley Horowitz and Google+

Bradley Horowitz, Vice President, Product Management, Google & Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb

When looking at search, Google had amnesia. it did not remember what you were looking at. So Google+ is looking to change this, to understand users better to provide better information for them. My phone does not understand relationships – it should let me wife phone in middle of night, but not a stranger.

So with Google local, can get searches from people in circles, people you ‘trust’. You will see more + across all the services. There are many more on the way. With G}+, it was a social network that was late to market, but we could leapfrog, we asked people want they want. Privacy was important. We gave people friction, the ability to target which conversations are happening.

G+ is early in its life. It is not to immediately be Facebook..to farm etc. It’s to do things differently, eg hangouts. You can get celebrities there. Very different to other services. Hangout is one of the differentiators but they are just getting started. There are many things planned. The last number shared is 170m users have upgraded accounts. That number is stable, looking at growth but next numbers at next earning call. To get to that number in 11 months that is dramatic; many took years. Don’t think have reached the hypergrowth yet. There are things that organic..things happen slowly. Never thought there would be this many so soon but best days ahead of them, many things to launch. So for example the mobile clients, they are stunning. We saw dramatic increase in usage across mobile. THe mobile usage increasing dramatically (won’t give numbers). For Google, mobile usage is not a problem, does not impact business model

LL asked about API. BH says that Google I/O is next week…and excited about that. Not going to announce stuff early. But one thing they can announce is about APIs..they are releasing them with targeted partners. Today they are announcing a new partner. They have Flipboard now a partner. It is an amazing application..and now it can work with and to G+ Content looks great.

Bonin Bough from Kraft (photo @adders)

BH brings out people from Kraft – they have been working with them on the Cadbury brand. Kraft are on G+, one of their biggest brands, 1.6m. they have a big year…but lots of existing channels. They wanted a Cadbury channel, to talk about the master brand, Olympics etc. They talk about chocolate, Olympics. Done hangouts with athletes etc. BH thinks Kraft are setting an example. Thinks they are authentic, that they are engaging with people, It is a dynamic platform for them. Kraft Bonin Bough talks about shifting mindset, how everything becomes social. TC is important, as it is a previous commodity and they need socially engaging channels around them, They put G+ at the centre of the campaign. TV is about shifting from expressions to connecting. The commercial will be the trailer to the bigger experience to the brand, at the moment, you see a CTA, this will change, they are going big on connected TC, mobile, mobile at retails, interactive print etc. Thinks of google as a partner, especially with search, google has all the bits.

Now BH brings people up on a hangout. It’s about ‘bringing people together’. (they used this to get questions) One question was about enterprise workplace. G+ can help businesses connect. Within Google they use it to share information, small team work groups, hangouts for collaboration. It becomes a new circle. Companies are using before they have formally launched the enterprise product. For BB (Kraft) they use it, to drive projects,connect people. THey have to bring a different mindset into the organisation. Another question was about recording hangouts (hangouts on air). BH says this was done about 4 weeks ago, to broadcast their hangout, connect with a few, then also broadcast out. The whole world could be watching.

Kraft talking about Olympics, they are going to be covering the social channels 27/7 to enable reaction. They have also been working with tech companies, have just run first hackathon.

Jun 19

LeWeb London: Jamie Oliver and Instagram

Jamie Oliver, Television Personality & Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO, Instagram with Loic Le Meur, LeWeb Founder


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(Photo: @adders)

JO and KS met about a year ago, when instagram was small. They got JO on Instagram, and he started using it the next day, showing pictures of his daily life. They can be shared in real time.
Jo looked at it as a way of getting closer to the public, to understand what they want. Twitter is good for getting stuff out there, stirring the pot, for announcing things. Facebook like a website, peopel get deeper. Instagram was about democratising being creative, allowed his dad to take a good pictire. There’s something about words that can be poisonous, a downside of twitter is that it can be bitchy. JO gets concernd if does not get a certain number of likes, Yor are constantly learning what your audience likes. You take pictures down if it is not liked by the audience.
JO with Twitpic it goes into papers. With Instagram, they are less used. JO gets lots of comments and likes. KS thinks it’s about the honesty. The best use is when it is genuine. JO got a reward at Harvard, and did a speech..he put the speech on Instagram, Gets 1000 comments.
KS loves watching the brands building followings, eg Burberry, they do some great stuff. Create images that really represent them.

JO, with business using them, they are like instruments, business need to get passionate musicians that get it. Different tools have different uses. JO scans through stuff every day. He has a team that manages the website. PLus facebook, twitter, instragram, google hangout. The stuff that he does that works is about emotion and about recipes. People on twitter like recipes, the free stuff. But he’s a publisher, so free stuff is a problem. The internet is about being generous, and that all helps. JO is doing ads…from about a year ago. The cost of the team, with 14 people, is a big job and need to get money to pay for them

JO thinks that Instagram is good as you can ban people and delete their comments. On Twitter it is just left out there.
KS thinks democratisation and openess is the basis of the platform…for many people, it feels like Instagram is only about 10 hours old. KS is looking at changing that, so you can see your history easily. JO thinks that leaving the API open was a brilliant idea, leaving the gates open for developers

KS says the API has allowed the ecosystem to grow, for products and interesting ways to be built on top. JO thinks that this is the best way to grow. JO thinks people are nicer when expressing through pictures. Pictures are more generous and JO likes the spirit.
KS says video is difficult, but can be good. JO, thinks about minifilms, 45sec max would be interesting.

JO uses the platforms to communicate with the people, they can be very active when asked to do things. eg about martha about school dinners. The school dinners is still a massive conversation. Look at ‘pink slime’ in the US. JO thinks a job is to stir the pot, to focus on the food indutry. JO is given lots of data and passes it on – if public have good clear information, then they make decisions. JO tries to aggregate communities, those that are passionate, JO works at joining up and making them more powerful – facilitated activism is what he calls it.

JO thinks that forms of interrogation (with respect to disupting food industry) is good, we need to do more and digital is the future. But will leave measurement to the measurement people. There are loads of facts..we need to do more instead of read facts. Great decisions in the world will be done through phone, rather than just a marketing campaign.

KS thinks a photo does not have to be beautiful, but it needs to be honest and truthful. JO says that popular is boobs, girls and dogs. KS thinks we need to do a better job of personalising, so that the popular content that you see is what is right for you.
JO has not really got advice for the audience…from a personal view, he is a massive geek, using tools and platforms. The medium of telling stories is what he loves, IF they are good enough they make money. JO is not a digital expert, just lives in the world.

KS thinks entrepreneurs need to focus on solving problems and not get caught up in the life. What are the problems. This is what JO is doing, focusing on the problems If you try and solve big problems, there will be money, funding, people wanting to work for you. JO knows it’s good when his 6yo nephew and 60+ dad can use it. JO thinks the exciting thing about the digital world is quality of expression.

Dec 09

LeWeb: Fabrice Grinda

Fabrice Grinda, Internet Entrepreneur, angel investor,Co-CEO, OLX “The Trials and Tribulations of Angel Investing in Brazil, Russia and around the world!”

Has made mistakes with everything…has made them all. So here’s some tips about not making them!
Brazil has many successful internet companies; there is a huge business ecosystem. Brazil is growing fast, 7.5% in 2010, largest ecommerce market in LA. Russia has a same thing, amazing internet economy. Is the largest internet population in EU.

But globalisation is fragile, few people live, go to college, experience other countries. There are barriers to trade and travel. And to investment.

After he sold his last company for $80m, made a lot of money. But he lost $6m in the next round of investments And made a lot of mistakes in his angel investments.

Look at ecommerce. You have suppliers, shipping, payment services etc, low risk in US. In Russia, there’s no XML feed, no idea what they have, there is no real shipping activity, It’s COD for payment. You need warehouses, inventory, delivery people steal product, or the cash and the product. So he build courier service…no losses, but only delivers 2 a day. So they removed the second seats and it went up to 5 a day – the delivery people were doing taxi service. Made it impossible to pick up people, then 10 a day. They had to understand the local nuances.

In Brazil, things work with delivery and services etc, but you get sued a lot. Very litigious. Lots of things can go wrong like that.
He lost of first 6 companies., So he decided to change his model. He started making more investment, 7 in 08, 9 on 09, 22 in 10, 35 in 11 so far. The more investments, the more chance of success. Narrowed down on what he actually invest in. It is about 1 in 20 projects he invests in. They only invest in consumer facing companies, in certain geographies, where it fits expertise. Innovation in US, proven models in other areas.

Has 3 buckets of investments. Mostly small investments. Up to 4 projects a year, advise and accompany projects. Full screening, actively involved. One a year, partnership, get really involved. They take a concept that they have identified and get the partners in. They take one hour to assess – do they like the team, the pitch, the product and the deal terms

Lessons learnt: quality of time is more than quantity. They stick to investment principes, have good diversity. They need to be lucky occasional. They need to be patient, exits can take a long time. And most exits are less than $30m

Dec 09

LeWeb: Fernando Madeira

Fernando Madeira, Co-Founder & CEO, Terra Latin, America Latin America update

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(photo by Adam Tinworth)

You should never tell a secret to Loic, as he asks you to come to LeWeb and share with anywhere. The secret is the digital revolution in Latin America. There is a lot of activity there, 1000s of entrepreneurs, plus lots of people using the web, how they interact is changing the rules. The economy, in the last 50 years, there has been loads of crises in LA..they know there is light at the end of the tunnel. They have built a different kind of economy.

In last 15 years, Brazil has been growing a lot. The new economics has been shared with the people. Min wage goes up 2.5x, 20m new jobs. Over 30m people escaped from poverty, a new emerging class. They are all consuming. They love electronics, they love chips. Brazil home digital US$ is 7k, US is only 2.5k Computers are important, mobile devices, especially phones. There are 90mm broadband connections. 492m million devices, from 69m in 2002. It is about news, information, entertainment, people creative about getting this, not just with data plan

There are 220m people in internet every month. From a quality perspective, 96% go on web daily, 86% more than once. They really embrace the internet. It is 41 hours monthly. 86% on social networks. 60% on video online. 82% on Terra (this guy’s company)., It’s social Live, video and music. Video is the killer app, it has changed dramatically in last year in Brazil and LA. TV used to be so important, it had elected presidents etc. But switch to online. 96% of classA/B watch video online. 31% watch TV series online

Terra tend to offer lots of content for free. The revenue is in advertising. Sonara, is a music service, with 6million users. They treat as a platform, So they have the service, they do live shows, they do festivals. Live shows at least once a week. They had 1.5m people watch Paul McCartney. They offer Terra TV, so people can watch TV for free. It also has a premium offering., they get to see more for money, first for free. They have a portal, with 100m visitors. Again premium offerings in this. They show the Olympic games, with lots of extra information. For London, will offer more channels, HD, more stats etc.

Dec 09

LeWeb: Ben Parr

Ben Parr: Some top trends

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(photo by Adam Tinworth)

The Local Social Network: it’s not just location, it is about groups, about communities. It’s about meetups, or social enterprise groups

The intersection of entertainment and digital, that is Hollywood and Silicon Valley, It will take off next year. Web integrates into shows, YT has TV. Hulu copied the TV model, but Ben does not think that is the right way to go about it. It does not generate revenue for the premium content it shows. There will be more models!

The End of the Real Time Web. THere will be better ways to control and parse through the information that come through to it, so you get info in your own time

So what challenges for entrepreneurs?

The money. The Financial Crisis. There’s uncertainty, It is supposedly the end of good times, there are now leaner times.

The Talent Wars. Hiring great engineers is difficult. There’s not enough talent out there for a digital economy. There’s loads of employee transfer across the big companies, diff ones win the war at the diff times, But there’s just not enough in total. Only 34% of US high schools interested in science/tech, but only 38% of them graduate with a STEM project. People are going to great lengths, to keep and get talent, big money and perks.

There are lots of ideas out there. But how many good ones? Most ideas are stuck. We should not give the easy money, for ideas that suck. We need to focus and get people to build better businesses.

Changing the world is really, really hard. So here’s some advice for you

Don’t plant a flower, plant a sequioa. Build something that lasts. It may not be a fast growing or as pretty as a flower, but it will survive. Remember that Revenue-costs = profit, the easiest way to build a lasting service

Be adaptable. Great ideas can change, so can great entrepreneurs. YOu need to be able to take critique, understand what is attack as well

Finally, don’t build a company. Build a cause. Build something that will matter, that you can believe in and get behind. You have to believe in it, that it will change the world. That it will matter.

Dec 09

LeWeb: Twitter

Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter and MG Siegler, General Partner, Crunchfund

The new version has rolled out to a few people, (the one on the web), it is a slow rollout. They want to focus on being simple, consistent and fast, so it works across multiple devices. This is a combination of the long-term projects and new focus of Dorsey. they have been talking about it for a while, but this drove it.

Was last year’s new Twitter a failure? THey learned a lot, eg, expanded tweets etc, do you get the info in the context of the tweet. But in right pane was not connecting, so new version has that in the stream. Some of the feedback so far is mixed (although Ryan says very positive!). The longer term users/power users seem to be surprised at the changes. Where are the DMs, why are they not a main part? Ryan says the overall strategy is to simplify, so they narrowed down to the impactful part. They are in the place relative to rest of product, refer to how people use it. Not the most important.

With employee testing, they have been critical. There has been lots of debate about the things; most company feels good about what is there. Ryan’s favourite place is the activity section. with all the follows etc. For the Discover section, it is the big bet for the,m. They have over 1b a week, massive amount of content. The challenge we have is making sure they connect people with content that is most relevant to them. How do they find the other amazing content that they could care about. THis is part of the way of viewing content, as to use twitter you don’t have to tweet. A few years ago it switched, away from the drive to create content to the lurkers. WHo consume only, or at least consume first and tweet later. The Discovery tab is far more important, one of reasons there is no DM on front page. It is key for where the company, they are focused on science of discovery and the experience of it.

Embeddable tweets, which is part of the launch, means you can embed, as like YT, and you can take it anywhere and then you can interact with that tweet where ever it is. The content lives where the audience exists. Twitter needs to help brands, etc express themselves better. To get that content in front of people

Twitter has been focusing on making sure there is a consistent experience across all the platforms. Making sure it is simple and easy across all the places, but still make sure you make the most of the platform quirks. Is this more about new users? Twitter had to balance old vs new users, but it was about getting new people, making choices about emphasis. There’s a new Tweetdeck as well; is this a twitter pro? Ryan is proud of the team, wrote it from scratch. It’s for newsrooms, for power users. an important product for this audience, with lists, searches etc. They focused on the needs for this audience. The death of lists is overreported – now on the profile page, They will invest, but they need to make it a better product first.

The Apple integration open up a whole load of stuff for partners, a lot of interesting things to open. Twitter is a beautiful horizontal layer on top of the vertical OS. There are third-party elements, but twitter is focusing on own apps.

There are 700 employees now in Twitter; they have a good focus to get best people to the team, to keep challenging themselves. There has been a bit of turnover recently, but seems to be a natural thing, you make decisions about if it is the right place for you.

From the design point, there’s a lot of new little tweaks., It’s been important for Twitter and rivals have been doing more. Twitter views it as one of the critical things; they think they have one of the best design teams there is. It’s how design, product and engineering work together, a great synergy to be more than the individuals.

The Twitter Ecosystem, is in one of the best places it has been There are 750k devs that have created an app on the system. There is a lot of people in it. Twitter needs to do the right job in giving them products to build on. They need to engage with community, they have been building relationships, doing a lot of listening and looking forward to 2012. There was controversy about Twitter saying don’t build clients, so what are the opps for the devs. That’s the question they have lots of from entrepreneurs. Twitter will invest in core experience, there are lots of opps outside of that. Eg in analytics. Radian 6, Dataminer, huge opps there.

For Twitter to last, there needs to be money. Where’s it going? Twitter needs revenue, but it is not the point o living. It is incredible, some of the campaigns have 5% engagement, Excited about where that is going, they need to scale up to keep trust of users and build right product.