“Two-factor authentication” may be the least sexy-sounding feature I’ve ever written about. But if you’ve ever worried about being phished or having your password hacked, it could be your best friend — because it makes it much, much harder for a hacker to break into your account. Today, Google is announcing that it’s bringing the security feature to its millions of users: the feature will be rolling out first for Google Apps Premiere, Education, and Government edition customers, with plans to bring it to all Google users (even those who aren’t using its Apps suite) in the next few months.
So what exactly is two-factor authentication? Most of the login systems you’ve probably used are only ‘one-factor’ — you enter one password and you’re in, but if that password gets compromised, you’re toast. More secure systems are common in large businesses, and often require both a password and a physical card or dongle to login — these are called ‘two-factor’ systems, because they require both your password and another key, and are far more secure because a hacker probably isn’t going to have that physical token. Unfortunately these security systems are generally quite expensive. But Google is bringing one to the masses. Sigue leyendo
Earlier this week, I participated in a fascinating series of discussions at The Economist magazine’s summit called “The Ideas Economy: Human Potential – When the world grows up”. I came away with the realization that we’re not tapping into even a tiny fraction of the potential that human beings have. Additionally, we have a unique opportunity, today, to leverage the entire world’s talent. In Silicon Valley, in particular, ideas are the currency that matter, and these are the keys to innovation and economic success. Knowledge creation has globalized and there is a fierce race underway for talent. We can fear this all we want, but we have a choice: raise protectionist barriers and lose the race, or recognize the new reality and take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Sigue leyendo
Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too.
It was a little less than a year ago that we broke the news that Google was working on a phone of its own – which was eventually revealed as the Nexus One. It was about that time, says out source, that Facebook first became concerned about the increasing power of the iPhone and Android platforms. And that awesome Facebook apps for those phones may not be enough to counter a long term competitive threat.
Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system.
Two high level Facebook employees – Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos – are said to be secretly working on the project, which is unknown even to most Facebook staff.
Both have deep operating system experience. Sigue leyendo
Email is taking up too much time in our lives.
Do yourself and your recipients a favor by making your emails 3 sentences or less.
If we all do it, imagine the time we’ll have to do other things.
If this was an actual email reply and not a blog post, it would have ended before this sentence started. I’ve been trying a new solution to email overload by limiting emails to 3 sentences or less. You can learn the details in just 5 sentences at three.sentenc.es. The basic concept is to treat all email replies like SMS messages. I take this one step further and try to write initial emails in 3 sentences or less whenever possible.
I first learned about 3 sentence emails from a post by Kevin Rose, where he lists 5 good email time saving tips.
The inbox has become the “dreaded inbox” for so many people. A recent study by Xobni claimed 1 in 5 Americans check email either as the first thing they do in the morning or the last thing at night. 26% of Americans feel they can’t handle or feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive during vacation. Another report [PDF] by The Radicati Group says the typical corporate user sends 36 emails and receives 61 legitimate emails during the average day. An IDC study estimates email consumes an average of 13 hours per week per information worker.
Since starting at TechCrunch TV, I get about 100 to 200 emails a day which require action or a response. The newly launched Google Priority Inbox, which is getting postive reviews, helps. Although venture investor Jeff Clavier discovered it can make some mistakes. Google decided his wife’s emails weren’t important. Not good. Sigue leyendo
Started as a way for University of Michigan students to gossip during class, founder Dan Rich says he was inspired by the simplicity of sites like Texts From Last Night and FML when he built Syncronizer, a community where you can follow chat conversations about anything from “Jersey Shore” to “Econ 503.” In fact Rich brings up stealth startup BNTER, started by Texts From Last Night founders Lauren Leto and Patrick Moberg, as a possible competitor.
Here’s what I like about Syncronizer: Like Facebook, it’s another socializing platform germinating from hotbed of all social interactions, a college campus, and despite the fact a lot of the conversations degenerate into the usual fratty deliberations on boobs and beer, it seems as though there is something unique happening here.
The idea of following group chats instead of people is also novel, and socializing becomes more about tracking interests and less about individual personal nodes. You now have the ability to communicate with friends and strangers in both visible and invisible modes, and, in the case of “Econ 503″ some rooms are closed to non-members. The site bridges the gap between public and private so users can pick and choose which conversations to track through your dashboard. Sigue leyendo
While the new design of Twitter.com itself is big news, just as big is what it means for the Twitter ecosystem. I’m not talking about the third-party clients that have similar features to the ones Twitter just rolled out, but rather the partners that Twitter is (or is not) working with to bring more content directly into their environment.
Specifically, I’m talking about Twitter’s initial 16 partners: Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube. Each of these services now has content which can be viewed directly from Twitter.com — potentially taking pageviews away each of them. Why on Earth would they agree to that?
Some of those companies have already given their diplomatic answers — that this way will be better for the end users. That’s undoubtedly true, but many of those sites rely on the advertisements they show alongside the media they host. Such ads will not be shown on Twitter.com. So again, why agree to do this? Sigue leyendo
Warren Buffet is famous for telling people they should only invest in businesses they understand. A corollary to that is that a company should be able to describe in simple terms what they do. Even if what they do is really technical and complicated.
Why? First so employees and investors can get on board and help the company get where it wants to go. But it’s just as important that your potential customers know what you can do for them. And just because you offer a product to businesses or developers instead of everyday consumers doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep things simple.
We see startups all the time that we don’t understand. I used to think I was just in over my head. But over the years I’ve met CEOs who can explain the most complicated technology in relatively simple terms via analogies or use cases. Those that can’t aren’t doing their job.
Not to pick on SimpleGeo, but I will. A developer I know emailed me this Quora conversation this evening where another developer was asking what the heck SimpleGEO does: Sigue leyendo
Imagine if Jonathan Ive, the designer of the Mac and the iPhone, walked out of Apple one day before its world developer’s conference? Well that’s the kind of impact of the resignation today of Anssi Vanjoki, who has announced his departure one day before Nokia World, the company’s major annual event. Vanjoki was widely seen as being the potential ‘Steve Jobs” of Nokia – a product obsessive who could get things done. There’s no sign he’s left for another job and the short press release contains no words of thanks from colleagues. Wow.
Vanjoki only recently (as in, July) became the company’s Mobile Solutions leader – the one guy that was poised to knock heads together and turn Nokia back into a major smartphone player against the iPhone and Android. But no more. Sigue leyendo
This is a guest post by Mark Suster, a 2x entrepreneur who has gone to the Dark Side of VC. He started his first company in 1999 and was headquartered in London, leaving in 2005 and selling to a publicly traded French services company. He founded his second company in Palo Alto in 2005 and sold this company to Salesforce.com, becoming VP of Product Management. He joined GRP Partners in 2007 as a General Partner focusing on early-stage technology companies. Read more about Suster at Bothsidesofthetable and on Twitter at @msuster.
I’ve had a post in my head for months – maybe longer – about the role of a CEO. My primary role was “chief psychologist” and as I’ve learned over the past few years the same has been true as a VC. Both are basically people businesses.
I finally got around to writing it having read Fred Wilson’s post about what a CEO does. He says it basically comes down to three key functions:
- Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders
- Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company.
- Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
Matt Blumberg, who runs one of Fred’s portfolio companies, Return Path, follows up with an additional three:
- Don’t be a bottleneck (make sure you aren’t holding up people’s work)
- Run great meetings (don’t be a productivity drain on the company)
- Stay fresh (be mentally and physically fit & attuned to what is going on in the world)
And I’d add to the world of “lists of three” the old adage that many VCs quote about boards having only three roles:
- Raising money
- Selling the company
- Hiring & Firing the CEO
These are good starting points and one day I’d like to elaborate more on the topic of running a company and as only I can do I will take these short lists and make them much longer ;-)
But today I’m going to do the opposite. I’d like to boil down the role to just one critical function: chief psychologist. Sigue leyendo
This has been one of the more interesting stories to track down. We got word over the weekend that Yahoo is in the process of moving large numbers of engineering jobs within the YOS group to Bangalore. Yahoo PR mostly denies this.
This includes YDN (Yahoo Developer Network, the platform for third party apps to be installed on the Yahoo home page) for the most part. And Yahoo confirms that some California based YDN engineers are being moved to other projects, calling it a “pretty minor internal shift of resources.” But at least two senior engineers were fired outright, we heard (we’re holding the names until Yahoo confirms or denies that).