Konekt.me Is A LinkedIn For Creative Professionals | techcrunch.com

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There are plenty of resources on the Internet to maintain a professional profile. LinkedIn is the most prominent, but none really cater specifically to the creative professional. But a startup out of Toronto, Canada, is ready to give artists, writers, photographers, directors, musicians, and anyone else who considers their work a labor of artistic love a new way to easily display their work in a clean format on the web.

Meet Konekt.me.

The site lets you add content in seconds by simply choosing the type of content (a link, a SoundCloud clip, a YouTube video, etc.) and adding the proper URL. Konekt.me automatically embeds the information in a slick, organized layout.

You can also bundle work into separate collections, which may signify different positions you held, types of work, or simply certain themes. It’s all up to you. Within each collection, individual work is displayed.

Co-founders Neil Martin, Jeffrey Howard and Rares Crisan explain to me that, while most creatives have plenty of work to show off, not all of them are fluent in the language of site design. In fact, many end up abandoning a personal blog out of frustration or simply a lack of time.Konekt.me allows a videographer or singer/songwriter to get their work up on the Internet in a beautiful way without spending more than a few hot seconds on it. If you don’t believe me just check out the video below.

The service is still in private beta, but the team was kind enough to give you fine TechCrunch readers an early access code to join the beta testing. Simply enter the code “TCEXCLUSIVE” when you register at Konekt.me.


Ad Targeting Is Hard


Editor’s note: Benjy Weinberger is the engineering site lead for foursquare’s San Francisco office. He previously worked on infrastructure and revenue engineering at Twitter, and before that on search and ad engineering at Google for eight years.

Microsoft recently announced that it’s taking a huge $6.2 Billion writedown over the failed aQuantive acquisition. This news, and the scrutiny of Facebook’s business model following their IPO drama, show that, in online advertising, it’s all about the targeting.

As this Reuters analysis explains, there’s so much online advertising space that merely putting billboards up all over the internet is no longer a lucrative business. Meanwhile, Google AdWords remains phenomenally successful, generating over $36B in revenue in 2011. The key difference? targeting. Google’s sophisticated ad-targeting algorithms greatly increase the relevance to the user, and therefore the likelihood of the user clicking on an ad. This is what makes AdWords so much more effective than banner ads.

So why isn’t everyone just improving their targeting? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Ad targeting is a difficult artificial intelligence (AI) problem, and while you may not agree that it’s a worthy one, it does require a lot of technical heavy lifting. Here’s why (…) Seguir leyendo “Ad Targeting Is Hard”

Camera +Turned Down Acquisitions From Adobe, Google, Twitter; Also Says “F*ck The VCs”

Camera+ …the-ultimate-photo-app-e1292981987493


Two years ago, app developer tap tap tap launched Camera+ onto the App Store. For only a buck, users could get way more mileage out of the mobile photography experience, bringing 27 color effects and granular controls to their iPhone cameras. These features have made it one of the most popular camera apps out there. So popular, in fact, that Camera+ rang in its second birthday today with its 8 millionth download, tap tap tap founder John Casasanta said in a blog post.

As part of the celebration, Casasanta reflected on his company’s journey over the past two years. In his post, he reveals that tap tap tap received a handful of acquisition offers from several notable names: “It started with Adobe, then went to Zynga (for The Heist, not really for Camera+), then Google. And most recently, Twitter.”

The startup has also apparently had plenty of interest from VCs and was recently close to the finalizing its first round of financing. However, the team decided against closing the round, Casasanta says, because they “didn’t like the direction the investors were trying to push us in,” and instead chose to remain independent.

In a rallying cry for all those who forego outside investment, the founder then exposed his middle finger to the world’s venture capitalists, saying, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … f*ck the VCs!”

In a post from 2008, which he links to, Casasanta outlines his quarrels with VCs, saying:

In a nutshell, VCs will give you just enough money to get the ball barely rolling, but then repeatedly force your hand in later funding rounds (if you even make it that far). They’ll have you by the cojones and you’ll have no choice but to give up more and more of what you’ve built through your blood and sweat. And what’s worse, VCs typically bet on a large group of startups with the expectations that one will hit big (the 1 in 10 guideline).

So what about the ones that don’t make it? Well, the founders may very well care about their creations deeply. But the VCs will be

quick to amputate and cauterize. They’ll cut their losses in a heartbeat no matter how this would affect the people who’ve poured their souls into their babies. I’ve known many people who’ve been in this predicament over the years and it’s unfortunate to say the least.

He sounds bitter, like someone who’s been scarred by a deal or two with investors turning sour, but his note of encouragement are words for all punk and indie developers to live by — although it’s probably not advisable for all to follow the same path. Clearly, there are more than a few startups that would kill to have been in the same fortunate position, and would have gladly taken the money. Seguir leyendo “Camera +Turned Down Acquisitions From Adobe, Google, Twitter; Also Says “F*ck The VCs””

Pay To “Highlight” Your Facebook Status Updates To More Friends – A Reckless New Ads Test

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Only 12% of your friends see your average status update, but Facebook is testing an option called “Highlight” that lets you pay a few dollars to have one of your posts appear to more friends. Highlight lets the average user, not Pages or businesses, select an “important post” and “make sure friends see this”, but not color it yellow as Stuff wrote when it first spotted the feature. A tiny percentage of the user base is now seeing tests of a paid version of Highlight, but there’s also a free one designed to check if users are at all interested in the option.

Highlight could show Facebook’s willingness to try more aggressive ways of making money, which should delight potential investors. But Facebook is playing with fire here. The service has always been free for users, and a pay-for-popularity feature could be a huge turn off, especially to its younger and less financially equipped users who couldn’t afford such narcissism.

The official statement from Facebook on this is:

“We’re constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing with their friends.”

I doubt Facebook is going to see positive reactions to Highlight, but if it did it could turn into an unpredicted revenue stream. Just the fact that Facebook would test this could bolster confidence for potential IPO investors. They want to know the company is interested in striking a more advertiser-friendly balance between a pure user experience and the goals of advertisers. That’s especially important now, as yesterday Facebook had to warn investors that its ad business is in jeopardy as more users access via mobile where it doesn’t show nearly as many ads.

But the problem is the potential for Highlighted updates to reduce the general relevance of the news feed. Facebook’s news feed sorting algorithm is designed to show you posts by your closest friends or that have received a lot of Likes and comments. Highlight distorts this, and will encourage news feed spamming club promoters, musicians, small businesses, or anyone else with something to gain from more clicks.

HOW HIGHLIGHT WORKS… Seguir leyendo “Pay To “Highlight” Your Facebook Status Updates To More Friends – A Reckless New Ads Test”

With 12M+ Downloads, Scan Launches Scan-to-gram, A New Way To Follow People On Instagram

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RIP EMPSON | http://techcrunch.com

Three guys from Provo, Utah set out on a mission to make QR codes, those boring pixellated, black-and-white squares come alive — in other words, to extend their functionality by turning them into realworld “like,” “follow,” and “buy” buttons. And it’s been working. In February, Scan announced a seed funding round from Shervin Pishevar, Google Ventures, CRV, Start Fund, Social + Capital, Ludlow Ventures, and more. The company moved their operations from Utah to San Francisco, and is currently sitting at just over 12 million downloads across iOS devices.

How did it become one of the top downloaded QR code scanner in just over a year? Because, beyond the basic scanning functionality offered by a host of iOS and Android apps, Scan offers a variety of services and features that let SMBs and enterprise companies create mobile optimized QR code, NFC, and other tech experiences to let users can QR codes with their phone and immediately “like” products or businesses on Facebook, follow on Twitter, check in on Foursquare, etc. Check out how businesses are using it here.

As Scan is in the business of creating apps that extend the potential application of QR code tech, Scan is today leveraging the buzz around Instagram to let businesses, organizations, etc. build their Instagram user base via QR codes. The new app, appropriately called Scan-to-gram, lets users scan QR codes and instantly follow a company and its employees.

The company has already lined up a bunch of notable Instagrammers to be part of its initial launch, including Warby ParkerZooey DeschanelNikeMarc JacobsGQVevoAudiNat Geo, and the L.A. Lakers — to name a few.

With Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook, the platform is becoming increasingly appealing — beyond what it already had. Brands are excited because it provides early adopter-types and mobile enthusiasts with a simple way to boost their followers, which gives them access to another social media channel and potential branding opportunities.

On top of that… Seguir leyendo “With 12M+ Downloads, Scan Launches Scan-to-gram, A New Way To Follow People On Instagram”

TechCrunch | The Seven Forces Disrupting Venture Capital

See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

Editor’s Note: TechCrunch columnist Semil Shah currently works at Votizen and is based in Palo Alto. You can follow him on Twitter @semil

For the past few years, I have read over what seems like hundreds of blogs and thousands of tweets that either directly claim or indirectly hint at a disruption of traditional venture capital. For some, the factors relate to the economy, that limited partners and institutional investors were reviewing their investment approaches. For others, it seemed as if there was too much money in the asset class, that there was too much money chasing too few real opportunities. There seemed to be a long laundry list of why venture capital was undergoing this shift, but never any thread that could lay out all the factors and synthesize just how each factor contributed to shift, until now…

(Note: 1. Since “venture capital” is applied to many different industries with vastly different economic structures, this post will focus on software startups. 2. I am not going to list examples below because there are too many and I don’t want to exclude any particular companies.)

First, we have Amazon: It’s cheap to build, host, test, and optimize software. Amazon Web Services, for instance, reduce operational costs for young companies, directly impacting a startups’ burn rate. Whereas in the past a not insignificant part of an investment may be allocated to hosting, Amazon’s innovation has helped entrepreneurs better manage costs and dampened the need for venture capital investors to help out early with operational expenses.

Secondly, Angel Investors: Once a products gets to some proof of concept, an entrepreneur can raise seed funding from an incredibly wide range of sources. Those that are either connected or lucky can solicit checks from family, friends, former bosses and colleagues, or they join incubators (more on this below), or reach out to relatively obscure or more well-known angel investors, all the way up to small institutional funds, what some people refer to as “Super Angels” or “MicroVCs,” or websites dedicated to pairing investors with investment opportunities (more on this below). The flood of early-stage capital has triggered some venture capital firms to also invest in the seed stage, where they have to compete directly with smaller funds or vehicles, though a small handful of firms have resisted and focused on Series A-style investments. Seguir leyendo “TechCrunch | The Seven Forces Disrupting Venture Capital”

TechCrunch | The Future of Science

See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Richard Price, founder and CEO of Academia.edu — a site that serves as a platform for academics to share their research papers and to interact with each other.

Almost every technological and medical innovation in the world has its roots in a scientific paper. Science drives much of the world’s innovation. The faster science moves, the faster the world moves.

Progress in science right now is being held back by two key inefficiencies:

The time-lag problem: there is a time-lag of, on average, 12 months between finishing a paper, and it being published.
The single mode of publication problem: scientists share their ideas only via one format, the scientific paper, and don’t take advantage of the full range of media that the web makes possible.
The stakes are high. If these inefficiencies can be removed, science would accelerate tremendously. A faster science would lead to faster innovation in medicine and technology. Cancer could be cured 2-3 years sooner than it otherwise would be, which would save millions of lives. Seguir leyendo “TechCrunch | The Future of Science”

The Future Of Content: Content Is The Future

Max Headroom

Editor’s note: Contributor Ashkan Karbasfrooshan is the founder and CEO of WatchMojo, he hosts a show on business and has published books on success.  Follow him@ashkan.

“I thought the analysis of content vs other video companies very convincing. But I’m curious: the content game hasn’t worked out so well for AOL and Yahoo. Audiences are fickle. Are you predicting a rosier future?” – reader comment in Is Tech a Zero-Sum Game?.

Infrastructure, Platforms & Content

Today, the Web’s infrastructure is built, and we’re filling the pipes with content — mainly free, ad-supported content.

It might seem like the real opportunities are in user-generated content and aggregation, but anyone who’s worked in those fields recognize their limitations: Simply put, marketers want to advertise alongside professional content. Tim Armstrong left Google (the mother of all aggregators) and joined AOL to remake it into the Time of the 21st century.  He didn’t double down on Bebo.

Content is marketing; Marketing as content

Content – video in particular – may be promotional or commercial, in either case it’s a means to an end.

Traditional Media Companies (TMCs) need to make their content commercial; new media producers are leveraging their content as promotional, sometimes giving it away to build value.

However, when it comes to making money directly from commercial content, the genie is out of the bottle, according to Seth Godin: “Who said you have a right to cash money from writing? Poets don’t get paid (often), but there’s no poetry shortage. The future is going to be filled with amateurs, and the truly talented and persistent will make a great living. But the days of journeyman writers who make a good living by the word — over.” Seguir leyendo “The Future Of Content: Content Is The Future”

Pinterest’s Unlikely Journey To Top Of The Startup Mountain



Editor’s note: Derek Andersen is founder ofCommonred and Startup Grind. Follow him on Twitter @derekjandersen.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some of the Valley’s best entrepreneurs and investors at Startup Grind. People like Naval RavikantKevin RoseTony ConradMG SieglerJeff Clavier, and others have inspired us with stories and trials they have overcome to get where they are.

In February we hosted Pinterest co-founder (andnow officially CEO) Ben Silbermann in Palo Alto. He is one of the most humble entrepreneurs I have met in my seven years in Silicon Valley. The story of Pinterest’s founding is more valuable to me than most startups because it is a reflection of what a lot of founders who regularly read TechCrunch go through in the everyday startup grind.

Pinterest’s founders are smart guys, but they’re not prodigies. The product is huge now, but no one liked it when it launched. They weren’t well funded and for a very long time. These are things that normal, non-rock star entrepreneurs like me (and maybe you) can relate to.

Founder Background

Raised by doctors in Des Moines Iowa, Ben assumed he would follow the same path as his parents. He attended Yale University starting in 1999 and soon realized that he didn’t want to be doctor. After a consulting gig in Washington DC, he headed to Silicon Valley in 2006 to join Google working in customer support and sales.

“I felt the story of my time was happening in California,” he said. “I didn’t have a specific plan I just wanted to be closer to something that felt really exciting. Google was the first company I worked for that was thinking really big.” Seguir leyendo “Pinterest’s Unlikely Journey To Top Of The Startup Mountain”

850k Daily Android Activations, 300m Total Devices, Says Andy Rubin


Explosive growth. That’s Android. Google’s mobile platform is up 250% over last year and, according to Andy Rubin, SVP, Mobile and Digital Content, Google is seeing 850,000 activations every day. In all he states there are 300 million Google-sanctioned Android devices roaming the world with 12 million of those being tablets. That number doesn’t even include devices like the Kindle Fire that do not use Google services.

It’s all about the ecosystem, notes Rubin on theGoogle Mobile Blog. Last year at Mobile World Congress the company there were more than 150k apps in the Android Market. Now, in the early months of 2012, there are more than 450k apps available. Schmidt might have been right. Android is getting so large that devs might start producing apps for Android first rather than iOS. Seguir leyendo “850k Daily Android Activations, 300m Total Devices, Says Andy Rubin”

Sugar Water


Almost none of the stuff on the radar of the silicon valley echo-chamber is innovative or solves any real human needs. They won’t cure anyone of disease, feed a child, improve the environment, or radically improve manufacturing…

Pinterest? Quora? Other social apps. It’s all a big distraction, it’s entertainment…

It’s all well and fine to pursue these avenues for making money. But don’t pretend there’s anything really innovative going on, that 50 years from now someone’s going to look back like we look back at Einstein, Darwin, or Newton and say ‘thanks’.

That’s from a comment written by one Ray Cromwell, regarding a week-old TechCrunch post about Pinterest — and I have to admit, it struck a chord. And I’m clearly not alone: lamentations re the paucity of meaningful innovation in today’s Valley are growing increasingly common. PayPal founder Peter Thiel, in a recentinteresting conversation with Francis Fukuyama, actually questions “whether we’re still living in a technologically advancing society at all.” Seguir leyendo “Sugar Water”

With Mountain Lion, OS X Prowls Closer To iOS

by Erick Schonfeld is the Editor in Chief of TechCrunch.

Ever since Apple released OS X Lion, its desktop operating system started the long trek towards iOS, Apple’s other, more popular operating system. With the next version of OS X,Mountain Lion (released today as a developer preview), OS X will prowl even closer to its iOS cousin.

l2A number of the new features in OS X come directly from iOS. These include deeper iCloud integration, Messages, Reminders, Notes, a Notification Center, a Game Center, AirPlay, and built-insharing to Twitter, email, and more.

As time goes on, Apple is building more and more iOS features into OS X to create a more seamless experience between the two. As Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned earlier this week at a Goldman Sachs conference, many more people’s first experience of an Apple product is an iPhone or iPad than a Mac. “The iPhone started to introduce Apple to hundreds of millions of people who had never met Apple before,” he said. This the famed halo effect of the iPhone is orders of magnitude larger than it was for the iPod. People who buy an iPhone are more likely to buy a Mac, and when they do buy a Mac they are going to expect a familiar experience. Seguir leyendo “With Mountain Lion, OS X Prowls Closer To iOS”

Pearltrees, a company offering a novel interface for sharing and finding content


by Anthony Ha is a writer at TechCrunch, where he covers media, advertising, and startups. Previously, he was a staff technology writer at Adweek, worked as a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, and was also a reporter at the Hollister Free Lance, where he won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association for breaking news coverage and writing….

pearltrees discover

Pearltrees, a company offering a novel interface for sharing and finding content, has raised 5 million euros ($6.7 million US) in new funding. Seguir leyendo “Pearltrees, a company offering a novel interface for sharing and finding content”

Google And The Monopoly Paradox

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With the deep inclusion of Google+ into Search, Google is tempting fate. We’ve been over thisA lot. And this story is going to continue for some time to come. It sure looks like Google is almost asking for an inquiry into potentially anti-competitive practices (and it’s coming). Which is insane. So the next logical question is why? Why is Google risking so much to do this?

My colleague Eric had a very interesting theory earlier. Maybe Google’s real motive is to get the government to also look into Facebook’s often-unfair practices with regard to their network ahead of their IPO. If social and not search is indeed the future, call this pre-subversion. And if there’s any shred of truth to this theory, more power to Google — it’s rather genius (though still extremely risky).

But the more likely answer as to why Google is doing Search+ is much simpler. At a high level, they believe social elements are going to be an extremely important part of search going forward. Given that the two biggest players in social, Facebook and Twitter, don’t give them full access to their data (Twitter used to but the relationship ended, Facebook never did), Google is doing the only thing they can in their minds to still get the data they need: bolster Google+. Seguir leyendo “Google And The Monopoly Paradox”

In Mobile Advertising, Does Size Matter?

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It’s the motion in the ocean that counts, right? Wrong. Well, at least that’s how it looks when it comes to mobile advertising. (Look out, inneractive infographic below!) If you take Google at its word, then 2011 has been the year of the tablet. Or in their words, this year tablets “went mainstream”. Sure, Google would say that, as the creator of a rapidly-propagating mobile OS, right? Well, with total number of tablets sold expected to get close to 60 million by the end of the year, I think we may be able to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, when it comes to advertisers and developers considering mobile platforms, the question of where revenue is going to come from — and just how much — is crucial. In terms of mobile apps, freemium is certainly here to stay, but mobile advertising, as you’ve heard, is growing like gangbusters, with U.S. advertisers expected to spend upwards of $1.23 billion on mobile advertising in 2011, a number that’s projected to increase to around $4.4 billion by 2014. Seguir leyendo “In Mobile Advertising, Does Size Matter?”