Apple Acquires Mapping Company Poly9

The word this morning from AppleInsider is that Apple “recently” purchased mapping company Poly9. The company produced a lightweight, Web-based 3D globe similar to Google Earth and now some are speculating that an “Apple Earth” is on the way.

While Google Maps is currently the default on Apple’s mobile devices, there’s one thing for sure – Poly9’s Flash-based globe is not likely to find its way onto the devices.

Business Insider’s Jay Yarrow says that “it looks like this was an acqui-hire for talent” and that Apple “could be hiring Poly9 to help build a map product for the iPad and iPhone so Apple doesn’t have to rely on Google Maps.”

Right now, AppleInsider has said that neither Apple nor Poly9 has confirmed an acquisition and no other details are available. The initial report (via Google Translate) said that Poly9’s offices have been closed – as has its website – and that all but two employees have moved to Silicon Valley.


Written by Mike Melanson

The word this morning from AppleInsider is that Apple “recently” purchased mapping company Poly9. The company produced a lightweight, Web-based 3D globe similar to Google Earth and now some are speculating that an “Apple Earth” is on the way.

While Google Maps is currently the default on Apple’s mobile devices, there’s one thing for sure – Poly9’s Flash-based globe is not likely to find its way onto the devices.

Business Insider’s Jay Yarrow says that “it looks like this was an acqui-hire for talent” and that Apple “could be hiring Poly9 to help build a map product for the iPad and iPhone so Apple doesn’t have to rely on Google Maps.”

Right now, AppleInsider has said that neither Apple nor Poly9 has confirmed an acquisition and no other details are available. The initial report (via Google Translate) said that Poly9’s offices have been closed – as has its website – and that all but two employees have moved to Silicon Valley. Leer más “Apple Acquires Mapping Company Poly9”

Fring and Skype Embroiled in Bitter Blog Fight

The words “banned” sit below the Skype logo on the Fring Web site.

The latest Silicon Valley squabble sounds like an unusually esoteric episode of “Gossip Girl.” This one involves a couple of mobile Internet-based phone services.

Last week Fring, which sells software that allows people to talk and chat over mobile phones on the Web, announced a fancy new feature to its service: the ability to video-chat using the iPhone 4 over a 3G mobile phone data connection. Currently, the iPhone requires a Wi-Fi connection to use its built-in FaceTime video chat feature.

Skype, which runs a service for making calls over the Internet, was none too pleased.

Fring said in a company blog post that Skype had decided to block Fring members from using its chat service. Fring gets a little nasty in its blog post, calling Skype “cowards,” and saying that Skype “once championed the cause of openness” and is now trying to “muzzle competition, even at the expense of its own users.”

Skype quickly fired back in a company blog saying that Fring’s accusations are “untrue.”


By NICK BILTON

DESCRIPTION

The words “banned” sit below the Skype logo on the Fring Web site.

The latest Silicon Valley squabble sounds like an unusually esoteric episode of “Gossip Girl.” This one involves a couple of mobile Internet-based phone services.

Last week Fring, which sells software that allows people to talk and chat over mobile phones on the Web, announced a fancy new feature to its service: the ability to video-chat using the iPhone 4 over a 3G mobile phone data connection. Currently, the iPhone requires a Wi-Fi connection to use its built-in FaceTime video chat feature.

Skype, which runs a service for making calls over the Internet, was none too pleased.

Fring said in a company blog post that Skype had decided to block Fring members from using its chat service. Fring gets a little nasty in its blog post, calling Skype “cowards,” and saying that Skype “once championed the cause of openness” and is now trying to “muzzle competition, even at the expense of its own users.”

Skype quickly fired back in a company blog saying that Fring’s accusations are “untrue.” Leer más “Fring and Skype Embroiled in Bitter Blog Fight”

Examples of Open and Global Innovation: Silicon Valley, India and China

by Stefan Lindegaard
An excerpt from the article: “…so the lean playbook advises quick development of a “minimum viable product,” designed with the smallest set of features that will please some group of customers. Then, the start-up should continually experiment by tweaking its offering, seeing how the market responds and changing the product accordingly. Facebook, the giant social network, grew that way, starting with simple messaging services and then adding other features.

The goal, explains Mr. Blank, is to accelerate the pace of learning. “A start-up is a temporary organization designed to discover a profitable, scalable business model,” he says.”


by Stefan Lindegaard

I just had three interesting sources of inspiration that serve as good examples on how innovation is fast becoming more open and global.

My first source of inspiration was a great article in New York Time: The Rise of the Fleet-Footed Start-Up. Here we are introduced to the term “lean start-up” which is a concept that is gaining a following in Silicon Valley and beyond.

An excerpt from the article: “…so the lean playbook advises quick development of a “minimum viable product,” designed with the smallest set of features that will please some group of customers. Then, the start-up should continually experiment by tweaking its offering, seeing how the market responds and changing the product accordingly. Leer más “Examples of Open and Global Innovation: Silicon Valley, India and China”

Startup Strategy Roundtable: Validate Your Ideas – ReadWriteStart


tableI started doing my free Online Strategy Roundtables for entrepreneurs in the fall of 2008. Based on this work, I’ve been able to draw a few conclusions.

First, a good percentage of entrepreneurs don’t bother validating their ideas. Another percentage are immediately interested in raising money. Raising money without validating the business is pretty much impossible. If we can address some of these patterns we have a chance at significantly reducing infant entrepreneur mortality.

At this morning’s roundtable I worked with four new entrepreneurs, and this is what I learned.

Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies and writes a business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy. She has a masters degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her three books, Entrepreneur Journeys, Bootstrapping, Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction, and Positioning: How To Test, Validate, and Bring Your Idea To Market are all available from Amazon. Her new book Vision India 2020 was recently released. Mitra is also a columnist for Forbes and runs the 1M/1M initiative.

Mel Marten presented ClaroConnect, described as being like a match.com for financial advisors and clients.  There was a discussion about the best way to monetize the business, whether charging an annual fee is preferred to monetizing every lead. Then the conversation turned to affiliate marketing.

Albert Santalo with CareCloud was next.  This Internet-based service simplifies the many tasks of the modern medical office. While this business has been validated by a growing list of clients, the positioning of their service needs to be more sharply defined in order to scale the business.  Through much give and take, the importance of segmentation and focusing on the strongest segment of their market was emphasized.

Martin Linkov presented Favit, a product aiming to personally curate and simply present online content.  As a blogger and potential customer, I said I am looking for a service to curate and prioritize what other bloggers are saying about a topic I am blogging about to give my readers a fuller perspective.  But Martin is not looking to answer that need.  He demonstrates how difficult it can be to explain a complex service, while being pressed to succinctly define who the user is for this service, and what is the value proposition for the bloggers who are the stated channel.  The most valuable selling proposition for this service still needs to be defined and validated.

Mark Hernandez pitched his business, After COOL Fitness.  I liked this business idea, there is clearly a need to fill in as physical education and recreation programs are being cut from school budgets.  Currently they are paid by grants and parents.  When I learned of the lopsided ownership structure of the business, I felt Mark’s main priority should be to rework the capital structure of the business while continuing to organically grow the business regionally.

The roundtables are the cornerstone programming of a global initiative that I have started called One Million by One Million (1M/1M). Its mission is to help a million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond, build $1 trillion in sustainable global GDP, and create 10 million jobs.

In 1M/1M, I teach the EJ Methodology which is based on my Entrepreneur Journeys research, and emphasize bootstrapping, idea validation, and crisp positioning as some of the core principles of building strong fundamentals in early stage ventures.

You can find the recording of this roundtable session here. Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here. You can register for the next roundtable here.

Photo by Laurent Cottier.
http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/03/startup-roundtable-validate-your-ideas.php

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Are Incubators and Angels Gaining Leverage On Larger VC Firms? – ReadWriteStart


ycombinator_logo_mar10.jpgBeing a resident of the Phoenix area, which is a significant distance from Silicon Valley, I wasn’t able to attend the Demo Day show-and-tell pitch-fest at the end of Y Combinator (YC), but luckily, other reporters were there and have been slowly releasing stories about the companies and the event. Peter Kafka of All Things Digital published a video interview Thursday with YC co-founder Paul Graham from Demo Day in which he provides some interesting insights into how the investment community is rebounding and possibly how incubators are beginning to have influence on the larger VC firms.

This group of YC grads included 26 companies, of which 20-25% Graham would expect statistically to go on to receive Series A funding. However, this number could potentially be higher with this newest class as Graham has seen a drastic change in the attitudes of the investors.

“Judging by the reactions of investors, the recessions seems to be over,” Graham said in his interview with Kafka. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a batch that had so much investor interest so early as this one.”

As Graham points out, some of the companies had spoken with or secured angel funding well before demo day – another surprise, he says. An interesting opinion he shared in his interview included the idea that it is hard to place a statistical number on how many companies emerge from YC to become “successful” businesses. Who defines what “successful” is?

paul_graham_mar10.jpgGraham says that historically, 70% of YC companies have raised additional funding since leaving the program, or have not needed to because they managed to become profitable without additional help. But how does Graham truly gauge success for the entrepreneurs? “The founders end up rich, basically. That’s the definition,” he says.

The other interesting quote Graham gave during his brief interview sparked an interesting thought in my mind about the state of the start-up and investment community as a whole. When Kafka suggested that angel investors tend to get squeezed how by more powerful VC firms that flood companies with cash in future rounds of funding, Graham replied that firms would be foolish to attempt this with YC startups. To paraphrase, Graham basically said, “The firms wouldn’t dare squeeze out the angels on YC companies because that would mean they would be squeezing us too, and that wouldn’t be wise if they wanted to continue to have access to our alumni.”

What this got me thinking about is how the growing popularity of incubator programs like Y Combinator and TechStars is affecting the venture capital community. Are firms less likely to squeeze out angel investors from these kinds of companies because the incubators continually graduate companies with high potential? Is Graham saying that if the VCs want continued access to the best startups around that they had better play nice with the angels?

If so, is this good or bad for the startup community? If this is really having a significant impact on how VC firms approach these companies, then it surely benefits the angel investors, but do the startups ultimately gain anything from it? I wonder if there has been a case of VC firms deciding not to invest in a YC company because they would rather be able to have more control over term negotiations.

I would think that a VC firm would be more interested in the opportunity to work with high-potential companies than in a power struggle in the board room, but I could be wrong. Or I could just be over analyzing a simple quote.

Photo by Flickr user pragdave.
http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/03/are-incubators-and-angels-gaining-leverage-on-larger-vc-firms.php

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Red Flags, Warnings on Open Innovation


by Stefan Lindegaard

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Some companies have more difficulties implementing open innovation than others. Now, you might wonder if it is possible to tell which companies that have such difficulties and you might even wonder if your company falls into this category.When I work with companies or research on innovation, I look for what I call red flags; small signs that something is wrong with their innovation efforts. Recently, one suggested that Corning, the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics, should be included in my list of open innovation examples and resources so I visited the Corning website.

To my surprise, I picked up lots of red flags on Corning and their ability to become an open innovation company. By using Corning as an example, I hope to bring some attention to issues innovation leaders need to be aware when they want to implement open innovation. Leer más “Red Flags, Warnings on Open Innovation”

Noise to Signal


Mommy, where do hashtags come from?

Mommy, where do hashtags come from?

You know those time-lapse videos that compress days, weeks or years into minutes? The ones with flowers budding, blooming and then withering in seconds? Or late-1990s Silicon Valley startups getting venture capital, blowing it on espresso bathtubs and Dr. Pepper fountains, and vanishing into receivership?

I think Twitter may be the same thing, except for language. In spoken English, it can take decades – even centuries – for new words to emerge, become part of common parlance, and then fade into disuse.

But on Twitter, hashtags can live that entire lifecycle in the course of a day or two. A news story breaks, and competing hashtags vie for dominance. Then a few influential folks adopt the same one. Suddenly the conversation coalesces around it, the term trends, the spammers start using it, and then the conversation peters out as we move on to the next topic.

Is that the pattern? And how closely does it map onto the ways that words and phrases earworm their way into spoken language?

Maybe some up-and-coming linguistics student is already mapping the ways hashtags rise and decay, and getting ready to publish a dissertation… in 140-character increments.

http://www.robcottingham.ca/cartoon/

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Hoffman, fundador de LinkedIn: “Hay que separar la vida personal de la profesional” Reid Hoffman es uno de los emprendedores más influyentes de Internet – La red profesional supera los 42 millones de miembros y añade uno cada segundo


“Podemos llegar al 25% de la población mundial “

Reid Hoffman confiesa sus contactos en LinkedIn: 1.824. Le llaman el hombre mejor conectado de Silicon Valley. Fundó esta red profesional en 2003 y no ha parado hasta convertirla en la más utilizada del mundo. Con 370 empleados, valorada en 1.000 millones de dólares, supera los 42 millones de miembros.

Su olfato para las oportunidades es infalible. Entró como directivo de PayPal en 2000 de la mano de su fundador y compañero de Stanford Peter Thiel. La venta a eBay le llenó los bolsillos con 10 millones de dólares. Con ellos se lanzó a fundar LinkedIn y a invertir en más de 60 empresas, entre ellas Facebook, Flickr y Digg. Leer más “Hoffman, fundador de LinkedIn: “Hay que separar la vida personal de la profesional” Reid Hoffman es uno de los emprendedores más influyentes de Internet – La red profesional supera los 42 millones de miembros y añade uno cada segundo”