Month: January 2011

Jan 4 2011

I Love Starting The Year Off With CES

After a two-fer of deeply annoying arrogance demonstrated by two different VCs on the first business day of 2011 that I’m still pondering (a mix of conflict avoidance behavior and passive aggressive behavior) I’m really looking forward to CES.

Several years ago, my partners and I started going to CES together.  Jason and Ryan had being going for a while.  I’m not a trade show guy although I diligently went to Comdex for several years in the 1990’s as part of Softbank (which owned Comdex at the time.)  Generally, I’m completely overwhelmed by the people and the stuff and the idea of spending a few days in Las Vegas playing trade show monkey makes me tired just thinking about it.

But there’s something deliciously seductive to me about CES.  When combined with an attitude change (rather than fighting the crowds, I just roll with it and pretend like I’m in the ocean, swimming around, not really noticing all the dirt and animals), I’m really enamored with wandering around, looking at, and playing with all the new stuff on display.  Rather than target specific stuff, I just spend two days looking at everything.

It helps that we have two really fun dinners with a bunch of friends (it’s my year to organize – actually, that means Kelly has done all the work – thanks Kelly).  An early morning run, followed by eight hours of walking around playing with technology, followed by three hours hanging out with good friends and colleagues at a great Las Vegas restaurant.  Ok – that’s a good day.

In the past we’ve discovered new investments (such as Cloud Engines) and seen lots of companies we are investors in make good progress (e.g. this year I expect both Sifteo and Orbotix to get a lot of airplay based on what they are announcing.)

I’m heading out a day early for a BigDoor board meeting.  It seems appropriate that we’d kick of our 2011 gamification of the universe with a meeting in Las Vegas.  So make that three great dinners with friends.

Comments
Jan 3 2011

Does Me-Too Stuff Bore You?

As 2011 kicks off, I think we are in for a ton of innovative software and Internet stuff this year.  Yeah, some of it will be “just like everything else but different.”  However, of the areas we invest heavily in – human computer interaction – has an incredible amount of activity going on.  I’ll be at CES in Las Vegas this week so I expect to have a dose of nerd-eye-candy (e.g. the latest TV sets) along with a bunch of cool / amazing / clever / intriguing new HCI things.

I expect CES will be a classic case of “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  If you want to go really deep with HCI, consider joining me at the Blur Conference in Orlando on 2/22 and 2/23 especially if any of the following topics appeal to you.

  • markerless motion capture
  • phone controlled robotic gaming devices
  • augmented reality apps
  • alternative input mechanisms
  • neuro-physiological measurements
  • all kinds of Kinect hacks
  • 3D/digital sculptures
  • neuro-ergonomics
  • social robotics
  • multi-touch interfaces
  • speech recognition
  • human instrumentation
  • natural user interfaces

I’ve accepted the reality that the computers are going to take over during my lifetime.  I just want to help be involved in writing some of the code to hedge my bets.  Register now to come join me in my quest.

Comments
Jan 3 2011

The Numbers Reset To Zero

Most of the companies I’m an investor in have a fiscal year that lines up with the calendar year.  As a result, with a few exceptions, the 2010 numbers are done and the 2011 numbers have reset to zero.

When I was running my first company (Feld Technologies) this was a big moment each year.  I still remember it vividly – we pushed and pushed and pushed an increasing revenue (and profit) number each year with the goal of exceeding the previous year.  On 12/31 at 11:59pm, the numbers were in and it was time to start over.

While I recall a few “flat” years, I’m pretty sure we increased the top line at least a little over each of the seven years we were in business.  We had several big growth years (100% or more).  Our bottom line always held its own – I think it was “flat” in the flat years, but again we had several big growth years where we got to new levels.

But every year on the first day back at work after the new year I recall being somewhat daunted that we were back at zero for all the numbers.

Welcome to 2011.

Comments