April 18, 2013

Demo Mobile: The revolution is at full throttle

Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures at Demo Mobile on Wednesday (Photo by JD Lasica).

Startups show disruptive potential of mobile tech

JD LasicaAs regular readers know, I straddle the social media marketing and tech startup worlds, and increasingly I’ve been drawn to events focused on the disruptive changes wrought by the mobile revolution.

I stopped going to DEMO events a while back, given the richness of the Launch and TechCrunch Disrupt startup conferences, but yesterday I attended DEMO Mobile and came away impressed by the fervor and tumult evident on stage and off.

Here are 27 photos I took yesterday in this Demo Mobile set on Flickr.

As always, let me begin with a disclaimer that I didn’t attend to provide a comprehensive blow-by-blow of all the speakers, all the sessions or all the entrepreneurs in the Demo room. Instead, here are a few takeaways and highlights that struck me as particularly interesting with a focus on startups and entrepreneurs — to be sure, a decidedly small slice of Demo Mobile.

Highlights and takeaways from Demo Mobile

Some great quotes from the stage:

• Famed investor Chris Dixon: “The seed stage is about the team. The VC stage is about the numbers.”

“I like to have exploration plans. Other investors like revenue, I like more data.”
— Vinod Khosla

• The awe-inspiring Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures: “In our last 100 investments, we’ve never calculated a rate of return. I forbid it.” Why? Because it’s guesswork. “It’s more worth your time to go around in circles exploring where the roads may lead.”

• More Khosla: “I depart from many investors who like to have business plans, who like to have revenue plans. I like to have exploration plans. Other investors like revenue, I like more data. … It’s important not to pretend we know where things are headed.”

• Great Khosla saying: “A company becomes the people it hires.”

• Final pearl of Khosla wisdom: “Eighty percent of my focus are investments under $3 million. That’s where radical ideas happen.”

• Stanford professor, serial entrepreneur and author Steve Blank — the intellectual godfather of the Lean Startup movement — summarized these three elements of a lean startup: business model design, customer development and agile engineering.

• Some great quotes from Blank: “The startup is a search for a business model.”

• “No business plan survives first contact with customers.”

• “You have a series of untested hypotheses on day one. Outside of Stanford, we just call them effing guesses.”

• Best T-shirt pun, from Matt Brezina, founder of mobile gifting startup Sincerely: “The Fuchsia Is Now.”

• Garrett Camp, founder of StumbleUpon and now limo service Uber, says Uber is in 35 cities and will enter more markets in the coming months. “It’s a mixture of the local regulatory environment and the number of credit cards we have on file (from customers) and if we can hire people in the location.”

Messaging, canned video chats and mini-satellites

• The most amazing startup here may be NanoSatisfi (motto: “Develop on earth. Deploy to space.”), which says on their website: “We offer affordable satellite access with an open platform for development.” How cool is that? NanoSatisfi wants to put programmable mini-satellites in space that students and citizens can control with a drop-in code. Says founder Peter Platzer: “Imagine a future where teachers say, ‘Kids, don’t turn to page 57. Turn on your satellites.’ ”

• One of the more intriguing startups was Volio, which lets any business or entrepreneur pre-record video snippets in an interactive video chat format so that the video can respond to a customer’s or user’s question. It’s an intriguing technology that uses natural language processing but is perhaps best suited to customer service departments.

• The app I’m most likely to use? Just.me, from Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch, and his team. Very soon you’ll find the app in the iOS App Store in 155 countries and 32 languages. Just.me is a combination private messaging app meets social networking app — think of a Path that lets you share photos, video, audio and text with anyone in your Address Book.


‘Demo God’ awarded to 5 startups pushing boundaries of mobile technology (Venturebeat)

Are you ready for the place graph? (Socialmedia.biz)

Mobile articles and resources (Socialmedia.biz)JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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