June 25, 2013

How to create a Social Startup

Bitspiration conference

At Bitspiration: An inspired gathering for European startups

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, marketing professionals, social media strategists, businesses.

JD LasicaI‘m spending the week in Krakow, Poland, and gave a presentation yesterday as one of the featured speakers at Bitspiration, the second annual conference for entrepreneurs, startup teams and investors, chiefly from Eastern Europe. About 300 people have turned out to hear from a high-quality lineup of speakers from Europe and the United States, including four of us from Silicon Valley.

Here are the slides from the talk I gave on how to create a Social Startup, and why you want to do it: Continue reading

March 7, 2013

Launch Festival: ‘We live in the future now’

judges
The panel of judges/venture capitalists at the Launch Festival (Photo by JD Lasica).

Conference brims with innovative tech startups

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startups, businesses, tech sector executives and employees, anyone interested in innovation.

JD LasicaAfter three days of the Launch Festival, where 5,000 attendees jammed into San Francisco’s sprawling Design Concourse, one can be forgiven for believing that, through some cosmic event involving gamma rays and worm holes, participants were given an exclusive glimpse of what’s just around the corner. (So this is what tomorrow looks like!)

There’s no longer any doubt: Launch and TechCrunch Disrupt are now unquestionably the top startup conferences on the planet. They used to be one event, under the banner TechCrunch 40 (which launched Mint) and TechCrunch 50 (which launched Yammer), before the co-founders went their separate ways. This week I overheard more than a few attendees say that Launch — which has a mega-personality in founder Jason Calacanis where TechCrunch Disrupt now lacks one — has become the most essential gathering of its kind. Continue reading

September 14, 2012

Up-close photos of TechCrunch Disrupt 2012

Mark Zuckerberg

JD LasicaIn the past two years, TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco has become the single most important technology conference on the planet. And so it was this week, as entrepreneurs and startup founders and marketers came out in droves at the SF Design Concourse for three days of preening, schmoozing and, yes, showcasing of cutting-edge technologies, many of them social tools.

I received a press pass to this year’s event, which ran Monday to Wednesday, and created this Flickr photo set of 174 photos, including Mark Zuckerberg, actress Jessica Alba, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and dozens of innovators, venture capitalists and tech fangirls and fanboys (I’m certainly one). Continue reading

February 6, 2012

TaskRabbit: Crowdsourcing comes to your neighborhood

A mobile marketplace for getting stuff done from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Start-up offers location-aware marketplace for getting stuff done

JD LasicaOne of my favorite new iPhone apps and online services is TaskRabbit, a platform that allows people to hire other people to complete tasks in their own towns or neighborhoods.

The concept is drop-dead simple but difficult to pull off. Founder Leah Busque says TaskRabbit lets folks “outsource small jobs and tasks to other people in their neighborhood” — say, if you need dry cleaning or groceries picked up, house cleaning or yard work done, Ikea furniture assembled or a wifi system set up in your home.

“We’ve seen some really funny ones,” Leah said, “like, ‘Help me write a love letter to my ex-girlfriend to help win her back.’ Or, ‘Help me prank my office mate by wrapping all of his desk items in cellophane.'”

Here’s my 8-minute interview with founder Leah Busque on Vimeo.

A simple way to connect customers with a local workforce

TaskRabbit works like this:

• Sign up on the site for free.

• Post a task — what do you need done and at what price? Use the app to voice-record a description and upload photos.

• The task goes out to participants (“TaskRabbits”) based on their location. They bid on your job, you confirm the best match, he or she goes to work, and TaskRabbit gets a small cut of the price.

Well over 2,000 people have signed up to perform tasks in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Antonio and Austin, with Atlanta, Dallas and Houston on the way. The company’s vetting process includes online applications, video interviews and a background check, which greatly weeds out the flakes (my term, not hers). Trust, safety and security are at the heart of the marketplace, Leah says.

Unlike online services like Angie’s List, TaskRabbit is not marketing the services of licensed electricians, plumbers and carpenters but instead is targeting regular folks — individuals in a community who can offer their free time, special skills and services.

TaskRabbit has 35 full-time staffers at its San Francisco headquarters with “city managers” across the United States, and it has $24.7 million in financial backing, TechCrunch reports.

In a phrase, TaskRabbit is about service networking rather than social networking. Check ’em out.

Related

Do you have a strategy for social bookmarking and crowdsourcing?

Book: ‘A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing’