August 5, 2009

Final reflections on the Traveling Geeks trip

Craig & Karyn

JD LasicaIt has been one month since the Traveling Geeks kicked off our trip to London and Cambridge with a Tweetup at JuJu in Chelsea. (I was the chief organizer of trip.) From this distance and vantage point, here are a few random impressions:

• I think too much can be made of the differences between entrepreneurship in the UK and in the United States. While it’s true that Silicon Valley nurtures a spirit of innovation marked by the mantra “Fail often, but fail fast” — an axiom that permits experimentation without demanding an immediate return to investors — it’s even more true that the businessmen and entrepreneurs I met along the way have the same fire in the belly — a burning desire to build something of great value.

SeedCamp was a high point of the trip to many of us, and apart from the well-done, compact presentations, it was fascinating to watch tomorrow’s young business leaders mingle with each other and exchange ideas and contact information. Cross-pollination at its best. Spotify, Huddle, Skimlinks, Zemanta — these are names that may grow into notable consumer brands in the coming years, and Moo arguably already has. (Here’s my writeup; and here’s my video interview with Skimlinks founder Alicia Navarro.)

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May 19, 2009

Introducing Traveling Geeks London

London-street-level

JD LasicaOne reason I’ve been overstretched for many months is that I’ve been working since last August as the (unpaid) chief organizer of the second Traveling Geeks expedition to explore cutting-edge technologies in a hotbed of innovation. Last spring it was Israel. This time around: London!

On Sunday we launched the TravelingGeeks.com website using WordPress, and I think it has some cool features, such as a widget that captures real-time conversations.

On Monday most of the Geeks got together over lunch at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco to hear how to use Nokia’s Ovi Maps (see above) on our mobile devices. Nokia is loaning us N79s for the trip while in London and Cambridge July 4-11, and Jorg Malang, Head of Ovi Maps, and Maria Rakusanova, Product Marketing Manager — who are in the area for Where 2.0 — walked us through an hourlong live demo.

Jeff Saperstein, JD Lasica, Ken Kaplan of Intel, Christine Ngo of Ogilvy, photo by Susan Bratton

Jeff Saperstein, JD Lasica, Ken Kaplan of Intel, Christine Ngo of Ogilvy. Photo by Susan Bratton

We have a great lineup of Geeks for TG2: Howard Rheingold, Craig Newmark, Robert Scoble, Sarah Lacy, Meghan Asha, Sarah Austin, Tom Foremski, Sky Schuyler, Susan Bratton, Renee Blodgett, founder Jeff Saperstein and myself.

Here’s our still-developing Agenda — pretty impressive! On tap: a “speed date” with Seed Camp winners, a podcast at the Guardian on the future of news and media, talks and sessions at the 2gether conference, meeting with Accel startups, participating in an Econsultancy Roundtable with tech startup winners, hitting the TechCrunch Europe Summer Party, then participating in a Roundtable on Open Innovation at Cambridge. We’re also trying to arrange an afternoon tea with Tony Blair and hope to spend a little time relaxing — say, punting on the Cambridge.

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