Finally, our secret is out. Today, Deborah Perry Piscione’s much anticipated new book Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Can Learn From The Innovation Capital Of The World is being published. As Piscione told me, the real secret of Silicon Valley lies in our absence of hierarchy.
In contrast with New York, she told me, Silicon Valley is obsessed with “ideas” rather than with “greed” or “power”. And this love of ideas, Piscione insists, is why it’s the west rather than the east coast that is really driving innovation in the United States. I’m guessing that not everyone – particularly those up and down the eastern seaboard – will agree with Piscione. So expect Secrets of Silicon Valley to spark a much-needed national conversation about how best to innovate in an economy in which too many executives still crave stability and fear change.
Continue reading here: Keen On… Exposed: The Real Secrets of Silicon Valley [TCTV]
Bootstrap, the highly popular front-end framework originally built at Twitter by @mdo and @fat, is quickly approaching its next major release. As of today, the release candidate preview site for Bootstrap 3 is now up, revealing an early look at what to expect.
We’ve had a basic summary of what to expect for Bootstrap 3 since December. In short, the creators shared that the framework will ”drop legacy code, improve responsive CSS, and centralize community efforts.”
Much more has changed, however, namely that Bootstrap 3 is now “mobile first.” According to the release candidate site, the upcoming launch has been rewritten “to be mobile friendly from the start. Instead of adding on optional mobile styles, they’re baked right into the core…Mobile first styles can be found throughout the entire library instead of in separate files.”
This growing emphasis on mobile devices is far from surprising (other popular Web frameworks have already taken note), but is still immensely important for the future of the Web, and is thus worth keeping an eye on.
You may have already noticed on the release candidate site that Bootstrap has reverted to a flat design — but fear not, gradient lovers; it hasn’t. Hacker News user benoitg discovered a statement from mdo: “gradients and other embellishments have temporarily been removed while I focus on other things. It has nothing to do with skeuomorphism or anything like that.”
For fun, be sure to also check out this gallery of impressive sites built on Bootstrap.
Here is the original post: Here’s an early look at Bootstrap 3, rewritten to be ‘mobile first’
Just a quick reminder that the Taipei Mini-Meetup is Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at about 8pm at OnTap Taipei, which is located at No 21, Alley 11, Lane 216, Zhongxiao East Road. I’ll be there – just look for the sweating American guy – as will Richard Lai of Engadget who graciously agreed to go as my chaperone.
To RSVP pop over to Plancast or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “TAIPEI.” If you’ve already emailed and haven’t gotten a response, never fear. You and your guests are welcome.
Special thanks to Richard from VIA who helped plan this little soiree.
I’d love to take your pitches and chat about the entrepreneurial environment in Taipei. Remember: This is an informal, bar-type event and not a formal presentation. Think networking, not seminar.
See you on Tuesday!
See the article here: Reminder: The Taipei Mini-Meetup Is On At 8pm At OnTap Bar
Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is currently an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and has been a columnist at TechCrunch since January 2011. He hosts a weekly TCTV show In the Studio and pens a weekly column, Iterations. Follow him on Twitter @semil.
The consumer technology startup world is largely insulated from most happenings in public financial markets. That seemed to change this week. Facebook’s stock has taken a real beating on the NASDAQ after its $100b IPO just a few months ago. At the same time, the second-most popular network, Twitter, continues on a path to lock-in users with new features as it primes itself to increase revenue. Typically, these kind of events wouldn’t really impact the very early-stages in consumer-facing startups…that is, until now. There is unquestionably a trickle down effect this time around, one that is imparting some sobering lessons. However, upon closer examination, the fear that has spread from public markets to startups is probably more of an overreaction and more likely a response to volatility and overall market uncertainty. And it is up to the ecosystem to respond.
In this column, I’m going to confine my comments to the two big “platform” plays, Facebook and Twitter. The market has responded to other companies recently, such as LinkedIn, Zynga, and Groupon, with mixed feelings. These matters are the subjects of an entirely different post and argument, but for now, I want to stick to the platforms and channels which consumer startups use to gain audiences and growth.
Let’s start at the top, with Facebook. In roughly three months since the company’s public offering, which included one earnings call, public investors have now changed their minds about valuing the social media company at 25 times their annual revenues. The stock has been pushed down hard, but so much of the chatter about why that is focuses on the company itself (“their ads don’t work” and “they can’t do mobile”) and not enough analysis that considers (1) what Facebook could execute on and (2) how the macroeconomic environment has also impact stocks in general (Euro Zone crises looming with Spain and Greece, and housing market illiquidity, among other things, in America). Yes, Facebook has a lot of work ahead of itself to not just become an app in a world of mobile devices and to start powering transactions, among other high-value opportunties. It’s worth keeping in mind that the company has only been public for a few weeks, and I personally believe they’ll figure out how to execute on their grander vision, one that is more interesting than simply driving clicks.
While I may believe the long-term future for Facebook is bright, fear today is a legitimate concern. Twitter, too, has played a role. In addition to serving as the echo chamber for minute-by-minute doomsday stock analysis about Facebook’s share price, the second most popular social media property is now operating in an environment where many are wondering if and when the company will be ready for its own public offering. In order to get there, Twitter will have make some moves that inevitably will spread fear and frustration within its own vast developer community. The product’s network effects are now strong enough to continue on a path to “lock-in” more and to make content-creation and consumption activities occur “in-line,” within properties and interfaces the company itself controls. While this has been happening for years, every now and then, the ecosystem gets a harsh reminder about the risks associated with platform dependency. Twitter, like Facebook once did, has a very large private valuation, one that it will need to grow into as well. And just like with Facebook, I’m personally bullish on the long-term potential for Twitter to do that, especially in the context of mobile devices.
In the world of consumer-facing technology startups, these effects are trickling downstream. Experienced, savvy investors are now comfortable discussing that the bar for early growth in consumer startups has been raised. They want more users, more retention, and more engagement. And, those could command lower prices because, right or wrong, the enthusiasm delta between how public markets and private investors value these opportunities couldn’t be wider. If Facebook isn’t exciting the public markets with its roughly 500m daily active users, and if Twitter’s revenue isn’t at the quality public markets expect, startups building new products and services that depend on the average consumer’s finite reservoir of attention may also simply be competing for that user’s time.
While I personally believe it’s unreasonable to judge Facebook harshly on one earnings call in a three-month period or Twitter for acting to protect its core interests, it’s clear that every consumer-facing startup, the big ones and all the little ones just starting out, now both have a tremendous amount of work to do to prove public investors wrong. The future may be bright, yes, but until that day comes, we should expect that uncertainty, combined with shaky international conditions, to drive down prices and raise the bar for what consumer-facing startups would label as success. Early-stage investment won’t stop, of course. New site and apps will be launched every day. A few handful may breakout.
What will be most fascinating is to observe how the ecosystem responds moving forward. Will employees at top companies leave for the next big thing once their shares have vested? Will insiders dump stock after lockup periods or on secondary markets? Will the current crop of early-stage investors continue to be willing to take bold bets without high-growth metrics? Will startups seriously take into consideration the realities of how many fragmented goods and services consumers really want? Will attention shift to pure B2B revenue models and enterprise technology, which already seems to be happening in certain pockets? The long-term arc favors companies with characteristics like Facebook and Twitter over incumbent architectures, but for now, the public isn’t ready to hand over the keys to the kingdom just yet. It will need to be earned. This shouldn’t come as a major surprise to entrepreneurs — these factors are all known knowns. The conditions shouldn’t provoke outcries and stoke fears; instead, these conditions should pose the next great challenge to overcome.
Photo Credit: AZRainman / Creative Commons Flickr
Go here to read the rest: Iterations: Public Market Sentiment Rattles Consumer Startups’ Cages
In February 2009, ImageShack launched the Yfrog photo-sharing service, which quickly became one of the most popular ways to share photos on Twitter — back in the day, you may remember, the only way you could share photos on Twitter was through third-party applications such as Yfrog and TwitPic. But in mid-2011, Twitter decided to get into the photo-sharing game after all and in August it rolled out its own internal photo-sharing service through a partnership with Photobucket — which, of course, immediately caused significant damage to the Yfrogs and TwitPics of the world.
You’d think that being burned by a giant like Twitter in such a way might make Levin back away from the social networking space altogether. But it turns out, it really had the opposite effect: Now, he’s going after the space in an even more directly-competitive way.
Today ImageShack is rolling out Yfrog Social, a full-service social networking platform for the web and the iPhone. You can watch Levin talk about the launch and give a demo of the product in the video embedded above.
In short, Yfrog Social looks like a mix of Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, with the high-resolution photo-sharing qualities of an ImageShack or a Flickr. The core differentiators of the product, however, are its ad-free freemium paid business model and completely open API. These two things together, Levin says, mean that developers will be able to make apps that depend on Yfrog social, with no fear of being quashed.
It’s a hugely ambitious launch — crazy, almost. But hey, it could attract a following: In my experience using it, it’s a really beautiful and snappy site, with very thoughtful features for sharing and sorting your contacts. Also, you’ve got to hand it to Levin for not being cowed by the big players who are currently dominating the space. It’s very similar to what Dalton Caldwell is aiming to do with his new direction for App.net. Whether these efforts will be successful remains to be seen, but it’s pretty cool to see people try.
If you want to test out Yfrog Social, you can bypass the waitlist by following this link: http://yfrog.com/invite/techcrunch