Waygo is the way to go

This start up has a grand plan. To one up Google Translate.

Waygo, the neat augmented reality translation app, has just added support for translating Korean into English. That complements Waygo’s existing skills in Chinese-to-English and Japanese-to-English.

As with Waygo’s other languages, the Korean translation works best on signs, menus, and random text you see about your travels. You’ll still need to use a phrasebook on your travels to Japan, China, or Korea, but Waygo will help you in a way that a phrasebook cannot – by helping your eyes make sense of the text all around you. So if you’re in a restaurant with a Korean-only menu, the app can help you find the bulgogi (shredded beef barbecued at the table) and point to it with all the confidence of someone about to get a face-full of succulent beef.

This is what it looks like translating a sign on a door:

Waygo helps you hunt down some bulgogi with new Korean translation trickery

Ryan Rogowski, CEO and co-founder of the Sino-US startup, says that Korea is experiencing booming travel growth, which prompted the team to add in Korean as Waygo’s newest language. The app now claims to hold 1.5 million translations across its three languages.

 

 

See: Duolingo brings free English language learning to 5 new Asian markets
 

 

We first tried out the app in December 2012 when it started out exclusively for translating Chinese menus. The startup went through 500 Startups’ accelerator and later secured US$$900,000 in seed funding from 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, and AngelVest.

Waygo is free to test out on iOS and Android, but lifetime use costs US$6.99 as an in-app purchase, or just US$1.99 for a week of unlimited use.

 

Reference: Waygo helps you hunt down some bulgogi with new Korean translation trickery (https://www.techinasia.com/waygo-translation-app-korean)

What’s happening around the world in tech?

techtoday

One thing that everyone can agree on about the tech industry is that it never stops moving forward.

At every minute there is something happening in some parts of the world in the tech world.

As always, few things happened today and here are some of the headlines.

1. Facebook stock was down 10% last night after it announced its Q3 earnings. Its performance was solid, but guidance spooked investors.

2. The Antares rocket exploded seconds after launch yesterday. It was carrying over 5,000 pounds worth of supplies for the International Space Station.

3. Verizon has launched a tech news site. Its writers are reportedly banned from covering surveillance or net neutrality. 

4. Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed the reason why the company discontinued the iPod Classic. He claims they simply couldn’t get the parts anymore.

5. Marissa Mayer is reportedly close to hiring Amazon’s top ad executive. She may become Yahoo’s COO.

6. Video game publisher Electronic Arts announced its Q2 earnings yesterday. They blew away expectations.

7. Some MacBook owners have filed a class-action lawsuit over problems with their graphic cards. They accuse Apple of refusing to repair defective products.

8. WhatsApp has disclosed its recent financial performance. Revenue was $10.2 million in 2013.

9. The retail group behind Walmart, Best Buy and Gap has threatened its retailers with steep fines if they introduce Apple Pay. CVS and Rite Aid both tried the system but later opted out.

10. The FBI created a fake online news article to catch a bomb-threat suspect. It used the page to spread spying software.

 

Reference: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-things-in-tech-you-need-to-know-october-29-2014-10#ixzz3Hc1IEqeY

Self made millionaireㅣMichelle Phan

From under-rated to stardom.

Do not underestimate the YouTube makeup-tutorial starlet.

Do not dismiss her “Barbie Transformation Tutorial;” her “Sailor Moon Transformation,” which includes anime contact lenses; nor her alarming “Zombie Barbie.”

Because Michelle Phan — with more than a billion views on YouTube and seven million followers; her own L’Oreal line and lifestyle media network; booming e-commerce beauty startup called Ipsy; and a new book — is teaching more people how to decorate their faces than perhaps anyone else in the world.

The ferocious 27-year-old mogul had a modest start with her family — living on food stamps at one point — and now has a company with an $84 million annual sales run-rate. She has 700,000 subscribers who receive her Glam Bags — little sacks of makeup samples — for $10 a month. The makeup business is famous for its high margins.

Today, Phan took the stage at Code/Mobile in Half Moon Bay, Calif., to talk about transforming YouTube stardom into a real-world empire, a now well-trodden path.

Phan came onstage dancing, in a sleeveless blue top and a white skirt with decorative orcas.

Her interviewer, Re/code’s Dawn Chmielewski, said the conference planners chose electric dance music for Phan’s entrance because it seemed appropriate. Pham, shimmying, agreed (she is an EDM fan, and is starting her own label after an earlier label partnership soured).

Chmielewski asked how it all began.

“The first videos I uploaded on my own personal channel were videos of dogs,” Phan said.

In 2007, Phan was a waitress, and couldn’t even get a job at a beauty counter because she didn’t have sales experience. She was undeterred.

“YouTube was the biggest thing in the college community, and it just made so much sense for me to have a platform,” she said. “Instead of feeling down about it, I opened another door, and that door happened to be a laptop.”

Phan began doing makeup tutorials. And people loved those makeup tutorials. Eyeliner technique turned into far more sophisticated lessons, like how to look like Lady Gaga in “Bad Romance.”

“I showed people how they can transform their face,” she said. “[Lady Gaga] really helped put me on the map.”

Meanwhile, large makeup brands like Lancome were struggling to get hits with good viral makeup videos. In 2008, a Lancome executive Googled around and found a Phan tutorial in which she was cramped up on a plane, showing her fans how to do makeup on the plane. Lancome signed her as a spokesperson.

Michelle Phan, Ipsy founder and author

Michelle Phan, Ipsy founder and author

Phan says her shaky bedroom videos appealed to people more than big productions because they felt more authentic: “People need to understand that what makes YouTube so different is that you go on there because you want to connect with someone.”

She talked about her main business, the Glam Bags — curated, luxury sample bags sent monthly — and the month-long wait list to subscribe.

Phan turned to the audience: “For $10 a month, you can still feel like you’re valued, and you can get something that empowers you to try something new,” she said.

Asked about the economics of YouTube, Phan said, “It’s like any medium — you have the subscription, but that’s not going to make all the money. You have to bring on sponsors, and you have to sell a product.”

And not every viral star has to have seven million followers — there’s a healthy YouTube middle class: “So many of my friends have 200,000 subscribers, and they make around five to six K a month,” she said. “Which is completely cool.”

Chmielewski asked how Phan has noticed desktop and mobile patterns change.

“Last year, 60 percent of traffic came from desktop,” Phan said. “Today, 70 percent comes from mobile.”

And then came what could have been a tense moment — Chmielewski asked about theEDM lawsuit. As Phan described it: She was given permission to use EDM music for her makeup tutorials, which was a nice backdrop for her tutorials and nice publicity for the label.

“Until I started making money,” she said. “And they thought their music was what was making me successful.”

Phan launched her own label with Cutting Edge Music.

She took it as an opportunity to declare herself a defender of “Team Internet,” which seemed to indicate a stance about more progressive copyright laws.

“We’re living in an age where we should be collaborating. Because it’s the Internet now. It’s hard to say who owns what,” she said, looking out into the audience. “I believe in Team Internet, and I’m here to protect my fellow YouTubers. … I’m here to fight and stand my ground.”

It was a rallying cry.

The conversation segued into Phan’s new premium lifestyle network on Endemol Beyond, in which she will find viral tastemakers in various categories and build them into “power brands” — like herself. (How large can her empire grow? Larger!)

“Imagine a Michelle Phan who cooks, or a Michelle Phan videogame player,” she said.

Her role will be the experienced mentor: “It’s very easy to make a viral video, but longevity and consistency, that’s hard.”

Chmielewski thanked her for coming on, and Phan smiled at the audience, her dramatic eyeliner and glossy lipstick showing no sign of wear.

 

Reference: Michelle Phan: From Youtube Star to $84 Million Startup Founder (http://recode.net/2014/10/27/michelle-phan-youtube-star-to-startup-founder)

Introducing HelloWorldㅣOfleadership

One can’t help but admit this fact..

Achievers are getting younger and younger…

helloworld

Today, location-sharing startup HelloWorld is announcing that it has been acquired by Life360for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

That’s a pretty fantastic exit, given the fact that the startup was born out of a Y Combinator hackathon in August and built by 5 recent- and soon-to-be-grads who have raised no capital from angels or traditional investors.

HelloWorld founder Ernestine Fu will be joining Life360 to head up a new “Special Projects” division. Both Fu and Life360 co-founder and president Alex Haro say that the company doesn’t have a defined plan for the new division, other than the fact that they’ll be looking at ways the company can use location data to provide unique tools for families, the main social group Life360 hopes to help connect (along with close friends).

That will likely involve the Internet of Things, the illogically popular term for the idea that in the years to come, everything is going to have a sensor sending data about us and our things to be processed in the cloud. Life360 is looking at how they can tie in the kind of data you’d only share with your family with that trend — so, when everyone in a family leaves the home with their smartphone, the house can automatically bring the air conditioning to a more eco-friendly temperature and when it’s time to meet the significant other for lunch, you could just tell your car to navigate to your husband’s location.

In a phone call, Fu told TechCrunch that HelloWorld received offers for funding from angels and VCs alike but turned each down during the initial rush of development around the young startup’s app, which was already working on iOS and Android coming out of the YC hackathon. Among the interested angels was Life360’s Haro, who along with his co-founder was looking to personally invest in HelloWorld about a month ago. But after getting into talks about the future of HelloWorld and the prospects for using location data among tight, private groups, it became clear to those involved that Fu could have a greater impact working on things for Life360’s ~100 million users.

While Fu gets the big new role at Life360, her other four teammates will also be involved in their acquirer’s future projects, though in various capacities. According to Life360’s Haro, most will join the company, though one will continue work on his own separate startup and aid in an advisory role.

IMAGE BY HELLOWORLD

 

Reference: Introducing HelloWorldㅣOfleadership (http://ofleadership.com/introducing-helloworld%E3%85%A3ofleadership)

MangoPlate secures an undisclosed series AㅣAsiaFounders

To be frank, when I read an article like this I can’t help but to have mixed feelings.

It is great to see Korean startups raising funds, but for another foodie app???

Let’s get more creative!!

 

For now let’s take a look at what the new app is all about.

mangoplate ss 3
Korean restaurant discovery app MangoPlate yesterday announced it secured an undisclosed series A round of funding from Softbank Ventures Korea, according to BeSUCCESS.

Available in both English and Korean, MangoPlate’s database covers 200,000 restaurants across the country, searchable with personalized restaurant recommendations based on your location and places you’ve eaten at before. Users can follow other members to see what their friends are eating.

The app’s biggest competitor isn’t another foodie startup, but actually South Korea’s biggest search engine, Naver. Naver touts a much larger database of reviews and recommendations, but their authenticity is often questionable. Posting fake reviews and paying off food bloggers is a common under-the-table practice.

To curb this practice on its own platform, MangoPlate has developed a recommendation algorithm that it says will better aggregate more reliable data from user behavior and even other social networks. It combines data between users with the same tastes to build a validated profile for tastes and preferences. Additionally, MangoPlate promises not to support sponsored reviews.

MangoPlate didn’t reveal any user numbers, but it’s the fifth-ranked food and drink app for iOS in Korea according to App Annie. That beats rival foodie apps Poing and Yibabcha, but sits behind second-place Yogiyo. MangoPlate CEO Kim Dae-Woong says a solid local market leader has not yet emerged, and he intends to fill that position.

 

Reference: MangoPlate secures an undisclosed series AㅣOfleadership (http://ofleadership.com/mangoplate-secures-an-undisclosed-series-a%E3%85%A3ofleadership)

Stay in school kidsㅣAsiaFounders

Today I came across an article on Linkedin. The title read ‘Why You Shouldn’t Drop Out To Start Up’.

Although, I didn’t drop out of school to start up, this is something I wish that I had read and believed at an earlier age.

The incredible blog post written by Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, goes like this.

We all secretly think we can be Outliers. Not the kind of Outlier where 10,000 hours is required to master a skill, but the kind where people operate at the extreme edge of possibility.

Unfortunately that perspective can lead us to make decisions based on what worked for Outliers – like dropping out of college to start a company.

After all, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard; look how he turned out. Mark Zuckerberg did too; it’s hard to argue leaving school was the wrong decision for him. Same for Michael Dell, and WhatsApp founder Jan Koum.

In fact, check out the most recent Forbes Billionare List: 63 of the 400 individuals listed dropped out of college.

That’s why, if you think you have a great startup idea, dropping out of college to pursue that idea can seem like the smart move – but it’s not. Stay in school. Finish your degree.

Why?

Time truly is on your side.

When you’re in your late teens and early twenties, two or three years can seem like a lifetime. You’re eager and impatient and simply hate the thought of waiting; you have a burning desire to get out there and start doing things now.

In the grand scheme of things those two or three years won’t matter. You have thirty or forty years ahead of you to build a company, build a career, build a life.

Your idea will, believe it or not, wait.

You don’t have to be first. Gates didn’t create the first operating system. Zuckerberg didn’t build the first social network. Dell didn’t build the first computer.

Being first is nice, but being best is what truly matters.

Success starts with an idea… but lasting success is built on execution. You can be second or third or fiftieth and still succeed.

And since no one ever builds anything worthwhile totally on his or her own…

You can build a great network.

If you plan to be an entrepreneur, staying in school is one of the best things you can do – it’s a safe, sheltered, and risk-free environment where you can meet future colleagues and co-founders.

Co-founders who met and became friends as classmates have launched some awesome startups. Though HubSpot [NYSE:HUBS] is not quite at “awesome level” yet, my co-founder and I met when we were classmates.

You can safely explore your passions.

Every successful entrepreneur has a burning desire – if not a full-on obsession – to turn an idea into a reality. They’re willing to work incredibly long hours, overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and keep pushing forward even when everyone around them says they’re crazy.

Why? They don’t just love the idea of success; they love the work.

But it’s hard to know you’ll love the work unless you actually do the work. College is a great place to explore your passions: write some code, or build a prototype, or sell a test product, or provide a freelance service… and figure out what you truly love to do.

Not only will that help you learn about business, that will also help you be able to someday build a company you love.

You will prove you can start and finish.

Failure is a fact of entrepreneurial life. Potential investors, partners, employees, etc know that. Many investors will take a chance on founders whose earlier startups have failed.

But still… finishing college proves that you can stay the course, can work through adversity, and can finish something you started.

Plus, if you drop out, you might spend the rest of your life wondering whether some people would respect you more had you finished your degree. Or you might wonder if your life would have taken a different course. Sure, if you stay it is possible you might someday regret “wasting” those one or two years… but that is much less likely.

I’ve talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs. I’ve never heard someone say: “You know, if only I had dropped out of school, things would have been so much better.”

You might actually learn something useful.

Seriously. It has been known to happen.

I learned a bunch of things I didn’t know I didn’t know by going back to graduate school. I find that knowledge to be extremely useful as I’ve grown my company and helped others grow theirs.

So, my advice: Stay in school. Pay attention. Make some friends — there’s a decent chance some of them will be your co-founder someday.

Reference: Stay In School Kids (http://ofleadership.com/stay-in-school-kids)

Artificial Reality

magic-leap

Have you heard of Magic Leap? Probably not..

This company has somehow managed to stay under the radar while raising massive project fund led by Google.

 

It’s rare that a company can stay relatively secretive while raising a huge amount of funding, but Florida’s Magic Leap has managed that. The startup, led by CEO Rony Abovitz, announced today the close of its $542 million Series B, featuring investors led by Google, Inc., and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment.

 

What is Magic Leap?

 

It’s a question that the startup isn’t answering in detail just yet, though they are pulling back the curtain just a little more than they have in the past with this fresh funding.

 

“If you think about what mobile computing is right now, it’s portable, it’s great, and I call it ‘making your hand happy,’ in that you can hold it and it’s great,” Abovitz said. “Your hand is happy, but your eye is not. What I mean by your eye is not happy, if you step outside your office and look at San Francisco Bay, it’s just this visual feast, and there’s no movie theater, there’s no television display, there’s nothing that will ever match the grandeur of what our own brains can create in terms of visual experience.”

Whatever comes out of Magic Leap, it’s bound to be worth watching, given how much money and attention it has garnered from some of the smartest and most successful minds across computing, film and technology thus far.

 

Reference: Artificial Reality (http://ofleadership.com/artificial-reality)

First all wearable incubator

I’ve seen it over and over. It never fails.

When an Asian restaurant opens in an area where there isn’t many Asian cuisine option, it starts as an ‘Asian Restaurant’.

What is an Asia restaurant? It is a restaurant which sells everything from Japanese Sushi to Vietnamese rice noodle soup. It’s the one stop for all Asian cravings.

Following the almost guaranteed success of the very first Asian restaurant in the neighborhood, usually because it is the only option, many others usually start to follow.

 

Now what seems to always happen is, the newer Asian restaurants opening up rapidly become more specialized in one style of cuisine; Korean, Chinese, Japanese etc..

 

Every industry is prone to be this way, even in the most innovative and disruptive industry, tech.

 

wearables_topic

Wearable World, best known as the San Francisco-based conference and media site, is to launch what it claims is the first ever purely wearable technology accelerator and incubator programme in Europe.

The Labs will be headed up by Marcus Sandberg, a co-founder of Proleads (and a former member of the Swedish Special Forces). Sandberg will lead a team of 5 at the incubator, which launches on 22 of October during its first London-based GLAZEDcon event next week.

Redg Snodgrass, CEO and co-founder of Wearable World, said the reason for establishing the accelerator was obvious given that “over 30 per cent of the companies in our current programme are from outside the US” and the often difficult funding environment for wearables in Europe.

Wearable World Labs claims that its success rate in its U.S. operation is a “90 per cent fund rate and a 100 percent crowd funding rate” for its first cohort of startups. The 35 companies on the Labs programme have collectively raised more than $9 million in investor backing, and more than $5 million from crowdfunding.

European companies involved in the U.S. programme already include: Sensum, which has developed a technology to capture “emotional data”; CreoPop, which is working on a 3D printing pen; and MiriQ, which has created Ripple, an intelligent smartphone charger and lifestyle accessory.

 

Reference: First All Wearable Incubator (http://ofleadership.com/first-all-wearable-incubator)

For Backwards Entrepreneurs

can-stock-photo_csp11763324

So the name of the game we play, we call it bootstrapping.

An alternate way around it is to get venture funding. Recently, I think it is safe to assume that many people have this backwards.

Now it seems like funding is what they are after, a shot to make it, then selling their own ideas to the millions.

 

For those new-age entrepreneurs here is an article that you may want to read.

Startup Ideas We’d Like to Fund
Paul Graham
July 2008

When we read Y Combinator applications there are always ideas we’re hoping to see. In the past we’ve never said publicly what they are. If we say we’re looking for x, we’ll get applications proposing x, certainly. But then it actually becomes harder to judge them: is this group proposing x because they were already thinking about it, or because they know that’s what we want to hear?

We don’t like to sit on these ideas, though, because we really want people to work on them. So we’re trying something new: we’re going to list some of the ideas we’ve been waiting to see, but only describe them in general terms. It may be that recipes for ideas are the most useful form anyway, because imaginative people will take them in directions we didn’t anticipate.

Please don’t feel that if you want to apply to Y Combinator, you have to work on one of these types of ideas. If we’ve learned nothing else from doing YC, it’s how little we know. Many of the best startups we’ve funded, like Loopt, proposed things we’d never considered.

1. A cure for the disease of which the RIAA is a symptom. Something is broken when Sony and Universal are suing children. Actually, at least two things are broken: the software that file sharers use, and the record labels’ business model. The current situation can’t be the final answer. And what happened with music is now happening with movies. When the dust settles in 20 years, what will this world look like? What components of it could you start building now?

The answer may be far afield. The answer for the music industry, for example, is probably to give up insisting on payment for recorded music and focus on licensing and live shows. But what happens to movies? Do they morph into games?

2. Simplified browsing. There are a lot of cases where you’d trade some of the power of a web browser for greater simplicity. Grandparents and small children don’t want the full web; they want to communicate and share pictures and look things up. What viable ideas lie undiscovered in the space between a digital photo frame and a computer running Firefox? If you built one now, who else would use it besides grandparents and small children?

3. New news. As Marc Andreessen points out, newspapers are in trouble. The problem is not merely that they’ve been slow to adapt to the web. It’s more serious than that: their problems are due to deep structural flaws that are exposed now that they have competitors. When the only sources of news were the wire services and a few big papers, it was enough to keep writing stories about how the president met with someone and they each said conventional things written in advance by their staffs. Readers were never that interested, but they were willing to consider this news when there were no alternatives.

News will morph significantly in the more competitive environment of the web. So called “blogs” (because the old media call everything published online a “blog”) like PerezHilton and TechCrunch are one sign of the future. News sites like Reddit and Digg are another. But these are just the beginning.

4. Outsourced IT. In most companies the IT department is an expensive bottleneck. Getting them to make you a simple web form could take months. Enter Wufoo. Now if the marketing department wants to put a form on the web, they can do it themselves in 5 minutes. You can take practically anything users still depend on IT departments for and base a startup on it, and you will have the enormous force of their present dissatisfaction pushing you forward.

5. Enterprise software 2.0. Enterprise software companies sell bad software for huge amounts of money. They get away with it for a variety of reasons that link together to form a sort of protective wall. But the software world is changing. I suspect that if you study different parts of the enterprise software business (not just what the software does, but more importantly, how it’s sold) you’ll find parts that could be picked off by startups.

One way to start is to make things for smaller companies, because they can’t afford the overpriced stuff made for big ones. They’re also easier to sell to.

6. More variants of CRM. This is a form of enterprise software, but I’m mentioning it explicitly because it seems like this area has such potential. CRM (“Customer Relationship Management”) means all sorts of different things, but a lot of the current embodiments don’t seem much more than mailing list managers. It should be possible to make interactions with customers much higher-res.

7. Something your company needs that doesn’t exist. Many of the best startups happened when someone needed something in their work, found it didn’t exist, andquit to build it. This is vaguer than most of the other recipes here, but it may be the most valuable. You’re working on something you know customers want, because you were the customer. And if it was something you needed at work, other people will too, and they’ll be willing to pay for it.

So if you’re working for a big company and you want to strike out on your own, here’s a recipe for an idea. Start this sentence: “We’d pay a lot if someone would just build a …” Whatever you say next is probably a good product idea.

8. Dating. Current dating sites are not the last word. Better ones will appear. But anyone who wants to start a dating startup has to answer two questions: in addition to the usual question about how you’re going to approach dating differently, you have to answer the even more important question of how to overcome the huge chicken and egg problem every dating site faces. A site like Reddit is interesting when there are only 20 users. But no one wants to use a dating site with only 20 users—which of course becomes a self-perpetuating problem. So if you want to do a dating startup, don’t focus on the novel take on dating that you’re going to offer. That’s the easy half. Focus on novel ways to get around the chicken and egg problem.

9. Photo/video sharing services. A lot of the most popular sites on the web are for photo sharing. But the sites classified as social networks are also largely about photo sharing. As much as people like to share words (IM and email and blogging are “word sharing” apps), they probably like to share pictures more. It’s less work and the results are usually more interesting. I think there is huge growth still to come. There may ultimately be 30 different subtypes of image/video sharing service, half of which remain to be discovered.

10. Auctions. Online auctions have more potential than most people currently realize. Auctions seem boring now because EBay is doing a bad job, but is still powerful enough that they have a de facto monopoly. Result: stagnation. But I suspect EBay could now be attacked on its home territory, and that this territory would, in the hands of a successful invader, turn out to be more valuable than it currently appears. As with dating, however, a startup that wants to do this has to expend more effort on their strategy for cracking the monopoly than on how their auction site will work.

11. Web Office apps. We’re interested in funding anyone competing with Microsoft desktop software. Obviously this is a rich market, considering how much Microsoft makes from it. A startup that made a tenth as much would be very happy. And a startup that takes on such a project will be helped along by Microsoft itself, who between their increasingly bureaucratic culture and their desire to protect existing desktop revenues will probably do a bad job of building web-based Office variants themselves. Before you try to start a startup doing this, however, you should be prepared to explain why existing web-based Office alternatives haven’t taken the world by storm, and how you’re going to beat that.

12. Fix advertising. Advertising could be made much better if it tried to please its audience, instead of treating them like victims who deserve x amount of abuse in return for whatever free site they’re getting. It doesn’t work anyway; audiences learn to tune out boring ads, no matter how loud they shout.

What we have now is basically print and TV advertising translated to the web. The right answer will probably look very different. It might not even seem like advertising, by current standards. So the way to approach this problem is probably to start over from scratch: to think what the goal of advertising is, and ask how to do that using the new ingredients technology gives us. Probably the new answers exist already, in some early form that will only later be recognized as the replacement for traditional advertising.

Bonus points if you can invent new forms of advertising whose effects are measurable, above all in sales.

13. Online learning. US schools are often bad. A lot of parents realize it, and would be interested in ways for their kids to learn more. Till recently, schools, like newspapers, had geographical monopolies. But the web changes that. How can you teach kids now that you can reach them through the web? The possible answers are a lot more interesting than just putting books online.

One route would be to start with test prep services, for which there’s already demand, and then expand into teaching kids more than just how to score high on tests. Another would be to start with games and gradually make them more thoughtful. Another, particularly for younger kids, would be to let them learn by watching one another (anonymously) solve problems.

14. Tools for measurement. Now that so much happens on computers connected to networks, it’s possible to measure things we may not have realized we could. And there are some big problems that may be soluble if we can measure more. The most important of all is the defining flaw of large organizations: you can’t tell who the mostproductive people are. A small company is measured directly by the market. But once an organization gets big enough that people on in the interior are protected from market forces, politics starts to rule, instead of performance. An improvement of even a few percent in the ability to measure what actually happens in large organizations would have a huge impact on the world economy, and a startup that enabled it would be entitled to a cut.

15. Off the shelf security. Services like ADT charge a fortune. Now that houses and their owners are both connected to networks practically all the time, a startup could stitch together alternatives out of cheap, existing hardware and services.

16. A form of search that depends on design. Google doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. One of the biggest is that they have no sense of design. They do the next best thing, which is to keep things sparse. But if there were a kind of search that depended a lot on design, a startup might actually be able to beat Google at search. I don’t know if there is, but if you do, we’d love to hear from you.

17. New payment methods. There are almost certainly things whose growth is held back because there’s no way to charge for them. And the people who could implement solutions don’t realize how much demand there would be, precisely because this growth has been held back. So pretty much any new way of paying for things that’s easier for some class of situations will turn out to have a bigger market than its inventors expected. Look at Paypal. (Warning: Regulated industry.)

18. The WebOS. It probably won’t be a literal translation of a client OS shifted to servers. But as applications migrate to servers, it seems possible there will be something that plays a central role like an OS does. We’ve already funded several startups that could be candidates. But this is a big prize, and there will probably be multiple winners.

19. Application and/or data hosting. This is related to the preceding idea, but not identical. And again, while we’ve already funded several startups in this area, it’s probably going to be big enough that it contains several rich markets.

It may turn out that 4, 18, and 19 all have the same answer. Or rather, that there will be things that answer all three. But the way to find such a grand, overarching solution is probably not to approach it directly, but to start by solving smaller, specific problems, then gradually expand your scope. Start by writing Basic for the Altair.

20. Shopping guides. Like news, shopping used to be constrained by geography. You went to your local store and chose from what they had. Now the space of possibilities is bewilderingly large, and people need help navigating it. If you already know what you want, Bountii can find you the best price. But how do you decide what you want? Hint: One answer is related to number 3.

21. Finance software for individuals and small businesses. Intuit seems ripe for picking off. The difficulty is that they’ve got data connections with all the banks. That’s hard for a small startup to match. But if you can start in a neighboring area and gradually expand into their territory, you could displace them.

22. A web-based Excel/database hybrid. People often use Excel as a lightweight database. I suspect there’s an opportunity to create the program such users wish existed, and that there are new things you could do if it were web-based. Like make it easier to get data into it, through forms or scraping.

Don’t make it feel like a database. That frightens people. The question to ask is: how much can I let people do without defining structure? You want the database equivalent of a language that makes its easy to keep data in linked lists. (Which means you probably want to write it in one.)

23. More open alternatives to Wikipedia. Deletionists rule Wikipedia. Ironically, they’re constrained by print-era thinking. What harm does it do if an online reference has a long tail of articles that are only interesting to a few people, so long as everyone can still find whatever they’re looking for? There is room to do to Wikipedia what Wikipedia did to Britannica.

24. A buffer against bad customer service. A lot of companies (to say nothing of government agencies) have appalling customer service. “Please stay on the line. Your call is important to us.” Doesn’t it make you cringe just to read that? Sometimes the UIs presented to customers are even deliberately difficult; some airlines deliberately make it hard to buy tickets using miles, for example. Maybe if you built a more user-friendly wrapper around common bad customer service experiences, people would pay to use it. Passport expediters are an encouraging example.

25. A Craigslist competitor. Craiglist is ambivalent about being a business. This is both a strength and a weakness. If you focus on the areas where it’s a weakness, you may find there are better ways to solve some of the problems Craigslist solves.

26. Better video chat. Skype and Tokbox are just the beginning. There’s going to be a lot of evolution in this area, especially on mobile devices.

27. Hardware/software hybrids. Most hackers find hardware projects alarming. You have to deal with messy, expensive physical stuff. But Meraki shows what you can do if you’re willing to venture even a little way into hardware. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit in hardware; you can often do dramatically new things by making comparatively small tweaks to existing stuff.

Hardware is already mostly software. What I mean by a hardware/software hybrid is one in which software plays a very visible role. If you work on an idea of this type you’ll tend to have the field to yourself, because most hackers are afraid of hardware, and most hardware companies can’t write good software. (One reason your iPod isn’t made by Sony is that Sony can’t write iTunes.)

28. Fixing email overload. A lot of people, including me, feel they get too much email. A solution would find a ready market. But the best solution may not be anything as obvious as a new mail reader.

Related problem: Using your inbox as a to-do list. The solution is probably to acknowledge this rather than prevent it.

29. Easy site builders for specific markets. Weebly is a good, general-purpose site builder. But there are a lot of markets that could use more specialized tools. What’s the best way to make a web site if you’re a real estate agent, or a restaurant, or a lawyer? There still don’t seem to be canonical answers.

Obviously the way to build this is to write a flexible site builder, then write layers on top to produce different variants. Hint: The key to making a site builder for end-users is to make software that lets people with no design ability produce things that look good—or at least professional.

30. Startups for startups. The increasing number of startups is itself an opportunity for startups. We’re one; TechCrunch is another. What other new things can you do?

Consider this list to end with a giant ellipsis. It’s not even a complete list of the types of ideas we’re looking for, let alone of all types of startup ideas. So if you have a great idea that’s not on this list, don’t be deterred. Some of the best ideas are outliers everyone ignores because they seem crazy.

It was an interesting exercise to write out this list. I noticed a lot of similarities between ideas that I never realized were there. In fact, when you read the list, you get a pretty accurate composite portrait of a startup: a combination of relentless predator upon the obsolete and benevolent solver of the world’s problems. As ways of making money go, that’s pretty good. Startups are often ruthless competitors, but they’re competing in a game won by making what people want.

 

Reference: For Backwards Entrepreneurs (http://ofleadership.com/for-backwards-entrepreneurs)

Business Tips from Bob’s Burgers

Apparently, lots of leadership lessons can be taught to us by examining cartoons.

From Dragon Ball to Bob’s Burgers, and possibly even Simpsons have something to teach us about leadership.

Many of us know and love the Belcher family of Bob’s Burgers for their witty antics and goofy hijinks, but who knew they had so much to teach us about the real world? From running a family to running a business, Bob and Linda do just about all with the help of their three rascals.

From the stars of Bob’s Burgers, here a few things to help you get the hang of business.

  • 1. Know how to network.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 2. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 3. Get some good advertisers.

    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, CRAZZYCLIP
  • 4. Encourage your employees.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 5. Love the business you are in.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 6. Learn to handle your haters.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 7. Know what you are selling

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 8. Keep your priorities in line

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 9. Get to know your consumers.

    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, COCOAPUDDING JR.
  • 10. Know when to say yes…

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  • 11. …and when to say no.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 12. There’s a price for everything.

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    IMAGE: FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY
  • 13. Know your limitations and own it.

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Reference: Original 12 Things ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Taught Us About Business (http://mashable.com/2014/10/16/bobs-burgers-business-tips)