Firechat's second day, already ranked #16 on the App Store

Second day on the iPhone App Store for Firechat and it's already #16 in the social networking category—in front of Google Hangouts—not that it's a competition or anything ;-P.

Below are the latest articles which do a great job explaining the benefits of this new kind of messaging app. I'll try to keep you posted on how we're doing on this first week. Can't wait to try on the NY subway or at Burning Man!
FireChat lets you text friends, even without a signal
The Verge-by Ellis Hamburger-Mar 20, 2014
But instead of relying on global positioning or cell tower triangulation to plot you and others on a map, FireChat relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to ...
FireChat is a new way to chat "off the grid" but caution is advised hours ago
FireChat with anyone sans mobile signals
Times of India-6 hours ago
FireChat For IOS 7 Allows Chat Without Internet Access
RTT News-3 hours ago
FireChat For iOS Is A Hyperlocal Anonymous Chat Network That ...
-TechCrunch-Mar 20, 2014
Open Garden retools its crowdsourced mesh technology for an iOS ...
-GigaOM-Mar 20, 2014

VOXON invited to showcase the Voxiebox at GDC in San Francisco

GDC invited VOXON to showcase the Voxiebox - the World's 1st 360° 3D holographic entertainment system this week in San Francisco.

Dreamed of by visionaries such as George Lucas for Star Wars, celebrated by movies such as Hunger Games, volumetric display technology is finally here packaged in an intuitive arcade game console for everyday people to play with. 

This has been quite the journey. I'm really proud of the team.

Please support them however you can!!! and if you're in San Francisco, come play with it at the GDC before it heads back to NY!

More details here:

Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner on Conscious Leadership @ Wisdom 2.0

The next edition of Wisdom 2.0 starts this Friday. Tickets are sold out but I highly recommend the video content that will come out of it (livestreaming will be made available). It is great to see Silicon Valley pundits to finally feel comfortable thinking out loud about "soft skills" such as compassion. Next steps would be to integrate "how to be happy" and "how to build real relationships" classes or modules into the general high school curriculum.

Steve Jobs' 1st boss: Very few companies would hire Steve, even today

From Slashdot this morning:

The Mercury News reports that Nolan Bushnell, who ran video game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s, says he always saw something special in Steve Jobs, and that Atari's refusal to be corralled by the status quo was one of the reasons Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old. 'The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today,' says Bushnell. 'Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he'd just seem like a jerk in bad clothing.'

While at Atari, Bushnell broke the corporate mold, creating a template that is now common through much of Silicon Valley. He allowed employees to turn Atari's lobby into a cross between a video game arcade and the Amazon jungle. He started holding keg parties and hiring live bands to play for his employees after work. He encouraged workers to nap during their shifts, reasoning that a short rest would stimulate more creativity when they were awake. He also promised a summer sabbatical every seven years.

Bushnell's newly released book, Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent , serves as a primer on how to ensure a company doesn't turn into a mind-numbing bureaucracy that smothers existing employees and scares off rule-bending innovators such as Jobs. The basics: Make work fun; weed out the naysayers; celebrate failure, and then learn from it; allow employees to take short naps during the day; and don't shy away from hiring talented people just because they look sloppy or lack college credentials.

Bushnell is convinced that there are all sorts of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today. The problem is that corporate managers don't recognize them. Or when they do, they push them to conform rather than create.

'Some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari or Chuck E. Cheese's were from high school dropouts, college dropouts,' says Bushnell, 'One guy had been in jail.'

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's investment arm, Vulcan Capital, expands his footprint into Silicon Valley

As Seattle ranked a few weeks ago into the Top 10 cities for Young Entrepreneurs and #2 in the Top 10 cities for Female Entrepreneurs, Paul Allen's investment arm, Vulcan Capital, is about to open an office in Palo Alto.

According to

Allen, 60, co-founded the world's largest software company with Bill Gates in 1975, but left in 1983 after a bout with cancer. The riches he amassed through his large stake in the company, plus successful investments in sports and real estate, have made him the world's 53rd richest person, according to Forbes magazine.

A pioneer in the early development of PC software and Microsoft's technical leader for its first eight years, Allen has been a prolific tech investor since the mid 1980s, starting several companies and founding a tech incubator called Interval Research.

He has put money into hundreds of enterprises in the past 30 years, including large stakes in AOL, Ticketmaster, film studio DreamWorks SKG and cable firm Charter Communications . His record has been checkered, making money on AOL and DreamWorks SKG, but losing billions of dollars on the bankruptcy of Charter.

Newer tech investments include online real-estate agent Redfin, shopping adviser and smartphone audio software maker Audience Inc.

The new office in Palo Alto Advertisement will focus on emerging Internet, software and technology companies, including middle and late-stage venture capital and pre-IPO deals, Paul Ghaffari, Vulcan Capital's chief investment officer, told Reuters.

"We are going to expand our footprint in broad tech investments, we'd like to get more resources, people on the ground there (Silicon Valley)," said Ghaffari. "We have a real appetite to put new ideas in the portfolio."

This morning update from Geekwire mentions Vulcan Capital named Abhishek Agrawal to lead the office:

Abhishek Agrawal

Vulcan Capital this morning named Abhishek Agrawal, formerly of the General Atlantic investment firm, to lead the office. He has been involved in General Atlantic’s investments in companies including Alibaba Group, Dice Holdings, Facebook, Gilt Groupe, Network Solutions and others.

Vulcan says in a news release: “Vulcan Capital’s expansion into Silicon Valley reinforces its decades-long commitment to technology-related companies, which make up a significant portion of its investment portfolio. This new office will focus on making investments in the $10-million to $100-million range in internet and technology companies, including mid- to late- stage venture capital, growth equity, recaps, buyouts and strategic public market block investments. Vulcan Capital will have an office in downtown Palo Alto and is planning to hire a full team to work under Mr. Agrawal in upcoming months.”

Seattle Angel Conference Fall Edition - Dec. 13, 2012

Seattle Angel Conference - Fall Edition 2012

Excited to finally be there...

6 finalists & a terrific program!
And a room full of supportive secret angels...

12:30 Registration
  1:30 Keynote - Phil Gordon - Going All In: 5 Lessons for Startup and Poker Success
  2:30 Session 1 - Pitch 1 - Corengi
  2:50 Session 1 - Pitch 2 - Exo Labs
  3:10 Session 1 - Pitch 3 - Redpoint International
  3:30 Break
  4:00 Session 2 - Pitch 4 - Suncrest Farms
  4:20 Session 2 - Pitch 5 -
  4:40 Session 2 - Pitch 6 - Talk to the Manager
  5:00 Speaker - Wade T. Brooks
  5:30 Break
  6:00 Announce the Winners
  6:15 Networking and Social

MC'ing for the Fledge Incubator conscious companies tonight

Fledge, the "conscious company" incubator, is hosting its Demo Day, and I was kindly asked to "MC" the festivities tonight.

Feel free to watch the live show here starting @ 6pm PT / 9pm ET (or 3am Paris time ;-P).

Seven exciting, impactful teams comprise the Summer 2012 cohort of “fledglings“.

These companies have been refining their ideas and polishing their plans.

Tonight, come be inspired by their visions and plans, presented live, on stage, at the Playhouse/Intiman Theater at the Seattle Center as part of the Seattle Next 50′s celebration of commerce and innovation.

Presentations will be followed by dinner and drinks, networking, and an opportunity to meet the people at the fledglings, as well as the “conscious” community members of Seattle.

Pregnant Marissa Mayer becomes Yahoo's new CEO

These are 2 major news packed in one sentense, not only for the world of business but also for women in general...

So let us break it down...

1) Marissa Mayer quit Google to become Yahoo's next CEO and new hope, according to Uncrunched's Michael Arrington.

2) Yahoo's board knew she was pregnant when they hired her, as told by Mayer to Fortune.

Sandira + Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's new CE

Even though, it should be normal to have female CEOs managing companies, while staying feminine and balancing a family life, there are indeed not enough such business role models portrayed in the media, and this is unfortunately even more the case outside of the US.

The Atlantic reminds of a 1992 speech and concludes:

Yahoo, to its credit, has made a role model of Mayer. What will be really nice, though, is when someone like Mayer won't have to be a role model. What will be really, really fantastic is when someone like Mayer can be just a pregnant CEO -- rather than, you know, A Pregnant CEO.

How a Futurist in 1952 envisioned our present

Following a tweet by Guy Kawazaki, I stumbled upon Lists of Note, a cool blog featuring lists & todos written by random celebrities such as Marylin Monroe or science fiction author Robert Heinlein.

Published in Galaxy magazine in February of 1952, below are Heinlein's predictions for the year 2000:

So let's have a few free-swinging predictions about the future. Some will be wrong - but cautious predictions are sure to be wrong.

1. Interplanetary travel is waiting at your front door -- C.O.D. It's yours when you pay for it.

2. Contraception and control of disease is revising relations between the sexes to an extent that will change our entire social and economic structure.

3. The most important military fact of this century is that there is no way to repel an attack from outer space.

4. It is utterly impossible that the United States will start a "preventive war." We will fight when attacked, either directly or in a territory we have guaranteed to defend.

5. In fifteen years the housing shortage will be solved by a "breakthrough" into new technologies which will make every house now standing as obsolete as privies.

6. We'll all be getting a little hungry by and by.

7. The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called "modern art" will be discussed only by psychiatrists.

8. Freud will be classed as a pre-scientific, intuitive pioneer and psychoanalysis will be replaced by a growing, changing "operational psychology" based on measurement and prediction.

9. Cancer, the common cold, and tooth decay will all be conquered; the revolutionary new problem in medical research will be to accomplish "regeneration," i.e., to enable a man to grow a new leg, rather than fit him with an artificial limb.

10. By the end of this century mankind will have explored this solar system, and the first ship intended to reach the nearest star will be a-building.

11. Your personal telephone will be small enough to carry in your handbag. Your house telephone will record messages, answer simple inquiries, and transmit vision.

12. Intelligent life will be found on Mars.

13. A thousand miles an hour at a cent a mile will be commonplace; short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speed.

14. A major objective of applied physics will be to control gravity.

15. We will not achieve a "World State" in the predictable future. Nevertheless, Communism will vanish from this planet.

16. Increasing mobility will disenfranchise a majority of the population. About 1990 a constitutional amendment will do away with state lines while retaining the semblance.

17. All aircraft will be controlled by a giant radar net run on a continent-wide basis by a multiple electronic "brain."

18. Fish and yeast will become our principal sources of proteins. Beef will be a luxury; lamb and mutton will disappear.

19. Mankind will not destroy itself, nor will "Civilization" be destroyed.

Here are things we won't get soon, if ever:

-- Travel through time
-- Travel faster than the speed of light
-- "Radio" transmission of matter.
-- Manlike robots with manlike reactions
-- Laboratory creation of life
-- Real understanding of what "thought" is and how it is related to matter.
-- Scientific proof of personal survival after death.
-- Nor a permanent end to war.

A couple of quotes to conclude these 60-year-old predictions:

  • Political debaters could benefit from: "I never learned from a man who agreed with me."
  • And a reminder for VCs, Angel investors, doctors and whoever contemplates a dead-end: "Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done."


Mobile Hackathon this Sunday @ CES, 20K cash prizes & more by AT&T

Let's begin the new year with some good news for my fellow mobile entrepreneurs and developers.

For those of you flying to Las Vegas for CES this week, AT&T is putting together a hackathon this Sunday, January 8!

It's a great opportunity for startupers, developers and talented students to launch their app and get the opportunity to market it thanks to the free PR and prizes.

Full details here:
(Use code HDS903 to register for the hackathon)
It's this coming Sunday!

1st Place gets:
•$20k Cash Prize
•Featured in AT&T TV commercial
•Video Interview with Andrew Keen to be posted on TechCrunch
•Six (6) month membership in Alpha API program where we help setup networking events where you get to rub elbows with significant peers
•Three (3) days of AT&T Foundry business and technical support
•One month feature in AT&T Promotional Widget (platform dependent)
•"Back-Stage" meet and greet with Developer Summit Band (up to 4 people)
•Microsoft Xbox 360 + Kinect for the entire team if Microsoft Azure is used as a backend

Feel free to retweet & share with your peers.

Also, they are still open slots for startups & organizations who want to meet up with the AT&T one-on-one.
Email me for that so I can hook you up directly.

Best wishes of health, love and mobile prosperity & May the Force be with You!


P.S. Yes, my sister's name is really Leia... no kidding! Mmmh, what does that make me? Luke?! 

Thank you Steve for everything, R.I.P.

Dear Steve Jobs,

Many thanks for your dedication, for your inspiring passion to do what you love, for bringing colors and beauty to the grey world of computing, for making products our grand-parents AND kids love showing off, for making products that connect people to each other, generation Y with generation, for being our muse.

I couldn't help shed a few tears over your death this evening. I know it sounds weird, given I didn't know you personally. But I practically grew up watching you and Bill Gates arguing and making up ;) After all, I'm one fo those who learned how to spell my name on an Apple keyboard before even knowing how to write it with a pen. Another reason I feel sick to my stomach is the realization that my opportunity of meeting you one day is forever gone. Completely vain I know, yet it is oddly frustrating and shakening... As you pointed out during your famous commencement address, life is indeed very short...

My dear Friends,

May Steve Jobs' spirited legacy inspire you for many years to come...

2 pieces of advice for hospitality entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship advice can come from the most unexpected places... Have you noticed how it often occurs when you happen to be wandering around or on your day off?

After the intense launch of Ridehack, this labor day weekend was indeed welcome. And to make the most out of it, a trip to Upstate NY seemed the perfect way to find peace, quiet and nature.

A great Airbnb find led us to Rhinecliff, NY in a private and charming guest house surrounded by magnificant trees, still standing after Hurricane Irene's passage. Our hosts, a very friendly family, were grateful the water "only" destroyed their garden and covered everything up to the first floor of their house...

Alana, owner of the Red Dot, in Hudson, NY

Yesterday was spent exploring the quaint town of Hudson, NY following the advice of a CouchSurfing friend. After walking around the main street and enjoying the beautiful architecture, we found our way into the welcoming Red Dot, a local bar/restaurant owned by Alana. It quickly surfaced that Alana had lived in the city, i.e. New York City, for more than twenty years (it turned out that all the people who spoke to us that day were ex-New Yorkers...).

After years spent in the city in the extrememely competitive world of Fashion, and having launched Versace Jeans Couture in the US, serendipity brought Alana a welcoming parachute and a nice piece of real estate in Hudson NY.

A trip in Mexico led her to Alberto's Continental, a restaurant in Merida, which had welcome anyone and anybody including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The Lebanese owner, who obviously knew what he was talking about, gave Alana, then toying with the idea of opening a restaurant in that Hudson NY building, two pieces of advice.  She was kind enough to pass these along:

Advice #1: Serve hamburgers

Advice #2: Treat the place like your own living room

If you can't do any of these, then forget about opening your own restaurant!

Niche dating sites for Geeks + Dating-related panels at SxSW

Keyboard romance, a new fragrance by...

I just came across an ad for Geek 2 Geek, a dating site for... geeks!

It reminded me of a site back in the days. Can anyone remember which one, wasn't it part of CNET or some equivalent?

Anyway, this definitely picked my curiosity and - while looking for the answer - I decided to research the space and find out which other sites are attempting to cater to the romantic needs of fellow geeks and nerds out there.

Here is a sample: 

(Please note these are currently web-based only. So feel free to send me links for mobile and Facebook apps as well as International sites)

South by SouthWest: Where are the experts

Unfortunately, for those will also be in Austin this week for SxSW and were hoping to learn a thing or two about this fascinating industry, it appears there are only a couple of related panels:

 (Again, comments & emails are welcome, should you know of any other panels/events worth mentioning.) 


Geek matchmaking, a new eldorado?

Coming back to our main topic, anyone will agree that nerds and geeks are now part of the pop culture. Thanks to the democratization of Internet and mobile devices and of course the portrayal of nerdy heroes stamped by Hollywood, it has never been so cool to be a nerd.

Content publishers attracting a high volume audience of geeks and nerds may soon decide to seize the day and release their own branded dating platform following the footsteps of more traditional players.

Indeed, both The Guardian's and Condé Nast's have jumped on the opportunity by partnering with The Dating Lab, a white-label company which makes it easy for any substantially important online community site to play at the dating table...

This potential "match made in heaven" for a or IGN could very well help them also get a piece of the pie.

Indeed, TechCrunch and more recently the New York Times have reported on the growthof niche dating sites... But I will leave it up to Business Insider to show us the actual market potential with a lovely chart that would resemble to this one. By the way, how about a customized ;-P



To conclude this piece, let me share with you some retro geeky bonus content:

Geek Dating Flowchart

as well as a Craigslist homage:
Why Geeks and Nerds Are Worth It...

This post is dedicated to my #NYTM single friends.