Category Archives: News Center
By Mike Montgomery
I recently moderated a sold-out panel on disruptive tech at Runway, a San Francisco-based accelerator. Runway occupies a massive space next to Twitter on Market Street, home to more than 60 startups focused on, as you would expect, disruptive tech.
My panel consisted of three heavy hitters: Andy Grignon, Will Pryor, and Larry Downes.
Andy Grignon was a member of the team behind the first iPhone. He’s a great storyteller — one story involved the decidedly NSFW nickname Steve Jobs gave him, a nickname Grignon embraced. (If you’re curious what that nickname was, CLICK HERE. Post-Apple, Grignon founded Quake Labs, a startup focused on making simple programming available to the masses.
Will Pryor, a senior engineer at Skycatch, was sitting in for CEO Christian Sanz, who was mining — literally and figuratively — for more biz offsite with a new customer in the mining business. Why the mining business? Because Skycatch makes drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can offer construction managers a safer, and less expensive, way to map, explore and monitor progress. It can also — as attendees of last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt can attest — deliver tacos a la the 2012 hoax you may remember called Tacocopter.
Larry Downes, my third esteemed panelist, is an ahead-of-the-curve thinker on important tech issues. That description isn’t hyperbole. Downes wrote a book called Unleashing the Killer App, and he wrote it in 1998 — nearly a decade before the iPhone revolutionized our lives with its App Store. His new book, Big Bang Disruption, focuses on strategies for surviving and thriving in the digital era, whether you’re a startup or an incumbent.
During the panel, Downes shared some of the pearls of his book, including how video games like Pong disrupted the pinball industry much like smartphones led to the downfall of the GPS and camera industries.
Some brief takeaways from the panel:
Downes told the audience that there are three defining characteristics of disruptive technologies — better, cheaper, more intimate — and how in the past, only two of those characteristics needed to be true. Today, however, all three boxes must be checked. The product, in other words, can’t just be better. It also has to be cheaper (read: free) and connect with consumers in a personal way.
Grignon killed it on the panel. But then, he has a built in advantage — having Apple on his resumé. Given the ongoing fascination with Steve Jobs and anything or anyone he touched along the way, Grignon’s tales of the iPhone development process left everyone yearning for more.
Looking ahead toward the future, I asked the panel what we’d be talking about 10 years from now if we reconvened to again talk about disruptive tech. Pryor named embedded tech without hesitation. And he wasn’t just talking about clothing and contact lenses — he instead meant implants within our bodies. That certainly got the audience’s attention.
Also getting the audience’s attention was the question of who would own Uber in the future. While Grignon thought an IPO was the most likely, Pryor and an audience member both thought Amazon wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Downes’ response to the Uber question was more thousand-foot, as he pointed out that the beauty of disruptive technology requires taking the “anything can happen” point of view. It was a fitting viewpoint for a panel focused on the constant earthquakes disruptive technology can have on long-established industries.
All in all, the panel discussion was enlightening, challenging, and often hilarious. My thanks to Grignon, Pryor, and Downes for disrupting (sorry, I had to) their busy lives to join me. Oh, and if you’d like to have a drone deliver a copy of Downes’ latest book, CLICK HERE to purchase it.
If you want to sign up for the cool stuff Grignon is making, CLICK HERE.
And if you want a better way to manage a massive construction process (or a taco), CLICK HERE.
Mike Montgomery is executive director of CALinnovates.
By: Mike Montgomery
CALinnovates submitted this letter to the FCC encouraging the Commission to ensure its upcoming spectrum incentive auction is open to all bidders on equal terms. A process open to all bidders will ensure fairness, competition and increase the likelihood of a successful auction.
The unprecedented rise of mobile broadband — fueled by smartphones and tablets — has led to what has been labeled a “spectrum crunch.” The Commission’s auctions are aimed at alleviating that crunch while at the same time bolstering communications networks for first responders and delivering much-needed revenue to help pay down the Federal Government’s debt.
CALinnovates’ position is that only through an open bidding process can consumers, broadcasters, innovators, and the U.S. government receive the greatest benefit from the incentive auctions.
Thirteen tech industry leaders joined CALinnovates in this call to action, including:
- Speek’s Danny Boice, conference call disruptor
- TRAIL’s Josh Bradley, digital literacy advocate
- Entrepreneur Daniel Brusilovsky, founder of Teens in Tech Labs
- Conjectur’s co-founder Christopher Roy Correa, mobile loyalty & rewards guru
- Velocity Venture Capital’s Jack Crawford, investor & Kauffman Fellow
- Entrepreneur & Thiel Fellow Mark Daniel
- Stacey Ferreira, Entrepreneur & co-founder of MySocialCloud
- EdTech Leader & CEO of On Campus Media Scott Krantz
- Global IT & Cloud Expert Lloyd Marino
- Disruptive online polling startup founder Taylor Peck of iSideWith.com
- Kit CEO Michael Perry, builder of an innovative CRM system
- Open Gov Advocate and Tech PR Guru Brian Purchia
- Appallicious Founder & CEO Yo Yoshida, Godfather of the Civic Startup world
Marc Andreessen, the biggest name in venture capital, has been on a roll lately lighting up Twitter and blogging like never before.
Andreessen, the founder of Netscape, has achieved cult-like status in Silicon Valley and, perhaps, the country for his multiple billion-dollar exits as an entrepreneur and the investments his firm Andreessen Horowitz made in startups like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Skype. He’s a rock star not only in the tech industry, but in the world of business.
So when Andreessen shares his thoughts, we’d all be smart to pay attention. As case in point, a recent post on the firm’s website by Andreessen examines the role of timing when it comes to investing in innovation.
The post, which is profound in its grasp of the tech marketplace, reflects on Apple’s Newton — a precursor to the iPad — and why it failed in the marketplace
Read the full article on Daily Kos
Larry Downes and Paul Nunes, authors of the seminal book Big Bang Disruption, which details how to strategically navigate our digital world, wrote that every industry is ripe for disruption, even an industry that is currently disrupting another industry. For example: ridesharing.
Ridesharing has caught fire in the U.S. Want to catch a ride in an open seat in someone’s private vehicle? It’s as simple as tapping your smartphone app.
Competition is alive and well in the rideshare industry. In alphabetical order, the three dominant players in the game are Lyft, Sidecar and UberX. Each differentiates itself in its own unique way. I frequently use all three services.
Read the full article on Daily Kos
“The road to failure is often paved with good intentions,” famed writer Samuel Johnson might have said.
Just ask Riverside, California. Back in 2006, the city set out to build a municipal Wi-Fi network for its citizens. But a severe lack of interest from customers prompted the city’s original communications partner to pull away from the project. The city scrambled to find resources to build and maintain the network, ultimately costing residents more than $700,000 per year for a network to live up to the hype. the Wi-Fi network never even reached two-thirds of the population and has been described as obsolete.
In other words, the good intentions from Riverside officials have resulted in a costly, and failed, experiment on the taxpayer’s dime.
Read the full article on Tech Zulu
AT&T announced its intentions to conduct beta tests to transition consumers to Internet Protocol networks (aka the IP Transition) in Alabama and Florida. We are thrilled for Carbon Hill, Alabama and West Delray Beach, Florida as the potential first two all-IP test cities in America. Perhaps in a few years we may refer to Carbon Hill as Silicon Hill, the next new hotbed of digital innovation.
As you know, CALinnovates has long been a strong proponent of a modernization of our nation’s communications infrastructure, and today marks another important step down this critical path. Earlier this year, I called the transition “the beginning of the next great digital transformation in our nation’s history.” Well, these beta tests are the next phase of the transition, as it’s important to make the transition in a smart way that protects key core values such as universal connectivity, consumer protection, network reliability and public safety.
I had a chance to talk to a few of our members about today’s news, and I think you’ll find their insights illuminating.
Jack Crawford, general partner at Velocity Venture Capital, told me that this announcement gives him great hope for the future of his industry and the nation as a whole. He believes IP connectivity will give his portfolio companies even greater reach, while helping consumers thrive.
“The dream of universal connectivity through next-gen networks will prove to be a huge boon for the economy. I’ve long said private investment in infrastructure will drive the next great wave of economic prosperity in our nation. Startups will have access to more customers with high-speed connections. Consumers will have increased and faster access to the world around them. This movement will create increased opportunities in education, job creation and personal enjoyment for the masses.”
Lloyd Marino, an IT and cloud expert and the founder of Avetta Global, says the transition to IP networks will effectively shrink the world, creating opportunities for people no matter where they live or work that don’t currently exist today to the extent they could:
“The networks of the future will make the world a smaller place, allowing people to be anywhere in the world instantaneously, in high-definition, transacting business, telecommuting, and taking advantage of high-speed connectivity no matter where they live, whether rural or urban. These test trials will deliver findings that will benefit everyone in every industry. I’m thrilled.”
Daniel Brusilovsky, an executive at Ribbon, shares his entrepreneurial perspective:
“It’s incredibly important to do beta tests to really learn what these networks can do and what they can handle. As more and more consumers are getting smartphones and using applications like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more, we need our networks to be able to support the technology community’s growing demand for data.”
As FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel commented just a few months ago, “To get outside the box, government needs to do more work in the sandbox.” These beta tests in Alabama and Florida represent the sandbox in which the IP transition will carefully and progressively occur using real world conditions, but under the FCC’s watchful eye to ensure a smooth and efficient consumer transition. It’s the same sort of thinking that the tech industry has long embraced, and it’s about time we brought this tech-driven approach to upgrading our nation’s network infrastructure.
I’m looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the FCC, the business community and consumers to make sure we get the opportunity to experience and enjoy a connected future.
CALinnovates will continue to track this item and keep you informed along the way.
Here’s a bit of trivia from the dusty archives of communication: The first high-definition television broadcast in America wasn’t from New York or Los Angeles, it was from a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The date was July 23, 1996, and the station was WRAL-TV. On hand to witness the event were some 200 invited guests, according to the station’s history page, who watched a broadcast operating at 100 kilowatts from a tower 1,736 feet above the ground. The high-definition age had arrived.
What does this history lesson have to do with the topic of this essay, which is the transition from copper wire telephone lines to next-generation, Internet-enabled communications networks? The answer will be music to your ears.
Read the full article on Huffington Post – Tech
Las Vegas promises to offer visitors anything they desire. Shopping, parties, clubs, restaurants and theme parks all await. But the reality is the single goal of Vegas is to attract gamblers and extract money from them.
More than 40 million passengers come through McCarran International Airport every year. They arrive just 2.4 miles away from the Strip casinos — roughly a six-minute cab ride – but as soon as you step off the plane you’re immediately greeted by slot machines. Everything in Vegas is obviously designed to get visitors gambling as quickly as possible. That is, everything except transportation.
When I made the trip down for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I immediately queued up in a 45-minute taxi line. The only upside was the rare breath of fresh desert air and a reprieve from the nonstop noise emanating from the slot machines.
Read the full article on Huffington Post