June 22, 2014: This week the YO phenomenon burst onto the scene. An app written in 8 hours with the sole function of sending the message “YO” to your friends list captured a $1M+ financing round and made TechCrunch. It appeared to crash under all the usage that publicity generated, and two intrepid GA Tech students were among the first to hack it. If you downloaded the app and got a YO from Elon Musk, don’t take it personally. It’s spoof world at the moment I’m writing this.
June 15, 2014: The last ten days were unusually inspiring for me. After having been named an emeritus member of the board of the Georgia Tech Foundation, I attended its annual summer meeting at Sea Island and enjoyed catching up with many long-time friends and getting to know the newcomers. Having just come of age for an emeritus role, I’m essentially in my freshman year with that group, even though I served on that board some time ago and have made many presentations there over the decades.
June 4, 2014: Today’s post is a complement to last week’s writing on strategy. For my regular readers, please note that I’m publishing earlier than usual so I can travel the next ten days without a keyboard and focus on
resort golf board meetings in the Southeast. I’m going to talk about some particular news here to make some points about smaller tech ventures dealing with the muscle of the big players and with the dynamics of business sectors over funded by investment capital.
June1, 2014: It’s humbling to play chess against the computer versions. I’m not a chess enthusiast, and it’s easy for me to dial up to a level where my personal game is inadequate. In this 100th anniversary year of the opening of World War I, there is renewed attention to analyzing the chess-like, set-piece opening of that conflict where the Schlieffen plan was dusted off and set in motion as a result of the act of one crazed assassin in Sarajevo.
May 26, 2014: Sunday was the annual Greatest Day in Motorsports – the conjunction of Formula 1 in Monaco, the Indy 500, and NASCAR’s World 600 in Charlotte. Television coverage began at dawn and ended past bedtime for many of us.
May 18, 2014: No institution has asked me to deliver a commencement address for the class of 2014, but here below is a template for the record in case you or I are picked as a last-minute replacement somewhere. That’s not been an uncommon need this spring when protestors have driven off notables like Condoleezza Rice. She’s probably fine with that; it gives her more time to work on her golf swing and be in top form when Augusta National reopens in the fall for member play.
May 11, 2014: At the Chamber of Commerce A-List event this past week, Mike Maples, Jr. of Floodgate VC challenged the community here to set a goal to create a new $100B tech company. That would be an achievement on the order of Dell, which has had a profound impact on the city’s economy and spawned countless entrepreneurs and investors along the way.
May 4, 2014: At our Longhorn Startup Demo Day on April 24, team MicroMulsion, which is developing microgels for cell cultures in bioengineering research, announced an investment by Mark Cuban. That investment came as a direct result of Cuban’s appearance at our previous Demo Day in December, where he spent time with all our dozen teams and was intrigued enough to ask to invest in this particular one. The accompanying photo shows Biomedical Engineering student Ani Sharma presenting his company on the big stage.
April 27, 2014: How many passwords do you have? As of today I have 148 that I have to maintain. I know there are some very good password management software products and apps, but I still feel compelled to keep track of my own and easily be able to change them when hacks like the Heartbleed bug come along. I’m not sure I want yet another layer of software on top of websites that I access often. Since sites have different rules about password lengths and character requirements, there’s no one-fits-all solution, nor would that be a very wise practice in any event.
April 20, 2014: “We really like you guys, but we don’t like your product.” That comment from about 1980 has stuck with me; I got to know very well the two gentlemen running Sears computer stores at that time, and that was their polite way of delivering a rejection. I think Peachtree Software has generated more profits than all of Sears in the intervening decades and is only increasing its lead today, but no one is keeping that score (except me).