Tuesday, June 5, 2007

MITX Awards: Who Cares About the West Coast?..We Have Fridges with Weather Displays

Had the pleasure of attending the 4th annual What's Next Forum & Technology Awards that was hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston this evening. The event which is organized by MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) brings together the brightest minds in the Boston tech space while giving us East Coasters an opportunity to roast the "big bad guys" on the West Coast and specifically in Silicon Valley.

There were two distinct highlights of the evening in addition to the award presentations. The first being a panel discussion titled "What's Next for the Device Web: Emerging User Experiences," that was moderated by David Kirkpatrick, senior editor of Fortune magazine. Of course as we've mentioned in the past on GenY TechGuy, we're big fans of David and have had the pleasure of chatting with him in the past. David is pretty familiar with the Boston / Cambridge tech scene from his current role at Fortune and received his BA in English from Massachusetts's Amherst College...Albeit way before we were born.

Joining him on stage were Gary Kovacs, vice president at Adobe; Boyd Peterson, senior vice president at Yankee Group; and David Rose, founder & CEO of Ambient Devices.

It ended up being a truly rewarding discussion with Kovacs and Rose trading one-liners and Peterson astutely chiming in with his non-partisan view. The crux of the conversation focused on the evolving mobile device and where we go from here. I was really impressed with Rose who stole the show with a few one-liners like the one he threw out when he had to ditch his blackberry half-way through the panel because it was causing problems with the audio equipment. Peterson tried to get across that this was an illustration of how hooked Rose was to his mobile device. Rose barbed "To me it's like a Swiss Army Knife, it does many things but the only thing it does really well is fit in my pocket."

The overall theme seemed to be moving beyond the mobile device being seen as just a mobile device and instead looking at it as a window into the Web experience that we have grown to love. Designing future devices to maximize the the Web experience on mobile platforms.

Amazingly enough, Rose and Ambient Devices have taken the idea of the "Digital Living Room" as it applies to mobile and entertainment technologies and brought the idea to the Kitchen.

In teaming with LG the company has brought the idea of the "Mobile Refrigerator" to life. They brought up an interesting stat in this approach. The average American family goes to their refrigerator more then 60 times a day. Making the refrigerator the center of the family life and the most touched item (outside of Blackberrys) for most Americans. So why not make it a resource for items outside of food you say?

The LG LSC27990 refrigerator http://us.lge.com/products/model/detail/home%20appliances_refrigerators_side-by-side_LSC27990.jhtml comes with an Ambient weather service which provides a five-day forecast for your area and displays on an HD ready LCD screen located on the front of the fridge.

Who needs a computer, newspaper or a weatherman for that matter...Beer and weather, The Fridge 2.0 has you all beat..

More on the forum tomorrow...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

You and I have memories that are longer than the road that stretches out ahead

Everyone and I mean everyone is blogging about D5 so I figured I had to hop on the bandwagon. We all knew that when Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got on stage together the tech industry would collectively take a time-out to listen in. However, usually when Steve or Bill talk (on their own) we are treated to company "spin" from two of the greatest business moguls to ever set foot on this planet. When their worlds collided over the last couple days at D5 they let the "Who's Who" of the tech industry finally see a more personal side. No elaborate product unveiling that Gates and particularly Jobs have excelled at. It was more like two great competitors looking back at their rivalry while soaking in the last few rays of their Golden Days.

Om Malik very eloquently summed up this personal look at Jobs and Gates in a great post that he wrote live at D5 for GigaOM http://gigaom.com/2007/05/31/steve-jobs-2-0/#comments. When the two finally sit down together Job's refers to their long standing rivalry/relationship in the context of the famous Beatles song the"Two of Us."

Om quotes Jobs in his dialogue to Gates as saying “You know, I tend to think of things as Beatles or Bob Dylan songs. There’s one Beatles song that goes, ‘You and I have memories that are longer than the road that stretches out ahead.’ That’s clearly the case here.”

Interesting enough, "Two of Us" was recorded live in 1969 at Apple Studios. It was just this year that Apple Inc. finally settled the rights of its trademark dispute with Apple Studios parent company Apple Corps. Many believe that the rights to Beatles' songs may have also been part of the deal and may appear soon on iTunes.

Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps said at the time, “It is great to put this dispute behind us and move on."

Perhaps Jobs could use "Two of Us" to better describe that relationship.

Regardless, the reunion of these two rivals, which was anticipated to be a highly competitive debate (Wired magazine went as far as to compare it to a reunion the likes of Simon & Garfunkel); ended up more like Magic and Bird showing mutual respect late in their careers.

“When the new schedule would come out each year, I'd grab it and circle the Boston games. To me, it was The Two and the other 80.”--Magic Johnson

“The first thing I would do every morning was look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn't care about anything else.”--Larry Bird

Tell me that Gates and Jobs didn't circle this chance encounter on their schedule and that they don't check each other's stock every day....

Sooo Magic Vs Bird...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Cheaper Way to Drinks on the Beach: Thanks to Yapta

Wanted to put up a quick post. With everyone traveling and enjoying the long weekend I thought this would be appropriate. Erick Schonfeld of Business 2.0 has a short post on Yapta and a video with their CEO Tom Romary in an entry Friday in his "The.Next.Net." blog.

I encourage you the check out the video they filmed in advance of a Disruptors panel that took place in LA recently http://www.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/business/2007/05/25/b2.disruptors.yapta.cnn&source=money.

Yapta (Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant) tracks airline ticket prices for consumers and lets you know when ticket prices change; even after you've purchased your tickets. It then tells you if you're eligible for refunds and travel vouchers based on the price change. This is a way around travel sites such as Expedia and Orbitz by working directly with the airlines. Although Expedia and Orbitz offer similar services they do not track longer then 24 hours like Yapta.

The 275 people that made up the first beta group testing Yapta saved an average of $85. Although it may not always save you a lot, Yapta acts as a safety net when buying tickets well in advance of travel dates. Rather then checking-up on ticket prices everyday online you can count on Yapta to let you know. Now you have more time to think about what you are packing in your suitcase and how good those drinks on the beach are going to taste...

Happy Memorial Day Weekend....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Kirkpatrick and Rafat Ali Debate on PaidContent.org


From David Kirkpatrick Fri 25 May 2007 07:27 AM

Rafat-- I suggest you study the announcement more carefully before you lash out
with what is in itself hyperbole. If you think these are just widgets you are
very misinformed. The idea that technologically Facebook is “catching up” to
MySpace is hilarious--and fundamentally wrong.

From Rafat Ali Fri 25 May 2007 08:12 AM

David I am using your language on you...I am sure you’re aware of that
technique. Sorry but I think you got completely spun on this one, but that’s my
opinion vs yours.

Debate with Owen Thomas of Business 2.0

Obviously everyone has drastically different opinions about the Facebook announcement and it has spawned some interesting debates.....

Owen Thomas of Business 2.0 and I debate a bit further on his "Business 2.0 Beta" Blog.

(Debate Below)

Kyle, thanks for the familiar paean to Facebook, but I fear you're the one stuck in the weeds. I know full well how loyal Facebook's audience is. And you've outlined exactly why any startup would be foolish to leap blindly onto Facebook's platform.

Facebook's users will remain loyal to Facebook alone, not to third-party application developers who happen to provide add-ons to the Facebook experience. If those developers believe that they'll get any number of users in the bargain, I'd say they're fooling themselves. The Facebook OS is a great platform - for Facebook, and Facebook alone.

Hey Owen,

Looking back I think I may have missed your point a bit. I guess in reading the headline "Facebook OS: Just Another Pretty Face" I thought you were coming down on the good of OS for Facebook itself as well. It will be a great thing for Facebook and the Facebook community and while I wouldn't go as far as you to say that developers should stay clear of OS, they should understand that Facebook users likely won't become loyal to their widgets and aps.
But why tell developers to stay away...Isn't this the same story as Second Life and look what developers have build that into...Look at what the One Laptop per Child project has created through open development and developer wikis. It seems to be the whole idea behind concepts like open source and from what I've seen it usually spawns some truly unique and innovative results...


Posted by: Kyle May 25, 2007 at 01:03 PM

Facebook Me: GenY TechGUY

Like writing the first page of a novel or watching the first at bat of your team's favorite prospect; the first blog post seems to take on a little extra meaning. Maybe then its fitting that in Spring, a season of FIRSTS (The Warriors Winning a playoff series, Dice-K pitching his first complete game, Paris going to jail and Roger putting on pinstripes - Didn't this already happen?) we are debuting "GenY TechGUY."

So picking-up with all the buzz this week, we're going to focus on one of our favorite Web 2.0 companies: Facebook.

David Kirkpatrick of Fortune has an outstanding exclusive on Facebook http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/24/technology/fastforward_facebook.fortune/index.htm, that went online yesterday evening and will run in an upcomming issue of the magazine. David takes a look at the announcement of Facebook OS and how it will fit into the mission of the company. I think David nailed it as he often does. I've had the pleasure of speaking with David in the past and he's often the one to break the big story when other writers already think they've broken it. Some how he manages to get the bigger scoop and always produces the "real" story.

But it got us thinking over here....Why do we love Facebook so much?

Kirkpatrick’s story on the announcement and the overall mission of Facebook nailed it on several levels.

Personally, as a Generation Yer, the story hit pretty close to home.

The whole story of Facebook really defines our generation and I’m telling you first hand; the college crowd isn’t going to leave…Like many college alums I have started to dabble in other social networks for “professionals” like LinkedIN, but Facebook keeps pulling me back. Why?
Because it’s about cultivating relationships with people I already know and have shared 3:00 a.m. bleary-eyed discussions with. Like Kirkpatrick duly noted.

Slowly after some time the college crowd will start to go back less frequently but they will still check-in from time-to-time and the next generation of college and high school students will carry the torch.

I was graduating as an undergraduate when Facebook first came to my university and it instantly took off. The funniest thing is that the class that graduated ahead of me has no idea what the Facebook phenomenon really is.

Just one year difference and they don’t understand how closely entwined Facbook became in everyday College life. From organizing parties & fund raisers, sharing pictures, stories, declaring relationships and viewpoints, defining myself, letting me know my friend from abroad was having their birthday, letting people know where I was; it became a daily part of my life.
In truth these days, it’s like waking up in the morning and reading an online newspaper about what is going on across your “Friend’s World.”

That’s what the feeds have enabled. Yeah, it started out as a great hook-up tool for frat brothers but it has evolved into so much more. That’s why this announcement from Zuckerberg didn’t catch me off-guard at all.

Involving your friends in everything you do online; is what Facebook has already turned into. It’s even more actually. It’s the tool to include your friends in everything you do in your life. At least in my social circles…

Facebook is going to end up being Microsoft’s best move of the decade because I truly believe Facebook will far surpass Myspace in the next couple years and become a company that is mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Yahoo! and Google.

As long as Zuckerberg doesn’t let the site become overly commercial and sticks to the mission of “growing your relationships online with old and new friends” Facebook will be the company that we are talking about in the next decade.

“I Googled it” and “I Facebooked him” will be synonymous phrases in all social circles..