Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

New “About” Picture

Jason_ball
I switched out my "About" picture to a caricature that was given to me earlier this week.

I was a judge in the Running the Gauntlet program. As a thank you, they had caricatures of each judge drawn during the 3 day event and have sent all of us a collage of all judges. I thought it was a great "thank you" and decided to replace my mugshot with the caricature.

Thanks again to Matt Pieterse for inviting me to participate…

Filed under: Events, Conferences and Panels, Other

New “About” Picture

Jason_ball
I switched out my "About" picture to a caricature that was given to me earlier this week.

I was a judge in the Running the Gauntlet program. As a thank you, they had caricatures of each judge drawn during the 3 day event and have sent all of us a collage of all judges. I thought it was a great "thank you" and decided to replace my mugshot with the caricature.

Thanks again to Matt Pieterse for inviting me to participate…

Filed under: Events, Conferences and Panels, Other

New “About” Picture

Jason_ball
I switched out my "About" picture to a caricature that was given to me earlier this week.

I was a judge in the Running the Gauntlet program. As a thank you, they had caricatures of each judge drawn during the 3 day event and have sent all of us a collage of all judges. I thought it was a great "thank you" and decided to replace my mugshot with the caricature.

Thanks again to Matt Pieterse for inviting me to participate…

Filed under: Events, Conferences and Panels, Other

Digital Dashboards

I’m always looking for new ways to deal with information overload- Digital Dashboards are a great way to cope with that. I’ve been looking at several alternatives:

1. Pageflakes- offers users the ability to create pages of pages including RSS feeds, Alexa, the Weather forecast, etc. They offer version 2.0 of the classic "homepage" from Yahoo, etc. (Free)

2. Feedraider- offers users the ability to create pages of RSS feeds, Photos, Videos, etc- anything that is in an RSS feed. You can view by groups (like Pageflakes) or in River view- which is chronological. (Free)

3. Swamii- a new London-based perpetual search engine. You tell it what to search for, it brings you fresh results daily. (Free)

4. Spotback- a Personal news service. It learns which news you like, but you can’t tell it which sites you like.

5. Feeds 2.0 – a Personalized news service. You tell it which sites you like, it learns what you like to read. I’ve been using Feeds 2.0 for about 5 months. It really saves me lots of time by "scoring" every article across some 200 feeds I have- and presenting me with the highest ranking news based on my explict and implicit reading patterns.

5. Tailrank- Personal news servce. You tell it which sites you like, it learns what you like to read.

6. My Wall Street Journal Beta (Pay) You select various charts, sections and it shows these in dashboard format. You can also add RSS feeds.

7. MarketClusters- a pay-for site offering VC-centric business intelligence (Pay)

8. Magpie- Search and Alert for competitive intelligence (Pay)

What digital dashboard tools are you using? If I’ve missed some good ones, put them in the comments section.

Filed under: Software

Pre-roll’s Dead?

Fred got the ball rolling, Tim picked it up and agreed but Paul thinks otherwise.

One of our investments is in a Post-production software company, Imagineer Systems.

Imagineer are to video what Massive are to gaming. Imagineer’s software has been used on Harry Potter, X-men III, Pirates of the Caribbean II, Casino Royale, and so on. They have the ability to delete or insert images or parts of images as needed for motion pictures. They are now broadening their focus to included user generated content and online media. 

The same way we have various types of advertising on webpages- not all ads are annoying pop-ups- we’ll have a variety of in-video advertising. Some types are more appropriate in certain situations- for example pre-roll in a mobile video is not feasible, but product placement is. An art video, like the ones Fred is always posting from Daily Motion, probably aren’t appropriate for product placement.

Like everything, variety is the spice of life…

Filed under: Software, Technology

Pre-roll’s Dead?

Fred got the ball rolling, Tim picked it up and agreed but Paul thinks otherwise.

One of our investments is in a Post-production software company, Imagineer Systems.

Imagineer are to video what Massive are to gaming. Imagineer’s software has been used on Harry Potter, X-men III, Pirates of the Caribbean II, Casino Royale, and so on. They have the ability to delete or insert images or parts of images as needed for motion pictures. They are now broadening their focus to included user generated content and online media. 

The same way we have various types of advertising on webpages- not all ads are annoying pop-ups- we’ll have a variety of in-video advertising. Some types are more appropriate in certain situations- for example pre-roll in a mobile video is not feasible, but product placement is. An art video, like the ones Fred is always posting from Daily Motion, probably aren’t appropriate for product placement.

Like everything, variety is the spice of life…

Filed under: Software, Technology

Pre-roll’s Dead?

Fred got the ball rolling, Tim picked it up and agreed but Paul thinks otherwise.

One of our investments is in a Post-production software company, Imagineer Systems.

Imagineer are to video what Massive are to gaming. Imagineer’s software has been used on Harry Potter, X-men III, Pirates of the Caribbean II, Casino Royale, and so on. They have the ability to delete or insert images or parts of images as needed for motion pictures. They are now broadening their focus to included user generated content and online media. 

The same way we have various types of advertising on webpages- not all ads are annoying pop-ups- we’ll have a variety of in-video advertising. Some types are more appropriate in certain situations- for example pre-roll in a mobile video is not feasible, but product placement is. An art video, like the ones Fred is always posting from Daily Motion, probably aren’t appropriate for product placement.

Like everything, variety is the spice of life…

Filed under: Software, Technology

Investing Pre-adoption (or How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

Last night was the Internet People Christmas Party. I talked to a number of start-ups, but generally felt like the Grinch spoiling an otherwise perfect Christmas pitch with my perennial “Where’s the revenue?” question.

In all fairness, there is one other metric that drives investor interest in a pre-revenue business: Traction.

Nic highlighted his thoughts on pre-revenue companies, which in turn reflects Ben Holmes of Index’s thoughts:

… if there is no revenue model then the only way you can invest is if customer acquisition costs are zero, or very close to. That way you only need to be able to make a small amount per user to make the business model work, and it is pretty safe to bet you can get that from somewhere.

An older, must read post is Fred Wilson’s post on Traction.

I am a user of (some) Web 2.0 services (Flickr in particular, and I pay my 24 peanuts per year for that service). Even as a seed investor, I won’t put money into a software company unless I see some customers. I certainly wouldn’t consider a pre-launch business- there are endless posts on how cheap it is to build web applications- there is also a tried and true method of offering consultancy services and using that to fund the build- i.e. getting a customer to pay for the application.

Filed under: Software, Venture Capital

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