The Golden Triangle

Transito Golden Triangle
Originally uploaded by dardilrocks.

I heard something this past week that stuck with me all the way to the weekend. To the life of me, I can’t remember who said it but at least I remember what was said:

The three current big megatrends in the web/tech sector are mobile, social, and real-time.

I like to think of this as the golden triangle. You can build interesting businesses in each of these three sectors. The iPhone is the poster child of mobile. Facebook is the poster child of social. Twitter is the poster child of real-time.

But it is what happens inside the golden triangle that is really interesting to me. What if you build a service that is mobile, social, and real-time? Well that’s a big opportunity folks and I’ve been seeing quite a few entrepreneurs doing exactly that. It is an exciting time.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

    1. fredwilson

      sesame street FTW

  1. Joe Rubin

    4 square 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      yes, but that is just one of many interesting companies in the goldentriangle

  2. Joe Rubin

    4 square 🙂

  3. im2b_dl

    my wonder is the term “mobile”… I wonder how much it is more “personal device” that is portable/mobile rather than just looking it as “mobile”. There is a piece of me that thinks mobile is like the shuttle ship that runs remotely… but when it returns to the mothership is it interoperable… I think that is where personally my brain and my industry needs to be thinking…. how mobile has to have a duality. so maybe a big piece of that is real time interoperability & sync (browser, infrared, dual channel sync…infrared and via cloud based etc etc) seems a big region in that golden triangle

    1. fredwilson

      I made a similar point at our portfolio summit on monday.

      1. im2b_dl

        see I’m getting smarter … ; )

    2. paramendra

      I like the mothership metaphor. That is why I am really excited about Android. I think the Android phones will do a better job. The iPhone is like a small desktop. The Android has a definite web bias.

  4. rubenyc

    Totally agreed, but instead of mobile I’d say “portable”, since a project that’s at the same time mobile and web has much more possibilities than just a mobile one.What is a fact is that social will stay with and it’s a MUST in any project.

  5. jeffjarvis

    The way I’ve been putting that is that Google has more frontiers to conquer: the local, live, and social webs. In other words, I’m conflating local and mobile. Or perhaps it’s better to include both (a golden square?). Mobile includes local in the sense that not all phone apps are geographic, of course. But local is a huge opportunity: the annotated world with more data about every place, bringing new targeting and ad opportunities.

    1. fredwilson

      I saw a tweet that suggested something similar Jeff and I replied that maybe mobile + social + realtime = local

      1. pangaro

        mobile + social + realtime + local = ME

        1. paramendra

          Mobile + Social + RealTime + Local = Me/UsMobile + BrowserStatic + Social + RealTime/NotRealTime + Local/Global = Me/UsMobile + BrowserStatic + Social/Solo + RealTime/NotRealTime + Local/Global + Offline = Me/UsBy offline I mean say you are at an event, offline, and you are tweeting away. Where is the boundary between the web and the non-web? There isn’t.

          1. paramendra

            Web + People + Places = Earth/Us

      2. paramendra

        Not always. Local is item number four.

    2. im2b_dl

      I just tweeted this but I think perhaps there are primary colors in this and secondary that are overlaps between the two… with cuck brown lol being the sweet spot…lol. Not sure if there is three or four of this next gen focus but perhaps it could be looked at as this kind of frame work RBY (social mobile (portable) real time) and secondary GOP (geo-located news, local introduction exploration, interpersonal/shared event)

    3. paramendra

      Jeff Jarvis. Sir, you need to put Disqus on your blog. WordPress has banned me from leaving comments at all WordPress blogs across the web. That includes TechCrunch and your blog. At TechCrunch I circumvent that by logging in with Facebok Connect, but your blog is too WordPress dependent. No, I was not a spammer. My behavior at the WordPress blogs were no different from my behavior at the Disqus blogs, if I may call them that. It is a wonder Disqus never banned me. Disqus smart. WordPress stupid. I am not a spammer. I am on schedule to leave about two dozen plus comments on this one blog post. That makes me an avid commenter, not a spammer.On another note, does anyone know any honcho at WordPress/Akismet who could get me off the hook? I tried writing to them. It did not work. I would love to get off the hook so I can get on TechCrunch trackback sections. Would get some traffic to my blog that way. Help!…PS. You just added a fourth bucket of paint: local. Local as in hyperlocal.

      1. fredwilson

        Screw wordpress. Disqus is where its at anyway. Jeff just needs to get with it

    4. zacksteven

      I was about to make the same comment and would cast my vote for the Golden Square, with local as a distinct element. In some respects it’s hard to believe how far web/tech has gotten away from local. I actually think it’s the lines between local and social that will start to blur.The explosion of the social web is, among other things, a reflection of people feeling disconnected from their local community. When I don’t know my neighbors I look to past friends and distant family for connection. The resurgence of “local” in web/tech will give local connections and content renewed importance because of their tangible impact on day-to-day life. Today’s facebook will become tomorrow’s address book.

  6. Vladimir Vukicevic

    That sounds about right. But for a new company to shoot for hitting all three edges immediately might be a tall order. I think that any one of those can be a valid entrance-point for a startup as long as the other two edges are quickly and sufficiently addressed.

  7. chris dixon

    I dunno. I agree this is conventional wisdom, but am deeply skeptical of thesis based investing. The future is too unpredictable. You invested in Twitter when no one was talking about real time.

    1. David Semeria

      Bang on. As Warren Buffet says, the really great moves are frequently greeted by yawns.

      1. fredwilson

        Yes they are but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a thesis to tell you what the next great move is. It just has to be your own thesis, not something you read in a popular magazine or wall street research report

        1. David Semeria

          With all due respect Fred, “mobile, social, and real-time” is pretty mainstream. I’m not saying that thesis is in any way wrong, but I’m willing to bet no-one currently knows what will be big in five years time (including the guys who are working on it).BTW, I agree that a VC’s job is not explicitly to spot trends 5 years out. The VC’s job is to generate good returns. These two objectives are not necessarily compatible. On a risk-adjusted basis, it makes more sense to get involved with something that appears to be working, rather than something that might work.

          1. fredwilson

            Agreed. But what happens when you work inside this triangle is not two to three years old

        2. paramendra

          Your VC firm has a narrative, and future opportunities will have to fit into that narrative. I think that is what you mean.

    2. fredwilson

      We are exclusively thesis based investors. Our thesis in twitter was social media needed to get easier in order to go mainstream. We looked at blogging and felt that being able to blog via sms seemed like a winner

      1. chris dixon

        You are obviously great investors. But sometimes great artists don’t know why they are great. My favorite quote about venture investing from Mike Moritz:Moritz: I rarely ever think about big themes; our business is a bit more like bird spotting; you don’t look at big flock, you try to pick out each one. You might find odd looking, interesting complected bird in flock that otherwise looks mundane, rather than try to make observation on large flock in any particular area. Can point to late entries into crowded market and then went on to prosper. You want to make sure bird you are picking out can fly for a long time. There is lot to be said for investing in ugly ducklings.(of course it helps to have access to every deal in the valley)

        1. fredwilson

          how do you know when it is an ugly duckling that is worth investing? you’ve gotta have a thesis that is well articulated and well understood among the partnership. that’s what Brad Burnham does for USV and it is why we are doing so well right now.

          1. chris dixon

            What thesis would have helped Moritz invest in Google? If anything, at the time, the smart people thought search was over. I would argue the only way you could have spotted Google’s potential is by seeing the greatness of the product.

          2. BrentNewhall

            A great talent scout doesn’t have to find every great sports star. Being a great investor doesn’t mean finding every great company.Fred might very well have missed Google. That’s okay; there are lots of different opportunities. The point is to have a system that finds *enough* great companies.

          3. chris dixon

            Yeah, I think thesis based investing can work – apparently it does for Fred and for other VCs I know. That said, in 2009, I can’t imagine how believing in mobile, local, real time, social etc today is a competitive advantage since pretty much every VC thinks those are hot trends. Thinking it 3 years ago as USV did probably was a competitive advantage.

          4. fredwilson

            What if you add sensors to the mix? That might be a bit out there. Same with playful. Augmented reality seems on the cusp of becoming reality. There’s always more just around the bend and much of it is being discussed in this thread

          5. chris dixon

            Yes, and I am self-interested here as it relates to Hunch but I would also add search itself and AI more generally.

          6. fredwilson

            I would avoid AI due to its ‘baggage’. I prefer dropping the artificial and just call it intelligence

          7. paramendra

            How about smart?

          8. paramendra

            That guy who put that first 100K into Google which is now worth a billion. How many people had the option to put that 100K at that point? How many would have done it?

          9. fredwilson

            The thesis that the web is not so much about content, but search and navigation. Still very nuch true today

          10. Citybot

            As I was reading your comment about “the thesis” it just occurred to me that “the thesis” may end up being a self fulfilling prophecy. The projects that get funded and survive are the ones that align with the VC’s vision of the future, thus making the future.

          11. fredwilson

            I wish it were true. Maybe a little bit but there are so many great companies out there that never tool VC or did after they had made it

          12. paramendra

            Not true. The market is the goddess we all worship. VCs don’t decide the future on whim. The future picks the VCs.

          13. iamronen

            do you really “gotta have a thesis” or is that one way of going about things… and part of a bigger picture?If memory/impressions serves me…. you yourself wrote a while back about the involvement of your heart and your gut when you went after the twitter investment…personally, I believe a “thesis” is a great process for clarifying your intentions and moving together (as you seem to do at USV)… but I cannot see how you can conclude that “it is why we are doing so well right now”… there is no logical way to draw or test that conclusion (as much as you may want to)… and actually… doing so, I think, instills a sense of control at the expense curiosity and wonder… which are great tools for identifying and experiencing “greatness”…

          14. fredwilson

            they way i think about it is my partner Brad sets the thesis and investmentstrategy and within that i use heart and gut to tell me what i should beinvesting in. that’s how i work.

          15. iamronen

            beautiful:…does it happen/is it possible for your heart and guts to affect and ultimately change the thesis?

          16. fredwilson

            Yes. Its a partnership and it evolves

  8. Paul Daigle

    I really like the concept of “3 screens and a cloud” to describe all of these opportunities. Mobile, Social and Real-Time are all about communication. Our 3 screens are how we’ll communicate. The cloud is where it will happen. The future is about making the communication that occurs on these 3 screens (TV, PC, Mobile) interoperable. Today these screens are still pretty much their own silos. When “who we are” and “what we do” can move seamlessly from screen to screen the real value of mobile, social and real-time will become unleashed in a very powerful way.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s a great insight paul. Thanks

    2. ShanaC

      Convergence with screens problem. I think you are going to have a social change sometime soon where it isn’t going to be so clear what kind of screen you are looking at, except based off of size.Not to sound crude, but does size matter, if all you are doing is attaching a variety of chips to a variety of different sized screens? Maybe it is not three screens at all, just what those screens represent right now because we are transitioning.

      1. Paul Daigle

        I totally agree– they will converge. But I do think the 3-screen concept will prove a lasting one from a practicality standpoint. We’ll go from having a TV, PC and phone to having a big screen, small screen and pocket screen. Currently our 3 screens represent competing platforms. Tomorrow they’ll be 3 complementary devices that each have certain advantages based on the activity we’re engaged with at a given moment. Pocket screens = single-user. Small screens = work stations. Big screens = group-experience stations. Otherwise their capabilities will be pretty much identical. All these screens will have an IP address and communicate inter-operably. Imagine commanding a 100 ft stadium display through your pocket screen. I totally agree… size will only matter in the number of users that need to experience the screen at a given moment. I think this is inevitable. The big question is how long it will take us to get there.

        1. fredwilson

          I want to send links to videos I get on my bberry to my boxee queue. The three screens need to be connected somehow

          1. ShanaC

            I think that”s happening because of configuration problems. We already know people work more productively with two screens. You put Boxee on a computer. And we’re becoming aware that ginormous screens are power drains.Things will change, it will be one of slower changes, fought a little more tooth and nail, yet it will change. When you hear of kids screwing around with when to watch tv according to groups like Nielsen, the end is near…

          2. paramendra

            The end is near. Ha! Where are the “founding fathers” when we need them?

      2. paramendra

        One screen, one cloud. I like that. Great insights like great things in general are simple.

    3. MParekh

      I’d actually suggest “infinite screens and a cloud”. We’re likely going to surprised how rapidly evolving display technologies and costs will make displays and touch-driven interfaces possible in so many places. The traditional templates of “TV, PC and mobile” are very restrictive, driven by specific use cases of the past.

      1. fredwilson

        Oooh. Good insight michael

      2. paramendra

        Agreed, Michael.

  9. rickburnes

    Yes, this triangle is fascinating and full of opportunity — but it’s a stretch to say that these are “THE” big trends. It’s a very consumer-focused framework.Consumers are leading the changes on the web, but there’s a growing wave of business-related changes (in the way businesses market, sell and operate) that will lead to huge new value creation.

    1. awaldstein

      I think its less about these being consumer opportunities and more that there’s been a basic switch in innovation. Innovation technology seemed to come from within orgs, like Xerox Parc or DRI and go to the consumer market. Innovation now is coming from the other side and working interestingly back into business and the enterprise.Interested though in what you see as this ‘wave’ of business changes,

      1. im2b_dl

        personally …purchase activation based marketing

        1. awaldstein

          Yes but most of the purchase activation and behavioral matching based marketing/sales methodologies have been around for a year or more. What new ‘wave’ of marketing and selling for businesses has come seen daylight in the last 6 months that ties into the renaissance of growth in social media platforms?

          1. im2b_dl

            I am biased but I am banking on emoitonal story architecture that is symbiotic to organic purchase activation and instigation… that occurs in the story cube rather than the storyline…makes me sound smarter than I am…lol meaning getting people to have access to a market as they interface…at their choice that does not effect the story in anything other than a positive format. That’s why it has to be storyteller, narrator chosen. and structuring it with low risk up front for advertiser…which the big guys and their signatory weight loads can’t do yet…

          2. awaldstein

            OK, if what you are saying is that marketing and sales structures at there best and organic are tied into the value and motivation of the story or product. I’m there. And yes, social media platforms are beginning to let us do that.Actually a great campaign, a perfectly innovative business model did just that. Tools to accomplish this were always behind the desire to do so. We used affinity groups tied to BBS systems in early gaming days, early adopter programs and developer conferences to accomplish much of the same in a much more obvious way. Tomorrow will allow us to do this with scale and finesse and automatically. Exciting stuff.

          3. im2b_dl

            I hope so.

          4. ShanaC

            You realize this is going to be a huge task, to even figure out the variations between very similar stories? One of the interesting things I find when talking to people, is that although people conform to “the charts” each person is slightly different as to why. And that why in the end is the driver for them to do anything.

          5. awaldstein

            This is the big question and the big ambiguity Shana. Marketing is about what you don’t say. About choice and art to capture the essence of something that cuts to the fattest part of the market with the most meaning. SEM and computation keyword algorithms is all about science and formula to make prospects specifically and individually targeted. What is happening with new social marketing platforms is the intersection of these two. Not real yet, but coming.

          6. ShanaC

            Good thing I like big questions.

          7. Chris Nwakalo

            great discussion and this is probably one of the only comments that I actually understand. lol

    2. fredwilson

      Yeah, but maybe the businesses will follow the consumers. Why is salesforce working so closely with twitter? Why do businesses spend billions with google?

      1. paramendra

        With new technologies we rediscover old business values. We breath new life into them.

    3. Monty Kalsi

      Totally agree Rick. Big changes are coming in the way businesses adopt, sell, market and use these technologies. Today’s hot technology trends are hot for a reason. They are the locus of forces around Web 2.0: crowd sourcing, cloud computing, long tail, pull versus push, software as a service, virtualization… among other trends that Fred mentioned. ‘Like vectors on a map, these trends — in their variety, number and alignment — define the dimensions of individual self-enablement in a crowded information space. True, they are oriented toward different needs, but those different orientations allow them to triangulate on a common point. It’s all about how to apply highly dispersed network-based resources in highly scalable numbers in response to a particular individual’s request.We are moving in the direction of “Hyper-Innovation”..where everything gets customized based on individual’s need.

      1. ShanaC

        Modularity customized. Everything will come in parts, and people will stick them together to make something that appears custom. it will be very different that artisan customized. It is far out of most people’s price range to afford artisan made goods as “custom” is meant in the traditional sense.Part a + Part b = new thing c.Part b + part d + part e = new thing fDoesn’t make part b any less not custom, even if thing c and f are might be why we are seeing thing thing we call the golden triangle now even. Very modular ideas, stuck together in a variety of forms…it’s how many organic variations can you come up with right now before becoming super innovative, ala the first introduction of Google.

        1. fredwilson

          Bug Labs was built on this vision. The issue is it is hard to compete with the economics of a single device like the iPhone which can be customized to a certain degree

          1. ShanaC

            Really brief-A) you need this book, Machine Beauty, by David Gelernter… He talks about under what situations modularity can work. I don’t agree with everything he says. It’s an interesting read though.B) It might not be worth it to compete against the IPhone directly even though it seems to be aimed at a very similar age/income crowds. I guess I would be talking about the benefits of having really customizable mobile, atypical, hackable computers that aren’t phones and aren’t the mini things. Also the big question- are they always customizable after you buy, or do you get locked into a behavior once you do too much to a modular piece?

        2. paramendra

          To mention the three primary colors is not to be able to imagine all those amazing paintings. Fred heard someone mention the three primary colors.

  10. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Relevance and filtering are the missing key ingredients, currently.Context is King (sic).

    1. fredwilson

      Nice one carl

    2. thewalrus

      +1 for relevanceFred: interested to hear more on you thoughts around social for consumer-facing services? mandatory, case-by-case, etc? the defining success story on the web did it, and is still doing it, on a non-social experience (search)….yet no social, no love seems to be the mantra in the industry now. i’m guessing you’ve been involved with the ‘to be or not to be’ discussion with portfolio companies…curious to pick your brain more….thanks….

    3. Peter Cranstone

      So how do you get the phone to give you the context around Who is using it, What are it’s capabilities and Where it is? If you can do this in real time (and yes there is free software that can do this) then you can have all the relevance and context you want. What’s even better is that you can do this without any infrastructure changes on the web app side

  11. angusdavis

    You can’t ignore Zynga and the gaming element. Foursquare is an example of incorporating “game dynamics” into social applications — frankly gaming is one of the only major differences between Foursquare and the many services like it that came before. I’d suggest a 4th “corner” to your triangle (i.e. make it a square) with some term to describe the application of game psychology to social applications.

    1. fredwilson

      Now we are getting to our six themes: mobile, social, playful, global, intelligent, and open

    2. Rachel Haot

      I agree with gaming focus–but put this under the ‘social’ category. It’s gaming across social networks that’s exploding.

      1. paramendra

        Agreed. Gaming is a subtopic within social.

  12. Jeff O'Hara

    That’s exactly what we are trying to do. We need to hit mobile to complete the circle, but that is one of our next steps. We started on “social” education a year ago, put in realtime elements 2 months ago, now it’s time complete the trifecta.

  13. Aistis Zabarauskas

    Could you name some early examples of mobile/portable, social and real-time?

    1. fredwilson

      Early means a few years ago?

      1. paramendra

        Ha ha!

    2. MParekh

      Yes Aistis, Blackberry/RIMM for mobile/portable, AOL for social and eBay for real-time (auctions) in the ’90s

      1. Aistis Zabarauskas

        Thanks, Michael. Fred, i’ve got what i was looking for 🙂 What about examples of businesses that started combining all three sectors just recently? Are there any?

        1. Citybot

          Try Yahoo app for iPhone. It gives your real time updates from your social connections (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, email) on your mobile phone. All three are there limited only by your phone’s battery life 😉

  14. William Mougayar

    It’s a good way to frame the current activity. I would add Semantics as am underlying glue of sorts, although it often is invisible. I agree also that Personalization is big.

  15. Jason

    “What if you build a service that is mobile, social, and real-time?”…really just the new basic requirements of a cutting edge web service.

  16. matt newberg

    Don’t forget about network effects. Leveraging open social platforms like Twitter is great because these applications become transparent, which grants them the potential to go viral (e.g. foursquare). Too many iPhone apps in the golden triangle can’t go mainstream (e.g. Loopt) because they’re on their own closed systems, hence useless unless it can go after a large user base that will regularly update the app.

    1. fredwilson

      Right. Our six themes are open, mobile, social, global, playful, and intelligent. I think we need to add instant to the mix

  17. ShanaC

    If we want to talk about social in real time, I think we should talk about language and semantics (including tagging) for as one of my good friends keeps telling me, we don’t share the same face to everyone. If I’m honest, I would say, we also don’t talk the same way to everyone, why would I tag the universe that way either?One of the things that make humans profoundly more intelligent that computers is that we understand nuances in communication between each other. Tagging and semantics, if only the start of them, should be up there. Things that start pushing the bounds of language as much as the push the bounds of connection, I suppose.

    1. fredwilson

      You’d enjoy terry jones’ riffs on social data

  18. Rachel Haot

    Wow, uncanny. Those are the three pillars I’m using to describe the @GroundReport relaunch. Something’s in the air.

    1. fredwilson

      Group think?

      1. paramendra

        Ha ha!

  19. Mihai Badoiu

    Relevance and filtering are technical details. It affects the quality of the product, not the use case btw, bug in the interface: clicked reply on a message, wrote the message, but then I had to be logged on, so I clicked on facebook. My message got copied, but the fact that it was reply to another message disappeared. This looks like a natural flow, and I’m sure I’m not the first one to run into this problem.

  20. Jeff Slobotski

    This is both encouraging as well as motivating to think on.Foursquare….who else?

    1. fredwilson

      Well all the great mobile twitter apps and also facebook mobile increasingly

  21. garyhayes

    Consider a higher level version of your rather ‘trend’ based now triangle, heres the transocialmedia one I have been using for several years… combined with the real time web which is covered here… –

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll check them out

  22. markallenroberts

    Entrepreneurs can build very successful businesses serving one of the points of your golden triangle.Those who have a core competency to serve all three will realize explosive growth. However, for those reading your content I am concerned. Do not try to do all three unless you have intimate market knowledge in all three. Where a number of entrepreneurs blow it, and their VC’s become disenchanted, is when they venture into places they do know and they use their “gut and intuition” and they assume and extrapolate as I discuss in my blog: http://nosmokeandmirrors.wo…If you know all three…go for it. If not pick one and dominate, don’t just participate.Mark Allen

  23. timoreilly

    Seems to me that Fred’s golden triangle applies to business as well, I’m afraid. There are certainly other trends at work that apply to business, but if you look at real-time for instance, it’s at the heart of Google’s ascendancy over Yahoo! and Microsoft in Search (real time ad auction). It’s at the heart of Wal-mart’s success (real time supply chain).I will say that if you interpret these trends narrowly, you will miss a lot of stuff that these words are pointers to. Mobile does not just mean “mobile phone.” It means encountering computing out and about in the world. Dig deep, and you will see many other ways that computing is becoming mobile and ubiquitous. Similarly, if you think social is limited to “social networks,” you’ll miss all the other ways that social has been bubbling up over the years (e.g. Google’s pagerank was an early social computing breakthrough).Like a lot of simple formulations that cover a lot of ground, this one is good because it anchors the corners of a very wide net. Fish in that net and you will find a lot, even for non-consumer-facing businesses….

    1. fredwilson

      Hi Timthanks for stopping by and joining the conversation.i agree that it is a good idea to interpret the three trends very broadly

    2. David Semeria

      It’s almost heretical to argue against real-time at the moment – but some dishes, like vendettas, really are best served cold.For example, I would generally prefer to hear someone’s considered opinion, rather than the first disjointed fragments to pop into their I appreciate this comment has the potential to be the most self-negating in history 🙂

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Agreed, David.Real-Time can often be nothing more than Vox Pop hysteria. And babble/noise. Inane, anal pseudo reportage.Empirical evidence has done quite well without real-time.Real-Time has a – serious – place, when it’s more fleshed-out, but for now it’s still finding its role in the mainstream. It is certainly well suited to the shallow, attention-seeking/deficit ‘meme’ society we live in. Which is neither sustainable nor relevant, in my opinion.Like a Reuters/Bloomberg ticker-tape, there’s too much reaction going on nowadays. Not enough thought/reflection – which leads to real action. Not reaction.

        1. David Semeria

          I like the ticker-tape analogy, Carl. If you’re an intra-day trader, then every tick is relevant to you, whereas if you’re a pension fund manager, you can just read the prices in tomorrow’s newspaper.Apparently, Buffet doesn’t have any real-time data feeds to his offices.

          1. paramendra

            It is not an either or between real time communication and reflective communication. We need both. We have had the technology for slow, reflective communication a long time – envelopes, stamps. But the tech behind real time has been new, and hence the excitement. I think it is justified.

    3. paramendra

      This comment deserves to be added to the blog post itself. It is so good.

      1. fredwilson

        Been asking for that feature for yearsInstant promotion to front page

  24. timekord

    Fred – spot on – its the intersection/interaction where the action is.If you add sensors you can make a golden square – websquared.PS – The Golden square is more of a rectangle if drawn using the Golden ratio.

    1. fredwilson

      Sensors is very futuristic thinking. I like it

  25. Mike McGrath

    “The Golden Triangle” = “Word of mouth is the best advertising” + “All politics are local” on tech speed in a virtual community. This isn’t very different than Spark Capital’s Conflux on Media, Entertainment, and Technology thesis. The broad strokes of the sector have now been paved – the next step is narrow specialization (think Ebay to Etsy.)

  26. Rob

    This sounds exactly like foursquare, doesnt it?!

  27. nahumg

    Thanks Fred for this inspiring & catchy concept! In addition to its attractiveness, like any other metaphor, it has its limits. In this case, what are the relationships between these 3 factors with the rest of the world, e.g., the information universe (Web 1.0, print, oral, etc.) and long-lived social practices like face-to-face encounters, phone, norms (whether good or bad), etc.? Without describing these relationships and incorporating them in our strategies, we might forget that these important factors exist and our new business practices will not be as successful as they should be… This is in addition to Tim O’Reilly wise words.

    1. fredwilson

      So true. Its a metaphor, not a business plan

  28. MParekh

    Excellent point on broadly definining these terms, Tim.Also important to keep in mind that in many cases these are the same basic ingredients being used in newly tweaked recipes.AOL in the nineties owed a fair bit of it’s mainstream popularity to real-time instant messaging/chat, and eBay ‘s success was driven by real-time auctions. Of course, the big mobile revolution was Blackberry/RIMM for real-time email.

    1. paramendra

      And the earliest real time was in-person, of course.

  29. gregorylent

    anything that enables consciousness to express itself in the world is a viable business opportunity.anything that reveals the existing oneness of all that is, is a business opportunity.anything that collapses space and time is a business opportunity.

  30. Peter Cranstone

    Let me throw my 10 cents into the ring on real time. This is a little techie, but bear with me. The perfect place to put this real time “meta data” is right on the wire so to speak. Add it to the HTTP protocol in “real time”. Once you do that you can really expand your horizons beyond mobile and basically out to anything that connects via the protocol. The beauty of being “on the wire” is that it can connect to anything. The way to get it there is simple – add a filter to the browser that allows it to access device and user meta data (with their permission) then as the request leaves the browser simply add it to the message. Now all you have to do is read it at the other end. Every web server on the planet can run a script and do CGI to a web app. All you do is read the data in real time and hand to whatever service you want.The browser is the future because it is device and OS agnostic – everybody is already running a web server so just make the “stateless” protocol carry more state. With this approach real time meta data is open to everyone.

    1. paramendra

      The browser has been the future for more than a decade and a half, no?

  31. Broken Record

    Sorry, but how is stringing together three relatively obvious trends especially insightful? – Broken Record

    1. Vladimir Vukicevic

      It’s insightful because it gives us a glimpse into how a relatively powerful player in the VC/startup industry thinks.

      1. Citybot

        Word 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      Its not insightful. And it is not stringing them together either.

      1. paramendra

        Power speaketh. 😉

    1. David Semeria

      Quality clip, quality film.

  32. MGS

    Some of the services mentioned here, are not really ‘real-time’. They are more like bulletin-boards, you post something, refresh, refresh, refresh to see if anybody else posted anything else.’Real-time’ indicates a push/pull model combination as used in traditional ‘virtual worlds’ which gives the users a sense of being in touch with other users in real-time and hence increases the value of actions and also the duration of involvement.You can see that some of these ‘new’ type of services are being built right now if you can separate ‘hype’ from real-functionality. We will see the results unfold as these ‘hyped-up’ companies try to go ‘global’ and ‘mainstream’.

  33. Nate Westheimer

    This space is interesting because great players — like Facebook (mobile app usage is insane), Twitter (duh), Google, Foursquare, etc — are already rocking this space and rocking it well.How much more company does this space need?Would love to hear what “big problems” other commenters think are still unsolved in this space. We know how to make connections, share our thoughts and locations, find information together and on the go… what else is needed?My contribution: I think a big unsolved problem — while other people are finding ways for you to save money while on the go — is how you can MAKE money, socially, in real-time, while you’re on the go. The labor issue.The socializing, real-timing, and mobilizing of the web are all a part of us making a more efficient — and labor will be a big part of this.

    1. paramendra

      Nate. This is how you MAKE money socially: are also other ways. Email me.;-)

  34. Joe Lazarus

    Foursquare, Twitter mobile apps, Facebook mobile, and good examples. It’s also interesting to see these trends applied to some areas outside of status updates and social networks. The other day, I bought a sweater from Gilt Groupe’s iPhone app. The app pushed an alert to my phone letting me know that a sale just started. I was outside, but didn’t want to miss out the great deals, so I browsed a bunch of stuff from my phone and bought a sweater at 75% off in just a few clicks. I thought the experience was so slick that I posted a Gilt invitation to my Twitter followers. At least one person clicked though and signed up, for which Gilt rewarded me with a $25 gift card for the social referral. Mobile, social, real-time shopping.

    1. fredwilson

      A great example Joe. Thanks for sharing it

  35. AlexHammer

    Wisdom and success comes from integrating known elements in new useful ways. Fred shows that he is well ahead of the curve here.

  36. kenberger

    The Golden Triangle also commonly refers to the heroin producing region of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos.Like the GT described here, it too is a source of unspeakable wealth and addictive products.

    1. kenberger

      PS: if AVC and foursquare had a mashup, I could now possibly be sent “You just unlocked the ‘tasteless commenter’ badge!”

    2. paramendra

      I am aware. It is called being a South Asian.

  37. Go Blue!
  38. Heather White-Laird

    You are absolutely right. The killer service is something that’s all three. At iCrossing, we’ve begun that process. We developed an app that combines social, search, and real time and it’s only on the iphone. It’s called Say What? and it’s free. The goal was to allow users to search the social conversations around any topic while on the go. You can download it here Let me know what you think. Thanks!

    1. fredwilson

      i think social is here to stay and facebook is the king of ittwitter is more of a social broadcast system than a social net

      1. paramendra

        Agreed. Social is here to stay. Facebook is king. Twitter occupies a different niche. It is each person’s personal broadcast medium. Facebook is for people you know. Twitter is for people you don’t know, primarily.

  39. Dag Kittlaus

    Not to add to the growing complexity of the “mobile algorithm” being constructed here but there is another aspect that helps drive context to the rest and that is “personal.” When you have some understanding of the “who” that is interested in the “what, where, and when” this sets the table for making the portable more personal, proactive and productive. (one more “p” word and this will start to sound like the rant from V for Vendetta)I look forward to the day your device, through the “intelligence” Fred mentions, can ultimately effortlessly orchestrate these “pillars of context” into a simple and intuitive interface that brings them together. It’s all data. Most of it with API’s (FB connect, Twitter, BOSS..etc) and with emerging trust mechanisms for making them interoperable (like Open Social and OAuth) Hopefully sooner rather than later.

    1. fredwilson

      I think its coming fast

  40. kevinmurphy

    After attending last night’s Digital Media Conference in CT last night I propose a slight change to Fred’s digital triangle. That change is the following an let me explain-The three current big megatrends in the web/tech sector are mobilex2, social, and real-time.The change is “mobile squared”. The mobile platform, as Fred points out, is easy to understand the growth potential. What the squared represents is the domain smashing that is central to the theme of the atomization of the web. Think All around the web. Think any content on any device anywhere. Any platform or technology that enables or enhances this aspect of the user experience will find an appreciative user base.

  41. Roger Toennis

    Here’s my Golden Triangle Opportunity.”Advertising that Doesn’t Suck!'s Mobile, Social and Realtime.Ping me if you have interest in investing or being a user.Roger