Drawing is one form of creative expression that has not made a rapid transition
to the digital/online world. The tablet may well change that. Paper is
one of the most amazing tablet apps I have seen. It is beautifully made
and the art that people are creating on it is inspiring.
seems like there is even more potential that can be unlocked with
drawing. Draw Something showed that everyone can draw something (no pun
intended). But Draw Something is a two person game. It is not massively
multiplayer and social in the way that Twitter, Instagram, and
Enter DrawQuest. DrawQuest is the creation of our portfolio company Canvas.
One of the most popular features in the Canvas community is the drawing
challenge. The company regularly sends out a themed challenge and the
community responds to it. That inspired DrawQuest.
DrawQuest is a
tablet app, initially for the iPad only. After signing up, you receive
daily challenges, you draw them, submit, and then you can see what
others have done with the challenge. You can like, play back someone
else's drawing, follow users, etc.
DrawQuest is a game in the
same way that Foursquare is a game. It’s fun and engaging and you get
feedback on your creations. I believe this kind of interaction will lead
more people to draw on their tablet in the same way that Instagram has
led more people to take photos on their camera.
At the top of this blog, in the nav header, you will see "TV". This is new. When you click on it, you will go to fredwilson.tv. This is also new.
fredwilson.tv is a linear feed of videos that are pulled from AVC, fredwilson.vc, and my twitter feed and shown in reverse chronological order (from when I posted them). You can click on the play button and start watching/listening. They will keep playing until you've had enough. You can click on the arrows on the far left and far right to fast forward or rewind. If you move the mouse, the controls will come up from the bottom and you will get info on what is playing, where it came from, and what is next.
fredwilson.tv is powered by shelby.tv. At the bottom of the shelby homepage, it says "create your own TV network". If you want something like this for your .tv page, shelby can power yours too.
I would like to thank Reece, Dan, and the entire shelby team for building this. I've been mentoring the shelby team since they landed in techstars a couple years ago. I've hung out with them, the Gotham Gal and I have had dinner with them, and in general I've tried to help them when and how I can. They are an awesome group of people and I am proud to be hosting fredwilson.tv on their platform.
In a lot of ways, fredwilson.tv is continuing the tradition of fredwilson.fm (you get to that from the Radio link on the nav bar). fredwilson.fm was launched four or five years ago on the streampad technology built by Dan Kantor and sold to AOL. Sadly fredwilson.fm is borked and has been for the past week. I am trying to find a good replacement for streampad which seems broken and I can't get any response from AOL when I email them for help. If anyone has any good ideas for fredwilson.fm, I am all ears.
Hailo is as big in their home city (London) as Uber is in SF and across the ten markets they are in, Hailo has similar scale as Uber in total transactions per day, week, month, and year. Hailo is different than Uber though. They focus exclusively on the regulated part of the market and as a result they can offer lower prices and a higher liquidity of cars to their riders. The power of this model becomes clear if you travel to London and compare the Uber experience to the Hailo experience.
Another big factor in our investment process was the "I told you so". In late 2011 as Hailo was just launching in London, the team came to see us and told us everything they planned to do in 2012. We were impressed by the team, their backgrounds, and their attitude and energy. But we had big concerns about everything they said they were going to do in 2012. A year later, they came back to see us and not only had they done everything they said they were going to do, they actually did a few things more than that. I referenced this story in a post I wrote at the end of last year. Now the company in the story has been named. They will be added to the investments page on usv.com today.
And maybe most importantly, we believe in large networks of users that have the power to transform big markets. We've long thought that the ubiquity of the smartphone will enable transactional networks between buyers and sellers and it turns out the urban transportation market is one of the first big markets that is rapidly being transformed by large smartphone networks. We are excited to be able to invest in one of them.
The Internet is a data generating machine. According to Eric Schmidt, every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. It's also incredibly good at presenting that data, both to humans and machines.
So it makes sense that collecting and publishing data is one of the primary business models on the Internet. Here are some of the examples that you all created on the revenue model hackpad:
I like to think of data businesses in two categories; businesses that aggregate and then publish data and businesses that generate their own proprietary data by virtue of the service they provide on the internet.
Most of the companies listed in the data section of the revenue model hackpad are businesses that aggregate data from others and sell it. These can be good businesses but they are rarely great businesses.
Google is an example of a business that generates its own proprietary data by virtue of the service they provide. Google doesn't monetize with a data revenue model, they monetize with advertising that is targeted based on the data they generate. But in many ways, Google is a data business. Data is the secret sauce of their business and they have invested heavily in data science to maximize the value of their data.
Facebook and Twitter are rapidly becoming data businesses like Google. They collect a ton of data about users and what they think about and care about by virtue of providing a free and valuable service on the Internet. And that allows them to improve their services, make them smarter, and to target advertising to their users.
Going back to the aggregation model, if you are going to pursue this approach, try to figure out how to make your data as proprietary as possible. Anyone can aggregate so you run the risk of commodification in the aggregation game. If you can create some sort of proprietary advantage, either through exclusive access to the data or through some sort of refinement of the data using your own insights and analytics, that leads to a better aggregation type business.
Most data businesses are subscription based, but data can also be sold on a transactional basis. Transactional models are easy to sell when you are just getting going, but subscription models work better over the long run.
Many data businesses use APIs to make it easy for their customers to get data into their own systems. This is a good idea because it makes it harder for customers to leave if your data is part of their systems. If you can make your data part of a broad ecosystem, that is a good thing.
Selling data is a good way to build a business on the Internet but if you can figure out how to leverage proprietary data produced by your service to make your service even better, that often turns out to be an even better "data business".
The quote of the week for me was this one from Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer:
The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.
Netflix will have to produce shows that are worth watching. HBO has proven it can do that over and over again for years. Netflix has not.
But Netflix allows you to have a direct relationship with them and use your account on almost every connected device I can think of. HBO requires you to have an account with a cable company and then even if you do, it is hit or miss whether you can use their service on the device you want to.
HBO isn't going to adopt the Netfix business model in the US without a strong reason to do so. If Netflix is successful with their model and proves that it works, maybe that will be the strong reason to do so.
So, if you want an HBO that looks like Netflix, support Netflix' efforts to look like HBO.
So they did The Crunchies yesterday. It got me thinking about award shows. I am not a fan of any process that selects a best of anything that doesn't involve the parties getting out on a court or field and battling it out. But clearly award shows are a big deal and people love going to them, watching them, and winning them.
And what exactly is the point of selecting the best of any of these things? The best movie? Was it really the best? The best social media company? Was it really the best? The best book? Was it really the best?
Why can't we celebrate the diversity of the work, the many efforts that were made, and all the amazing things that got created in the past year. But instead we focus on the one single very best one. As if there were just one.