Obama Weekly Address Video On YouTube – Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect – Change.gov

For the first time, the weekly Democratic address has been released as a web video. It will also continue to air on the radio. The site that is hosting this is Change.gov

President-elect Obama plans to publish these weekly updates through the Transition and then from the White House.

Today’s address from the President-elect concerns the current economic crisis: President-elect Obama talks about the economy in this week’s Democratic address.

Liveblogging Hulu CEO Jason Kilar At NeeTeeVee Live – He’s Obsessed

Jason Kilar is giving the keynote at the NeeTeeVee Live conference. A big wave: He talks about the 12.6 billion streams online today. Users are responding. Hulu was founded to take a look at this new environment. Hulu is looking to establish premium content like what Starbucks did for coffee. Making it easy to consume and put it everywhere.

Media is an impulse business and the first law is to make it easy to consume. That is their vision. Their formal mission is to help find and enjoy the worlds premium content when, where, and how they want.

Obsessing: Jason was inspired by Disney World. Talks about attention to detail similar to Disney on how they keep their theme park clean. Specifically the detail around the user experience screen real estate..etc.

He is talking about the backend and how they change the user experience based upon the search request on the site. Again back to his obsessive user experience.

I’m impressed by their focus on user experience.

Results:
12 million monthly users; 145 million monthly streams; embedded 1.5million times on over 60k sites. Attracted over 115 top content owners; content partners seeing dramatic lift in terms of their overall onine business. Advertiser demand exceeded expectations. I’ve been tracking this for some time and this is the future business model see my link to past post.

Questions from audience:
Advertisers pulling back: seeing uptake on video and not concerned about advertising right now – emphasis is on the brand.

International plans and key territories? Won’t go into detail on their roadmap. He is indicating that they are very focused on a global vision.

Cnet is saying they are having problems recruiting advertising and ability to serve up ads. Won’t share any financial details. Jason is talking about monetizaiton around premium videos. Ad supported video is $80b. Ad revenue is critical for Hulu. Jason isn’t really giving an answer on this.

Product placement: hot spotting is good on the Internet and he sees this as being big and is possible on the Internet today. It’s a function of getting the user base large enough. Emphasis on critical mass.

What’s holding Hulu back from moving fast? They are a startup and the reality is that they have limited resources.

Update: Venturebeat has a story among others on Techmeme.

Online Video – Trends Content Models Advertising Models At NewTeeVee Live Event

I will be moderating a panel that is sponsored by Volomedia at NewTeeVee Live. It will be a workshop on content monetization at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco this Thursday, November 13 at 3pm.

The panel is titled “Pennies Today, Dollars Tomorrow: Learn How To Make Money In The Media Transition As Television Moves To The Internet“.

Pennies today, Dollars tomorrow. Learn how make money in the media transition as Television moves to the Internet.

As content moves from controlled programming to a decentralized, multi-platform distribution model, solutions are required to engage, measure and ultimately monetize this audience. The session will explore this cross-over from television to online and devices, and discuss opportunities while maintaining control of your digital distribution for the anywhere, anytime audience.

Moderator:

  • John Furrier, Founder, Furrier.org

Panelists:

  • George Ruiz, Head of New Media and SVP Business Affairs, International Creative Management
  • Susan Bratton, CEO and Co-Founder, Personal Life Media; Vice Chairman, Association for Downloadable Media
  • Murgesh Navar, Founder, VoloMedia
  • David Smith, Founder and CEO, Mediasmith

I hope to get to address the following types of questions

Trends
•    Environment:  real-time verses asynchronous, social network, web sites, blogs, podcasts, ..etc
•    Distribution:  reach, metrics
•    User:  Online content viewer, preferred method of consumption, how do you define good content?
•    Advertiser:  social media, engagement, loyalty, conversion?
•    Other:  iPhone, downloadable, streaming, content development, distribution systems, content franchises, affiliate models

Content Model
Value proposition of content online?  What is an example of a successful content franchise?

Value of content or value of brand?

Success models of content deployments

Content formula:  Speed and Control;
Speed:  (slow verses fast) and Control (high vs low)

Open distribution:  sampling verses giving away the ‘store’
Tasting (sampling) ?  SNL verses Olympics

Concept of a viewer?  Is it the same as broadcast?  Does the notion of a “viewer” matter online?

Is there risk in being open or is risk overstated?

Is there a ‘holy grail’ metric for content publishers?  Engagement, viewers/listeners, loyalty, commerce, ..etc ?

Content models:  ad supported verses subscription – are there any other kinds?

Business model:  is it just promotion or is there a “there there”?


Advertising Model

Are ad networks working?

What are advertisers looking for in the new tee vee environment?

Role of brands?  Is it about the brand?

Role of the agency?

What works what doesn’t work?

Audience engagement – what does it mean?  Benefits to advertisers?

When does an advertiser know when it’s working?  Are there identifiable tipping points out there?

How do they plan for future campaigns?

Budgeting and media buying of the future?

Here is a video of George Ruiz – Taken by Tim Street in LA. George is an agent and talent king and has been a successful film studio exec and negotiator.

Web 2.0 Summit – Just Doing Business – What Bubble

I have to say that I was a bit skeptical about the recent Web 2.0 Summit.  I thought that it would be a bust.  In fact first impressions were that it was trending that way.  However after Jerry Yang’s conversation with John Batelle the Web2.0 Summit pickup up the pace.

I had a chance to speak with many of my friends in the space, and it was clear that doing business and building ventures was on the mind of many.  Unlike recent years where the Web 2.0 Summit felt a bit bubbly, this year was different.  Many were talking about ideas and sending signals of open collaboration – many among serial entrepreneurs.  For companies in the Web 2.0 space the conversation was on doing business.

It was an environment of executives doing deals.  What a concept.  The reality of the market is now on doing business.  The event was successful and for the first time I felt a strong sense of business focus.  Industry participants actually looking to build an industry.

This begs the question:  was there ever a bubble?  Sure some companies are flashy and ajaxy but in reality we never had a bubble or bubble burst.  The financial reality or depression didn’t originate from Silicon Valley or Web 2.0.  The crisis vectored in from mainstream financial systems.

Future of Web 2.0 – Just Do Business.  That’s on the mind of entrepreneurs, VCs, and large corporations.  How refeshing.

Blogging 2.0 – Blogging, Podcasting Growing UP -Yes They Are Mainstream

The economist has a great story about blogging and how it has gone mainstream. I would add podcasting to that list as well.  I was there when blogging started and podcasting and yes it is true both are mainstream leaving many of the pioneers like me and Jason trying to figure out the roles in the new order.  The fact is most pioneers can’t compete with mainstream professionals. The economist talks about Jason Calacannis as the example of blogging pioneer.  Jason is a great blogger and has shown the way for many.

Jason is a pioneer in blogging, but the real reason (my opinion) that Jason stopped blogging was because he had a company to build and run – Mahalo which is in big trouble.  Email makes sense for Jason because it is more controlled, and it keeps his social graph and influence in place verses the treadmill we call full time blogging.

When I started PodTech in the early days of 2005 had a huge audience and my show was very popular – millions of people were exposed to my podcast (thanks to blogging and itunes).  I gave that up to try to run the company that was venture backed.  Now I’m considering doing it again.  See poll on the side bar.

Back to Pioneering or Blogging and Podcasting 2.0

I see blogging changing so called Blogging 2.0.  It will more about real time collaboration.  More about experts not generalists.   In fact other blogger agree at web 2.0 summit I spoke with Toni Schnieder CEO of WordPress and he agrees.  They are seeing massive uptake on expert or specialism blogs.  Also this reaches deep into the web.  Toni mentioned that wordpress has over 200 million unique users – that’s massive.

I have launched a new blog in June called Broadband Developments www.BroadDev.com which is a prototype for a collaborative blogging hub.  So far the results are working.  We’ll see if that can be a model for Blogging 2.0 – experts working together.

Is Yahoo Being Served Silicon Valley Divorce Papers ? It Needs Big Game Changing Product

I’ve been thinking about the Jerry Yang conversation yesterday with John Batelle and it hit me – Yahoo has for years being the outsider in Silicon Valley. The recent blog and press coverage of Jerry’s comments yesterday make it clear that the core culture in Silicon Valley is frustrated with Yahoo and by default Jerry Yang.

Two posts stand out in my mind that got me thinking about this. Mike Arrington’s post and Om Malik’s post (other coverage is basically saying the same thing) speak to the core feelings about Yahoo.  I know both Mike and Om love Yahoo for it’s storied history, but like they and others (me included) are frustrated by the bungled execution.

What’s really going on here?  Yahoo losted a ton of great people in the years that it milked it’s dominant portal status.  That is compounded by a misdirection in strategy one that during the Semel years (the media focus) saw Yahoo lose many of their top product and engineering mavericks.  Innovation is the culture of Silicon Valley and Yahoo lost that years ago.  The recent pile on going down is just built up frustration by Silicon Valley on Yahoo and Jerry Yang is taking all the heat.

I’m pulling for Jerry Yang because I respect the ‘guts’ that it takes for the founder to come back.  It’s very noble of Jerry, but trying to transform his company into a platform player will take years.  It will take new leadership underneath Jerry.  Fact is they just don’t have the ‘chops’ on the product and engineering side.  Silicon Valley wants nothing to do with a ‘false’ prophet.  Jerry needs to move faster or the ‘mob’ will take them down (as Mike Arrington suggests).

Turning the Yahoo battleship will take time.  All Yahoo needs is one game changing new product.  This reminds me of the old minicomputer days.  Yahoo is the Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) of Web 2.0.  They’ve been on this portal and media thing why to long (similar to DEC on the minicomputer) – it might be too late. Some minicomputer companies like HP got new relevant products (hello LaserJet) that fueled a reinvention.

If Yahoo doesn’t get the new product and engineering mojo back Silicon Valley and others will completely turn on Yahoo.

It’s doable for Yahoo due to their ‘huge’ installed base of users, but the window is closing. They need a new product that is relevant – a new flagship.

Run Jerry Run!  Get it done.

I would love to see the founder take back his company and make the turn around.  The question is “do they have the people to do it”?  Silicon Valley doesn’t thinks so.

I’m not convinced yet of Yahoo’s demise and will wait to judge Yahoo.  I think that they can. I vote for the founder to stay – Jerry should stay, but he needs a new management team that will follow the founder in his vision.  I blame Semel not Jerry.

What do you think that they need to do?

Blogging at Web 2.0 Conference – LobbyCon Is A Ghost Town – Mood is Glum – Sequoia Is To Blame

I’m at the Web 2.0 conference and the mood is a bit somber.  The leading indicator of the conference is the LobbyCon (hanging out in the lobby).  Compared to last year LobbyCon is falling short.  I’m now sitting in the overflow area watching Larry Brilliant of Google.org.

Web 2.0 is a great event to see all the insiders.  Top of mind in this event is the economy specifically the recession and online advertising.

I overheard a CEO of an ad network saying he’s trying to do revenue deals – Translation he’s dying.

Much of the bad vibe blame (of the people that I talked with) goes to Sequoia capital.  One entrepreneur thinks that Sequoia put the fear out there to scare the market – note: Sequoia has fresh money hence an advantage in a scared market.

Story About My Boy Alec – Kids Don’t Use The Phone Anymore

Today Alex Pham of LA Times wrote a story about the iphone and games.  She quoted me talking about my son (my boy) Alec.

She writes … Within days of buying his iPhone, John Furrier discovered that his 13-year-old son, Alec, was sneaking off with the device and downloading games. To reclaim his phone, Furrier had to buy his son an iPod Touch, which Alec quickly filled up with Pac-Man, Magic 8 Ball and dozens of other games.

“When he’s not playing on his Xbox 360, he’s playing on the iPod,” said Furrier, a 43-year-old entrepreneur and blogger in Palo Alto.

What I want to expand on is the new user trend for Digital Natives – they hate talking on the phone.  They are a generation of asynchonous users.  Screw talking just SMS or wait for the next incoming message or signal.  I polled 10 kids in middle school – 8 out of 10 admit they don’t use their phone – only to call their parents.

80% !! Granted this is Palo Alto, CA – but it is a leading indicator that the new definition of portable isn’t phone – opps sorry all you Unified Communications nutjobs out there.

It’s data not voice.  I’ll just leave it like that.  The iPhone phenom will continue to disrupt and now Android will accelerate it.

John Doerr’s Advice #8 – Find Coffee Drinkers Because Coffee Is For Closers

This video shot by Kara Swisher who moderated the panel about the downturn got this gem from John Doerr.

His point #8 – Sell and being in Selling mode or ABC – Always be selling – if not hit the bricks pal.  Of course the other points are great, but what will make the difference and be the biggest game changer for startups is closing business- Business Development.  I posted the same advice on Oct 10 – thanks for reading John Doerr 🙂

Here is the Kara video, but first stay and enjoy my two favorite sales motivation videos from YouTube. I wonder if the same tone was passed along from the VCs to their portfolio companies.

Question: what does it take to do a startup??

Here is the sales parody from Few Good Men

My Prediction is Validated About Business Model Of Video – Give Users What They Want

Taking credit for big trends is all the rage these days of blogging. So here is my self promotion post on the future of online video and future of online advertising. 🙂

Today the news in the NY Times tells us about the future of online video and advertising. It comes as a shock to many people including Mike Arrington, Mathew Ingram, and others. With headlines from Wired like Hulu Celebrates First Anniversity, Gain Popularity By Serving Fewer Ads.

As predicted by me years ago and blogged here at Furrier.org – “Content is the Ad”

Hulu’s success is due to the a great user experience verses forcing the maximizing of moneitization. That is why Hulu is not littered with Ads. Why? Because the content is the ad. SNL’s franchise on TV is their product and their online distribution (widgets) is their ad. NBC TV broadcast was the product and their online coverage was their advertising. Why do the big content people do this? This is going to sound too simple – they know what the users want. And their product (main content franchise) gets a reward for it – more viewers. Badda bing. Simple.

One more time – CPM ads don’t work in social network or online in targeted user groups – said again for the zillionth time

How do you monetize: the plans for this new content model online will be different. Expect to see new contextual and behavior tools that serve users – a utility of some sort. For now it’s all about cross-promotion.

Successful online strategies have been successful if they do three things: 1) easy to use, 2) reduce steps, and 3) save time

Anything online that distracts users will lose – online experiences must be value-add. Advertising can be value-add and I expect new advertising solutions to be of value.

Old Media is Changing Not Dying – The Answer Is Right There – Just Go For It

The NY Times David Carr has a great story on the situation involving Old Media.

It’s been an especially rotten few days for people who type on deadline. On Tuesday, The Christian Science Monitor announced that, after a century, it would cease publishing a weekday paper. Time Inc., the Olympian home of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced that it was cutting 600 jobs and reorganizing its staff. And Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, compounded the grimness by announcing it was laying off 10 percent of its work force — up to 3,000 people.

Clearly, the sky is falling. The question now is how many people will be left to cover it.

It goes on. The day before, the Tribune Company had declared that it would reduce the newsroom of The Los Angeles Times by 75 more people, leaving it approximately half the size it was just seven years ago.

The problem with Old Media is the reliance on their outdated revenue model.  Their business model is fine with the exeception of how they get paid.  Old Media needs to reinvent their way of getting paid.  This will require them to overhaul their entire value chains.  More importantly the revenue model.

I see value in the paper but the fact is people want online information.  One clue Old Media can take away from me is only to look at the recent success of how TV broadcast is approaching it.

Here is the link to my views on the recent success of TV broadcast media.

This Adage story is very relevant. Author of the story Michael Learmonth nails it totally.  It is the business model of online video.  All the folks looking to figure out how to monetize online video today – stop and read the Adage article.  The online video business model is in the article.

Portable media or downloadable media reaches the same audience of those who watch TV PLUS it reaches audiences that don’t watch TV.  Online video media creates synergy and “Pull” with it’s parent content franchise.  It creates aided awareness to the users already consuming both platforms (TV and online) AND pulls in the new audience as evidence by the success of the SNL numbers.

Big trend:  Portable or online video crosses over to TV.  Widgets, portable formats drive offline perceptions.  This is huge.  Saturday Night Live and the recent success of NBC’s Olympics strategy prove this.

I think about all the startups and big companies innovating in online when I read this story from AdAge.  This is the strategy.  It’s a big value proposition – use online video to complement the broadcast franchises.  We saw it with the Olympics – NBC booked over $1b on TV ads with their live coverage online.  Although their online used low cpms and had niche programming – it creates a ‘rising tide of users’ that translates directly to the core asset – TV broadcast.   We are also seeing evidence that this is working in ITunes podcasts as well.

Techcrunch Reporting Innovation from 2005 – Blip.TV Finally Gets With Video Ad Insertion

I love Blip.tv, but the latest Techcrunch post should be titled – Blip.tv catches up with the rest of the pack in video insertion.

This isn’t innovation but a necessity for Blip.tv who has been behind the curve in innovation on the adverstising side. This is a me-too announcement. One thing that is true about the story is that iTunes throws off tons of traffic. ITunes and podcasts are mainstream – call it portable media or downloadable media (whatever) – it’s big numbers. Blip.tv isn’t the only solution and it is far from the best.

This isn’t a big story because others have this technology like Castfire, Wizzard.TV, and Volomedia. In fact Volomedia has the most advanced solution in that it can insert and track ads from when you’re not connected. For that most sought after and most advanced solution it does require a plug-in.

Blip.tv isn’t really doing anything new here but it does give them a needed revenue stream. Blip.tv has done a great job in hosting videos for the “long tail” sector of online video of independent video bloggers. Now they can make money for their long tail providers.

What is interesting is that you have companies, like Volomedia, Wizzard, and now Blip, who can provide reach for advertisers.

Metrics: Lets hope the metrics can be there. That is the biggest challenge from Blip is the metrics. The ad insertion is trivial.

I will ask around to get a feel for the reaction among Blip content creators and update this post…

Update: Peter Kafka was looking for the Cypus video of Mike Hudack (it was taken down) but I found this version and remix that was no doubt posted on Techcrunch using Blip.tv – remixed to music by Internet star, comedian, and celebrity Loren Feldman of 1938media.com. He changed the music to Highway to Hell – very fitting.

Update: NewTeeVee has a story and clarifies that the solution only works on the computer version of iTunes. There is no portable or mobile metric. That makes sense now.

Update: In the comments below a virtual discussion is going on between me and Mike Hudack who is being very transparent (like they always have been in the past – kudos to Mike).  I would like to turn this into a ‘virual panel discussion’ on the topic because of the quality of the comments.  I will ping Volomedia and Kiptronic to respond.

Downloadable media or portable media is a very small group of companies so maybe we could get some collaboration and information – we need metrics because it’s clear that the market for downloadable media, podcasts, portable media is mainstream (no one debates that just look at iTunes and overall web video performance lately).  We do need to get a solution that works for users and advertisers so that the funding for more content can be realized.  Thanks Mike for commenting.

The Silicon Valley and Hollywood Dance – It’s a Hit Driven Market

There are striking similarities between Hollywood and Silicon Valley.  The inside joke that I’ve been sharing lately in comparing the two markets –  in Hollywood when actors are out of work (no script) they become bartenders or go to events and pose and in Silicon Valley when entrepreneurs are out of work (no startup) they are consultants or go to events and pose. Each actor or entrepreneur are claiming working on the next big thing.

Both markets thrive because of optimism.  That is why the best survive by seeing opportunities when other people talk about doom and gloom.  I see Hollywood and Siicon Valley striking a balance very soon.  They both need each other.  The both are realizing that they don’t have the skills that the other has.  This NY Times story strikes true.

If there is any proof point look no furthen than Steve Jobs success at Apple.  He and his team have single handedly changed the media game by using the ITunes platform (aka the ITunes store).

Of the NY Times story here is my favorite piece…

Hollywood and Silicon Valley are engaged in an awkward dance, Mr. Miller said.  “Having been inside studios, I know they don’t have the DNA to take early-stage risks,” he said. They get paid to make surefire hits like the Superman movie. “To start something from scratch, to take high levels of risk — generally speaking, that was not how the studios were built.” The two worlds speak different languages and “there is star envy on both sides,” he said.

Yet they have similarities, he said. Both are hit-driven businesses run by small, insular groups of people. More importantly, they need one another. Entertainment companies will founder if they don’t move from old media like television and radio to digital media. Meanwhile, tech companies will fail if they do not understand the content — movies, shows, music — that people will use their technologies to consume.

The economic downturn has arrived at a critical time for the entertainment industry’s transition to digital media. Many of these big media companies will be forced to cut back on acquisitions of digital media start-ups, Mr. Miller predicted.

Eventually, he said, there will be a shake-out, with two or three companies creating professional content for the Web, just as there have been dominant producers of network programming for television.

For now, “everyone agrees these worlds are crashing into one another,” he said.

Future of Blogging – Blogging is Changing For The Better – It’s About Collaboration

Update: This post from Scott Rosenberg is worth reading on the topic. Well written and spot on.

Paul Boutin wrote a post today saying that blogging is so 2004 using Jason Calacannis and Robert Scoble as proof points that it’s dead. Matthew Ingram slams Paul in his post here.

Lets face it blogging is two things today 1) online magazine format and/or 2) collaborative blogging effort or platform. Paul’s argument talks about solo bloggers trying to compete with online magazines and the difficulty in competing with their volumes of posts. But Paul Boutin misses the point that the collaborative side of blogging is just as relevant as trying to get on the page view treadmill. The trend is toward collaborative blogging not walled garden ‘protect pageviews at all cost’ type blogging.

Fact is Jason and Robert are broadcasting. They are not really collaborating with anyone. Jason promotes his brand and his new company. Robert the same except Robert is more conversational often amplifying what other people say. They both don’t have enough original ideas and content to compete in the market today on the pageview model. That is why they go private and/or use other tools.

Blogging is a team sport and the online magazines like Techcrunch and other don’t team up. In fact they create walled gardens to defend their page view status – unlike collaborative bloggers who earn respect and money from their content – in the form of consulting or thought pieces. Look for the distinction between bloggers who are generalists and specialists. That will level set the blogging market soon.

Matthew, myself, and many more have opinions worth sharing and collaborating on. That collaborative nature of these blogs can work together to curate content as a group. I predict that corporate blogging will go the collaborative way. I’ve been talking to Intel and Cisco recently that their blogging armies are organized wrong. Both company’s bloggers are just mailing in the blog posts not really aligning with any groups to collaborate. Mainly because PR handles the blogs and are used to monologues not dialogs. Instead the opportunity for corporate blogging is to work with other bloggers. This new approach and opportunity generates great content for users.

Blogs have evolved and will continue to evolve into monolithic entities or group produced content engines. The future of social media will be more group based. The future of online advertising will be more monolithic based.

Blogging isn’t dead it’s mainstream.

Sarah Palin Speech Video The Hockey Mom Convention Speech – Keyword of Speech: LANDSLIDE

Palin Speech at the RNC – One word comes to mind. LANDSLIDE

Enjoy the Sarah Palin Speech Video The Hockey Mom Convention Speech speech summary below. I really love how the Republicans put her on the radar indeed a bold move. I will eat my words if there isn’t a LANDSLIDE victory for Obama in November.

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored to be considered for the nomination for Vice President of the United States…

I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America.

I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election… against confident opponents … at a crucial hour for our country.

Highlights
I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better.

When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too.

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown.

And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers. I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent.

Maybe you have, too.

We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers.

And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word “victory” except when he’s talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger … take more of your money … give you more orders from Washington … and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy … our opponent is against producing it.

Victory in Iraq is finally in sight … he wants to forfeit.

Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay … he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights? Government is too big … he wants to grow it.

Congress spends too much … he promises more.

Taxes are too high … he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific.

The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes … raise payroll taxes … raise investment income taxes … raise the death tax … raise business taxes … and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. My sister Heather and her husband have just built a service station that’s now opened for business – like millions of others who run small businesses.

How are they going to be any better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you’re trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or Ohio … or create jobs with clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia … or keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.

How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy? Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election.

In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers.

Olympic Numbers – Massive Live Broadcast on the Internet ?? Who’s the biggest in Live Concurrency?

To date I’ve been trying to find the record for most concurrent viewers of a “Live” event.  NewTeeVee has a breakdown and detailed article on Internet usage on the Olympics 2008 in China.

From NewTeeVee:

NBCOlympics.com served a total of 75.5 million streams during the games despite all the uproar about Silverlight, tape delays and a bad UI. The site clocked a total of 9.9 million hours of online video coverage. That’s impressive, even if NBC’s online video advertising revenue wasn’t, but there are plenty of other success stories all around the globe.

The BBC also had some major success with its web-based offering, serving almost 40 million streams until late last week, according to the BBC Internet blog. It had almost 200,000 concurrent viewers watching a total of 6.5 million hours of Olympic coverage – and those figures don’t even include the competitions held the final weekend, nor the closing ceremony. The BBC hasn’t published any numbers for its iPlayer yet either, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the video platform saw its traffic triple during the games. The broadcaster only served 2.5 million streams during the games in Athens four years ago.

Other European countries saw large numbers of online viewers as well. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) estimates that a total of 18 million viewers tuned into streams from the games, and its member networks served a total of 180 million streams online. The BBC is a member of the EBU, which means that the Brits caused almost a fourth of all of Europe’s Olympic video streams.

China’s state television network CCTV saw even bigger numbers online. The network told the New York Times that more than 100 million people accessed Olympic video streams on its web site.

But CCTV’s site wasn’t the only way to watch the Olympics in China. The network also sub-licensed the online rights to P2P TV platforms like PPLive. The company told us that a total of 5.5 million viewers used its client to watch the opening ceremony, with 1.6 million concurrent users tuning in during the ceremony itself

Venture Capital and the Modern Startup – Building a Company is a Team Sport

A post today called Fuck the VCs caught my attention. I’ve been a full time entrepreneurs for over 10 years now and have tons of experience with VCs.  Heck alot of my friends are VCs – “not that there is anything wrong wit that”.

The fact is that VCs have lost their abiity to do early stage deals at scale. My good friend Scott Rafer makes a great point – their behavior is more around the market. VCs are institutional investors – they aren’t a hands on mgt consulting firm. Some firms act like they are mgt consulting firms and that they know better than the founders – stay away from those. My advice on VC firms is to stay away from partners that can’t remember what was discussed at the last board meeting. Then unilaterally run the company from the board. VCs playing entrepreneur is not their job. So stay away from those.

My advice for entrepreneurs is try to own >51% of your company for as long as you can. Scott Rafer had a strong  comment on the F VCs post – Scott says..  “This is good advice packaged but packaged in a terribly destructive way. I certainly try and design my startups to work well on bootstrapping or angel money, delaying institutional VC indefinitely. That MO tends to be much better for founder equity and employee returns, user-responsive product design, growing at a speed that is good for the company, etc.

On the other hand, WTF? Take a cold shower or something. The level of anger being displayed here has no place in this discussion or this community. Every market segment has its bad actors, both at the individual and corporate granularities. VC doesn’t have a greater share of bad actors than the ecommerce or gaming sectors. Large-scale, software VC is simply a formerly great business in decline, and there are a lot of good, smart people who haven’t made in VC yet who are worried about their (and their families’) economic futures. It’s not evil — it’s their job and they may not feel they can switch. This is a group of very smart people who are fighting for ever-fewer capital-intensive deals, and it’s getting ugly. Their economics are clear, and the bigger the fund the worse the problem.

Fred Wilson’s been publishing a good series of posts on VC economics. In the latest one [link below], he inadvertently outs one of the main problems with running a VC-backed startup. When your business is doing well, the VCs have have every incentive to push you to take more money you may not need — it’s the only way they can be as profitable as they need to be. Fred’s got a relatively small fund, great empathy with entrepreneurs, and is near the top of the heap for any number of reasons. However, he has that same problem — the interests of the Common Stock held by the founders/employees and the interests of the Preferred Stock held by the VCs is divergent in many, many more cases than the Conventional Wisdom suggests. It’s the reason why the VC asked about 100 iPhone apps, et al.

http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/08/venture-fund–3.html

The software VCs are in a different business than we are, but one that is largely dependent on us. It’s a business that used to overlap with ours heavily but where the overlap is decreasing more quickly than capital could ever leave the sector. That leads to market consolidation, market share fights, and VCs requesting startups perform unnatural acts — all of which are ugly, and none of which are evil…

As Scott points out that might be through a series b round. My goals for companies is to bootstrap them to own at least 51% after a b-round. The only way to do that is to bootstrap the seed portion to increase the early value. Then taking money on the business and founders terms makes sense.

VCs are not the problem it’s more of the market. Building companies is a team sport and in some cases you need VCs on the team – some cases you don’t.

Scott Rafer has it correct above – certainly try and design my startups to work well on bootstrapping or angel money, delaying institutional VC indefinitely. That MO tends to be much better for founder equity and employee returns, user-responsive product design, growing at a speed that is good for the company, etc.

Building a company is a team sport and sometimes VCs are on the team  – and there is nothing wrong with taht – just pick the right guys/gals.  When you don’t pick the right teammates everything goes south.

Apple iTunes being Unblocked in China

China which has garnered some great visability worldwide from the 2008 Olympic Games is now opening up the iTunes music store.

The SF Chronicle reports the story.   Apple Inc.’s iTunes online music store is back up and running again in China after it was apparently blocked last week by local authorities.

However, the Web page for downloading a pro-Tibet album, which is suspected of prompting the crackdown, remains unavailable on the service.

Chinese users started having problems logging in to iTunes last week, immediately raising suspicions that the Beijing government was trying to censor “Songs for Tibet,” an album released by the Art of Peace Foundation, an organization that supports Tibetan independence. The album features songs by Sting, Dave Matthews and Alanis Morissette, along with a 15-minute speech by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile.

Michael Wohl, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based group, said his group released the album to highlight the limits of free expression in China. He said that 40 American Olympic athletes in Beijing had downloaded the album as a symbol of protest against the Beijing government, but that they wanted to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution by China or the International Olympic Committee.

China has long walled off Web sites that diverge from the official position on topics including Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square protests. That censorship was in the spotlight during the Olympic Games in Beijing, which ended Sunday.

To help win the right to host the Games, China had promised to loosen its tight control of the Web. A firestorm of criticism eventually forced the government to carry through with its pledge, and it did so only partially by relaxing restrictions on some foreign news sites while continuing to block a number of Web sites of human rights groups.

A spokesman at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., was unavailable for comment about iTunes. An Apple spokeswoman acknowledged that the service is now available in China.

An article on China.org.cn, a new Web site operated by the Chinese government’s Internet Information Center, said “Songs for Tibet” had “ignited strong indignation” among Chinese Web users. Some users said they would boycott Apple products, including the popular iPhone, which is so far unavailable in China, the article said.

There was no mention in the article about iTunes being blocked.

Cupertino’s Apple has no iTunes stores specifically for China. Instead, Chinese Internet users must visit the U.S. site or those for other countries.

Lucie Morillon, the U.S. representative for Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group that promotes free expression, said the temporary inaccessibility of iTunes and continuing unavailability of “Songs for Tibet” is an example “of the intolerance shown by the Chinese authorities toward Tibetan culture and dissident voices.”

In addition to being inaccessible on iTunes, the “Songs for Tibet” album cannot be reached from China on Amazon.com or Google’s YouTube video service.

Web 2.0 Conference Speaker List – Will It Be A Huge Again?

Just got my invitation to the Web 2.0 conference.  Below I cut and pasted the speaker list.  I hope that this year they don’t over book.  I love the Palace for conferences becasue the hallways are great (aka LobbyCon), but it sucks if they overbook.

Web 2.0 has always been a great conference.  With all the speculation that a bubble is bursting we’ll see what it looks like this year.

Speaker List for Web 2.0 in SF in November.

Chris Albinson (Panorama Capital)
Mr. Albinson is a co-founder and Managing Director of Panorama where he focuses primarily on internet technology investments. Mr. Albinson was also a General Partner at JP Morgan Partners running the technology venture capital practice. Prior to JP Morgan Partners, Mr. Albinson helped grow four start ups most recently as Chief Strategy Officer for Digital Island, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISLD; acquired by Cable & Wireless, Inc. in 2001). Previously, Mr. Albinson held corporate development roles at Newbridge Networks, Inc. where he was involved in a $217 million corporate venture fund, which invested in 27 companies, including Juniper Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:JNPR), Cambrian Systems Corporation (acquired by Nortel Corporation), Abatis Systems Corporation (acquired by Redback Networks Inc.), Fastlane Technologies Inc. (acquired by Quest Software, Inc.), BNI Systems (acquired by Nortel Corporation), and PixStream Incorporated (acquired by Cisco Systems, Inc.). Mr. Albinson has been a speaker, panelist, and judge at Web 2.0 Summit, Next Generation Networks, Red Herring Top 100, Canada’s Top 10 Technology Start Ups, and the Gilder’s Telecosm conference.

Marc Andreessen Marc Andreessen (Ning)
Marc Andreessen is one of the most successful entrepreneurs (called a Silicon Valley “whiz kid” ), startup coach, blogger, investor, and a multi-millionaire software engineer best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. He was the chair of Opsware, a software company he founded originally as Loudcloud, when it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. He is also a cofounder of Ning, a company which provides a platform for social-networking websites.

Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong (Livestrong)
If scripted by Hollywood, the story would be dismissed as trite melodrama: A deadly disease strikes a promising athlete. Despite desperately thin odds, he manages not only to beat the affliction but also to return to the sport and win its top prize. Unbelievable, except it’s true.

But the story doesn’t end on the finish line at the Tour de France. His experience made him a part of a cancer community, and motivated him to unleash the same passion and drive he does in bike races to the fight against cancer. Since he made history in 1999, he has won the tour six more times, and has become one of the most recognizable and admired people of this era.

Michael Arrington Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
A few people have asked me to post a little more information about myself. If you want to see my corporate bio, check out my LinkedIn profile. You can also check out my Flickr pictures (includes both business and personal pictures).

Ken Auletta Ken Auletta (The New Yorker)
Ken Auletta has written Annals of Communications columns and profiles for The New Yorker magazine since 1992. He is the author of ten books, including four national bestsellers. Auletta was among the first to popularize the so-called information superhighway with his February, 1993, profile of Barry Diller’s search for something new. He has profiled the leading figures and companies of the Information Age, including Google, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, AOL Time Warner, John Malone, Harvey Weinstein, and the New York Times; he has dissected media meteors that fell to earth like “push” technology and inter-active TV, probed media violence, the PAC giving of communication giants, the fat lecture fees earned by journalist/pundits, and explored what “synergy” may mean to journalism.

John Battelle John Battelle (Federated Media Publishing)
John Battelle is an entrepreneur, journalist, professor, and author. Currently founder and chairman of Federated Media Publishing, he is also a founder and executive producer of conferences in the media, technology, communications, and entertainment industries and “band manager” with BoingBoing.net. Previously, Battelle was founder, chairman, and CEO of Standard Media International (SMI), publisher of The Industry Standard and TheStandard.com. Prior to founding The Standard, Battelle was a co-founding editor of Wired magazine and Wired Ventures. He is the author of The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” (Portfolio, 2005).

Marc Benioff Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com)
Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of salesforce.com. He founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand information management service that would replace traditional enterprise software technology. Benioff is regarded as the leader of what he has termed “The End of Software,” the now-proven belief that multi-tenant, on-demand applications democratize information by delivering immediate benefits at reduced risks and costs.

Larry Brilliant Larry Brilliant (Google.org)
Dr. Larry Brilliant is the Executive Director of “Google.org”:www.google.org. In this role, Larry works with the company’s co-founders to define the mission and strategic goals of Google’s philanthropic efforts. Google.org, the umbrella organization for these efforts, includes the Google Foundation as well as Google Grants (the AdWords giving program) and the company’s major initiatives aimed at reducing global poverty, improving the health of the least advantaged in the world, and working to halt or even reverse the effects of the climate crisis.

Larry is an M.D. and M.P.H., board-certified in preventive medicine and public health. He is a founder and director of The Seva Foundation, which works in dozens of countries around the world, primarily to eliminate preventable and curable blindness. He serves as a member of the strategic advisory committee for Kleiner Perkins (KPCB) Venture Capital and also sits on the boards of The Skoll Foundation, Health Metrics Network, Omidyar Networks Humanity United, and InSTEDD, an organization bringing technological tools to improve disaster response.

Ralph de la Vega Ralph de la Vega (AT&T Mobility)
Ralph de la Vega is president and chief executive officer of the nation’s leading wireless carrier, the wireless unit of AT&T. He is responsible for all aspects of wireless operations, including sales, marketing, operations and network. He was appointed to this position in October 2007. Previously, he served as group president-Regional Telecommunications and Entertainment, where he was responsible for overall leadership in regional wireline, including consumer, regional business sales and network.

Chris DeWolfe Chris DeWolfe (MySpace)
Chris DeWolfe is the co-founder and chief executive officer of MySpace.com, the leading online lifestyle portal. DeWolfe, alongside co-founder and president, Tom Anderson, created a new platform for a generation to communicate and discover culture based around the self expression and connectivity of the site’s 110 million active users.

Dave Girouard Dave Girouard (Google Enterprise)
Dave Girouard manages Google’s growing enterprise business worldwide. He leads a team responsible for sales, marketing, product development and customer support. Prior to joining Google, Dave was senior vice president of marketing and business development at Virage, a provider of multimedia search and content management software. Dave also founded and developed Virage’s application services business. He came to Virage from the worldwide product marketing organization at Apple, where he spent several years in product management. Prior to that, Dave was an associate in Booz Allen & Hamilton’s Information Technology practice in San Francisco. He started his career in enterprise systems development and integration in the Boston office of Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting).

Dave graduated from Dartmouth College with an AB in Engineering Sciences and a BE in Computer Engineering. He also received an MBA from the University of Michigan with High Distinction.

Michael L. Goguen Michael L. Goguen (Sequoia Capital)
Michael Goguen is a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital focusing on cleantech, semiconductor and systems investments. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital in 1996, Michael spent 10 years in various engineering, research, and product management roles at DEC, SynOptics and Centillion, and was a director of Engineering at Bay Networks (NT). Michael was also a Technical Chairman of the ATM Forum. Michael has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Al Gore Al Gore (Current)
Former Vice President Al Gore is co-founder and executive chairman of Current, an Emmy Award-winning, independently owned media company that combines its television and interactive platforms to create programming for a young adult audience.

He is also chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-partisan, non-profit organization devoted to mobilizing global support for urgent and sustainable solutions for the climate crisis.

Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, a London-based firm that is focused on a new approach to sustainable investing; and recently became a partner in the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which has formed a strategic alliance with Generation to focus on solutions to the climate crisis. In addition, Gore serves on the board of directors of Apple and as senior adviser to Google.

Al Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the forty-fifth vice president of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years as a key member of the administration’s economic team, as President of the Senate, a Cabinet member, a member of the National Security Council, and as leader of a wide range of Administration initiatives.

He is the author of the #1 bestsellers The Assault on Reason and An Inconvenient Truth, and an Oscar-winning documentary movie. His 1992 international bestseller, Earth in the Balance, has just been re-issued.

Gore and his wife, Tipper, live in Nashville, Tennessee. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Saul Griffith Saul Griffith (Makani Power/Squid Labs)
Dr. Saul Griffith has multiple degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering and completed his PhD in Programmable Assembly and Self Replicating machines at MIT. He is the co-founder of numerous companies including: Low Cost Eyeglasses, Squid Labs, Potenco, Instructables.com, HowToons and Makani Power. Saul has been awarded numerous awards for invention including the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Collegiate Inventor’s award, and the Lemelson-MIT Student prize. A large focus of Saul’s research efforts are in minimum and constrained energy surfaces for novel manufacturing techniques and other applications. Saul holds multiple patents and patents pending in textiles, optics, nanotechnology, and energy production. Saul co-authors children’s comic books called “HowToons” about building your own science and engineering gadgets with Nick Dragotta and Joost Bonsen. Saul is a technical advisor to Make magazine and Popular Mechanics. Saul is a columnist and contributor to Make and Craft magazines.

Marc Hodosh Marc Hodosh (TED MED, X PRIZE)
Marc Hodosh leads the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, a $10 million competition to inspire rapid and cost effective genome sequencing technology. Marc is also President/Curator of TED MED, a conference he is re-launching in the fall of 2009, in partnership with TED founder, Richard Wurman. He has been a consultant to inventor Dean Kamen at DEKA Research & Development and is also Chairman of Dean’s FIRST Robotics competition in Boston, inspiring thousands of high school students to pursue careers in science & technology.

Tony Hsieh Tony Hsieh (Zappos.com)
Tony originally got involved with Zappos as an advisor and investor in 1999, about 2 months after the company was founded. Over time, Tony ended up spending more and more time with the company because it was both the most fun and the most promising out of all the companies that he was involved with. He eventually joined Zappos full time in 2000. Under his leadership, Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to $840M in 2007 by focusing relentlessly on customer service.

Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post)
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of eleven books. She is also co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” public radio’s popular political roundtable program.

Joel Hyatt Joel Hyatt (Current TV)
Joel Hyatt, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Current, has twice before turned ideas into successful ventures, both times against significant odds. He took on the legal establishment with Hyatt Legal Services, which provided low-cost services to middle and lower-income families and grew to serve over three million clients. His Hyatt Legal Plans became America’s largest provider of employer-sponsored group legal plans. Hyatt Legal Plans was acquired by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1997.

Rajesh Jain Rajesh Jain (Netcore Solutions)
Rajesh is Managing Director of Netcore Solutions Pvt Ltd, a software company, based in Mumbai, India. Netcore is working actively in the mobile media space in India. Rajesh has also co-founded Novatium and and Rajshri Media. He has also invested in 10 other companies in the broadband and mobile space. Rajesh lives in Mumbai, India. His blog is at http://emergic.org.

Kevin Johnson Kevin Johnson (Microsoft)
As president of the Platforms & Services Division of Microsoft, Kevin Johnson leads an organization of over 14,000 employees responsible for product development, marketing and strategy for the Windows and Online Services businesses. With Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and seven other senior executives, Johnson also serves on the Senior Leadership Team that sets overall strategy and direction for Microsoft.

Kevin Kelly Kevin Kelly (Wired)
For 25 years Kevin Kelly has been a participant in, and reporter on, the culture of technology. Based in his studio in Pacifica, California, he immerses himself in the long-term trends and social consequences of technology. Kevin Kelly is currently Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He helped launch Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor until January 1999. During Kelly’s tenure as editor at Wired, the magazine won two National Magazine Awards (the industry’s equivalent of two Oscars). He is currently editor and publisher of the popular Cool Tools, True Film, and Street Use websites. From 1984-1990 Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers’ Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. A few years ago he started a scientific campaign to catalog all the living species of life on earth. This project has morphed into developing a web page for every species in an Encyclopedia of Life.

Jack Klues Jack Klues (VivaKi)
Never one to dwell in the comfort of status quo, Jack Klues has been observing the explosion of digital media and clocking the incredible speed of change in the marketing industry his entire, 30-year career. As the consumer contact environment has shape-shifted in the past decade, Jack has reinvented and expanded his media companies to help clients build connections to people in an increasingly complex world.

In June of 2008 he helped Publicis Groupe launch a new 20th century communications operation called VivaKi, a catalytic community of people, companies and capabilities aggressively delivering the tools, talent and touchpoints marketers need to reach consumers in a digital world.

Along with David Kenny, Jack is managing partner of VivaKi, an organization that leverages the scale of the autonomous brands Digitas, Starcom-MediaVest, Denuo and Zenith-Optimedia. VivaKi works in service to many of the world’s most powerful marketers, including P&G, GM, American Express, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Nintendo, Wal-Mart, Kraft and many others.

Lawrence Lessig Lawrence Lessig (Creative Commons)
Lawrence Lessig is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a Professor at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Lessig represented web site operator Eric Eldred in the ground-breaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. He has won numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, and was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries, for arguing “against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online.” His current academic work addresses a kind of “corruption.”

Professor Lessig is the author of Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999). He is a board member of Creative Commons and serves on the board of the Free Software Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Public Library of Science, and Public Knowledge.

Max Levchin Max Levchin (Slide)
Max is the visionary behind Slide, the largest social software company in the world. He is also renowned as the co-founder of PayPal, an expert in combating online fraud and one of the hardest working entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Before starting Slide, he incubated several other start-ups, including Yelp, where he currently sits as Chairman of the Board. Max started PayPal in 1998, immediately after graduating from college, and sold it four years later to eBay for more than $1.5 billion at the age of 26. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), Max moved to Chicago at the age of 16 and later received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Max sits on the board of several other companies and trains for triathlons when he’s not obsessing over Slide’s business.

Kevin Lynch Kevin Lynch (Adobe Systems Incorporated)
As chief technology officer and senior vice president, Experience & Technology Organization, Kevin Lynch oversees Adobe’s experience design and core technology across business units. This role includes driving Adobe’s technology platform for designers and developers across desktops and devices, including Adobe® Flash® Player, Portable Document Format (PDF), Adobe Flex® and Adobe AIR™, the cross-operating system application runtime that bridges the computing power and data capabilities of the desktop with the real-time dynamic capabilities of the web. He also oversees Adobe’s developer relations program, including the integration of customers and partners in the development process through Adobe Labs and customer advisory councils.

Jack Ma Jack Ma (Alibaba)
Jack Ma is the chairman and non-executive director of Alibaba.com. He is the lead founder of Alibaba Group and has been the chairman and chief executive officer of Alibaba Group since its inception in 1999. Jack is responsible for the overall strategy and focus of Alibaba Group and our company. Jack is a pioneer in the Chinese Internet industry, founding China Pages, one of the first Internet-based directories in China, in 1995. From 1998 to 1999, Jack headed an information technology company established by the China International Electronic Commerce Center (CIECC), a department of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC).

Paul Maritz Paul Maritz (VMware, Inc.)
Paul Maritz is President and CEO of VMware, Inc. Prior to joining VMware, Maritz was President, Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division at EMC Corporation. He joined EMC in February 2008 when EMC acquired Pi Corporation, where he was the founder and CEO.

Maritz is an IT veteran and visionary who spent 14 years working at Microsoft, where he served as a member of the five-person Executive Committee that managed the overall company. He oversaw the development and marketing of System Software Products (including Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows 2000), Development Tools (Visual Studio) and Database Products (SQL Server), and the complete Office and Exchange Product Lines. Prior to joining Microsoft, he spent five years working at Intel Corporation.

Mary Meeker Mary Meeker (Morgan Stanley)
Mary Meeker is a managing director and serves as leader of Morgan Stanley’s global technology research team. Meeker co-covers U.S.-based internet and consumer software companies including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, eBay, and Amazon.com.

Rich Miner Rich Miner (Google)
Rich has been developing innovative communications and interface-intensive applications for more than 20 years. He is currently group manager of mobile platforms for Google, helping to build the Android platform. Rich has been with Google since the company’s acquisition of Android, a mobile software platforms company he co-founded.

Elon Musk Elon Musk (Tesla Motors)
Elon Musk has been the primary funding source for Tesla Motors, from when Tesla Motors was just three people and a business plan to present day, having led the Series A, Series B and co-led the Series C. Electric vehicles have long been one of his primary interests, stemming from his days in the early nineties working on high energy density capacitor technology in Silicon Valley.

Tim O'Reilly Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media, Inc.)
Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc., thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. O’Reilly Media also publishes online through the O’Reilly Network and hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, and the Web 2.0 Conference. Tim’s blog, the O’Reilly Radar “watches the alpha geeks” to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim is on the boards of MySQL, CollabNet, Safari Books Online, Wesabe, and ValuesOfN, and is a partner in O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

Paul Otellini Paul Otellini (Intel Corporation)
Paul S. Otellini is president and CEO of Intel Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of microprocessors for personal and business computing. Intel technology is creating new ways for the world to work, learn and play by extending the reach of the Internet and solving business problems.

Since joining Intel in 1974, Otellini has managed several Intel businesses, including the company’s PC and server microprocessor division and the global sales and marketing organization.

Michael Pollan Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto)
For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture.

Pollan is the author, most recently, of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. His previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award for best food writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Pollan’s previous book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, was also a New York Times bestseller, received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon.com. He is also the author of A Place of My Own (1997) and Second Nature (1991).

Jesse Robbins Jesse Robbins (O’Reilly Radar)
Jesse Robbins is passionate about Infrastructure, Operations, Emergency Management, and technology that helps people be safe, happy, and free.

He is co-chair of the Velocity Performance & Operations Conference, and is part of the O’Reilly Radar. He previously worked at Amazon.com where his title was “Master of Disaster” and where he was responsible for Website Availability.

Jesse is a volunteer Firefighter/EMT and Emergency Manager, and led a task force deployed in Operation Hurricane Katrina.

Shane Robison Shane Robison (HP)
Shane Robison is responsible for shaping HP’s overall corporate strategy and technology agenda, and oversees the company’s corporate marketing function. He steers the company’s $3.6 billion research and development investment and fosters the development of the company’s global technical community. All of the company’s senior chief technology officers and the director of HP Labs report into him.

Robison also leads the company’s strategy and corporate development efforts, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, intellectual property licensing, venture capital community and partnerships. He was one of four principal architects of HP’s merger with Compaq Computer Corp., and, in 2004, InfoWorld declared Robison one of the world’s 25 most influential chief technology officers. Robison also has responsibility for worldwide corporate marketing activities, including external and internal communications, brand marketing, customer intelligence and corporate affairs.

Robison received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the University of Utah.

Richard Rosenblatt Richard Rosenblatt (Demand Media Inc.)
Richard Rosenblatt has a unique vision for the future of the Internet. A serial entrepreneur, Richard’s latest venture is Demand MediaTM, a company he co-founded in May 2006 and serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Demand Media has developed a unique platform that leverages cutting edge, user-driven publishing, community, and monetization tools as it seeks to define the next generation of new media companies.

Beerud Sheth Beerud Sheth (Webaroo Inc.)
Beerud is the co-founder and President of Webaroo, which operates the largest and fastest-growing mobile media service in India, called SMS GupShup that enables millions of mobile users to form communities, send and receive group messages, send greetings, run blogs, publish content and more, simply using mobile text messages. Previously, Beerud founded Elance, the leading online services marketplace. Beerud graduated with an MS from MIT, a B.Tech. (with silver medal) from IIT Mumbai, and is charter member of TiE Silicon Valley.

Jeffrey A. Sorenson Jeffrey A. Sorenson (Department of the Army)
Prior to his current position as the Department of the Army CIO/G6, he was the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology).

He has over 20 years of acquisition experience as a certified U.S. Army Material Acquisition Manager. His acquisition assignments include: Director, Program Control (Joint Tactical Fusion Program Office); Course Director for the Executive Program Managers Course (Defense Systems Management College); Director, Science and Technology Integration (Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Development); Product Manager for Ground Based CommonSensor-Light (GBCS-L) TEAMMATE TRACKWOLF programs; Project Manager for Night Vision/Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition; Director, Acquisition Directorate (Office of the Director of Information Systems for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers); Senior Military Assistant for the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; and the Program Executive Officer for Tactical Missiles.

Mathis Wackernagel Mathis Wackernagel (Global Footprint Network)
Mathis is co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and has worked on sustainability issues for organizations in Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia and Australia, and has lectured for community groups, governments and their agencies, NGOs, and academic audiences at more than 100 universities around the world. Mathis previously served as the director of the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress in Oakland, CA, and directed the Centre for Sustainability Studies / Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad in Mexico, which he still advises. He is also an adjunct faculty at SAGE of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Padmasree Warrior Padmasree Warrior (Cisco Systems, Inc.)
Padmasree Warrior is Cisco Systems’ Chief Technology Officer. As CTO, she is responsible for helping drive the company’s technological innovations and strategy, and works closely with its senior executive team and board of directors to align these efforts with Cisco’s corporate goals. As an evangelist for what’s possible, she pushes the organization to stretch beyond its current capabilities – not just in technology, but also in its strategic partnerships and new business models.

Anne Wojcicki Anne Wojcicki (23andMe)
Anne brings to 23andMe a 10-year background in healthcare investing, focused primarily on biotechnology companies. Anne left the investing world with the hope that she could have a positive impact on research and medicine through 23andMe. From her vantage point, Anne saw a need for creating a way to generate more information – especially more personalized information – so that commercial and academic researchers could better understand and develop new drugs and diagnostics. By encouraging individuals to access and learn about their own genetic information, 23andMe will create a common, standardized resource that has the potential to accelerate drug discovery and bring personalized medicine to the public. (Plus, getting access to her own genetic information and understanding it has always been one of Anne’s ambitions.) Anne graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in biology.

Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook, which he founded in 2004. Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, families and coworkers. Mark is responsible for setting the overall direction and product strategy for the company. He leads the design of Facebook’s service and development of its core technology and infrastructure. Mark attended Harvard University and studied computer science before moving the company to Palo Alto, California.

Gene Upshaw Died at 63 of Cancer But Suddenly

Gene Upshaw, president of the National Football League Players Association, has died from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was the longest-tenured labor leader in professional sports, having been director of the NFLPA since 1983. He was also the only player to appear in the Super Bowl in three different decades — the 60s, the 70s and the 80s — as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the Oakland Raiders.

Upshaw was one of the most powerful figures in sports, presiding over the players’ union during a tenure that spanned three NFL commissioners. He helped secure free agency for players, and he kept the union solidified during a strike in 1987. During his tenure, salaries increased enormously, and the union was able to win a larger share of the league’s revenue for players.

Uphaw was vacationing in Lake Tahoe with his family when he died, NFL Network reported.

Upshaw, through his involvement with the NFLPA as a player and as executive director, played a major role in the collective bargaining agreements of 1977, 1982 and 1993, as well as extensions of the CBA in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Upshaw had vowed to remain head of the players union through the next collective bargaining agreement, despite some players feeling that it was time for a change in leadership. It is unclear who will fill the huge leadership void left by Upshaw’s death.