Unless you are Facebook, chances are that your online service partly tailors to real life friends and "internet friends." But what's the split? And, perhaps more importantly, how much does the idea that you *might* meet in real life influence the cadre of Internet friends. Are "internet friends" just an broad and elaborate lead up to real life friendships, or something entirely different?
I don't have any conclusions here, more that I'm thinking in through in the context of Loudcrowd, where a significant percentage of friendships developed there lead to Facebook friendships.
One interesting study on this was talked about in Ars Technica where a team of scientists evaluated logs from Everquest. There was some interesting indicators there:
There was also some interesting data about whether this a lonely "pasty white teenager in a basement" thing.
I just got back from the Valley again this week, and six months into this recession, I am still surprised to hear so much fear from entrepreneurs. This is really no time to play it conservative. As a basic definition, entrepreneurs grab uncertainty as opportunity instead of something to be feared.
Seriously, it wasn't that long ago that you had no job, no funding, and barely an inkling of an idea, and you saw THAT as an opportunity so you must be fucking insane.
I guess people really did think it was going to be easy. As Dave McClure said so well in a recent rant, the Valley was/is way too infatuated with the "elegant idealism" of entrepreneurship. The fact that I heard that laid off financial services folks are looking at startups as a "good second bet" is really not a great sign for high quality startups that are actually going to make it through the rough patches.
As for those that are already out there. Would you say your startup is flinching? Time to snap out of it. You flinch in a startup and your dead. When a co-founder leaves, another VC says no, your major customer disappears overnight -- you pick yourself up and find a way that this makes your startup stronger. If you have a big, amazing idea that just must exist in the world, now is the time you really wanted.
Yes, many VCs are panicking, looking to invest a little later, playing it safer on the startup with all the checkboxes filled than the one with higher risk because it's a bigger idea. But, let's just be honest, most VC are wimps. They are going to be the first one's to panic because by their very nature they are more conservative. They are the one's playing a portfolio strategy, remember? You are not, you are all in so make it count.
And no, I'm not feeling confident just because things have been going well with Conduit so far. I remember vividly after the dot-com crash that we had 30 days to sell our startup before the cash ran out for us and our 35 employees (we did it). Or the 2+ years of fundraising for Ambient Devices which felt like the Bataan death march (just found out Ambient doubled their revenues in '08, btw). I'm sure, before things are done with Conduit Labs, we'll have some very dark moments. But I'm determined to make sure they only make us stronger.
Yeah, there's some dark moods out there. But realize that yet again, it'll be us entrepreneurs that are going to get hit, then pick ourselves up when no one believes but us, and kick some ass. Just like we did the last time. And the few VCs who still invest in the big, scary ideas are going to make a killing.
As for me, I'm pumped. Oh, and the blog is back. Another one is coming in a few days.
There is no question that as the #2 city for startups and VC money, Boston has a good thing going. Time and time again the big gaps that people talk about are the lack of seed stage mentorship, and the lack of angel funding. The concept of Techstars is essentially to try and fill that first gap, which hopefully leads to better positioned startups and a network of angels to fill the second gap. I'm very excited to be a part of it and happy so many folks, Shawn Broderick and Bill Warner in particular, pushed so hard to bring it to Boston.
OpenCoffee tomorrow at Andala is going to be focused on getting feedback on Techstars from you guys. Shawn, I and others will be there to get opinions on how Techstars can best serve the Boston community. Come on by!
As a side note, I'm on their mentors page right above Jeffrey from Threadless, which reminds me that a) I need a cooler photo, and b) I think I need some new t-shirts.
One of the consistent bits of overwhelmingly positive feedback about the closed Beta over at Loudcrowd has been the music. I've personally experienced this as well. I'm listening to a whole bunch of music I wasn't a few months ago because of LC (I guess that is a good sign for a product you are working on).
With that in mind, the crew has put together a music tumblelog that'll include interviews with musicians, posting new tracks, and in general keeping with the evolving music happenings at Loudcrowd. It's written primarily by our awesome DJ Fucci, but we'll all be chiming in from time to time. If you normally read things like Pitchfork, peruse Hype Machine, read gorillavsbear, or pay attention to the indie rock press you'll notice it's a bit of a different take from the mainstream and hopefully you'll hear some new music you love.
Check it out here:
Just here to pass the word on about two events this week:
1) Election Night despair/revelry. We didn't want to spend election night without some friends, you shouldn't either. Come join the fun. Tuesday, starting at 7pm, The Good Life.
2) OpenCoffee this week is all about Twitter. And, in particular, industry uses of Twitter to drive web services and innovative products. (in other words, how YOU can use Twitter to do stuff) This was Sanjay's idea and I think it's a great topic. There was a massive turnout for the Facebook focused OpenCoffee, so hopefully a good crop of folks turn out. Wednesday, starting at 8:30am, Andala
See everyone soon.