On The Next Venture
I’ve been thinking about how I was going to write this post for a while now. Of course, I didn’t anticipate that I would be writing at 2 AM local time in London, where I’m currently visiting to speak at FOWA in a couple of days (that talk also just got potentially much more interesting).
Stuff happens. Fortunately, sometimes, so does jetlag.
Enough with burying the lede: yes, I’m becoming a VC. I couldn’t be happier to announce that I’m joining CrunchFund as a general partner. It’s my honor to join Mike and Pat in that role. And I thank them for the opportunity.
Before I say anything else, I should also make something clear: as Erick states in his post, while the timing of this announcement may seem a bit odd given the recent drama involving AOL and TechCrunch and well, CrunchFund, this move has been a long time in the making for me.
Just Win, Baby
The biggest challenge I faced as a tech blogger was a simple one: motivation. By that, I don’t mean that it was hard to write — it never was. But towards the end, it was getting hard to get excited to write on a daily basis. I needed to be driven. That’s when I’m at my best.
Tech blogging is a game. Most of those still doing it probably won’t admit it, but it is. That’s the only way you can think about it if you aim to be the best. Competition pushes everyone. With blogging, as with all things, you have to be in it to win it.
Now, there are several ways to play this game. And there are different standards of winning. At first, when I was a no-name blogger writing on my own, my goal was simply to get recognized. When I achieved that, my goal had to switch. So it became writing the best headlines. Then it became being more prolific than anyone else. Then it was getting to the top of Google News. Then it was owning certain areas of coverage (location, etc). Then it was writing long “thought” pieces while retaining readership.
Incoming: A Native Gmail iPhone App. Finally.
Ever since I bought the original iPhone in 2007, there’s been one app above all others that I’ve been sorely missing: Gmail. Of course, back then, there were no native third-party apps. But a year later, when those came, Gmail was still nowhere to be found.
At first, the talk was that Apple wasn’t going to allow another mail app on their device. Then it was that Google was simply focusing on the mobile web (they’ve had a pretty good mobile web version of Gmail for a while). Then it was the strained (to put it mildly) relationship between Google and Apple. Still, other Google iPhone apps came. But never a Gmail one.
Faith No More
My sources are very good. Unfortunately, they apparently do not have very good taste.
As I noted a couple days ago, Google was about to launch a native Gmail app for iOS. It came this morning. Unfortunately, while I had been told it was “pretty fantastic”, the app that got released is anything but. As a result, Google quickly became the laughing stock of the Internet for a few hours this morning. The app was so bad, that they had to pull it saying: “Sorry we messed up”.
Simply put: I should have known better.
Late last night, I linked to a blog post Google put up and jotted down some initial thoughts. Given the response (thousands of views, 100+ notes, etc.), I thought it was only fair that I elaborate a bit.
Google’s post is entitled “Greater choice for wireless access point owners”. It outlines new opt-out functionality for Google’s location database. I ripped into the post — as did several others — not so much because of the feature itself, but because the post is misguided and disingenuous. In my view, it is probably the worst post Google has ever put on their blog. And that’s saying something.
First of all, this is a post that should not have been written — at least not in the way that it was. Google is building their location database using WiFi hotspots, likely including yours if you broadcast your SSID (your router’s name). Apple does the same thing. So does Skyhook (which is suing Google for ditching their location database to build their own). So do others. It’s a good idea. And it makes locations services much better.
Pushing The Envelope, Not The Share Button
Step 1: Facebook does something.
Step 2: Everybody freaks the fuck out.
It’s been just over 5 years since Facebook first unveiled the News Feed. The song remains the same.
This weekend’s Bitchmeme centered around Facebook’s new automatic or “frictionless” sharing. It already works with services like Spotify and Rdio and publications like The Washington Post and The Guardian. And it’s about to come to a lot more places.
Depending which article you read, this is either: a) the end of sharing b) the end of Facebook c) the future. As always, most critics are leaning towards the former, more cynical options.
Everyone should quit Facebook.
The reality is what it has always been. Facebook is pushing the envelope. Companies that push the envelope take a lot of shit. That doesn’t mean they’re always right — often times, they’re not. But it does show that they’re unafraid, unlike most companies out there.