The Future

  • Startups,  The Future

    Facebook Actions Are Coming to Status Updates

    Update: A source close to the company has confirmed this new functionality is available as option in the Facebook status composer. For now this works on the web and m-touch for some users, but not yet on mobile. I think this might be the visual sharing reported by TechCrunch in January this year, but I don’t have the functionality in my own Facebook account so it is hard to tell.


    When I saw this status update in my Facebook news feed I did a double take. Can you spot what’s different about it?

    Facebook verb in news feed coffee

    I clicked through on the word “coffee” and was taken to the coffee interest page.

    It turns out TechCrunch wrote about the introduction of Facebook actions over a year ago. As the article explains:

    The new app actions are basically a conceptual expansion of actions posted by apps like Spotify and the Washington Post, and use verbs and nouns that go beyond the non custom actions like “listen” “watch” and “read” to “bought,””spot,””pose,””want,””love” and “become an expert.”

    While these actions were announced as available from within apps, this is the first time I’ve seen it used in my news feed outside of app-generated actions such as “liked” (Facebook) or “listened to” (Spotify) or “pinned” (Pinterest), and I’m not even sure it was generated with an app – it appears like a written status message with no application source.

    I tried to update my status to mention the “coffee” interest page and see if it would automatically prompt me to select an action, but no luck.

    While initially I was just curious to figure out what Facebook might be doing, it’s clear that being able to organize the actions we’re taking in life like drinking coffee right now could help Facebook better target advertising. I’m sure Starbucks would be interested to know that I drink coffee every day.

  • Referly,  Startups,  The Future,  Video

    Startup Gangnam Style PREVIEW TRAILER

    Full length music video COMING SOON!

    Gangnam Startup Style Teaser from Fawaz Al-Matrouk on Vimeo.

    View more pictures and video stills here

    Huge thank you to so many people for helping us make this drunken post Demo Day idea into a reality! From a couple beers and a night of K-pop, to many practice sessions, to a Facebook group of over 350 helpful friends who let us crash a wedding at 111 Minna, film at the original Facebook house, visit the set of the upcoming Bravo reality series on Silicon Valley, and take over the block of a peaceful neighborhood. We salut you, Gangnam style! Oh and sorry Google, we left as soon as security showed up…

    Thank you to Fawaz Al-Matrouk who drove up from Los Angeles to do this shoot at the last minute and made it beautiful and high production. We can’t wait to release the final version, but this trailer will give you a few sneak peeks.

  • London,  Posts,  Startup Index,  Startups,  The Future

    Will Milo Yiannopoulos Shake Up European Startup Press?


    I can’t wait to see what this produces.

    The saucy and often controversial Milo Yiannopoulos, who I’ve heard some call Europe’s one-man Gawker media, just penned an a post declaring its time to fix European tech journalism, and also noted he will retire from writing the fluffy stuff he’s been producing lately in favor of more substantive pieces in the future.

    This echoes the sentiment of conversations ever since Michael Arrington left TechCrunch, and I think this emerging trend is about more than European media.  The conversation is about what changes need to happen when it comes to startups storytelling as a whole, particularly in places like London where the trend for company creation is currently up and to the right.  I think Milo puts it quite well when he says:

    Start-ups have become conditioned to this cult of the mediocre, but it’s time to snap them out of it. Entrepreneurs who aspire to refashion the world around them deserve writing just as audacious and thought-provoking as their own ambitions. Unfortunately, as the technology sector in Europe has expanded, the quality of commentary around it has failed to keep up.

    While Milo can’t save startups from their own PR, I hope we will see more compelling untold stories unearthed with this new project.  Maybe I’ll even contribute, and help startups discover how to make meaningful connections with the press.  What will you contribute?

    More discussion of this topic from:

    What Europe really needs is startup reviews. And good startup reviews, not rehashed press releases. Frequent ones: three or more per day. Tell me about the team, the tech, the traction. Make me understand market size, competitive landscape, go-to-market strategy, unit economics, capital intensity, and the strategic importance of this widget in a likely future stack.

    Crunchbase is probably the most undervalued of Techcrunch’s assets. It’s the go-to database for startup financing information in the entire industry. It’s more complete and fresher than VentureSource or Capital IQ. I am glad it has been getting some love lately.

    I’d like to see a blog really getting into the soul of the space and people behind it, with real insights into how things work. “teardowns”, case studies, documenting specific points in a startup’s life, summarising where vc’s and entrepreneurs think the opportunities are, successes, failures, learnings.. What’s going on with MyDeco, Keynoir, MoshiMonsters, Kopi, Unbound, BookingBug, Moo, Skimlinks, huddle etc.. where are the real interesting pieces?

    Oh, and can we PLEASE stop going on about Silicon Roundabout – it’s NOT going to be the mecca where everyone wants to go and work. If I wanted to work by a tacky roundabout full of rubbish and kebab vans then I would have looked for an office in Basingstoke!



  • Posts,  Startups,  The Future aka Do@ is the Future of the Mobile Browser [TechCrunch Disrupt]

    Yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt Day #1 I didn’t “get” Do@, and I think this was mostly because I was put off by the graffiti branding.  Not sure why, just a personal preference, but its amazing how powerful that first impression is.  Then, I found out Cathy Brooks is leading marketing there, which got my attention because she is a tough woman, great story teller, and super connected.  I just sat down after talking to their CTO and downloading and playing with the app, mind blown, to write this post in the back row.

    Disrupt is a strange event, because you can see the future of mobile search in one moment, and then walk into the room as an entrepreneur talks about getting kids to “do butt art”.  But I digress…

    UPDATE: What IS Do@?

    Do@ is an iPhone application that lets you search across publishers for content you care about in a mobile context. You enter something like “French” and it autocompletes with things like “French Food @ internet” or “French @ books”. When you select a result, you can horizontally scroll through pages of content to pick what you want. It’s like clicking through the top 10 Google results, except minus the clicking and plus the beautiful touch interface of the iPhone.

    What’s with the name “Do@”?

    I didn’t ask this, but I should have.  It’s impressive that the company landed a four letter domain name, so I wonder if they did that first and then tried to rationalize it with the branding.  My best guess is that the concept around the brand/name is that mobile search isn’t about consuming a lot of information, its about approaching “perfect information” or the right information for my context.  Something cool about mobile app usage is that it always happens in a place, and on smartphones the app can get this location data without even syncing something like Foursquare or Facebook Places.

    One other note on the name – it kind of reminds me of the SEO problems with “Ke$ha” (the music artist), but I’m an early adopter type and the general public might not care, or might actually dig it.  We’ll see.  It will certainly make it easy to completely own the search for “Do@”.

    Media Consumption Power Tools for Regular People

    What strikes me about Do@ is how easy it is to use.  Download, connect Facebook, do a search, done.  However, what done looks like is a dashboard as sophisticated as any home grown social media listening platform I’ve ever seen.  I immediately searched for Twilio and found tons of conversations, articles, and relevant tweets and Quora threads.  I can also “heart” searches that I want to do over and over again.  Setting up this kind of listening in my brand would be incredibly time consuming with a tool like Google Reader, but do@ does it in seconds.  I’m not sure this is the intended purpose, but I already know I’ll be using it as a media consumption and listening tool.  I really really hope they release an iPad app soon too – it could compete with my love for Flipboard!

    This is More Than Search, Its a Browser

    There’s no Firefox or Google Chrome for the iPhone, but Do@ made it into the AppStore.  I almost wonder if this is because Apple doesn’t even totally understand what it is yet.  This is an entirely new user experience model for a mobile browser, driven by intention, implied preferences through sharing, and location (I think?).

    When you use the app, it isn’t just displaying images of screens and then having you click through Safari.  You can load the content and interact with it inside the app.  This means Do@ is already building a huge data asset in engagement data which this can use to further refine results and improve the experience.

    No Cold Start Problem in Sight

    Ultimately, I fell in love with Do@ because I didn’t need to invite anyone to it to gets tons and tons of value in minutes.  By simply connecting Facebook, it learned enough about me to give me relevant results.  It has excellent search-as-you-type, so it tries to take a best guess at what I’m looking for based on both my explicitly stated interests and implicit interests it gleans from the content I share on Facebook.


    Robert Scoble covered Do@ yesterday on his blog, and I’m dieing to read the post and watch this video.  For now, I’ll post it here for your enjoyment:

  • The Future

    The Real Future of Sex – Humans not Robots

    About a month ago at an the NWEN event, I pitched a product idea for an adult content site offering a platform and community for mature streaming video content called It was partly just for the shock value of being a woman pitching a porn site, but it was easy to find developers interested in working on the project for fun (including my wonderful husband).

    The idea isn’t unique at all, it is an execution play and since I’m busily and happily working on another startup, it is really just a hobby of mine for the time being. I can’t say I mind the market research. What is interesting to me is learning what people want out of porn, and how this is different between women and men. Hopefully through understanding this, I can create a content site and content delivery platform that will cater to the growing market.

    Violet Blues Speaks at LeWeb on Future of Sex

    I think it is was interesting to hear Violet Blue speak today, and even more fascinating to watch the audience reactions than the talk itself as well as the tweets flying by. I say interesting and not enjoyable because the presentation lacked any emotion (it was read off the page basically) or apparent passion for the topic (not that she doesn’t have it, but I couldn’t see evidence of it). Sex is an incredibly important topic in human life, and something virtually every single person in the room cares about on some level.

    While is is a curiosity to see all the technology available to serve any multitude of sexual needs, I’ve always thought that the future of sex – just like the future of the internet – would be more about people and less about gadgets. Just like in social media, the technology is just a tool, it is still the connection with other human beings that is the most important thing. To steal Chris Pirillo’s quote from yesterday’s talk here at LeWeb, “focusing on the tools makes you a tool”. I think the same can be said for sex.

    Ra Ra Women, Really?

    Last time I checked, sexual exploration was something for all genders. Yes, women are definitely playing catch up historically as we are now equally free to explore fetishes, fantasies and non-tradition ways of having sex. Freedom from religion and tradition is a huge part of this, and something that is still pretty unique to the Wester world. And, as Violet Blue points out, Oprah did quote the stat which I’ve been talking about quite a bit as we develop the concept for, that 1 in 3 commercial porn consumers online is a woman now. But is this truly disruptive?

    Humans, Not Machines

    Violet closed her presentation with the statement:

    “The future of sex isn’t written yet, but humans want to be the ones to write it”

    Based on how things are going, it looks like we will.  I mean, who else will?  Personally, I’m interested in this history – it’s going to impact me in my lifetime, as well as my children (if I ever have any).