The Data Behind Why Google’s Play Is So Much Harder For Startups To Crack Than the iOS App Store

As the number of Android users continues approach 1B devices, more and more startups are looking to deploy complementary applications on Android, in addition to their iOS applications. Some startups are beginning looking to launch on Android first. But the dynamics of the Android app store are quite different from iOS. In fact, they are much more challenging for startups. Like iOS’s app store, Android’s app store also ranks applications. But the ranking system is very different in four key ways:

Elon Musk’s Genius: Understanding the Cost of a Screw and the Value of a Photo

Last night, Elon Musk inspired the audience at D. It is hard to overstate the scope and breadth of his ambitions or the impact of his start ups PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX on payments, automobiles and space. Behind the desire to listen to great men like Musk speak about their perspectives is a hope to receive some insight, some pearl of wisdom. Last night, I came away with two of those both about startups.

Block and Tackle Product Marketing

At the D conference yesterday, Tim Cook said many things without saying much. But one story did strike me. Cook described the product management and strategy process at Apple. Walt Mossberg asked Cook why the iPhone has only one flavor when the iPod had so many including the shuffle, the nano, the mini, and the classic. Even though both products originally launched as a single model, the iPod flourished into a family of products while the iPhone has remained a single SKU.

Startup Pricing: How to Manage Channel Conflict

You have just launched your new software start up. The last webpage to go up on the website is the pricing page. Like many other SaaS startups, you decide to employ some version the three pane pricing plan: first the free version, second a paid upgrade costing between $5-$40 per month, and third an enterprise tier with a “Call for Quote” in place of the price. A few days after you launch, an enterprise customer contacts you asking for a quote.

A Startup’s Guide to Maximizing Last Mover Advantage

About a year ago, Peter Thiel spoke at a PandoDaily event where he extolled the last mover advantage: “First mover isn’t what’s important — it’s the last mover. Like Microsoft was the last operating system, and Google was the last search engine.” I hear this refrain more and more in pitches. The thinking goes the last entrant to the market benefit from mistakes made by earlier entrants. But being the last mover isn’t always advantageous.

Antagonism is the Heart of the Consumerization of IT Movement

At today’s Under the Radar Consumerization of IT (CoIT), the predominant theme will be antagonism. Friction, dislike, resentment within organizations marks opportunity for consumerization of IT startups. Taking advantage of this sentiment, Expensify employs a very deliberate marketing tactic: “Expense reports that don’t suck.” Talk to anyone who uses antiquated expense report systems and they are bound to sigh and complain, frustrated by the experience but resigned to the fact they can’t do much about it.

Investing in the Consumer Web is Dead

Reading through the tech press since the Facebook IPO, you might get the impression venture capitalists are still reeling from that apocalyptic offering, believe no further successes can be had in the consumer web, and so are fleeing the consumer web in droves to pursue enterprise investments. That’s because in the past year or so most major tech publications have swung from focusing on consumer products to enterprise companies. GigaOm made this transition first, now TechCrunch and PandoDaily are following suit.

You Shouldn’t Start an Ad Tech Company, But If You Do…

I started working in ad tech in 2005 and during the past eight years, the ad tech ecosystem has progressively become more sophisticated, competitive and oligopolistic. It’s hard to innovate in ad tech. But if you’re looking to start a company in the sector, you’ll need to amass proprietary data or develop a market place with unassailable liquidity to vie successfully in the market. A Mental Model for the Ad Ecosystem The structure of the ad ecosystem, greatly simplified, looks like the image above.

The Future of Human Data Interaction

On the day of Tableau’s IPO, a company known for innovating in data visualization, I thought I would share the most impressive HCI concept I’ve seen in a long time. In my view, Bret Victor is on the forefront of human computer interaction design. In the first two or three minutes of this video at Stanford, he demonstrates his home-built software that combines data analysis with visualization. It’s magnificent and really hard to describe because it’s so novel.

Coding and Cooking: The Connection between Jacques Pepin and Database Migrations

When I was a little boy, I watched a cooking show on Sundays called “Jacques Pépin.” Over the course of 30 minutes, Jacques would orchestrate a symphony of raw ingredients into a dish that I yearned to smell and taste. That chicken paillard looked sumptuous. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been coding in Rails 3 quite a bit, building a collection of tools to be more effective as a VC.