startup

Redding’s Startup Weekend

Nov 20-22 was Redding, CA’s 1st startup weekend.  First, I’d like to thank Hope Seth from Shasta EDC for the invitation to mentor at the weekend.  The weekend was great, full of good ideas, fun and hard working people and the autumn weather was just amazing.  (I even made time to enjoy biking on one of Redding’s beautiful trails along the Sacramento River.)

Here are the videos shot during the weekend of three of the nine startups..So sorry I didn’t get them all.  You’ll notice they’re all on Facebook, which is where I’m posting almost everything these days but I realize there are followers here who, as they like to tell me ‘don’t do Facebook’.  I understand your reasons so here they are for you. Enjoy!

JUSTICEBOWS

The youngest entrepreneur at the startup weekend is 12 yr old Gabriel who is making eco friendly bow ties with a portion of sales going to charity. The website is in progress but should have more info later this weekend. Visit www.JusticeBows.com

https://www.facebook.com/100000861755160/videos/978324895539560/

PHOTOBOMB

Have you ever photo bombed? Watch this and see how you might be able to find those bombs.  I have to admit, since startup weekend I’ve photo bombed twice and I’m not a bomber, or at least I wasn’t until this startup influenced me!

https://www.facebook.com/100000861755160/videos/978404175531632/

SENSU5

Bryan P Cosby is leading a team that is doing something awesome and powerful for recording memories by making it easy to document what you see, feel, touch, feel and hear.

https://www.facebook.com/100000861755160/videos/978390952199621/

PS: WordPress has for some reason decided NOT to put the Facebook videos in here directly like it has in the past when I’ve pasted links in here and then previewed.  UGGGGrrrrr.  Yet another reason why I prefer Facebook to blogging.  WHY can’t WordPress get it right!?!?!?!?  Making it harder, not easier, is going to keep me from using it. Followers, if you haven’t friended or followed me yet on Facebook, do it because stuff like this means you’ll get less here on WordPress, not more.

Corporates Participating in the Silicon Valley Ecosystem

No one wants to be the next Kodak, Blockbuster or Borders.  Failing to embrace innovation comes with consequences. “Corporates around the world are worried about getting disrupted by Silicon Valley innovators,” explains Steffen Bartschat, a longtime Silicon Valley tech executive and technology scout for Faurecia, a $20B tier one automotive supplier. To keep up with rapid advances in technology, “they establish listening posts here, to connect with startup entrepreneurs and divine future trends,” Bartschat said.

Those listening posts come in various forms, from partnership with startup accelerators and incubators to creating their own innovation labs following in the footsteps of Citi with its 15 innovation labs around the globe.  Innovation is also outsourced by corporates to innovation consultancies such as HowCanWe, which focuses on helping companies innovate internally, and to organizations such as BCG Digital Ventures, launched by The Boston Consulting Group, whose teams around the globe take an idea or disruption, build businesses and/or products for partners and then bring solutions to market.

With many options for embracing innovation and leveraging the technology of the future, one challenge is knowing which is the best innovation investment decision. “Funding Innovation Labs in Silicon Valley is a similar problem as picking a nice bottle of California wine – sure, that $150 bottle is highly likely to be a better experience, but maybe the $25 bottle is good enough?  There is a vast range of dollars being spent on corporate innovation here in the Valley, and much of it is wasted,” Bartschat explained.

To shed more light on the issue of effectively participating in the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem and generating a valuable return  Bartschat will moderate a panel for the German American Business Association in Palo Alto on June 4th with panelists from Deutsche Telekom, Schneider Electric, SanDisk and Crestlight Venture Productions.  The event is open to GABA members and non-members; tickets and more information can be found here.

Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #3

This is the third post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.

Prediction #3: Companies that combine the information of multiple sensors in multiple wearable devices will create more value for their consumers than producers of single wearable devices.

Wearable Alpha:

It goes without saying that part of the reason for the platform announcements covered in Who to Watch for Prediction #2 is that these companies are motivated to create these platforms because there is greater value created if multiple devices integrate.  Machine to Machine (M2M) communication generates value because humans don’t have to be involved in passing information from one machine to another, something we used to do by hand, which was error prone, or with tapes and floppy disks, which was time consuming.  With wearable devices, the additional value that results combining wearable device information is what I call Wearable Alpha.  Wearable Alpha results when two wearables create more value for a user when integrated than when unintegrated.  Additional Wearable Alpha is created if the two wearable devices are also integrated with other IoT devices and services.

Wearable Alpha by WorkTechWork

 

While players in the wearable space, as well as the greater Internet of Things, should execute focused strategies leveraging their strengths to develop technology, players should not forget that integrated solutions will create more value than unintegrated solutions.  Moreover, players should build business models that extract part of the Wearable Alpha to generate returns for shareholders and investors.

Wearable to Wearable Integrators:

Wearable devices are still nascent technologies, with years to go before the market is fully mature.  We do not know today which wearable device solutions will be on the market in one year and new wearable solutions are coming out all the time.  With so much change it is hard to find companies working to gather data from two separate wearable devices, let alone communicate between them.

Sensoria:  People don’t usually wear more than one watch, but people do wear more than one article of clothing so some low hanging fruit in the multiple wearable space is smart clothing for fitness tracking.  Sensoria Fitness Socks  provide the most accuracy of any step counting wearable to also count altitude changes, distance and, more importantly for the expert runners, cadence, foot landing technique and weight distribution on the foot.  Sensoria also produces a sports bra and a tshirt for heart rate monitoring.  With smart socks and a heart rate monitor, an athlete is on the way to reaping the benefits of Wearable Alpha.

ThisPlace: ThisPlace created a software solution called MindRDR that combines the NeuroSky EEG brainwave sensor with Google Glass to control photo taking and sharing.  In other words, you can take a picture and post it online just by thinking.  Today there are only a few people who will benefit from the Wearable Alpha generated by this particular wearable to wearable integration scenario; however, this opens a whole plethora of opportunities for mind controlling IoT devices.

Sensum:  Sensum provides a platform that integrates data streams from multiple wearable devices and health sensors to analyze the emotional response to events.  This generates tremendous amounts of Wearable Alpha when analyzing marketing and other forms of digital media because now, instead of just watching responses through tinted windows and asking questions, observers can capture an accurate reading of emotional response.

Do you integrate sensor information from multiple wearable devices?  If so,  tell me about it in the comments below or reach out here and lets meet up and chat about your technology.

Wearable to Smart Phone Integration:

There are many solutions that connect a wearable device to the smart phone.  The smart phone itself is becoming in some instances a hub with wearable devices connected to it and in other instances a stepping stone from wearable to cloud.  Smart phones are being built with more and more sensors, some of the same sensors built into wearable devices.  As mentioned in Who to Watch for Prediction #1, smart phones can run apps such as the Moves App and gather information from these sensors.  For the “multiple sensors in multiple devices” portion of this prediction to be fulfilled with a smart phone integration, information generated from smart phone sensors must be used and result in Wearable Alpha.  As of this posting, I have not found a company doing this.  Do you integrate information from both wearable device and a smart phone sensors?

Next Prediction: Who to Watch For Prediction #4

Previous Prediction: Who to Watch for Prediction #2

Back to Wearable Technology

Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #1

wearables-realistic-finalThis is the first post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.

Here is a special thank you to all the people, especially the busy startup founders and CEOs, who have taken time to discuss wearable technology solutions with me.  Your time is much appreciated as you have shared insights into your products, your position in the market and your invaluable industry insight.  This space is full of people who are creative, intelligent and passionate which makes me quite bullish on where wearables will go over the coming decade.  I look forward to the journey with you.

photo credit: Rani Molla/GigaOM

Prediction #1:  Wearables of the future will be more than fad devices; they will satisfy customer needs.

Just because a company has a great kickstarter campaign, does not mean the product isn’t a fad adopted by the early adopter techie types.  So, first a look at companies that fall under Fad, then a look at those that satisfy as satisfying is key with this prediction.

Fad: Google Glass

Google Glass is not ready for the mass consumer as there are not a lot of use cases for when regular people in their personal lives have to get information when both hands are both full making it impossible, difficult or inconvenient to just grab a phone.  Some other indicators this is a fad are that Robert Scoble is not wearing it as often and Keith Teare has given his away.  There are meaningful uses for Glass and future generations of it in industrial contexts; however, Glass for the masses is a fad device, a ground breaking fad, but a fad nonetheless.

Fad: All Single-Purpose Wrist-Worn Fitness Trackers

It would be easy to say Nike’s Fuelband is going this route since it has cut production but I’m going to be bold and say that all wrist worn fitness trackers on the market that only track fitness activity will become fad devices within 10 years.  This includes Fitbit, NordicTrack iFit Active, Garmin Vivofit, Samsung Gear Fit, Jawbone UP, Basis and even Shine, the world’s most elegant physical activity monitor (but all is not lost for Shine, you’ll see it again in the upcoming post on prediction #7).

There are two things at play that work against wrist worn fitness trackers.  First, fitness tracking can be done on a smart phone with an app like Moves without the need for another device to remember to bring and to charge.  Moves comes at a much lower price point than a wrist band (unless you include the value of the data you’re giving up but that goes under prediction #9).   Second, other alternate wearable devices can potentially provide more accurate fitness tracking through wearables on body parts that don’t move as much as an arm (You’ll see an example of this, The Dash by Bragi, in in the upcoming post on prediction #8).

Satisfy: APX Labs

The number one company I’m watching in this space is APX Labs, whose software platform Skylight empowers workers in all kinds of business scenarios with hands-free access to real-time, task related contextual information from anywhere work can be completed.  Skylight works on several devices including Google Glass; so how can I still say Glass is a fad?  Because what APX is doing is really hardware agnostic and Glass, even in industrial instances is not the best piece of hardware to work with.  Just because early adopters in industrial use cases find Glass useful, does not make it any less of a fad device because of its inherent deficiencies, battery life being one of them.  There is a place for Glass in the annuls of technical innovation as a leader, but Glass will fade as a fad and newer, better devices will trump in the coming decade.  I’m anxious to watch what APX Labs will empower its customers to do with those devices.

Satisfy: Smart Watches

In the satisfy space I’m watching smart watches.  While time will only tell who will come out as the leader, and yes I’ll stop with the puns, these are the three I’m watching:

Samsung Gear Live

Moto 360 by Motorola

iWatch, iTime or whatever Apple names its device

One of the great features of smart watches is their integration with smart phones, which with their own set of sensors can almost be considered a wearable of their own.  People are accustomed to wearing watches to satisfy the need to tell time or to wear something fashionable.  Smart watches can satisfy these and other needs.

Satisfy: Others

Many other astute entrepreneurs are tackling the challenge of providing wearable devices that satisfy customer needs, some of which will be covered in the remainder of this industry watch series.  Do you have a wearable product that satisfies customer needs?  Tell me about it in the comments below or reach out here and lets meet up and chat.

Next Prediction: Who to Watch For Prediction #2

Back to Wearable Technology

PostCaptain.co Makes Technology Work For You

I met today with two of the founders of the startup PostCaptain.co, Stephen Snyder and Joel Gaona .  Before delving into their product, a short bit of info from their story sets the backdrop for these two technology leaders.  They are both fellow San Jose State University alumni.  San Jose, CA, the Capital of Silicon Valley, is proud to host Silicon Valley’s university at its heart.  The heart of the valley, as well as the hearts of these two guys, is entrepreneurship.  They were members of the SJSU chapter of Alpha Tua Omega, an entrepreneurship fraternity.  It is through the SJSU environment that these two met and began working together which brings us to what they’re working on.

Designed for real estate agents, both the connected and the disconnected in this social media driven world, PostCaptain.co gathers and posts trending real estate related news to an agent’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages based on the agent’s set preferences.  This creates a huge amount of value for an agent, especially of the disconnected type, as the posting is done automatically.  PostCaptain.co’s product is relatively new, but the success stories are rolling in, agents with new leads within days of subscribing.

Why am I so interested in Postcaptain.co?  It makes technology easy to use and is a perfect example of technology working and creating value.  Sounds a little like my mantra:  Don’t work for technology; make technology work for you.