Friday, May 25, 2007

Early Riser

Last night must have been the first time in a couple of weeks where I just crashed.

No doubt about it at 8 PM I went to sleep. Waking up at 2:30 in the morning there is not too much to do except read.

I am almost done with "Adventure Capitalist" by Jim Rogers. Hedgefund Manager of legend.

Its a great book and a good follow up to Investment Biker and Hot Commodities.

Great parallels between emerging "foreign" markets and emerging "technology" markets should be made.

No matter where you live or what industry you invest your time/money into it is the people whom you must trust the most. Technology can be tested, ideas can change but the innovation is milestone.

We are lucky to be living in a society that has accelerated growth, excessive amounts of cheap capital and brilliant people motivated by the pursuit of knowledge (and stock options).

I took a walk down Fifth Avenue, strolled by the MET and landed at my office desk promptly at 6:10.

Happy Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two minutes to Blog about the UN

Tonight I was at the UN for a networking shindig with Germans, French peoples, Luxembourg, Britain and Spain. The spanish women were beautiful. I mean hands down gorgeous.

Alright so my networking was not very productive, but I took these pictures from the terrace on the fourth floor of the East River

The 59th Street bridge.

Okay so this is a lame, fast post, but whatever its 9:42 PM and I need to get out of the office.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007 CBS Deal

Howard and the crazy folks over at should be having a party.

Today they officially announced that wallstrip has been acquired by CBS Interactive.

Its pretty amazing to see my favorite online media/entertainment source bought out after only eight months of existence. It has been speculated that they have been purchased for $5 Million, but who knows/ really cares since the fact remains that a vblog can gain such traction in the internet marketplace.

Amongst the 7 billion websites, this one alone has been able to conquer the all elusive world of stocks. No wonder its been bought out. We need similar channels explaining hard to grasp subjects like science, stocks, law - dare I say WOMEN.

Maybe there could be a show about explaining lawyers.

No, I'd rather shoot myself than watch a video blog about lawyers. But that is the essence for wallstrip's success. They tackled a heavy topic that many people are curious about, but most people have little to no clue about.

Through a smart, vetted team of investors (Howard Lindzon, Roger Ehrenberg - Monitor110, Fred Wilson - Union Square Ventures, Andy Monfried and the Gotham Gal amongst others) Wallstrip became a reality and a powerhouse in the web video domain. Their success is no small feat and a great example of this web "2.0" working as a well oiled machine. Working together with prolific bloggers, a great exec team and fantastic content the company exploded.

The key feature here is fantastic content. All the investors, bloggers and money in the world can not make a start-up work if the product sucks. I don't care if you have a superstar and their damn website or myspace page for that matter. If the product sucks, so do the returns.

Kudos to Howard and Lindsay for pulling off the impossible.


Monday, May 21, 2007

DFJ East Coast Venture Challenge: 1st Annual

Today I spent the greater part of my Monday listening to various start-ups pitch their businesses at my alma mater Columbia University.

The event was sponsored by all three DFJ arms (DFJGotham Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Draper Triangle Ventures) and the number of student based companies was a solid 12 teams.

I only attended the Finalist Round in which the top five companies were called back to compete for the First Prize of $250k and six months of free office space - courtesy of Sunshine Suites.

1. Greenware, Columbia University
2. Mezmeriz, Cornell University
3. AT Dynamics, Dartmouth
4. Affine Systems, Harvard
5. SteriCoat, Princeton

Let me preface the fact that we did not find out the winner until after watching Tim Draper sing his awe-inspiring song "The Riskmaster". I took a crappy cellphone video of it.

Tim's closing comments on US based opportunities to grow companies are important.

The US is the one country in the world that is hindering and inhibiting the growth of our "startup" culture.

1. Quota Limits on H1-B visas - How else are we going to get brilliant people to work in America if we only supply 65,000 visas per annum?
2. Sarbanes-Oxley - This is slowing down finances for companies, as well as making accounting a costly process.

And the winners are:

1st Place: SteriCoat - a pharma company that wants to make catheters with a special anti-bacterial coating. Really smart doctor guys from Princeton. Go Tigers!

2nd Place (this was a suprise gift of $100k): Greenware - Manufactures reusable goods out of Palm leaves (which are through a 15-step process made into plates). A green company with a sound business plan.

It was a good event and I hope to attend next year.