7/21/2014 Last Week In Tech, In Tweets

1. NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony launches a seed-stage venture capital firm.

As expected, Tweeters come out swinging with the basketball jokes.

2. The state of New York proposes regulations, deemed “BitLicense”, that would make life for Bitcoin startups very hard.

These new regulations could have implications stretching far beyond the borders of New York.

3. Microsoft lays off 14% of the entire company as part of major restructuring.

Apparently, Wall Street likes big layoffs.

4. Apple and IBM join forces – could be double trouble for Google, Microsoft, Samsung.

Does this move signal the end of PCs?

5. Amazon releases Kindle Unlimited, to be the “Netflix for ebooks and audiobooks”.

But not everyone is excited for it.

For laughs:

Ryan Block (former head of Engadget, founder of GDGT, and now product guy at AOL) records a hilarious phone call with Comcast employee while trying to cancel his service.

Vinod Khosla Keynotes Health 2.0, Talks Tech Trends

It’s a Tuesday evening at the Plug and Play Tech Center. There’s excitement in the air, just like every other day here. Outside on the beautiful open patio, there’s a group of diverse entrepreneurs from Plug and Play’s International Acceleration Program1 chatting over beers. Inside, there’s a large group of Bitcoin enthusiasts and curious explorers2, listening carefully to the words of Bitcoin startup recruiter Jason Rumney.

Great things happen every day here, and it’s an absolutely amazing place to work. But this day was particularly special. Vinod Khosla, a man I’ve heard referred to as a “Godfather of Silicon Valley” and a “legendary investor”, was in our press room talking to Peter Day of the BBC.

Vinod Khosla chats with BBC's Peter Day

Sound a bit intimidating? Not at all. Mr. Khosla is a genuine, heartfelt man. He’s shockingly approachable and invites anyone to shoot him an email with their ideas. Definitely not how most people imagine an investor. He’s almost as friendly as our CEO and founder Mr. Saeed Amidi. Almost.

When you run a search for Mr. Khosla, one of the first things that comes up is his attempt to restrict public access to a beach in San Mateo. Many have used this to paint him as an example of Silicon Valley greed. After hearing him speak on a number of topics, I can’t help but strongly disagree. Khosla’s mind is a great one, and one that many won’t be able to understand. What is obvious is that he’s not in it for the money. When asked to choose between cutting costs and improving outcomes, he chooses the latter without hesitation. He says cutting costs should only be the priority if money is the focus, and he constantly underlines that it shouldn’t be.

Vinod Khosla Keynotes Silicon Valley Health 2.0

Like a few other Silicon Valley visionaries we read about, Khosla wants to change the way things are done. At the risk of sounding cliché, he wants to change the world. Elon Musk wants to revolutionize transportation, Peter Thiel wants to reform education, Vinod Khosla wants to repair healthcare. I say repair because according to him, the current healthcare system is “broken”. “It’s not healthcare right now, it’s sickcare”, he says, and he’s right. He usually is. It’s one of the many reasons he has hundreds of extremely intelligent people packed in a hall at pin drop silence, carefully considering his every word. Another reason is those opinions of his that he voices without restraint. They’re radical, they’re revolutionary and they’re unapologetic. Among his shockingly innovative thoughts is his desire to replace doctors with computers. He wrote a guest post on the subject for TechCrunch; I’ve included the link below3.

Throughout his talk, Khosla emphasizes two important qualities of a successful entrepreneur: flexibility and boldness. He wants entrepreneurs to be willing to take risks and break rules, while constantly adapting along the way. He even goes to say that experience can work against an entrepreneur, because they have been working within a certain set of rules for too long. One audience member asks him how an entrepreneur could possibly compete with large institutions, and soon regrets it. His reply draws cheers from the audience, “How can a big institution possibly compete with an entrepreneur? If you’re asking that question, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur.” You might think this as the mindset of someone who believes himself to be unbeatable. You would be very wrong. Khosla is someone who has mastered the art of failure. It doesn’t sound like an art most aim to master but Khosla argues, and proves, that if done right, failure can be the key to success. His genius is that he gets more from his worst failures than most do from their greatest successes.

Vinod Khosla fields questions from the audience

He isn’t all optimism though. An audience member asks Khosla how an entrepreneur can find a balance between his grand vision and building a scalable business. It’s a question that brings out precious words of wisdom from Khosla. Despite his massive success, he remains reasonable and very practical. He says an entrepreneur must, “be optimistic, confident and paranoid at the same time”, shooting for the sky while questioning himself all the while. “Nobody has ever climbed Mount Everest without first getting to case camp”, he wonderfully analogizes. He reminds us that every climber sets out dreaming of reaching the peak, but working and planning to get to the base camp first. It’s a perfect analogy for an entrepreneur pursuing his dream. He also makes sure to point out that “the journey from base camp to the summit is not linear”. As he advises many times, every business plan should be done with repeated iterations.

500+ Attendees listen intently to Vinod Khosla

Khosla’s speech has a magnetizing quality. The crowd is visibly drawn in to his words, becoming more engrossed by the minute. When Khosla took the stage, I was standing behind the rows of chairs placed in the halls. As he walked off to thundering applause, I found myself sitting in the front row.Vinod Khosla is a man of ideals. He keeps his focus away from money, takes every risk, imparts invaluable wisdom, and stays grounded through it all. I, for one, could not help but walk out of that hall inspired, with a new idol to motivate me through my days.

- Article written by Ahraz Arifuddin


1Plug and Play’s International Acceleration Program: http://bit.ly/ItlPnP

2Weekly Bitcoin Meetup: http://bit.ly/SVBtc

3Do We Need Doctors or Algorithms – Vinod Khosla: http://bit.ly/DocPnP

4Stay in the Loop – Calendar of Events at Plug and Play: http://bit.ly/PnPEvt


7/14/2014 Last Week In Tech…In Tweets

1. Ebay teams up with Sotheby’s to run auctions online.

It didn’t work in 2002, but Sotheby’s and eBay believe the online art buying market has matured enough to try again.

2. Rap Genius raises $60M

From rap lyrics to literature – Rap Genius focused on a small and tight community before expanding laterally. It’s a good model for content startups.

3. Secretly raises $25M at $100M valuation.

Anonymous content is liberating to post and fascinating to watch, but can content creators build brands on a nameless social network?

4. LinkedIn acquires Newsle

How will specialized content about your network fit in with LinkedIn’s own content strategy?

5. Square acquires food delivery company TryCaviar.

Square has been trying to get into food services, but only did take out before. Now they can get in on the fast growing food delivery industry.

6. Google Glass Creator Heads To Amazon

It’s another big blow for Google Glass, which wasn’t even mentioned at their recent I/O conference.

And for fun…

7. Lebron James returns to hometown team Cleveland Cavaliers.

7/07/2014 Last Week In Tech…In Tweets

1. Tinder sued for sexual harassment by former executive.

The lawsuit led to the suspension of one of the co-founders.

Is Silicon Valley workspace behavior following the rocky path of finance a generation ago?

2. Google buys Songza

More stuff for Google and Apple to fight about!

3. Facebook busted for tinkering with people’s emotions

You have to admit – the results are interesting. Important even.

4. Speaking of Facebook, they acquired Video Ad startup LiveRail.

Improved video ads or another step towards launching a YouTube competitor?

And for fun…

5. Drone takes us flying through a fireworks show.

6/30/2014 Last Week In Tech…In Tweets

1. Google hosts its annual developer conference – Google I/O.

Here’s to hoping Material Design will close the gap on Apple’s lead in the design category.

I guess it is time to buy a smart watch.

Third time is a charm? Google’s tries the set top box…yet again.

2. Aereo loses it’s supreme court battle.

So, what does it all mean for me?

Who’s up next to bat?

3. Facebook at Work is coming.

Does social media at work make you more or less productive?

4. Twitter experimenting with a new way to retweet.

But can the Twitter-sphere handle more than 140 characters?

5. Barnes and Nobles cuts off the Nook.

6. GoPro IPOs

I was just thinking this town could use a few more millionaires.

And for fun…

7. FAA bans the use of drones to deliver packages.

8. Google’s answer to Oculus

6/23/2014 Last Week In Tech…In Tweets

1. Amazon launches its own phone.

The Fire is the bow that wraps up their plan to dominate retail.

2. Google acquires security camera company Dropcam for $555 Million

They also acquired video search and Plug and Play portfolio company Baarzo.

Must have been an impressive demo since the service isn’t even live yet.

3. Path pivots with its new “Talk” app.

Knowing when to persevere and when to pivot is often the difference between success and failure.

4. LinkedIn Launches its first standalone job search app.

And the great decoupling of apps continues…

And for fun…

The app that started as a joke now has a million users.

6/16/2014 Last Week In Tech…In Tweets

1. Open Table Acquired by Priceline

“A company whose stock has flatlined this year is buying a company whose stock had, until then, been slumping this year…at a 53% premium.”

Think William Shattner can negotiate a restaurant into letting you check in before your entire party arrives?

2.Tile FINALLY launches.

Tile seems too big for keys and too thick for a wallet, but would fit PERFECTLY on my dog.

3. Facebook for iPad’s new home page sidebar is made for gamers.

Over 70% of Facebook for iPad users played a Facebook-connected game in the past 90 days.

4. Tesla opens its patented technology to competitors.

“Rival electric car makers are not the enemy – petrol stations are.”

5. Apple CEO Tim Cook profiled in NY Times.

Did the Apple Smartwatch just get confirmed?

6. Google Fit aims to compete with Apple Health.

As if these companies didn’t have enough to fight over already.

7. Twitter COO resigns

The future is cloudy for the once resplendent messaging platform.

8. Amazon launches Prime Music

From the “this should have happened years ago” department…

For fun…
9. Apple’s advertising budget in 2013 was $1.1 billion.

The Hottest Media and FinTech Startups from Plug and Play Accelerator

YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen delivered a message to 31 startups pitching at the Plug and Play Summer EXPO – “Be bullish. Go where other people are saying no, because if they are saying yes, it’s already been done.” Indeed the startups that presented today are all working on innovative solutions in the Digital Media and FinTech space, both considered to be rapidly evolving sectors of technology innovation.

Apple recently updating their Terms and Conditions to provide more wiggle room for apps that transact in digital currencies like Bitcoin. Many FinTech startups, some of which presented today, will no doubt resubmit their apps to test the new boundaries of Apple compliance as they continue to pioneer new ways to transact online. One particular advantage to FinTech is avoiding the fixed fees and premiums charged by credit card companies. There’s actually quite a bit of overlap there with digital media startups which have been searching for a way to harness the long tail of micro-publishing. By avoiding transactional costs associated with traditional ecommerce, they can provide a way for content creators to charge very little for morsel sized tidbits of text, video, and audio. Image, for example, a model where bloggers can charge $0.01 per view, or a video creator can charge per second of video viewed.

The Sunnyvale Accelerator, founded in 2006 and now with over 250 portfolio companies, organizes the quarterly EXPO to show off the latest, hottest startups from their three vertical accelerators. Today’s EXPO focused on Media and Fintech startups, but Plug and Play also has accelerators devoted to Brand and Retail, and Internet of Things startups. At the end of each EXPO, a panel of judges from Plug and Play’s pool of Corporate and Venture Capital partners select the top three startups.

Here’s the complete list, along with a short description of each. Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest trends in tech!

Plug and Play EXPO Winners!


With @Mainframe2 you can run any app in any browser.


@Blinkdotla is a real time location and networking platform connecting media companies with freelancers around the world.



@PaperG is a cloud-based ad platform to scale creatives across devices, formats and volume.


Plug and Play EXPO Finalists


@rightrelevance provides tools to find the info you need through influencer communities.



@Vioozer is an anonymous crowd-sourcing platform for event-based questions in real time.

@NewzSocial is an Outbound Social Media Marketing platform.


#AugoTV is a mobile app that uses augmented reality to turn television into a real-time interactive competition.



@getadstage builds tools to help businesses advertise easily. Use AdStage to build, deploy & manage campaigns on Google, Facebook, Bing & LinkedIn.



@videntifier is a video and image search engine that uses visual and audio cues to help users find content.



@CapshareMedia is a mobile app for creating and sharing Multimedia content. Capture the Story and share the full experience.



@Dabkick created an app to watch videos, show photos, and listen to music together with your friends live…while you chat and talk.



@MyScienceWork is a scientific platform for the dissemination of scientific knowledge in open access


@skimotv is a video summarization engine that can take any video and create a short highlight reel.


@meograph is a multimedia mixing/storytelling platform for everyone, everywhere. . Create content mashups to tell stories!


@Bitcovery is a micro rewards program with a social discovery layer for apps, games, music, books, and more.


@SolidSoundLabs is full studio sound for your ear buds. Customize and improve your headphone sound quality.


@ReinCloud1 is a virtual reality viewer engagement platform that converts conventional old fashion media into new experiences. #plugin


@Cinova_CRUNCH delivers the best consumer video experiences in the least bandwidth and at the lowest delivery cost!



Wizzlabs’ Audio-3D tricks the mind into making flat audio sound 3D and surround. #audio#plugin

#Mobilender.mx is a peer-to-peer mobile lending platform for emergency, short-term, micro loans for the college sector.

 @ShareTheMeal is a #Berlin nonprofit inspiring everyday people to take consistent, deliberate actions to end hunger. For $0.25 you can purchase 1 meal.


@CoinVox is using #bitcoin to transform money in politics. #plugin



@PurseIO is bringing value-added services to Bitcoiners to incentivize spending. 



@noveltylab’s Holy Transaction is a universal multi-currency wallet for digital currencies.



@PeerPalco is an authentic peer-to-peer exchange for Bitcoin.




@37Coins is a low-tech no bank Bitcoin Wallet that works with #SMS.



Later Stage Portfolio Showcase


@Flipora is an AI based recommendation engine that learns what you are interested in then recommends websites based on your mood. #plugin



@xAdInc helps brands harness the power of accurate location data to produce measurable results from mobile advertising.



@News360 provides all the current news, both global and local, in a stream customized and tailored just for you.


@WeVideo is a video storytelling and collaboration software accessible to anyone anywhere.



@CreditSesame offers free, no-strings attached credit scores along with highly qualified related offers.




The Media & Mobile center of Innovation is a strategic Plug and Play initiative to create the leading global platform for media innovation by connecting forward thinking corporations with startups and technologies that are disrupting existing media business models and user experiences.

Plug and Play Bitcoin is a 12-week acceleration program housed in the heart of Silicon Valley. Selected companies are building financial technologies that will disrupt the way we use money across the globe. Through a competitive process, we select three batches of companies to enter the program every year.

Both programs are currently accepting applications for their upcoming sessions.


6/09/14 Last Week in Tech…In Tweets

1. Apple unveils their next mobile OS

Retailers won’t be happy that iOS 8 will randomize MAC addresses to slow in store tracking.

The moment your iPhone (and not the cloud or computer) became the center of your digital experience…

Good artists imitate, great artists steal.

2) Tinder Launches Major Update

Ephemeral is the new black!

Another example of the zig zag iterations most breakout products go through.

3) Uber Raises $1.2 Billion dollars

Uber’s valuation is crazy for a taxi company, but a bargain for a logistics company.

4) Youtube cofounders split

One wants to hone and the other wants to explore.

Chen will go to Google Ventures to work on digital media projects.

You can watch the YouTube co-founder speak at Plug and Play EXPO this Thursday.

And for fun…

5) Twitter’s favorite astronaut sends the first Vine from space

6/02/14 Last Week In Tech…In Tweets

1) Apple’s signature event WWDC is here.

2) Google rolls out its new self-driving cars.

3) Mary Meeker of KPCB releases her annual Internet Trends presentation.

4) Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer buys the clips for $2 Billion.

5) The Zucks donate $120 Million to California Schools.

And in memoriam…

6) Maya Angelou Passes Away