The "gold standard" of recent startups

Well, I’ve taken potshots at the new breed of startups. But let’s go back and look at recent startups that have gotten our attention and use this list as a “gold standard” through which to judge companies that come out this week at one of the two conferences.

I put forth a short list of some of the companies that have gained my trust/attention over the past few years. Things like Zoho. Meebo. Zappos. 37 Signals. Threadless. Evernote. Kongregate. TripIt. Kayak. Viddler. Qik. Kyte. Hypem. Dogster. Get Satisfaction. Instructables. Tesla Motors. Last.fm. iLike. Pandora. Lijit.

People on Twitter sent these in:

@dpiv says: drop.io.
@seven24 says: Freshbooks.
@taaviuudam says: vimeo. Blip.tv.
@andrewtc04 says: Moo. Seesmic. Qype.
@mind_booster says: Reverbnation. Sellaband.
@maniar says Zooomr. FriendFeed. Posterous.
@marilynpratt says: Veodia.
@DeirdreS says: passpack.com.
@DarJon says: Skribit.
@brendachrist says: GoldMine.
@JohnAtkinson says: Disqus. ZipScene. ShareThis. PimpMyNews.
@thetylerhays says: Pleasedressme. (another Gary Vee project).
@tinkugallery says: Recycline.
@nitinbadjatia says: Jott.
@Earth911 says: Twitter.
@mathys says: Mobypicture. and Startpix.
@jhurtado says: Tumblr. Scribd.
@Discpl says: Shelfari. Squidoo.
@4davidmartin says: Accuradio.
Chris Brogan, on FriendFeed says: Viewzi. Linden Labs.
Dave Martin, on FriendFeed, says Artfulhome.
Alan Le, on FriendFeed, says Mint.
Zee, on FriendFeed, says WordPress (er, Automattic).
Erhan Erdogan on FriendFeed, says: Apture. SocialMedian. Brightkite. Entrecard. Animoto. Magnify.net. Speeddate. Sevenload. Fon. Flixwagon. G.ho.st. PicLens. Shareaholic. Etsy.
Susan Beebe, on FriendFeed, says: FFtogo (FriendFeed mobile client). RSSMeme. Sliderocket. Blist. Identi.ca. TweetDeck. Mento. Revision3.

Wow, what a lot of interesting companies. But here’s the problem: how many of these have you even tried? I bet that if I averaged out all my readers it would come up to somewhere between five and seven. And you are the smartest, most passionate, and most early adopter tech users in the world. For most people? I bet they might have tried one and have no clue about the rest of this list.

And THAT is why I’m getting to be much more harsh on startups. New startups are coming into this marketspace where even good existing companies (most of these companies are very good and are executing well) aren’t getting much attention. So if you don’t measure up to the current market standard bearers, you probably won’t have a possibility to succeed.

Lots of people think I should just go “rah rah” for new startups. I’m sorry, I’m not going to do that anymore. You want to get on this list? You’ve got to earn your way on here. Out of the more than 100 companies we’ll see this week, it’ll be interesting to see who will do just that.

How about you? What’s your “gold standard” in startups? Let’s build a good list which we’ll then use to compare new services and apps to this week.

Which ones of these have the potential of breaking out? Which ones do you love?

Comments

  1. I love Posterous. That might be a homerun. Also, NewsCred does a great job presenting news, but they are in a crowded space so it will be tough. Those are the two services I use on daily basis now.

  2. I love Posterous. That might be a homerun. Also, NewsCred does a great job presenting news, but they are in a crowded space so it will be tough. Those are the two services I use on daily basis now.

  3. A worthwhile challenge. My Dad coaches soccer with an international level license he used to give the stink eye to parents who cheered a half hearted effort or failing run by their child. He said it paralyzed them and I agree. What good is a mediocre level of success except to fill the channel more. I think you are noticing a basic flaw in the present paradigm, not just calling out startups to perform better.

  4. A worthwhile challenge. My Dad coaches soccer with an international level license he used to give the stink eye to parents who cheered a half hearted effort or failing run by their child. He said it paralyzed them and I agree. What good is a mediocre level of success except to fill the channel more. I think you are noticing a basic flaw in the present paradigm, not just calling out startups to perform better.

  5. The gold standard (to me) are those that break out from early adopters and find their way to middle American and (for lack of a better term) “non-geeks”. Certainly Twitter is high on that list, as would Tumblr and Automattic but I’m not sure any of the others have broken from the pack.

  6. The gold standard (to me) are those that break out from early adopters and find their way to middle American and (for lack of a better term) “non-geeks”. Certainly Twitter is high on that list, as would Tumblr and Automattic but I’m not sure any of the others have broken from the pack.

  7. Personally, I think all the hub bub last night was ridiculous. If a startup is waiting for an anointing by you or other folks, they are focusing on the wrong things. So their websites suck? Who cares, if you look at the list of services above, many of them have gone through several revisions of look and feel, but all of them have two things in common:

    An intense focus on the value they bring the user and an commitment to listening to their user base.

    That is my gold standard. And the question I ask, is can I describe what the startup does in no more than one sentence. If I can do that, then I can make an intelligent decision as to the value of the product to me.

    My favorite from the above list? Twitter, Friendfeed, Tumblr, Automattic (I use them several times every day). Vimeo, Qik, Viddler (first place for video). Threadless, Zappos and PleaseDressMe (keep me looking hip).

    And I wouldnt be a complete self-promoting bastard if I didnt mention Lijit.

    You were right to question the startups at DEMO (as I am sure you will do with the TC50 folks). But at the end of the day, quality and value trumps everything.

  8. Personally, I think all the hub bub last night was ridiculous. If a startup is waiting for an anointing by you or other folks, they are focusing on the wrong things. So their websites suck? Who cares, if you look at the list of services above, many of them have gone through several revisions of look and feel, but all of them have two things in common:

    An intense focus on the value they bring the user and an commitment to listening to their user base.

    That is my gold standard. And the question I ask, is can I describe what the startup does in no more than one sentence. If I can do that, then I can make an intelligent decision as to the value of the product to me.

    My favorite from the above list? Twitter, Friendfeed, Tumblr, Automattic (I use them several times every day). Vimeo, Qik, Viddler (first place for video). Threadless, Zappos and PleaseDressMe (keep me looking hip).

    And I wouldnt be a complete self-promoting bastard if I didnt mention Lijit.

    You were right to question the startups at DEMO (as I am sure you will do with the TC50 folks). But at the end of the day, quality and value trumps everything.

  9. David: if Facebook is on the list, I guess LinkedIn and MySpace should be too. I don’t think of those as startups anymore, though. Dopplr certainly belongs on the list.

  10. David: if Facebook is on the list, I guess LinkedIn and MySpace should be too. I don’t think of those as startups anymore, though. Dopplr certainly belongs on the list.

  11. As I was reading through this list I was thinking that I recognized most of their funny, little names and I probably have signed up for an account at some time too.

    Of all the bookmarking sites…for me it has pretty much boiled down to Diigo.
    I use Mixx for news too. I just had to make up my mind…they are so many.

    Disqus and Zemanta I would truly miss were they to go away.

    The few times I go on Twitter I use either Digsby or Tweenky.

    These services have worked well for me now for some time…the other ones I’ve pretty much forgotten…except Posterous.

  12. As I was reading through this list I was thinking that I recognized most of their funny, little names and I probably have signed up for an account at some time too.

    Of all the bookmarking sites…for me it has pretty much boiled down to Diigo.
    I use Mixx for news too. I just had to make up my mind…they are so many.

    Disqus and Zemanta I would truly miss were they to go away.

    The few times I go on Twitter I use either Digsby or Tweenky.

    These services have worked well for me now for some time…the other ones I’ve pretty much forgotten…except Posterous.

  13. This is definitely the way forward – tech reporting should (IMHO) be more skewed to reporting quality startups (and indeed what MAKES them quality) rather than the never-ending loop of bedroom mashups that makes me want to steer well away from the mainstream tech press blog empires. (With the specific exception of uk.techcrunch.com – I’m not sucking up to MikeB I just genuinely appreciate what he writes).

    I second documentally about Phreadz – a startup consisting of one guy with extreme skill and passion that puts a lot of the more widely-reported and well-funded startups to shame.

  14. This is definitely the way forward – tech reporting should (IMHO) be more skewed to reporting quality startups (and indeed what MAKES them quality) rather than the never-ending loop of bedroom mashups that makes me want to steer well away from the mainstream tech press blog empires. (With the specific exception of uk.techcrunch.com – I’m not sucking up to MikeB I just genuinely appreciate what he writes).

    I second documentally about Phreadz – a startup consisting of one guy with extreme skill and passion that puts a lot of the more widely-reported and well-funded startups to shame.

  15. You don’t need to “rah rah” new startups. Not at all. But here’s what you really ought to shoot for dude:

    (1) Transparency. That’s you favorite word from 2006, right? You posted SEVERAL lengthy posts with not one word about any connection to TC50. I find that… odd.

    (2) Raising the level of dialogue. Not lowering it. Things may not meet up to standards… be they yours’, or “Super Bowl”, or whatever…. But here’s the issue, dude. Repeated used of the word “suck” lowers things from “Super Bowl” to “high school”. Period.

    (3) Speaking of “high school” level… this post *barely* rises above the level you – and well, just about eveyrone connected with 2008 and startups – appears to be operating on.

    I feel bad for those caught in the crossfire of you all.

  16. You don’t need to “rah rah” new startups. Not at all. But here’s what you really ought to shoot for dude:

    (1) Transparency. That’s you favorite word from 2006, right? You posted SEVERAL lengthy posts with not one word about any connection to TC50. I find that… odd.

    (2) Raising the level of dialogue. Not lowering it. Things may not meet up to standards… be they yours’, or “Super Bowl”, or whatever…. But here’s the issue, dude. Repeated used of the word “suck” lowers things from “Super Bowl” to “high school”. Period.

    (3) Speaking of “high school” level… this post *barely* rises above the level you – and well, just about eveyrone connected with 2008 and startups – appears to be operating on.

    I feel bad for those caught in the crossfire of you all.

  17. Great to see that you’re taking less of a “rah-rah” stance and really looking into potential start-ups for viability. We really could do with a better SNR.

    However, to help us new and upcoming start-ups, what guidance can you give specifically? As someone who has “seen it all”, a series on what it takes to “break out” would be a great gift to the industry (and the basis for a follow on book ;-).

    For my money, I see Zoho with the potential to break-out as a competitive alternative to salesforce.com and microsoft.

  18. If I use it, then that is my gold standard. If I can’t see the point then I won’t use it.

    It is like when Twitter came out I never used it because no one I knew was on it, then I found a few friends that were on it and then it became useful, so I am like a second wave tech user. Now I have met so many people on that I would never have met before, I think it is brilliant.

    Paul.

  19. Great to see that you’re taking less of a “rah-rah” stance and really looking into potential start-ups for viability. We really could do with a better SNR.

    However, to help us new and upcoming start-ups, what guidance can you give specifically? As someone who has “seen it all”, a series on what it takes to “break out” would be a great gift to the industry (and the basis for a follow on book ;-).

    For my money, I see Zoho with the potential to break-out as a competitive alternative to salesforce.com and microsoft.

  20. If I use it, then that is my gold standard. If I can’t see the point then I won’t use it.

    It is like when Twitter came out I never used it because no one I knew was on it, then I found a few friends that were on it and then it became useful, so I am like a second wave tech user. Now I have met so many people on that I would never have met before, I think it is brilliant.

    Paul.

  21. Hi Robert – Was curious about this list when you tweeted it. You’ve got a pretty impressive list of businesses here. How do you find them all? Also, what do you define as a start up? What is the average age of companies here on your list – some of them have a huge amount of traffic already?

  22. Hi Robert – Was curious about this list when you tweeted it. You’ve got a pretty impressive list of businesses here. How do you find them all? Also, what do you define as a start up? What is the average age of companies here on your list – some of them have a huge amount of traffic already?

  23. For periods of time I will follow most of the start-ups/platforms which will appear on your radar, and blog about a few.

    I can guarantee that many of them are good copies of existing systems which also don’t match my requirements. With many of these I can practically guarantee that I have an account, that’s if it was convincing enough at first contact, and besides the first few days I haven’t used it since I got the account.

    Now Ping.fm has given me the option to now keep the one’s it supports up to date.

  24. For periods of time I will follow most of the start-ups/platforms which will appear on your radar, and blog about a few.

    I can guarantee that many of them are good copies of existing systems which also don’t match my requirements. With many of these I can practically guarantee that I have an account, that’s if it was convincing enough at first contact, and besides the first few days I haven’t used it since I got the account.

    Now Ping.fm has given me the option to now keep the one’s it supports up to date.

  25. But what is it that sets them apart? Why are they the gold standard? The products? The teams? The execution? What are they bringing to the world?

    Really, here’s an amazing startup, and it’s a nonprofit that has over 43 million dollars in revenue/loans in less than three years alone: http://www.kiva.org/ Why are they spectacular? Because they have taken poverty and peer to peer technology to microfinance and to the masses creating the chance to take microfinance to a level of helping lift millions of people around the world out of poverty.

    BTW, Kiva is also constantly innovating and has just released a “teams” feature, so people can now make their microloans in teams.

    http://www.kiva.org/team/neddotcom

    Big thumbs up for orgs really drilling into the “how” to use innovation and technology to really make the world a better place.

  26. But what is it that sets them apart? Why are they the gold standard? The products? The teams? The execution? What are they bringing to the world?

    Really, here’s an amazing startup, and it’s a nonprofit that has over 43 million dollars in revenue/loans in less than three years alone: http://www.kiva.org/ Why are they spectacular? Because they have taken poverty and peer to peer technology to microfinance and to the masses creating the chance to take microfinance to a level of helping lift millions of people around the world out of poverty.

    BTW, Kiva is also constantly innovating and has just released a “teams” feature, so people can now make their microloans in teams.

    http://www.kiva.org/team/neddotcom

    Big thumbs up for orgs really drilling into the “how” to use innovation and technology to really make the world a better place.

  27. Mark: Kiva definitely belongs on the list.

    Most of these are on the list because they thrill their users at some level. Enough to get talked about and pushed by others. That generally means succeeding at almost everything. By the way, click through this list and you’ll see a much better selection of Web sites than I saw yesterday. Lots of different styles. better writing and content. Better presentation. And more directly answers the question of what value they bring.

  28. Mark: Kiva definitely belongs on the list.

    Most of these are on the list because they thrill their users at some level. Enough to get talked about and pushed by others. That generally means succeeding at almost everything. By the way, click through this list and you’ll see a much better selection of Web sites than I saw yesterday. Lots of different styles. better writing and content. Better presentation. And more directly answers the question of what value they bring.

  29. Cath: I have thousands of people I listen to. I read 700 RSS feeds. Most of these get repeated over and over and over online. That’s why they are successful. Also, this is why I follow so many early adopters on Twitter (about 20,000) so that I can study what they use and recommend. This post would be very hard to do without such an input stream.

  30. Cath: I have thousands of people I listen to. I read 700 RSS feeds. Most of these get repeated over and over and over online. That’s why they are successful. Also, this is why I follow so many early adopters on Twitter (about 20,000) so that I can study what they use and recommend. This post would be very hard to do without such an input stream.

  31. I’ve used 2 and stayed with one.

    Thomas Edison experimented with over 3000 substances before settling on tungsten as the filament for the incandescent light bulb.

    We’re on the same voyage through the crap of the internet while the unwitting cows flock to the next hair growning tonic of tomorrow.

    Unfortunate but necessary for discovery.

  32. I’ve used 2 and stayed with one.

    Thomas Edison experimented with over 3000 substances before settling on tungsten as the filament for the incandescent light bulb.

    We’re on the same voyage through the crap of the internet while the unwitting cows flock to the next hair growning tonic of tomorrow.

    Unfortunate but necessary for discovery.

  33. I looked at that list and 10 of those are sites I use to some degree or other.

    Will have to mention Posterous yet again. I created an account and made my first post without having ever seen the website, that gave me the thrill you were talking about. Since then I started using it regularly for a purpose I didn’t think I needed yet another microblogging platform for, just for fun.

  34. I looked at that list and 10 of those are sites I use to some degree or other.

    Will have to mention Posterous yet again. I created an account and made my first post without having ever seen the website, that gave me the thrill you were talking about. Since then I started using it regularly for a purpose I didn’t think I needed yet another microblogging platform for, just for fun.

  35. I use Freshbooks, WordPress/Automatic, Flickr and have just started on Twitter. I would say they all do what it says on the box. But is WordPress a start up (still?)

  36. Thanks for including my list of startups! Yep, I’ve used them all and that’s why they where worthy of mention. I, like you, am a “passionate” (I love that term you coined for us early adopters!). I am most impressed with disruptive technologies that make me go wow! And for that distinct honor only 3 top startups win that award: FriendFeed, PicLens and SlideRocket.

    Keep blazing the trail Robert for cool startups! I think you’ve got a great eye for detecting the good from the bad out there… and there are many to choose from.

  37. Thanks for including my list of startups! Yep, I’ve used them all and that’s why they where worthy of mention. I, like you, am a “passionate” (I love that term you coined for us early adopters!). I am most impressed with disruptive technologies that make me go wow! And for that distinct honor only 3 top startups win that award: FriendFeed, PicLens and SlideRocket.

    Keep blazing the trail Robert for cool startups! I think you’ve got a great eye for detecting the good from the bad out there… and there are many to choose from.

  38. Robert,

    I did wonder if they are still startups, but in your list is 37 Signals, Last.fm, and Threadless. I don’t think of them so much as startups anymore so I included them.

    *shrug* this is really a different conversation though…

  39. Robert,

    I did wonder if they are still startups, but in your list is 37 Signals, Last.fm, and Threadless. I don’t think of them so much as startups anymore so I included them.

    *shrug* this is really a different conversation though…

  40. Thanks for the reply Robert. Yeah, i see u mentioned evernote up there. I see you mentioned GetSatisfaction – i’m pretty interested in these guys. It’s interesting how they haven’t started charging yet. I suppose they have got a million plus in funding…you think they’re just trying to get companies on board, hooked & then charge them later?

  41. Thanks for the reply Robert. Yeah, i see u mentioned evernote up there. I see you mentioned GetSatisfaction – i’m pretty interested in these guys. It’s interesting how they haven’t started charging yet. I suppose they have got a million plus in funding…you think they’re just trying to get companies on board, hooked & then charge them later?

  42. What startup bootstrapped and took not a DIME of VC money, branded itself with PR and tradeshows alone, took on Bill & Co. (Outlook), stubbornly refused to leave its LA roots after HUGE success, and then 2 years later, won EOY in the U.S. *nationwide* — all while doubling annual revenue throughout its history?

    GoldMine – the only gold standard for startups.

  43. What startup bootstrapped and took not a DIME of VC money, branded itself with PR and tradeshows alone, took on Bill & Co. (Outlook), stubbornly refused to leave its LA roots after HUGE success, and then 2 years later, won EOY in the U.S. *nationwide* — all while doubling annual revenue throughout its history?

    GoldMine – the only gold standard for startups.

  44. I’m curious: was the Gold Standard always Gold?
    Or did many of these now Gold companies launch to early adopters, make refinements, and then begin to ‘wow’ the broader audience.

    For example, Facebook’s NewsFeed wasn’t an original product feature. And TripIt’s technology continues to get much better.

  45. I’m curious: was the Gold Standard always Gold?
    Or did many of these now Gold companies launch to early adopters, make refinements, and then begin to ‘wow’ the broader audience.

    For example, Facebook’s NewsFeed wasn’t an original product feature. And TripIt’s technology continues to get much better.

  46. Most early adopters use at least a half dozen, maybe more.

    Things that have changed my life: Twitter, Get Satisfaction, Freshbooks, Mint.com, UStream.tv, Moo.
    I use these EVERY DAY. Oh, also Disqus and WordPress, because they are so ubiquitous. Notice that most of the apps I think have changed my life are business tools.

    Stuff like Brightkite is nice but not necessary, like Friendfeed, or Linden Labs.

  47. Most early adopters use at least a half dozen, maybe more.

    Things that have changed my life: Twitter, Get Satisfaction, Freshbooks, Mint.com, UStream.tv, Moo.
    I use these EVERY DAY. Oh, also Disqus and WordPress, because they are so ubiquitous. Notice that most of the apps I think have changed my life are business tools.

    Stuff like Brightkite is nice but not necessary, like Friendfeed, or Linden Labs.

  48. Already mentioned, but Seesmic is one of the most brilliant startups I’ve ever heard of, and definitely in the top three of startups I’ve ever been strongly affiliated with.

    And @Christian and Giannii, Phreadz is way too pretentious and exclusive to even be considered for this “list”.

  49. Already mentioned, but Seesmic is one of the most brilliant startups I’ve ever heard of, and definitely in the top three of startups I’ve ever been strongly affiliated with.

    And @Christian and Giannii, Phreadz is way too pretentious and exclusive to even be considered for this “list”.

  50. Lijit certainly has been setting the ‘Gold Standard’ for fighting the Bloggers Union on what exactly they profit for being on our blogs, and more recently, fighting the movement for blog publishers to have a union that represents them.

    Our Blogs, like our kids, need to be protected as they grow. P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] made a standard inquiry to Lijit concerning how they generate their income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow their Widget on their site for their readers. In addition P.U.B. requested transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistics from Publishers Blogs are being used, with the goal of making sure it’s with the Publisher’s permission
    Since then, bloggers have advised P.U.B. concerning Lijit’s terms of use, and the very real possibility Lijit retains ownership/special use of our content if we as publishers agree to install the Lijit Widget.

    P.U.B.’s job is to protect individual blogger’s data and the critical sanctity of all Publishers private statistics. We at P.U.B. consider the safety of the information any app or widget(s) may be gathering, unbeknownst to the unwitting Publisher who installs them.

    P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] made direct inquires to both Lijit Senior executives and the venture capitalists investing in Lijit concerning: Ownership of content / how Lijit generates income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow the Lijit Widget on their site for their readers. In addition we requested transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistic from Publishers Blogs are being used.

    P.U.B. expected to hear back from Lijit on these financial and private statistics issues from P.U.B.’s first inquiry we sent to Lijit in mid April 2008. It should have been a no brainer, quick answer. Instead, so far all P.U.B. and our fellow Blog Publishes have read is: a public blog response(s) from Lijit advising 1) Lijit has no money, then 2) emails from Lijit’s CEO, Todd Vernon, attacking the Blogger’s union. In fact, Lijit’s current choice for CEO falsely accused the Blog Union’s representatives for writing fictitious emails.

    Beyond Lijit’s attacks on the Blog Publishers Union, any actual answer to PUB’s questions about the use of Publisher’s stats, or revenue as it applies to Lijit? Nada. Nothing.

    Instead of coming clean on how Lijit makes money from individual Publishers and what percentage the Publisher gets, Lijit instead has opted to fight the very right of Blog Publishers to have a Union representing them.

    P.U.B.’s job is to fight for Publishers asking hard questions and demanding answers. If all Widget companies respond as Lijit’s done up to this point, P.U.B. has a big workload for our Publishers, and your membership and support helps us all as Publishers, thanks.

    If P.U.B. or our Blog Publisher membership ever get a straight answer on topic from Lijit, not smoke and mirrors, we will let great Blog Publishers like you know their exact revenue/statistics use/sharing deal. Currently we are working with Blog Publishers tracking performance hit evaluations of Lijit installations, and of course the critical issue of actual ownership of content pulled by Lijit from our blogs.

    Will publish these results to keep the community of Blog Publishers informed on this critical component of Widgets on our Blogs.

    Nothing would please the Blog Publisher’s Union more than to close the book on Lijit and move on to other pressing issues for our Publishers. The ball, as always, remains in Lijit’s court to become transparent to publishers.

    Sincerely,
    Barney Moran
    Founder, P.U.B.

  51. Lijit certainly has been setting the ‘Gold Standard’ for fighting the Bloggers Union on what exactly they profit for being on our blogs, and more recently, fighting the movement for blog publishers to have a union that represents them.

    Our Blogs, like our kids, need to be protected as they grow. P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] made a standard inquiry to Lijit concerning how they generate their income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow their Widget on their site for their readers. In addition P.U.B. requested transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistics from Publishers Blogs are being used, with the goal of making sure it’s with the Publisher’s permission
    Since then, bloggers have advised P.U.B. concerning Lijit’s terms of use, and the very real possibility Lijit retains ownership/special use of our content if we as publishers agree to install the Lijit Widget.

    P.U.B.’s job is to protect individual blogger’s data and the critical sanctity of all Publishers private statistics. We at P.U.B. consider the safety of the information any app or widget(s) may be gathering, unbeknownst to the unwitting Publisher who installs them.

    P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] made direct inquires to both Lijit Senior executives and the venture capitalists investing in Lijit concerning: Ownership of content / how Lijit generates income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow the Lijit Widget on their site for their readers. In addition we requested transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistic from Publishers Blogs are being used.

    P.U.B. expected to hear back from Lijit on these financial and private statistics issues from P.U.B.’s first inquiry we sent to Lijit in mid April 2008. It should have been a no brainer, quick answer. Instead, so far all P.U.B. and our fellow Blog Publishes have read is: a public blog response(s) from Lijit advising 1) Lijit has no money, then 2) emails from Lijit’s CEO, Todd Vernon, attacking the Blogger’s union. In fact, Lijit’s current choice for CEO falsely accused the Blog Union’s representatives for writing fictitious emails.

    Beyond Lijit’s attacks on the Blog Publishers Union, any actual answer to PUB’s questions about the use of Publisher’s stats, or revenue as it applies to Lijit? Nada. Nothing.

    Instead of coming clean on how Lijit makes money from individual Publishers and what percentage the Publisher gets, Lijit instead has opted to fight the very right of Blog Publishers to have a Union representing them.

    P.U.B.’s job is to fight for Publishers asking hard questions and demanding answers. If all Widget companies respond as Lijit’s done up to this point, P.U.B. has a big workload for our Publishers, and your membership and support helps us all as Publishers, thanks.

    If P.U.B. or our Blog Publisher membership ever get a straight answer on topic from Lijit, not smoke and mirrors, we will let great Blog Publishers like you know their exact revenue/statistics use/sharing deal. Currently we are working with Blog Publishers tracking performance hit evaluations of Lijit installations, and of course the critical issue of actual ownership of content pulled by Lijit from our blogs.

    Will publish these results to keep the community of Blog Publishers informed on this critical component of Widgets on our Blogs.

    Nothing would please the Blog Publisher’s Union more than to close the book on Lijit and move on to other pressing issues for our Publishers. The ball, as always, remains in Lijit’s court to become transparent to publishers.

    Sincerely,
    Barney Moran
    Founder, P.U.B.

  52. Robert

    Understood well all your points – you are a realist and your points are valid from that perspective.

    All this being said – in what general field is there a pain that needs solving? or better put, If with your knowledge and experience, you were to found a startup – what would be the idea/topic/direction.

    Neyma

  53. Robert

    Understood well all your points – you are a realist and your points are valid from that perspective.

    All this being said – in what general field is there a pain that needs solving? or better put, If with your knowledge and experience, you were to found a startup – what would be the idea/topic/direction.

    Neyma

  54. twitter, facebook, kiva, linkedin take normal human needs e.g. communication, wish to give, and make a difference by the addition of interactivity and immediacy. Skype for families spread across the globe is overlooked like the telephone, because it is ‘just’ a utility – without which we could not function as we do. What do I actually use besides these? Getdropbox.com – synchs fast across platforms – I share work files, and also with family – photo scans. Mozy for online backup. Meebo so messaging problems are confined to browser. Tiddlywiki – by far the most practical way of keep ing notes on my own environment and activities, plus it can link to my files (won’t save in Safari, so worried about Chrome). Open source GTD organiser from http://www.thinkingrock.com.au. Joomla for building new sites (drupal too but I prefer Joomla). I’ve signed up to a ton of services – but what I really use has to be practical – it provides a service I really can use, it has to be reliable because it should become something I rely on, it has to appeal to others – because economic viability is related to longevity and I’m not going to set up something temporary, it needs to be open interfaced – I will not double key information, and I want to be free to leave and it needs to look like someone considered design issues (even if I DO use youtube).
    I use Stumbleupon instead of Yahoo web2 because it’s fast and somehow better designed. I would use Pandora still if it worked in my Country. Zoho CRM still has info for me, but I stopped using it because it doesn’t synchronise with iCal/Google. I used to use Yahoo Contacts because it was there first, but it was late synchronising with iCal, and I still have concerns about 2 way synch. This synchronisation business is really underestimated for small businesses. Capture info once only and then share is a core principle I look for behind every system I adopt. I make exceptions, but there has to be an even more compelling reason to get me in.

    And Thanks for these reviews. I’m sorry you seem to be getting flack over this. In my book, making a call, making an assessment is what your accumulated expertise is for. Any hack can draw up a list. The value add comes in the interpretation. Your specific value add lies in the enormous range of presentations and information that you are directly and personally exposed to. This develops the ability to make a quick assessment without pages of analysis – it’s called experience. It’s what we follow you for.

  55. twitter, facebook, kiva, linkedin take normal human needs e.g. communication, wish to give, and make a difference by the addition of interactivity and immediacy. Skype for families spread across the globe is overlooked like the telephone, because it is ‘just’ a utility – without which we could not function as we do. What do I actually use besides these? Getdropbox.com – synchs fast across platforms – I share work files, and also with family – photo scans. Mozy for online backup. Meebo so messaging problems are confined to browser. Tiddlywiki – by far the most practical way of keep ing notes on my own environment and activities, plus it can link to my files (won’t save in Safari, so worried about Chrome). Open source GTD organiser from http://www.thinkingrock.com.au. Joomla for building new sites (drupal too but I prefer Joomla). I’ve signed up to a ton of services – but what I really use has to be practical – it provides a service I really can use, it has to be reliable because it should become something I rely on, it has to appeal to others – because economic viability is related to longevity and I’m not going to set up something temporary, it needs to be open interfaced – I will not double key information, and I want to be free to leave and it needs to look like someone considered design issues (even if I DO use youtube).
    I use Stumbleupon instead of Yahoo web2 because it’s fast and somehow better designed. I would use Pandora still if it worked in my Country. Zoho CRM still has info for me, but I stopped using it because it doesn’t synchronise with iCal/Google. I used to use Yahoo Contacts because it was there first, but it was late synchronising with iCal, and I still have concerns about 2 way synch. This synchronisation business is really underestimated for small businesses. Capture info once only and then share is a core principle I look for behind every system I adopt. I make exceptions, but there has to be an even more compelling reason to get me in.

    And Thanks for these reviews. I’m sorry you seem to be getting flack over this. In my book, making a call, making an assessment is what your accumulated expertise is for. Any hack can draw up a list. The value add comes in the interpretation. Your specific value add lies in the enormous range of presentations and information that you are directly and personally exposed to. This develops the ability to make a quick assessment without pages of analysis – it’s called experience. It’s what we follow you for.

  56. Thank goodness for someone finally standing up and raising a challenge to these startups! It seems I hear of another startup every day that thinks it deserves a place in the world.

    Also, thanks for the listing, but it’s @thetylerhayes ;)

  57. Thank goodness for someone finally standing up and raising a challenge to these startups! It seems I hear of another startup every day that thinks it deserves a place in the world.

    Also, thanks for the listing, but it’s @thetylerhayes ;)

  58. One more vote from me for http://phreadz.com – as for Rayanne’s comments, it currently runs on one server so it’s not a case of just opening it up, but hopefully that will change soon once a wise angel discovers it.

    All you have to do at the moment is email for an invite and you’ll no doubt be given one, there just has to be some control at the moment. And no, I don’t work for phreadz!!!

  59. One more vote from me for http://phreadz.com – as for Rayanne’s comments, it currently runs on one server so it’s not a case of just opening it up, but hopefully that will change soon once a wise angel discovers it.

    All you have to do at the moment is email for an invite and you’ll no doubt be given one, there just has to be some control at the moment. And no, I don’t work for phreadz!!!

  60. @Rayanne – Thanks for the comment about Phreadz.

    It’s in a closed Beta stage with no funding. :)

    Also, I can see you have an account, but have yet to log in.

    Come on in. The water’s fine! :)

  61. @Rayanne – Thanks for the comment about Phreadz.

    It’s in a closed Beta stage with no funding. :)

    Also, I can see you have an account, but have yet to log in.

    Come on in. The water’s fine! :)

  62. I’ve tried 15 of those on your list. I like sliderocket. I think blist might be useful once I need to share the admin on tracking orders; WordPress is a godsend; Writeboard and TaDaList from 37Signals are my organizers (and they top the list for always working without a hitch); GetSatisfaction was useful for contacting Blogger/Google staff behind the scenes after someone hijacked one of my old and supposedly extinct Blogger sites; Twitter is usesful for learning how to say it all in 140 characters, and I get to hear of things there.

    But where is Pownce? I like Pownce.

    Plurk? I don’t like the bone sticking out of the dog, but the site is fast.

    But if they were all in danger of falling into the sea, I would grab WordPress.

  63. I’ve tried 15 of those on your list. I like sliderocket. I think blist might be useful once I need to share the admin on tracking orders; WordPress is a godsend; Writeboard and TaDaList from 37Signals are my organizers (and they top the list for always working without a hitch); GetSatisfaction was useful for contacting Blogger/Google staff behind the scenes after someone hijacked one of my old and supposedly extinct Blogger sites; Twitter is usesful for learning how to say it all in 140 characters, and I get to hear of things there.

    But where is Pownce? I like Pownce.

    Plurk? I don’t like the bone sticking out of the dog, but the site is fast.

    But if they were all in danger of falling into the sea, I would grab WordPress.

  64. I absolutely love Zappos – startups can learn a lot by watching them. Since they’re closing in on $1 Billion in revenue, I’d say they’ve “crossed the chasm” from startup to the mainstream.

    Another startup I like is SlideShare.

  65. I absolutely love Zappos – startups can learn a lot by watching them. Since they’re closing in on $1 Billion in revenue, I’d say they’ve “crossed the chasm” from startup to the mainstream.

    Another startup I like is SlideShare.

  66. Good for you Scoble – I think you should be harsh on startups. I often think there are way too many startups and it’s created yet another big bubble. We need to be more grounded in silicon valley in what we are putting our energy towards.

    In the end – I think Micah Baldwin (5th comment??) had it right – hub dub is useless once it’s faded. Startups don’t need to be anointed by you, Arrington or anybody to succeed (although I’m sure that won’t hurt). What they need is to provide a new service or provide an old service in a MUCH better form.

  67. Good for you Scoble – I think you should be harsh on startups. I often think there are way too many startups and it’s created yet another big bubble. We need to be more grounded in silicon valley in what we are putting our energy towards.

    In the end – I think Micah Baldwin (5th comment??) had it right – hub dub is useless once it’s faded. Startups don’t need to be anointed by you, Arrington or anybody to succeed (although I’m sure that won’t hurt). What they need is to provide a new service or provide an old service in a MUCH better form.

  68. Robert,

    I absolutely agree with your recent stance on startups. I think we’re all stuck in the echo-chamber, and many startups and young entrepreneurs are getting caught up in the hype. The question is: is it a matter of crossing the chasm, or escaping the echo chamber? In Moore’s crossing the chasm, he suggests that technology companies need to figure out how to cross the chasm between early adopters and mass markets. We have to remember that early adopters are a teeny tiny portion of the population. We have to remember also that out of the teeny tiny population, there may be precious few who are at all representative of your mass market. We also have to remember that most of these companies aren’t technology companies at all, they are simply building products using technology. In fact, in most cases, the more you position yourself as a tech company, the more you alienate yourself from most mass markets. It’s like saying Toyota is a steel company. No, their cars are made of steel, but they are a car company. So, I’d like to posit that rather than starting with early adopters (ie: those within the echo chamber) – these companies need to do everything, from the napkin phase, to product development, to their marketing strategies for their market. This means escaping the echo chamber and getting to the bottom of what’s really important for the people who will ultimately make their companies successful.

    I touched on this recently in this post: http://blog.heavybagmedia.com/2008/08/26/caught-in-the-echo-chamber-insights-into-the-marketability-of-technology-companies/

    And I plan on continuing to post on the matter, collect research and hopefully provide some useful information to help young companies succeed.

  69. Robert,

    I absolutely agree with your recent stance on startups. I think we’re all stuck in the echo-chamber, and many startups and young entrepreneurs are getting caught up in the hype. The question is: is it a matter of crossing the chasm, or escaping the echo chamber? In Moore’s crossing the chasm, he suggests that technology companies need to figure out how to cross the chasm between early adopters and mass markets. We have to remember that early adopters are a teeny tiny portion of the population. We have to remember also that out of the teeny tiny population, there may be precious few who are at all representative of your mass market. We also have to remember that most of these companies aren’t technology companies at all, they are simply building products using technology. In fact, in most cases, the more you position yourself as a tech company, the more you alienate yourself from most mass markets. It’s like saying Toyota is a steel company. No, their cars are made of steel, but they are a car company. So, I’d like to posit that rather than starting with early adopters (ie: those within the echo chamber) – these companies need to do everything, from the napkin phase, to product development, to their marketing strategies for their market. This means escaping the echo chamber and getting to the bottom of what’s really important for the people who will ultimately make their companies successful.

    I touched on this recently in this post: http://blog.heavybagmedia.com/2008/08/26/caught-in-the-echo-chamber-insights-into-the-marketability-of-technology-companies/

    And I plan on continuing to post on the matter, collect research and hopefully provide some useful information to help young companies succeed.

  70. I have two where both are in closed beta – but with funding, I am confident that both will change the way we interact with people.

    Definitely http://phreadz.com should be on the list. Once funded and open, it will raise the bar on multimedia conversations. And, it’s got a business model built in from the beginning that does not rely on advertising for revenue.

    The second is in stealth mode, but I’ve seen the preview and find that it is one of the most innovative start ups I’ve come across. http://www.akoha.org turns having fun into a way to make the world a kinder, gentler place. Look for more from Akoha in the next 30 days.

  71. I have two where both are in closed beta – but with funding, I am confident that both will change the way we interact with people.

    Definitely http://phreadz.com should be on the list. Once funded and open, it will raise the bar on multimedia conversations. And, it’s got a business model built in from the beginning that does not rely on advertising for revenue.

    The second is in stealth mode, but I’ve seen the preview and find that it is one of the most innovative start ups I’ve come across. http://www.akoha.org turns having fun into a way to make the world a kinder, gentler place. Look for more from Akoha in the next 30 days.

  72. The gold standard for me is pure commitment to generative positive interactions for all involved (users, employees, and investors). Missing any one of these three doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad company but it does mean that it’s not at the apex that all startups should be striving for.

    With regards to the desire to encourage startups: I focus on finding a happy medium between the two, which I believe looks something like this:

    - be (sincerely) happy for entrepreneurs chasing their dream, that’s a big step in a good direction whether the idea is amazing or horrible. You can always congratulate someone (publicly or privately) for taking this step. If the company itself is mediocre (no glaring defects or positives), then take no other action.

    - be publicly vocal about people doing amazing things. For example, I recommend and use Gary Vaynerchuk’s various projects (WLTV, Book, PD.me) because I know all of them are going to focus wit incredible passion on delivering value to the community.

    - be privately critical with entrepreneurs doing the wrong things. Whether it’s a bad idea, missing feature, ugly site, or other issue — you should let the person know, and give them a chance to fix it. There is almost nothing gained by making these interactions public.

  73. The gold standard for me is pure commitment to generative positive interactions for all involved (users, employees, and investors). Missing any one of these three doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad company but it does mean that it’s not at the apex that all startups should be striving for.

    With regards to the desire to encourage startups: I focus on finding a happy medium between the two, which I believe looks something like this:

    - be (sincerely) happy for entrepreneurs chasing their dream, that’s a big step in a good direction whether the idea is amazing or horrible. You can always congratulate someone (publicly or privately) for taking this step. If the company itself is mediocre (no glaring defects or positives), then take no other action.

    - be publicly vocal about people doing amazing things. For example, I recommend and use Gary Vaynerchuk’s various projects (WLTV, Book, PD.me) because I know all of them are going to focus wit incredible passion on delivering value to the community.

    - be privately critical with entrepreneurs doing the wrong things. Whether it’s a bad idea, missing feature, ugly site, or other issue — you should let the person know, and give them a chance to fix it. There is almost nothing gained by making these interactions public.

  74. I had been originally using pandora, recently tried imeem and was thoroughly impressed. Great content, great flexibility, somewhat intriguing social networking opportunities even though that not necessarily my thing.

    Glad you’re going to be harsh on start ups. I think we forget that even twitter is not that mainstream even in the silicon valley. The average non tech geek does not twitter, and the average engineer at say oracle, does not twitter either…

  75. I had been originally using pandora, recently tried imeem and was thoroughly impressed. Great content, great flexibility, somewhat intriguing social networking opportunities even though that not necessarily my thing.

    Glad you’re going to be harsh on start ups. I think we forget that even twitter is not that mainstream even in the silicon valley. The average non tech geek does not twitter, and the average engineer at say oracle, does not twitter either…