The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.

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Russia has gone from a poor country to an increasingly wealthy one. Why? Oil prices. Now that oil is sitting around $100 a barrel Russia is sitting on a gold mine. Er, oil wells. And the cash is pouring in. One problem? They need to diversify and increase the number of companies that don’t have anything to do with energy. So, they are starting up a bunch of Venture Capital efforts.

I get the skinny on all this with Yuri Ammosov, a senior policy officer of the Russian Government in charge of venture capital and high tech development programs, talks with me about how Russia is flush with cash thanks to the rising energy prices (they are one of the world’s leading oil producers) and are working with Silicon Valley venture capital firms to diversify its economy. We talk about some of the smart people and smart companies that are popping up in Russia and tons of other stuff too.

I like his honesty. He told me that being an entrepreneur in Russia today is like being an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley in the 1960s (when Silicon Valley was still largely a farm town).

Why Russian technologists aren't cool

Yuri Ammosov, who lives in Moscow, Russia, and works in the Russian Ministry of Economics demonstrates why Russians aren’t cool.

1. He isn’t using an iPhone.
2. He isn’t using Facebook.
3. He’s reading blogs.
4. He’s running Russian RSS-reading software.
5. He reads Engadget, B5 Media, and TechCrunch.
6. He’s running Windows Mobile.

So yesterday. So uncool.

Just kidding.

Seriously, I spent a while with Yuri today and you should watch out for him and his band of Russian entrepreneurs. They are doing very cool things and I was jealous of the feed reader and the new interface he showed me on his Windows Mobile smart phone.

Now do you understand why Google announced Open Social and Android? I sure do.

There’s a lot of Russians who are going to buy cell phones and join a social network in the next 18 months. What will THEY be running? Will they think YOU are uncool for what YOU are running?

Longer interview coming soon on

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