Monday, September 28, 2009

What Twitter has meant for FourSquare, and what I think Twitter should learn from Four$quare

That FourSquare has benefited tremendously from Twitter is obvious. I can’t sign into my twitter account without finding out so-and-so got some badge or became the mayor of some place. In fact, I first learned of FourSquare thanks to Twitter and to seeing these announcements, and I would be willing to bet that a huge majority of FourSquare’s current users also found out about FourSquare thanks to Twitter.

Sites like Twitter and Facebook are fantastic word of mouth conduits. Whereas FourSquare once would have had to grow by asking users to email their friends and sign up, Twitter provides a means of having friends do the equivalent of passively inviting their friends over and over again. Repeatedly. Consistently. FourSquare's effective leveraging of Twitter is part of its brilliance.

It reminds me of a famous Mary Meeker chart which I can’t find on Google so I’m recreating here:

Thanks to the Twitter and Facebooks of the world, web apps will be able to grow even faster than they once were. The growth of web apps in general will become increasingly dynamic – both in terms of picking up early momentum and growing much faster than previously, but also fizzling out (like oh so many facebook applications). While I don’t think there will be a higher frequency of 50m-user applications, I believe there will be a higher frequency of 1m-user apps than ever before.

But the natural evolution of this is that Twitter will be increasingly abused by new web apps hoping to leverage Twitter’s effortless word-of-mouth. There is no mechanism in Twitter that I know of to limit what I’ll call web app Twitter “spitter”, and so there is no reason for web app companies not to push their app-specific messages to Twitter. And while conceivably there should be a natural mechanism of Tweeters not wanting to annoy their followers by allowing too much “spitter”, that mechanism is just not that efficient. I’m willing to put up with my friends’ spitter in much the same way that you put up with a friend’s occasional bad jokes or body sounds. But that’s not to say that spitter doesn’t degrade my experience on Twitter. As more applications look to FourSquare as an example of how to leverage Twitter, Twitter is going to increasingly become a jungle of 3rd party tweets.

That’s why I wonder how Twitter, with all its open API principles, will manage this inevitability. The one idea I have is for Twitter to actually charge applications a small amount for each “push” to Twitter, much like an email marketing company charges per email delivery. This will force developers to limit their use of Twitter, and therefore create a better Twitter user experience.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Installed applications are going away in five years"?

Recently, I got into a heated argument with someone at a cloud computing-related meeting where a person I was speaking to swore up and down that within five years people would no longer install applications besides their browser.

I swore up and down that that’s not happening any time soon in mainstream USA.

I may feel like a dummy in five years, but I have to say, I recently received a new PC and I’m amazed by how many applications I’ve installed so far (not including what was pre-installed on my computer -- thank you HP bloatware!).

My list so far (day #2 of computer):
  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Bunch of browser plug ins (Java, etc)
  3. Canon Utilities (actually five installs for this)
  4. Citrix Metaframe
  5. Dropbox
  6. Evernote
  7. Firefox
  8. Google Chrome
  9. IE (not by choice)
  10. iTunes
  11. Microsoft Office
  12. Mozy
  13. Norton Antivirus (came for free w/ my PC, otherwise I would have installed AVG)
  14. Picasa
  15. Skype
  16. TweetDeck
So what do you think? Are installed apps going away within five years?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My "ista" take on Larry Cheng's VC Blog Ranking

Larry Cheng updated his popular VC Blog Ranking and included some fun analysis, particularly on how Fred Wilson continues to lead the VC blogging show. If you haven't already, take a look.

Because I initially started my blog with the intention of blogging from the perspective of a female, junior professional (hence the “ista” in Adventurista), I’ve created two sub-sets of Larry’s: 1) Junior (i.e. non-dealmaker) professionals and 2) females.

#dos is pretty straight forward, but I might need some user generated editing for #uno. My rule of thumb was that if a person didn’t have the words “Partner” or “Managing” in their LinkedIn or website bio, I included them in my junior professional list. I'll admit some are on this list by a hair, but they make the rest of us look good!

Junior Professionals (woot woot!)
1. Christine Herron, First Round Capital, (354)
2. Philippe Botteri, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cracking the Code (263)
3. Andrew Parker, Union Square Ventures, The Gong Show (257)
4. Mark Peter Davis, DFJ Gotham Ventures, Venture Made Transparent (237)
5. Rob Finn, Edison Venture, Ventureblogalist (236)
6. Sagi Rubin, Virgin Green Fund, The Grass is Greener (182)
7. Sarah Tavel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Adventurista (156)
8. Rob Go, Spark Capital, Rob Go Blog (148)
9. Matt Winn, Chrysalis Ventures, Punctuative! (148)
10. Kent Goldman, First Round Capital, The Cornice (144)
11. Rachel Strate, EPIC Ventures, Wasatch Girl (129)
12. Mo Koyfman, Spark Capital, Mo Koyfman (127)
13. Lee Hower, Point Judith Capital, Venturesome (118)
14. David Dufresne, Desjardins Venture Capital, Dav-Generated Content (101)
15. Jon Seeber, Updata Partners, Jon’s Ventures (96)
16. Josh Sookman, RBC Ventures, Ubiquitous Startups and the VC (6)
17. Vishy Venugopalan, Longworth Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners Blog (2)

The Ladies (oh yeah!)
1. Christine Herron, First Round Capital, (354) (again!)
2. Sarah Tavel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Adventurista (156)
3. Rachel Strate, EPIC Ventures, Wasatch Girl (129)

I have to say I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of the people on this list and it's a great one (and a shout out to my BVP colleague, Philippe Botteri. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Philippe for almost three years and let me tell you: if you work in a SaaS company, if your business has any recurring revenue, heck, if the letter “a” or “s” appears in your name or the name of your company, you should be following his blog). Hope to meet the rest of you soon!

Anyone I'm missing?