Posts Tagged ‘Sarah’

Blue Gecko is an 11 Year Old Remote Database Administration Startup (Video)

April 3rd, 2012 04:49 admin View Comments


A company that has been going since 2001 is not exactly a startup, but Blue Gecko co-founder Sarah Novotny says that maintaining a startup mindset has helped her company keep going this long, with no end in sight. If you are thinking about starting an IT business (either now or in the future), especially one you hope will have remote clients and possibly a far-flung workforce, you should listen carefully to what Sarah has to say.

Source: Blue Gecko is an 11 Year Old Remote Database Administration Startup (Video)

Don’t Call It A PivotPlz: PicPlz Spun Off As Mixed Media Labs Prepares Their Next Product

July 8th, 2011 07:06 admin View Comments

When Mixed Media Labs raised a $5 million round last November, it raised quite a few eyebrows. After all, the money came from Andreessen Horowitz, the VC firm which had backed Instagram. To be fair, they backed Instagram when it was still known as Burbn — before it became what is now a massively popular mobile photo-sharing app. Still, there’s no question that Mixed Media Labs’ PicPlz product was a direct competitor. And Andreessen Horowitz sided with them, while Instagram found other investors.

But as Sarah noted at the time, Andreessen’s bet wasn’t so much against Instagram, as it was a bet on Mixed Media Lab founder Dalton Caldwell. Caldwell, who had previously founded imeem, was said to have a broad vision for a company beyond photo-sharing. PicPlz was just the first product to leverage what they were creating. And while it has achieved moderate success, it has not seen the success Instagram has in terms of users. And now Mixed Media Labs has moved on to their next product, we’ve learned.

Specifically, PicPlz has been spun off as a separate company that will be run by Ali Aydar, a former executive at Napster, imeem, and yes, Mixed Media Labs. We had been hearing for weeks that PicPlz was being shopped around for potential cash deals as Mixed Media Labs sought to focus on what’s next. But ultimately, they decided to simply spin off PicPlz as a separate company while maintaining some ownership.

Reached for comment, Caldwell confirmed the PicPlz spin-off, but declined to discuss the deal further beyond expressing his excitement about what his team is working on next.

So what is Mixed Media Labs working on next? All we know for sure is that it’s inline with the initial goal of a broad idea in the app space. Specifically, we’ve also heard that there will be a strong focus on a business model from day one, unlike PicPlz.

Meanwhile, PicPlz will live on as a service, but Caldwell and the rest of the Mixed Media Labs team will not be involved any more.

The move away from PicPlz comes at an interesting time in the mobile photo sharing space. While Instagram continues to gain users rapidly, other players like Path and Color have been preparing other products as well. Path recently launched their first “joint” — hipster/Dr. Dre lingo for “side project” — With. Color Labs, meanwhile, is said to be preparing an entirely new app after Color failed to catch on in the way they had hoped.

Source: Don’t Call It A PivotPlz: PicPlz Spun Off As Mixed Media Labs Prepares Their Next Product

Sunlight Foundation Announces ‘Sarah’s Inbox’

June 16th, 2011 06:28 admin View Comments


Eponymous Hero writes “In a sequel to, the publicly released emails of Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, Sunlight Foundation has unveiled to offer you easy access and search to Sarah Palin’s recently released emails. If that doesn’t flip your bits, have a gander at some of the tools Sunlight Foundation offers relating to government watchdogging, like Poligraft, or Inbox Influencer.”

Source: Sunlight Foundation Announces ‘Sarah’s Inbox’

David Hornik: Why Real Entrepreneurs Aren’t in it for the Money (TCTV)

June 4th, 2011 06:46 admin View Comments

We haven’t done Ask a VC for a while thanks to my hectic travel schedule, so I pulled David Hornik out of the hallway at D to catch up on his thoughts on his portfolio and the industry.

But first, we chat about the highlights from the All Things Digital conference. Or we started with that and then talked about how the motivation for starting companies is changing in Silicon Valley, given the soaring valuations and ease of raising money.

And Hornik explains why he’s not a fan of Peter Thiel’s 20 Under 20 Program, although he admits he still hasn’t paid off his own law school education.

Hi, this is Sarah Lacey with TechCrunch TV down here at sunny Southern California at All Things D with David Hornik.


Hello, David is bailing me out because I’ve been doing too many hallway conversations, that are off the record, with people who won’t be dragged on camera, and you are always willing to be dragged on camera.

I enjoy, I enjoy talking with you Sarah, on camera, off camera.

Not at the lobby this year, unfortunately.

Well that’s, I was going to say, that has nothing to do with me. There are two things that interrupt people from coming to the lobby: weddings, babies.

Yeah, that’s about it. So, hopefully I’ll have neither of those next year.

Good. Next year.

So, you know, we ‘ve met at the lobby which is sort of an homage to the fact the you are always in the lobbies of conferences gossiping and rarely in the session.

It’s never gossiping, it’s about industry conversation, doing business.

So, I want to ask you, a little bit, about the step that you’ve seen on stage So far but then also about you know all this super secret conversation you are having. You have been in the sessions anymore?

I have. You I find myself sitting and listening to what’s being said. It’s exciting.

So tell me, what you thought about, I mean I know there was Eric Smith last night, Dick Costello spoke today Jack Dorsey, what were some of the things that jumped out at you about these guys?

I’ll tell you, as an investor, right, you spend all your time meeting with the entrepreneurs and the interesting thing is right, you think that entrepreneurship is about, people who want you to think that the entrepreneurship is about getting rich,.

Oh yeah.

Entrepreneurship if successful then everybody gets rich, and its turn out that is true That’s a beautiful byproduct of entrepreneurship but the people that you wanna work with that’s it is not, they are not motivated, that is not their motivation, right?


So, if you listen to Jack Dorsey just now or Dick Costello or Reed Hastings all today. Talking about their businesses and how they’re thinking about them. What they’re building whatever. Its about I mean Jack was explicit. It was like, I’m trying to make people’s lives better here. Now Kara Swisher called him on it and said, “Is this a movement or is it business?” But I don’t think that’s a dichotomy, I think that ultimately.

Well and she had to ask him that three of four times and it was clear that the question wasn’t even translating with him I mean. There are certain people who sound phony when they talk about that, and there are certain people who just sound really genuine and I think actually Andrew Mason was the same way.

One thing that jumped out at me about both Andrew Mason and Jack Dorsey is, you know, we are in this point of the cycle in Silicon Valley where it’s so easy to start a company that most people would say there’s a lot of people starting companies who probably shouldn’t be entrepreneurs. And seeing both of them on stage talking about building their business, to me, it is so emblematic of that is that thing you see in an entrepreneur when you know they are the guy who should be starting.

Yeah, I mean, its interesting, we saw this in the late 90′s, when it looked like there is a lot of money at the end of ring. And people, you know, oh I have to got stop doing whatever I am doing. You know even with this business with Peter Teo and trying to convince students to stop going to college.

No, I think it’s insanity.. I think its terrible advice.

You think he is like an awful person for doing it then or some people are.

No, I don’t think he is evil, I just think it’s dumb! Like if I were the mother of one of these students, I’d say, “Real like, really this is it?”

It’s two years.

So fun you know,what, spend, make a hundred thousand dollars, quitting school for two years or I mean, here’s a thing. This is what, but it can this is a bit like we’re like talking about with start ups.


If you think that going to college is about increasing your earning potential? Then, you know, then fine. Go stop doing it ’cause maybe it’s not increasing your earning potential. But when I talk to my children, I don’t say, “Hey, can’t wait for you to go to college so you can increase your earning potential”.

Right? My oldest son intends to be an art history major . I am fairly certain that no number of years as in our history major will repay his college education self, so that can be it, right? So On the other hand, I would not have them do anything else. Like why would you?

Your children are also not going into half a million dollars personal debt Ok. Maybe. That is the crucial difference.

But to be fair like I’m still paying off law school debt.

Are you?

Yeah I am, maybe I should pay it off.

You’re a venture capitalist.

I should probably pay it off. I should probably pay it off. Yeah every month it subtracts. I look at my bank account statement, it has you know Sallie Mae or whatever.

And how’s that law firm going?

Yeah well yeah, I have been a VC now for eleven years, so. But I am still, you know, I am still an inactive member of the bar, because you just never know. I might need to represent you.


So, when that day comes, I will reengage. So, anyway. Okay fine. I think that’s fair, but it’s not about, you know, so what, it’s not about earning potential. It’s about the people that you engage with, and meet, and the conversations you have and the opportunities and all that. So anyway if you look at company building today, I think people should be building companies because they cannot think of anything else they want to do.

like what, you know, that’s when you should start a company.

And I think a lot of people are starting companies because, why wouldn’t they? Because it’s so cheap and easy to get capital. Capitalization is so low. I mean it’s different things driving it than in ’99. You know I am not a big fan of saying, this is just like ’99, because it’s not at all.

Yeah, it’s not, it’s not at all.

But you are seeing this phenomenon, where there is a set of circumstances, where if you’re a kid who has a halfway decent idea and you’re coming out of school, there’s not a downside to starting a company. I mean, I think it’s more that has just been taken away than it is…

Yeah, no, I think it’s right! I mean the reality is that’s also true, if you don’t mind, if you can afford to live, right?


The thing that I don’t get is this, so like, hurry up you gotta get out because time is of the essence.


Well, look, by the time our kids get old, they’ll be living to a hundred or something. So, if they miss two years, it’s two percent. It’s two percent of their lives! It’s fine.

Well, if you listened to the data that Ron Conway talked about at Disrupt, those are their best two years.

Yeah, come on!

Do you buy that? That to be an entrepreneur…


No, I mean I buy that there areGreat entrepreneurs but what.

You know them by the athlete thing?

Well, they don’t need as much sleep. I feel I need more sleep. Then I used to not sleep at all, now I actually occasionally I have to sleep, so I do, I recognize that, but I don’t know you know, work smart [xx]. The reality is that there have been very interesting important businesses built by very young people.

And they have been very interesting you know its like Henry Betmason is not nineteen. Ab Williams and Jack Dorsey and Mark. They are not nineteen. He is an old man. Like he is the shekel onio of you know. He announced just today on twitter that he is retiring. I find news on twitter. See look at that.

[xx] the real [xx]

But he has a giant superman bed. You can’t really feel that sorry for him.

He has a [xx] [xx] [xx].

Why wouldn’t it be?

Do you want of those?

Yes [xx]. Oh, go.

I think something that’s a dormant account.

In Palorato, Hornica poco is like a deck, the size of the postage stamp. But please, enjoy yourselves.

Once again, you’re a venture capitalist, you shouldn’t be withdrawing. You should be paying off law bills, you should be Look, you know what, I don’t wanna be frivolous.

Source: David Hornik: Why Real Entrepreneurs Aren’t in it for the Money (TCTV)

Breakfast with Butcher in Berlin – Come meet TechCrunch Europe

May 30th, 2011 05:57 admin View Comments

Ever since my first TechCrunch meetup in Berlin in 2008 and 2009 I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on this city as I travelled around Europe covering startups and explaining the scene to anyone who would listen. But since then it’s quite clear that a couple of things have happened. The whole European scene has improved massively. There are now startup events, activity and fundraising across Europe in an ongoing manner. Sure, it’s not Silicon Valley (I’m sorry, but who cares?) – in fact we should really be comparing ourselves to our own progress, not to other places. And the news is good. The ‘Valley Virus’ has spread, and Europe is now starting to boast some amazing startups.

But something else has happened too: big clusters. And the two biggest clusters right now are London (which we are pretty adept at covering) and Berlin. Yes, Paris remains significant, but it’s a close third behind those cities (hey, shoot me, it’s just my opinion). So to that end – and I’m glad Paul and Sarah agree with me – I plan to increase coverage of the Berlin/German startup scene.

I’ll be doing a couple of things to do that. I’ll be visiting more frequently (so if anyone has a spare apartment lying around let me know!) I’m also currently trying to convince Berlin Partners to bring us over more frequently than AOL’s expenses account will allow…

But to kick things off slowly I’m holding two breakfasts. This Wednesday and Thursday (1st and 2nd June) from 8am to 10am at St Oberholz, I’d love to meet anyone who wants to come and swap business cards over coffee. If you can’t make those then fear not – we have other plans…

After that I’ll try to divide my time between the two cities (in between the rest of Europe, of course) for the next few months, to get under the skin of what is going on here.

See to you there.

Source: Breakfast with Butcher in Berlin – Come meet TechCrunch Europe

Google Builds Biometric Models of Celebrity Faces

May 19th, 2011 05:46 admin View Comments


theodp writes “Want the latest pics of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Sarah and Bristol Palin? Prince Harry? Britney Spears? So do the Enquiring minds at Google! On Thursday, the USPTO published Google’s patent application for Automatically Mining Person Models of Celebrities for Visual Search Applications, in which the search giant describes how it used spectral analysis to construct a database of ‘highly accurate biometric models’ to allow it to recognize the faces of 30,000 celebrities wherever they might appear. Included in the patent drawings is Plot 104 of ’141 images in Barack Obama’s face model’, which Google notes is much less ‘polluted’ than Plot 102 of ’71 images in Britney Spears’ face model.’ Watch out, celebrity stalkers — there’s a new kid in town!”

Source: Google Builds Biometric Models of Celebrity Faces

WITN: Nigeria Gets A Lot Of Attention – Just For All The Wrong Reasons [TCTV]

May 18th, 2011 05:22 admin View Comments

If you’ve been reading TechCrunch regularly for the last week, you’ve learned the good, the bad and the utterly unique about Nigeria’s tech and media scenes.

But is Africa’s largest market prime for foreign venture capital investment, and how does it stack up to other frontier emerging markets Sarah has been visiting? Just after she got home, we shot a Why Is This News on her takeaways: Was she crazy to visit Nigeria like some people in the Valley said, or should we all be going there?

Source: WITN: Nigeria Gets A Lot Of Attention – Just For All The Wrong Reasons [TCTV]

WITN: Can Tony Hsieh Deliver Happiness -And A Ready-Made Community – To Downtown Las Vegas? [TCTV]

April 26th, 2011 04:30 admin View Comments

After a brief hiatus, Why Is This News? is back! In this week’s episode, Paul checks in from his Las Vegas hotel room to discuss Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s plans to regenerate downtown Las Vegas by moving the company’s HQ into the former City Hall.

In fact, there’s far more to Hsieh’s plan than that, as Paul explained over on the Huffington Post. In the video below, Paul waxes lyrical about Hsieh’s plans, while Sarah plays devil’s advocate, asking why Hsieh and Zappos will succeed where so many bigger companies – Google, Yahoo et al – have failed.

Source: WITN: Can Tony Hsieh Deliver Happiness -And A Ready-Made Community – To Downtown Las Vegas? [TCTV]

WITN: Abbasso Las Vegas! [TCTV]

April 8th, 2011 04:30 admin View Comments

As regular readers might already know, Paul is in Las Vegas for a month, hanging out with strippers reaffirming his belief in the American dream. As a result, this week’s Why Is This News is even less tech-focused than usual.

Still, no matter whether you subscribe to Sarah’s view that 33 days in Vegas is 33 wasted days or Paul’s insistence that there are still stories to be found on and around the strip, you can watch the whole debate unfold below. (You can also read Paul’s daily Vegas diary on the Huffington Post, and follow his (temporary) Twitter account at @paulgoestovegas.)

And, for those of you who don’t care about Vegas either way: here’s a video of a dog mowing the lawn.

Source: WITN: Abbasso Las Vegas! [TCTV]

WITN: Jakarta? No, She Came Back Of Her Own Accord [TCTV]

March 28th, 2011 03:57 admin View Comments

Hurrah! After a short hiatus while Sarah travelled around Indonesia at the behest of the State Department, Why Is This News is back!

And what better way to mark our triumphant return to your screens than with a whole show dedicated to Indonesia, and specifically the curious lack of a brain drain from the country to the US.

Apparently Indonesian students are so keen to return home after studying in the US that they’re one of the few nationalities to which the government is glad to issue visas. “They just never overstay,” one US official told Sarah.

So is Indonesians’ loyalty to home a good or bad thing for the country? Video below…

Source: WITN: Jakarta? No, She Came Back Of Her Own Accord [TCTV]