Few transatlantic entrepreneurs know both the European and American start-up scene as intimately as Seesmic and Le Web founder Loic Le Meur. So the first question I asked Loic when he came into the San Francisco TechcrunchTV studio last week was what American start-up entrepreneurs can learn from their European counterparts.
Nothing, Loic told me. Except, perhaps, the ability to invite each other out for lunch.
Europeans, on the other hand, have much to learn from American entrepreneurs. Most of all, Loic insists, European start-up entrepreneurs need to think globally and to stop copying American innovation. “DO NOT COPY”, Loic advises the Europeans – although this doesn’t stretch to intellectual property where he sees European media executives locked in the archaic business model of protecting traditional content.
This is the first part of a two part interview with Le Meur. Check back tomorrow to hear Loic defend his record as Seesmic CEO.
Loic to Europe: “Do Not Copy”
Why Le Web is a global, rather than European, event
Why Europe must wake up and protect the future
I need to start with a warning. Depending on your work environment, this may not be safe for work. Especially if you don’t want to hear
some a lot of four letter words. It may not be safe around small children either. But for everyone else, you might enjoy watching this video over and over again.
One of our popular TCTV shows is TC Cribs, where Jason Kincaid goes behind the scenes of a tech company to see what it’s like to work and play there. Of course, we edit it and don’t use all the material we shoot. Our editor John Murillo decided to edit together some of the outtakes.
We posted the video on our internal Yammer and it was quite a hit. Jason says “wow that was painful for me to watch.” Michael Arrington’s favorite part comes around 1:55 and he said this needs to be posted. So, check it out. You might not look at Jason the same way again.
For the regular Cribs episodes, check out TC Cribs at techcrunch.tv/show/tc-cribs
Cloudflare CEO: “Our Marketing Strategy Is Sign Up All Of The World’s International Criminals” [TCTV]
Disrupt runners-up, Cloudflare have been getting a lot of attention recently, thanks to the company’s role in helping LulzSec’s website stay online. In fact the hackers even gave Cloudflare a shoutout on their Twitter feed — offering to trade rum for a premium account — leading to a surge in customer sign-ups.
Of course, co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince is quick to point out that the company takes — at best — a neutral approach to hosting LulzSec, and that protecting the hackers has only served to make Cloudflare’s systems more resilient for all of its other customers. Still, it’s a pretty ironic twist for a company which promises to protect websites against DDOS attacks and other nefarious activity.
Keen to understand the company’s position on helping hackers and on sharing user data with the authorities, I invited Prince into the TCTV studio for a quick interview (I’m in LA on Skype so forgive my lousy connection). In the video below we discuss how Cloudflare has grown to handling over 5bn page views a month, the ethics of helping hackers, the importance of neutrality, a conspiracy theory or two and (further ironically) how Prince and his team were inspired to start the company after a call from the Department of Homeland Security.
Oh, and Prince also explains how a huge amount of the Cloudflare’s early success was due to launching at Disrupt — and coming second (“there’s nothing like coming in second as a way to motivate engineers”). Finally, he extends a generous offer to eventual winners Qwiki: “we can help them read out Wikipedia articles even faster.”
I start, though, by asking Prince whether the FBI knocks or just kicks down the door…
Highlights of their chat include Ohanian telling Dixon he considers Paul Newman, “the OG of social enterprise” and that Newman was the inspiration for Breadpig, Ohanian’s organization that creates “geeky things” and donates profits to worthy causes. On his role as the Y Combinator ambassador to New York, where Ohanain mentors budding New York-based Y Combinator founders, Ohanian notes “you can’t spell New York City without YC” and on founding his angel investing firm Das Kapital Capital, Ohanian says he did it, “mostly so I can mess with the tellers of Bank of America—are you a communist?”
It is a breezy and entertaining episode where the two go on to discuss World of WarCraft, Everquest and an interesting guerilla advertising campaign deployed by the Y Combinator company Grubwithus. The two conclude with Ohanian telling Dixon the key ingredient Ohanian must have before doing a start-up.
In the video below, Ohanian talks about “taking the agony out of travel search” with Hipmunk—where Ohanian serves as the marketing director, his mixed emotions about marketing and the power of word of mouth advertising.
In case you missed part I of Dixon’s interview with Ohanian you can find it here.
Prior episodes of Founder Stories with Soraya Darabi, Kevin Ryan and Christopher Poole are here.
In the early hours of Hackathon day two, bleary-eyed hax0rz roamed the conference hall, checking out each others’ apps. TCTV caught up with a few who were still standing — fortified by a New York bagel breakfast, the occasional cat nap, and caffeine — to see how they fared after twenty-four hours, heads down in the code and design.
Watch the video (above) to hear more from the tech talent behind the following fresh concepts:
Scandalous, a digital coupon database and mobile web app that could save bargain hunters a ton of time, and paper
Soundscape, an app that gives music fans a way to “like” or “dislike” a song where they hear it, and keep track of or find venues that play the stuff they love
Slide Sync, which helps groups view and interact with presentation materials at a conference, concert or meeting
And one un-named Facebook app that helps friends bring their gaming and social networking connections to life, face-to-face
…Or watch the live broadcast of all the Hackathon presentations, here.
To add your photos, videos and tweets to the community pool, tag them with: #tcdisrupt and #hackdisruptNYC2011
Talent scouting at the 2011 Hackathon in New York today, TCTV caught up with three alumni hax0rz and one n00b, who gave us a sneak peek of their apps and ideas.
Following an afternoon of team forming, brainstorming, napkin doodling and the requisite pizza and caffeine uptake, their concepts include:
A couple of dating sites, one with a hyper-local twist…
Another that wants to be “the Groupon of dating and a SecondMarket for people”
An app that gets the attention of that one colleague who’s always lost in their headphones
A mobile web app that tells you where nearby job opportunities may be, based on data from you Foursquare network
Cool ideas from the Disrupt Hackathon could turn into lasting startups. They could also hit the deadpool before they gain any kind of traction, if teams don’t know how to work it through and after the event. So, TCTV asked Steve Martocci, a co-founder of GroupMe, how to maximize the hackathon experience.
GroupMe, a NYC mobile startup, celebrated the one year birthday of their app today. Backed by Khosla Ventures, they hatched it at the 2010 Disrupt Hackathon in New York, of course.
Some of Martocci’s suggestions:
“Don’t listen to me talk, go and build something… Focus on what you’re good at, and solve a real world problem. Do as little work as you can – it gets stressful – use the tools that you have (like Twilio) to make it happen.” And after Hackathon? First, “Sleep.” Then, use the tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt, to “Walk the floor, show people what you did…[and] get decent exposure to investors.”
Watch the video for more (above) and check back for more photos and videos from Pier 94 where the hack is on.
To add your Tweets, photos or videos to the community pool, tag them with #tcdisrupt and #hackdisruptNYC2011
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.
Since launching in 2004, the New York Tech Meetup has mushroomed to more than 17,000 members, making it the largest MeetUp in the world. Once a month the community pours into the Skirball Center on NYU’s campus to network and watch nascent companies demo their products. Companies who’ve taken center stage in the past include Tumblr and Foursquare. Paid tickets are quickly snapped up and the organization recently hired its first Managing Director, Jessica Lawrence to handle growth.
I attended the April 6th MeetUp with approximately 800 other spectators, one of which was Craigslist Founder, Craig Newmark. His presences was a highlight for one of the presenters of Lemonade Stand, a company that helps facilitate the online buying and selling of items in a community.
Other emerging companies on stage included MeeGenius, Brainscape, Ex.fm, AskLocal, Addieu, Corkboard.me, ImUp4, MessageParty, Runens, Readability, and Atavist. TechCrunch has covered some of these before.
We hope the video above rather gives you a taste of what happens when the world’s largest MeetUp meets, and introduce you to some of the folks who help make it all happen. Take a look and tell us if you want to see more videos like this one in the future.
When people build startups, we measure their measure success not only by how big is their exit, but also by how many lives their products touch and how long their brands lasts in the minds of consumers. Cisco’s decision today to shutter its Flip Video business two years after paying $590 million for it raises a series of questions which startup founder/investor Chris Dixon and I address in the video above. Why didn’t Cisco sell the business? Was the tax write-off bigger than anything Flip could have fetched?
But namely, was it inevitable that Flip would have failed on its own because it got in the way of the iPhone, or could it have adapted if it stayed independent? There is no right answer here. Imagine if Netflix had been acquired early on by Blockbuster or some other lumbering giant—it would never be where it is today. On the other hand, Android is great example of a company that flourished because it was acquired by Google and given the resources to become the powerhouse that it is today.
It’s not so much about the product. Android originally was working on a Sidekick-like device. “Great founders don’t move linearly,” says Dixon.
The best acquisitions seem to be those where the acquired company is left alone. But it is easier to adapt to a changing market if you are a standalone startup than if you are part of a larger company. Could Flip have survived on its own? And what would it be worth today if it hadn’t sold?