What is the most important space on the Internet right now?

Social Information Organization and Routing – Quora, Fluther, StackOverflow (StackExchange)

Mobile/Location – FourSquare, GoWalla, Bump, Twitter (GeoAPI), Facebook Mobile – Bunch of good data here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/241293…

Internet Enabled devices – Picwing, Sifteo

Social Commerce – Blippy, Square, Swipely, WePay

How does environment, culture and government which surround California, Seattle and Boulder foster innovation and tech startups?

I think it is more a remnant of the rich technology history of the west coast.  Namely Northern California which is the home of a vast majority of computer advances.  I would agree there is a laid back culture that pervades a lot of places up and down the west coast which might have helped in the (r)evolution. 

What is Flipboard?

I recently asked myself that question and whether it would make sense to invest time into learning it. Here's what I discovered:
Flipboard is a mobile app and online content platform that gives users a sleek magazine interface to consume news articles in choice topic areas. Instead of venturing to individual websites and collecting RSS feeds into a feed reader such as Feedly, you can simply choose to follow generic topics such as “project management” or “marketing,” specific people such as Madonna or Robert Scoble, or other user-created magazines such as Productivity Works! or Startup Spark Up.  

In short, after an initial set up where you pick your topics of interest, it's an easy, no-hassle way to gather and read news that pertains to you, and especially use it to monitor your industry and your competitors.

Read more in my blog post: How to Use Flipboard to Stay on Top of Your Competition and Your Industry – Wrike Blog

Why is Crowdstar rocking?

At first, they built a similar model to Lolapps, focusing on a huge network of UGC quiz games.  Rumor is that these quiz games were actually larger than Lolapps' 40M monthly uniques (I'd heard 50-60M uniques).  They then used this massive network to start cross-promoting what they referenced as 'partner's' games.  I think these were actually just failed licensed games (like Restaurant Life), but I have no foundation for that.  Could be they were actually partner games. 

What made them successful is they were more aggressive than other 'quiz' providers at re-focusing on higher quality flash based games, combining these games with their knowledge around virals (based on their quiz apps) and promoting the hell out of them through their massive network.  Once they achieved scale with Happy Aquarium, done through a combination of cross-promotion and advertising on Facebook, their revenue was then able to support the development and promotion of another suite of flash-based games (which was exactly the Zynga model of success).

What is standard cash and equity compensation for product managers at a Silicon Valley startup?

This is one of those classic it depends questions.

Rule 1: Equity in shares is meaningless. You always want to get your shares in terms of % of the company you own.

Factors for determination:
Startup Stage (pre/post revenue/launch)
Your level of experience
How critical you are to the companies success
How much risk you are willing to take.

 Venture Tips and Hacks put together this table for options for a company post funding:


Range (%)


5 – 10


2 – 5


1 – 2

Independent Board Member



0.4 – 1.25

Lead Engineer

0.5 – 1

5+ years experience Engineer

0.33 – 0.66

Manager or Junior Engineer

0.2 – 0.33

So as a non-technical product manager you are looking at around .2 – .3 % of total shares with an acceptable salary after funding.

If the company is before funding you will probably have to accept more shares and less salary.

What I would suggest is you figure out what you think you are worth and what you think the value of the company is. Then create a slider between the two points.

Example. A company is valued at $10 million and your salary should be $100,000.
You ll want to either want full salary or 1% of the company with no salary for one year of you work.

Then depending on how much risk you can take you just play with your numbers. 50k and .5%, 70k .3%. You are really answering the question how much are you willing to invest in this company which answers how much you think its worth.

This will help provide you a rough estimation of what to expect.


Source: http://venturehacks.com/articles…  

What should be done about a startup CTO who ignores best software development practices and causes badly written code that slows the company down?

This is like asking what you should do about a surgeon who keeps killing his patients.  Fire him, and until he is out, don't let him operate on you!

What problem does foursquare solve and how large is their addressable market?

On the surface, Foursquare solves one of the problems faced by early location-based social networks like Loopt and Whrrl: the lack of background processing on the iPhone. This issue basically rendered these products useless because a user had to open the app to update his/her location and there were few engaging reasons to do so. By adding the "check-in" feature and adding clever game mechanics to induce check-in behavior, Foursquare gets users to regularly open the app to update their followers with their location.

Under the surface (and where the real value of Foursquare rests), the whole game is a front. It is all a vehicle for generating and amassing customer data for local businesses. By and large, local brick-and-mortar businesses (unlike their online competitors) have little to no data about their customers; there are few (if any) great ways for a restaurant, bar or small retailer to know who visits, when and how often. Foursquare can, in theory, address this. It could essentially become a CRM for local merchants. Offering deals to mayors is just the beginning. With the data Foursquare is collecting, a local merchant can know if a regular customer starts coming less and try to bring them back. They can build loyalty/rewards programs, offer highly targeted coupons/discounts and so on.

In this sense, Foursquare's addressable market is the local advertising market, which totals hundreds of billions of dollars across all forms of locally targeted media. It becomes much more interesting if Foursquare finds a way to tie its  check-in data to actual transactions. Not sure how they'd do that, but there are pretty significant medium/long-term synergies between Foursquare and Jack Dorsey's Square.

The big problem for Foursquare is making local merchants (generally not a particularly tech-savvy bunch) aware of its existence and selling them on the value it can add. This is probably not insurmountable, but it is usually expensive.

What is Kakai working on?

From looking at articles and job descriptions I'd agree with the following comments (Kakai = e-book rental business, possibly also an e-Reader):

"the roadmap/plan looks pretty clear. chegg is heavily into renting textbooks. this will only last for so long. the goal is to get as quickly as you can to having a direct relationship with authors of college textbooks, and the faculty. however, the relationship has to cut out the middle man as much as possible."
Source: http://techcrunch.com/2009/12/23…

This is an interesting hint on the target market from a LinkedIn-Profile:

"Responsible for acting as key contact with this startup's target market: young adults. Organized multiple market
research studies to deepen management's understanding of the young adult market. Responsible for creating and maintaining a
nationwide advisory board of young adults. Reported to VP of Product Management."