For all its clout, Product Hunt doesn’t have a lot of frills. It’s a website and e-mail newsletter that every day singles out 50 or so recently-introduced things Hoover, his team and a group of discerning volunteers decide are noteworthy. Readers “vote up” what they like, moving them higher on the site, where they get more attention. Startups are so hot in Silicon Valley that the industry needs a startup to curate them.
As readership’s grown, Product Hunt has become a virtual town square for tech’s cheerleaders, with people posting feedback about new products and startup founders like Groupon’s Mason answering questions about their latest inventions. Hoover has guarded who can comment, limiting the number to 8,000 thus far who were brought in through an invitation system. Mason says the biggest challenge for Product Hunt will be ensuring it’s not overrun by the Internet’s default to vitriol.
“We’ll invite a select number of companies to an exotic Mediterranean islandwhere they can escape the mental noise of the day-to-day and focus on the things that really matter. Your co-founding team will be connected to the biggest names in the industry, receive 1:1 mentorship and training, have the opportunity to pitch to international investors, get connected with international media, and will embark on an investors roadshow pitching in five different cities at the end of the program.”
It wasn’t long ago that the idea of a pre-IPO tech startup with a $1 billion market value was a fantasy. Google was never worth $1 billion as a private company. Neither was Amazon nor any other alumnus of the original dotcom class.
Today the technology industry is crowded with billion-dollar startups. When Cowboy Ventures founder Aileen Lee coined the term unicorn as a label for such corporate creatures in a November 2013 TechCrunch blog post, just 39 of the past decade’s VC-backed U.S. software startups had topped the $1 billion valuation mark. Now, casting a wider net, Fortune counts more than 80 startups that have been valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists (full list here). And given that these companies are privately held, a few are sure to have escaped our detection. The rise of the unicorn has occurred rapidly and without much warning, and it’s starting to freak some people out.
As far as Jung is concerned, it’s Silicon Valley, not IV, that has lost the plot. A former child prodigy and chief architect at Microsoft, Jung argues that venture capitalists have become obsessed with trifles such as social and mobile apps, while large corporations have pared back their research and development budgets. “Everything has moved toward the short term,” he says. “The public markets have gotten so efficient, and they’re not pleased when a CEO says, ‘Hold on. Give me 10 years, and I’ll figure this out.’ ” IV, he says, has been taking the long-term view all along. First it had to amass a patent portfolio. Then it needed to learn how to mine it for great ideas. Now it’s time to put those ideas to the test. Critics who only saw IV as a giant IP collector misjudged the company, he says. It will soon be pumping out dozens of revolutionary products.
Twice is one of many startups attempting to make the environmentally sound choice preferable and easy for consumers while making a profit in the process. The statistics driving these efforts are shocking: In the U.S., 90% of mobile devices are thrown away rather than recycled. Up to 40% of the food produced gets trashed. Americans junk some 12 million tons of textiles each year. “There’s no way we can continue to produce waste at the level that we are and survive on this planet,” says Adam Werbach, a co-founder of Yerdle, a site where people trade things they might otherwise throw out. “It really is much easier to click a button than it is to knock on your neighbor’s door.” And that is the convenience gap these enviro-preneurs hope to close.
Entrepreneur magazine surveyed over 5,000 about 900 brands and has a list of the 120 most rated ones
“Each question was designed to elicit an expression of emotional engagement with the brand, ranging from loyalty to passivity, ambivalence, disengagement or outright anger. Respondents were asked to rate only brands with which they had done business or about which they had a firm, informed opinion.”
The current issue of Inc. magazine has 5 full page ads – yes 5 - of commercial vans.
Unusual or sign of the times?
USA Today profiled this morning the Ford Transit which replaces its long time previous Econoline and the new specs explain why such vans are popular with many small – and big businesses
“Ford says Transit's bona fides include an interior tall enough for a 6'8" person to stand upright; as much as 487 cubic feet of cargo space — more than four times as much as in a full-size SUV; and the ability to carry as much as 4,650 pounds, or three times as much as a typical full-size pickup.”
“Anderson laughs easily and readily, often at himself. Make no mistake, he's a voluble Renaissance man who's fully aware of his accomplishments as a particle physicist (at Los Alamos National Lab) turned magazine chief (with The Economist and then Wired, which he edited for the past 12 years).
But he'd rather talk about how he's the dumbest guy in the room at 3D Robotics, a mushrooming year-old garage-based operation that — thanks to some $37 million in venture capital infusions — is poised to be a leader in the coming drone economy.
"Being a journalist and being a CEO are similar, because as a journalist you're writing about the do-ers, and as a CEO you're empowering them and taking delight in their success," says Anderson. "I'm the worst programmer and electrical engineer here. And I should be."”