Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rice Alliance Event

I attended a Rice Alliance event last Thursday. It was loads of fun and I learned a ton. The three keynote speakers,
  1. Jeff Dachis of the Dachis Corporation
  2. Jaime Casap from Google, and
  3. Bruce Dunlevie from Benchmark Capital
all gave very interesting talks with good information.

spoke about "how we got where we are" in terms of the financial crisis. Here are some bullets from my notes of his talk:
  • The current crisis is caused by greed, in the negative sense of the word
  • It is a crisis of conscience
  • Spoke about ""... there will be more openness in investing
  • Businesses will be transformed by the social networking phenomenon
  • His new company, Dachis corporation, is focused on bringing this to the enterprise
  • Beyond "buddies", currently we are in the "buddy" phenomenon, facebook, linkedIn ("who are my "buddies")
  • magnified communication; who should I be working with? how do they do business? business ecosystem of Your Business with Competitors, Customers, Partners, Suppliers, Employees, Stakeholders...
  • Technology will enable the strengthening of "weak ties"
  • How many of you have had a long-distant friend find you in the last few months, that you had forgot about? This is the strengthening of "weak ties"
  • The "Burn rate" mentality needs to go away, people should start companies that meet a market's needs and do it profitably... "basic business model"
Jaime spoke about the "connected generation", or those who are 18-24 right now, and their trends:
  • Always knowing a computer
  • Always knowing cell phones
  • Text messaging and other technologies that are used heavily
  • Are you considering these people in your strategy?
  • Have you used any of these sites?
  • myspace
  • facebook
  • orkut
  • hi5
  • linkedIn
  • flickr
  • yelp
  • netlog (I had never heard of it, but apparently 30 million in Europe have)
  • meetup
  • digg
  • bzzagent
  • bebo
  • xanga
  • zooped
  • twitter
  • Jones Soda - this is scaring Coke and Pepsi
Bruce's talk was a lot about Benchmark... very interesting, here are a few brief points
  • Getting money will be harder
  • Benchmark turned down eBay 2 times before funding, then they gave it only on a 3-2 vote
  • Benchmark turned down Google on a 1-4 vote
  • They make money by being "lucky"
  • The success stories like eBay fund the "unsuccessful" businesses

Overall, I would recommend this event for anyone interested in early stage companies. If you want to learn how this works, and see the people who are risking it all to be the next eBay or Google, this event is for you.

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