Talk at Wharton

Recently Prasad Thammineni, Healy Jones (me), & one of our investors, David Mars, recent participated on a panel at Wharton reunion talking about how we worked together to grow OfficeDrop. Tyler Wry, Wharton professor, lead the discussion and recently posted an article on the panel for Wharton Magazine.

Tyler’s post, entitled “Teaching Lean Entrepreneurs,” dives into how a business school education can be an asset when running a lean startup. Tyler defines the lean startup, then goes into how OfficeDrop combined some of the theories we learned about at Wharton with the practices of running a lean startup.

Often times business school/MBAs are made fun of by startuppers; this is a somewhat fair stereotype – A lot of times MBAs think that they will join a startup and the the “strategy” person or run a bunch of analysis in Excel. Of course, we all know that startups need doers! But the MBA can be helpful as it provides frameworks that can be used to quickly make sense of a rapidly changing competitive environment that startups face. Also, things like pricing, positioning, etc are all classes taught at business school, and a good school will at least help you be prepared to know what you don’t know so you can launch.

Tyler had an interesting conclusion to his piece, and one that I agree with. He said, “For me, this drove home the point that entrepreneurship isn’t really that different than any other area of business—training matters. Anyone can start a company, and many scientists and entrepreneurs who don’t know the first thing about business become successful entrepreneurs. On average, though, the startups that are most likely to succeed have some serious business chops behind them.”

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More Tablet Growth Numbers

I know I ‘ve blogged a ton about how iPads are changing the computing landscape… well, here I go again! A new eMarketer study is suggesting that US tablet ownership will DOUBLE in 2012 to 70 million! DOUBLE! Wow, that is crazy growth.

And we are still seeing it here with OfficeDrop’s customer base. The use of the OfficeDrop iPad app is taking off like crazy, and we will soon have an Android tablet optimized version of the OfficeDrop Android Scanner App.

Tablet Growth in 2012

Here are some of the crazy stats in the eMarketer Study on Tablet Adoption in 2012:

  • “U.S. tablet users will more than double this year from 33.7 million to nearly 70 million, or about 29% of the country’s Internet users.”
  • “The number of iPad users will grow 90% this year to 53.2 million, down from 144% last year… by 2015, when the number of iPad users will have reached 90.8 million.”
  • “In terms of the total U.S. population, 16.8% are expected to use an iPad at least once per month this year, up from 8.9% in 2011. “
  • “Among Internet users, that translates to 22.2% penetration, up from 12.1% last year.”
  • “More than half (51.9%) of Internet users — or 133.5 million Americans — will have a tablet of some kind” by 2015.

If you haven’t seen my blog posts before on the tablet revolution, check out some of the following:

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Finally, someone is positive on the venture market

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a positive article on the VC market outlook (not since that nasty Kauffman Foundation piece, which I found really hypocritical*.)

Robert Ackerman has just written an article for peHUB on why he’s bullish on venture capital as an asset class. Of course, he’s an investor in technology growth companies, so he’s got a particular bias. However, I think he makes some great points about why VC isn’t lost as an area for LPs to put their capital.

  1. Innovation isn’t slowing down.”Groundbreaking developments in cloud computing, social media and mobile technologies are giving rise to an entirely new technology ecosystem. What’s really interesting is that innovation is pushing out in all directions simultaneously.”
  2. The VC overhang is …, well, over. The excess capital from the dot com era has finally been bled away, leaving a more correctly sized venture market. Check out the chart to the right that shows flip of dollars raised by venture vs. dollars invested – and the huge drop in both.
  3. Corporate M&A has picked up, with corporations basically, “corporations have made the strategic decision to cede research and development to innovative young companies, which they can then acquire at some period down the road.”
  4. Finally, Robert mentions the JOBS act. To be honest, I’m not sure what to think about this legislation. Supposedly it will make it easier for small companies to go public. I hope that’s the case!

Anyways, it would be good for innovation in the US if we had a healthy venture capital market. If we’ve finally worked our way through the bust of the dot com period, and worked our way through the slow mid 2000′s and maybe if the US economy is going top pick up, then it could be a good time to be investing in venture capital funds.

*Here is what I wrote as a comment on Pando Daily re: that Kauffman study:

@Eringriffith, I don’t get how an organization that has the stated purpose of promoting entrepreneurship is advocating cutting venture capital investments. Doesn’t that seem counter to the Kaufman Foundation’s supposed mission?
eringriffith  moderator

that’s a good question for them–in a way you could make the argument that advocating for the best venture capital promotes more rationalism in the market which makes it more for the entrepreneurs? but yeah it does seem like a paradox.

@eringriffith Pretty sure there is some Kaufman study somewhere that says “entrepreneurs say access to capital is one of the major challenges in starting and growing a business.” And weren’t they sponsors on the recent Startup Act that makes it easier for individuals to buy pieces of startups – the same types of investing that VCs make? But with less information, protective rights and without preferred stock usually? It’s ok for dentists to make these kinds of VC style investments, but not sophisticated limited partners of venture capital funds? I don’t quite understand this.

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Good browser article

Fortune has a good piece on the browser wars heating up again.

In particular, the thing that I think is the most interesting is how mobile should change the landscape. I’m actually a little surprised that Safari isn’t growing more, given how popular it is on iOS devices like the iPad.

Web Browser Marketshare

Web Browser Marketshare

I recently tried out Axis, the new mobile search engine by Yahoo. It seems to be pretty good; but I still like a strange mobile underdog, the Bing app for iPad.

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