These are notes from watching TechCrunch, New York City 24-26 May 2010. Too many to attribute so go watch the videos!
Music. The big money has always been made from the tours. Always was and always will be. Stars now found on YouTube who already have traction, say 70,000 downloads. Point that VCs made later – looking for data on traction with the market and YouTube gives you the stats. Once you have watched a star it is a race to sign up and then market the star to the world. YouTube videos for Lady Gaga cost around $1million. It is now a worldwide audience and the stars have to want to and enjoy Facebook, Twitter and social media. MySpace is history. You are dealing with digital kids who have grown up with the digital world. A star can quickly be number 1 in 17 countries which would have taken many months a few years ago.
One of the founders of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has launched Squareup.com which allows mobiles phones to read credit cards and take payment and keep all sort of records on customers. Small cafes do not know how many different sort of drinks they have sold each day. Square lets small retailers have access to all this detail. When Square had a beta, they visited 25 VCs in Silicon Valley and New York City as the other founder had never raised VC funds before and Dorsey thought he should meet them all. The Square team enjoyed aggressive questioning by VCs – people who would care about their business. Expressing value of ideas with questions. Looking for VCs who liked Square and not the reflected glory of Twitter.
Susan Lyne, CEO of Gilt Groupe and the panel gave fascinating insight into how shopping is changing as site know so much more about customers. Biggest problem is encouraging the customer to pay for the full trolley. One way of doing this is to offer small numbers of products and if not paid for within ten minutes they are put back on the shelf. Make the experience one of a game and not dull shopping like Amazon. I guess a touch of eBay. People “win” something, not “buy” something. Build a community. Problem: how to scale good service? Concentrate on the bits vital to the shopper. But to be successful you need to work so hard.
Speakers love the iPad and it will be a paradigm shift with everyone wanting to touch a screen and lots of iPad devices will arrive. This is old and for mice. The iPad is transformative.
A VC panel said you must arrive with some data from a beta product. Everyone can get some data from customers. If it is web, like music, we need tens of thousand. Sometime a few hundreds will suffice. No data, no deal. Looking for scope of vision and ability to execute.
New York City panel say things are moving to NYC. Investors adopting cluster approach of investing in syndicates. VCs looking for people who are passionate about a problem not people who have looked at a large market, segmented it and then looked for a problem.
Often great companies are started by rookies so catch them young and help them grow. Interesting comments about Facebook where Mark Zuckerberg got great advice and controls three votes on a board of five so he can keep building the business not be forced to sell.
Great conference and hope this help someone. Great three days watching in the comfort of my home in Cambridge, UK. No need to worry about the ash cloud.
Amazing group of people working incredibly hard behind the scenes making it all happen both moving the furniture and solving the gremlins with the sound and technology. Not much clear talk about a business plan resource.
These are not CUTEC start-ups. These are funded VC companies with teams, in the case of Saluto, of twenty people working together for two years.
More than 75,000 people have watched TechCrunch Disrupt on-line over the three days – wish I could have talked to them…….