The Story of ShopJet So Far

A friend of a friend told me about Startup Weekend a couple of days before the event. The same evening the tickets were sold out and I was out of luck. But instead of giving up on the whole thing, I did something else: I contacted the organizers and asked whether there are any tickets left. The answer was no, but I entered the waiting list. Next morning I got a message that someone canceled his participation, and I got the last ticket to the event. It was already worth the 175 shekel I paid: I learned a lesson in persistence. Continue reading “The Story of ShopJet So Far”

Standing on the edge of cliff

How I Have Come to Face Freedom

Lately I have been thinking about the burden of freedom. What I mean by freedom is not the civil freedom of being out of jail, but an existential freedom: freedom from unfulfilled desires, from debilitating illness, from time-consuming commitments, from limiting beliefs. The kind of freedom that makes you wake up on Saturday morning, have your breakfast, come into the living room and think to yourself “no one expects anything from me today, I have the whole day to myself, to do anything I want. So, what should I do?” Continue reading “How I Have Come to Face Freedom”

Rich Product Experience

Last July, when I was finishing my MBA studies, I started to work with my partner on an idea for a product we called tentatively Rich Product Experience. We have written elevator pitch, built a little mockup of the product, talked with some people from the Technion about it’s potential and….well that’s about it. Unfortunately we didn’t move much pass the initial plans and some very preliminary demos. Admittedly, I was more enthusiastic about it than my partner, but I guess I didn’t have enough enthusiasm for the both of us. Continue reading “Rich Product Experience”

The Anatomy of group effort

The Anatomy of Group Effort

The Anatomy of group effortRecently I have been invited to participate in a panel of MBA graduates to discuss and share our experience during Global Strategic Management project (which I took last year) with fresh students. The project was supervised by Sid Amster, a remarkable American businessman , with phenomenal enthusiasm for sharing his experience with the students. Friendly, open and informal, he made sure that we felt that this was the most important course in the MBA. Continue reading “The Anatomy of Group Effort”

Constructing a Niche Service

A friend of mine recently has purchased an apartment in a new real estate project. For some time he has been complaining to me about the low level of service he has been receiving from the company: to find out trivial details about the progress of the construction, numerous phone calls are needed; no one tracks his requirements regarding the finish details of kitchen and bath; he has to coordinate and schedule different sub-contractors (installing bath, kitchen…) by himself, etc.

Continue reading “Constructing a Niche Service”

Web Video on the TV Gone Wrong

Recently I have read about an Israeli startup that plans to introduce a product called WebTVplug, which allows to connect the TV to the Internet through a hardware plug-in. The plug-in converts IP data, streamed from company’s server’s, to video signal, consumable by TV, and presents to the viewer a mesh of video clips, collected from the web, grouped by categories and sorted by company’s content editors.

The problem of this product, is that instead of adjusting the content for the TV medium, it simply gives access to myriads of short clips from around the net in YouTube style (without the social aspect of YouTube).

The entertainment experience in the living room is inherently a passive one. Large display, soft sofa, remote control, a cup of tea. People want to relax, to be entertained, to be immersed by the movie they watching or the game the playing. While some may say that playing video games is not a passive entertainment, I would argue that it is in the sense that it does not require mental activities such as reading, browsing, searching, deciding – all those things we do on the web, and don’t do while watching TV or playing video games.

But the service constantly requires our attention and intervention, to select the next clip to watch. Which for short clips happens quite often. Since the amount of content is enormous, sooner or later we are drawn into a decision paralysis. It seams to me that most people would find this experience tiresome, and not fitting with what they come to expect from living room entertainment.

The idea of bringing Internet content to the living room has undeniable potential, but it seams to me that this product goes in the wrong direction.

If I would have tried to bring web video to TV, I would have focused on the following design aspects:

  • Push, Not Pull – the user shouldn’t be asked to constantly make decisions, but rather be fed with self-streaming and self-updating content
  • Embrace the TV – the layout, the fonts, the menus of the UI should be specifically designed for large displays, viewed from a distance. The input method ideally should be TV’s native remote control.
  • Fuse with the Web – since the content is streamed from the Internet, it is possible to give each user experience customized for his unique taste. Instead of offloading on the unsuspecting user countless videos, sorted by category, but intended for everyone, it is possible to try to learn each user’s taste, and offer each one content, tailored specifically for his interests. This can be done by providing supplementary web service, through which user can teach the system of his taste, for example by feeding his YouTube’s account favorites.

On a side note, the service has an option of connecting the plug-in to PC, and streaming video clips. Its not clear why would anyone want to use this feature, when he has access to YouTube and other popular web video services.

The original post (in Hebrew): http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3782742,00.html

When talking about web video on TV, I should mention of course Boxee, which is a great example of web-to-TV product done right.

Continue reading “Web Video on the TV Gone Wrong”

PriceMatcher Elevator Pitch

About 6 months ago I took an Entrepreneurship course as part of my MBA degree. One of the tasks we needed to complete in the course, was to think of an entrepreneurial idea, and write an “elevator pitch” for it. Elevator pitch is a concise introduction, that allows the entrepreneur to present his idea to potential investor, in some undemanding social context – like riding together in an elevator.
I blogged about the pitch I wrote in Auctioning Off Your Purchasing post. Today I want to share the pitch that wrote my study partner, Pavel, based on an idea we developed. Later on, we tried actually to implement that idea, but that’s another story. 

PriceMatcher

Continue reading “PriceMatcher Elevator Pitch”

Looking for Startup Patterns – Dissecting the Web 2.0 Frenzy

Startup Patterns
Startup Patterns

Anyone who follows web 2.0 magazines (like TechCrunch, Go2Web20, etc) and observes the emergence of latest web startups, cannot help but feel that most of them follow similar patters and structures. While different in technology, market and target audience, when striped from all the bells and whistles, often they look and feel very similar. Continue reading “Looking for Startup Patterns – Dissecting the Web 2.0 Frenzy”

Feed your Chi.mp with your social-networks profiles

Back in May 2008, in post titled Multiple Personality Disorder I talked about the need I felt, to manage and control your online personalities (the professional one of LinkedIn, the social one of Facebook, your dating sites profiles, etc). Today I read about a service called Chi.mp that aims at exactly that.
Chi.mp allows you to gather your social networks profiles in one place, under your own domain name (i.e gorilla.mp), create online “personas”, such as public persona; friends persona; professional persona, and publish and push your updates back to your social networks. Continue reading “Feed your Chi.mp with your social-networks profiles”