FUNKENSPRUNG Heartbeat


#SiliconValley2009: Dave McMurtry Loomia and Kiva.org

FUNKENSPRUNG Silicon Valley discovery tour 2009 – day 1: The program for today finsihed with Dave McMurtry, Director, Co-Founder, Loomia and Kiva.org. He gave us detailed insight on his 2 ventures (one business oriented, one non profit). We talked a lot about the right setup of your team, the board and the funding rounds and what he regards as the key essential levers for starting and keeping a venture at speed.

He also shared his experiences from micro loand. He just arrived in SF from a 2 months customer deep dive in Lybia and the impact such micro loans can have on the people in this country. His service kiva.org is a very smart and effektive donation site engaging the donors with the entrepreneurs. pls check it out and start your own micro venture capital ventures!


#SiliconValley2009: 12 Features of an Advanced High Tech Entrepreneurial Habitat

We were honored to meet Prof. William Miller, Stanford University, on our FUNKENSPRUNG Silicon Valley Discovery Tour this morning.

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Prof. Miller who has been a pioneer in the Valley from its early days on gave a fantastic lecture about History and Development of Silicon Valley.

To understand what makes Silicon Valley such an exceptional place for innovation and entrepreneurship by learning about the history and development of the Silicon Valley and the habitat for innovation and entrepreneurship. Who were the major players, individuals and institutions.? What was the role of universities, governments, and private industry? Why has Silicon Valley been able to keep reinventing itself? Could it have happened at any other place in the USA or in the world? Answers to this and many more questions will be discussed and first hand background will be provided by one of these pioneers.

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#SiliconValley2009: 12 Features of an Advanced High Tech Entrepreneurial Habitat

We were honored to meet Prof. William Miller, Stanford University, on our FUNKENSPRUNG Silicon Valley Discovery Tour this morning.

Prof. Miller who has been a pioneer in the Valley from its early days on gave a fantastic lecture about History and Development of Silicon Valley.

To understand what makes Silicon Valley such an exceptional place for innovation and entrepreneurship by learning about the history and development of the Silicon Valley and the habitat for innovation and entrepreneurship. Who were the major players, individuals and institutions.? What was the role of universities, governments, and private industry? Why has Silicon Valley been able to keep reinventing itself? Could it have happened at any other place in the USA or in the world? Answers to this and many more questions will be discussed and first hand background will be provided by one of these pioneers.

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Eric Schmidt on technology, innovation & the global economy

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Some interesting statements:

Eric Schmidt speaks at a forum jointly hosted by Google and the Pittsburgh Technology Council on September 23, 2009 in Pittsburgh, PA.


We are looking forward to visit Google next week in Mountain View!


Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen

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Hans Rosling, doctor, researcher and global health professor, is looking at some of the world’s most important statistics in a very exciting way.


The New New Economy: More Startups, Fewer Giants, Infinite Opportunity

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So now, in the graveyard of giants, it’s worth asking: Was Malone right? Was his age of nimble mammals simply delayed by the final march of corporate dinosaurs into the tar pits?

This crisis is not just the trough of a cycle but the end of an era. We will come out not just wiser but different.

Read the full article by Chris Anderson, Wired’s editor in chief.


Facebook, MySpace, Twitter & Co – Trenderscheinung oder Revolution – auch in der Businesswelt?

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Snapshot 1:

„Carrotmob is a network of consumers who buy products in order to reward businesses who are making the most socially responsible decisions. In a boycott, everyone loses. In a Carrotmob, everyone wins.

(Quote: http://www.bestfriendsforlife.net)

In San Francisco breitet sich ein neues Phänomen aus. Basierend auf Social Networks und Web 2.0 organisieren sich Hauseigentümer als Aktivisten für „Green Energy Campaigns“ in Form von „Buying Clubs“. Unter dem Community Brand „One Block Off the Grid“, 1BOG.org, wird versucht, Wohnblock für Wohnblock auf Solarenergie umzustellen (Watch Video). Mitglieder der Community erhalten Rabbatte auf Solar Panels, die durch die Community ausgehandelt wurden. Aktivisten stürmen organisiert Shops, die als Gewinner einer Wahl zum naturfreundlichsten Geschäft ermittelt wurden.

Virgance, das Unternehmen, das hinter diesen Kampagnen steht, orient seine Erfolgsstratgie an der Art und Weise, wie Obama Barack während der Wahl zum US-Präsidenten seine Aktivisten motiviert hat: Man nehme ein Netzwerk an begeisterten Freiwilligen („boots on the ground“), eine „activism presence in Facebook“, ein Team von bezahlten Bloggern, die die Kampagne promoten und trendige YouTube Videos die im Schneeballsystem verbreitet werden – fertig ist die „Campaign 2.0“, die klassiche Kampagnen schnell alt aussehen lässt. Geschindigkeit und Anzahl der Stimmen sind matchentscheidend – das ist nichts Neues, in der Form aber schon.

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Snapshot 2:

Im Herbst 2008 trennten sich Virgin Atlantic und British Airways von mehreren Mitarbeitern, welche sich über Sicherheitsmängel in den eigenen Reihen lustig machten, sich über Passagiere oder ihren Job beschwerten und Facebook und Twitter als Kommunikationskanäle für ihre Meldungen nutzen. Aufgrund der Skalierungseffekte von Web 2.0-Tools in der Kommunikation, eine Meldung erreicht in Sekunden tausende Empfänger und kann sich dann blitzschnell weiter ausbreiten, sehen sich Unternehmen mit einer neuen Bedrohung konfrontiert. Geschindigkeit und Anzahl der Stimmen können wiederum machentscheidend sein. Im Falle der beiden Fluglinien erfuhr die Corporate Communication Verantwortung erst selbst aus den Medien. Kommunikationsexperten raten dazu, Online Communication Guidelines für Mitarbeiter zu überarbeiten und Aktivitäten in Social Networks selbst stärker zu überwachen um nicht dann reagieren zu müssen, wenn der Schaden schon ins unermäßliche gestiegen ist.

Stellen Facebook, MySpace, Twitter & Co eine Gefahr für traditionell organiserte Unternehmen dar? Sind junge, Net-Gener-Unternehmen mit ihren disruptive Business Models und Arbeitsweisen schon im Rückspiegel, bereits auf der Überholspur oder sogar schon wieder beim Einordnen?

Sind Facebook, MySpace, Twitter & Co nur kurzfristige Trenderscheinungen und werden sie die nächsten Jahre selber überleben?

Wie kann man Social Networks als Chance für das eigene Unternehmen nutzen? Welche Erfahrungen haben Sie gemacht?

Diskutieren Sie mit uns Ihre Gedanken und Erfahrungen!

Posted by Bernhard Hoetzl


Killer Startup: mygazines.com

1 month in (beta-)operations – 16.000 users!

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Mygazines is a site that allows you to browse through, collect, and personalize all of the magazine articles that interest you. The site is based on uploaded magazine articles, brochures, and pamphlets done by its users, and makes it possible for the community to check them out with a whole bunch of options. Magazines can be viewed in their entirety, or searched and read based on specific articles. When users find articles that they want to hold on to for later, they can save them, bookmark them, share them, or store them for later use. Once articles have been selected, a mygazine can be created, which is basically a magazine including all of your chosen articles organized according to your design. You could search for or upload various nutrition articles and recipes and then create a mygazine with all of those tidbits organized and browsable, so that you don’t have to go sorting through each different publication later on. When viewing the articles from the site, you can flip through the pages as if you were reading and checking out an actual physical publication. The difference is that this version doesn’t waste paper, can be tagged and saved without taking up space or wasting time, and can work as a scrapbook of sorts for all of your favorite articles.

Source: http://www.killerstartups.com/User-Gen-Content/mygazines-com-uploadsharearchive

Some thoughts:

  • Are we experiencing a digital déjà-vu from the music business?
  • Should information be free – at all?
  • Are illegal sites such as mygazines.com stealing intellectual property and about to kill an entire industry?
  • Will the iTunes business model work in the same way as it did in the music industry?
  • Are we looking at the future of journalism?

Legal competitors such as http://www.digi-zines.com, another online digital magazine aggregator, who also try to grasp the enormous user benefit, seem not to provide the same value of content.

Starting at step 1: the production of the content of a magazine, book, or newspaper is not possible without costs. If those costs will not be covered, this will have an impact on the production of the content. But before publisher associations and big media companies start suing mygazines.com, which provides a fantastic technical solution on meeting a clear user demand, they should reconsider their actions and rather ask whether premium content, even if production costs are involved, could not be for free? Will people really stop to buy and read paper magazines if they can access the content online for free? Or will even more users get in contact with magazines they never had a chance to buy in the store next door? Just think about the Austrian snowboarder being able to read Australian surfer’s magazines? Some time ago I read an interesting case about online publishing a book: for all kind of network, community and behavioral reasons – the sales of the paperback version increased after it was completely downloadable online.

I think the clash of old economy and new online business models will continue in different industries and there is only one way out of it:

1. Start re-inventing your business before others do!

2. Consider the opportunities of the online world rather than the threats!

Magazines should improve the quality of their online portals. Publications such as the Economist, a weekly business magazine, add value to their content which makes it worthwhile to pay for a subscriptions – and harder to copy the model. For example, I regularly download the complete read out mp3 articles onto my iPhone for later audio listening.

Further, publishers should consider the impact on sales if they find smart ways to provide content to a global rather than a local community, i.e. they could find other ways of making revenue such as cross-financing and advertising to cover production costs of content, their are even very successful in the real newspaper world – just consider all those daily free subway and train-station newspapers.

It will be interesting to watch if the industry has learned from the music business – in any way “when the wind of change is blowing, you can build walls or – windmills!” (old chinese saying).

By Bernhard Hoetzl


USA 2008: Google Visit

In our recent research we were focusing on companies that have successfully implemented management innovation- one of these companies is google.

We were spending one day at the googleplex in Mountain View and had the chance to deep dive into the culture, leadership approach and human capital management…

Google’s founders have often stated that the company is not serious about anything but search. They built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. To that end, Google’s culture is unlike any in corporate America (and the rest of the world), and it’s not because of the ubiquitous lava lamps and large rubber balls, or the fact that the company’s chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to our online service, Google Inc. puts employees first when it comes to daily life in our Googleplex headquarters. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to the company’s overall success. Ideas are traded, tested and put into practice with an alacrity that can be dizzying. Meetings that would take hours elsewhere are frequently little more than a conversation in line for lunch and few walls separate those who write the code from those who write the checks. This highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fueled by the realization that millions of people rely on Google results. Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will.

Ten things Google has found to be true

We are impressed and we see what an organization can reach if it fully supports the management innovation approach!

by Florian M. Stieger


USA 2008: meeting Ram

Helmut introduced us to Ram Shriram, so we had the rare opportunity to meet Ram:

Ram Shriram started Sherpalo in January, 2000, with the goal of applying his wealth of operating and company building experience to promising early stage ventures. Ram is a founding board member of Google Inc., 247customer.com and Frontline Wireless. Ram also serves on the boards of Plaxo, Zazzle.com, PodShow and Prana Studios. Prior to founding Sherpalo, Ram served as an officer of Amazon.com working for Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO. Ram came to Amazon.com in August, 1998, when Amazon acquired Junglee, an online comparison shopping firm of which Ram was president. Before Junglee and Amazon, Ram was an early member of the Netscape executive team.

We had the chance to get deep insights about his views about business, about the way the silicon valley built its own DNA and what he regards as key success factors for entrepreneurs. He believes that successful companies are based on their ability to board the best people and keep them – besides the right products and smart organization. Only A-people will board other A-people – once you break this rule you are going to be stuck with B- or C-people – or even worse: D-people!

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by Florian M. Stieger