Hey Andrew. You've done a spectacular job here! In a very short period of time you've managed to do an immense amount of good for TechStars, entrepreneurs, mentors, and Boulder. But traveling the world is a great thing to be doing at this point in your life! May your journeys be filled with wonder, magic and new friends everywhere you touch down.
I hope to see some new book (fiction, non-fiction and science-fiction) and film explorations of this before long.
It's often a bit difficult when you encounter two things - both of which you love or appreciate - that seem to be fundamentally at odds. Examples abound. I love the Kindle and the Boulder Bookstore. I love the Kindle and the iPhone. Each of the elements of these pairs represents something interesting and compelling to me. And each is in conflict with the other. There is some element of zero sum game to the Kindle / (local bookstore) pairing. If I buy more of my books on the Kindle, I will almost certainly buy less from the local bookstore - even if I LOVE the local bookstore. And with the Kindle and the iPhone there's a competitive element that has yet to become apparent to most people. Each of these devices is really a cash register in your pocket. In Apple's case, the iPhone is Apple's cash register in your pocket, and Apple would like you to use it to purchase, music, movies, apps and - someday - almost anything else you can think of. Similarly, the Kindle is Amazon's cash register in your pocket. It's not just an eReader. It's the precursor to Amazon's entire consumer enterprise. It's Wal-Mart in your pocket.
I'm a bit late to this thread, but I found it interesting that your response to Fred's post was so similar to mine. Where you created a Pandora variation, I chose Spotify. I took Fred's top 10 records of the year (from a few days ago) and created a Fred Wilson Top Recordings of 2009 Spotify playlist. It was sooo easy. I just searched for each recording and dumped the entire contents into the playlist. And just as your note to Fred (with the Pandora link) ran into licensing issues, Spotify has been struggling for months (years, actually) to reach acceptable licensing terms here in the US with the major labels.
I've been using the service since Daniel Ek first showed it to me two and a half years ago. (It has completely changed the way I connect with recorded music.) Even then, Spotify already had a working iPhone version of the app, but this has never been available in the US (without a proxy hack). And the one thing that keeps this experience out of the hands of US consumers? Licensing issues.
The music industry as we know it was built on the back of copyright and recording and manufacturing technologies. The licensing issues we wrestle with today grew up over decades and created powerful prevailing norms (and interests) that have become immensely frustrating to most consumers because (a) most consumers know full well that technology would support a far superior music listening experience and far more liberal access to content, and (b) most consumers know full well that the resistance to these technologies and capabilities has been (and continues to be) managed by people who act as though the old way of doing things (Albums, CDs, physical distribution, etc.) is the norm. Indeed it was. But that norm is never coming back. Not ever. But that doesn't keep the "rights holders" from blocking the dissemination of technology that would make our music world a much richer, more satisfying place.
And I think Samantha's distinction - between rights holder and rights enforcer (e.g., the PROs and other rights organizations) is interesting. PROs act on behalf of the rights holders, and the legal provisions and systems they enforce (that create obstacles for Pandora and many, many others) are really just the codified notions of "fairness" created during a time when a "record" was wax or vinyl, the copyrights were easier to police and enforce (because you could keep someone from making the record, and if they couldn't make it or manufacture it, they couldn't very well distribute it), and digital distribution was a figment of some sci fi author's imagination.
I loved your description of the machine / human / machine / human interplay; and I hope the answer to "who decides" doesn't turn out to be "the machine." On a related note, I wish we could see the interplay between Asimov and Ray Kurzweil. And I always secretly suspected Azimov himself was part machine, or at the very least lobotomized - so he could type separate books and magazine articles simultaneously with each hand.
Congratulations, to you, David, the TechStars crew, the founders/companies themselves, the mentors and the entire cast of characters that has helped to pull all of this together. Really impressive.
Nice. Glad to see you, Brad and Amy were able to be there. Kudos to Phil for getting you all ringside seats. And kudos to you for laying out your preconceived notions and the surprising outcome when your final "votes" were in. Had you and Brad donned sun glasses, you'd have passed for the Blues Brothers.
A friend of mine from law school clerked for Breyer (and also for David Souter). He's the only person I know who had the good fortune to have clerked for two living members of the Supremes.
It seems highly unlikely that software patents will be addressed in the Court's final decision, but I'm sure we will all read the opinion - when the decision issues - with an eager eye toward what the Court might be expected to do in a case that is focused on software rather than business methods patents.
This can't be easy for Gnip, for the developers you've been forced to lay off, or for you, but it may well turn out to be healthy for all concerned. Best of luck to all of you.
I wondered about that. The photo of Rajat was in Forbes, not Fortune. It's great to see the shots you took on that flight.
I remember meeting Dan Bricklin on a flight from Boston to god knows where. Rajat and I were riding together, and Dan learned that Rajat was on the flight. He dropped by to say hello and grab a photo of Rajat - very humble, almost selfless; very excited about what was happening with Rajat (who was featured in Fortune magazine at the time).