I want it NOW, I want it REAL TIME

I was recently asked by a friend if he should get his son the new Nintendo DSi.  This would be an upgrade from the current DS and also add the photo capability.  As I thought about my own son's usage of the device, I said no.  Once my son got an IPod Touch for music and now games, he never looked back.  While he loves the music, the real reason is because of the App Store and ability to instantly download any game for free instantaneously.  While the DSi does have a Wi-Fi connection, the IPod Touch is just so easy and frictionless.  And as evidenced by the rise of the Internet and the ability to download movies, music, and games instantaneously, it got me thinking more and more about the fact that we live in the "Now" or "Real Time" Generation.  Yes, it has been happening for awhile but we finally have the broadband speeds and ubiquitous connectivity that we craved for the last 10 years.  We also have better pricing and better products to be able to download those movies and games anywhere and on any device.  In addition, you can just see the rise of Twitter as another example of this new culture of real time.  People no longer want to wait for anything any more - if you have something to say, say it on Twitter or Facebook.  Products and friends are just a click away.

Sure, we can clearly see the impact of the Now Generation on consumers and new web applications.  A substitue product or application is just a click away.  If you don't like the user interface, if the product loads too slowly, or if the registration process is too burdensome, you can do another Google search and instantly find a substitute.  But what does it mean for the enterprise, for the corporate IT professional and startups selling into these companies.  I have always believed that the old way of selling enterprise software products with expensive sales forces and complicated installations is dying.  Buyers no longer want you to push software that they may or may not need.  They are empowered and can easily do their own Google search and download open source software or fill out a short registration form to trial a web-based app.  They, like my own son and his friends, are increasingly seeking instant gratification.  They are not just consumers but prosumers who are pulling new products into their departments and potentially into their enterprise.  I wrote about this instant gratification in 2006 and it is happening faster than ever.  The kids who were in college 5 years ago are the very same ones in the IT department tasked with coding new products.  They are used to doing more for themselves, doing their own research, and being able to trial new applications in real time.  If you are an entrepreneur selling into an enterprise and don't see this trend now, you will be toast in the future.

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Occam's Razor and the current state of venture

I have made many posts in the past about focus and doing more with less, and as I continued on this path it reminded me of Occam's Razor, the idea that the simplest explanation to any problem is the best explanation.  Of course Occam's Razor can get more complex but over the years it has […]

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Inspirational video for entrepreneurs

Jonathan Kay from Grasshopper sent me a great video on entrepreneurship.  First I love the inspirational message.  Secondly, I like the use of a viral video to cleverly promote his virtual PBX numbers for entrepreneurs.  Take a look and hopefully it will brighten up your day. What I love about the message is that entrepreneurship […]

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Pioneers get arrows in their backs

Pioneers get arrows in their backs – I have experienced it firsthand from an active investor's viewpoint and written about it in the past.  Being early in a market is great but being too early can be deadly.  Just like the settlers in the westward migration, entrepreneurs who are too early will get arrows in […]

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Growing your business in a recession

I read a great article by James Surowiecki in the New Yorker the other day titled "Hanging Tough."  In the piece, James gives a historical perspective on companies that thrived and grew during previous recessions by increasing spending on on advertising and R&D.  While I am not advocating that companies go out and blow their […]

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Cover the basics before you raise capital

No matter how many times I told my friend that he needed to get a deck together for a potential capital raise and model out some thoughts on market sizing and financials, I ran into resistance.  It was not because he didn't think it was important or that it mattered.  It was because he was […]

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Hybrid clouds are coming

Amazon has taken off with its cloud compute infrastructure but there still have been some limitations from an enterprise perspective.  Mainly, some enterprises are concerned about keeping their data private, about reliability, and storage costs over time.  Any enterprise looking at potentially leveraging the cloud would love to have a hybrid solution which allows them […]

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Targeted television advertising is finally here

I have written a few post about the future of television advertising (10/2004, 11/2006, and 12/2006).  Yes the web has taken over and yes video on the web is advancing rapidly but that does not mean that the $60b spent on television advertising will disappear overnight.  What is needed for the industry is a way […]

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Taking advantage of the horrible environment

My expectations for 2009 are that things will get worse before they get better.  On the portfolio company side, I would rather have my companies growing at a lesser rate getting closer to breakeven than growing too aggressively and burning lots of cash.  Once your house is in order (see some earlier posts I made […]

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Cisco raises another $4b in cash and looking for acquisitions

Ashlee Vance from the Bits Blog has a nice piece on why Cisco raised another $4b of cash through a debt offering yesterday even though they have $30b in cash.  "As word of Cisco‚Äôs debt sale hit Wall Street, the standard chatter surrounding possible targets began anew. As usual, companies like EMC, NetApp, Sun Microsystems, […]

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