Innovation alive and well in Silicon Valley
The Orange Blogger Bus Tour visited the USA meeting with 40 Silicon Valley and San Francisco companies. The bloggers were given a revealing inside view of the culture that drives the region. All of the California hosts freely gave their insight, experience and inspiration. The blogbus tour editor, Glenn Le Santo, focuses on five of the tour’s hosts and finds five very different stories.
Talking up App.net as another version of Twitter is playing down its full potential. App.net’s founder Dalton Caldwell recognizes the power of developers with an open fire hose. App.net is currently working on a revenue-share model to encourage developers to innovate. “People who build the best apps would get paid,” said Caldwell. If he can get developers engaged with his API, then App.net could become the Linux of social.
Caldwell has opted for a subscription model for App.net users and developers. Privacy issues and obtrusive advertising elsewhere could make his ad-free subscription models attractive. Dalton Caldwell is calling two trends, open APIs and subscription, and he needs to get them both right.
Citrix Startup Accelerator
Citrix is a cloud-computing specialist and funds the Citrix Startup Accelerator, a program that the company sees as a lean extension to its traditional R&D. The primary focus of the accelerator is producing companies that can develop new products and technologies relevant to Citrix and its customers.
Michael Harries, Chief Technologist at Citrix Start-up Accelerator, described the work as “at the pointy end of innovation.” He said the program allowed Citrix to “see around corners and into the future.” The startups work closely with Citrix and get expert support, advice, funding – and a ready market – for their products. Citrix gets lean and fast R&D at very low cost. Many large corporations are likely to follow this start-up driven R&D model.
Eventbrite’s event ticketing app takes out friction for both event organizers and event goers – and it has been a big hit. Scaling Eventbrite means lots of hiring, and competition for talent is tough in the Valley. Eventbrite’s founders recognize the central role their own people play in developing and delivering their products. Details of this are apparent, like in the weekly gatherings to air any problems, which are held with founders Kevin and Julia Hartz present.
An open, transparent and positive working culture is encouraged at Eventbrite. The free canteen and a beer pump in the upstairs function room are all small details of a larger, carefully constructed picture of employee care. This approach isn’t only about being nice to your employees; it’s also efficient and effective. It enables Eventbrite to focus on growth. Tamara Mendelsohn, Eventbrite’s VP of Marketing, told the bloggers that Eventbrite is “absolutely data driven. But it doesn’t mean we don’t take risks - we just take risks carefully.”
Urthecast has a simple idea that produces almost limitless possibilities. They’re bolting some hi-res video cameras to the International Space Station and streaming real-time video of Earth back to the planet’s surface. This daily payload of 400 gigs of unique data, images shot as the ISS orbits the Earth fifteen times a day, has real value and gives Urthecast a tangible revenue stream. The wide range of possible customers includes everyone from weather forecasters to video game writers. Plans to build an Urthecast community around the space footage and the solid revenue model both suggest that Urthecast is a company worth watching.
Google Developers Academy
Google presented various developers.google.com programs, such as the Developers Academy, to the bloggers. Google is pushing hard to get developers writing for Google platforms. The bloggers also chatted with a small group of very senior Google developers about what makes the Valley tick. These developers have been around the block many times and are still there constantly driving innovation. People, companies and knowledge have been accumulating in the Valley for 70 years. Google has managed to harness enough of this talent and energy to feed the company’s phenomenal growth. More giants the size of Google will arise in the future because Silicon Valley’s unique culture always allows success on such a scale.
read about the whole trip at http://live.orange.com. all stories are tagged #blogbus