It is always a great to see a project that you have been working on go live. Today is such a day. Veodia, a company I have been actively advising is finally launching Screenjelly. Screenjelly is the result of Veodia's acquisition of the French company Screentoaster.
The idea behind is very simple, we all find ourselves in the situation where we are trying to explain to others what is going on our our desktop. For instance, a software that you downloaded got stuck, a program you are using freezes or you get lost when using a web service. That is when screenjelly can come handy. Instead of rather trying to explain to people what the problem is in words, you just Screenjelly it and share it over Twitter or Facebook etc to get feeback.
Some of the user scenarios that I see is for Screenjelly is:
Big congrats to my good friend Guillaume Cohen and the fabulous Veodia team for this very simple but useful service!
Do you want to work with me on International Business Development at Facebook? Check out the job description and apply here.
Since I have been sitting in on quite a few start-up pitches as well as continuously being pitched myself by all kind of ventures, I was thinking if it is not on time to change the current format for business plans. Let's face it most VC's don't even read them, not even the executive summary for that matter. Power point is more and more taking over although we are all sick and tired of them too - especially if they have more than five slides.
Since most businesses are like a developing story - wouldn't it be easier to use the storyboard as an example of visualizing you business plan? We all love stories, wether they are fiction or not , on TV or not, true or false. As a matter of fact, most good businesses have a good story to tell. Why not try to tell that story as you see it develop over time on a storyboard?
Using the storyboard as a format for describing a business forces you to reduce the crucial steps into single frames and let go of those long never ending paragraphs that nobody reads anyway. I personally use a lot of visual tools in my day to day businesses. My favorite so far is Mind Mapping wether on paper or as for the past four years, a software called MindManager. As a matter of fact, I went through all my University studies using mind maps, which some of them I still have left.
I think that story-boarding is very close to mind mapping, but helps you perhaps better to tell or develop a story. Going forward, I will start using storyboards for some ideas I am developing in parallel with mind mapping.
What then are my favorite tools? Well, except for paper and pen:
Finally there is Montage, which is a very interesting screenwriting software aimed at pro's - but an interesting option if you really would like to tell your story in a screenwriting format. What are your favorite tools?
Here's two video's from the Virtual Goods Summit in Stanford last month. The first: Virtual Items - mainstream or not? Featuring: Jia Shen, James Hong, Robert Scoble, J.T. Stephens and John Vars.
The second video: "Making Virtual Economies Work" focused on what it takes to build, launch, and maintain a successful virtual economy. Featuring: Mark, Joshua, Brock, Raph, and John.
After two full weeks on the road it's finally time to head home to Israel again. It has been two great weeks starting out in San Francisco and the Web 2.0 Expo, followed by five days in Palo Alto and finally the CRV Leadership summit at Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix.
I think I summed up my views on Web 2.0 Expo before so I won't comment on that here. It is always so great to be in California, I get so much stuff done and have time to meet and hang-out with interesting entrepreneurs, venture capitalist and other great people. Although I try to spend a week a month in California, I must say that this time has been the best so far.
One of the highlights was hanging out with the Plymedia gang on Shabbath (for whom I am an Advisor) and especially hiking at Tiburun with Ben Enosh. It was a great day and I felt that I really made a new great friend. I also had time to meet new interesting entrepreneurs like Nik from Omnidrive, Yahya from Freewebs and others.
The best event was however the Charles River Ventures Leadership Summit at the Royal Palms Spa & Resorts in Phoenix, Arizona. What a great place! I wish I had brought my wife..This was the first time in five years that CRV had invited all their CEO's and founders from their portfolio companies and top speakers from various industries.
Against the backdrop of the Camelback mountains the event was very well planned and with a great lineup. I am really glad I decided to stay another week just to participate here. Besides all the portfolio companies people like Chris Sacca (Google), Evan Williams (Twitter), Andrew Baron (Rocketboom), Scoble, Michael Arrington, Om Malik, Ted Leonsis, Nathan Myhrvold (Intellectual Ventures & frmr Microsoft CTO), Prof. Yared Diamond (Pulitzer winner and author of "Collapse"), Larry Summers (frmr US Treasury Secretary), Matt Jacobson (Facebook), David Eckoff (VP Turner) and many more.
I particularly enjoyed chatting with Evan Williams (Twitter rocks!), Chris Sacca, Om Malik, Matt Jacobson, David Eckoff, Andrew Baron and David Sachs (Geni). Man! Geni is so good. Its going to become so big. David is a fantastic entrepreneur.
The event was really top quality in terms of speakers and participants but best of all - intimate enough for having quality time with each other. There was also time for desert hiking (see photo above with me & Bill Tai making the "m" Maxthon sign) lots of cactuses and a feeling of being beamed to Indian and cowboy land. Will post a separate CactusCast that I shot on the hike later.
I definitely learned a lot, met new friends and was inspired. Lot's of stuff on my mind now, new potential partnerships and new business ideas. Time to head home to wife and kids - I really miss them!