An Interview with Alex Chung (of Google Circles), LUA’s newest advisor
Based on your experience with people using small flexible groups to interact in a social/consumer setting, what do you think about how small group interaction would function in enterprise software – as is the case with Lua?
I think group interaction is better for enterprise than for social purposes. The biggest thing I learned from The Fridge and from running a social network for 10 years basically, is that it’s really hard to organize people. You can only have a cool generic party that’s actually fun once in a while, but try to get people to come to your house for a party everyday — it won’t work. With the business side, you have a leader, or someone who is like “the mom” or “the coach” telling you that you have to do something and forcing everybody to act. That’s the only time that a sustainable social group messaging platform really works. So in your case with Lua, it works really well because you have a direct objective, and you have somebody like a director or production manager who is running this network – there’s an actual goal to the interaction. Activity based groups were what we worked on because generalized socializing gets boring. There has to be strong leadership and it has to be a real activity, like making a film for example. That’s why it’s perfect for enterprise.
What is your personal history with entrepreneurship?
This is like my 9th or 10th startup now. The first real job I had was out in New York at Anderson Consulting, and I worked there for like three weeks and then my friend started a startup in San Francisco. This was like 1998, and I quit to work at my friends company. There were about 5 or 7 of us and we built the world’s largest CD trading company, it was called SwitchHouse. We got $13M in funding, went from 5 employees to 100, opened a huge warehouse space with thumbprint access, Nerf guns, and foosball – it was the total “dot com.” We burnt through all of our money in a year. We had a million users, then we burnt out, everybody got pissed off at each other and the company folded. But it was one of the most fun times ever, trying to build something new. Once you have a million customers, you can put something out and 20,000 people are like “this is awesome!” After that, I was always in startups.
Continue the interview on at wordpress blog:
Meet the Kinect: Programming and Scripting Natural User Interfaces- Sean Keane
Our good friend, Sean Keane, has been pulled off something pretty impressive in the last few months. He’s been a great mentor for us, giving us a great introduction into the NYC tech scene. It looks like Sean’s been hard at work writing the first comprehensive book about the Kinect. We have been fascinated with Microsoft’s fusion with Prime Sense’s “Voxel Cameras” since last November. Workings on a few of our own projects in this word. Looking forward to giving this a read. Congrats Sean.
Meet the Kinect introduces the exciting world of volumetric computing using the Microsoft Kinect. You’ll learn to write scripts and software enabling the use of the Kinect as an input device. Interact directly with your computer through physical motion. The Kinect will read and track body movements, and is the bridge between the physical reality in which you exist and the virtual world created by your software.
Microsoft’s Kinect was released in fall 2010 to become the fastest-selling electronic device ever. For the first time, we have an inexpensive, three-dimensional sensor enabling direct interaction between human and computer, between the physical world and the virtual. The Kinect has been enthusiastically adopted by a growing culture of enthusiasts, who put it to work in creating technology-based art projects, three-dimensional scanners, adaptive devices for sight-impaired individuals, new ways of interacting with PCs, and even profitable business opportunities.
Meet the Kinect is the resource to get you started in mastering the Kinect and the exciting possibilities it brings. You’ll learn about the Kinect hardware and what it can do. You’ll install some drivers and learn to download and run the growing amount of Kinect software freely available on the Internet. From there, you’ll move into writing code using some of the more popular frameworks and APIs, including the official Microsoft API.
Along the way, you’ll learn principles and terminology. Volumetric computing didn’t begin with the Kinect. The field is decades old—if you’ve ever had an MRI, for example, you have benefitted from volumetric computing technology. Meet the Kinect goes beyond just the one device to impart the principles and terminology underlying the exciting field of volumetric computing that is now wide-open and accessible to the average person.
New Interview Series: StartUp Sit Down
LUA’s awesome analyst team has put together a new interview series on a second blog of ours: http://luatechnologies.wordpress.com/
StartUp Sit Down is an interview series with tech entrepreneurs about all the twists and turns that come with running a startup. The ups and downs of startup life is something we at LUA experience on a daily basis. This is what we do. We decided it would be great to not only show our own experiences but take the time to learn from others— and share that knowledge with the rest of you. There is no magic formula to success. Hard work and determination is the only thing you can rely on. That and a little bit of luck…
So follow us on wordpress as we continue to highlight how some pretty innovative ideas broke through to success. Aloha is all about sharing so we hope you learn something along with us.
mahalo nui, malama pono.
Fireside Chat at General Assembly With Chris Dixon
Once a week, General Assembly hosts a “Fireside Chat” with prominent members within the Startup Scene. Past guest have included Fred Wilson, Paul Graham and the partners at Sequoia Capital. On Monday the LUA Team attended a great Q & A session with Chris Dixon, founder of Hunch, a service that provides personalized recommendations based on your interests and your friends’ interests. Dixon is also an associate at Bessemer Venture Partners and has invested in a number of early-stage tech start-ups including Skype, Foursquare, Kickstarter, and Canvas. The casual seminar was held in a small classroom at General Assembly was an excellent opportunity for young entrepreneurs (like us) to get tips from someone’s who’s been there and exited successfully.
He talked about an array of issues such as funding, team development, and criteria VCs look for when considering investment in a company. One interesting point that was raised was the pros and cons of building a start-up company without funding from VCs/Angels/Seed investors. While it is true, he said, that it is nice when starting a company to not feel “beholden” to anyone (your investors), sometimes the friends/family/personal fundraising simply isn’t enough for certain endeavors requiring high start-up capital. Following this, he touched on the the issue of over-funding; his feeling was that while it’s not exactly a bad thing to have more start-up capital than you need, it can sometimes raise public expectations (especially those of potential investors) by generating sometimes undesirable media attention, which can put extreme amounts of pressure on the company (wonder how the guys at Color must feel after their feature in the NYTimes this week). In any case, Dixon’s feeling is that it never hurts you to have more money than we need.