This is Andrew Mason, the CEO of Groupon. I saw him speak at the GROW Conference in Vancouver a couple of months ago, and he has a self-depreciating, and easy going personality that I like. It's nice to see successful people be humble.As he points out in this talk (and as I've mentioned before on this blog), being an entrepreneur is hard. And it's particularly hard to be a tech entrepreneur in a non-tech city. In this speech (which is for something called 'Startup School' in the Valley), Mason talks about previous failures that led to the current iteration of Groupon, the difficulties in starting in a 'shallow' tech market (Chicago), and what is keeping him going. What I learned here: stay with it, learn when to move on when something isn't catching on the way you thought it would, focus on the smaller ideas, and even when you do all that it is still going to be really hard and you still need help (Mason concedes midway & again at the end that they were given a bunch of money to start & pay a team to keep going). A heads-up: with the new TED Talks iPad app, I've gone on a bit of a conference/seminar/forum talk spree lately. They're great to have on in the background while you work or are trying to go to sleep, and I like listening to smart people. My blog is likely going to start reflecting that obsession for a while.
Google I/O is on right now, and Eric Schmidt isn't letting Steve Jobs steal all the headlines when it comes to trashing old friends. Google made 3 major announcements that will compete directly with Apple:
- Android 2.2 with big-time Flash support
- Chrome Web Store for apps AND music (also notable the Google acquisition of Simplify Media - a music syncing service that competes with iTunes)
- Google TV (previewed below), which will come installed on new Sony TVs
In my opinion, it's great to see this competition as both companies are getting scarily huge and are dominating more and more of our daily lives. However, a lot of this is just a childish pissing match between two ego-driven CEOs. My hope is that this battle ends up being productive and will also allow for smaller players to come up and compete with some innovative products. For example, it would be great to see Apple stop giving lip-service to "open" and allow more openness within the iPhone & iPad OS. It probably won't go that way but one can dream.Here's what Google TV looks like:
This infographic is a little misleading, but gives you an idea of what developers are using to build & test web sites. No big surprises here, but I bet Chrome becomes a bit more popular with this crowd in a year or two.Full report here (PDF).