Location, location, location.

Fred Wilson has an interesting thread going here in response the Times story. I love the Bay Area and, in particular, the intellectual and economic ferment that so characterize it. It’s a great place to live, work and play. But the variables associated with starting, funding, and exiting a startup are so complicated, and the emergence of distributed workforces and "right shoring" as a commonplace tactic for early-stage development have me scratching my head after reading this article.

DEMO

I’m at DEMO ’07. I could blog it, but other folks are doing a pretty good job. Shel, Renee, and Graeme are providing some great insights into what’s going on here.

Pricing

I’m a loyal Amazon customer, and with the free trial of Prime, I’m now a more frequent customer as well. The LA Times recently carried a story on Amazon’s "dynamic" pricing scheme. I read the story with some interest, and, while it was intriguing, I assumed the issue was a minor annoyance because Amazon was notifying customers if the price of anything in their respective carts had changed since they added it. At least that was my position before this weekend. I purchased a DVD from Amazon last week, so when I returned to the site this weekend, I was not surprised that they  recommended the soundtrack. At ~15 dollars it seemed like a deal. So I clicked on the item to view the description, scanned it briefly and had to leave for dinner. When I returned and added it to my cart it was…..~19 dollars. Would I have paid 19 dollars for the soundtrack at the outset? I might have. But the fact that the price had changed so quickly was a bit disconcerting. My response- I went to iTunes and bought the soundtrack for ~10 dollars. Perhaps the transparency into pricing increases is  supposed to reduce time to transaction (and across many consumers over time it might), but for this consumer, it’s been a reminder to compare prices before I consummate a purchase with Amazon.

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Apple iPhone

Apple finally announced the much anticipated iPhone at the MacWorld 2007 Keynote. The design is stunning and the feature set seems compelling enough; does it support Cingular’s burgeoning HSDPA network like the new Treo 750? I can’t tell.

I’ve long been conflicted with regard to handsets and carriers. I’m a bit of a design and user experience junkie, and I travel a lot, which means that in theory the selection and flexibility of GSM/3G handsets would suit me. My Nokia E61 is a fabulous phone. It has everything (except a camera). What doesn’t it have? Sadly, it lacks the thing I need most on a daily basis: a carrier with great voice coverage and widely-deployed 3G in areas where I most frequently find myself (I live in California and most of my travel is in the US). I now use Verizon on a daily basis and reserve my E61 for European travel. Will the iPhone change this? If the carrier’s network supports the design promise of the handset, it will be worth a serious look. We’ll see how that comes together.

CES

For the first time in years, I am not going to CES.
I canceled my reservations at the last minute last week, sparing me
from a tour of duty that would take me from LA to Vegas, onward to NYC
and finally to Philadelphia before returning home.

I’m nostalgic about my CES experiences in years past, and for good
reason- I’ve filtered out all recall of the cab lines, the smoke, the
overflow from the adjacent adult-entertainment expo, and the sheer hell
of actually trying to get anywhere on time. Why hasn’t Purell done more with CES- their tag line is “Imagine a Touchable World.” Touchable world indeed.

I will miss seeing seeing my friends and colleagues, and I’ll have
to travel a bit more this quarter to connect with the folks I would
have seen at CES, but as I sit in my study and balance my daughter on
my knee I can honestly say I’m glad to take a year off.

A special shout out to the Retrevo team, who, in the face of the very inclement circumstances noted above, are braving CES to report from The Retrevo Gang with Scoble.

To my friends and colleagues I offer this heartfelt wish: May you
get out alive and more accomplished than when you arrived. Happy New
Year.

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DEMOfall

DEMO was exhausting, though fun. Retrevo launched to great reception, and Vipin and Manish did a fabulous job on stage. David Ezequelle was there in support as well.

Quite a few people covered it, including TechCrunch, but their article (which was good) focused on the pre-purchase/review side of things. Retrevo is unique in that it currently supports the entire lifecycle of every major CE category- both pre-purchase and post-purchase. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Peeling Away

As many of you know, I’ve spent several great years as Director of Global Business Development at Avery Dennison (most notably creating and leading the personal electronics personalization platform and working with the smart folks at Motorola to launch the Phone Tattoos category). I can’t say enough about the talent and contribution of the many folks at Avery who helped us succeed, and I have to thank the leadership who believed in me and the idea(s).

After some tough deliberation, I’ve decided to explore opportunities in the world of early-stage startups (where I’ve spent most of my career). More as it comes.