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Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

Archive for January 2012

Be the loser at the lunch table!

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The willingness to reach out to someone you don’t know is crucial to the art of connecting, and especially important in uncertain economic times. Those who are in mid-career and may have worked for one company for years should learn connecting skills before they need them.For instance, most people’s natural inclination is to seek out friends at meetings and mealtimes. Banikarim says not to do that. “It’s easy to sit with someone you know,” she says. “It’s hard, but more interesting, to sit with someone you don’t know. This is not like high school. It’s not just the losers who don’t have somewhere to sit.”

via Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector | Entrepreneur.com.

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Written by John Gannon

January 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm

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A New Faster Fourier Transform Can Speed One of IT’s Fundamental Algorithms

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Processing Big Data, faster…what’s not to like?

A New Faster Fourier Transform Can Speed One of IT’s Fundamental Algorithms
POPULAR SCIENCE – NEW TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE NEWS, THE FUTURE NOW | JANUARY 18, 2012
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-01/new-faster-fourier-transform-can-speed-one-its-fundamental-algorithms

The Fast Fourier Transform From many irregular signals, one. Christine Daniloff via MIT NewsEven faster than the fast Fourier … read more

http://pulse.me

Written by John Gannon

January 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm

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Wrapp – Why LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman Is Investing In The Social Gifting Site

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This is such a great idea. Really interested to see how this company evolves…

Wrapp Mogul: Why LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman Is Investing In The Social Gifting Site
FAST COMPANY | JANUARY 18, 2012
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/fastcompany/headlines/~3/vAXJBl45k4Y/linkedins-reid-hoffman-invests-in-social-gifting-site-wrapp

Hoffman’s previously tossed cash at Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga. Now the Greylock partner sees potential in the data you can … read more

http://pulse.me

Written by John Gannon

January 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm

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Kudos to VMTurbo for winning TechTarget’s Bronze Medal!

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VMTurbo deserves recognition for Cloud Operations Manager’s innovation, ease of implementation and excellent value. Their product deploys as a virtual appliance and offers completely real-time data, which assists in capacity planning and dynamic workload orchestration. It also supports multiple hypervisors and multiple tenets, and it even has its own application programming interface.

via Products of the Year 2011: Virtualization management.

Written by John Gannon

January 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

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HR tip – Promote fast

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CEO’s and managers in high growth environments don’t have time to micro-manage.  They need staffers who can JFDI, without requiring a lot of care and feeding.

If you have someone on your team who is consistently overdelivering, requires little supervision, and makes the team around them markedly better, promote them immediately and give them more responsibility along with that promotion.

A promotion is a great way for a CEO or manager to recognize ‘A’ players, to position them as role models within the team or company, and to regain valuable management bandwidth.

If you’re thinking seriously about promoting someone, especially at a startup, then it probably means you should do it.  I have managed people who fit into the ‘Promote Fast’ bucket before, and the only regret in my time working with them was that I did not promote them sooner.

 

Written by John Gannon

January 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

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Username/password is dead – Mobile is the new identity

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I don’t think username/password can last much longer as the primary means of authentication on the web.  Rampant phishing has made it all to common for unsuspecting “normals” (and even those who are more tech savvy) to inadvertently open themselves up to malicious purchases, or massive promulgation of spam emails and social network comments from their account.  It’s only going to get worse as phishers get more and more sophisticated.

One way to slash the number of successful phishing attempts would be for B2C sites to start adding mobile-based authentication as part of their login process on top of the usual username/password combo.

Yes, this would negatively affect the user experience, as the user would need to provide more info than username and password at login, but it would reduce the attack surface of a typical internet user dramatically.

With this type of authentication scheme, when you login with your username/password pair, your phone is called if the username/password combo is accurate.  At that point, your cell phone will ring, and you’ll need to pick up and press a button to show that you are indeed the person who just entered that username/password info.  This is a powerful concept because if the phisher doesn’t have your phone, and he/she can’t do any damage.

For added security, a site could also use the phone authentication to protect certain critical operations post-login (e.g. a mass delete, a message to a large number of contacts, a purchase above a certain pre-set threshold).

No consumer site has tried to “sell” me this kind of two-factor authentication lately as part of their user experience.  However, if that site is buying or selling anything on my behalf, I’m open to a slightly more clunky user experience in order to add another layer of protection.

There are companies who provide two-factor authentication as a service, but clearly it is not terribly popular in the consumer web or B2C world (or, maybe just with the sites I use — as I never bump into it).

Is the user experience so poor that it’s not worth implementing these solutions?  Basic two-factor auth is not that hard to build, so I can’t imagine that it would be a technology issue (or a cost issue if working with a 3rd party web service that provided this functionality).  Or do the consumer sites themselves and their customers not really see this (phishing) as an existential threat?

Seems intuitively that mobile and / or multi-factor (e.g. phone + username/password + something else) authentication is a big area of opportunity given the current trends in phishing and security, but maybe I am missing something.

What am I missing? :)

Written by John Gannon

January 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm

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Congrats Sarah!

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Very happy to see this tonight.  Sarah’s super sharp and it’s no surprise she’s working her way up at BVP.

Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), a global venture capital firm, today announced the promotions of Abhijeet Muzumdar and Sarah Tavel to vice president.

via Bessemer Venture Partners Announces Vice President Promotions | Business Wire.

Written by John Gannon

January 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

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