Monthly Archives: January 2013

Reading List: Attitude and Age, Telstra’s “Startup,” Founder-CEOs, and Babelverse

I returned from a remarkable 36 hours celebrating the Midwest’s Pipeline Entrepreneurs Innovator of the Year (Congratulations, Ben Vu of SkyVu Entertainment on his selection as Innovator of the Year.  Yu can see the fun here) with a special souvenir – the flu.  Or something quite like it. So between travels and bouts of coughing, I’ve been offline for the better part of the last 5 days.  Time to catch up on my reading.

 

The conversation about ageism in Silicon Valley is heating up, evidenced by the feedback I received on my post last week about Human Capital Efficiency.  The argument pits youth against experience, and at the end of the day, neither side wins.  That came clear to me reading Rob Siegel’s post in which he writes:

Our culture is predicated on the idea of constantly creating new innovations and ideas, and as such, people need to realize that this technological re-invention requires constant personal re-formulation.

It’s not about age – it’s about attitude.

Rob isn’t talking about the “mind over matter” attitude toward aging.  He is talking about the attitude of innovation.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how companies can reclaim their innovative roots.  Maybe it starts with the people.

 

Speaking of big companies reclaiming their startup roots, I’ll be watching with interests Australia’s Telstra’s efforts to run its new mobile apps business unit as a startup,” but with the financial backing to make acquisitions.” In its  reporting of the story, Startup Smart named a number of Telstra execs and experienced new hires who would be involved with the project.  If the team is any indication, there is enough corporate involvement in the project to almost assure that it will not, in fact, run as a startup.  In cases such as these corporate politics, success/failure cycles, and short attention spans too often spoil the lofty ideal.  Let’s see if this time I can be proven wrong.

 

Reid Hoffman tackles the age/experience issue from another vantage point in a post that every founder CEO should read when he or she had a moment for honest self reflection.  In the post, Reid examines startup leadership and the question of if, when, and how a founder CEO brings in professional management.  With his usual candor and introspection, Reid shares his experience and observation in what is a must-read for every founder.

 

I met Babelverse about 14 months ago as part of the LeWeb Paris ’11 Startup Competition.  A finalist there and in just about every competition they’ve been to since,  this very lean, bootstrapped company is uniting the world by crowd sourcing real-time translation.  Babelverse is a grand experience in global village cottage industries that have the potential to be transformative across several vectors.  The German blog Venture Village profiled them here.

 

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