Grow Conference 2014 – Day 1

Posted on September 3, 2014

Theme: Living in a connected world

Is Disruptive Innovation Crossing the Chasm or Jumping the Shark? – Brian Solis (Altimeter Group)
-digital analyst studying impact of tech on business
-we don’t challenge convention enough
-amazed by how quickly Uber and Airbnb became verbs.
-there is an unsaid belief that everyone is disruptive. But that isn’t true. Too many people copying. Too many simply making iterative improvements.
-we need to inspire changes in behavior and think bigger
-ideas are a dime a dozen
-empathy is a scarcity where ideas are now commodities
-innovation has to start by trying to do something better or different
-focusing on the higher purpose will give you a better chance of success
-disruption isn’t a goal. It is a thing that happens on the way to your higher purpose
-design for real people all across the bell curve
-how do you hold someone’s attention? How do you deliver now?
-question everything? Why do you do what you do? Why can’t we reinvent what exists?
-why is turning on the TV still so hard? Why so many remotes?
-design, user experience and systems thinking will be key skills going forward
-focus your efforts on human interface design
-disruption changes behavior and introduces new changes and direction
-understanding humans is so important
-great ideas and bad ideas both sound ridiculous early on
-create new supply, new demand and new behavior all based on curation, reputation and trust
-people have to be at the center of everything. What inspired the idea?
-passion creates change. Emotion and feeling create change. Culture of innovation can be taught and practiced.
-there are so many problems and opportunities to solve them. We live in a time of great opportunity to create.
-what do you really want to do? How will it make the world better? The economy better? Education better?
-use the conference to explore and question everything so that “ok” isn’t good enough anymore

What will a billion dollar company look like in a connected world? – Renee DiResta (O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures), Charles Hudson (SoftTech VC), Kristina Bergman (Ignition Partners), and Dan Martell (Clarity)
-how big is the market opportunity? Charles looking for the iconic company who can own a space. Early investor in FitBit. You need to have a big ecosystem play.
-Kristina – will be a combo of hardware and software in the future. Biggest change is that software experts and hardware experts need to come together. The definition of connected is changing – how are they connected as that impacts the discussion. Cell carriers in the M2M space and the carriers clearly dominate the space. There are limits to what they can carry and connect to their network. That will change the dynamics of softare architecture as it shifts toward peer to peer.
-Renee – discussing Spark allowing people to prototype using WiFi. The platform approach is becoming more and more desired by investors. Wearables are becoming more adopted than connected home. Still very early days on connected home. It is difficult to implement, fragmented market and land grab. No one wants to use their phone as a remote control compared to their current light switch. Devices need to talk to each other.
-Kristina – cell networks will be used but scenario based. Connected devices will need to be communication agnostic and style agnostic. Need support for communication versatility.
-Renee – robotics is about to have a huge impact on future companies enabling people to create massive companies with a small number of staff. China is already moving towards automated factories because of labor costs. US factories are returning from overseas but look totally different where they are lights out factories.
-Kristina – people should be focused on creativity and what they know. How well can they use the resources around them to solve problems. Sophistication is being abstracted at so many levels right now in building products.
-Charles – so many people have roles focused on checking stuff. Many of these roles will be replaced or augmented as connected devices become more popular.
-Kristina – talent resources are going to continue to be a major issue. Every single portfolio company is fighting to get the best engineers to help build products. Execution matters more than the ideas and that depends on the people.
-Charles – consumer expectations will be a major challenge as expectations get driven higher and higher. Need to be careful about consumer fatigue especially in hardware where cycles are longer.
-Kristina – education is broken in many ways and many are trying to solve it in a variety of ways. Moving towards just in time learning.
-Renee – trend between traditional tech education and that may not be day-to-day development. Split towards self-taught journeyman type coders and bootcamp style learning events. College is going to look very different in 15 years.
-Dan – teaching employees to tinker is so important. How does VC change?
-Charles – hardware companies are still expensive to build but now going through more predictable process. Crowdfunded or pre-order campaign is becoming very common. Lines of credit and debt are also starting to become more common.
-Kristina – only so much real estate on the wearable side. There will be massive consolidation. What are you building on the software side that will have long-term value? How much IP do you have to work with that hardware?
-Dan – is there a trend toward distributed teams?
-Renee – there are a number of apps and tools that teams use. Slack, Basecamp, Hangouts. Most have a persistent video conference between physical locations.

Innovation Spotlight – Bublcam – Greg Ponesse (Bubl Technology)
-Baseball sized camera with immersive content (multiple cameras)
-more focused on industrial and digital media compared to GoPro
-military, concerts, live broadcasting, etc.

Building in a Hardware World with Software Expectations -Dan Eisenhardt (Recon Instruments Inc.) and Rafe Needleman (Yahoo Tech News)
-traditionally make smart glass products for skiers and now branching out to building solutions for bikers
-came up with an idea for a heads up display for swimmers during an entrepreneurship course at UBC
-pivoted into ski googles. Applications were available all over the place.
-difficult to play in a field where you merge compact electronics and fashion.
-knowing how to deal with both is hard for product development and making it look good. Fashion can be very binary.
-you can’t just focus on the hardware and software. Distribution of weight on the face and how people will perceive us is important.
-why not swimming? Back then in 2006 they were trying to get the product to a market that would pay. Swimming was a concern because the market size wasn’t big enough.
-horizontal applications of smart glass aren’t ready yet. Smart glass will be built through the verticals first. There is a lot of social stigma that needs to be changed before horizontal approaches will be successful.
-there is a massive use case for smart glass because of the demand for data. It will be big eventually.
-smart watches are really ready for mainstream. Apple will launch in a couple of months and will nail it. It will continue as a big stepping stone.
-tech needs to be either invisible or gorgeous!
-context matters so much and that is why vertical applications will evolve faster.
-there are huge challenges in creating the diversity from a fashion perspective. The tech is expensive and so handling the fashion will require some additional decoupling. Shine is a great example. But consumers will need to and will accept compromises because of the value they receive.
-what about tethering to a phone? It will continue to be here for quite some time. But only in cases where bringing your phone makes sense. Timex launching their stand alone watch is a good example of a sport where people don’t want to bring their phone.
-how are these goods paid for? Do the products become subsidized? Do the carriers play a role? Price points have to come down for broad adoption and that won’t happen just by volume discounts. Carriers will play a similar role as they do with phones. Or someone will find a way to help enable access to these products.
-they have an Android SDK to enable new types of apps and experiences through software on their products
-the next frontier will be really understanding the context. How can you add value but don’t distract them? Be contextually intelligent. The UI and UX perspective is so important.

How Lululemon thinks about the guest experience, innovation, startups and the future of retail. – Celeste Burgoyne(Lululemon Athletica) and Atlee Clark (Shopify)
-user experience is so important to the in store process
-store experience and digital experience have different advantages so leverage each for their strength but make it seamless
-ensure that inventory levels are available and shown to users
-they spend a lot of time testing in real life scenarios through their stores or websites. They work with small startups (lab in SF) to bring their products/ideas into their processes
-speed is more important than the business case at the start to get feedback and iterate once it shows value
-digitalization of the store experience is important
-working on rapid analytics both in the store and online.
-looking at future point of sale experiences and solutions.
-size apps for online, beacons, etc. Lots of tech being evaluated.

Is Software Eating Wearables – Andrew Rosenthal (Jawbone), Liz Dickinson (Mio Global) and Brian Peterson (Whitespace, Lululemon)
-Liz is very passionate about heart rate since it gives you the most interesting data about your body. Getting it is very hard to create and they have been able to create it.
-abandonment rate of step devices is very high (33 percent) because long-term value doesn’t create behavioral change. Get people an accessible form factor to help them make change. Help them stay motivated off the couch.
-the value of the data from heart rate is something that will truly become understood
-is there any value in just measuring something? Only when you consider the user context. Consumers want:
1. Calories burned. 2. Distance traveled. 3. Heart rate.
Scales aren’t doing it right now. That isn’t changing behavior even when measuring with smart scales.
-tracking something has become table stakes but next need to handle how to help them
-“true wealthy is healthy”
-fashion is changing the wearable tech market. It isn’t just one thing. The number one thing driving wearables are sport and fitness. It has to deliver on the core promise and then have fashion. #1 wearable is the heart rate monitor chest strap for 12M units.
-interpreting data is very important and we need to ensure that consumers trust brands to collect data and interpret it for them.
-excited for smart watches as an extension of phones. But more excited about 24h wearable to get a full picture of the day. From sleep to work to fun.
-Liz claiming that there will be a huge rush to integrating heart rate and that many will have different levels of quality

If it’s not on Strava, it did not happen! – Mark Gainey (Strava) and Atlee Clark (Shopify)
-learned patience on the premium side
-clear mission – motivate the world’s athletes
-focused growth strategy for athletes but initially went very deep with cyclists. By going deep understood their needs and language to begin to help solve their problem.
-not trying to take first time runners or bikers. Working with already passionate bikers and runners.
-used the Starbucks test to help narrow down the scope by reducing the audience you are going after
-focus was a double edge sword. Some investors felt it was too small but the data has proven out that this is a sizeable opportunity.
-more important to be #1 in a small market where they could be thought leaders. That was different from their long-term vision.
-going from enterprise to consumer. Both were fun. Enterprise forced them to focus on their competitors where in consumer they admire them. But spend little to no time on them. Focus energy on their users.
-do women use the app differently than men? Women say they aren’t competitive but every likes friendly competition. It is healthy and good. It is part of sports and part of the fun.
-90 employees now
-lines of communication get harder at 90 people and ensuring they are all on the same page
-you have to trust that each group is getting their job done with so many things going on
-international and over 66 percent are outside of the US. Spending time understanding the nuances of the needs for those around the world.
-Strava has historically been there at the end of the activity. But now working towards helping people find new rides. To help find events, routes, friends, etc. Trying to enhance the athletes lives.
-3M uploads per week right now.
-starting to help share traffic patterns and other data for urban planning with the amount of data they receive
-license out the data to the planners and GIS specialists can make decisions.

To Sell or Not to Sell your Data: What’s your business model? – Julie Mossler (Waze), Mark Gainey (Strava), Atlee Clark (Shopify) and Dylan Casey (Yahoo)
-Julie – use GPS data in phones to measure traffic in real-time. Partner with DoTs to share data about accidents and never sell their data.
-Dylan – it comes down to an equitable transfer of value. The data can enhance the product. Customers get freaked out when the quid pro quo isn’t obvious. You have to be absolutely transparent about what you are collecting and when. Give the user control around the data they are providing.
-Julie – thought about the selling of data around their identity. If they were going to sell maps they would have been B2B. But as a community their maps were better. It made the decision not to sell because the community added more value.
-Mark – revenue from the data is there but the athlete is always first. The revenue comes because they put cyclists first to help improve the safety of cyclists. They are really just covering costs to help serve the athlete effectively.
-Mark – seamless interaction with data provides so much value. People’s comfort levels feels very clear. Best practices and guidelines play a role in setting expectations.
-Julie – connected cars or moving beyond smartphones isn’t a focus for Waze. In fact, car manufacturers are moving towards phones as the central feature of the car.
-Julie – be careful about what you collect and repeat it constantly. Everyone at the company must buy in and hit those points. People are willing to give up privacy in certain areas to assist others.
-Dylan – control and understanding is important. Opt in vs opt out as long as control is there you can manage both sides. Trust is important.
-Julie – it matters around trust because if you lose that your solution will stop working. Make it all or nothing. Educate when you download rather than switching down the road. It keeps the trust and integrity. Trust and UX are the most important.
-Dylan – privacy and transparency get confused. If you are really clear and there is an understanding it changes the whole tone of the relationship.
-Mark – we will see best practices and guidelines will emerge and partnering with the user communities will drive it.

Airing your dirty data… – Dave Mathews (NewAer, Inc), Robert Scoble (Rackspace) and Mikael Berner (EasilyDo Inc.)
-new kind of digital divide – the all in data crowd and the people who are all out.
-NewAer using wearables as a trigger similar to WiFi broadcasting
-put 700 beacons in a room to see where everyone ends up.
-NewAer looking to leverage existing radio waves as beacons for next generation experiences. Help to bring magic.
-radios automatically beacon they are there. You don’t need to connect to them – just see they are there. You can find beacons now for your keys and other physical items.
-90M beacons coming for 2019.
-Unilever is going to launch an app with NewAer to turn phones into beacons. Then have an element of iBeacons on coolers to market with your friends.
-there is a freaky line for many people when it collects too much data. Robert claiming the smart people are all in. They get ahead by giving up their data.
-Facebook is changing and doing so quickly. It is becoming more contextual and trainable. Now seeing posts from things local to you. The feed is getting better but you must give it signal or it doesn’t work.
-tech doesn’t work well now for many things. Good example you buy something but it then shows you ads on other sites for that same item.
-we exchange privacy for convenience. Dream for Dave is to have the airport know what flight he is supposed to be on and only show that data.

The Power Worker….Productive, Free and Connected – James Nicholson (Microsoft)
-talking about how they are working in the enterprise to better enable people to share and connect data
-Surface sales pitch around the combined tablet and laptop concept without needing a PC
-comes with the surface pen that feels like a fountain pen and you can write naturally
-claimed best experience with the pen since there was zero latency
-then pitched Yammer, Lync and OneDrive

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