Grow Conference 2014 – Day 2

Posted on September 5, 2014

Why Big Brands Need to Innovate – Bonin Bough (Mondelēz International)
-huge opportunity today with media on mobile. but so little spending by brands on mobile today.
-brands are worried mobile isn’t a scaled technology
-1B people in the world own a mobile device but not a toothbrush
-hackonomy – opportunity to create value by breaking things. Build a culture of breaking things.
-looked at re-inventing oreos by looking at 3D printing of them
-did structured brainstorming done by Mia Design
-lots of ideation and the key is you must be dedicated to the process
-moved towards allowing people to create trending embossments on the oreos
-became the idea of trending vending
-then spent the next 6 months looking to partner with a brand to have it. Twitter signed on for SXSW
-brand team was blown away with what they could create
-but then how do you actually “eat the tweet”
-created their own markup language to map the tweets to a flavor
-created over 16,000 flavor combinations
-users were blown away and you could see the printing occur. Had to create a translucent touch screen!
-thought process behind SXSW was that they could take an old brand and bring tech to do new things
-people waited 2 hours to create their own customized cookie. The customization was the biggest part for users
-fast prototyping for flavor testing changed the way they can go to market
-experience matters – the milk bar was there
-very close to building a mass custom business that will drive significant wealth to the bottom line
-how do you reduce the risk for big brands? Inspire the culture to think different that will create innovations no one will ever see coming.

Battle of The Customer Channel – Asif Khan (Location Based Marketing Association), Bonin Bough (Mondelēz International) and Brian Wong (Kiip)
-value of the network to talk to customers in the store
-retailers can’t afford the systems but brands are willing to pay for it. But with what strings attached?
-aspirations without allocations are meaningless. You have to invest.
-creating beacon networks are good but looking to monetize in that scenario. They will take anyone’s money including competitive money.
-CPGs want to have direct relationships with their customers.
-huge tension right now between the retailers and CPGs
-manufacturers of CPG products are getting lazy too. Scale of the operations are so huge such that they can help make any concept scale. Like taking pictures of your receipt for coupons. They can grow platforms and have a disproportionate play. But not taking advantage today.
-but you need to keep yourself in the common flow of the customer
-think about getting customers before they enter the store
-work hard to add value to the shopping experience too. Scan product on shelf and then allow people to pay using phone on the way out.
-also allows people to target those customers for huge lift in same store sales
-Asif talking about location being the mobile cookie similar to cookies in browsers
-need to look at location as a proxy for understanding where people are and their context. It is more than mobile but it becomes a connective tissue
-location must be combined with context
-the context is agnostic of the phone itself. From in-car moments to anything else
-talking about how beacons have a shelf life for 12-18 months as new technologies come into play without requiring dedicated hardware
-micro-location tech is coming but will require someone to really simplify it
-retailers and manufactures must work together to build what works for customers. It is changing now and the aggressive manufacturers are already investing because the impact to the business is so huge

Finding and Engaging your Audience – Katherine Barr (Mohr Davidow Ventures), Chris O’Neill (Google), Porter Gale (, and Steven Rechtschaffner (Jawbone)
-marketing needs to be holistic rather than just doing the last mile. Think about the relationship as a holistic experience. What role do you want to play in their lives?
-user experience has to play a critical role in the marketing side. But it goes both ways. Marketing comes up with benefit statements and then how that plays out as product features.
-make sure you have a north star that guides your decisions across the board
-break down the silos between marketing and IT so people can understand the data
-data is huge in marketing. It is really important to understand it but pick your 3-4 KPIs so you aren’t overwhelmed
-use the knowledge to test and learn so you are doing data driven learning. You could be spending money where you don’t need to if you aren’t paying attention
-for Jawbone, data is the heart of what they do and their relationship with their customers. Not just trends but also to help change consumer behavior. It helps with their API partners too to complement the data already in the solution.
-once you get good at understanding data you can do real-time segmentation. That let’s you start real-time conversations with more meaning with your customers.
-PR is also becoming more and more measurable
-the moonshot for glass is to improve technology to a level of magic. It is about starting with examples and enhance the things you are passionate about.
-how do you make tech work for the person instead of the other way around?
-eye wear has been the original wearable for hundreds of years
-the challenge is to prioritize and do some things very well instead of spreading yourself too thin
-work hard to match online and offline behavior. That can provide more context and remove the clutter.
-trying to change discussion from internet of things to internet of me. The “me” part becomes the central point of reference. With signals and meaning you can integrate with even more elements around you. But it creates a different conversation.
-will see an explosion of devices and a convergence of platforms. Handling, mining and find insights will be the winning companies. Speed and nimbleness will be key.
-wearables are the present not the future. Whoever figures out the internet of me will win.

Match made in Heaven – Partnering with the right intentions can make innovation magic – Paul Litchfield (Reebok International), Isaiah Kacyvenski (MC10 Inc.) and Jessica Alter (FounderDating)
-talking about importance of partnering. MC10 and Reebok are working closely together. The partnership was necessary to extend what Reebok was capable of. MC10 back in 2009 was selected because of the cool prototype and they hit it off really well with the team.
-as a young company, being able to partner with a large brand was validation for them. Helped MC10 to take advantage of the sales and distribution of the partner. But also to develop something that hadn’t been done before. With Paul at the helm it was the right team to help them.
-took a lot of use cases and crazy ideas to get the discipline to find a use case with a strong value proposition.
-there was trust being built and with unique tech along with Paul’s vision it made sense to do this.
-the partnership is based on the personalities and how well they fit. There were some long days and challenges for both teams. But having the right people is what ultimately enabled them to make it work.
-saved a lot of time by being direct and not posturing
-stay true to your objective and ensure you have a strong relationship to have candid conversations
-this model can work for some startups better than others.
-it also takes longer than you think. At least 2-3x longer.
-Reebok was a great fit because they weren’t just trying to grow a massive innovation team but truly wanted to partner for the benefits of both companies
-one of the biggest challenges for wearables is the barrier for wearability.

The Demand for Seamless Checkout – Michael Gokturk (Payfirma Corporation) and Brian Zisk (Future of Money & Technology Summit)
-no one really likes banks or our credit card companies. The new entrants are forcing encumbents to embrace new tech.
-so far banks just seem to be throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks
-Square made a huge change in the industry and many were forced to follow. If they hadn’t we will still be forced into what are now considered crazy terms.
-simplicity is paramount. Make it easy to onboard the customer. Make it intuitive.
-payments market in NA is 8.5T in payments per year. Square, Braintree and Stripe are making progress but fragmentation will be here for a long time. Bitcoin taking share but also increasing fragmentation. The winner will find a way to bring the players together. But won’t happen for a while as each of the players think they can win. ISIS was cited as an example of the competitive pressures delaying those critical relationships.
-suggesting that moving to biometrics for payments instead of carrying cards or mobile phones. Opportunities to leap frog here.
-frictionless commerce on both sides for customers and vendors
-money all boils down to trust
-talking about NFC and increasing use of it. But realistically it isn’t the tech of the future because it isn’t seamless enough.
-the more convenience we can place behind payment, the more likely people are going to use it. Currency is all virtual these days. Money isn’t transferring anymore but rather just moving bits.
-payments is highly regulated in many ways from security to data storage. We have to find ways to lower the barriers of compliance. Make it easier so we aren’t strangling companies.
-businesses are starting to adopt new solutions for vendors to improve payment timeframes
-99 percent of the value is differentiated. No longer can you just offered the commoditized payments element at the foundation
-the payments market is massive and the incumbents are buying smart companies. Braintree is a great example. These great companies are innovating and instead of being crushed are seeing solid exits.

How to make everything discoverable with the Physical Web – Scott Jenson (Google)
-physical web
-smart devices are a good idea but they all require their own smart app. Does that mean there are dozens and hundreds of apps? It just doesn’t work.
-we are repeating our own history. The same happened with the web. We shouldn’t be dragging apps to the future.
-ibeacon won’t work when you have to install 15 apps.
-there is already an app fatigue amongst consumers.
-smart devices have on and off switches. They have a small amount of info. We need to think differently.
-the web is the ideal tool. Your zipcar could be broadcasting a URL instead of broadcasting data. It solves the problem for installing the app.
-the idea is simple. It takes what we know of the web from the virtual to the physical web. It gets to the interaction of the device you are talking to.
-it changes how you think about data. It changes how small you are willing to go for the data.
-lost the mojo that created the original internet without lock in. Why don’t we think bigger?
-every object has its own url for its own server. There is no lock in. Just like the web today. Open and easy to use.
-broadcast over BTLE (as one possible tool) then use the advertising packet to broadcast the URL. There is a github with all of this as sample code and you can even rank by signal strength.
-the beacon essentially acts like an awesome QR code that people don’t use today
-more and more devices will be on the internet. So another option is to take the url and then create a connection to the url and then the server connects to the vending machine (for example)
-the best is to discover the url and then send down javascript that can talk BTLE direct from your phone to the parking meter (for example)
-it has to be an open web standard. It isn’t ready for consumers yet. It will take time and for people to play with it.

Game of Homes – Chris Hulls (Life360), Ime Archibong (Facebook), Jeff Hagins (SmartThings) and Rafe Needleman (Yahoo Tech News)
-Jeff – the home is a platform because it is just as unique as each person. There isn’t a one size fits all solution. It demands that you have a platform.
-Ime – it is a unique, personal experience. As such the apps need to be personalized.
-Chris – making the home smarter with over 40M people using their product for location sharing amongst families.
-Ime – indifferent about whether the platforms in the house are siloed since they will build on top of all of them. People will bake in a Facebook experience.
-Jeff – worried about silos and proprietary solutions. Wants to ensure that when you invest in a product that even if you shift platforms that those devices will continue to work. The standards around the individual devices is what matters most. It is a bit of the wild west. They provide a catalog so you will know it will work. They want to be sure you get something that works. Look for vendors with that kind of philosophy.
-Chris – there will be one or two strong use cases that will emerge. Thinks that leaving the house turns on your security system, locks the house, turns down the furnace, etc.
-Jeff – energy savings including occupancy based. Emergency disaster such as leaks or serious damage in the home.
-Ime – more focused on personalized elements. Curation by data. Hyper-focused on control around data creates fear. Ensure that customers are making intentional decisions. Make it an active decision to share the data. You don’t want the ones where things are surprising or passively tracked.
-Chris – laziness beats out privacy every single day. The average user doesn’t really think about these things. They take privacy seriously and don’t abuse the data. But the average user wants something to just work.
-Jeff – we believe consumers own the data from their devices and as such need to opt in. Tons of best practices that are still being written. For example, anonymizing data even if there is a breach is important.
-Ime – control is important. Where it goes and how it goes are important. Provides comfort.
-Jeff – carriers and home security companies play an important role with feet on the street. The use cases exist for people who don’t want to do it themselves. Becomes attractive to startups who can help with distribution. But they can also bury you. Most small companies can’t afford to go direct.
-Chris – don’t go to the big guys who will bog you down and wear you down at the start. Stay fast and nimble. But now that you have scale the relationships are structured in a different way.
-Jeff – we stay independent and able to focus on mission for being an open platform. The acquisition doesn’t change that. There is leadership at Samsung where they are investing and acquiring companies who can shift that.

How little “things” make a big difference for the industrial Internet – Christian Sanz (Skycatch), Brett Murray (View, Inc.), and Reza Raji (iControl Networks)
-huge opportunity to play and have fun making products sexy
-after first order benefits are obvious the second order elements become more interesting for fun. What can you do when you cluster many together? Proactively servicing products is even more likely.
-the value people get in construction has to be real time viewing but so much more data is available.
-you now have connectivity and call together disparate items together in fascinating ways.
-but there are hurdles like the FAA or other regulatory agencies. Customer demand will force the laws to change.
-someone else’s regulatory pain is your opportunity. The View product can save you significant energy and get those LEED certifications.
-huge opportunities around securing IoT right now

Everything is Automated! – Rob Coneybeer (Shasta Ventures) and Robert Daley (4moms)
-4Moms makes high tech baby gear by using leading edge tech
-strollers haven’t changed in a long time
-collapses the stroller with the push of a button.
-pack n play like wrestling a drunk octopus. Hilarious quote.
-focus on bringing dedicated robotic platforms rather than humanoid robotics
-price points are higher for these products. If customers aren’t willing to pay more for the innovation it means they aren’t being innovative. Customers have to find value from the product.
-30M in revenue and 140 percent revenue growth rate for the past 5 years. Fastest growing company in Pittsburgh
-lots of robotics research and talent in Pittsburgh. But double edged sword in attracting some talent. Competition for talent is also lower. 190 people with 45 engineers with near zero turn over.
-the biggest challenge was raising money. First rounds were angel money and finally needed VC money but it wasn’t there. Ended up doing a strategic funding deal with their largest competitor before finally getting to Bain.
-spending lots of time doing research for new designs and products. But within any category you need to understand the key attribute. Redefine the category using this key attribute.
-9 months away from shipping the world’s first self-installing car seat. Click it into the latch anchors and it will tension, confirms, latches, etc to ensure it is perfectly safe for use.
-almost 80 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly
-hardware is brutally hard. There are different levels of complexity. Mechatronics is really, really hard. Takes way longer and way more money than you think. Getting the design right on the front end is so critical.

Is Corporate Venture Capital Bringing Sexy Back? – Christine Herron (Intel Capital), Jack Young (Qualcomm Ventures), Mike Dennison (Flextronics) and Dan Martell (Clarity)
-corporate VC is evolving and used to be mid-stage companies. Now changing to even seed stage. The difference is who does VC for an equity play vs doing it to improve their strategy or execution. Flextronics believe it is both.
-Jack – corporates want it both ways. They want to be educated by the startups too.
-Mike – money isn’t enough in many cases. They need support and hep.
Christine – that isn’t any different from VC as a whole though. Same process as VC. If there is value from the corporate then take it. Otherwise compare the money apples to apples.
-signalling issues from corporate investors aren’t any different than traditional VCs. This is also changing over time and disproving it.
-never give a right of first refusal. That’s insane. You should also be careful with information rights.
-make sure you pick the right solution for what you need. Corporates are creating accelerators to increase awareness and speed inside their own orgs.
-is it strategic investing or a true corporate VC? They aren’t the same thing. Acquisitions are more common and strategic investing is more common.
-accelerators are a bubble and in five years many will go away because the numbers just don’t make sense.
-you can’t just whimsically decide to build a corporate VC arm or an accelerator. This takes time to build.
-corporate VC is becoming more and more talked about. 1 out of 6 Intel Capital companies go public which is a great stat.

Reinventing the Internet with Technologies of Tomorrow – Matt Grob (Qualcomm Technologies) and Rob Coneybeer (Shasta Ventures)
-25B in revenue, 31K employees at Qualcomm
-Amazon 37 dollar product which is a mini quadcopter.
-showcased snapdragon rover
-working with startups on how to help give them a technological boost
-smartphones have become the world’s largest platform. Smartphones aren’t going anywhere but Qualcomm continues to look for new areas of growth
-5th gen cellular needs improved security, reliability on top of the standard “faster and cheaper” mantra
-M2M is leading to new requirements for the next generation of wireless networks
-LTE direct allows two devices to connect together. Enables proximate service and ability to privately exchange info.
-more and more work towards peer modes and multi-casting
-robotics is coming very, very quickly. Not just for consumer use cases but even for agriculture (imaging and remote sensing) to give farmers of how much fertilizer to apply
-Qualcomm trying to make it easier with dev boards and printable references for startups
-continuous monitoring for sensors for your health stats is very important. Lots of effort going into the low level to only wake up bigger chips when needed to minimize battery consumption

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