Tales from Startup Alley: invoiceASAP

I’ve been to many, many trade shows and conferences over the years. TechCrunch Disrupt is the first I’ve attended that’s devoted to startups.

You notice differences.

No security detail of marketing and PR staffers who hover around a sprawling booth that has its own zip code. No rock wall. No laser light shows. No roboticized, soulless pitches.

At Disrupt, the startups run lean: there’s a table, the product, and the CEO or CTO him- or her-self enthusiastically handling the foot traffic.

That was the case with invoiceASAP. They have a tablet app for the small business marketplace that I am completely charged up about.Continue reading

Parlor.fm Launched at TechCrunch Disrupt

I  get a small thrill out of finding voice-oriented apps in these normally data centric startup events. That was the doubly the case with Parlor.fm, which launched its smartphone software earlier today at TechCrunch Disrupt.

After years of having been traumatized by partially cooked “unified communication” software from the legacy PBX makers, it’s reassuring for me to see a well-designed, perfectly intuitive app that uses voice as the foundation.Continue reading

TechCrunch Disrupt: The Secret to Entrepreneurial Success

I ducked into the “What Makes Great Entrepreneurs Great” session this morning and listened to Michael Arrington and Ron Conway explore and mull over a survey results collected from over 300 startups during a ten-year period.

The conclusions were not totally surprising. The ideal startup is one in which there are multiple founders all under the age of 30.

This holds very true for ventures that exit with a $25 million and over valuation, and more so for ones lucky enough to reach the $500 million mark.

In some ways, these startups parallel the success arc of a good ball club: youth and teamwork, at least among the originators.Continue reading

Live from NY: TechCrunch Disprupt’s Hackathon

This was a NYC-class hack gathering: a big stage set up in the large Pier 94 hangar, enormous video screens, an enthused audience, and more demos than there were lights on Broadway.

With a long line of hackers waiting to be guided to the appropriate demo computer on the crowded dais, TechCrunch staffers I think must have consulted the New York Department of Transportation for traffic management tips.

I had my own traffic problems of a more traditional kind: a massive jam up on the West Side highway prevented me from seeing two of the eventual winners—Gilt-ii and Docracy. Continue reading

TechCrunch Disprupt Is Back in Town

A year  later, I’m still smarting over the loss of UJAM, the software that makes music from off-pitch voices, to Soluto, the (gasp) Windows utility at last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt.

The show is back in town May 23 – May 25 at Pier 94.  Startup battlefield, lots of A-list speakers (Armstrong, Crowley, Dixon, Conway), and a hackathon.Continue reading

Soluto: The Windows Whisperer

I had allocated a small slice of my attention span to keeping tabs on the TechCrunch Disrupt startup battlefield earlier this week.  I was wowed by UJAM, and thought  they would surely come away with first place.

The judges instead chose Soluto, a company that sells  “anti-frustration” software for Windows owners.

Curiousity got the better of me, and I downloaded Soluto onto my aging Dell Dimension Tower to see what got the judges excited.

Disclosure: I recently purchased an Apple MacBook Pro because my long standing aggravation with Windows had reached a breaking point.  I had made a vow to not spend another dollar on upgrading my Microsoft-Dell productivity killer.

Soluto is a slickly designed utility that analyzes your bootup sequence— I had initially 47 apps in mine—and visually explains what processes are needed and what can be removed.

Bottom line:  After letting Soluto tame my unruly Windows bootup, I’m willing to spend more quality time with Windows XP.Continue reading