Friday, 19 July 2013

Vint Cerf - What high-tech startups need to be focussed on

The Guardian has just published a keynote discussion from their "Activate London Summit 2013". Its a conversation between Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google and Jeff Jarvis, professor, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. After a brief introduction, Jeff steers the conversation in the direction of online privacy, the internet of things, Google Glass, and the future of libraries. I have met and talked with Vint at several conferences. He is such a wise man and very approachable. He promised to follow-up on a suggestion I gave at LIFT in Geneva, and within days he had done just that, bringing me into contact with exactly the organisations I was looking for. So I find his thoughts and visions on what could happen next to be more than relevant when the media is all buzzing about privacy, Edward Snowden and his NSA revelations, and whether we can trust the cloud. For some reason the Guardian Media Network has not released this video for embedding, so you have to watch it on the Guardian site. It is here. Well worth the 18 minutes.

Vint Cerf also offers his perspective on re-imagining the media and government. May be the interview will encourage you to rediscover what Vint has said elsewhere recently. I also include the LIFT conference video where I first came into contact with the great man. 

Note how he stimulates you to think about what still needs to be done. The companies in Silicon Valley are still very much focussed on social and communications (mainly tablets and phones). What excites me about other places in the world, like Eindhoven. is what they are doing with the Internet of Things. As Vint explains in the Guardian interview. Passive Products are becoming active services. And the high-tech startups are the people really moving the boundaries. That's why I have become involved with Startupbootcamp HightechXL. It is clearly where both science and finance are converging. 

Because VC's are always searching for scalable ideas, in the one-billion dollar range, those teams working with both hardware as well as software solutions has a distinct advantage. Yes, the initial risk is higher. But so are the rewards.