The best part about presenting is the follow-on conversations. I’ve learned a lot through the years from people who’ve heard me speak because their understanding often differs in subtle and important ways from what’s in my head. In the spirit of continuing discussions, here is some food for thought.

Strategies For Startup Success

I first gave this presentation in early 2008 and blogged about it here. It covers some of my ideas on how we should look at startup success and failure. They are by no means unique. I’d like to see more rigorous and more honest and humble thinking by both entrepreneurs and VCs on this topic.

The presentation refers to a video of YouTube founder Jawed Karim that’s worth watching.

Beyond Bootstrapping

I gave this talk at an Amazon Web Services (AWS) event in New York. I’m a big fan of AWS because efficient experimentation is crucial to every evolutionary system. AWS fundamentally lower the startup costs for a potentially large number of online businesses, which makes them a perfect companion to a bootstrapped business. The presentation is based on some thoughts about how entrepreneurs can engage with VCs using The Third Way.

The Dusty Archives

It is always fun to be part of the birth of an industry that matures into something big and it is sometimes educational to look back and take stock at the calls we’ve made about the future back then. I’ve been lucky to have taken part in three such births as an operator. At Allaire we were there at the dawn of the dynamic Web and built the first Web application server, ColdFusion, which ran everything from Priceline to Victoria’s Secret & Toy’R’Us and eventually even MySpace. (I was too busy writing code then to give any presentations.) Then came the XML & Web services wave when structured data started making its way to the Net. I played a role in getting that industry going by inventing one of the first mechanisms for applications to communicate on the Net (WDDX, which back in 1998 also offered the first packaged way to do what we now call AJAX), working with standards organizations such as W3C, OASIS and JCP, and building products such as Apache Axis. Then came the experience Web when rich Internet applications and AJAX became more popular. I can’t claim too much credit there other than developing the initial concepts & writing the initial whitepapers that led to Flex (by the time the product shipped I was already a VC).

I gave the following presentation back in 2004 at one of the Web services conferences. It contains ideas around why Web services brought about a big change in the industry but one that primarily benefited the large established platform players. No surprise that IBM and Microsoft were the biggest proponents of Web services.

Here is the original WDDX presentation I gave more than a decade ago at the XML98 conference in Chicago. It’s a reminder for me about how long it usually takes for the world to change.

Interesting aside: on slide 3, I mis-quote Metcalfe’s Law. Since Bob Metcalfe was one of my partners at Polaris Venture Partners, I sat down with him years later and straightened things out.