Software and Sports

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Software is going to drive everything! I have written about it many times and given examples of many industries that are being disrupted because of the explosion in Software Engineering and the rapid availability of Application Programming Interfaces and Sensor technologies. Here is another example of how software based specialized training is being adopted by High Performance Sports Athletes. Bloomberg‘s coverage of news articleJeremy Lin’s Training Program Aided by Software” shows how a lot of data could be captured, analyzed in real time to tailor make a training program to target an athletes specific need. What I found interesting was the result, in the video, Jeremy Lin was nursing his injured knee and since the NBA season was locked out he worked out at Sparta Performance Science. They helped him work on specific parts of his body and in the end he was able to Jump 3.5 inches higher and 30% quicker in movement than he could before the program. This is an example of how software and data was used to improve a players performance. The Money Ball is an even better story where software and data was used to improve a whole team’s performance. Why is all of this important? I believe we are in this inflection point of Software Technology that things that we thought that were impossible are possible… to improve athletes performance, help people walk or whatever. It is the coming together of Software, Sensors that capture data and the processing power that enables analyzing and visualizing data to understand, learn and improve anything.

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Hackathon: What is it good for?

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have written about the dual definition of the word Hacker or Hacks. We are planning to have a Hackathon for the conference we are organizing in May. If you have not signed up please sign up we are putting together an awesome panel of guests, talks, workshops and of course a hackathon. We have a bunch of surprise announcements as well to support Building a Sustainable Startup Ecosystem in Iceland. Anyways, I digress, the post was about Hackathon. I think Hackathons are awesome tools to validate a hypothesis. This is the new trend! Check out this Wired.com Article with the title “The Hackathon is on: Pitching and Programming the next Killer App“. It is very interesting to see how VC, Tech Recruiters and Angel investors look at Hackathons as a way to spot talent. Hackathons are the new place for scouting talent as it relates to technology and software. I have also written about how Software is going to be the brain that runs all business and the methods employed in Software related companies can transform traditional businesses. Here is an excerpt from the article which is very interesting to see…
The trend has already spread beyond the conventional tech world. There are women-only hackathons, hackathons for teens, hackathons for college students, hackathons to fight autism, hackathons to improve education, hackathons to help veterans, hackathons to build Occupy Wall Street protest tools, hackathons on clean energy, hackathons on grocery shopping in Vermont, and 14 hackathons to troubleshoot water pollution—footage of which was streamed live from nine cities including Bangalore and Nairobi.”
The stakes are going high as well, the Techcruch Disrupt Hackathon winner gets a whopping $250,000 thats a lot of pizzas and beer. I believe the reason why this trend is starting to take off is because, the infrastructure of software the basic plumbing is starting to work as it was intended and many of the solution providers like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, Google, Amazon, Apple etc are making their software available through Application Programming Interfaces (API) and mashing these different API’s together a team has an awesome chance to serendipitously discover the next GroupMe or whatever, That is the promise of hosting Hackathons. I think I have answered my own question 🙂

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Skolapulsinn.is – Mashing Technology, Education and Psychology

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Brian Suda, does not need any introduction in the Icelandic Startup Scene. He also writes a pretty well read blog @optional.is. I stumbled upon this post by Brian on Skolapulsinn.is which he and a couple of other hackers put together for solving a big problem in Schools, to gauge the pulse of the students. Typically this is captured by asking the students through Surveys, but Skolapulsinn.is makes that feedback look much shorter and allows for School Administrator and Teachers to react in real time on what is going in the school system. He has written a very detailed post on this in his blog here. I have to be honest I was not aware that this tool was hacked together in 2008 and has surveyed more than 12000 students, thats pretty impressive data set. I need to talk to Brian today and understand where is this data and what can we learn from it.  I bet you could ask a whole lot of questions and this data can be used to understand the living breathing student community in Iceland in real time. I like how Brain refers to the school system as a living breathing thing rather than a stoic institution. We could ask important questions like how involved are the parents in the school work of the students, because time and time again it has been proven that kids whose parents are more involved with their kids work, make better students. We can actually give a more real-time report card rather than wait for the year to be over or solicit the opinion of the teacher. It is the kid who knows whether their  parents are involved in the home work or not. In addition, we could ask questions about the general feeling of the students to access whether they are feeling positive about school, their self confidence etc. This tools is a fascinating introduction to me and I obviously am going to bug Brian about how this is used in the Icelandic School System. If it is not used, then I want to lobby to the Ministry of Education and get them to use it. We need innovation like this to Tinker and Learn to improve our educational system, after all is’nt Education about Learning?

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Social Media is Not Done! It is just getting started

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Image representing TechCrunch as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

There is a lot of discussion that Social Media is done, what with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and your Mom wanting to start a social media company. I don’t think so, I think like everything else there are leaders and followers. Here is a Techcrunch article titled “Beyond Facebook: Rise of Interest-Based Social Networks” Where the main idea is that there are interest groups forming around specific areas that define the new depth in social networking. I see this possibility with many things. In my view, this is the play of the Long Tail on social media networks. There is going to be a long tail whether we like it or not, will these special interest social networks be as valuable? Not so much but they will derive value for the network that it is defined by and for new members to find them and become part of it. We have already seen this form in Photo Sharing (Instagram.com) Fitness (RunKeeper.com) Finance (StockTwists.com), Gaming (GameHub.com), etc It used to be called User Groups but then again the idea of sharing rich media has made each of these networks more value and the ability to bring the value propositions from the main stream into special interest has also made the margins more valuble. We are starting to understand how all these connection really drive value to traditional businesses as well as new businesses. We can actually measure and validate all our business hypothesis without having to spend tons of money in building things. I have written about this learning before as Validated Learning, Business as a Hypothesis, it is probably the most fascinating time to be an entrepreneur and start a new business because you have so much data to learn from. We never had that! thats why I believe we are not done yet! we are just getting started. Just think about how long it would have taken a new Mediacompany like Techcruch to get started?

Business as a Hypothesis – 5th Meetup

February 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hustle, Bootstrap do what it takes!

February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Business as a Hypothesis – Notes for 5th Lean Startup Session

February 16, 2012 § Leave a comment