Thinking About Thinking

Cortera: Turning The Business Credit Rating Industry Upside Down

Posted in Economy, Technology, Venture Capital by larrycheng on September 22, 2009

Days like today are one of the reasons I love being in the venture business.  I love investing in companies with great people, doing very innovative things that can completely disrupt large, stodgy industries.  I love the idea of bringing millions of customers and users real value that they couldn’t imagine before.  I love any innovative service that creates transparency, levels the playing field, and lets the little guy win.  It’s all about putting the slingshot in David’s hand – and going after Goliath.  Today, Cortera is doing just that with their launch of the Cortera Credit Exchange at DEMOfall 2009.  Congratulations to the team at Cortera for their amazing effort. 

What does Cortera do?  The most impactful and disruptive innovations are often the simplest.  This is no different.  At its most basic level, Cortera’s service enables any business to rate any other business on how they pay their bills.  We think of it as Yelp for business credit.  In today’s launch, there are already over a million ratings on businesses like yours and mine.  There’s a lot more data on top of the ratings on virtually every company in the United States.  Why is this such a big innovation?  It puts power back in the hands of small businesses around this country in a couple of really critical ways:

Firstly, it enables the voice of the small business to be heard in the business credit world.  Traditionally, commercial credit ratings are driven by payment data contributed from a few thousand large companies.  While Cortera has included that data as well, there are tens of millions of smaller companies whose payment experiences have been left out until now.  On Cortera, the payment rating of a small business matters just as much as the payment rating of a large company.  Any business can go online at Cortera, right now, and enter a payment experience they are having with one of their customers.  The playing field has been leveled. 

Secondly, by leveraging the Internet for user generated ratings, Cortera can now offer commercial credit data for prices unheard of in the business credit industry.  Basic credit information and user ratings are now available for free.  Free is a term that has rarely been uttered in this industry.  And while traditional business credit reports from incumbent vendors can cost $50–$150 per report, you can now subscribe to Cortera for near-unlimited data access for most companies in the United States for as low as $29–$49/month.  This is a game-changing innovation to price structure of the business credit industry. 

Finally, Cortera enables small businesses to build a credit rating based purely on the ratings of its partners and vendors on Cortera.  Lots of small businesses have trouble building credit ratings because the payment data for traditional ratings come from big companies.  What if your business principally works with small companies?  The old model can leave a creditworthy small business on an island.  Now any business can take control of their credit reputation, and build a credit rating on Cortera directly through the feedback of the businesses it works with.  We hope to enhance the credit reputation of millions of small businesses. 

As we all know, it’s credit that makes the economy run.  Every accounts receivable (AR) is a form of credit one business has extended to another.  Every accounts payable (AP) is a form of credit received by one business from another.  Nearly every business on the planet has both AP and AR on their balance sheet.  Business transactions big and small are done on credit every day.  But, how does a business know if the party they are transacting with is credit worthy?  Cortera now makes it drop dead simple and cheap.  Type in the company name on Cortera, click on the right company, and you’re there. 

The world is changing.  You don’t go to a movie without looking at the ratings online.  You don’t go to a restaurant without checking ratings online.  You don’t book a hotel or plan a vacation without pouring over ratings online.  But, you’d give someone 30 day terms on a $50,000 order without checking credit ratings online?  Not any more, not with Cortera.  Congratulations to the entire team at Cortera for introducing a truly disruptive service to an industry in dire need of change. 

(Disclosure: Cortera is a Fidelity Ventures portfolio company, and I sit on the Board of Directors.)

The Most Expensive Commercial Real Estate In The World Is A Place For Computers, Not People

Posted in Pop Culture, Technology by larrycheng on September 16, 2009

These days, you can get great office space in the heart of Boston’s financial district for $40–$60/square foot (maybe cheaper).  If you asked most people where the most expensive commercial real estate is – they might say the West End in London, Central Business District in Hong Kong or Mumbai, or possibly overlooking Central Park in Manhattan.  Rents in these areas can be $200–$400 per square foot.  If you asked people where the most expensive retail space is – they might say Champs-Elysees in Paris, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong or Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Rents on those streets can be $1,000–$1,500 per square foot.  Even those exorbitant rents don’t come close to what *may* very well be the most expensive commercial rental space in the world at $4,000 per square foot.  And this space is not even for people, it’s for computers.

The most expensive commercial real estate in the world may just be an anonymous data center in Chicago which holds the computers powering the big securities exchanges like the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).  Who’s paying for this real estate?  Not the exchanges themselves.  But the new power brokers on Wall Street – high frequency traders.  These traders make a living on computer generated algorithms that fire thousands of trades per millisecond capitalizing on arbitrage opportunities as a security plods its way from being priced at $25.01 to $25.02.  That price change takes time, and in that time, high frequency traders are making a living – and some say a killing. 

Part of the secret sauce of high frequency traders is leveraging the latest and greatest technologies to execute these trades with the utmost intelligence and speed.  But, no matter how intelligent that trade is – it still needs to travel from one computer to another to be executed.  That trade needs to be communicated.  And in the game of electronic communication, nothing can quite take the place of pure proximity between origin server and destination server.  When billions are made on millisecond-level trade throughput, having your server right next to the server that executes your trade is worth a lot more than $4,000 per square foot, it’s priceless. 

Global VC Blog Directory – Ranked By # of Google Reader Subscribers (Sept 2009)

Posted in Technology, Venture Capital by larrycheng on September 8, 2009

This is an old version of the VC Blog Directory.  Click Here for the updated Q409 version:

Global Venture Capital (VC) Blog Directory – Ranked By Monthly Uniques (Q409)

The Global VC Blog Directory (# of Subs)

  1. Guy Kawasaki, Garage Technology Ventures, How To Change The World (24,356)
  2. Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures, A VC (21,881)
  3. Paul Graham, YCombinator, Paul Graham: Essays (16,721)
  4. Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital, Above The Crowd (8,897)
  5. David Hornik, August Capital, VentureBlog (8,037)
  6. Brad Feld, Foundry Group, Feld Thoughts (7,543)
  7. Marc Andreesen, TBD, Blog.pmarca.com (5,727)
  8. Ed Sim, Dawntreader Ventures, Beyond VC (4,162)
  9. Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital, Redeye VC (4,071)
  10. Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Ventures Partners, LSVP (3,512)
  11. Seth Levine, Foundry Group, VC Adventure (1,569)
  12. David Cowan, Bessemer Venture Partners, Who Has Time For This? (1,526)
  13. Christopher Allen, Alacrity Ventures, Life With Alacrity (1,419)
  14. Dave McClure, Founders Fund, Master of 500 Hats (1,417)
  15. Multiple Authors, Union Square Ventures, Union Square Ventures Blog (1,365)
  16. Peter Rip, Crosslink Capital, EarlyStageVC (1,107)
  17. Rick Segal, JLA Ventures, The Post Money Value (1,043)
  18. Mike Hirshland, Polaris Venture Partners, VC Mike’s Blog (1,038)
  19. Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Capital Partners, Seeing Both Sides (1,018)
  20. Mendelson/Feld, Foundry Group, Ask The VC (1,017)
  21. Tim Oren, Pacifica Fund, Due Diligence (924)
  22. Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC, Software Only (878)
  23. Mike Speiser, SutterHill Ventures, Laserlike (869)
  24. Matt McCall, DFJ Portage Venture Partners, VC Confidential (661)
  25. Stu Phillips, Ridgelift Ventures, Soaring on Ridgelift (597)
  26. Eric Friedman, Union Square Ventures, Marketing.fm (572)
  27. Jason Caplain, Southern Capitol Ventures, Southeast VC (531)
  28. Jason Mendelson, Foundry Group, Mendelson’s Musings (522)
  29. Nic Brisbourne, Esprit Capital Partners, The Equity Kicker (517)
  30. Scott Maxwell, Openview Venture Partners, Now What? (483)
  31. Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures, Continuations (477)
  32. Ryan McIntyre, Foundry Group, McInblog (463)
  33. Larry Cheng, Fidelity Ventures, Thinking About Thinking (433)
  34. David Beisel, Venrock Associates, GenuineVC (429)
  35. Raj Kapoor, Mayfield Fund, The VC In Me (415)
  36. Will Price, Hummer Winblad, Will Price (412)
  37. Howard Morgan, First Round Capital, Way Too Early (401)
  38. Dan Grossman, Venrock Associates, A Venture Forth (365)
  39. Mark Suster, GRP Partners, Both Sides of the Table (355)
  40. Christine Herron, First Round Capital, Christine.net (354)
  41. Baris Karadogan, Com Ventures, From Istanbul to Sand Hill Road (349)
  42. Fred Destin, Atlas Venture, Fred Destin’s Blog (343)
  43. Rob Day, @Ventures, Cleantech Investing (323)
  44. David Feinleib, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Tech, Startups, Capital, Ideas. (319)
  45. Saul Klein, Index Ventures, LocalGlo.be (315)
  46. Vineet Buch, BlueRun Ventures, Venture Explorer (313)
  47. Ouriel Ohayon, Lightspeed Gemini Internet Lab, MYBLOG by Ouriel (307)
  48. Bijan Sabet, Spark Capital, Bijan Sabet (296)
  49. Steve Jurvetson, DFJ, The J-Curve (274)
  50. Philippe Botteri, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cracking the Code (263)
  51. Andrew Parker, Union Square Ventures, The Gong Show (257)
  52. Mark Peter Davis, DFJ Gotham Ventures, Venture Made Transparent (237)
  53. Rob Finn, Edison Venture, Ventureblogalist (236)
  54. Marc Goldberg, Occam Capital, Occam’s Razor (233)
  55. Allen Morgan, Mayfield Fund, Allen’s Blog (231)
  56. James Chen, CXO Ventures, PureVC (228)
  57. Daniel Cohen, Gemini Israel Funds, Israel Venture Capital 2.0 (223)
  58. David Aronoff, Flybridge Capital Partners, Diary of a Geek VC (222)
  59. Max Bleyleben, Kennet Partners, Technofile Europe (219)
  60. Jason Ball, Qualcomm Ventures Europe, TechBytes (213)
  61. Jeremy Levine, Bessemer Venture Partners, Nothing Venture, Nothing Gained (210)
  62. Rob Hayes, First Round Capital, Permanent Record (206)
  63. Michael Eisenberg, Benchmark Capital, Six Kids and a Full Time Job (194)
  64. Pascal Levensohn, Levensohn Venture Partners, pascalsview (193)
  65. Chris Fralic, First Round Capital, Nothing To Say (187)
  66. Sagi Rubin, Virgin Green Fund, The Grass is Greener (182)
  67. Richard Dale, Sigma Partners, Venture Cyclist (176)
  68. Steve Brotman, Silicon Alley Venture Partners, VC Ball (167)
  69. Dan Rua, Inflexion Partners, Florida Venture Blog (160)
  70. Paul Fisher, Advent Venture Partners, The Coffee Shops of Mayfair (159)
  71. John Ludwig, Ignition Partners, A Little Ludwig Goes A Long Way (157)
  72. Sarah Tavel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Adventurista (156)
  73. Martin Tobias, Ignition Partners, Deep Green Crystals (152)
  74. Stewart Alsop, Alsop-Louie Partners, Alsop-Louie Partners (150)
  75. Rob Go, Spark Capital, Rob Go Blog (148)
  76. Matt Winn, Chrysalis Ventures, Punctuative! (148)
  77. Ho Name, Altos Ventures, Altos Ventures Musings (147)
  78. George Zachary, Charles River Ventures, Sense and Cents (145)
  79. Jacob Ner-David, Jerusalem Capital, VC In Jerusalem (144)
  80. Kent Goldman, First Round Capital, The Cornice (144)
  81. Satya Patel, Battery Ventures, Venture Generated Content (140)
  82. Ed Mlavsky, Gemini Israel Funds, GOLB: Is This Israel? (139)
  83. Michael Greeley, Flybridge Capital Partners, On The Flying Bridge (138)
  84. Rich Tong, Ignition Partners, Tongfamily (136)
  85. Sid Mohasseb, Tech Coast Angels, Sid Mohasseb (133)
  86. Rachel Strate, EPIC Ventures, Wasatch Girl (129)
  87. Marc Averitt, Okapi Venture Capital, OC VC (128)
  88. Peter Lee, Baroda Ventures, Seeing Eye To Eye (128)
  89. Mo Koyfman, Spark Capital, Mo Koyfman (127)
  90. Justin Label, Bessemer Venture Partners, Venture Again (126)
  91. Ted Driscoll, Claremont Creek Ventures, Evolving VC (126)
  92. Adam Fisher, Bessemer Venture Partners, Savants in the Levant (124)
  93. Gregoire Aladjidi, Techfund Europe, Investing In What’s Next (123)
  94. Todd Dagres, Spark Capital, Todd Dagres Tumblelog (123)
  95. Multiple Authors, Foundry Group, Foundry Group (121)
  96. Santo Politi, Spark Capital, This and That (121)
  97. Multiple Authors, True Ventures, Early Stage Capital (120)
  98. Lee Hower, Point Judith Capital, Venturesome (118)
  99. Robert Goldberg, Ridgelift Ventures, Tahoe VC (117)
  100. Multiple Authors, Highway 12 Ventures, Highway 12 Ventures Group (109)
  101. John Abraham, Arrowpoint Ventures, JMA’s Views On Everything (105)
  102. David Dufresne, Desjardins Venture Capital, Dav-Generated Content (101)
  103. Brad Burnham, Union Square Ventures, Unfinished Work (100)
  104. Charles Curran, Valhalla Partners, VC Blog (99)
  105. Brian Hirsch, Greenhill SAVP, New York VC (99)
  106. Max Niederhofer, Atlas Venture, Life In The J Curve, baby (97)
  107. Multiple Authors, Brightspark Ventures, Let the Sparks Fly! (97)
  108. Jon Seeber, Updata Partners, Jon’s Ventures (96)
  109. Todd Klein, Legend Ventures, Media VC (96)
  110. Adi Pundak-Mintz, Gemini Israel Funds, Adisababa’s Weblog (95)
  111. Don Rainey, Grotech Ventures, VC in DC (94)
  112. Art Marks, Valhalla Partners, Entrepreneurial Quest (90)
  113. Multiple Authors, Founders Fund, Founders Fund (90)
  114. Rob Schultz, IllinoisVENTURES, Go Big or Go Home (88)
  115. Allan Veeck, Pittsburgh Ventures, Pittsburgh Ventures (87)
  116. Greg Foster, Noro-Moseley Ventures, SouthernVC (83)
  117. Tony Tjan, Cue Ball Capital, Anthony Tjan (69)
  118. Cem Sertoglu, iLab Ventures, SortiPreneur (67)
  119. Ryan Spoon, Polaris Venture Partners, ryanspoon.com (67)
  120. Larry Marcus, Walden Venture Capital, Walden Venture Capital (32)
  121. Anupendra Sharma, Siemens Venture Capital, So Little Time, So Much… (25)
  122. Steve Jurvetson, DFJ, Uploads from Jurvetson (25)
  123. Jeff Joseph, Prescient Capital Partners, Venture Populist (21)
  124. Gil Dibner, Genesis Partners, TechTLV (18)
  125. Multiple Authors, Tech Capital Partners, Tech Capital Partners Blog (15)
  126. David B. Lerner, Columbia Seed Fund, David B. Lerner (12)
  127. Simon Olson, DFJ-Fir Capital, Venture Capital Thoughts and Reflections (11)
  128. Derek Pilling, Meritage Funds, Non-Linear VC (8)
  129. Josh Sookman, RBC Ventures, Ubiquitous Startups and the VC (6)
  130. Vishy Venugopalan, Longworth Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners Blog (2)
  131. Chip Hazard, Flybridge Capital Partners, Hazard Lights (new)

If you know of any other VC blogs, please put the URL in the comment field.  It will be included no later than the next quarterly update.

What Happens To Copyright?

Posted in Pop Culture, Technology by larrycheng on July 20, 2009

I have been thinking a bit lately about the tension between copyright law and the proliferation of self-publishing online.  How do you protect your copyright when any work can be copied or transcribed within a second of its unveiling and published around the world by any average Joe with a cell phone and a twitter account?  It’s a question I’ve been asking without clear answers so far (but would love to hear your thoughts).

Check out what the US Copyright Office says copyright law protects: “original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.”  Stop and think about the level of technology disruption and subsequent business model innovation in some of the areas listed – music, movies, books, software, etc.  If you want to find industries rich with innovation – you could just pick the industries that the US Copyright Office is trying to protect and go from there.

I wonder what copyright law will look like and how it will be used 10–20 years from now.  Right now, each industry and each author has to decide how they will react to technologies that are seemingly threatening their core asset.  It seems there are two broad options – (1) try to protect your work under copyright law as you always have or (2) embrace technology and adjust your model.  History seems to suggest that banking on #1 is an uphill battle because you’re on the wrong side of technology innovation – just ask the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).  Option #2 requires vision and courage to change your industry by leaving old models behind.

Another way to put decision matrix for authors is: do you want to own the content or do you want to own the community?  If you want to own the content, you protect it with all your might.  If you want to own the community, you may need to put your content out there and let people around the world engage with it (a great example of this in education is MIT Open Courseware).  Both are legitimate options.  But, one possible ironic consequence of pursuing the second option is that by giving away or opening up your content, you may end up inheriting more valuable content which is the feedback and engagement of the broader community.  In effect, you might just give up one asset to create one that is far more valuable.

Who Drives Web Traffic?

Posted in Technology by larrycheng on June 22, 2009

In recent blog posts by Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital, they have talked about how twitter and facebook (e.g. social media) will surpass Google in driving traffic to websites and blogs.  In fact, Bijan shows direct data on how 17.8% of his blog traffic comes through twitter (his top referrer).  I think the topic they both raise is a very interesting one because whoever drives traffic on the web sits on a very valuable piece of real estate.  And, if there are wholesale shifts going on, then it’s truly noteworthy.

The question I asked myself after reading their posts nearly in tandem is whether their experience of who drives traffic to their blogs is perhaps unduly influenced by the fact that they are both twitter investors and are fully invested on the twitter platform.  I decided to look at my own blog traffic to see if I saw the same trends given that I consider myself an active twitter (~1,850 followers) and facebook user.  Here’s the most recent data:

Top 10 Referrers – Last 30 Days (# of visits, % of all referred visits, % of all visits):

  1. TechCrunch (3,748, 57.2%, 22.0%)
  2. PEHub (630, 9.6%, 3.7%)
  3. Google Reader (603, 9.2%, 3.5%)
  4. news.ycombinator.com (555, 8.5%, 3.3%)
  5. twitter (447, 6.8%, 2.6%)
  6. 37Signals.com (167, 2.5%, 1.0%)
  7. WSJ.com (164, 2.5%, 1.0%)
  8. Delicious (113, 1.7%, 0.7%)
  9. Boston.com (64, 1.0%, 0.5%)
  10. Altgate.com (62, 0.9%, 0.4%)

Over the last 30 days, this blog has had 17,034 overall visits and 6,550 referred visits.  Here are some of my observations on the data with all due consideration for the fact that this is only one website in a massive universe of sites:

  • Vertical content sites beat general content sites. Though this blog has been written about twice in the online version of WSJ.com and twice in print and online versions of the Boston Globe, those outlets don’t drive nearly the traffic that vertical blogs/news sites like TechCrunch and PEHub do.  And this blog has only been written about once in TechCrunch and twice in PEHub.  Hence, despite the fact that there have been more articles on this blog in WSJ.com and Boston.com than TechCrunch and PEHub, the latter two have driven nearly 20x more visitors than the former two.
  • Other blogs matter.  It’s also worthy to note that the corporate blog for 37Signals, a very successful young company, and Altgate.com drove as much traffic as WSJ.com and Boston.com.
  • Organic traffic still looms large so SEO matters.  61.5% of the traffic was organic which means that SEO matters.  I noticed a major change in organic search result placement for this blog after the TechCrunch article.  The blog went from nowhere to the top 3 on Google when you search “top VC blogs”.  In fact the other two sites in the top 3 are referencing this blog.
  • Social voting sites have been more impactful than other social media sites. Ycombinator and Delicious are social news/bookmarking sites.  They have driven more traffic than twitter and facebook by about 50%.  Ycombinator is also a vertical content site further reinforcing the first point.

While it’d be foolish to discount the rise of twitter and facebook as important channels for web content delivery, it’d be equally foolish to underestimate the stalwarts like Google or solid vertical content sites and blogs.  No matter how you look at it though, the tectonic plates underlying web content distribution are shifting.  It’ll be interesting to see who the winners are 5 years from now.

Simplicity Is Hard

Posted in Technology by larrycheng on June 9, 2009

For every consumer or mass market company I have invested in – there has been one consistent product management theme: simplicity.  While many competitors try to build in more capabilities, more functionality, more content, more, more, more – the winners tend to be incredibly skilled at keeping things very simple.  It plays itself out again and again, you don’t have to be first to market, nor the most full featured, not even the most attractive – you just have to be the simplest.  Some examples:

  • SurveyMonkey is the market leader in the online surveying space.  They have barely touched the product in 5 years.  There are hundreds of online surveying options but they continue to dominate because they are the simplest. 
  • Craigslist is drop dead simple, and I’d argue drop dead ugly.  But, they are the market leader in online classifieds because of the former, not the latter.
  • I just got the Flip UltraHD video camera.  It’s the perfect example of out of the box simplicity.  They are not the only digital video camera, but they are the only one that Cisco bought for $590M.
  • You can’t talk simplicity and not talk about all the Apple products – Mac, iPod, iPhone.  Again and again, not the first to market, but just the simplest. 

Over the years, I have come to appreciate that building a product, service or application that is defined by its simplicity is extraordinarily hard.  It takes real talent and ingenuity to create simplicity.  And once you have achieved it – it is as real a barrier to entry as a slew of patents or technical secret sauce.  Simplicity is that valuable. 

What’s Next In Tech? (probably part I)

Posted in Technology, Venture Capital by larrycheng on May 14, 2009

In preparation for the What’s Next In Tech conference, I thought I’d submit my thoughts on What Next?  Rather than submit a laundry list of ideas, I thought I’d focus on one of my favorites and give it a little more due.  One thesis that I’ve had is that information will lead to step-function improvements in business (and consumer) applications.  I think there will be fewer breakthroughs in raw application functionality, but the great breakthroughs will be the type of information consumed, processed, and delivered by these applications.

First, let’s look at what we at Fidelity Ventures like to call the train tracks.  The analogy we use is that the train tracks have to be laid, before the trains can run.  You can have the most beautiful trains on the planet, but if there are no tracks to run on, there’s no point.  So, here are just some of the tracks being laid for the continued explosion of available information:

  • Cost per MB of storage has come way down.
    • 1956: $10,000
    • 1984: $87.86
    • 1994: $0.95
    • 2004: $.001
  • Breakneck growth of web pages
    • 1998 Google index: 26 million web pages
    • 2000 Google index: 1 billion web pages
    • 2008 Google index: 1 trillion web pages
  • Continuation of Moore’s law (# of transistors/IC) impacts processing speed, memory capacity, etc.
    • 1971: 2,300
    • 1990: 1,000,000
    • 2000: ~50,000,000
    • 2008: ~1,000,000,000
  • Growth in Internet connection bandwidth
    • Dial-up: 56 kbit/s
    • T1: 1.544 Mbit/s
    • Ethernet: 10 Mbit/s
    • 802.11g: 54 Mbit/s
    • Gigabit Ethernet: 1000 Mbit/s
  • Other data points that I couldn’t quickly find information on:
    • Growth in amount of information in corporate databases
    • Projected broadband and fiber penetration growth (it’s growing)
    • Growth in digital video, audio, and images

So, the tracks are laid for information to be stored, assimilated, processed, structured, extrapolated, and delivered.  The question is what kinds of problems will information revolutionize?  I’ll toss out some ideas but you can basically pick any business or consumer vertical, and I think it will be materially impacted by information.

  • Manufacturing. As manufacturers spec products, their bill of materials will be dynamically priced based on real-time global pricing information delivered to their CAD systems as they manipulate their CAD drawings.
  • Retail. Pricing on products of all kinds will become more dynamic based on real-time feeds of pricing data coming from local and global data sources and non-linear info like real-time weather.  Coupons will also be dynamic based on real-time in-store sales information.
  • Insurance. The way risk for any given type of insurance will be driven by the triangulation of non-linear information which to date hasn’t been possible.  For example, a great predictor of a bad driver is having bad credit.
  • Credit Information. Revolutions take down old stodgy incumbents.  Say goodbye to Fair Isaac’s FICO score – completely dated.  A new credit bureau will emerge to challenge the Big 3 and a new business info company will challenge Dun & Bradstreet.
  • Human Resources. Hiring will entail more mathematical processing.  Models will be created around a myriad of different jobs and be used to predict success (such as Unicru).  HR will embrace math, like….
  • Sports. It’s already started.  30 year-old quant jocks will run sports.  In 5–10 years?  20 year-old quant jocks will take over.
  • Fashion. The idea of merchandisers and designers going on shopping trips and runway shows for inspiration will be antiquated.  Doing physical idea boards will go by the wayside.  It’s already started.
  • Trading. Information enables trading of just about anything and everything.
  • Automation.  Whether it’s robotic vacuums, unmanned aerial vehicles, automation of the warehouse, etc.  Information will lead to automation in all sorts of applications.
  • Many, many, others…

So, that’s one or many ideas on What’s Next In Tech.  Hopefully I’ll see you at the conference June 25th in Boston.  If you know any great companies along these lines, don’t hesitate to drop me a note – larry (@) fidelityventures.com or @larryvc on twitter.