Do you mind google photographing your house?

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More on the privacy debate.

Germany probably leads the world in data protection. Google’s ongoing efforts to photograph all streets and buildings are not going unnoticed. In Germany all homeeowners have the right to opt out of having their home photographed and included in the google maps/site.

This article on the BBC site provides a brief summary of the current situation in Germany.

Startups – what does it take to get funded?

Attended ‘KPMG’s Financing for Innovative Companies’ seminar this morning. Excellent panel of speakers. David Brabazon (CFO Azur Pharma) spoke from the real experience of building something with his two partners in five years. My real take there was their practical approach and their openness to different methods of financing business – through self investment, private equity, VC, wealthy individuals – whatever works in the context of requirements, vision and practical availability. Interesting model – generate commercial revenues before initiating R&D spend.

Niall Olden (Managing Partner Kernel Capital) spoke about many of the investments they have made in the last year in particular. Reminded us that the vast majorities of exits will be trade sales.

Anna Scally (partner KPMG) referenced the work of the Innovation Task force and empathised with some of the frustrations of the entrepreneur community in Ireland.

Barry Maloney (partner Balderton Capital) provided the international VC perspective. Reminded the audience of what they are seeking – and set the expectation for entrepreneurs of being in for a relatively long haul e.g. 7-8 years before any significant exit. Seeking those who want to be ‘rich, not famous’. More seriously, addressed (as did David Brabazon) the requirement for fit between the VC and the entrepreneur.

All in all excellent seminar hosted by KPMG – good contrast between perspective of the entrepreneur and the VCs (local and international).

…and no one pulled their punches – successful exits are the result of many things, but hard work (long hours, commitment to travel and drive) is the sine qua non.

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Future of Television

[facebook_ilike]Thoughtful piece by Tom McGuirk in the Sunday Business Post. Part of an interesting debate in Ireland at present re the value of television presenters (lots of pressure to cut their remuneration further in light of the tough economic climate). Tom takes a different angle: plenty of examples of people being able to step in, at relatively short notice with practically no training, to run chat show time programmes. But his other concern relates to the quality fo the content e.g. a chat show that juxtapositions Tony Blair and Jedward. I drove past the studios that night myself – a confused grouping of Any Blair demonstrators and pro Jedward fans gathered at the entrance.

This all takes place in the context of the ongoing debate about the future of television, newspapers, journalism. Major initiatives from Google, Apple, etc re TV promise a new TV experience, integrated fully with the web – including all the social functionality which has become commonplace on the web.

However think Tom’s final comments may ring true with many of us: ‘ But in the 36 years since I started out, I hope television has also become more accessible and more utilitarian for the viewers and licence payers. There should no longer be any mystery or mystique about it. Already, a new generation are emerging who make their own excellent TV programmes with equipment bought on the main street.

They see TV as merely functional, just another means of expression. Most of the time, television is boring and banal – and the truth is that, as you get older, you will probably enjoy a good book far more.’

data management – professional and amateurs

[facebook_ilike] As we upload more videos and photographs from our vacations to our pcs and/or various cloud based services I am reminded of the ever increasing challenges re data. My own perspective has been very much on semantic technologies and solutuions – ways to remove ambiguity in data on the web (and within the enterprise) in order to enable people to leverage the data more effectively and efficiently.

As individuals we are all becoming more knowledgeable and proficient in data management – no choice when it is all digital anyway. And sites such as facebook, google/ picassa, flickr have taught us all to tag photos and/or content. We are learning how to share data, consolidate records, add social content.

When mypix.com contact me suggesting I may want to print and album some photos I am considering this in the context of the thousands of photos I may now take in any year (from a range of devices).

Interesting piece yesterday arising from the recent purchase of 3Par. On a global level the data management challenge and opportunity is racing ahead. And we are seeing valuations emerge which support this.

Influencers and non influencers

Interesting piece this morning by Lucy Kellaway: Replying to customers on Twitter is listening gone mad.

Ms. Kellaway references Starbucks’ efforts to respond to twitter criticism. She includes reference to her own tweet going unanswered (for at least 20+ hours).

I presume those attempting to monitor and respond to social networking comment re their business will be inclined to apply some form of the 80/20 rule – e.g. deal with a criticism that appears particularly damaging, deal with a criticism from a perceived influencer. Not really any different to dealing with other forms of criticism. It seems to be perfectly logical that criticism from a person with a large following may have to be dealt with first.

To the broader question – are corporates wasting management and/or other time in monitoring and attempting to deal with social networking type criticism I think not. And I think they have little choice but to monitor, assess, rate, learn, address.

It’s still about being professional, being creative

The social network tools and platforms are everywhere. Largely they have improved, become easier to use and their reach has increased hugely e.g. facebook with > 500m users.

But making the tools really work for you continues to require professionalism and creativity.

Was privileged to see Deanna Lee of the New York Public Library present at the BlogTalk 2010 conference in Galway, Ireland last week. Deanna brought wide experience in jouranlism to her role. But the key skills were the thinking, the creativity and the professionalism of the productions and the campaigns.

Worth taking the time to watch her talk – to understand the background to what she was trying to ahcieve and then to see how she achieved her objectives. The videos referenced may also be seen on YouTube e.g. Who You Gonna Call?