links for 2011-02-10

  • When Apple's iPad debuted last year, it resurrected a form of computing long thought unworkable, and created entirely new markets for book and news publishers. Attempts by others to follow that lead have lacked the iPad's polish, but Google may have changed the equation by revealing its own take on the tablet experience yesterday. Rather than offering a radical departure from the vision introduced by Apple, the company's tablet-flavored version of its Android mobile operating system—dubbed Honeycomb—brings a handful of slick new user-interface features, designed for the more powerful hardware of a tablet. It also significantly streamlines the experience of installing apps on a tablet.
  • We don’t know which has been more entertaining – watching how venture-backed companies spent their multimillion dollar Super Bowl ad budgets, or how they responded to the controversy created by their commercials. First, there was daily-deal site Groupon Inc.’s grist for the gossip mill regarding a campaign spoofing public service announcements for quite serious causes – such as human rights issues in Tibet. Following public outrage, Chief Executive Andrew Mason issued a statement last night that was more defensive than apologetic, although it does plan to tweak the ads to point to charities supporting philanthropic causes.
  • E-mail is out, social networking is in, and all the advertising in the world can't topple Google, according to the ComScore 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review. The report, which was released on Monday, provides a snapshot of usage trends across the digital space. Perhaps most noteworthy was the shift in e-mail usage, particularly among young people. Total Web-based e-mail use was down eight percent last year, led by a walloping 59 percent drop among 12 to 17 year olds. The second biggest drop was among 25 to 34 year olds (18 percent) and third biggest was among 45 to 54 year olds (12 percent). The only age category to increase its use of e-mail in 2010 was 55 to 64 year olds (up 22 percent), which the report attributed to continuing Internet adoption among that age group.
  • As Erin Kutz wrote about a few weeks ago, my fellow ATG co-founder Jeet Singh and I have recently launched Redstar, a “company that builds other companies.” Unlike most incubators and angel funds, which invest in companies that are already formed or at least well along in the process, Redstar’s goal is to create a stream of valuable startups completely from scratch. If you liken Redstar to a factory (for whatever reason, the startup business is rife with metaphor, so I will beg your forbearance for dragging in a few more by the scruff), then the inputs to our assembly line are essentially three things: ideas, people, and money. In contrast to the archetypal startup story, which invariably features a bolt of Eureka from the blue, we believe that it’s possible and even desirable to create startups more methodically, recruiting talented entrepreneurs and matching them to the ideas, fellow founders, and seed capital necessary to launch.

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