Tech + Gadgets
Yoky Matsuoka, VP of Technology at Palo Alto-based Nest Labs, which makes a smart, energy-efficient home thermostat, didn’t follow a conventional path on her journey to the center of Silicon Valley.
She grew up in Japan, the only child of parents whose idol was tennis star John McEnroe. She herself was a nationally ranked tennis player when injuries forced her to choose a different path – robotics.
Now the kids are back in school, homework once again hovers over their heads like a large dark cloud – scary and threatening.
Even the best students complain about homework some of the time – it’s too hard, there’s too much of it, or they just can’t figure out this or that problem – often in math or science.
Not a lot of things have been going right lately for Zynga, the big social game-maker headquartered at 8th and Brannan Streets, after a disappointing quarterly earnings report, a stock price falling below $3/share, and difficulties connected to its close integration with Facebook.
But a bright spot in the midst of all this was the launch of the latest game in its ‘Ville series, ChefVille, earlier this month. It quickly became the most popular game on Facebook.
Around a year ago, we started following the fortunes of a pair of young East Bay entrepreneurs–Eva Sasson and Justin Mardjuki–as they launched their company, TappMob, run by college students, for college students.
Earlier this week, I caught up with them just as they were about to return for their junior years at Barnard College (Columbia), and the Wharton School (Penn).
They’ve expanded their team to “around fifteen” at colleges around the country, including Stanford and U-C, Berkeley, and have just launched a new product, TappBooks.
Up until very recently, creating interactive, multimedia stories of professional quality has been difficult and time-consuming. But that started changing this summer when Meograph launched.
Meograph helps you quickly assemble rich media in an interface that resembles a video player, based on a series of simple prompts, such as who, what, when and where.
If you have the impression that information overload may be becoming a problem for you in this digital age, listen to Robby Walker, co-founder and CTO of Cue.
“Is there is too much information out there? Yes there is,” says Walker. “We sampled how much digital information enters the average person’s life each day, and we found that it averages 63,000 words per day.”
When it comes to furniture shopping, lots of retailers come to mind – Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, IKEA, Williams-Sonoma, plus a whole host of others.
In fact, the furniture industry is so highly fragmented that the top 12 retailers nationally only control a cumulative 12.6 percent of the market.
In addition, a long complicated supply chain stretching in many cases from manufacturing plants in China and elsewhere in Asia and involving multiple middlemen, helps to inflate the cost of each piece of furniture substantially by the time it reaches you, the consumer.
If ever there were an industry ripe for disruption, it would be the fashion industry. Long ruled by a clique of insiders, who presumed they knew best what new styles you would buy; it’s been, in the words serial entrepreneur Jon Fahrner, a “historically closed industry.”
Central to how that industry functions is Fashion Week, which happens twice a year in the major fashion capitals of the world – New York, Paris, London and Milan.
These, of course, have been exclusive events attended by industry insiders, with little access for the public – until recently.
It’s a natural fit, because this is the startup that has been connecting many of those individual street vendors – people with a food stand or cart in the Mission, a truck, a pop-up café, or a stand at the Farmers Market – with the businesses downtown ordering meals for their employees.