Series A crunch – Who’s losing?

If you’ve been following the Series A crunch chatter, you probably saw the McClure interview today on Techcrunch.  My thoughts tend to line up pretty close to Dave on this one.  At a high level I really don’t understand who loses with the given financing environment?

Traditional VC’s?

Their deal flow is more vetted now than ever.  There’s a plethora of early stage startups that have gone through accelerators already.  They’ve got serious data because of it to enable VC’s to make smarter decisions.  I can’t see how any of this is a bad thing for VC’s.


More entrepreneurs are being funded now than ever.  Sure … some hit a wall in a year or 2 … after gaining incredibly valuable experience starting their own thing.  They’ll be worth more on the market when they started up because of it … and last I looked, the tech scene was still paying ridiculous amounts of money for this type of talent.  There’s also plenty of other startups which would make easy landing spots for people who’ve startups have failed.  Sure, more entrepreneurs hearts are gonna be broken, but come on … at least now they’ve had a shot.

which brings me to … 

Other startups

I think if anyone’s losing out it might be other startups.  Simply because the talents being spread out a little bit more thin.  But talents out there.  You might have to get scrappy and look beyond the valley.  But it’s out there.

I’d love to here a great argument of who’s losing out.  Seems like a win win win to me ….


Simplified NSUserDefaults

I use NSUserDefaults all the time for storing simple users settings and application state.  But there’s a whole lotta string literals and a bunch of repeating yourself that takes place.  That sucks ….

So I like to create a category on NSUserDefaults so I can treat it like a concrete class, whose API is enforced by the compiler and autocompleted by Xcode.  Here’s an example of how I use it to track a users email address within my app.  Note the rcast_ prefix.  Always a good idea to prefix your categories to prevent future name collisions.

@interface NSUserDefaults (RCastr)

@property (assign, getter=rcast_userEmail,
           setter=rcast_setUserEmail:) NSString *rcast_userEmail;

#import "NSUserDefaults+RCastr.h"
NSString *const rcastDefaultsKeyUserEmail = @"rcast_userEmail";

@implementation NSUserDefaults (RCastr)

#pragma mark -
#pragma mark Username

- (NSString *)rcast_userEmail {
    return [self stringForKey:rcastDefaultsKeyUserEmail];

- (void)rcast_setUserEmail:(NSString *)userEmail {
    [self setObject:userEmail forKey:rcastDefaultsKeyUserEmail];
    [self synchronize];


That allows me to use user defaults like the following:

    //Set the email address
    NSUserDefaults *defaults = [NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults];
    defaults.rcast_userEmail = @"";

    //Get the email address
       NSUserDefaults *defaults = [NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults];
    if (defaults.rcast_userEmail){
        [FlurryAnalytics setUserID:defaults.rcast_userEmail];

Dead easy change, but much cleaner and far less error prone.

Out of the bubble

It seems that recently my social interactions (digitally and in the flesh and blood) are mostly with tech / startup type folk.  In this circle people like Eric Ries are treated iconically, and IMO, for good reason.  His work with the Leanstartup is amazing.

You sometimes forget how small this little “startup” culture bubble is though.  I was reminded about this recently when perusing twitter:


Eric Ries, with all his accomplishments, and energy he invests in his online presence, has 4/5th the followers as Jordan Eberle and his 48 tweets.  This reminds me both that our little startup clique is actually pretty small … and also that people are pretty nutty about sports and getting into the lives of their favorite players.  Imagine how many people would “follow” Jordan Eberle if he invested 1/10th the energy into his online brand as Eric Reis does.

Hey mom! I’m on CTV National News with Row0

Given they were just as excited about a national news story broadcast from their basement as I was, I owe it to my mom and dad to post the CTV interview … and to clarify that indeed the interview took place from their basement in Gull Lake Saskatchewan.  Very Waynes World – esque … And yup, the Oilers logo is original.  We painted that up some 20 years ago 🙂

My interview with CTV Re: Row0 iPad app for World Junior Hockey Championships.

Why an app for the 2012 World Hockey Championships?

I think there’s a number of opportunities that exist in the digital sports entertainment market; all of which I’m excited to experiment with.  More about some of those ideas here.  It wasn’t too long into thinking about these opportunities that it occurred to us that the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships would be a fantastic event to learn as much as possible about these ideas.  Here’s a few of the reasons.

  • Just enough customer acquisition – The event was held in Edmonton so we could leverage a lot of unfair advantages in getting just enough press to help acquire initial users – Good friends within local media (Edmonton Journal, Oilersnation), the Edmonton Oilers team, management, and radio personalities.  I was very confident in this customer acquisition hypothesis.
  • Customer engagement – The event is held during the holidays, where people have nothing better to do than eat, relax, watch hockey, and consume content on their new iPads.
  • Canada’s a bit off the grid – Ideas are a dime a dozen, true.  But the goal for this experiment is NOT to see if we can take over the world.  We want just enough sport fan users to learn what really drives them.  What they care about.  What engages them.  How and when do they interact with a tablet device?  Being in Canada allows us to be loud in Canada, but not make too much noise elsewhere..
  • The emotion we’re trying to capture –This tournament engages an emotion unmatched by many other sporting events.  It’s hard to describe unless you’ve followed this tournament from Canada, but the tournament brings out an emotion in fans we’re looking to capture and learn as much about.  You just don’t see that emotion in regular season NHL, MLB, or NFL games.

A couple days into the tournament, we’re at about 1000 sports fans using a highly instrumented app.  A good start to getting some really solid data to help enable us make decisions moving forward.