Ex-Entrepreneurs and prediction failure

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Mike Arrington and Kevin Rose at Le Web

Do entrepreneurs have a sense of the future? Based on the session at Le Web billed as being about the future they don’t have the first clue. When we spend more time talking about Kevin Rose‘s car collection than the future, we have a smug exited-startup love-in. But lets cut through the dross and find some information in the discussion.

Why do entrepreneurs who have made a good exit still work? Chad Hurley gets up to have fun – life’s too short to sit around. Kevin Rose just doesn’t think about it as work. Niklas Zennstrom loves competition.

Chad Hurley

Hurley is working on AVOS, which has a series of components which allow them to get things off the ground quickly. They have Delicious, and Zeen is coming next – a tool for building online magazines. Delicious was a challenge – they had to rewite the whole codebase and migrate the data. They’ve been focusing on their other products, but are coming back to Delicious, and are hoping to build on the brand with some innovation.

Zennstrom’s Atomico is aiming to be a global investment operation. And Rose is with Google Ventures.

What’s the future? Zennstrom thinks we’re no longer building the technologies- we’re building the products. And the opportunities are in where people connect online.

Hurley is bored of tweeting and liking. The default position is socially sharing everything – but he doesn’t care what his friends are doing – he wants to figure out what he’s doing.

Rose would like to get involved in TV-commerce related stuff, should he go back into entrepreneurship after his “break” from it in Google Ventures.

Niklas Zennstrom

Zennstrom brings up climate change as something not being aggressively addressed enough yet..

Are Google Ventures looking at eco tech? Rose says he’s more involved with early stage startups, and is interested in the quantified self idea, tech that monitors your body and lifestyle. He also suggests that there will be eight to 12 apps we will use every day. You need to figure out what those will be.

Zennstrom thinks that common apps like calendars and address books are still ripe for disruption. Enterprise is too slow still – it’s innovation cycles are very, very long.

Q. Anyone doing anything in education?

A. Rose invested in Treehouse.

Q. Investments in Africa?

A. No.

If these guys have good insights into the future, they didn’t want to share them with us.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.