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Tag Archives: startup

My take on Startups’ Long Roadmaps

Back in November 2011, Fred Wilson wrote an interesting post on “Long roadmaps”. Good insight, good comments discussion too. Interesting to read about Foursquare development plans by the way.
A month later, I visited a friend in Lille (France) who is building a startup, Biztoo. It is a web service to build relations between local businesses and their customers. For a few months now my friend Guillaume and I, we have been discussing his ideas, what he is building, what he has in mind. Now that the v1.1 is out, he explained to me his vision for Biztoo’s roadmap and where he is heading. V1.2 is around the corner and a text file on his PC has every ideas listed for v2.0: xxx, v3.0: yyy… Step by Step developments and requirements based on the previous additions. 

I was impressed by his ideas defined so early in the creation of the young web service (not even a year old). However, I believe it is hard to stick to the one ideal path founders have in mind. Take the example of great business with successful story today, but it faced a bumpy road a few months back (Fab Forward: How Found a Niche in a Design Deal Social Hub). 

Through a random usage of Shazam, I thought about the “Long Roadmap” blog post mentioned above: recently I used Shazam to find the song below as I am bad at knowing song’s titles and authors!


So now regarding this post, what’s the connection between Fred Wilson “Long Roadmaps” post, my friend’s development plans for its growing website, and Shazam? 

As mentioned above, I used Shazam to know the tittle of “Boney M – Rasputin”. That’s when I discovered LyricPlay:


I always thought Shazam was great, had a huge potential, was loved by everyone, and generated an enormous positive word of mouth. However, I was never sure how they would turn that great idea into a profitable service considering that I expected most users not being willing to pay for the service (Recently Shazam announced it was bringing back unlimited free music tagging after trying a freemium strategy). 

When I used Shazam’s LyricPlay for the first time, it started to display the lyrics on my smartphone’s screen, scrolling up StarWars Intro style, synchronized to the music, I was excited about the discovery. That’s when it stroked me: when the makers of the Shazam smartphone App created it, they started doing the basic: just the tagging. I would bet they already had in mind all the potential ramifications: iTunes links, social friends’ tags, Artist Tour info, Youtube Videos, and synchronised Lyrics! 

I think LyricPlay is a great experience. Shazam was a good utility to have in his pocket 24/7 but now it is also becoming fun. I guess adding some fun to a business model is never a bad thing to attract new customers and make them have a good time while using the service. 

There are great entrepreneurs out there, they have great ideas and are building great things. We are just at the beginning of some good stuff coming our way; Entrepreneurs minds are flourishing with exciting stuffs we can’t imagine yet! 

Ps: I personally started using Shazam in August 2009. I thought it was a brand new service however it has been running since 2002! Would have you thought?!

Barcelona 2.0

I lived in Barcelona as a kid, from 1990 to 1993. I only have good memories of this period. I love the city, I love the culture, I love the people.
I lived there as my mother was transferred there for work. She asked to be transferred there because as a kid she lived there. It is a family thing.
And talking about family, my godmother is half french, half catalan, half spanish, and half andorran. Yes 4 halves, long story!
Therefore I have history there, friends as well as family.
Barcelona is that great city where I grew up, where I went back to do my Master of Science in 2006, and a fun place where to enjoy life.
However, I never saw it as a big digital media place.
Now that I spent a year in New York, I can compare the 2 cities. They are many things they have in common

  • The sea / the Ocean (only rivers in Paris / London)
  • Cheap cab rides
  • Easy access to the airport (compared to nightmare London or Paris)
  • Fast commute from 1 side of the city to the other – out of rush hours (take notes London!)
  • Bars, restaurants and lounges open late at night (Take notes again London!)
  • Fashion
  • Media
  • Savings banks
  • World top business schools (ESADE & IESE / Columbia and NYU)
  • Sport clubs dedication and rivalries (FC Barcelona vs RCD Espanyol / NY Giants vs NY Jets; NY Yankees vs NY Mets)
  • Big Telecom Media or Tech events: for instance Mobile World Congress 2012 for Barcelona, while New York has Web 2.0 Expo
  • Startup communities growing


And this is the point that interests me the most here, digital media startup communities. For instance, New York City has Gilt Group, Barcelona has Privalia; Barcelona has Groupalia, New York City has big offices for Google Offers, Groupon or LivingSocial. Having said that, I must state that Privalia and Groupalia are owned by the same people.
I did some researches recently, which led me to discover Nauta Capital, a Venture Capital fund as Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, Accel Partners and so on… It is established in Barcelona and Boston. It is also an investor in Privalia and Groupalia.
The connection can also be seen on political angles: NYC Mayor Bloomberg wants to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the city that never sleeps (read NYC Venture Connect to see events in NYC for that matter). For Barcelona, local authorities also want to help entrepreneurs to establish their new businesses in the Catalan capital, check Barcelona Net Activa.
Good reading on the Barcelona 2.0 subject: August 2011
Old but interesting TechnoCalifornia blog post from 2009