free html hit counter NewCo Archives - Page 3 of 3 - John Battelle's Search Blog

My Schedule For NewCo New York 2015

By - April 09, 2015

NYCNewCoGrabHave you ever been to a music festival, and found yourself overwhelmed by too many great choices? Look at Coachella, for example. There are six stages to chose from. On Friday, how are you supposed to pick between Alabama Shakes and Lykke Li? I love ’em both. There’s Alt-J playing at the same time as Glass Animals, and Fitz & the Tantrums going up against Florence & The Machine.

Not fair.

That’s exactly how I feel about picking my schedule for next month’s NewCo New York. The lineup is 125 companies strong, and I can only see a total of ten (five each day). Yet picking your schedule is part of the magic of NewCo – it’s a supremely individual set of choices, but once you commit, you know you’re going to get to hang with hundreds of like-minded souls who made the same choices you did.

So here are my picks for NewCo NYC 2015:

Day 1: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5:30 pm: VIP Kickoff

This is the official NewCo kickoff party, featuring founders and CEOs hand-picked to present their unique New York stories. The venue is The New School’s awesome new building in the Flatiron/Union Square district. Speakers include the Founders and/or CEOs of Betaworks, Mic, Roadify, BioLite, BarkBox and Gimlet. You need a Platinum Pass to get into the kickoff, but it’s a steal at $150 and includes unlimited access to all the other festival sessions, including the killer party at the end.

Day 2: Wednesday, May 13, 2015

10:00 am: CartoDB – CartoDB is an intriguing mapping company located in Brooklyn, where we’re focusing the first full morning of NewCo New York. Location is the king of signals in the mobile economy, and I’m looking forward to learning what makes CartoDB unique compared to Apple, Google, and others. I know one thing for sure: CartoDB’s crowd-driven approach to the world is inspiring and very NewCo. CEO and founder Javier de la Torre is presenting, and given the intimate nature of NewCo sessions, I know I’ll get a chance to say hello.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Atavist, Atlas Obscura (I’m an investor in both), and VaynerMedia (Gary is a NewCo advisor). 

11:30 am Bark & Co. I don’t have a dog, but I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t see a few at Bark’s HQ. Subscription commerce is hot, and these folks are leaders in the field. I’m psyched to meet co-founders Henrik Werdelin and Melanie Travis as well.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Bloomberg, BioLite, and Roadify. 

1:00 pm General Assembly General Assembly is redefining education, and with a full month to go till the event, the session is full. You can only get in if you buy a Diamond Pass, which lets you “jump the line” and get in despite the session’s sold out status. Co-founder Brad Hargreaves is leading the session, which will focus on the 21st century job market, something near and dear to the NewCo narrative.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: The New School, Evol8tion, Percolate, Keep. 

2:30 pm Refinery 29 – Another session that’s already at Diamond status – which tells you that Refinery 29 is a hot company in a very hot market. Design Director Michael Ciancio is going to share his secrets of visual storytelling, which as a text dude I can’t wait to learn.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Luma (Terry’s an advisor), The New York Times, Dstillery. 

4:00 pm Hinge – Yikes, a third Diamond! I guess I chose some popular companies. Hinge is a dating service, and sure, there are plenty of those. But they seem to have a unique approach, and I chose this session because I’m super interested in how best to connect people using technology platforms (yes, it relates to NewCo!). Hinge’s VP of Product, Sam Levy, is set to present.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: RebelMouse (investor), Mozilla, SeatGeek. 

5:30 pm Animoto – Co-Founder Tom Clifton will present on its breakout video platform. Video is a major initiative at NewCo going forward, and who better to help me understand the possibilities then the guy who built a platform used by 12 million folks and counting?

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: (RED), Kiip, StumbleUpon.

Day 2: Thursday, May 14th, 2015

10:00 am Mic – Mic has figured out how to gain and engage the finicky millennial market, which, it turns out, is the same group that makes up the bulk of NewCo’s attendees. The entire management team is presenting – the CEO and Co-Founder, VP Communications and Strategy, Chief of Staff and Dir Ops, and the VP Product. Where else can you meet all those folks in one room?!

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Casper, MetaMarkets (investor), Mashable. 

11:30 am Salesforce – Michael Lazerow is presenting. That’s all I needed to know. Just one of the best dudes in the business, bar none. The title of his presentation: “Everything you ever wanted to know about a startup but were afraid to ask.” Michael sold his startup Buddy Media to Salesforce for $745 million. I’ll be taking notes.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Canary, BuzzFeed, The Verge. 

1:00 pm littleBits – What’s the deal with the Internet of Things, anyway? LittleBits is like Lego mashed up with the Mac – I want to understand this MIT-inspired startup, and get to know its people as well. I can’t wait to see the Chelsea-based offices, which I can only imagine boast a Wonka-like sense of wonder.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: VinePair, Lerer Hippeau, TED. 

2:30 pm Tapad – Readers of this site know I’m deep into advertising technology, and Tapad promises to address one of the bugaboos of our industry: cross-device advertising. This session promises to go deep – and that’s why I love NewCo. I know the folks in the room will all bring their A-game questions and insights.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Superfly, Codeacademy, Handy. 

4:00 pm BetaWorks – Betaworks is the company behind success stories like bitly, chartbeat, and tweetdeck. I have never visited, even though founder John Borthwick is a NewCo advisor. I’m excited to learn about the BetaWorks’ approach to company formation and success. The speaker is Head of Creative James Cooper, who will delve into BetaWorks’ philosophy and ongoing practice.

Wish I could go but ya gotta pick one: Behance, Simulmedia, Grey. 

5:30 pm NewCo Meetup at relentless Generator A great way to end the festival is with an open bar, great tunes, and a massive meetup with attendees, host company leaders, and NewCo staff. Sure to be a killer party. We’ll be announcing a special musical act who will play as well, so stay tuned! You have to have a Gold Pass to get in, but it’s just $25, and includes free booze and tunes. What a deal!

If you’ve read this far, you must want to attend, no?! Yes! So sign up here, as sessions are filling up fast! See you there….

  • Content Marquee

What’s NewCo? These Videos Will Help

By - March 31, 2015

The NewCo festival model is counter-intuitive, so we made these videos to help explain what the fuss is all about. I thought I’d share them here. The first one features folks talking about their experience attending festivals, and the second one features host company presentors doing the same. Enjoy! (Oh, and NewCo New York registration is open now, sign up before the best sessions fill – more than a dozen, including TED, NYT, Gimlet, VaynerMedia, and BuzzFeed, are nearly full!)

Metromile: A FitBit for Your Car

By - January 26, 2015
MetroMile staff

The Metromile staff in front of their SF HQ (Preston is in the red shirt in the back right).

Ever since writing Living Systems and The Information First Company last Fall, I’ve been citing Earnest, the financial services startup, as a poster child for what I mean by an “information-first” company. But earlier this month I met with another perfect exemplar: Metromile, a company that is already upending industrial-age assumptions about what “insurance” should be.**

I’m fascinated by the idea of “potential information” – flows of information that are locked away and unused. Potential information flows live in the imagination of every NewCo – once tapped, they create all manner of new potential value. Metromile is a stellar example of a company that has found a vector into a treasure trove of potential information – the automobile – and is busy turning that information into a new kind of customer experience, one that has the potential to completely retool the utility and value of the insurance business.

But I get ahead of myself. Let’s back up, and start at the beginning. Metromile began as the brainchild of David Friedberg, co-founder and CEO of yet another information-first insurance breakout, Climate Corp. Climate opened up reams of new information flows for the farming industry, and along the way was acquired by agribusiness giant Monsanto for more than $1 billion. Friedberg realized that the lessons of Climate were applicable to consumer insurance, and Metromile was born.

I met with Metromile CEO Dan Preston in his crowded and humming San Francisco headquarters (pictured above). I had heard about Metromile, but my knowledge was limited to their headline: car insurance you pay for by the mile. But I figured the company was up to more than just a cheaper insurance product. On that hunch my chat with Preston did not disappoint.

Metromile does have a deceptively simple premise: those who drive a lot tend to have more accidents, those who drive less, fewer. Simple, no? But it turns out, the way insurance products currently work spreads the risk of those high mileage drivers across the entire pool of the insured. Put another way, if you drive less than 10,000 miles a year, most likely your insurance premiums are higher than they need to be. That’s because insurance companies average out the costs across their entire base of customers, forcing the less risky drivers to cover the costs of those who drive more.

Metronome

The Metronome – Metromile’s vector into a goldmine of potential information flows.

Metromile is the only insurance product on the market that charges by the mile on a retroactive basis – it tracks your miles driven, then calculates your monthly premium in arrears. To do so, it needs access to your vehicle’s diagnostic port – the same access point used by mechanics when they service modern cars (every car since 1996 has such a port).  When you sign up, Metromile sends you a “Metronome” – the same kind of device made famous by Progressive Insurance’s Snapshot, which uses them for data-driven discount products.

If you drive less than 10,000 miles a year, and live in a city environment, chances are you’ll save a lot of money using Metromile. But saving money is just the start of the company’s ambitions. After all, once the Metronome is installed, Metromile begins to collect data about your car and your driving habits. And any good information-first entrepreneur knows that the true value of an enterprise lies in mapping potential information flows. And that little Metronome is a hidden goldmine of such data.

Preston and his team doesn’t see Metromile as just an insurance company. Instead, Metromile is “your friend and ally in owning a car.” An ally with sophisticated data science and a friendly app that delivers much more than monthly savings. From the company’s website:

We aim to make the urban experience of having a car as simple as it can be, by taking our deep understanding of data and transforming it into information and services that make having a car less expensive, more convenient, and simply smarter….With the Metronome in place, the free Metromile app functions as your personal driving dashboard. Use it to track and optimize your gas usage and trips, monitor the health of your car, and locate your car if it’s missing. You can even use it to get automated street sweeping alerts.

And there’s the difference between Metromile and the rest of the insurance business – Metromile sees itself as a services company in the business of helping drivers make more informed choices about their cars. It starts with insurance, but it quickly becomes the voice of your car. Metromile’s app opens a window into the previously opaque world of automotive data and helps you understand all manner of things about your car – if it’s close to breaking down, for example, or if you’re using it in ways that might cause unwanted expenses down the road. When you think about it, Metromile is a fitbit for your car. And that’s pretty darn cool. One to watch, to be sure.

**Because I believe so much in the company, I am considering a small investment in MetroMile. Anytime I write about a company where I am or might be an investor, I will make a practice of noting it – so far, this hasn’t happened yet. As I point out on my disclosures page, I am a fairly active angel investor.