Live Blogging: AlwaysOn On DC: Henry Fisker keynote (new automotive company)

He left BMW to start a next-generation car company, with high-end design and eco-friendly. He worked in the car industry for 20 years. He realized a new business model was needed to get cost of development down. Fisker Automotive has taken the time to development to be less than 5 years and $1 billion. Usually hundreds of millions are spent on building a factory before the cars are produced. They decided to spend all their money on the design, not on a factory. So their development costs are low, capex costs are low.

They have assembled a startup team with major talent from the automotive industry. Core management team has more than 100 years of experience. Director of Powertrain Engineering worked on Ford EV1. He mentioned several other board members and senior management team members with significant industry experience.

They are producing a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. First 50 miles are battery only. Total range is 300 miles.

  • 100+ mpg equivalent
  • Over 300 miles range
  • 400 horsepower
  • Top speed of 125 miles per hour
  • Can choose driving option: Stealth and Sport Drive Modes plus Hill Descent (Regenerative Braking)

They have about 50 patents on the vehicle. If you drive less than 50 miles, you can go completely in electric mode. We have the only luxury vehicle where you can drive into an emission-free zone (he mentioned Berlin). Driver can choose which mode to drive in.

In a normal hybrid, the gasoline engine drives the wheels. In ours, the gasoline engine only charges the battery. So in the sub-50 mile range, our car uses no gasoline. 79% of US drivers on weekdays drive less than 50 miles per day.

Kleiner Perkins is our largest investor.

Goverment support. We applied for a loan from the Federal Government. We got approval for $528 million loan.

Plug-in hybrid market looks like it will be the fastest growing.

Consumer incentives to buy a plug-in hybrid. $7500 federal tax credit if the battery is big enough. In the rest of the world, there are a lot of incentives as well, such as the elimination of car taxes based on our low level of CO2 emissions. In Beijing, you can only drive electric scooters in the city — no fuel vehicles allowed.

Our Karma, we hope will take about 3% of the plug-in hybrid market. Our car will be delivered started next June. We have pre-sold 1,500 cars so far. Our customers come from premium brands mainly — 60%. Mainly BMW and Mercedes. 3% are former Prius owners.

Our vehicle competes with BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi. Eco-Standard is $80,400. Eco-Sport is $87,400. Eco-Chic is $98,900.

Some customers have asked for animal-free auto. What that meant was no leather. So they have a model that is based on Italian design that doesn’t use any leather.

He believes the only way we will get more people into eco-friendly cars is to create a beautiful vehicle that buyers will be passionate about.

We have created the world’s largest solar roof. It can cool down the interior while you are gone, or recharge the battery while you are gone. You can get a couple free miles per day on a sunny day. We use reclaimed wood trim, world’s first automotive 10.5% multifunction touchscreen. We can add new functionality by reprogramming this.

We have selected 45 premium retailers in the U.S. market to sell this vehicle. Our dealers all own multiple dealerships. He showed a map of the dealers in the U.S. Plans to expand to 100. (There were several in California and one in Las Vegas.)

For a small company like us, we need media attention. Fortunately there is a lot of coverage of plug-in hybrids. We believe in putting vehicles into films and other alternative ads, rather than traditional ad campaigns.

The majority of the US loan ($360 million) will go to the creation of a smaller, affordable vehicle by 2012. Factory will be in the U.S. It will be retooled. Goal will be to manufacture 100,000 vehicles per year. We plan to export more than 50% of these vehicles. This will leverage 62% of the design and engineering of the initial Karma K1 platform. Targeted price point is $39,900 USD net of $7,500 tax credit.

We are starting with a $80,000 car, going down to a $40,000 model, but hopefully we will go down more than that in the future eventually. We hope to become a large and significant player in the world as we build a brand that is a pure green brand. In a few years we expect competition from Lexus and BMW, but we want to build a brand that is only delivering green cars.

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LiveBlogging: OnDC Speaker Andrew McLaughlin, Deputy US CTO

He’s been on the job now for 3 1/2 months. He moved here from San Francisco. I’ll talk about the theory of what we are trying to do in the White House now, why it’s hard, and then take a look at the president’s innovation agenda, and what you can do if you choose.

Our strategy is rooted in Moore’s law. Explosion in computing power, storage, connections. Moore predicted that the number of transistors on a chip would double about every 18-24 months. The terrabyte of memory you have now would have cost you a couple million dollars in the late 90s and taken up the size of a refridgerator.

It is virtually free to communicate worldwide. Commodity computing (or cloud computing) is brining to businesses and consumers staggering amounts of computing power for little or no money. Gmail’s 8 GB of free email storage, Flickr’s unlimited photo storage are examples.

We are trying to bring this into the work of government. Big question is, “Can government move from a core-controlled to an edge-empowered system?” In the way that communications have.

Tim O’Reilly likes to talk about the “Government as Platform.”

Air traffic control system that we had was based on 60s and 70s radio technology and a 1930s model. As a result, you get system-wide problem like weather in NY delaying flights elsewhere. A better system is where each plane can individually and autonomously determine its own best course, maintaining contact with the central system, but empowered and on the edge.

You can draw other examples from Emergency responder communications, carrying devices that let them communicate. Empowering the edge.

We think of all this as Government 2.0. The promise we bring is to make government more transparent, more participatory. To enable collaboration within the government. (This is exceedingly hard to do in the current environment.) Costs should go down.

Some examples of what we are trying to pull off:

  • initially had 46 data feeds, now it’s up to 150,000. Government data can be found here, mashed up. We said to agencies that data paid for by taxpayers should be online in machine-readable format. XML, comma-delimited, geo-coded data. Tons of awesome data sets are now online. draws its data from, showing how many crimes, polluters, cancer diagnoses, etc. lets you make visualizations out of the data. Take any two datasets, choose visualization you want to see. Then each visualization is stored permanently for others to see. One mashup was voter’s weight plus how they voted in 2008!
  • Fedthread and GovPulse are built on the Federal Register. There has been a whole industry around the Federal Register. Last Thursday, the entire Federal Register came online, back to 2000.  Within a few hours, Princeton developers had built so you can be notified of anything relevant to you. Govpulse tries to create dialogue around Federal Register entries.
  • uses government data to check routes, airines, on time percentages. You can search for wait times in security lines. They’ll take data from users (mobile phones) start and end times. Crowd source database.
  • One company launched a game called FBI Fugitive Concentration.

For entrepreneurs, the sky’s the limit on what can be built on top of government data.

We have also launched — an application store for federal IT managers to sign up for per seat online applications. has a number of offerings through this. We are trying to get more federal IT managers to think about online services.

SeeClickFix allows you to report an issue to a website if something needs fixed. It gets reported to the right agency and then you get notified when it is fixed. You can sign up for alerts for a particular area.

So now, what are the headaches in getting adoption?

There are a lot of online services like Flickr that we would like to use to communicate with people. But there are acquisition and procurement rules. Must the government, before we use a free online service, go through a competitive bidding process. So before we put something up on Facebook, do we have to do a tender, etc. We have figured that out. We can do it. But our use of services has to be done in an advertising-free way.

We have been able to get the GSA to sign an agreement once with certain providers which then allows any agency to use it. But there is an Anti-Deficiency Act that causes problems. The company’s standard terms of service maybe can’t be accepted by the government — such as unlimited liability. Location of dispute resolution is an issue. (The fed government isn’t subject to any state law.) So we’ve had to negotiate a lot of individual deals. This has slowed us down.

This is the biggest problem: the whole bureaucratic culture of the federal government has to change — the idea of hoarding information because it makes you valuable. That has to change. We need to provide data, be a platform.

On Jan. 21st, Pres. Obama issued his first memorandum about transparency, participation, and collaboration., is a way to track the money from the Recovery Act. New features are being added, a ways to go before it is really useful. The IT dashboard — — helps us assign every IT project a color, green, yellow, or red. You can see ratings for every IT program in every agency — to see if they are on time, under budget, evaluation so far.

Within the White House we have a CTO and CIO. The Open Government Initiative is a collection of different projects, trying to drive agencies to think about capabilities of internet, and what cloud computing makes possible, and to cook up projects with the private sector as well.

There are discussions about data driven decisions (like patent questions) and values-based decisions (like the death penalty and abortion.) Are we trying to get a sense of where public opinion lies? The old way of throwing up a draft document and asking for input is not all that useful in the age of the internet.

The marijuana legalization crowd has been most effective in elevating their issue to the top of the agenda for the “Ask the President” online feature.

We have an OMB Directive on Open Government that will be coming out soon. Every agency should develop its own open government plan. Each agency plan should be open to public comment. We want every agency to publish a schedule for its data so more data will go online. We’ve experimented with getting employees to step up and help us improve performance of agencies. One challenge was to cut waiting time for VA benefits. A wounded veteran has a delay of 30-days up to 9-months, just to confirm someone is a veteran entitled to benefits. We’ve asked the 19,000 employees of the VA to help us figure out how we can speed this up.

Department of HHS just held their first code-a-thon (a very silicon valley idea). They are working on CONNECT, a software gateway for nationwide health information. This hackathon was in August. Brought 100 programmers. Shows that you can do open source programming in a government setting.

So changing culture is the hardest thing we have to do. We’ve been saying to entrepreneurial sector that just more online data won’t make government faster and more effective. We want them to all do two things: 1) ask what data your country can give to you and 2) ask what data, mashups, and code you can give to your government.

Pres. has already doubled budget for some agencies for Fundamental R&D. Pres. set investment target of 3% of GDP in R&D. That will require more than just government. That would be biggest R&D percent since space race.

We are spending a lot on Physical Infrastructure and Broadband. $7.2 billion available in stimulus package for this. We are doing a lot with cognitive radio, quantum computing, parallel computing, etc.

We are trying to support open capital markets that allocate resources to most promising ideas. We know that firms with less than 20 employees, esp. in high tech area, really outperform. Focusing on small firms makes a lot of sense. We are trying to reduce fees and increase lending to small businesses. SBIC Debentures program. Pres. has proposed to eliminate capital gains tax on small businesses.

You can download the document and read the details.

Different regions have different forms of competitive advantage. We want to push regional planning grants to take advantage of regional advantages. Network for business incubators — $50 million — especially in hard-hit areas.

Trying to figure out how to leverage our employee-base to create breakthroughs on our national priorities. We hope energy information can be made available (smart grid) so people can reduce expenditures, consumers can control homes, devices in homes, and contribute to country’s energy independence. Stimulus act puts tremendous amount of money aside to go to health care providers, so we can get improvements in clinical outcomes, which means making electronic medical records available.

We’d like the US to be the world leader in light, cheap, powerful, long-lasting batteries. We’ve been making loans to auto companies who are working on these things. There is no reason our cars can’t learn to avoid each other and to reach destinations more easily: this requires upgrade to highway systems and car communication technologies.

All of these efforts are within the limited bounds of what the federal government is able to do. The bulk of the activity, of course, is going to have to come from the private sector.

I’m on LinkedIn. I look forward to connecting with you.

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OnDC winners — Pacific Biosciences is Overall Winner

Darkstrand — Instrastructure

EverFi — Education

JackBe — Enterprise

Palantir — Government & Security Services

CoaLogix — Greentech

Pacific Biosciences — Healthcare and Overall winner

Bruce Leisz, VP of Operations, is accepting the OnDC award.

Bruce is saying that Pacific Biosciences will significantly boost the ability of the scientific community to rapidly access the Human Genome. Eventually your doctor will be able to speed read your genome. Technology was started at Cornell. The company is now located in Silicon Valley. The realtime processing is 20,000 times faster than the best sequencers on the market today. Next year our product will ship and will be used in large processing centers. By 2013 Pac Bio should be able to sequence all 2 billion pairs of genes in an individual human genome in less than 15 minutes and for a few hundred dollars.

This has never been done before because of its sheer complexity. We had to draw from the semi-conductor industry, telecommunications, optics engineers, chemical and biotech industries.

250 of our 280 employees are scientists and engineers. NIH has given us more than $8 million in grants. We have raised $260 million from the venture community. We are excited to enter the market next year. Thanks for the special recognization. Stay tuned.

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Living Blogging AlwaysOn OnDC; Tony Perkins welcomes attendees

I’ll be live blogging the AlwaysOn OnDC Summit for the next 2 1/2 days.

Tony Perkins, founder of the Churchill Club, Upside Magazine, Red Herring, and Always On took the stage to welcome the attendees.

Tony is telling how he grew up in Portola Valley not far from where the Home Brew Computer Club met. He showed a picture of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak before they were 20. Tony recently read Barack Obama’s innovation policy and it sounded like a poetic version of what he stands for — promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Back to the Steves.

Arthur Rock invested $57,000 in their startup, which became Apple. He had previously invested in Intel.

All the great entrepreneurs that he has interviewed including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison — they don’t do it for the money. One thing these five have in common: none of them graduated from college. You never know where the next great entrepreneur is going to come from.

Interesting stat. 1/3 of all companies founded in Silicon Valley are founded by immigrants. He showed picture of Stephen Chen (co-founder of YouTube from Taiwan), Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun, from India), Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google, from Russia). He got a few degrees before starting Google.

He goes to Davos every year. They hold a Nerd dinner for all the nerds at the World Economic Forum. Each person gets 7 words to introduce himself. Sergey Brin said his parents were upset that he dropped his PhD program to start Google. His 7 words to introduce himself: “Mother says Google Smoogle, finish your PhD.”

Global entrepreneurship is good too! Tony shows photo of Niklas Zennstrom (Kazaa, Skype), Richard Li (Baidu), Masayoshi Son (Softbank was largest investor in internet companies in the first phase of the internet.). They gave Skype the company of the Year award in 2005. Niklas was having a board meeting that day. They beamed him in on the first ever public showing of Skype Video along with Tim Draper. Tim Draper invested in Skype and got his biggest return ever from it.

Tony says a key question for the future of our economy is: Are we importing intellectual capital? Is the US still the best place to pursue dreams? So far, he thinks that is still the case. But as soon as that intellectual capital stops coming in, it means we are over-regulating, aren’t creating a playing field that is good for entrepreneurs.

As a nation, our unemployment rate is too high. The stimulus has been something like $800 billion. VC-backed companies create jobs 3 times faster. 11% of all jobs are coming from venture-backed companies. 92% of job growth comes after IPO. So over-regulating the financial food chain like we’ve done with Sarbanes Oxley, or even talking about regulating the venture capital business, which I think is a bad idea. These things will inhibit job growth.

There is an encouraging idea coming out of the Administration–lowering the capital gains on long-term investments in small companies.

His final slide. “Goodbye PC Generation. Hello IM Generation.” People under 25 communicate more with friends via IM than they do with email. People over 55 almost all use email over IM. I could show also how the new generation communicates more over Facebook than they do with email.

The new generation grew up with the internet. He has a 24-year old daughter that got her masters in CS from Cornell. She asked him a couple years ago. “Hey, Dad, what was your email address when you were growing up.” They have radically different online behavior. They want to work from anywhere, their desk is their laptop. They want access to all data. In 1999 he wrote a book called “Intenet Bubble.” He had a list of like 215 stocks that he said people should sell because the party was about to end. So he said, “I’m not a drunked internet enthusiast.” He also said at the end of the book that after the bubble burst, 80% of the all the brands we will associate with the internet will be born after the bubble burst. That is happening.

New Platforms

Skype has close to 500 million users now. YouTube. Facebook. iTunes Store. Nintendo Wii. iPhone. Amazon Kindle. None of these platforms are owned by Microsoft.

He thinks the unemployment rate will be high for a long time because there are a lot of jobs being destroyed that are never coming back. But in this huge playing field that is being driven by the IM generation, and is entering into the workforce, there is a lot of innovation.

He is writing a policy paper for the President on GAAS (like Software As A Service) but it means Government As A Service. He thinks it should be a primary initiative. (Though, he said, it may need to be renamed a bit.)

92% of kids instruct their parents on how to be more green. He built a house, tried to make it as green as possible. He thinks green will be a big engine for growth. $11 billion has been invested in green companies. These companies will put a lot of traditional companies out of business.

Tony’s conclusion: “Today is the greatest time to be an entrepreneur….ever.”

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How Do You Decide How to Price Your Product? And How Do You Know If You Got It Right?

  • No, it was a little too expensive
  • 8%
  • No opinion
  • 53%
  • Yes, it was priced just right
  • 14%
  • No, it was way too expensive
  • 9%
  • Yes — in fact, it is worth more than I paid for it
  • 16%

    At, we have been selling a particular product for more than a year now. We have had more than 10,000 people purchase it. We have always wondered if we priced the product correctly. Could we have sold a lot more at a lower price? Or did we actually underprice the product?

    Since our consumer panel is so huge (we have 20MM monthly visitors to our Facebook application), we ran a couple of surveys recently to determine what people thought of the pricing. We limited this question to those who had already told us they had purchased the product.

    So far we have had 182 responses from people who already own the product.

    We are now going to run this same pricing survey to people who are interested in the product but have not yet purchased it.

    If you sell a product or service, how do you determine how to price it? And have you ever run a survey of buyers (or potential buyers) to see how they felt about the price?

    It is so important to get pricing decisions right. If the product is sold online, you can do A/B testing to see what works best. But what about for product sold in stores or in other channels? I’m very interested in knowing what methods and tools people use to make this decision.

    Posted via web from Paul’s posterous

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    FamilyLink Climbs Facebook Developer Leaderboard

    Facebook Developer Leaderboard

    Sorted by Monthly Active Users

    Name DAU MAU Daily Growth
    1. Zynga 47,142,368 161,442,415 1.11
    2. Playfish 12,136,211 57,661,305 -0.04
    3. RockYou! 2,493,761 41,616,918 -1.41
    4. Facebook 11,868,141 32,375,076 -0.26
    5. Causes 2,135,480 31,881,017 0.72
    6. Slide, Inc. 1,234,691 24,757,153 -0.05
    7. 1,266,743 22,096,540 0.72
    8. SlashKey 5,830,463 18,709,422 -0.08
    9. 3happybytes 549,065 18,643,657 -4.07
    10. LivingSocial 708,836 17,740,792 -1.30

    If you don’t count Facebook’s own applications, is now the #6 developer in the Facebook ecosystem, based on Monthly Active Users. It won’t be easy to climb this chart, but with some of the new features we are launching soon, there is a chance that we will.

    Posted via web from Paul’s posterous

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    MediaPost Publications U.S. Online Spend Might Not Equal UK’s, But It’s Getting There 10/01/2009

    In the UK, Internet ad spending just surpassed TV adverting, according to a report by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as the Web now accounts for 23.5% of all ad money, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.

    This same article states that digital ad spending in the U.S. will reach 17% of total U.S. ad spending in 2010, up from 15.4% in 2009 and 13.9% in 2008.

    Posted via web from Paul’s posterous

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