Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Micropayments are here

I just got an email receipt from iTunes. My total was $4.97 for five iPhone applications and one movie rental during the last few days. Three of the apps were free. The movie rental was $2.99

For a long time the idea of micro payments online have been a great idea without a reality to match. Is iTunes making it real? Hey Apple, why not let me use my iTunes account like a PayPal account where I can read, rent, download, buy anything from anywhere with one click?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Better groups anyone?

Why aren't the social networking and groups applications merging? The functionality, not the companies. What does Y! Groups or Google Groups do that's not possible in Facebook? Ok, so they're good ways to blast a bunch of emails around between people of like interest, but they could be so much more... and they're not. Why?

It seems that if Y! just joined Flickr, 360 and del.icio.us with their Groups product and stirred it up a bit they'd have such a nice offering. Probably too much dysfunction these days to pull that one off.

I predict that what we think of as "social networking" apps and what we should expect from "groups" apps will soon start to blend to a point where end-users will not (and should not) see a difference.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Keith Benjamin

It is with great sorrow I write this post to honor the passing of Keith Benjamin. Keith was the lead investor in Plum for Levensohn Venture Partners and a board member. Over the past year, he became a friend.

Keith was a smart, insightful, dedicated, funny, quirky and upbeat man. He was a very active board member, eager to support me and the business in any way possible and always quick to offer help. Yet he did so with no ego or agenda other than to further the growth and prospects of the business. I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten to know and work with him over the past twelve months.

Keith had a sporting accident and now he is gone. It is not easy to accept nor understand when someone passes so suddenly. It seems so unfair, so unjust, so untimely. It is all those things. I want to make it different. I want to pretend it hasn't happened, that its all just a bad dream. While my mind understands that Keith has moved on, no words can capture that which my emotions and spirit cannot yet fathom.

Keith leaves a wife and two beautiful children behind. My thoughts and sorrow go out to them. I cannot begin to understand their grief in this moment. It must feel bottomless. May time be their friend. May time heal the wound and sooth their tragic loss.

Keith loved the outdoors and the Marin Headlands. Next time you have the privilege to visit the Headlands or some equally beautiful spot in nature, keep a small commemoration of Keith's living spirit and this Hopi Payer in mind.

I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there
I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on the snow
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain
I am the gentle Autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds circled in flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do no stand at my grave and cry
I am not there
I did not die

The world at large, your business associates, your friends and most of all your family will miss you terribly Keith. Sending you light and fond memories wherever you are.