Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble, Meet Heckerty!

Broomstick Productions is Archimedes Labs latest portfolio company to launch into the world. Jan Ziff and Allan Davidson have a very special person in their life – Jan’s Mom. Or, because – like myself – Jan is from Yorkshire in the North of England, I should say Jan’s Mum…..

 

Jan’s Mum had the very special privilege of telling stories to the children of Prince Charles, either the future King of England or at the very least the father of the future King of England.

During her stint at that very unusual job she developed the character of Heckerty(TM) the Witch and her trusted sidekick, Zanzibar(TM) the cat. These stories have never been published before, and certainly never been animated. As Jan herself says:

 

When Princess Diana wanted to send her sons, Princes William and Harry, to weekly musical storytelling sessions as part of their education (click the links to see rare photos of the young princes), she chose my mother, Ann Rachlin.So when my mom asked Allan and me whether we were interested in bringing one of her favorite story characters to mobile devices, we jumped at the chance!
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Bringing Heckerty’s gentle, zany adventures to life for kids around the world was just too good to pass up! I had grown up with Heckerty’s magic and we both loved my mother’s many CDs and books (iTunesAmazon).

Today, they are available on the iPad, iPhone and on the Kindle Fire.

Meet Heckerty is the first of many stories to come and we feel sure that, Hollywood will soon be knocking on the door of Broomstick Productions seeking to take these adorable characters and stories to the big screen

Blurtt launches in the app store

I first met Jeanette Cajide early in 2011. She was a founder at Blurtt – a company that was then focused on delivering a web based photo-upload service, permitting users to send printed postcards of said photos to friends via mail.

A few things were quickly obvious.

 

1. Blurtt is a great name, but not for sending postcards.

2. Mobile is the right place to develop what Blurtt could be.

3. Blurtt should let people Blurtt things out…..

4. Combining images with text produces a very powerful means of communicating emotion-rich messages.

5. Jeanette is a force of nature and simply refuses to fail.

 

So, Blurtt became archimedes labs second acceleration company, after Tomer Kagan’s Quixey. The 12 months since have been great. Jeanette weathered many storms, and succeeded in building a set of relationships that allowed her to ship her product today, with significantly less than $100,000 spent. You can get it from the app store now.

I couldn’t be more thrilled for Jeanette, Laura, Kuba and the team at Dialexa in Texas…..Congrats

I know that the team is planning lots of new features. Can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

 

 

 

Cloud based services – the future of the Internet

Fred Wilson has a response today to Eric Schmidt’s declaration in Edinburgh that Google+ is an “identity service”. He asks and answers his own question.

“whom Google built this service for? You or them. And the answer to why you need to use your real name in the service is because they need you to.”

Of course Facebook is also an identity service. Facebook Connect is the means of distributing it. And of course Facebook too is built using real names because “they need you to”.

At this level FaceBook and Google have much in common, and both are vying for us to use them for online authentication. Facebook is far ahead of course.

Late yesterday I posted an opinion piece as a guest author on TechCrunch. It is about the uncertain future of web services as mobile devices proliferate globally. We will soon all have awesome identity machines in our pocket. They will be capable of being used to authenticate us (even using 2 step authentication). Any cloud-based 3rd party identity system will be unnecessary.

The future of identity is distributed, under user control, and owned and managed by the user from their device. It will be capable of supporting anonymity and real names and will be able to be trusted by sites requiring you to authenticate. The idea of any 3rd party dictating how you can present yourself online will no longer be applicable. Of course, it still has to be built…..

Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Google and/or Facebook building an identity system that dictates how we present ourselves. Our choice is to use it or not…..We don’t have to.

Quixey adds Eric Schmidt’s Fund and Archimedes Ventures to investor line up

Yesterday, Bay Area start-up Quixey announced that Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors fund had invested in the company.

I’m pleased to say that along with my partners in Archimedes Ventures we have also joined the roster of investors in the company.

All the best to Tomer Kagan and his team as they execute. The technology they have built is state of the art. Their team is fabulous. The world is theirs to grab.

Exciting times.

Sign up for the beta here
TechCrunch story here
GigaOm story here.

After Chirp, is Twitter related investing still smart?

Robert Scoble cornered Ron Conway in the hallway at the Chirp conference yesterday and in the aftermath of Twitter acquiring Tweetie, and announcing their own URL shortening service, asked the big question. Is it still sensible to invest in companies seeking to expand or enhance the use of Twitter in some way?

Ron is unequivocal in his answer.

For what it’s worth I think Ron is right…. as usual 🙂

TechMeme Link here

Internet and TV, are we at the tipping point?

Walt Mossberg today reviewed a couple of new technologies that allow you to beam video from a PC to a TV wirelessly. Pretty cool, but IMHO there is not a big demand for this.

More interesting is the discussion about whether we are at the tipping point between TV and the internet, where more and more people will get their video from the Internet.

In the video below Walt is a sceptic, but his colleague makes the point that the big TV companies have much to lose if we are close to that point, namely subscriber fees from Cable and Satellite.

Worth Viewing

http://s.wsj.net/media/swf/microPlayer.swf

The future of publishing and reading?

A nice vision of the near future from BERG. It is focused on Magazines but makes me think about web content more. What is the role of a web site, a web page, a post and a tweet in this world?

The UI concepts are nice, but functionally limited. And the discovery of content doesn’t seem to exist, it assumes subscriptions to publications – which I’m sure will only be part of the story, and a small part at that.

Take a look yourself:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8217311&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=ffffff&fullscreen=1

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Hat Tip to CrunchGear

Discussion at TechMeme

Murdoch, Huffington and the future of News

Huffington and Mathias Döpfner (CEO of German media empire Axel Springer) discuss the future of news. The moderator is Christine Ockrent, CEO of France 24, a TV broadcasting company.

In the context of Rupert Murdoch declaring his intent to take his content out of Google this is a timely exchange.

Clearly there are many sides to this issue, but – bottom line – the cost base of old media is not sustainable, and the news gathering possibilities of the distributed masses together with curation and aggregation present a powerful alternative.

I recommend anybody interested in the future of news and aggregation spend the 50 minutes watching this.