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My thoughts on 2013

It’s been a pretty busy year spent with the amazing team at SuperAwesome as well as my incredibly talented colleagues in Potato (Jason and Luke), Hoxton Ventures (Rob and Hussein) and Brown Bag Films (Cathal and Doc). It’s quite a unique perspective. Here are a few thoughts on 2013 I’ve collected from this combination of viewpoints.

Stuff I’ve been pleasantly surprised by: the continued robustness of the IPO market, this year’s Web Summit in Dublin, the Chromebook Pixel and the battery life on latest MacBook Air.

-Biggest disappointments: every single piece of wearable tech.

Greatest positive productivity impact: Trello (super task management), UberX (quietly surpassed Hailo for me in London), Pocket (simple and effective content saving), Quibb (high quality collection of articles).

-Greatest negative productivity impact: Google Calendar (for woeful multi-calendar support).

-Most interesting writing: Ben Evans (the Internet’s favourite analyst), Jerry Neumann (adtech and investing) and Ben Horowitz (everything).

Most exciting startup I’ve seen: a cloudsec company which Hoxton just invested in (not yet announced).

-Greatest frustration: not being able to invest in lots of ‘good-but-not-great’ companies.

Watching very closely: Moshi Monsters Village. If Mind Candy crack mobile, they’ve got a huge opportunity.

Most under-reported story: Disney quietly acquired the rights to Indiana Jones and locked down entertainment for the next thirty years (Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and Indy all now under one roof).

Most worrying thing I’ve seen: Google’s targeted take-down of Rap Genius. Beginning to think that Jason Calcanis may have a point.

The thing nobody is talking about: Single-product cashflow valuations versus churn cycles in consumer applications (or “why King postponed their IPO”).

Tipping point: Middle East’s startup ecosystem. New VC funds from Rocket Internet and Emerge Ventures.

Biggest lesson (re)learned: Any company’s real business is people. Everyone is in the headhunting business, it’s simply a question of whether you realise it or not.

Mulling over: Successfully launching new IP is harder than ever for content producers. Yet we’re still getting breakout social companies like Upworthy and Buzzfeed. Somewhere between those two is the new content model.

Deal of the year: Google Ventures investing in Uber. Ridiculous and brilliant but it might take three years for people to realise.

Game of the year: Buggy as fuck but XCOM on iOS rocks. Still playing it.

Most interesting games trend: ‘real’ (full price and/or indie) games starting to make a real impact on tablet.

-Still waiting for: a decent iOS joypad, touch-screen Macbook Air (2015), a fail-proof projector, an Airbnb laundry service and better car rental.

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  • shaneoleary1

    Very interesting Dylan, enjoyed that. Be interested to hear you expand on what you mean by the middle ground between a Buzzfeed and Upworthy?

    • dylancollins

      Actually I should have worded that a bit clearer. I really mean the space between creating new IP (from a content creator perspective e.g. games/TV/movie/video) and what Buzzfeed/Upworthy/MailOnline/etc are doing with social content.

      The biggest issue for the former is discovery but I just don’t see the deliberate design of the latter being deployed in that space much (other than the basic ‘share GAMENAME’ function). I suspect that’s where QuizUp is going to go (they’re in a perfect position to bridge gameplay and social content mechanics).