The things I’ve seen #2

Enjoy things I’ve seen, read and listened to last week…

Is america “normal” again?

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Full transcript


Education is so important. A lot more than politics… unfortunately in Portugal we are losing this battle… we should focus on deploying a real strategy and less on politics or marketing big plans that are just promises that never see the day of light…

tech at the service of education – a recent McKinsey research

The Edtech opportunity- an article by dealroom


More thoughts about tech trends for 2021… always a good read!

3 tech trends that COVID-19 will accelerate in 2021


Philosophical teaser that I enjoyed

 

and tools that I had a look at…

 


One last (insanely weird) thing… market games that might end really bad sooner or later…

GameStop playing around with its shares

The things I’ve seen

A shortlist of things I read, saw and heard in these last days…

Goodbye and good riddance to 2020! Read about the expected trends for 2021!

Crypto is growing – one trillion and counting

I’ve been using signal (and telegram) for some time now… and now I am less alone

Cloudflare reviewing 2020 with great fashion and a lot of intel 

I finally finished a podcast about superhuman and now I have a dilema… I want to try out it!


A great podcast from the knowledge project, interviewing the CEO of Automatic and one of the fathers of WordPress

Voice enabled tech is a thing to follow – Alexa just announced some cool things

An in-depth great article about Didimo that we invested in at Bright Pixel along side with our friends from Armilar

Top social media monitoring tools

Weforum.org article about remote working

Singapore – a place I have to visit ASAP 

A nice tech crunch article about the Portuguese startup ecosystem

Sizzle.Io – Perhaps a cool and data driven way to promote more sales

Issunboshi – a graphic novel that deserves funding

 

market matters

from CB insights:

Opinions vary quite a bit among both operators & investors, with technology investors tending to have the most divergent (and strongest) opinions.

 

Many investors say they don’t look at TAM for new markets, because it’s often too small or undefined to even be interesting or valuable. In these cases, doing any sort of TAM analysis is actually misleading and will make you overlook opportunities. What was the TAM for something like Airbnb (couch surfing) or Amazon (books) when they started?

 

On the flip side are many investors who view the market as critical and perhaps the top dimension when evaluating a company.

Inside Pixel HoHoHo

Hit me baby one more time!

I don’t know if you remember, but by this time, last year, we launched 20by20. A brilliant (we believe) initiative that gathered several players from the Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem to give their vision on what would be the trends for 2020. As you can expect, none of us predicted that the trend would be … well … hell.

Don’t get us wrong. Our guest writers were actually really good predicting the technological trends and the pandemic accelerated the adoption of some of the solutions we’ve all been preaching about for some time now. Let’s take a quick look to the macro topics highlighted last year:

· 5G – it seemed that the new generation of broadband cellular networks was getting in shape in the beginning of the year, but it seems like we will have to wait a bit more while companies and regulators find a deal. Meanwhile, several industries are already preparing their products with software that benefits from this technology (e.g. ultra connected cars), so, we think it’s safe to say that we’re not that far.

· Cybersecurity – definitely a trend, but not a winner. Companies had major difficulties protecting their assets with the transition to home offices. Many still had on-premises servers and had their workers accessing them via VPN. It’s crucial to prevent and people are more aware of that, which led to a hot November for this industry.

· Sustainability – a strong (but no one expected to be this stronger) winner. Airplanes grounded, cars in garages and people consumerism at its minimum level. No one expected this. The planet gained a few days, and so the future generations.

· The gig economy – well… not a good year for it. Let’s skip this.

· Technology at the service of the humans – ding ding ding. Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner! We never saw so many developers, founders, creatives joining forces to create technological solutions to respond to so many different challenges of the societ

So, let’s do it again! Now with a special guest.

As you see, we really liked this concept. So, this year we invited 21 people to set 21 trends for 2021 – introducing 21by21. Excited, yet? First of all, who are they? They are founders, investors, businessmen and women, from different sectors and with different backgrounds. A conclusion that we always find interesting is that, even though we all belong to the same industry, one way or another, all of us have a very personal perspective and that brings value to it.

So, without further ado, the bets for 2021 are on:

·   Sustainability – elected by the second time in a row. No one expects consumer habits to go back to be the same, and people are more severe when choosing brands that show concerns with the environment and a transparent supply chain.

·   Short video will dethrone YouTube – new generations don’t have the same attention span, they don’t need more than a few seconds of video to know the highlights. Let’s see if this is the year of short videos and how influencers and entertainment industries will adapt to that demanding new process.

·   Brain food – mental health is now one of the biggest concerns of people and companies for 2021, and it is expected that more and more consumers will look for products that help them stay focused and fight anxiety, and that more companies will launch products with L-Theanine, caffeine and cannabinoids.

·   Hybrid work – All of us have already experienced the benefits (and challenges) of home office, but organizations are facing some additional adversities in transmitting their culture to their workers, so hybrid methodologies are being highly praised by leaders across industries.

·   Data – 2020 locked us down, so all we had was the internet. Companies collected years-worth of online growth and client & sales data, and they can now use them wisely (if they know how to…).

·   VC investors are hopeful – startups will have a major role in the recovery of economies worldwide and our part as investors is to boost them up. Governmental entities may also find in these private, agile companies a faster way to innovate and solve society’s new challenges.

Last but not the least, we invited a very special guest to participate: AI. GPT-2 wrote a very clear text of what it expects to be the trends for 2021. Curious? We were too.

Read more! and the past editions are also cool!

Thanks to all the participants of this initiative. It couldn’t have been possible without you. Let’s hope we don’t mess up next year too!

Thank you to those who followed our endless thoughts throughout the year. If you want to catch up, you can see what we’ve been talking about here…

March – Investment: “You can do anything. But never go against the family”

April – The unexpected new world

May – The winner takes it all

June – I want damage modeling

July – When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

August – The bright new days

September – We’re chained

October – The perfect storm

November – Everybody be cool, this is a robbery!

21by21

A great initiative powered by Bright Pixel!

My two cents… Read the rest at https://21by21.brpx.com/

Nobody could phantom that 2020 would end to be one of the weirdest years of our lifetime… so far.

So, it is really hard to accept the challenge to think and write about what 2021 has in store for us.

What I write below is based on three underlying premises:
First, that the future is mostly already here.
Second, that we can all desire that next year will be hopefully a return to “normalcy”… but it’s highly likely it won’t. The world will not be the same no more.
Third, we are all suffering and just grasping from the fact that the pace of change has dramatically increased and changed gears… right in front of us. We need to hold on… for the ride.

In 2020, we had to change how we live and all thought it would be just temporary… but, next year will we have still to adapt.
In several ways, I think we fast forwarded several trends that were already creeping around us.

In 2021, we will undoubtedly have to tackle several challenges ahead of us… and there is one thing I take for granted: our lives, for the better and for the worst, will become even more digital.
Namely, due to rising environmental concerns, health related issues, generational shifts and out of sheer and practical necessity… companies and people will do a lot more things in a digital realm.

Work, play, buy, sell, watch, share, collaborate, monitor and control – everything, increasingly online.

Finally, due to my role as an early stage investor, I have to try to have a stance on what might or not be a trend going forward.
For what it’s worth, here go my two cents about several key trends I believe will be picking up even more pace in the near future:

In the B2C world: digital entertainment is on the rise; online gaming and esports are becoming massive; we cannot keep up with pace of the vast array of sharing platforms that cater several niche interests; the way we buy everything is changing, and therefore, e-commerce is in constant flux; sustainability and environmentally driven decisions will impact more and more our daily actions – what we eat, wear, live and how we travel or commute; finally, above all, I feel that people are also a lot more focused on their physical and mental health and overall well-being…
(and all of this will be more and more mobile centric… simply because the zombie-like-neck-down human condition is here to stay, with everybody looking at a glowing device firmly held by one of our hands, whilst we walk pass everything around us…)

In the B2B world: “remotely-more, physically-less” working environments are here to stay; therefore, distributed cloud solutions to flexibly manage everything work process we have in our companies are on the rise; collaborative tools we be in also dire need; so will be cyber security products and services to protect ourselves and our assets from increased vulnerabilities and risks that we will all face; technology to handle contactless or unattended human interactions in customer facing services will be sought for in higher demand; hyper automation and extracting intelligence and decision making from the ever-increasing volume of accessible data is for sure an unstoppable trend.
Trends apart, on a ending positive note, 2021 will simply be what we will individually and collectively make of it!
“Every moment has to be complete in and of itself” (from Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness)

Gaming on the Rise

I remember the early days of playing Atari. Then came PC games, commodore Amiga, Nintendo, Gameboy… ohh… the joy!

This year we had to play a bit more online and at home… and the gaming industry flourished in 2020!

50 Years of Gaming History, by Revenue Stream (1970-2020)

View a more detailed version of the above by clicking here

Every year it feels like the gaming industry sees the same stories—record sales, unfathomable market reach, and questions of how much higher the market can go.

We’re already far past the point of gaming being the biggest earning media sector, with an estimated $165 billion revenue generated in 2020.

But as our graphic above helps illustrate, it’s important to break down shifting growth within the market. Research from Pelham Smithers shows that while the tidal wave of gaming has only continued to swell, the driving factors have shifted over the course of gaming history.

the whole history here!

Continue reading “Gaming on the Rise”

chained

In the last few years, multiple transformations in the service and product industries linked to information technologies have taken place – all at a frantic pace as the web 3.0 evolved, matured, and found its place in the market. However, when considering the one that has the potential to be the most disruptive, blockchain is definitely in the spotlight. Nevertheless, since its announcement, there’s been ups and downs and it hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype.

Many factors make the world question if blockchain will effectively be part of our daily lives. Yet, at the same time, there’s already enough proof that the technology is more than Bitcoin and it can actually have a positive impact across different sectors. But don’t let us preach to you about it, let us show you what’s coming next.


Way beyond Bitcoin…

The popularization of blockchain happened mainly due to the use case of digital assets, commonly known as cryptocurrencies. In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, Bitcoin was created in a totally decentralized approach without requiring governance from any formal entity. In an almost utopian yet controversial way, it poses as a mechanism for transferring and saving “value” in a fully digital and distributed format. Nonetheless, there’s a myriad of other applications aiming at changing the world:

  • Insurtech has stepped up the game and is using blockchain to reduce fraudulent claims and ease a process that typically takes up a lot of time and energy (checking evidence and making reinsurance more efficient). Lemonade is the reference startup (which has become the best IPO in 2020), but several other startups are disrupting the space with P2P Insurance (such as Teambrella or, once again, Lemonade) and Claim Management & Risk Assessment (Tierion is improving claims processes while Cropt is supporting insurers with satellite data to confirm the actual damage presented by farmers, and machine learning algorithms to predict the yield of crops and the risk associated).
  • Supply chains have been drawing a lot of attention with blockchain solutions being deployed to keep track of the goods’ route and also optimize logistics. We don’t have to go far for this one. Both Auchan and Lidl Portugal announced they’ll be tracing the origins of all food with blockchain as a quality control measure to meet the growing demands of today’s consumers. As for some of the hottest startups, it’s worth highlighting:Everledger, Provenance and  TE-Food.
  • In the civic domain, a lot is going on. Startups like WalliD, which is turning to blockchain to privately store users’ ID documents in a digital wallet and design a global protocol for digital ID transactions, and Civic, which has the same principles but applies them to the management of digital currencies, are exclusively focused on identity. Plus, if we take a collective standpoint, there are many other compelling initiatives such as Follow My Vote, which is fighting to bring more transparency to polls and put an end to election fraud, or, speaking of transparent voting, TAIKAI, born in our MVP program as a blockchain-based platform for hackathons, which is fostering open innovation by connecting tech enthusiasts to companies that have challenges and are desperate to solve them.
  • Regarding security, decentralized storage platforms are picking up steam. Nowadays, data is seen by many as more valuable than money, so hackers are sort of modern pirates. To avoid being looted, or in other words, to prevent breaches and better safeguard data, decentralized storage platforms such as the ones that are being built by SIA, Storj or FileCoin (based on IPFS) look like a good option because, instead of having all files stored at the same place, they’re broken apart and scattered across multiple nodes on a network, making it impossible to read the entire content from one fraction.

Blockchain can be set up to operate for a variety of purposes, and its community is committed to expanding the technology’s level of influence. Judging by its success and increased use, I would say it seems that blockchain is poised to rule the digital world soon.

Continue reading “chained”

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

new edition of the Bright Pixel Newsletter

Weird times… with positive and negative impacts in our individual and collective lives. Personally, I have learned a lot in these last months… to value simple things, to better grasp that sometimes we tend to waste time in matters that simply do not matter, to learn more about the virtues of patience and keeping calm. I lost a bit of weight, I am also increasingly fitter and healthier, and I got closer to friends and family, oddly enough, because of the imposed social distance.

Professionally, we have proven that working together remotely works quite well – we can be highly productive and efficient, working actually more due to a better management of time… but, all of this has a toll after a long period of time. We start to miss personal interactions and the intense back to back routine of endless calls starts to sink in. To maintain company culture and build on top of the long last relationships that we want to explore with our stakeholders, we will need to mix remote with physical contact.

Weird times… indeed. Full of personal and professional challenges to overcome and opportunities to explore to our benefit.


Tech will save us all

Covid-19 sent everyone home and, three months later, not everyone has returned. In the US, before the pandemic, already 4.7 million or 3,4% of the population worked from home, and the number is increasing – according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce, and half of all “information workers”, are able to work from home.

Now that everyone is experimenting with the benefits of working remotely, the will to return to the offices is vanishing, with 98% of people saying they would like to have the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers. The same respondents praise the flexible schedule (32%), the possibility to work from anywhere (26%) and not having to commute (21%).

Just on a side-note, not having to commute has a very positive impact on the environment too: Xerox estimated that it saved 92 million miles of driving by allowing its remote workers to avoid commuting, thereby reducing carbon emissions by almost 41,000 metric tons.

This opens up new opportunities for collaboration tools companies, as we have seen in past newsletters – is now the time when virtual reality and augmented reality will enter our daily lives? The expectations are high. Also, it gives companies new chances to re-evaluate their cost structure. Yeah, you read well.

Remote working allows companies to avoid some basic costs such as internet, work computer/phone, or food allowance. In an inquiry done with US workers that worked remotely, 80% of the respondents said the company did not pay for home internet; 72% did not get their phones paid; 87% didn’t receive for costs related to drinks/foods in coffee shops. This is something very small – you already pay for the internet and for your phone –, but there isn’t a good principle behind it.

So why should they keep their high cost offices in Silicon Valley if their workers prefer to work from home? And if they can work from home, then why can’t they be anywhere in the world? Twitter closed its offices until September and Facebook is planning not to open them in the long-term. If companies don’t have a physical space, they can hire people from anywhere in the world and we all know that some countries/locations offer higher wages than others.


Events without sales and networking

Tech events are a big opportunity to generate new leads, which is now more relevant than ever, considering that startups’ survival depends on their sales – 50% of them said they had 6 months or less of runway and 72% saw their revenue drop since the beginning of the crisis with the average startup experiencing a decline of 32%. When all these events are being canceled, postponed or done virtually, how can entrepreneurs do business? Experts say: organize your own event, bet on content marketing, be popular on social media and work on your marketplace.


Going back to the offices

But there is also another way of thinking – the Bank of America and IBM (in the US) believe that innovation and collaboration are essential and can only be done right in person, so they are doing all efforts to bring people back to the offices

Gigging up!

While companies can send everyone home and expect to reduce their fixed costs by cutting real estate expenses and offer lower wages, some believe that it will have a negative impact on the organizational culture and the emotional connection to the company will be lost, meaning there are no reasons for people not to switch to something new that makes them feel more accomplished. There’s an opportunity for the gig economy to be filled with knowledge people.


If new companies are the new cornerstones of the economy, let’s help them!

New companies, tech companies, can save the economies from a complete breakdown, so shouldn’t all governments take some time to think about how to help them? As Startup Genome recently posted in its annual report, continuing to invest in local ecosystems will reinsure its growth and, consequently, will produce more value.

And since this is all about innovation, BCG shared its annual list of the world’s most innovative companies – led by the three A’s: Apple, Alphabet and Amazon – and Sifted shared some lessons about what we can learn from them.

Although none of these companies are European-based, the old continent is becoming more competitive when it comes to innovation – on the one hand, the EU continues to have a better performance than the United States, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and India; and on the other, Europe has more ecosystems in the Emerging Entrepreneurial Ecosystems list than the other continents. And there are people who strongly believe that Europe is better positioned than ever before to lead the way from now on.


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