Archive for 'Local News'
What’s more basic than eating? Maybe that’s why the growing legions of little rolling restaurants have something fundamental to teach us.
One of the hottest spots for startups isn’t just in the incubators of Silicon Valley. It’s also on the streets nearby. Literally. As in where the Goodyears meet the macadam. And for the price of lunch, it can provide you with a glimpse into some of the market’s most important new technologies, market trends, and business models as they blend, bake, and stew into commerce as it’s coming to be.
I’m referring to food trucks. There’s an exploding number of the serving up meals in San Francisco–and in Chicago, Austin, and other metros, too. Unlike the “roach coaches” that classically cater doughnuts and coffee at construction sites or the push carts dishing up dogs, these are new concept, rolling restaurants going by names such as Le Truc, Eire Trea, and JapaCurry.
Study Results. I’m calling your attention to this phenomenon not just because I’m a foodie. Instead, it’s because I got a jump on the preliminary results from study by a husband-and-wife market research team exploring the phenomenon as part of their ongoing work into the swiftly changing nature of the small business economy, such as the rise of independent workers and what I’ve previously identified as the “cell-sized enterprise.”
They’re Steve King and Carolyn B. Ockels, who are partners at Emergent Research, which has been providing forecasts for companies such as Intuit, SAP, and American Express. As they started to describe their early food truck findings, it became clear there were broad and important parallels to be noted for other startups — and even established companies, big and small.
Because the food truck phenomenon is so new the evidence surrounding it is largely anecdotal. But even at that, it’s clear something’s cooking. Steve and Carolyn found the City of San Francisco has now licensed about 250 food trucks–compared to just 20 four years ago. While the number represents a fraction of the city’s thousands of brick-and-mortar restaurants, it doesn’t mean it’s insignificant. Remember: This is the kind of trend-spotting that can lead you to first-mover advantage that’s won the day in so many markets and for so many companies.
Based on their reckoning, the food trucks represent directions that, when passed through my prism, mean three important things to you. And they are:
- Be mobile, local, social. To me the local-social-mobile chant resonates of the blah-de-blah I keep hearing mostly from consultants, analysts, and especially smartphone application developers looking for even more reasons to tangle us in connections we don’t need or want. Checking in on FourSquare makes me want to gag myself with a spoon. But when it comes to food trucks, then these imperatives look more like concrete business practices to be broadly applied to real commerce. Food trucks go to their customers. They’ve gotten savvy at reaching them virally where they live, work, and, of course, eat. More than anything, Steve and Carolyn note, the increasing public appetite for locally grown, prepared, and provided food attests to the changing nature and growing importance of neighborhoods and community. That people are seeking more real–as opposed to virtual–connections to each other holds major implications about the way any business operates anywhere.
- Growing importance of prototyping. This is another post-recession practice gaining momentum. Many food truck owners want to open their own traditional restaurants, Carolyn and Steve point out. Because capital is so scarce–and expensive–they’re using their trucks to hedge their bets. In many cases, they’re relying on their trucks to “test concepts, neighborhoods and recipes” before they commit themselves to their grander a real brick-and-mortar eatery, says Steve King. In the same way, many of the startups I’ve encountered, and an increasing number of established companies, are dispensing with the brash “go-big-or-go-home” way of doing business. Even when it involves a technology platform or an application rollout, more and more companies are validating their efforts in small baby steps.
- Emphasis on opex. Some of you will recognize this as one of the factors driving businesses to the cloud. What applies to data centers also works for restaurants too: Rather than expending capital on server farms or storefront space, which take longer to write off, food trucks also represent the more flexible financial advantages and the faster tax deductions that come with tilting money away from fixed expenses to variable costs. The shift reflects a broad reality of the post-recession economy.
As I think of it, maybe food trucks are coming to represent more of the way companies, of all sizes, need to operate in today’s complex and fast-changing marketplaces, and even when it comes to IT: You need to be able to move fast and flexibly through twists, turns, and bottlenecks to meet your customers where and when they want you to satisfy their most basic needs in ever more palatable ways.
Patrick Houston is the co-founder of MediaArchitechs. He is a former SVP for a new media startup, a GM at Yahoo, and editor-in-chief at CNET.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuing to lead the way with Hybrid TV, Entone, Inc. is teaming with BTC Broadband to explore a new Broadband TV (BBTV) service model in Bixby, Oklahoma.
With FusionTV, BTC Broadband can offer a new BBTV service that combines live Over the Air (OTA) television programs and full digital video recorder (DVR) capabilities, with additional cloud-based media services that includes VUDU’s streaming library of over 50,000 titles and more than 50 popular online applications, such as photo sharing from Flickr and Picasa, and social media via Facebook and Twitter.
“Our FTTH deployment is a key technological differentiator for our services,” said Scott Floyd, Director of Sales, Product Development & Customer Services at BTC Broadband. “With a product like Entone’s FusionTV, we can leverage our high-speed network to bring next-generation, broadband-centric services to market while also increasing our overall customer satisfaction with a rich and compelling TV service.”
Entone’s FusionTV solution is a turn-key managed platform that includes software, equipment and service. FusionTV combines traditional TV service with OTT services and is delivered as an operator-branded offering. FusionTV allows operators to roll out a unique video-centric broadband service that can increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) and strengthen subscriber satisfaction, all without the upfront capital investment and content acquisition complexities of a full scale IPTV system.
“Operators are realizing that broadband is the anchor platform for delivering new revenue-generating services,” said Andrew Morton, Vice President of Broadband TV Solutions at Entone. “BBTV is the proverbial win-win. It offers a path for progressive operators like BTC to potentially upsell their broadband subscribers to a premium tier, and can also give BTC a way to offer a richer, operator-branded TV service for consumers who may otherwise cobble together their own suite of online video services that can neither be monetized or used to enhance the BTC brand.”
FusionTV is enabled by Entone’s 300 and 400 series of hybrid devices which integrates Broadcom’s advanced dual-core processor – providing a flexible platform for supporting an array of advanced video and hybrid TV applications.
Watch our for our next Code For TV event, get on the mailing list at www.codefor.tv
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As the holidays quickly approach, so does the season for generosity. In the spirit of giving back to the community, Citizen Space has launched a food drive to benefit San Francisco Food Bank, a community non-profit dedicated to feeding the hungry.
Hunger manifests itself as a consistent lack of enough food to meet nutritional requirements. It can mean fewer meals each day and poor-quality food that is calorie-rich but nutrient-poor.
In San Francisco, 197,000 people struggle each day to feed themselves and their families. In Marin, just over 40,000 people – or 16% of the population – face the threat of hunger on a given day.
Citizen Space will be collecting canned food goods at our SF & San Jose locations from now through the end of the year. To reward all for participating in the food drive, we are offering 50% off of or regular drop-in rate for every person who donates five or more canned food items for the drive!
Citizen Space is also reaching out to other coworking establishments in San Francisco to build an all-star community of donors, with hopes of feeding more hungry people this holiday season. Interested in contributing? E-mail Matt to join our team!
Giving back to the community with a round of #coworking, on us: doesn’t get much better! Check out our team’s page today: http://holidaydrive.sffoodbank.org/team/8045388066
Citizen Space is the world’s first coworking space located at 425 2nd Street, in the SoMa district of San Francisco. The idea of Citizen Space is to take the best elements of a coffee shop (social, energetic, creative) and the best elements of a workspace (productive, functional) and combine them to give indie workers the chance to have their own, affordable space. Citizen Space was built on coworking philosophy. Our residents (past and present) range from: software engineers, web developers, social media consultants/strategists, graphic designers, product designers, public relations specialists, and sustainable web hosting entrepreneurs.
Working from home can seem incredibly isolating, especially if the work requires little to no contact with the outside world. Technology has been a blessing by offering telecommunication tools to the workplace, which enable us to work outside of the office at the expense of losing something – namely our colleagues – when we leave. When we lose our coworkers, we stop sharing skills; we rely upon ourselves and ultimately limiting ourselves. Through isolation, we miss out on that intangible collaborative energy found only in coworking spaces like Citizen Space.
Not all coworking spaces focus on industry, professionals, or any other type of identity (for that matter). The best thing about coworking spaces is that they are micro-environments – communities formed by the individual and unique people sharing the same productive space. The synergy of everyone working together – bouncing ideas off of one another, sharing contacts, brainstorming, critiquing – can elevate your own ambitions and potential to levels you couldn’t achieve on your own.
All you need to get started is your computer, a smart phone, and all the chargers of course. Citizen Space provides the desks, monitors, whiteboards, internet, snacks, caffeine, and people.
Are you interested in learning more about coworking at a Citizen Space, checkout our membership pages, or give us a call at 415-501-9155for SF, and 408-556-976 for San Jose.