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Summary:

It’s easier than ever to build a web or mobile app and call yourself a startup. But with new funding opportunities and technology tools, entrepreneurs can easily — and cheaply — use technology to solve larger problems, rather than create another lifestyle app.

whatsnext

Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s debut about five years ago, web applications can now launch on almost a shoestring budget. That’s why there are so many new web companies that deal in things such as photo sharing, daily deals websites, travel planning and the like. The truth is, it’s easier than ever to put together a web or mobile app and call yourself a startup.

But there are a few recent developments that, taken together, are creating an even more powerful efficiency boost: one that puts resources that were once limited to well-funded corporations and research universities within the reach of a new generation of startup founders. Perhaps it’s time entrepreneurs took advantage of this new environment to solve larger problems, instead of building yet another lifestyle app.

The way I see it, the big components at play here are:

New money is investing in big ideas

Even though the larger economy is rocky, there are a lot of people just itching to pour money into the next big technological thing — hence pre-launch photo sharing startups that net $41 million in funding. While many tech investors are focused on funding sure short-term bets (i.e. the tried and true realm of web and mobile apps), there’s a budding sect aggressively looking to invest in larger, long-term innovations.

Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs is one of the most explicit examples of this. As we reported at the program’s launch last month, Breakout Labs will aim to fund nascent research proposals: opportunities too early stage or radical to attract dollars from VCs or government grants. Basically, Thiel, who recently told the New Yorker he doesn’t consider the iPhone to be a major technological breakthrough, is saying: Enough with the toys and games. It’s time for us to make something big.

Supercomputers are going mainstream

The next “something big” in tech might not require all that much money to make.

If you want to build something really complex — think aeronautics, new pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, jet engines, and the like — you need high-performance computing (HPC). HPC solves advanced computational and scientific problems by using a massive amount of computing power to solve very complicated problems that involve a lot of moving parts.

HPC facility at Argonne National Labs (attribution below)

It has historically been so prohibitively expensive to do HPC that only entities such as governments, militaries, well-funded universities, or huge corporations have the kind of access to the machines needed for computational fluid dynamics problems and the like.

But last year, Amazon started offering HPC as a service with “Cluster Compute,” making high-performance computing available in the same way that EC2 made regular servers available in the cloud. Earlier this month, Amazon souped up its Cluster Compute offering significantly — now, Amazon’s HPC-as-a-Service offering provides access to one of the world’s top 500 supercomputers for around $1,000 per hour. Meanwhile, tools such as CUDA and OpenCL give programmers the ability to harness massive numbers of compute cores without having to learn a special programming language.

This takes HPC out of the realm of scientists and makes programming for massively multicore HPC systems accessible to software engineers. What Amazon’s EC2 did for democratizing the ability to develop scalable web apps, HPC-as-a-Service can do for democratizing the ability to solve computationally heavy engineering problems or build gigantic predictive models.

3-D printing is becoming a reality

Printed engine prototype by Mcor Technologies

Once challenging technology problems have been mastered with the help of HPC, some of the solutions will need to be prototyped and put into physical production. This is still a very labor- and cost-intensive process, which is a big reason why many startups prefer to stay in the virtual realm. But the emergence of viable 3-D printing technology is on the cusp of changing that, making it cheaper and easier than ever before to make a physical prototype of a new design.

How much of a reality is 3-D printing today? It’s now available at the consumer level with a startup called MakerBot, which makes a 3-D printer called a Thing-O-Matic. The Thing-O-Matic costs $1,200 and makes relatively simple items such as small toys and gadgets like bottle openers on demand. Three-dimensional printers from companies such as Mcor Technologies are aimed at making more complex prototypes for enterprise-level applications.

Of course, startups have the option of skipping the prototype step and selling simply the IP of their HPC-developed designs to a larger company. But if a startup wants to have more control over the production of what it has made, 3-D printing brings that much more within small companies’ reach.

What will be the hot startup of the next era?

If everything works out as it should, the smart, early stage entrepreneurs of the near future won’t be thinking about how to build the perfect restaurant recommendation app. Instead, they’ll devote their energy to designing a more efficient airplane wing to conserve jet fuel, or a tiny device that can perform real-time monitoring of kidney enzyme levels, or an even more awesome landing gear apparatus for the next Mars Rover. Starting the next SpaceX or Virgin Galactic won’t need the kind of funding that only an Elon Musk or Richard Branson can provide.

Today, the lion’s share of companies that emerge from incubators such as Y-Combinator and 500 Startups deal in consumer-focused web apps. Here’s hoping that in the near future, incubators will look for startup founders who are taking real advantage of their new-found access to serious tech tools to build bigger and bolder products. It seems to me that driving toward that kind of world is where the attention of the tech industry — and the media that covers it — should focus.

“What’s Next?” image courtesy of Flickr user Crysti

Image of the HPC facility at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at the Advanced Photon Source courtesy of Flickr user Brian Howard on behalf of the Argonne National Laboratory.

  1. [DocDocc] It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/bAgoTAhL via gigaOM

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  2. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nBAK4ZIm @amarchugg #news

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  3. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Qp5oEupi @amarchugg #news

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  4. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/qw0DE309

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  5. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/hNb7rGJR

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  6. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/5Oc80KyN

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  7. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/AnL086ni

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  9. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/gHcWtlJL

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  10. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/aZFkNKBv

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  11. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/MVZZ1518

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  12. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/5qhTAPBC

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  13. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/LcA3vLI4

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  14. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/LXuIctCH

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  15. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/8fXtOfYd

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  16. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/6B1ko2v3 via Colleen Taylor

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  17. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/mcL7wZ1s #business #midlandsconsultingcentre #

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  18. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/O3zgf5UQ

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  19. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/5ajeQ8e7

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  20. New tech developments make it cheaper (and easier) for startups to solve big problems. So, let’s get on that. http://t.co/xZaJF8Xu

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  21. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by… http://t.co/JPYsWHUN

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  22. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pM5cyYae

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  23. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/g82137Vk

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  24. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/i5L4UAus #marketing #business #success #biztips

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  25. Because I want to get pitched by more spaceship startups: “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger” http://t.co/2ZENFBPh

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  26. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/VqKmtUZX

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  27. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5ebRGej

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  28. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger, way too many “me too” consumer web apps. http://t.co/iiVSUxnA

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  29. @earth2tech: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – The truth is, it’s easier than ever to build a web or … http://t.co/VduKja1j

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  30. Thinking bigger than the next restaurant recommendation app: http://t.co/sQXrIa0a

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  31. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pwPQqupL

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  32. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/8NxecoXV

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  33. The next new era startup might build for space or the medical industry, but I feel a new consumer Web is just beginning http://t.co/Dw8raGFv

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  34. App News: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – GigaOm http://t.co/0X5rZ12q

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  35. #tech #news It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – The truth is, it’s easier than ever to build a web or m… http://t.co/fjD4LrlT

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  36. RT @mduchesn: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/m5rox5AC

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  37. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/v1dNtJot

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  38. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – The truth is, it’s easier than ever to build a web or mobile app an… http://t.co/L8tHJwyH

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  39. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – The truth is, it’s easier than ever to build a web or mobile app an… http://t.co/9mYTLcXQ

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  40. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/yePNeC7l via @gigaom

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  41. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/wLoaXS3s

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  42. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – The truth is, it’s easier than ever to build a web or mobile app an… http://t.co/qXj6RcM0

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  43. GigaOM | It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: http://t.co/vzZaJKpS

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  44. Great post – thinking big is one thing, but executing big is another.

    Truth is, a good product idea CAN go big as long as companies keep working on scaling and viral growth. Maybe its the definition of startup / entrepreneur is changing…

    At http://StartupPlays.com we help entrepreneurs who think big, go big… fast!

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  45. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – GigaOm: GigaOm It’s time for startup founders to think bigger… http://t.co/kqDtbxxe

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  46. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/J7N3C1S4

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  47. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/T3PqPh3g #startup #innovation

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  48. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/mhNURsZo

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  49. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/R1UefZcz >> cloud HPC and 3-D printing. We ask what can you do?

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  50. RT @frank_moss: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/mhNURsZo

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  51. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Hf2k5z1W

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  52. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/M693v2dJ

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  53. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/BzFCanOy

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  54. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/UpMMmSWS

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  55. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/hjcJEYeU

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  56. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/AdQPir44

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  57. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/SZKT7v05

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  58. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/YcSkiq81

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  59. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/eM2HEDFU

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  60. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pQmdFQzX

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  61. RT @scottannan: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/J7N3C1S4

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  62. Great post from @loyalelectron : Why startups today could be thinking so much bigger: http://t.co/Saf4QxXk

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  63. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/CD9IfQ3c I like the positive attitude,…

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  64. @LAunchpadLA is looking for big thinkers. Apps due 12/5 –> @gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/lfLdHiPn

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  65. RT @gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Hf2k5z1W

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  66. RT @gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Hf2k5z1W

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  67. gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nqfZQ2AA

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  68. RT @frank_moss: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/mhNURsZo

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  69. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/oHHbRrwR via @gigaom

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  70. This is what I’ve been thinking since starting Kurzweil’s, ‘The Singularity Is Near’. Start ups can be thinking bigger! http://t.co/Xyl4Jb54

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  71. [GigaOM] It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud comput… http://t.co/7LUH6o54

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  72. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/JJnhetEj

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  73. RT @hermanchandi: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger, way too many “me too” consumer web apps. http://t.co/iiVSUxnA

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  74. Dear Colleen: it’s totally unnecessary to call out YC & 500 at the end of this article to put an exclamation point on your perspective.

    If anything, with YC funding 300+ companies & 500 Startups funding 200+ companies over the past few years, i’m pretty sure we are one of the biggest supporters for founders who want to reach for the stars.

    i’d appreciae if you go shit on a bunch of VCs and angel investors who are NOT writing checks to rip on as to why we aren’t changing the world.

    apologies for the short commentary, but i’ve got work to do helping a few hundred startups sell their dreams short. NOT.

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    1. Hi Dave, I didn’t intend for that last paragraph to come across as critical of 500 Startups or Y Combinator — it was meant to be the opposite, actually. I am more amazed at the unique opportunity you have ahead of you, since you’ll be the first to see these changes up close as startups start to make smart use of the new technologies available. I hope that clears it up a bit.

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      1. Stand your ground, Colleen. You were right the first time.

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      2. I agree with Dave’s emotions here, but for slightly different reasons:
        https://plus.google.com/107734895193166429976/posts/BRVrF4JUWGG?hl=en

        - because the assumption that consumer focused apps can’t be transformative for society is just plain wrong; and
        - because you cannot look at innovation in terms of isolated tools.

        Looked at in isolation, Tumblr is not transformative, for example. But I think we can all agree that online media platforms (including Tumblr) are transformative, in that they’re giving everyone their own printing press and ways to make money.

        Innovation is cumulative, with many different components getting recombined into a greater whole. This has never been more true than on the Web.

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      3. Great post colleen!

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    2. Christophe Sautot Saturday, December 3, 2011

      The problem with text is that anyone can read it how they want to. But classy Dave as always.

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  75. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/90PAQrws

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  76. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/S37dFaCC

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  77. RT @gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Hf2k5z1W

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  78. Totally agree with the sentiment here, that it’s time for startup founders to think bigger (by @loyalelectron): http://t.co/jZjZUFry

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  79. It’s articles like this that make me worried about Tech Bubble 2.0.

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  80. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/P21Z8bUR

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  81. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/x4tXB8aL (via @joshdilworth)

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  82. http://t.co/qlkNxOTq by @loyalelectron on startups thinking big should see #singularityU startups ideas that take these into account

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  83. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/yKi5fVTq on the potential of HPC

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  84. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/LZPCNsPf good article by @loyalelectron, #gigaom

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  85. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/uXLLUCEw

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  86. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – http://t.co/5usEnrwV

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  87. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/GGasY3hl via @gigaom

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  88. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/8rPx0oMd

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  89. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/DcssZ8f2 tip @techmeme

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  90. Agreed, my Friday column touches on this too RT @nsolis: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Ei5ufaDM tip @techmeme

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  91. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/bJjENqro

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  92. RT @damangmedia: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – http://t.co/c3C76nRJ

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  93. It’s time for #startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/x206uAEG

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  94. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/grK4qVoL

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  95. Excellent piece. The greatest advances in technology lie ahead and we have a chance to fix the problems of humanity with some of these.

    Completely agree that Silicon Valley thinks too small. Not surprised at my friend Dave Mclure’s defensiveness–this is common. We need to get Dave and his friends over to Singularity University so that they will understand the bigger picture, and know what they are missing out on!

    Vivek Wadhwa
    http://www.wadhwa.com

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    1. vivek: my defensiveness is not because i don’t get the big picture. it’s because we aren’t missing out on anything.

      i was pissed because we ARE going for the big picture.

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      1. Dave, you might not know what you are missing out on. I think the world of you, but do need to get you to Singularity. It will blow even your mind.

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      2. and i *have* been to Singularity… i’ve also been to a bunch of countries that even YOU might be missing out on, including Brazil, Argentina, Russia, India, Japan, China, Singapore, Chile, Colombia, France, Czech, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, etc. as i’m sure you’re aware, the big picture isn’t just in Silicon Valley.

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      3. Under the radar Friday, December 2, 2011

        Let me put this in McClure-speak. Bullshit, your /product/ is hundreds of little web-feature companies where you’re looking for occasional home runs and shooting for acquire-hires as worst case where possible.

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    2. Dave, I hate to say it, but Colleen is right. Going to a few countries does not make you knowledgeable about exponentially increasing technologies. You have no idea what you are missing out on. This is a common problem with all the “hot” incubators in Silicon Valley–as Colleen highlights.

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      1. vivek, you might want to actually talk to the 200+ companies we’ve funded — such as Makerbot, one of the companies in Coleen’s article — before you decide that we’re missing out on something. furthermore, even if we aren’t on top of the latest greatest particle accelerator, i’m always going to take issue with folks who think solving problems for normal people is somehow not useful or thinking big. funding startups that create education tech for kids is certainly a dream worth fulfilling. the things we are funding aren’t “hot”, but they are meaningful.

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  96. Silver lining: Time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/6mRSIy9D

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  97. RT @gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Hf2k5z1W

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  98. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5vyGFmB

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  99. Gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/gxxhigB0 Excellent piece. I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  100. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/N8ltJvAf

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  101. RT @wadhwa: Gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/gxxhigB0 Excellent piece. I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  102. RT @wadhwa: Gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/gxxhigB0 Excellent piece. I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  103. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/qMYz06Av

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  104. RT @wadhwa: Gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/gxxhigB0 Excellent piece. I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  105. “@carolrealini: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/xPxAc8kl” cc @ferlatte

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  106. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pwc78jnd on @gigaom

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  107. +1 from me! RT @wadhwa: Gigaom: time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/AjITdpVe I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  108. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/F2KkXtqX…

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  109. Gigaom: http://t.co/Nhem3ohn highlights Mcor – Irish 3d printing company @conormaccormack #entirl #client

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  110. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/jjfBT0jn

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  111. RT @Davidivorsmith: Gigaom http://t.co/eDPgg2zR highlights Mcor, Irish 3d printing company @conormaccormack #entirl #client @loyalelectron

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  112. This article is interesting but overestimates the current state of consumer 3d printing. http://t.co/a0l6lHmG

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  113. I’ll just put this here http://fabric-engine.com/2011/11/server-performance-benchmarks/ – I messaged you via LinkedIn, but in case you missed it: high performance web computing on the server or the client. Maybe you should write about us – there are plenty of exciting tech companies out there.

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    1. Cool — thanks for commenting, Paul.

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  114. I just commented on “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger” @gigaom: http://t.co/ZoV3FW7S via @gigaom

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  115. p.s. “Meanwhile, tools such as CUDA and OpenCL give programmers the ability to harness massive numbers of compute cores without having to learn a special programming language.” is not true. CUDA and OpenCL _are_ special programming languages… Also – making multi-core hardware available is half the battle. Writing software that works on it is pretty challenging…

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    1. I think the point is that OpenCL and CUDA are both based on C/C++, which is vastly more familiar than Fortran.

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      1. The point is they are specialized languages written for writing GPU code – that’s what they were created to do. So clearly, one does have to learn a specialized language in order to write GPU code. Sure, it’s not assembly language – but it’s still different enough not do be dismissed as trivial.

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  116. Ouch – feeling that dig into incubators/accelerators. Here are a few bright spots, everyone: Carbon Lighthouse is part of StartX, the Stanford startup accelerator. Since launching last year, the profitable startup, has been saving nearly 3 pounds of CO2 per minute. StartX companies are devoted to creating impactful change across a variety of challenges in heathtech, biotech, hardware, cleantech, consumer internet, social gaming, and enterprise. Two of our companies are also part of the Thiel program (Black Swan Solar & Airy labs). Here is a look at companies in our Fall 2011 class. http://startx.stanford.edu/startx-fall2011-founders. Colleen, I will be in touch! ~ Alexa

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    1. Thanks for weighing in here Alexa — really interesting stuff there. Look forward to talking more!

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  117. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger
    http://t.co/v5GpS1nD

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  118. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger
    http://t.co/JasUrxAq

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  119. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger
    http://t.co/k7kM71xW

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  120. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger
    http://t.co/XNfFBycI

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  121. RT @wadhwa: Gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/gxxhigB0 Excellent piece. I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  122. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/vY8CEG1c

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  123. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/GZ0hy3nc

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  124. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: Thanks to the efficiency boost provided by cloud computing’s deb… http://t.co/QgTsN9Vr

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  125. great post from @loyalelectron: “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger” http://t.co/s6VbK6S0 — enough with the toys and games

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  126. Right on. Education still needs lots of big big big thinkers… It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/4vy3Y1X8

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  127. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/7u4kgdTQ

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  128. RT @katiefehren: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/GZ0hy3nc

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  129. RT @wadhwa: Gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger. http://t.co/gxxhigB0 Excellent piece. I ripped into @davemcclure in comments.

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  130. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/JkfD7tSV

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  131. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/uFHqeKw0 via @zite

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  132. No more photo-sharing apps please! “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger”: http://t.co/ASfsMTiX

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  133. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/T2MyaF28

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  134. RT @TBouffioux: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/CD9IfQ3c I like the positive attitude,…

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  135. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/xBicIWgb @livingonone @ozziegooen

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  136. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pevcgnPh

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  137. Nice piece by @loyalelectron. I also think there needs to be more focus on bigger problems along with bigger products. http://t.co/NrPXxZEu

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  138. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/xBicIWgb @LivingonOne @ozziegooen

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  139. Retweeting Bora a whole bunch lately. “@BoraZ: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Y2KH03GV”

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  140. Great piece from @loyalelectron: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/2dG1lEJH

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  141. RT @ryanlawler: Great piece from @loyalelectron: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/2dG1lEJH

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  142. RT @ryanlawler: Great piece from @loyalelectron: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/2dG1lEJH

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  143. RT @Earth2Tech: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/JkfD7tSV

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  144. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/TSWXe6ws

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  145. Our founders think huge. We’ll hve major 2012 announcements! RT @katiefehren: Time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/f7l9Z330

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  146. Um, yeah. I agree 1000%. Been ranting about this for a while into the void. See my thoughts at: http://bit.ly/hDPiB9

    First and foremost is shifting investment and brainpower away from ad-driven consumption and towards problems that really matter.

    Next is tackling problems and opportunities of size. The “lean startup” mantra is total bullshit. Creates a bunch of shallow, clone, “i’m a feature” and quick flip companies.

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    1. I’d say the lean startup model applies to these bigger ideas, too. HPC and 3-D printing put rapid prototyping and frequent testing even more within the reach of startups. And since it’s cheaper, it helps them strike the right approach to make the business side work.

      After all, Colleen’s post addresses the tech side, but that’s only half of the equation. The other side is turning these big ideas into a viable business. That’s one reason the headline focuses on startup founders. If they start tackling bigger ideas (especially ones that have business potential), then they can take better advantage of the existing startup infrastructure — including incubators like Dave’s 500 Startups — to become profitable businesses.

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    2. Just checked out your post — I like how you dig more into the definition of “big” problems (population booming, global standards of living increasing, etc.) Thanks for weighing in here.

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      1. Ditto. Thanks for sharing the link, Rick.

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    3. Rick, you are completely right about the fact that few are solving big problems, most are clones, etc. But I agree with Nicole that the lean startup methodology applies to big problems too. I have seen many people fail because they think too big. Big problems need to be solved in small ways also.

      Vivek

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  147. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/h6IrQztY #in

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  148. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/6y2sX1ZG

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  149. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – It’s easier than ever to build a web or mobile app and call yoursel… http://t.co/awv8yXfj

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  150. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Q3garMfp #startups

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  151. RT @CleanTec: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pr2qe18Q

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  152. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/0oGvsAA0 /via @MediaReDEF

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  153. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/HWcF9FCX

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  154. There’s a good Quora question and answer on this from last week: http://www.quora.com/Why-is-so-much-of-Silicon-Valley-obsessed-with-small-ideas-that-dont-solve-a-problem?q=why+is+schilicon+valley+investing+so+much+into+

    And another conversation in Reddit/r/startups (http://www.reddit.com/r/startups/comments/mlqh9/what_type_of_startup_are_you_most_sick_of/) that turned into the same argument.

    Flavour of the month critique IMHO. Look at the stats in Michael Wolfe’s response on Quora

    “So about half (10% of the total) is going into services, software, and content. But that includes everything, so only some piece of that 10% is going into “trivial” apps, even if you use an aggressive definition of “trivial,” which I suspect you do.”

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    1. Thanks for those links, masonmike — cool to see how the conversation is shaping up elsewhere.

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    2. looking at the first link and Dave MacClure’s response it look it is mainly a perception problem. I admit I felt what the article said was true but know I wonder if is more of press problem (reporting only “trvial” apps) than founder problem.

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  155. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/GI5yq4k4

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  156. @kenrossi so very interesting! “@CleanTec: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/niy4ZksM”

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  157. What’s Next?? RT @MediaReDEF: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/1gNjFsA6

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  158. It’s time for #startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/h3bQuMpd via @gigaom

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  159. It’s time for #startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/h3bQuMpd via @gigaom

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  160. [486] It’s time for startup founders to think bigger
    http://t.co/hTdHRfR4

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  161. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/p0v2VqM4

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  162. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5damTgN

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  163. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5damTgN

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  164. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/4jllwqPY

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  165. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/iiBt0r5e

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  166. RT @martinsoorjoo: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/iiBt0r5e

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  167. Well? Come on in the water’s warm “@Pitch_Doctor: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/9VaS2i6X”

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  168. It’s time for #startup founders to think bigger — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/RlBkVz7K

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  169. RT @Pitch_Doctor: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5damTgN

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  170. RT @martinsoorjoo: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/iiBt0r5e

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  171. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nY5jnPOp by @loyalelectron

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  172. RT @johnsonwhitney: time 4startup founders 2think bigger http://t.co/felHq3ut by @loyalelectron

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  173. RT @johnsonwhitney: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nY5jnPOp by @loyalelectron

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  174. RT @johnsonwhitney: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nY5jnPOp by @loyalelectron

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  175. Enough with the toys and games. It’s time for us to make something big. http://t.co/3oTwq9jr

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  176. RT @martinsoorjoo: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/iiBt0r5e

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  177. RT @johnsonwhitney: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nY5jnPOp by @loyalelectron

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  178. YES!!!!! It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/4T3tKQbm

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  179. Guillermo Söhnlein Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Great post, Colleen! “What will be the hot startup of the next era?” In line with your comments about SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and other innovative technologies, we’ve been seeing some interesting early-stage aerospace companies come through http://www.spaceangelsnetwork.com. Feel free to check them out for future posts!

    Guillermo Söhnlein

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  180. RT @martinsoorjoo: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/iiBt0r5e

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  181. RT @johnsonwhitney: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/nY5jnPOp by @loyalelectron

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  182. RT @jkhoey: Enough with the toys and games. It’s time for us to make something big. http://t.co/3oTwq9jr

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  183. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – affordable #HPC is a key design tool http://t.co/nhg3dmNQ

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  184. “Time entrepreneurs leverage new startup environmnt to solve larger problems instead of building more lifestyle apps” http://t.co/Jcb9vZSY

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  185. RT @Pitch_Doctor: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5damTgN

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  186. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Y4DL6Gfg

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  187. RT @jkhoey: Enough with the toys and games. It’s time for us to make something big. http://t.co/3oTwq9jr

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  188. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/CXd6VAu1

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  189. RT @aprildunford: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/yKi5fVTq on the potential of HPC

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  190. RT @Pitch_Doctor: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/U5damTgN

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  191. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/clmx5sCj via @zite

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  192. RT @martinsoorjoo: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/iiBt0r5e

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  193. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/qMYz06Av

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  194. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger | Tech News and Analysis – http://t.co/gnxre7sM

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  195. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/CL66N1zB

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  196. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/CL66N1zB

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  197. RT @lesamitchell: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger | Tech News and Analysis – http://t.co/gnxre7sM

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  198. RT @CleanTec: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/pr2qe18Q

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  199. RT @Earth2Tech: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/JkfD7tSV

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  200. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/QrXR2m5v

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  201. RT @Davidivorsmith: Gigaom: http://t.co/Nhem3ohn highlights Mcor – Irish 3d printing company @conormaccormack #entirl #client

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  202. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/qa8EkFLr via @zite

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  203. Reading: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/cLoKgYIR

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  204. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/NN2ZyXPo via @zite

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  205. RT @Earth2Tech: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/JkfD7tSV

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  206. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/a05f2vo5 … Interesting debate here…

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  207. Gigaom: http://t.co/Nhem3ohn highlights Mcor – Irish 3d printing company @conormaccormack @sylviebarak #entirl #client

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  208. @beyonze it worked for me http://t.co/pk36ML1f

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  209. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/t98VH2r1

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  210. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/JSPGDA61

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  211. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Ye06i7Do

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  212. Great post that all entrepreneurs should read: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger: http://t.co/2BiEd8sh

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  213. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/8jrl5ktP via @zite

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  214. Gigaom: http://t.co/Nhem3ohn highlights Mcor – Irish 3d printing company @conormaccormack #entirl #client

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  215. RT @Davidivorsmith: Gigaom: http://t.co/Nhem3ohn highlights Mcor – Irish 3d printing company @conormaccormack #entirl #client

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  216. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/t4RLrHSm :-)

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  217. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger – http://t.co/RnXe4tpm http://t.co/DStYcFug

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  218. RT @gigaom: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/Hf2k5z1W

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  219. RT @lesamitchell: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger | Tech News and Analysis – http://t.co/gnxre7sM

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  220. Morning inspiration to go with your coffee: “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger” http://t.co/sYwWHneT

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  221. RT @BmoreNexus: Morning inspiration to go with your coffee: “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger” http://t.co/sYwWHneT

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  222. Jonathan Bingham Friday, December 2, 2011

    Colleen, as an repeat offender in the entrepreneurial world I would have to agree to an extent. The incubators and VCs are there to help the execution side of a start up. The influx of capital is the “steroids or growth hormone to help execute” as John Fisher (DFJ) put it to me on one of our businesses. But the idea was there. And it didn’t happen because we were working in a cool space or touring VCs for money. It happened in our “ah-ha moment.” The mistake would be to look for VCs or incubators to generate the ideas for the entrepreneurs. This isn’t the role they were designed for. Great innovation will come from the strangest places. Two great “big ideas” came from VERY different sources. Facebook from a dorm room with intentions at the time certainly not being what they are today, and iTunes and Steve Jobs, revolutionizing the content delivery world. But both were game changers. What we have now in the app frenzy and social interactions that both innovations have enabled are start ups creating value for users and businesses but its not necessarily a big idea. Creating a new game that gets 10 million users is pretty awesome for the game company but it isn’t a big idea any more than the new game for the Wii that will come out this holiday season. Game changing is just that. Playing in the arenas of other big ideas can’t be looked at as equally “big.”

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  223. I just commented on “It’s time for startup founders to think bigger” @gigaom: http://t.co/hldefnql via @gigaom

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  224. It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/d2yWf5Js #startup

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  225. RT @katiefehren: It’s time for startup founders to think bigger http://t.co/GZ0hy3nc

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