Microsoft Startup Accelerator Program - great for MS centric applications


Microsoft has launched what it calls the Software Accelerator Program. It is designed to ID high potential emerging partners and to bring them into the fold. MSFT’s Don Dodge explains that the program is launching with Image20 companies and will grow to 100 over the next 12 months.

So who made the launch list?
Kiptronic (more video ads)
Spotrunner (yet more video ads) (online tutoring)
iBloks (3d animation)

Microsoft Startup Accelerator Program Benefits include access to MS technology, Business Development resources may include, a blogging opportunity (?), event opportunity and introduction to the investor.


Each company has a “case study” description and all of them extol the benefits of using Microsoft Product. Typically it reads:

Solutions Built on the Microsoft Platform

Leverage Software chose the Microsoft .NET platform because it provided both the ability to scale and the flexibility to move quickly. “We create communities for some of the largest companies in the world, so we need a platform that will scale,�? says CTO Joseph Kleinschmidt. “At the same time, the social networking space is a fast-moving one, so we need to be able to quickly deliver new features to our customers. Our solution was to create an on-demand application with a full set of open APIs as a way to deliver both the scale and the flexibility our customers need, and the .NET platform has been a wonderful base from which to do that.�?

So, if you already have plans to use MS products to build the core of your application, this might be a good opportunity. You can apply here.

Micropledge - get software made - A crowd-chipin compared to crowd-sourcing


MicroPledge allows users to support software projects by making small pledges which add up to pay the developer.

There are several projects that I can think of which will probably cost $500 or so to do. Unfortunately those projects are not worth $500 to me, they are worth $15-$20.

So I can submit an Idea for the project on the MicroPledge and pledge $20 for it. Hopefully there will be others who need something similar and they might pledge $5-$10 for it and then you have a pool of money that is just enough for a developer to code the project.


Any user can submit a project idea or pledge to existing projects. Developers can quote to develop projects and get paid.

This is sort of like crowd sourcing in reverse- crowd-chipin, let’s call it.

Funny thing is that I saw this happen in health care industry for a major project once. Hospital A needed a piece of code written, developer wanted $1.5M for it. We got the sister hospital involved and the vendor was able to give us names of a few other hospitals that had similar systems, we called them up and got pledges to up their license fee by $200k if the new code is written. The developer had $1.5M+ in pledges and the work got done. The hospital A, ended up getting the software almost free because they agreed to beta test the code. Because the pledge was an increase in the license fee, the developer made a lot more than $1.5M. I was counsel to the first hospital and prepared the software development and implementation agreement for that deal.

There are times when the model is perfect! It is a great deal for the developer; they have the development funds pledged and the fact that it is a desirable piece of work, also means that the developer can license it or shareware it and improve his return. It is a great deal for the consumer, they get custom software written for a fraction of the cost.

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My friends went to a Web 2.0 conference and all I got was a Threadless T-Shirt


What has been the best use of the Web 2.0 collaborative features? Wikipedia? Facebook? Nope.. it is the T-Shirt site - Threadless.

Threadless is a t-shirt site that solicits designs that are rated by its members, sort of like Digg meets T-Shirt design. The winner gets a cash prize and bragging rights when it sees print. The projected sales for 2007 are expected to be around $30M. Last month Threadless opened its flagship retail store in Chicago.

Most of the t-shirts are sort of whimsical, like this one:


Two things surprised me about this story; their sales figures (I expected it to be closer to 5-10M, it is 30M) and that they want to have a brick and mortar presence.

Brady Forrest at O’reliey advances the following explanation for a physical presence by Threadless:

It makes more sense when you remember that Threadless is built on community. Having a physical space lets them give back to the community in ways a website never will. It helps them expand the brand beyond their current internet-found customer base, while maintaining the personal and respectful relationship with their t-shirt artists — something that they couldn’t do with many partners.

To me, the explanation is as whimsical and as haiku like as the t-shirts that Threadless sells.

They are already growing by a factor of 3 every year; if they want to expand, they should try affinity groups - schools, teams and like. Having a store in a cold, parking starved Chicago is somewhat puzzling to me.

As one of the slogan on Threadless t-shirt says, “I don’t want EVERYTHING, if I got it all, where would I put it?” There is a lesson in that quote somewhere!

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Science Sunday : “Lucky Imaging” - Sharpest pictures of Stars ever - even better than Hubble

Feast your eyes on this Cat’s Eye: Look at the clarity of the image!

Images from ground-based telescopes are generally blurred. There are techniques to reduce the blur (adaptive optics is one of them); now add another smart processing to the list.

The technique works by recording partially corrected adaptive optics images at high speed (20 frames per second or more). Software then checks each image to sort out which are the sharpest. Many are still significantly smeared by the atmosphere, but a small percentage of them are unaffected (sometimes a portion of the image might be unaffected).

These are combined to produce the final high-resolution image that astronomers want. The technique is called “Lucky Imaging” because it depends on the chance fluctuations in the atmosphere sorting themselves out and providing a set of images that is easier for the adaptive optics system to correct.

This work was carried out on the 200-inch (5.1 meter) Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain. Like all other ground-based telescopes, the images it normally produces are typically 10 times less detailed than those of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Palomar’s adaptive-optics system produces superb images in the infrared, but until now, its images in visible light have remained markedly poorer than Hubble images. With the new Lucky Camera, astronomers were able to obtain images that are twice as sharp as those produced by the Hubble Space Telescope—a remarkable achievement.

The images produced in the study are the sharpest direct images ever taken in visible light either from the ground or from space.

In this image of the Cat’s Eye Nebula, one can resolve filaments that are only a few light-hours across! This is so amazing, we can see 3000 light years away and resolve things that are few light hours apart!

The full adaptive system will be ready in 2010 and I can’t wait to see some spectacular pictures.

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