Archive for July, 2011

Magic Johnson in Tech?

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Joins Detroit VC Firm To Invest In Tech Startups

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

NBA legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson this morning announced that he is joining and investing inDetroit Venture Partners, a VC firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies primarily located in the heart of downtown Detroit, as its fourth general partner.

The Hall of Fame basketball star will be working with the founders of the firm, namely Quicken Loans founder (and Cleveland Cavaliers owner) Dan Gilbert, ePrize founder Josh Linkner and investor Brian Hermelin, and invest ‘millions of dollars’ in the fund, according to the PR.

Detroit Venture Partners was established in 2010 and has made investments in startups like Are You A HumanFLUD NewsStylecaster and Sociocast. The fund will invest exclusively in digital media, mobile app development, cloud computing, e-commerce and social networking companies.

Magic, who played basketball for Michigan State University before being drafted by the LA Lakers, in a statement says he believes strongly in the “Detroit 2.0 movement”.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but according to the LA Times, Johnson is referring to the initiative launched by Dan Gilbert in which he relocated Quicken Loans and its 1,700 workers to the Detroit suburbs.

Detroit Venture Partners, along with some of its portfolio companies, will be located in Gilbert’s downtown Detroit Madison Theatre Building, which is currently being transformed into an coworking / incubator hub where tech companies can work together.


Clues in Google+ Source Code

Forget Clues, You Can Find The Google Games Logo (And More) In The Google+ Code

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Shortly after Google+ was unveiled, Engadget got a tip from someone who dug deep into its source code and found verbal references to something called Google Games. A tipster of ours has now dug a little deeper and managed to find more of them.

In the Google+ source code, Yvo Schaap – who also found the embeddable +1 button before it was released – actually discovered a link to the Google Games logo (shown above).

You may remember another tipster found the logo for Google Music ahead of its debut at some point as well, although that only took a simple URL tweak.

Aside from the logo, Schaap also found references to API endpoints such as “/_/games/getGameFriends”, “/_/games/getActivities” and, perhaps more interestingly, “/_/games/postToStream”, pointing to a characteristically social gaming service.

Of course, the actual existence of a Google-branded social gaming service, which is yet to be launched, let alone announced, shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

As we revealed a year ago, Google quietly invested $100 million or more in social gaming giantZynga. They acquired Slide, which also develops social games, and its investment arm Google Ventures backed gaming companies like ngmocoKabam and SCVNGR.

At one point, they even recruited gaming industry vet Mark DeLoura (formerly of Ubisoft, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Nintendo and others) as developer advocate for game-related products, though he quit after only 4 months on the job (he’s now a VP at THQ).

And according to a recently surfaced job opening, Google is looking for a Product Manager to “grow its brand-new business – Games at Google!”.

Google has learned that any consumer-focused platform needs games in order to thrive by looking at the success of Android if not simply by observing the rapid rise of Facebook, and it makes sense for its social networking service Google+ to incorporate games in that regard.

In fact, Google’s edge in the mobile app distribution space and the spectacular growth of the Android platform should make Google Games – in whatever form it takes shape – all the more interesting.

As Inside Social Games pointed out when the first references to Google Games were unearthed, we should consider the fact that Google SVP Vic Gundotra used to oversee the company’s mobile app strategy prior to co-heading Google’s social efforts.

What Google’s social gaming platform will eventually look like – and how it will be positioned and if it will be able to adequately compete with Facebook and other online gaming platforms – is anyone’s guess for the moment, though I have the feeling it won’t take that much longer for Google to start talking more about its imminent foray into the gaming industry.

Best Resume Ever

I vote all resumes should look something like this