I’ve been on a small business kick lately enamored by human, passionate, focused organizations driven to create great products. But as is the case in business: With innovation comes competitive threats. And when the competition emerges as Facebook, Google, or Apple, one has to ask, does the innovator stand a chance if they don’t sell out?
Foursquare caught my eye last January in terms of its opportunity for brands. And while some were quick to proclaim the company’s demise upon Facebook’s launch of its places product, Foursquare saw its highest day of new user signups the day after Facebook Places launch. Foursquare’s emphasis on big partnerships, social currency, and what happens after the check-in will hopefully keep it as the “darling” of Location-Based Social Networks (LBSNs).
Ustream makes broadcasting live video easy and has given it a social flair. Like Foursquare, the company’s media partnerships has helped give them mainstream visibility. Just tonight, Ustream’s partnership with NBC gave Emmy TV viewers additional behind the scenes red carpet and back-stage footage online. But with YouTube (Google) continuing to experiment with live video broadcasting, how will Ustream maintain its leadership position in the face of the massive YouTube audience?
If you’re fascinated with Web/TV convergence, you can’t help but love Boxee which aggregates programmatic video content from various online/hard-drive sources and partners and serves it on-demand style through your TV. While the product can run directly off your computer hooked up to your TV, the company is trying to come out (despite a number of delays) with a set-top box (appropriately called the “boxee box”). With GoogleTV and Apple’s iTV being released this fall, will the delayed Boxee Box get over shadowed?