Smart Travel

When we started working on our redesign, we had two priorities in mind: (1) clear away the clutter and make our recommendations and editorial philosophy the focal point; (2) encourage smart, meaningful travel, both close to home and far away.

Our new design makes it easier for you to find what you are looking for, but we also want you to discover new places serendipitously. Exploring the world on Trazzler is like window shopping. Skip the trips that don’t appeal to you, but save the ones you like. As you do, your one-of-a-kind taste for travel will inform smarter recommendations tailored to your Travel Personality.

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What is Smart Travel? You will certainly find exotic getaways and the stuff of travel fantasies while exploring Trazzler. But most of Trazzler’s recommendations are within reasonable driving distance, fostering investment in your local economy and encouraging more frequent, shorter trips. Smart travel is active, not passive–travel changes lives and, as a multibillion dollar industry, can make an enormous positive contribution to the places we visit. Our new partner, Seacology, has given us the exciting opportunity to put this idea to the test. Simply by using Trazzler and earning miles, you can support their projects, which balance environmental and human needs, working to save endangered island species, habitats, and cultures around the world.

Trazzler advertising will be customized, too. Together with Miraval, the top-rated resort and spa and our pilot partner, we are launching an ad platform that empowers advertisers to connect with 1,000,000+ users on Trazzler and social media in a highly targeted, meaningful way. To learn more, download our media kit.

We got started when John Vlahides, Biz Stone, Adam Rugel, and Adam Weller created 71Miles. We then won a fbFund grant to develop Trazzler as a Facebook application. Today, co-founder Biz and Cheryl Rosner provide a steady stream of vision and support as board members, and we recently closed a seed round of funding. Special thanks to Ron Conway and SV Angel for leading the charge and pulling together an incredible team of investors in a way that only Ron can. They include: AOL Co-Founder Steve Case, Founder Collective, AOL Ventures, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, and more.

We’ll be adding many new features over the next month. Please poke around–we want to know what you think.

– Megan & Adam

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Will This Be The First Successful Smart Gun?

The Armatix iP1 is the country’s first smart gun – it comes with a black waterproof watch that must be in close proximity for the gun to fire. 

Of course, the question from some gun rights advocates is what happens if the technology fails just when a gun is truly needed?

Perhaps smart guns will create the next multi-billion dollar opportunity for entrepreneurs.  Ron Conway is one of those Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and just launched a $1 million X Prize-like contest for smart-gun technology last month. 

Lots and lots of technologies are being linked to guns right now, including various wearables, RFID tags, and electronic markers.

Do you think this type of technology will help reduce gun crime and accidental deaths?


Speech of Ron Conway (Super Angel) @ Startup School

Unlike many classic superheroes, such as Superman, whose “ideal loves” seem to be predetermined almost from their inception, Mary Jane was a heroine who had to grow, change, and adapt much like the titular Spider-Man himself before discovering her place in the world and who she wanted to share it with. She was hardly Peter Parker’s first lover but she was easily his best, and their marriage lasted for twenty years through thick and thin. In the alternate universe of “MC2” created in 1998 by DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz, the pair even had a daughter (May “Mayday” Parker) who would grow up to carry on the family tradition as the original “Spider-Girl”. The pair were briefly separated at the end of writer Howard Mackie’s run on “Amazing Spider-Man” in 2001, although subsequent writer J. Michael Straczynski quickly reunited them in 2003. She has been paired at the hip to Spider-Man in virtually all of his animated TV series and video games from the late 1980’s through the 2000’s, and was played by Kirsten Dunst in three feature films from 2002-2007. Even in current cartoons such as Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” or the iPhone/android game “Spider-Man Unlimited”, Mary Jane is a key character and is Peter’s presumed love.
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The biggest thing we all knew was that cofounders tend to do better than single founders; more controversial will be the finding that younger founders do better. That’s a hotly debated idea at TechCrunch, and the key is looking at companies that either have had or are expected to have outsized results. When it comes to the macro-startup economy, that’s what keeps all of us in business.

Why NYC Will Win Out Over The Valley

This week has been a big one for NYC tech / entrepreneurship.  No, Foursquare wasn’t acquired.  And Tumblr didn’t announce a new round of funding.  However, the NYC tech scene did get a bunch of attention this week.  Today, an article was published in the WSJ discussing the tech boom in the city and how startups are taking advantage of it to grow at a rapid pace.  Additionally, from May 23-25 TechCrunch Disrupt took place in NYC.  This event in and of itself wasn’t that unique or a harbinger of great things to come for the NYC tech / startup scene.  However, there was a fair amount of discussion on why NYC is not just a flash in the pan but rather a true threat to Silicon Valley as the #1 tech hub in the US.  One particular panel including Chris Dixon, Ron Conway, John Borthwick, Shana Fisher, and Eric Hippeau discussed the future of the NYC tech scene.  They ultimately came to the conclusion that until Facebook opens up an office or until the next great web company comes to Manhattan instead of San Francisco, NYC will continue to play second fiddle to the Valley.  I, however, aim to refute this notion during the following post; such that I believe NYC is poised to take over as the #1 tech hub in the coming years without any major tipping point.  

During the tech bubble of 1999-2000, startups in the Valley ruled.  They were building all the underlying technology on which many of the great companies today are based.  In fact, sites like Facebook and Twitter, which started in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and are based in the Valley (even though Facebook technically was started in Cambridge, MA), are now serving as the base for many up-and-coming startups.  Zynga, for example, a company valued north of $10B, is highly dependent on the Facebook platform.  Consequently, numerous startups can now emerge with a good idea while leveraging the APIs of Facebook, Twitter, and others for a crucial social component.  In sum, a significant amount of the technical legwork has been done, so people’s creative juices can now flow with a little less concern about implementing the idea on the technical front.  And what better place for creativity than the Big Apple?

NYC is the hub of creativity of all types. Designers (both fashion and otherwise), artists, photographers, and musicians flock here.  Media and entertainment companies must be based here or at least have a substantial footprint.  Every sports league must have a base here, and they thrive on creativity to differentiate themselves from one another when marketing to fans.  All prominent financial firms are based here, and they have to have a great deal of creativity to implement the financial instruments that caused the mess back in 2008.  Manhattan is a confluence of nearly every creative industry.  Fascinating ideas are ubiquitous, and people are able to leverage the vast expertise of one another in various fields in a way that they are unable to do anywhere else in the world – including the Valley – which brings me to my next point…the people!

The entrepreneurial community in NYC is completely different from the Valley.  Mark Peter Davis wrote a brief, yet fascinating post comparing the two cultures.  He wrote that NYC is like high school: there are some cliques of people, but for the most part everyone knows everyone in some way and it’s very collegial (what I’ve found, not in the post).  Meanwhile, the Valley is like college: people are spread out focusing on their own thing for the most part but you have some close friends, and of course there are celebrities that stand out like the class president and quarterback of the football team (e.g. Ron Conway and Mark Zuckerberg).  In NYC, virtually everyone that is deeply embedded in the tech community is connected in some way.  Any two random people have at most 3 degrees of separation between them, and oftentimes it’s less.

This closeness both in terms of friendliness, relationships, and proximity is what is going to enable NYC to surpass the Valley.  You can get to virtually any part of the city in 30 minutes or less, and you can walk almost everywhere.  To get from Mountain View to San Francisco it takes 45 minutes without traffic, and you can’t walk anywhere.  Being able to meet in-person and constantly be surrounded by entrepreneurs should not be underrated.  This startup revival is all about people, and not the technology (but that’s a post for another day).  Every Sunday morning / early afternoon, I meet face-to-face with 3 different startups very easily and with just 2 brief subway rides.  I could not come close to doing that out West.  Oftentimes, I take breakfast meetings that are “far” from my office in Midtown with entrepreneurs and others in the tech scene.  These types of occurrences would be nearly impossible if I lived in the Valley.  

So, sure, for now, NYC is the Djokovic to the Valley’s Nadal, but the Big Apple and Djokovic have each been on ridiculous winning streaks lately, and I don’t see either one slowing down any time soon.  Sand Hill Road and Rafa better watch out!

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Ron Conway’s Favorite Investment

Because one of the Valley’s best-known investors thinks this is his best bet right now. Get more -

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How to F*ck Up A Pitch to Ron Conway

Because even if you have the elevator pitch down, there are still plenty of ways to lose that would-be investor. Get more -
Jared Leto and well-known angel investor Ron Conway will be on hand to speak at CAA's Century City offices.

CAA has partnered with tech-startup incubator Y Combinator to host an educational conference for clients and friends of the agency who are interested in learning more about angel investments in the startup space. The event is scheduled for Feb. 11 at the agency’s Century City headquarters.

Helping to contribute to the conversation will be Oscar winner and tech investor Jared Leto (Zenefits, Reddit, Nest) and renowned angel investor Ron Conway (Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat).

Leto will sit down for an interview with YC partner Justin Kan, who also cofounded Twitch. The two will likely discuss Leto’s foray into tech investing as well as guidance and advice the multi-hyphenate has for potential investors. In addition to Conway, the roster of speakers at the event includes YC cofounder and partner Jessica Livingston, YC partner and Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, YC partner/legal counsel Jonathan Levy and YC partner/CFO Kirsty Nathoo. YC partner/COO Qasar Younis will moderate a Q&A session with his fellow YC partners.

-> Read the rest via the Link above