The Winklevoss Twins are investing in

I’m intrigued by three former Harvard students.  Divya Narendra, and the Winklevoss Twins, or the “Winklevii”, as the Twitterverse calls them. For those who don’t know, Divya Narendra, Tyler Winklevoss, and Cameron Winklevoss are credited by many with having invented the Facebook concept while students at Harvard University, and creating a prototype, then hiring fellow student Mark Zuckerberg to build on the basic software and create a more complex system.  What happened next is the subject of several court actions:  Zuckerberg either stole their software and used it to create his version of Facebook, or created something original from scratch.  A lot of this is addressed in the 2010 movie The Social Network, based on the book Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.

But … whatever happened to the Winklevoss Twins, and to Divya Narendra?  For one thing, the twins eventually won a $65 million settlement against Facebook, a company that was valued by Forbes in a Feb. 21 article at $67.8 billion.

But what are they doing now?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Divya Narendra co-founded a site called SumZero, which is a social network for professional investors.  He created it with fellow Harvard alum Aalap Mahadevia.

And now the Winklevii are investing as well.  “The band is back together”, the Journal quotes Tyler Winklevoss as saying.

The twins created Winklevoss Capital as a legal entity to invest the proceeds from the Facebook settlement, and SumZero is their first investment.

The concept is based on exclusivity.  Only qualified active investors are permitted access to the database, and only if they pass the application process.  Narendra personally reviews each application and reportedly rejects about 75 percent of them.  Once accepted, a user cannot simply lurk and monitor the work of others, but must maintain a certain level of activity to stay involved.

It’s an intriguing concept that draws an active group of participants and weeds out others, resulting in an exclusive high-quality community.

The official website is at



Bauchspies at the Kerr May 31, 7:30 PM

Todd and Cindy Bauchspies will be performing a combination of original songs and an audience participation sing-along event at the Bauchspies Kerr Center for the Performing Arts in Severna Park, Maryland, on Friday night, May 31, 2013, at 7:30 PM. The doors open at 7 PM and attendance is free, with donations being accepted to benefit the Annapolis Area Christian School.

The event has its own Facebook page, click here for details.

This is a rare event! If you can go, go!

George and Barbara Bush and Socks

Here’s former First Lady Barbara Bush sharing with an audience about her famous husband’s recent choices in sock fashion.  Or perhaps the socks are just a way to impress cute young girls?  See for yourself.

President George H. W. Bush was born June 12, 1924.

And incidentally, proper protocol is to always refer to any former political leader by their most recent title, even if they are out of office.  So calling him “president” even if he’s out of office is correct.  It’s the same reason people still refer to Mitt Rmoney as “Governor Mitt Romney” even though he’s been out of office for years.  But I digress.

So since President Bush was born in 1924, he’ll be 89 years old in about three weeks from the time of this writing.  He’s currently the fifth longest living U.S. president ever, according to this list at Wikipedia of longest living US presidents.  The longest living U.S. presidents in history are, in reverse order:

  1. Gerald Ford – 93 years, 165 days
  2. Ronald Reagan – 93 years, 120 days
  3. John Adams – 90 years, 247 days
  4. Herbert Hoover – 90 years, 71 days

And, at the time of this writing:

  1. George H. W. Bush – 88 years, 348 days
  2. Jimmy Carter – 88 years, 237 days

Those are the two oldest living former presidents, by far.  For the next two who are still living, you have to skim allll the way down the list to:

  1. George W. Bush – 66 years, 324 days
  2. Bill Clinton – 66 years, 280 days

Isn’t it interesting how close to each other these pairs of presidents are in age – Bush “41”, as he’s often called (he was the country’s 41st president) and Carter at only 111 days apart, and Bush 43 and Clinton at only 44 days apart.

And in case you’re looking at the list and thinking “wow, look at President Obama, after 5 years in office he’s still the third youngest on the list – and that’s true, but remember, this list considers the full lifespans of all presidents, not just their age while serving in office.  It makes sense that the current president, whoever he might be, would be younger – for now.

And hopefully, for all living presidents, past and present, for their sakes, we’ll see all living presidents rise up the list as their lives continue.

A curious Eva Cassidy reference in a Delta Goodrem article

Delta Goodrem is an Australian pop culture sensation.  She started as a child star on an Australian soap opera, and then eventually began a professional singing career at the ripe old age of 15.  I first her voice in her in the smash hit In This Life, a powerfully energetic and inspiring song.  See below for the video.

But this week, the Australian pop culture website published a curious statement that ties a  Goodrem reference to the late great Eva Cassidy.  On May 19, 2013, Pedestrian.TV reported:

Your best gal pal Delta Goodrem killed two of Eva Cassidy‘s songbirds with one precious stone [a diamonte] last night by making an appearance at Goodgod Small Club to support the sold-out show of burgeoning New Zealand vocalist Lorde [Ella Yellich-O’Connor, 16]. In doing so, Delta spun her chair in the direction of both certified talent and bolstered ‘indie credibility’ (if that’s even a thing) which sadly took a syncopated beating this time last year.

Say what?  Killed two of Eva Cassidy‘s songbirds with one precious stone?  Obviously this is a play on the expression “kill two birds with one stone”, which is a positive reference to someone who is very efficient, and accomplishes twice the results for their effort.

But what’s with the Eva Cassidy reference here?  Has Eva become such a household name in Australia that they’re just being cute and trying to make a quantum leap to connect her with the typical “two birds” expression?

Whatever it is, I guess Pedestrian.TV assumes their Australian audience will understand this.  But here in the USA, typing this from Eva Cassidy’s home town of Bowie, MD, I gotta say that I don’t get it.

Can anyone explain the Eva Cassidy reference?  If so, please add a comment!  (Look below the video – i you don’t see the “add comment” form there, click here.)

Migicovsky lands $15 million for Pebble

There’s a May 16, 2013 report at the way-cool blog TechCrunch that Eric Migicovsky has landed a $15M investment from Charles River Ventures.  The article includes an update of the now-famous Kickstarter campaign, stating that Migicovsky’s company is still working to fulfill the 85,000 orders they received via that crowdsourced fundraising effort.

If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, here’s a bit of background.

Migicovsky originally conceived of the Pebble and announced it through an online video in 2012.  Click here to see the original video they made to raise funds at Kickstarter at Vimeo.

The original fundraising target he posted at Kickstarter was $1 million.

Raising funds through a crowdsourcing website like Kickstarter isn’t the same as raising money through a traditional venture capitalize or accredited investor.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn’t allow just anyone to sell stock to just anyone else.  The reason is that the SEC theoretically wants to protect what they call “unsophisticated” investors from being financially hurt by reckless business ventures or charlatans.   If you want to issue stock or solicit investment funds, you must recognize a number of legal disclosures and other regulations that often require an attorney to put together correctly.  That can be expensive.  Furthermore, your target audience may be limited to “accredited” investors, and most people don’t qualify.

To get around that, crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter take a different approach.  One way is to sell something to “investors”, so that they actually become customers, but with an understanding that the customers are purchasing something that may not deliver for a year or so.  Furthermore, there’s a risk that the item might not be delivered at all, but in exchange for that risk, the customer is also potentially getting in on the ground floor of a great product and potentially joining the cutting edge of a new technical development.

Migicovsky offered his Kickstarter customers a chance to purchase a functioning Pebble.  He had already made a prototype, and had determined that through mass production, he could afford to make them and sell them at $100 each, but only if he could sell at least 10,000 of them.  So the Kickstarter campaign deal told would-be buyers that if they were willing to put up $100 to buy a Pebble now, and if at least 10,000 people agreed within a 30 day period, then everyone would be charged $100 at the end of the 30 days, and he would deliver the Pebble within a year.

That was his promise.  The Kickstarter website would handle the payment collection and notification of all would-be customers.  Migicovsky needed 10,000 customers to pledge $100 within 30 days, so he could raise the $1 million.

The Kickstarter campaign launched April 11, 2012.  By May 18, the campaign had raised over $10 million.

It was the single largest amount ever raised through Kickstarter.

The big technology companies took notice.  Apple announced plans to build the iWatch, with similar integration to other devices like the Pebble, and biometrics, for delivery in 2014.

But that hasn’t stopped interest in the Pebble.  This month’s news about the $15M investment from Charles River Ventures underscores that fact.

The Pebble has a huge advantage on the software front.  Migicovsky’s team is offering the Pebble with its own open software developer kit (SDK), which they’re calling the PebbleKit. The SDK enables “third party apps to send and receive data from the smartwatch” as quoted from the TechCrunch article.  In addition, the “Pebble Sports API … enabl[es] developers to build GPS-enabled smartwatch apps similar to the RunKeeper app”.

TechCrunch also reports that the Pebble should be available via retail outlets in four to six months.  If you’re keeping track, that means the Pebble will be available in plenty of time for Christmas 2013, while Apple’s iWatch might be available sometime next year, maybe.  Perhaps.  It could happen.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Skere9 Star Eric Migicovsky.  Stay tuned.

Doc and Chou Chou at the Carlyle Club


This Saturday, June 8, 2013, Doc Scantlin and the Imperial Palms Orchestra, featuring Chou Chou, will be appearing at the Carlyle Club in Alexandria, Virginia.

You can buy tickets online here and get more information about the venue here.

This is a rare and most excellent chance to experience the magic of what Forbes Magazine calls “The Best Band in America“.

Don’t miss it!

“Dead Giveaway”, RWJ FX deal, and more!

There is SO MUCH going on in the Skere9 universe, I don’t even know where to begin.  There’s the breaking news of the Ray William Johnson deal with FX, the curious reference to Eva Cassidy in a recent Australian news report in connection with Delta Goodrem, and a fun event coming up on June 8 featuring Doc Scantlin and Chou Chou at the Carlyle Club in the Washington DC area.  BUT FIRST …

I just heard this latest from schmoyoho and it’s awesome as usual, it’s their newest Autotune the News entry, and it showcases Charles Ramsey, the man who is credited with having rescued three women from a house basement in Cleveland, see below!

This Charles Ramsey is not to be confused with former Washington DC Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey, who I had the pleasure of meeting about ten years ago.  At the time, I was a member of the National Press Club’s High Tech Committee, and we invited then-police-chief Ramsey to appear as an invited panelist for a discussion on the use of facial recognition software and surveillance cameras.  He was gracious and excellent, lending insight during the panel discussion and after.

But I digress … the point is that if the name “Charles Ramsey” is familiar to you, you may be thinking of the former DC Chief of Police.

And the police chief was never auto-tuned as best as I know.

Frank Russo at 49 West

This just in: Thursday, May 23rd, at 49 West in Annapolis, you can hear the FAB Trio with Tim Leahey on trumpet!  Great jazz and great food!  8:30pm-11pm, $10 cover, call for reservations 410-626-9796.

Frank Russo, drums
Amy Shook, bass
Bob Butta, piano
Tim Leahey, trumpet

49 West St.
Annapolis, MD

Hope to see you there!