All your IP are belong to us.

Sometimes it takes a bad meme to explain the obvious, and sometimes that meme is correct.1

In 2013, I was working in a robotics factory in Santa Clara California – right in the heart of Silicon Valley. I had the good fortune to talk to several of the Tesla engineers about overseas manufacturing. There message was simple and blunt. “If you are in China do not even mention IP (Intellectual Property), or the next day you’ll see it on the streets being sold.”

Yesterday, while looking through I ran across an interesting article, entitled Reverse-Engineering a Superior Chinese Product. To say the least, I was intrigued because most Chinese Products are cheap copies or clones. But just like the Japanese have learned to increase quailty to increase sales, I expect the Chinese to do the same. In the article, American engineers reverse engineer a $12 Chinese phone (sold only in China).

Here is a blurb from that hackaday article (Jan 1, 2105):

[Bunnie] has dubbed the phenomenon “Gongkai”, a type of institutionalized, collaborative, infringementesque knowledge-exchange that occupies an IP equivalent of bartering. Not quite open source, not quite proprietary. Legally, this sharing is only grey-market on paper, but widespread and quasi-accepted in practice — even among the rights holders.

That article links to a blog post from bunnie. Here is a short blurb — to encourage you to read it.

Gongkai is more a reference to the fact that copyrighted documents, sometimes labeled “confidential” and “proprietary”, are made known to the public and shared overtly, but not necessarily according to the letter of the law. However, this copying isn’t a one-way flow of value, as it would be in the case of copied movies or music. Rather, these documents are the knowledge base needed to build a phone using the copyright owner’s chips, and as such, this sharing of documents helps to promote the sales of their chips. There is ultimately, if you will, a quid-pro-quo between the copyright holders and the copiers.

NOTE: After the eighth paragraph Bunnie breaks in to some technical discussion. It is intended for person reading Hackaday, not entreprenuers. However, beyond that some of the article is interesting, such as the prediction he cites by a former MIT professor.

Other parts are comical, such as the section entilted Reversing the Boot Structure

Other parts have real implications, such as the second paragraph of Booting an OS

The video is also extremely interesting. I recommend watching the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes.



1. All your base are belong to us

Advertisements – Top 100 Crowdfunded things

Lately, crowdfunding platforms like kickstarter, indiegogo, & others have been taking up headlines in the tech industry. They have become a source of democratization of our economy. However, someday people will contend the illuminati are behind it all. In either case, the links below work as pointers to its previous success.

How The Top 100 Crowdfunded Companies Raised Major Money

Top 100 Crowdfunded Companies

published November 2013

4 Famous Crowdfunding Fails

posted October 24, 2013

  1. New York City Opera – Kickstarter – $1M/$303K
  2. Ubuntu Edge Phone – Indiegogo – $32M/12.8M
  3. Melissa Joan Hart’s Romantic Comedy – Kickstarter – $2M/$51K
  4. Zosia Mamet’s Music Video – Kickstarter – $32K/$2.7K

Topic: Top 100 Crowdfunded Companies – The ‘Billion-Dollar Startup Club’ (Unicorns)

rainbow_unicorn_by_izumininjastar-d4ihrlcInfrequently, we hear about the so-called Unicorns, those that make the “Billion Dollar” valuation — before IPO! The Wall Street Journal has collected their names for the record. It is worth noting the oldest was founded in 1995 (Fanatics & Intarcia), the newest 2012 (Snapchat). The list is interactive.

Introducing WSJ’s ‘Billion-Dollar Startup Club’ Interactive
The interactive chart

RIP Springpad

The demise of a startup venture is always disappointing. In the case of SpringPad, it was continously compared with it’s large competitor EverNote. Even today (July 7, 2014) it’s domain no longer responses to pings. ping: unknown host

OneTreeFrog_1stPostThe announcement was made on May 23, 2014 (See below). Within hours, there were regrets and rumors. Days later, list of alternativesacquire-hire, and Five (5) Pre-morteum lessons (list below) were in writing. 11 days later, multiple alternatives were available on a public spreadsheet, and Microsoft had tools to port data off of Springpad. On the last day of official operations, June 25, 2014 – warning notices were re-issued by the press.

With all this noise, you’d think users would have gotten the message. No, some in the press did not. Odds are handful of the 5 million users did not.

Announcement: Springpad is Shutting Down on June 25th
Posted on May 23, 2014, by Katin

We are very sorry to let you know that Springpad will be shutting down on June 25th. At that point will no longer be available, all online and sync features of the mobile apps will stop working, and your personal data will no longer be stored on our servers.

Please know that it is our top priority to help you during this transition. Amidst current rumors we wanted to confirm the news and give you all of the information possible at this time. We are putting the final touches on a new export tool that will allow you to take your data with you. This will include an improved backup file that you can save and use to reference your notes in the future in addition to the option to migrate your data.

In the coming days, we will make the export tool available to all users and developers and will communicate more news about our shutdown on our blog, via email and on You will then have until June 25th to export or migrate your data.


RIP Springpad. We will miss you
May 23, 2014
Springpad, a productivity app similar to Evernote and Pinterest, is planning to throw in the towel as it admits defeat against its cloud-based notes rivals.
Google might be acquiring Springpad in acqui-hire deal | BetaBoston
May 23, 2014

springpad_Postcard61Springpad App Alternatives: Boston Startup Springpad Engineers and CPO to Join Google | BostInno
May 27, 2014
Five Springpad engineers to join Google as Boston-based personal organizer app shuts down – Boston Business Journal
May 27, 2014
Five Lessons for Consumer Tech Startups in Springpad Shutdown
May 28, 2014
  1. East Coast vs. West Coast
  2. Product-market fit
  3. Revenue model
  4. Business issues
  5. Distribution and user acquisition
This Spreadsheet Is a Definitive Guide to Springpad Alternatives
Jun 3, 2014
Microsoft releases OneNote Clipper for Chrome, Springpad-to-OneNote migration tool
Jun 9, 2014
Today’s the last day to download your Springpad data
June 25, 2014
8 unwritten rules of job searching
These people did not get the memo.
springpad2This Startup Had Over 5 Million Users And A Great Product. Then It Folded
The (somewhat) surprising demise of the popular organizing app Springpad–and what happened next.
Published June 29, 2014 – Venture Capitalists Big Winners in IPO Market

New+York+teddy+bearVenture Capitalists Big Winners in IPO Market


The U.S. initial public offering market has been good to venture capitalists this year.


So far this year, 55 companies backed by venture firms have gone public on U.S. exchanges, raising $7.5 billion, according to data provider Dealogic. That easily exceeds the 19 venture-backed IPOs that raised $1.9 billion on U.S. exchanges last year and is the highest level of activity since 2000.


(…) – For Tech Startups, Raising Less Cash Often Pays Off, Study Says

HAPPY Fourth Of July All

Before you go all-in on your idea, make sure you’ve thought about an exit. Generally, “living under a bridge” should be one, but not THE one. With the blog post below (at the WSJ), you might consider a “quality” option, and not a “growth” option. In general, it’s easier to get people working together for “quality”, but sometimes investors want “growth”. In the end, the market will decide. fireworks_via_flicker

For Tech Startups, Raising Less Cash Often Pays Off, Study Says

Technology startups raising a couple of million dollars often command a higher exit price than those raising more than twice as much, a new study says.




The (study) analyzed exits from 2006 to 2014 using proprietary data for more than 200 acquired companies provided by investors and startup incubators. It examined exits of less than $100 million, the price range for 88% of technology M&A, according to industry data. The report is significant because acquisition prices in this range often are not publicly reported. (…)




Companies selling to other businesses, or enterprises, tended to do better than consumer companies. The median return was 7.5 times for enterprise companies versus 4.8 times for consumer ones. – 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching Your Startup

Wooden_signpost_at_the_crossroads7 Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching Your Startup

There is a familiar video in this link/blog.

My comments in italics.

  1. Being too pushyYes.
  2. Relying on buzzwordsOh God, yes.
  3. Working from a scriptRight on.
  4. Not getting a second opinionYes.
  5. Not trusting your gutYes.
  6. Dissing the competitionThis should be a cardinal rule.
  7. Everyone has idea, show that you can executeThis is going beyond the pitch – it separates the wheat from the chaff.

In short, I read lots of articles. This one is good, and to the point.