Ask me anything   Starting businesses always have more balls than hands to juggle with. Carvoyant is no different.
These posts capture some of our thoughts on connecting your car to the rest of your life and conversations with our partners, investors and customers.

Follow this blog to learn more about how Carvoyant grows the "cloud for the car." Thanks for the eyeballs and we look forward to responding to your comments.

    Carvoyant Connected Car Cast 6: How embraced APIs

    — 6 months ago
    Why “Your API”?

    Because it’s your car, therefore it’s your data. Sometimes, people get a little silly and try to say it’s not. “Your API” is Carvoyant’s core product. We don’t own your car and think it’s a little silly to think we can “own” your data or the choices you make with it. Others don’t always feel that way.  

    Since companies change as they grow, we decided to bake that assumed truth of “Your car, your data” right into our product, our strategy and our brand from the very beginning. Carvoyant offered API access to our Carvoyant enabled drivers months before we engaged developers or connecting partners with APIs. The ultimate test of being “open” and “trustworthy” is “Can I take the data with me?” If you can, then we’ll behave accordingly, everyday, to be good stewards for our drivers and responsibly help you engage with developers who want to build on “Your API.”

    The themes of “Your Car, Your Data” are not just marketing spin for Carvoyant, but central to our product and the way we help larger partners engage with drivers and developers. Treating it as anything but “your data” by definition limits how you use it to connect your car, and the places it takes you, to the rest of your life.

    As our physical things get more connected, more of the digital models get applied to them. Some good, some bad and some just silly. APIs for our stuff, generally good. Collecting information without disclosure, permission and ongoing transparency, bad. Assuming that just because you built a physical thing you can retain “ownership” of any aspect of that after a purchase, just by adding a “click-wrap” agreement, uhh, that’s a little silly.

    After a long time of hard work behind the scenes, Carvoyant’s platform can now cut months off the integration and deployment for our partners. That means you’ll see more public information over the coming weeks about different ways for Carvoyant Enabled Drivers to engage with apps, integrations and services from our partners. With opportunities for your data to be integrated, it felt important to lead off this new growth period by reiterating that it’s your data, under your control.

    Data isn’t good, bad or silly on it’s own. How we use it can be. Relationships and agreements our drivers have with connecting partners before the data arrives in our stewardship is between you, the driver, and your connecting partners. How we protect and enable your use of your data once you’ve entrusted it to Carvoyant is entirely on us. That’s why “Your Car, Your Data, Your API®” is like our version of “Don’t Be Evil”. Except we baked it right in, at the beginning, to our thinking, our brand and the product. If we decide to be like Dr. Evil and sell out for “One Million Dollars!”, use your api to take your data with you. It’s under your control, like your car. Like it should be.

    — 6 months ago
    Don’t “Openwash” connected cars

    Openwash - v. wrapping efforts in an “open source” cloak for legitimacy or as a cover for other intentions.  

    Some connected car discussions are great and some just make me feel like taking a shower. Don’t promote “open” with one hand and grab with the other.

    Openwashing? How can you argue with open? Right up front, we’re fans of open source, open frameworks and open access. Data wants to be free, so let it be, responsibly. Equally, there are great cases where a tight, closed design can be elegant, efficient and very sustainable over time. 

    Repeatedly, we see connected car proponents espousing the virtues of their implementations because they’re built with open source components or “open” because some third party developers agree to comply with onerous approval terms. It almost becomes humorous hearing restrictions justified for “security” reasons.

    Over the last week in San Francisco we spent a lot of time talking connected cars with investors, developers and automakers. I’m truly impressed with how far the connected car space has come in the last eighteen months, and with some automakers in particular. Others, not so impressive. For the moment, I won’t hang these folks with their own words because I’m an optimist and hope some of these groups come around. I will give kudos to Volvo for being forthright and rational about drivers owning their vehicle’s data. 

    Ultimately, the proof of how “open” a system or player is comes down to two things: 

    1. Can you get the data?
    2. Can anybody who plays nice, play?

    Closed or open systems both need data plumbing, so my Christmas break wish isn’t about Carvoyant but pushing the connected car space forward. As we move into 2014 and the inevitable rush of CES shiny toys and sketchy promises, let’s resolve not to openwash connected car implementations or cloak market grabs with specious arguments about security. Consumers and communities are getting smarter and more vocal. With social media and the API economy, consumers will route around restrictive solutions and make lots of noise about it.

    — 10 months ago
    "Eureka!" or "Preserve the Trust" ? - FL Startups, Capital and Meaningful Targets
    A geological accident is why Carvoyant happened to begin in Florida. That’s a story for later but we’ve never really thought of this primarily as a “Florida” company. I’m lucky enough to have two “home” states, California and Florida, both weird, wonderful and frustrating, for life and startups. We tackle things with a “Start, now!” philosophy, so we did, in Florida. Almost from day one, we had a founder, customers and investors in other states. 
    Tonight, I’m speaking at StartupGrind Tampa, at the Oxford Exchange. Inevitably, there will be questions about early stage capital in Florida and these articles are particularly timely:
    From Miami Herald - VCs investing more in Florida,
    From Florida TaxWatch via Florida Trend -  Growing Florida’s Startup Companies,
    Overall, this is good data and work being highlighted but I’m a little biased about the methods and “solutions.” This isn’t a knock on the Florida Angel Nexus or UCF, but organizations target a solution and metrics to what they can do and in alignment with their overall mission. Three deals and a million dollars is great work but startup economics tell us ten deals and half a million would have better impact and likelihood of long term success. Here’s the painful truth, from Florida Trend & PWC: 
    According to a 2012 MoneyTree report, California, Massachusetts, and New York attract 70 percent of all investment financing while Florida attracts less than 1 percent.” 
    Ouch. It’s a headline statistic, so take it with a grain of salt, but still, ouch! The capital is in Florida and the climate (beaches & taxes) makes it very attractive to stay. All that’s needed is to change the scale and timing of some of the portfolio. 
    An even better metric is not how much effort can Florida invest in developing a “unique” hub infrastructure. Take the real resource, the people involved in Florida Angel Nexus, Tamiami Angels and other groups,  and turn them into the multiplier. A better target for Florida overall is adding 200 new Florida Angels to, the social network which already has the infrastructure, deal flow and community for early stage tech. With 200 Florida Angels committed to invest at least $50,000 each, across at least 5 companies, each, Florida’s cost structures make it possible to keep deals here and attract from talent from elsewhere.
    Leverage relationships into a very modest capital flow. AngelList’s syndication feature keeps the overhead low for both investors and companies while the investments are meaningful scale to early stage innovation. If Florida Angel Nexus has 50 members, each only has to recruit 4 angels to create an extremely significant, rapid impact on the economy. Lean hard on your poker buddies, golf foursomes and others to “Start, now.” Don’t advocate for a particular investment, just advocate to get involved. Political groups do this all the time and startup investing can be “cooler”, have a direct local impact and be more rewarding!
    Out of twenty early investments, 1-3 will hit the scale aligned with more established Florida capital. Overall, the message needs to be simplified. 
    • Make more, smaller bets, earlier. 
    • Expect & celebrate fast failure to foster long, large winnners. 
    • Angel investing is cool, local and meaningful.
    Until that happens, Florida will still have an entrepreneurial spirit but founders will continue to take our investments, offices and jobs out of state. That’s a drag because the beach and taxes are really nice in Florida this time of year. 
    — 10 months ago
    TG It’s Monday! TGIF:Corporate Cube Life::TGIM:Startup Life

    We spent yesterday morning at a tri-athlon, rooting for a friend. Between chasing kids and wondering when Dave was coming, I kept hearing other friends crumble about Monday. Huhh?? 

    Not that long ago I could identify with folks who live for Friday and dread Mondays, but these days. Don’t get me wrong. I love weekends and time with family & friends. An enforced break is definitely healthy but I cherish the passion to get back to work full throttle on Monday morning. Thank you, #startuplife.

    — 1 year ago
    Law Opens Financing of Start-Ups to Crowds - →

    Let’s hope the SEC doesn’t smother startups with too much “help.”

    — 1 year ago
    "Public" or Prudent? General solicitation so easy a three year old could do it!

    Actually, she did. Several hours ago portions of the JOBS Act went into effect making it legal to publicly state the open secret that startups are seeking investors. While I was on the phone running down details on the how/why of making our investment status public (more complicated than interpreting FB relationships), my daughter hit the button that let angellist switch our status.  

    Done. Huh? A three year old? One button? OK, I was convinced. Convinced because it’s frighteningly easy to go from privately pitching investors to move into general solicitation, which the non-football SEC frowns really, really did not like.

    With all the one button sharing experiences built into everything, and my kids attraction to all things electronic, it’s a wonder that didn’t happen sooner. 

    @angellist made it easy to officially tell the public that our startup is raising capital. That’s cool. But social media also makes it too easy to “unofficially” move into general solicitation. That’s not cool. The SEC has proposed some really onerous, even disastrous, rules around “officially” becoming public. That’s not cool. angellist is working to adjust the really awful ones and make the whole overhead of startup funding lower. That’s cool since all startups hover one stray cut&paste to hootsuite away from a “bad” form of general solicitation. Yes, we’re public about investing now, but mostly because it’s prudent.

    — 1 year ago
    Infographic: The pros and cons of working at a startup | VentureBeat →

    Carvoyant’s heavy on the pros, light on the cons, and we’re hiring!

    — 1 year ago
    What we really think of your data…

    It’s yours. Your car, your data, your control. Period. Depending on who you are this might sound obvious, or crazy, but it’s how we roll. Your car, your data, your API 

    Most “connected cars” today are really only connected to one silo and come with a fair amount of fine print defining who “owns” what. That version of “connected” is more like tin cans with string. Something may be transmitted but you’re really only playing at being connected. That may be enough for some specific use cases but “connected” silos completely miss the potential of connected cars, or the extra value that comes from any network.

    For a moment set aside the fact that your car is your property and your behavior is, well, yours. Trying to “own” the data simplifies the internal business discussions for automakers, telcos, insurance companies, and others, but “ownership” implies value and property. If it’s an asset, then that large company will try to make money in a “big data” fashion. In the best circumstances, that misses the “small data” needs in our everyday lives. In the worst circumstances, that “ownership” can dramatically trample individual privacy.

    At Carvoyant, we insist that once a driver is Carvoyant Enabled, any data flowing in is theirs and under their control. We are not going to argue with our large partners about “ownership” of data flowing through various channels and we do our best to respect the various terms of service (ie: if an insurance company helped you connect, we’ll try to keep other insurance information out of the default stream). Ultimately, drivers will make choices. Making them the end point for their own data means they can engage as they choose without routing around systems that claim to “own” them.

     “Your Car, Your Data, Your Control” is more than just a tagline or a statement of the obvious. We also think it’s the best economic model for large partners to balance helping drivers get connected and get the most value from being connected.

    — 1 year ago