Co-founder, Stealthmode Partners, advisor to over 700 startups, formerly at Intel, angel investor

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Murky Thoughts From the Middle East

It is almost impossible for me to ignore how fortunate I am.  Just yesterday, I was judging startup pitches in Istanbul, and now I am in Tel Aviv, and then on to Amman and Dubsi. Another magical GeeksonaPlane exploration.

.In Istanbul, I met  three young Turkish men who work for a university-backed accelerator and will visit Arizona in January.  And this morning I was visited by a young woman, the sister of a Thunderbird student whose pitch I had judged five years ago, who is working for a VC thinking of opening an office in Turkey. My life is exciting and full, with new people joining old friends in it every day. It has been illuminated by the retina displays of an amazing array of technology devices, none of which existed  when I was born, or even when I was forty. I have traveled the world, on my own steam.

For this reason, every time I am in a Muslim country and I see a woman in a...

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Have Health 2.0 Companies Jumped the Shark?

Health 2.0 companies have jumped the shark, although the health care transformation itself has barely begun. How can this be? It’s easy. The money found the space. Over a billion dollars were invested in mobile health applications so far, and that’s only one part of the space covered by what has now evolved into a meet and greet big enough to commandeer the San Francisco Union Square Hilton– the Health2.0 Conference. However, the industry is complex enough to resist even the big money that is trying to change its entrenched practice habits and money flows,

i started attending Health 2.0 in 2005, when Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya held the first one in San Francisco. There may only have been two dozen companies there, but they were mind-bending because many of them were crowdsourced patient support groups or online health education sites. No mobile apps, no quantified selves. Most of...

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Unicorn Helps Broadcasters Place Ads in Streaming Video

Don’t you wonder why more broadcast networks don’t stream video? It’s because they don’t have a way of getting paid by advertisers to do it. They don’t have a way of inserting targeted ads in mobile streams. That, more than anything else, has been holding up the growth of mobile video advertising.
But what if video ads could now be targeted like Facebook ads, tailored to the individual getting them?
As a viewer, you wouldn’t have to sit through inappropriate ads to watch Thursday night football on TV. As an advertiser, you could reach more of the “right” people with your ad spend. Especially those who are moving to watching streaming video and online video. In August alone, consumers watched 38 billion videos online. That’s up from the month before, and if you looked at a graph, you’d see the hockey stick in online video consumption. Broadcasters had better start streaming.
But they...

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Vegan, No Oil No Salt? No Kidding

Yep. I’ve become a vegan with no salt or oil added to my food. I never thought I would do it, and in fact I used to think vegans were the wackos in my yoga classes. But now I’ve seen the light.

My daughter Chelsea introduced me to it. She showed me the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former cardiac surgeon at Cleveland Clinic who quit practicing to preach this gospel after keep a group of 25 end-stage heart disease patients alive over decades this way.

It made me remember the 80s, when Nathan Pritikin introduced the Pritikin diet, and my mother went to his Pritikin Longevity Center to go off her blood pressure medication. She was 50 when she went, and 84 when she died, and not of a stroke or a heart attack. But Pritikin never caught on; it was a very extreme program. I went with her to the Center once, and after a lecture in which slides of arteries clogged with cholesterol and...

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A New Twist on Entitlement

I have a new idea about entitlement. Rather than being composed of welfare queens and elderly disabled people, I believe the entitlement community is composed of people who wish to hold political office without having anything to contribute.

This entitlement class goes across the political spectrum. From Anthony Weiner, who wanted only to wave his apparatus at us, to the myriad of true Christians, who wanted to have the prerogative to cheat on their spouses, to every politician who has ever accepted money from a PAC or a 527 organization, the political class is the entitlement class. They live on other people’s money that they don’t earn.

In 2008, Barack Obama thought he was entitled to be president even though he had only been a Senator for two years. In the past four years, he’s gotten something of a comeuppance, or a baptism by fire. Now Mitt Romney thinks he is entitled to be...

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Health in Reach Promises Health Care for the Uninsured

Health in Reach, Inc., a free online service that helps consumers reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses, launches its new CarePoints™ reward program this morning at Tech Crunch Disrupt. Care Points are like “frequent flyer miles” for health care; awards points for appointments booked with dentists and doctors online through the Health In Reach website. The CarePoints program is a no-cost incentive for consumers to be more proactive in their health care decisions, and provides free health care services once points are redeemed.

I first met Health in Reach at San Francisco-based Rock Health, where I’m an occasional (less often than I’d like) mentor. Health in Reach, which was in the first class, launched at Rock Health’s first Demo Day and two months later signed an agreement to merge with competitor Price Doc, which had started a year before and focuses on building our a major national...

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Why I WIll Buy the iPhone 5

Every time I think I will not pay the early-adopter penalty and –just this once–NOT buy whatever product Apple announces on the day of the announcement (I have often been discovered wildly refreshing the page until the Apple Store re-opens at the end of the show), the gods intervene.

Yes, this morning, one day before the announcement, I was rushing out to walk the dogs, and dropped my iPhone 4S in the toilet. Or rather my 4S and its Mophie. Both of them. About $700 in equipment.

Of course I am not eligible for an upgrade. I never am, because I have to wait until two years are up, or at least ONE year. I’m pretty sure last year’s 4S came out in October, the month Jobs died, and I know I should not have bought that one, but my phone had a cracked screen, and the Apple guy told me it would cost almost as much to replace the screen as for a new phone.

So I bit, or rather bought. Anyhoo...

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Tel Aviv: On the Technology Beach

In Tel Aviv, the GeeksonaPlane are greeted by the expansive and talented Yossi Vardi, possibly Israel’s greatest entrepreneur, investor and evangelist. Vardi has a way of bringing people together, and it doesn’t hurt that his son invented ICQ, the very first IM platform, and is now an investor himself. The Vardis are at the center of the israeli tech community.

Vardi organized many of our meetings in Tel Aviv, with an eye toward showing us not only the startup community but the entire breadth of Israel’s technology ecosystem, from the enterprise companies like Microsoft and EBay who have technology and R&D programs in Israel to established online players like Wix , Another incredible Israeli company is Wix – far from a startup now with 26 million users. And there’s also Billguard, and, one-time startups that have either been acquired ( was sold last year for $125...

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Pay-out-of-Pocket Surgical Alternatives Fuel Ulthera Success

Ulthera is a Mesa, AZ company that sells medical devices: ultrasound skin tightening equipment for doctors’ offices. Most of its customers are cosmetic surgeons looking for non-surgical alternatives for patients to pay out of pocket and are demanding easier ways to get results than old-style cosmetic surgery. Ulthera’s part of a community of medical device makers that have always been in Arizona but usually fly under the local radar.

Last week, I tried it.

As I’ve gotten older, and especially since my husband died, how I look has not been my prime concern. I work around geeks (software engineers and startup founders) and they all wear t-shits and flipflops, so I got in the habit of
wearing jeans and a random top, and not wearing makeup.

Fast forward to the present, and one day a photographer who had taken a photo of me 25 years earlier forwarded it to me and I thought to myself, “I...

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Five Key Trends That Could Save Publishing

When you are in the middle of a disruptive time in history, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain perspective. The publisher ecosystem is right in the middle of such a time. It has already converted to digital, but it hasn’t quite figured out its monetization models or how to reach new generations of readers and viewers effectively.

Village Voice Media thought it had this knocked when it converted its Backpage personal classifieds to digital early on. However, the controversy about the content of those ads has given the publishers new heartaches (and plenty of legal expenses). They have a 40-year history of investigative journalism. How do they support it now?

Publishers have got to keep constantly changing their monetization models to keep up with digital technology. Here are five key trends on the horizon that could save not only the publishers, but the brands that rely on them to...

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