What Mattered in 2012: Aber Whitcomb, io/LA

For the last week of the year, we're featuring the thoughts and reflections of some of the movers and shakers of Southern California's high tech community. We asked the same four questions of a variety of top technology entrepreneurs, investors, and others, to hear what they're thinking about, and are sharing it here over the next week.

Aber Whitcomb is a partner at startup co-working and incubation community io/LA, CTO of SGN, and former co-founder and CTO of MySpace.

1. What was the biggest news for you this year?

At SGN we've seen steady revenue growth and we are a profitable company. We've also invented and patented a new technology called "MasterKey" that allows people to play our games natively on all relevant social and mobile platforms.

At io/LA we launched a new 8000 sq/ft co-work and incubator space in Hollywood. We chose Hollywood because we wanted to put top talent from the Entertainment and Technology industries under one roof.

2. In your opinion, what events, companies, or people made the biggest impact on the technology world this year?

It's worth mentioning that the largest and most complex pieces of technology ever created has proven itself useful in 2012--the Large Hadron Collider or LHC. The LHC has likely found the elusive Higgs Boson which addresses our understanding of the most fundamental laws of nature. Aside from the theoretical stuff, 2012 has been a year of disruption in many areas of technology. Facebook became so dominant in social, not even Google could touch them. Yet a tiny 13 person company called Instagram, leveraged the massive growth of mobile to create a new social network. Facebook had no choice but to pay close to a billion dollars for them, showing that small, fast moving companies with great execution can compete with the big guys online. Media and Entertainment has seen more barriers to entry being broken down. The cost of production has been dramatically reduced by cheap, high resolution cameras from RED and Cannon that are widely distributed, and editing tools such as Avid and Final Cut that are available on inexpensive PCs. The same is true for distribution of content: YouTube and NetFlix are now viable options for releasing original movies and TV Series.

3. What was the biggest lesson you learned over the past year (good or bad)?

Don't bet on any one platform. Platforms come and go, remember Beta and VHS? Or Tapes and CDs? The same is true online, as the desktop web experience is quickly being overtaken by the mobile experience. At SGN we've had to adapt to make sure people can play games no matter where they are and what they are doing. In Entertainment, we're seeing more and more people prefer their iPad over the Big Screen experience.

4. What are the technologies, companies, or things we ought to watch in 2013?

Analyzing massive quantities of data used to be something only Google did. Now we'll see every successful startup use Big Data as the life blood of their company. Watch for companies making Big Data Analytics easy for everyone. I'm also fascinated by the potential of cheap 3D printing. In 2013 you'll be able to pay a few thousand dollars for a printer that can produce a copy of any 3D shape. It won't be long until we can print more complex objects, totally breaking down the barriers of manufacturing.

See more insights from the Southern California high tech community in our continued series this whole week!


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