Saturday, April 12, 2008
One of the cool things about being an entrepreneur or in VC is that you do not need to dress up to go to work -God knows I wish I didn't have to wear a tie and dress shoes everyday. Kevin Rose has made a lot of money for his investors (and for himself) so nobody is going to fault him for wearing a hoodie.
The guy interviewing him, on the other hand, looks like he fell out of a Fall Out Boy video.
A finance guy would never come to the office - would never leave the house looking like that. "Casual" for a finance guy is pressed shirt, no tie; or khakis and a polo shirt if you are getting on the yacht. Part of it is a function of age (important finance guys are often a decade or two older than important VC/entrepreneur guys), but part of it is also a measure of culture:
compare this guy:
or any of TheDeal.com interviews http://youtube.com/watch?v=qZhZF0KhuX4.
Friday, April 11, 2008
For example, as I am setting up my Digg account, I keep getting little messages from Digg "Your email address looks valid - that's a good thing." "This is your password. Remember to Remember it." The Kluster people have their own mini language-Watts, telling me I can give members of my community "props", etc.
Yea, I get that you guys a young. But do you even talk like that in real life? It sounds like a middle aged person trying to sound young.
Even if you are marketing towards 18-35 year olds, the sort of people who would use these apps are sophisticated enough not to be wooed by the slang and MTV graphics. Or are they?
Somebody is going to buy this thing soon. It could definetly be an asset to Microsoft and/or Yahoo! and/or Ask.com - alternatively, they could just wait for Google to come up with something better.
As a political science guy, a finance track guy, I figured that tech PE / VC would be my way to contribute to society. And so, while in class I'm learning about Rousseau and Brezhnev, etc., in my spare time - until sailing season starts - I'm getting a tech education.
None of my friends have ever used RSS, nobody knows what twitters it - some of them know about Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins - but they their conception of them is 5 years old - "oh, they paid for Google." Now these are all smart kids - and many of them might end up in VC someday.
But I want to know as much as I can now. So I started with Tech. Review newsletters, discovered RSS, and now I get hourly updates from GigaOM, Venture Beat, etc., etc. I sign up for the Betas and check out the products. There is still a lot to learn, but I think I'm learning fast - and I am motivated as hell.
Friday, April 4, 2008
I do not know anybody who clicks on pop ups or side bar advertisements – they use Amazon.com, go to the Apple store, whatever. This raises 2 possibilities:
2- internet advertising is a bubble
If 2 is the case, it raises an interesting problem. Many, many websites owe all/most their money to advertising (free news sites, Facebook, Google, etc.). Obviously, then, there is money to be made in advertising, but a very large number of "hot" start ups are designed to make advertising more efficient. These are the guys who will be in harm's way if there is a bubble and it bursts.
Phorm (formerly 121 media) has been in the news a lot recently.
1) Got caught running a secret program to track the browsing habits of 18,000 customers in 2006.
2) Unveiled a new advertising model: Mr. X googles “job,” Phorm picks up on this, and then Mr. X gets Weight Watcher ads in spaces that Phorm has bought in popular websites. [this, I think, is basically what they were doing in 1) but now they’re taking extra privacy precautions]
This improves upon the most popular model today, where A Weight Watcher’s ad is on CNN.com, even though Mr. X doesn’t goes to BBC.com, instead.
The top 3 british isps have already signed up – account for 70% of broadband users in UK
[* the British have an enlightened attitude towards the security/privacy gradient http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6108496.stm]
Monday, March 31, 2008
Facebook, in contrast, was born in the Ivy League. The pages were clean and streamlined (if for no other reason than the user had less control than the MySpace user). However, a series of changes took place, starting with the decision to News Feed. To wit, Facebook got a lot more cluttered. News Feeds OK, gaming apps OK, credit card ads - well, they're annoying, but every other website has them. In the past few months Singles adds have started popping up.
A website is a lot like a professional athlete or a Nascar coat of paint - the quality of the sponsors are reflection of the quality of the brand. So, LeBron and Nike (good for him), GlobalSecurity.org and credit card adds (...ehh), -- Facebook and Hot, Local Singles?!
This from a company that is reportedly worth ~USD 15b?
Facebook can try to squeeze every last drop of ad money it can, but if it does it must come up with a new social networking strategy - it can no longer be the clean-cut Myspace
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Is this appropriate?
By technology, they typically mean companies/firms involved in computing, electronics, genetics, etc. However, this is not the true definition of technology:
|1.||the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.|
|2.||the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.|
|3.||a technological process, invention, method, or the like.|
|4.||the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.|
So why not include the newest tractors or cranes next to the newest operating system?
Instead of saying "technology" is a sector of the economy, would it not be more appropriate to rather say that technology is the cutting edge of *every* industry? Or better yet, to replace the word "technology" with "cutting edge"?
i-banking --> PE
or, even better (?)
PE --> PE
Although this is more-or-less riskless, is it the best way to get the best people?
Are there some theater majors that would make great private equity analysts, and if so, could they be taught in a short enough period of time to make their hiring useful?
If so, how do you find these people?
On the other hand, one might ask whether it is in the hirer's best interest to hire the best -- the best person might make them look bad.
If a hirer hires someone incompetent they are in trouble
If they hire someone competent they aren't rewarded
If they hire someone extraordinary they aren't rewarded
In this case, in most cases, it pays to bunt rather than try for the home run
A reoccurring theme: just b/c someone does not have a formal background in a discipline, does not mean they cannot be successful at it.
Cf. Neil Young and Peter Thiel
p.s. if anybody knows how Peter Thiel decided to ditch law/derivatives trading to become an entrepeneur, I'd love to hear it
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
There are a lot of things that are unclear about how warfare of the future will develop.
but as technology and the internet become more important,
it follows that LANdroids will fill an important niche.
Every bullet spent on taking these out is one less spent on shooting soldiers. However, it will be interesting to find out how these can be neutralized -- something like chafe?
<> Founded Stanford Review as an undergraduate
<> Stanford Law
<> Sullivan & Cromwell
<> Founded First Hedge Fund
<> Founded PayPal
<> Second Hedge Fund
<> Founders Fund (VC)
He has done everything. Most employers lack imagination and only higher "the sure thing." Someone who had a similar job beforehand. This reflex becomes even stronger during a recession. However, the variety and diversity of Thiel's success suggest that this is not always an intelligent course of action.