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[4 Sep 2008 | 2 Comments | 15,220 views]
The Case for Interruption and Disruption

A few months ago I came across a piece by Jeff Nolan, titled Incrementalism and “The New New Thing,” which struck poignantly at a raw nerve. He called attention to the incrementalism gripping Silicon Valley despite the flush amount of capital available for startups. Much of the attention and hype has surrounded social networking and Web 2.0 startups but each new entry is a slight improvement over the previous. But only discontinuous, quantum leap innovations create disproportionate value. So what’s next?
Umair Haque’s An Open Challenge to Silicon Valley put it …

Entrepreneurship, Features, Investing, Startups, Technology, Venture Capital »

[8 Aug 2008 | One Comment | 4,937 views]
Irrational Exuberance 2.0

Facebook insiders have been selling their stock. Top level insiders such as directors from venture funds invested in Facebook, key executives and even Mark Zuckerberg himself have been quietly trying to unload some shares in private sales. These private transactions are not uncommon as startup entrepreneurs and their backers are often in search of some liquidity. What makes these particular transactions interesting are the implied values being negotiated.
When Microsoft (MSFT) bought a small stake in the wildly popular social network, the price paid implied an overall value of $15 billion. …

Innovation, Startups, Strategy, Technology, Venture Capital, Video »

[15 May 2008 | 2 Comments | 1,711 views]
Google Commoditizing Networks

A few days ago, I wrote about the commoditization of social networks or rather the social networking feature sets that currently make Myspace and Facebook so unique and neat. Pioneers in social networking like Friendster and Myspace introduced a new data and software architecture that, at the same time clumsily and elegantly, met Internet users’ desire to interact and share content with each other. Finding old friends, connecting with new friends, sharing music and videos, playing collaborative games, and expressing oneself to virtual audiences of thousands all were groundbreaking features …

Business, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Startups, Venture Capital »

[7 May 2008 | 8 Comments | 2,570 views]
The Myth of Venture Capital

In highly entrepreneurial hot spots like Silicon Valley, San Francisco where I grew up, Route 128, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles where an impressive raft of social networking and new media startups has sprouted, and biotechnology-focused San Diego, critical mass of entrepreneurial activity organically attracts venture capital. In other words, a rich “ecosystem” – where entrepreneurs can assemble readily available capital, talent, and relationships – can only come about when entrepreneurs first satisfy the initial criterion of creating innovation and value to a significant degree. In emerging hot spots such …

Business, Features, Startups, Technology, Video »

[24 Apr 2008 | 15 Comments | 108,261 views]
The Twitter Influence Ratio

“@kevinrose how do I get you to follow me back???” – anonymous self-proclaimed “social app guru”
This is Part 2 of a series that explores the science of Social Media Measurement. Let me preface this post by saying that this is a lighthearted post trying to come up with a simple measurement regarding a hugely successful social web service.
Previously, I explored the measurement of popularity, novelty, and attention on the very popular crowdsourcing news aggregation site Digg. My post was based on an arcane academic study involving the half-life of popularly …

Innovation, Investing, Startups, Technology, Trading »

[23 Apr 2008 | No Comment | 727 views]

I wrote about my short thesis on Netflix (NFLX) just about ten days ago. The company just the other day reported growing earnings but disappointed with a weak outlook. The stock fell a whopping 24% as investors ran for the exits. The market responded negatively to the increase R&D costs for developing streaming technology that would allow the company to deliver long-form digital video content over the Internet. These recent expenses have slowed down profit growth and promise to weigh on foreseeable future earnings.
My short thesis …

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Investing, Startups, Technology, Venture Capital »

[18 Apr 2008 | One Comment | 660 views]

Venture capital follows the public equity markets. So it is no coincidence that many VCs think that funding activity will slow down in the foreseeable future. KPMG, the large accounting firm, surveyed venture capitalists and found that 69% of respondents think that we are currently in a recession. A whopping 90% believe we will see a drop in initial public offerings. All in all, this will result in less money raised in venture capital partnerships and thus less money available for startups. Startup funds will find …

Business, Entrepreneurship, Hedge Funds, Innovation, Investing, Startups, Strategy, Technology, Venture Capital »

[17 Apr 2008 | No Comment | 831 views]

Prompted by the rumblings of activist hedge funds Harbinger Capital and Firebrand Partners last month, I wrote about the New York Times (NYT) and its evolving technology assets. I found the Times to be surprisingly forward-thinking in its investments in the online world. As a strategic investor, it has made some fairly impressive investments in innovative startups that could solve the riddle of monetizing online news and content. Its investments include bets on blog advertising networks, news aggregation websites, blogging platforms, video sharing sites, job search engines, …

Entrepreneurship, Startups, Strategy, Technology, Venture Capital, Video »

[16 Apr 2008 | One Comment | 4,701 views]

I co-founded a tiny little agency a few months ago called SocialOptimize that was focused on producing Facebook apps. At the time of founding, my partner and I received almost overwhelming demand from companies who were desperate to gain a presence on social networking site Facebook. Facebook was already quickly turning into a cultural phenomenon as everyone and their grandmother started registering for the site and “poking” each other.
Essentially, it was this mass of humanity in digital form that attracted advertisers and marketers to jump on the bandwagon and either …

Business, Entrepreneurship, Features, Innovation, Investing, Startups, Strategy, Technology, Venture Capital »

[5 Apr 2008 | 7 Comments | 6,755 views]
Social Networking is Growing Up

Social networking has thus far been primarily about connecting with lost friends, playing simple games, and gawking at strangers. Aside from the amazing ability to reconnect with buddies from middle school, the rest of social networking mirrors normal human behavior in real life. Lots of people need an avenue for rest and relaxation. Dumb games like Pirates vs. Ninjas on Facebook replaces old time-wasters like watching TV. Who hasn’t been to the mall or the park watching people pass by? We’re all voyeurs to some degree but social networks like …