Monday, September 24, 2007
Web 5.0: Face Time
Search: Much Is Lacking
A Web 3.0 Manifesto
Dell, HP, Apple
Google Books: Primitive
Carly Fiorina: "The Academy Awards Of Business"
Google Audio, Google Office
The Next Search Engine
Google Video Has Hit The Docks
Internet Phones, Video Blogging, Nano
I moved to New York City a little over two years ago. I never had a hometown before. That is a statement on the ethnic politics in Nepal where I grew up and the racial politics in Kentucky where I went to school.
New York City is a very special place. You have to be me to appreciate the city to the last inch. This is the capital city of the world and I am a global citizen.
I am also a netizen, and this city more than any other on earth deserves to become a Silicon City.
People from every single town - not every country, not every city, but every single town on earth - live here. This city has to be the geographical location for every company that wants to be a truly global company.
The city is the Amazon forest of humanity. You find every possible human life form in this city. There is not a human being on earth who can not said to have been represented in this city.
There is talk of Web 2.0. Others and I have talked of Web 3.0, although my version of Web 3.0 is different in that it is not just about software, it is primarily about hardware and connectivity: that is where I depart from the flock.
But I don't know of anyone else to have talked of Web 4.0, and most certainly not Web 5.0.
Web 5.0 is the clincher. And that is where no place on earth can beat New York City. Web 5.0 is Face Time.
You have to be able to walk the walk. I have walked from Times Square to Little Bangladesh south of Prospect Park a few different times after midnight. I have walked from Little Bangladesh to Jackson Heights: I got there close to midnight, the train ride back home was an hour. I have walked from deep in the Bronx to Little India on the Lower East Side.
I have walked and walked and walked. I have crisscrossed Manhattan from every angle imaginable.
I have walked both ways from Little Bangladesh to Coney Island. I have created a walk that goes straight south of Little Bangladesh to the train line and along the train line to 86th Street and then onto the F line and back to Little Bangladesh. I have walked all over southern Brooklyn.
I have walked right outside Prospect Park more times than I can remember. You go once around it. I have walked inside Prospect Park like I was the first human being to explore it.
My first long walk inside New York City was when I was not living here. I had come over for a weekend. I walked from the south side of Central Park and on into Harlem. The city disappeared and I got a kick out of the suggestion.
You walk so you can take it all in. There is no other way to get to know a city, to really get to know.
I routinely get mistaken for a politician. I guess I am really into it. Some people watch baseball with a passion, I watch politics with a vengeance.
Before Barack's second term in the White House is over, I expect to have become one of the richest persons in the city.
I have written in my online autobiography, I am looking at a private jet for me in seven years or less. I am into motion, into speed, into meditation, into thinking. But if I am only going to fly once every few months, I am not sure owning might make the best sense. Renting or borrowing could do. We will cross that bridge when we get there.
I am going to start with hardware, but I am going to work on it like it were software. As much as possible of the work and the collaboration is going to happen on the screen.
Then I am going to dig into connectivity. Then software down the line. But it is going to be software that is not even being imagined right now. It is going to next next generation software.
My company is going to define the next era of computing, the IC era, the Internet Computer, mainframes to PC to IC. The big PC names of today will still be around, but they are never going to get sexy in the IC domain. My competition is going to come from other imitator startups, and I am going to beat them all. But this is capitalism. There will be more than one player.
You necessarily have to be Third World to excel in the IC era, and I am Third World into my bones. Just look at my teeth.
I have something in the group dynamics domain that the Google guys had in the search domain when they started out. The business schools don't have the textbooks and journal articles yet for my style of group dynamics. I will help them acquire in a few years.
Whoever writes the mythical 100K check into my seed money round will have their progeny thanking them.
There is nobody on the New York City tech scene who can make the claim I am making. California will continue to be big. But New York City will get as big or bigger in about 10 years.
Californians will tell you, New York lacks attitude. Investors here are too careful. They think like bankers. They are less prone to taking chances. A one paragraph idea is not enough.
Well, I don't lack in the attitude department. I got plenty of attitude, and I am willing to generously share with my hometown, the first hometown I ever had.
California took the lead on Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. But Web 3.0 and beyond is going to be a different story.
A global company has to have a global face. It has to look global. Diversity is key. Diversity is everything. You create a company that is home to the post-ISMs individual, and you make bigger pots of money. It is a productivity thing.
I am itching for fights. Primarily I am a creative person. But fights are fine. I was in Kentucky for five and a half years. There is nothing you can teach me about race that I don't already know.
Primarily I am in the business of inventing a corporation. I will leave the nitty gritty of engineering to the engineers. My engineers.
The company I will invent will be the best company on earth measured many different ways. It will be different.
I ignited two revolutions in Nepal the past two years working primarily in a Web 2.0 environment. That is going to earn me the Nobel Peace Prize 2008.
Igniting a company is comparatively less ambitious an undertaking. Of course I can do it.
My Back Against The Wall
P.S. Barack Obama reads my blog.
In The News
Scaling the Social Web Businessweek
Give a Laptop and Get One After two-and-a-half years of relentless organizing, product development, and evangelizing, the so-called $100 laptop is ready to go into production in October. ....... $188 each to produce initially, nearly twice the original estimate; and, so far, not a single government has written a check. ...... Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, and Rwanda. ..... U.S. customers will be able to pay $399 to buy two laptops: one for themselves and one to be shipped to a child in one of those four countries. ..... there's a huge gulf between a head of state shaking your hand and a minister making a bank transfer ..... Quanta Computer in Taiwan can produce 1 million XO Laptops a month .... the brilliant idea of getting governments to buy in huge volumes is a flawed strategy ...... Negroponte and his cohorts are sometimes too doctrinaire ...... buying and assembling the 800 parts that go into each machine ..... NComputing .... a single PC that connects with up to seven simple computer terminals for a price of $142 per student. .... "I'm concerned that programs depending on charity will never meet the real needs of children in developing countries"
BW Blog: Time to Call OLPC a Failure? broke the most important design rule from the very beginning of the project. Design from the bottom up, not top down. ..... a traditional top down product development, that involved the rural children in India, Africa and China only in the late stages. ..... Despite all the handshakes, the Indian and Chinese governments didn't order any XOs.
Dell Goes Retail in China adding a second factory in the southeastern city of Xiamen ..... a new low-priced desktop PC designed by Dell's Chinese engineers specifically for domestic customers. ....... Dell's market share among domestic consumers is tiny, just 2.5%. ..... market leader Lenovo as well as the second-largest Chinese company, Founder. ..... the Chinese likely to buy more than 33 million PCs this year .... teaming up with the biggest Chinese electronics retailer, Gome (or Guomei, in Chinese,). ..... almost 1,000 shops in 200 Chinese cities ....... a market where few consumers are keen on shopping on the phone or via the Internet. ..... among Chinese city residents "shopping is an activity that has cachet." ..... more than 80% of PC sales in China take place in such malls.
Internet Pioneers' Next Frontier from cyberspace to space. .... protocols for deep space communications, known as the Interplanetary Internet. ...... Cerf, who is now vice-president and chief Internet evangelist at Google. ...... space industry .... $180 billion in 2005 ..... space tourism and commercial transport. ..... 300,000 to 400,000 feet ... experience weightlessness. ...... we are not and should not be a one-planet species .... "the Internet, transitioning to a sustainable energy economy, and the third was space exploration and the extension of life beyond earth ...... Brin's father was forced to abandon his dream of becoming an astronomer in Soviet Russia because of anti-Semitism that essentially barred Jews from the physics program at Moscow State University. ....... "I have a T-shirt that says, 'I'm a rocket scientist,'" says Cerf.
Where Have the Leaders Gone? "What happened to all those great leaders of the past?" ..... The lack of trust in our leaders in virtually every sector of U.S. life is palpable. Recent Gallup polls indicate that only 18% of the American people trust the values and ethics of business leaders; even fewer—15%—trust their elected officials. That's not just a temporary problem. It is a formula for disaster. ..... cynical, disengaged, and even prone to anarchy and rebellion. ...... Corporate boards, shareholders, and voters—and the media that influence all of us—give far too much weight to leaders' charisma and far too little consideration to their character. ..... style over substance; image over integrity. ..... ego aggrandizement—for money, fame, power, and glory. ..... When they prove they have feet of clay, as all leaders do, we take pleasure in their destruction. ..... Genuine humility, the ability to be vulnerable under pressure, and admitting when you're wrong ..... surround themselves with other leaders who know more than they do. .... They openly admit their mistakes. They acknowledge their weaknesses and shortcomings. They ask others to help them through crises. When things go well, they give the credit to others. When they go poorly, they are the first to accept responsibility. ....... achieved results by empowering people, not by using them.
Is Starbucks Anti-Union? 32 counts of unlawfully stifling organizing activity. ..... another example of a low-wage service sector employer with inadequate benefits. ..... only 42% of Starbucks "partners," or employees, are covered by the company's health insurance ...... even less than the 47% at Wal-Mart Stores
Free Mobile Services Set to Take Off ad-sponsored cell-phone service .... has traditional mobile operators nervous ..... billions in revenues could shift from traditional subscriptions to advertising ..... currently worth only about $1 billion worldwide, mobile advertising is expected to grow to as much as $19 billion within the next five years. ..... Advertising on the Internet, especially pay-per-click ads alongside search results, quickly erupted into a multibillion-dollar industry, and online companies hope mobile phones will follow a similar trajectory. ...... the mobile industry itself is increasingly embracing mobile advertising .... Users must fill out detailed information about their lifestyles, areas of interest, and brand preferences. In exchange for agreeing to accept targeted advertising via text messaging, members get 43 minutes per month of free mobile voice service and 217 free text messages. The service is accessed through SIM cards mailed to new users, who simply plop them into their existing phones ....... Early market testing showed that consumers did not want to be bugged by advertisements during voice calls .... append targeted text-only ads to the end of incoming text messages ...... L'Oréal ..... turn mobile operators into mere "dumb pipes
No Honeymoon for Japan's New Leader the factional politics that dominate the LDP but irritate voters ...... Koizumi could work a crowd with ease .... Fukuda .. looks more salaryman than showman.
Trichet Warns of France's Economic Ills 2007 ... France will be the country spending the most in public expenditure in relation to gross domestic product, not only within the eurozone but among the 27 members of the European Union ..... "I am at the head of a state that is in a position of bankruptcy, that for 15 years has been in chronic deficit, that has not once passed a balanced budget in 25 years". ...... "Sarko the American"
Tech Titans: India and China
China's Generic Drugmakers Challenge India China is coming from behind and challenging India in an industry it has traditionally dominated ..... moved to challenge the validity of India's patent law, which does not protect incremental innovations .... India's generic pharmaceutical industry is legendary and has helped bring down the cost of essential medicines. It takes compounds that are unpatented in a particular country, copies and sells them cheaply around the world. ...... A stronger legal framework combined with skilled scientists and government incentives are turning China into a pharma powerhouse. MNCs are queuing up to build R&D centers in the country ........ "If tomorrow the Chinese decide not to supply the world with raw materials, the pharma industry would collapse ...... India and China together accounted for about 2.5% of global pharma sales by value last year ..... y volume, they account for a combined 25%. ..... In 2005, China surpassed the US to become the world's most litigious country for IP disputes with 13,424 cases filed.
Asia's Tech Concerns Aim to Stay Nimble a foundry, which means it makes chips on a contract basis for customers that want to outsource their production. ..... big foundries in Taiwan or Singapore ..... Both countries have booming economies growing at or near 10% a year. .... increased competition from multinationals on their home turf. ...... India's top companies are responding by picking up the pace of global expansion. ....... face greater urgency in diversifying their workforce and reducing their reliance on Indian labor ...... Satyam is expanding not only in Malaysia but also in Brazil, Egypt, and Hungary. ..... "Once some problems happen in one Chinese company, people feel that all Chinese companies have problems" ..... cellular operator Bharti Airtel .... software services powerhouses such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro. .... Of the six languages in which the 59-year-old is fluent, one is Chinese, something he chose to study almost as a lark while a graduate student. ..... competition for talent is so intense ...... Figuring out how to hang onto their Chinese workers and recruit new ones is one of the toughest parts of the job for many foreign managers like Gronski. ...... even a country with 1.3 billion people has a limited supply of top-notch workers ..... turning those green engineers into trusty managers. ..... "Knowledge workers are in great demand"
China and India's Top Tech Companies
Selling Cisco to China's Tech Talent Pool
Selling Computers to India
Intel's Barrett Has a Vision for India the new room in the hospital that has been set up for telemedicine using Intel's WiMAX technology. .... Barrett is a crowd-pleaser. ..... Making "it," i.e, broadband connectivity, happen in India is Intel's big goal. ...... more than 250 trials and commercial deployments in more than 12 countries worldwide, where he's running pilot WiMAX projects in schools and hospitals. ...... Hardware is one part, but "connectivity," says Barrett, "is just as important." Homegrown Indian hardware companies like HCL Technologies (HCLT.BO), he notes, have a large opportunity here. ...... donated 500 computers to 50 municipal schools in Tamil Nadu, equipping them with WiMAX technology—an experiment Intel has already put in place in government schools in China, Egypt, Russia, Mexico, and elsewhere across the world. ...... "We are going to bring technology to rural India with the help of American companies like Intel," he says. Anti-Americanism is nowhere to be seen in this part of the country. ...... and invited Barrett to work his magic in Ramadoss' hometown of Tindivanam ...... The country is notorious for starting projects and then leaving them incomplete. ..... the public-private partnership model, like India's with Intel, is the best way to ensure that projects are completed. .... In connectivity, India trails "everybody except Africa
The Exponential Power of 'Chindia' New joint ventures between Indian IT service firms and their Chinese counterparts hint at the formidable bilateral economy that could emerge ..... If you are a strategist or a decision-maker in almost any enterprise anywhere in the world, you can't help but see the impact being made by India and China. ...... the possibility of China and India combining strengths across several industries to compete globally. ....... the potential to lead many global markets. ..... a hint of what India and China could collectively bring to the global economy and global balance of power in coming decades. ..... high-level official visits and pronouncements, conference participation, cultural exchanges and, most of all, forecasts of accelerating goods, services, and investment flows across the Himalayas. ...... Both countries are getting better at driving technological innovation. ...... Today, China and India are producing some of the world's best-trained computer science and electrical engineering graduates. ...... China's spending on its IT needs in 2005 was about $119 billion, about four times that of India's. That the majority of this spending went toward telecommunications equipment and services (79%) reflects the priorities of an infrastructure that is still growing. ...... The most significant inhibitor of China's vast potential for innovation is continuing government control over the most basic levers of the economy. ..... The government is often the biggest factor in IT issues and trends in China, and business leaders can't afford to delegate these relationships or distance themselves from the core analysis. ..... move from a low-cost, high-volume manufacturer to the top of the global value chain commanding the heights of innovation and global marketing prowess. ....... 2008 .... see China generate intellectual property at a rate comparable to developed countries ..... surpass the U.S. as the population with the largest English language capacity ..... at least eight Chinese IT brands will be recognized internationally by 2010. .... IT superpower.
Where to Next for India? the logistics, overwhelming bureaucracy, official corruption, and leftist political influences. ....... The intensive activity that supports an export-focused industry has distorting effects across India's economy: It changes the focus of local IT firms; it influences government policy (such as incentives and the establishment of software technology parks); and it hampers the ability of non-exporting local employers to find and retain quality staff. ...... Intel (INTC)—which already employs 3,000 Indians at its Bangalore research and development center—has invested $250 million in a partnership with local manufacturer Xenitis Infotech to manufacture low-cost computers priced at $250—the cheapest machine for sale with an Intel chip. The target market is rural areas within India. ...... In 1996, India's exports of IT services were worth about $1 million. In 2004, they were worth $13 billion. In 2000, India's share of business process outsourcing (BPO) was worth $148 million. In 2004 it was worth $3.5 billion. Any student of business knows what those kinds of growth rates mean: disruptive, challenging forces that can unseat rivals and destroy business plans. ....... China and India will be the dominant economic stories on the world stage, a trend that may well extend through most of the 21st century.
The Many Faces of Tata Group
To Get Financed and Stay Financed, Innovate At any moment in time, countless entrepreneurs worldwide are hovering over hot computers trying to think up the next big thing. ...... The Ansoff Matrix shows four different growth strategies that result by combining existing or new products with existing or new markets: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
Today's Tip: The Customer Isn't Always No. 1 it's their own employees who should be treated as No. 1. ..... The biggest mistake in selling is believing that if you can just tell your prospect enough about your product or service, if you just get the chance to "make your case"—he or she will be compelled to buy. This is false. Selling is not telling. ..... Don't talk so much. Ask questions. Really listen to what this person wants. And then talk only about the aspects of your product that relate to what your prospect desires! Selling is not about what you think is cool about your product. It's about what your prospect wants!
In-House Social Networks With a nod to Facebook, large companies now have the virtual equivalent of the water cooler on the Web ...... "Giving our employees a way to connect over the Internet around the globe made sense—because they're just doing it anyway." ..... More 30-plus employees are signing up with Facebook to trade daily updates with colleagues and friends. They're also building lists of contacts from among the 13 million professionals on LinkedIn. At Ernst & Young alone, 11,000 workers now have Facebook accounts. ..... SharePoint, the Microsoft software that lets companies set up MySpace-like profiles, blogs, and collaborative Web sites known as wikis within the confines of their firewalls, is one of the fastest-growing server products in the company's history. ..... The whole "open" ethos of the social Net—sharing pictures and music and letting "friends" know your every activity—goes against the instincts of big-company chief information officers. ...... all that collaboration will cut out time that's now spent mailing documents and e-mailing comments. .... By having members brainstorm, review each other's work, and prepare budgets on the network, the Film Foundation believes it can cut by half the amount of time it takes to create the materials.
What's Love Got to Do with Internships? I was once under the mistaken impression that, when dating, it was my job to be funny and charming and impressive. Then I learned that it was much more impressive to take an interest in her. Then I learned, to hell with being impressive, this listening thing is a great way to find out whether she's crazy! ........ but as with the highs and lows of my past dating career, I think I've come out of it an improved partner for my future match. ..... I've learned my lesson about prematurely rushing into opportunities ..... attachment can easily blossom in the heat of excitement, but that it takes the nourishment of consistency and dedication to cultivate the kind of career I'd like to fall in love with.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Open Coffee MeetUp: New Location
Web 5.0: Face Time
Nic Butterworth's Open Coffee MeetUp
Scott 2.0, MeetUp.com 2.0
I was running a little late. I got up late. I dillydallied. So instead of at 9:15, I show up around 9:30. I got lost a little. Is the place on 17th or 18th? I went into another coffeee store and asked. I was off mark by one block.
Before that I had bought a 50 cent doughnut. I am a big fan of street food. Gyro, falafel: those can make your day any day. Street food makes you street smart.
The meeting had already started around the same table as last week. Half the introductions had been made. Curiously there was an empty chair that I took, and one person spoke before me. Right time, right place.
Right after I sat down, I noticed Andrea at the other end. We met on Facebook, and are Facebook friends. This was our first time seeing in person. She is substance. She got the ingredients. The confidence. I don't want to be just be a face in fashion, I want to be a power. I dig that. She came across as knowledgeable and daring. She has a promising startup. Only since it is fashion and not tech, to most people present it did not feel concrete. They did not follow. So she talked some banking stuff, "structural" this and that, "Is anyone following?" to which the formerly Goldman guy Scott said he is the only one in the room close to following.
"I want to take over fashion." (She corrected me over email that her startup is "tech.")
"Hi, I am Paramendra, and I am here primarily because I consider it a great learning experience to interact with entrepreneurs at different stages of their growth."
"Tell about your company," Nic said.
"I did that last week." Nic was absent last week.
I proceeded to sum up my venture in two sentences. I talked about my IC as "the frying pan."
It is between the fire and frying pan.
Some interesting ideas were circulated.
Amy sounded real early stage. She got a slight sexist hit from what looked like the biggest name in the room, a guy who later Nic was courting for business. Young guy dabbling in some big bucks. That you need a partner, a boyfriend, husband. It did not sound evil, just mischievous. Tough. In this city, people love presenting tough. Tough is permanent fashion.
If you invest half a mil in a company you value at two mil, that can make you feel powerful, but you stand to make more investing 100K in a company valued at five mil, if it is a promising vision.
Rohit is a transplant from the West Coast. He has a pretty interesting startup. It could be a great application on Facebook, or a stand-alone entity. It will allow you to keep up with the news on your clients, customers. So you can send them quick notes when stuff happens in their life.
When the formal meeting ended, people just stood up. There was much noise, much mingling.
The store manager had to walk over and remind us we were scaring some of her customers away. We needed to stay sitting around one table. You would not run into that problem at the previous Starbucks venue. My favorite MeetUp venue is a living room. The Obama MeetUp does that. (Jeff Kurzon's Living Room, Union Sqaure, Times Square, King Arthur)
Soon thereafter, the meeting ended.
Lefty was back. It was a nice meet and greet.
Scott and I walked over to Union Square. He used to be with Goldman. He taught himself Java. Now he has a startup.
After that I walked over to the Strand bookstore that I got told about last week but did not have the time to go to. I read one chapter in Alan Greenspan's new book, his much talked about autobiography. He is going gungho about Adam Smith and "the invisible hand."
Then a train ride back home. I thought of going to the library near Times Square but decided against it. I bought a small bag of roasted huts, and headed home.
There were follow up emails I needed to send out.
The place Taralucci reminds me of lychee, hence the lychee in the picture.
Before I parted ways, Scott suggested it would be great if the larger NY Tech MeetUp would hold a second MeetUp each month which would be a place to mingle and socialize and network. MeetUp CEO Scott I guess did something along those lines which he called the UnMeetUp during summer when the attendance was low.
I am friends with Scott. I said I would pass on the word. This second Scott was so impressed that I am friends with the CEO Scott. "NY Tech MeetUp is the most impressive collection of techies in the city I know," he said. "But that is not used as well as it can be."
There is Justin Krebs at Drinking Liberally, and there is Scott at MeeUp. Knowing those guys is like status symbol. I got the Scott reaction also at the soccer MeetUp I am part of.
"Oh, you are friends with the CEO?"
He is a very unassuming guy. But very well networked in the industry. Steve Case, Esther Dyson, Marc Andreessen are some of his Facebook friends.
The idea sounded like I wish there were a way to let the Open Coffee MeetUp tap into the human collection of the NY Tech MeetUp. Maybe that is an idea for MeetUp.com: make cross pollination possible across MeetUps. They have a picnic in Prospect Park on the 29th of this month. That is going to be some major cross pollination.
Maybe Scott can add a feature for the MeetUp organizers. If you liked this MeetUp, you will also like, fill in the blank. So Nic could recommend Scott's MeetUp, and he would try to get Scott to recommend his MeetUp to people. Granted the site already has search.
Heck, MeetUp could build an application for Facebook like so many others are doing. It would allow users to search for and schedule their MeetUps without leaving the Facebook interface.
And the members' profile pages should also allow the members to link to their Facebook profile page. That might be better than trying to copy elements of Facebook. Definitely quicker.
Andrea said she wanted to bring along a MTV crew to a future Open Coffee MeetUp. I have a feeling I am going to get famous.
Carly Fiorina: The Academy Awards Of Business: Photos
Carly Fiorina: "The Academy Awards Of Business"
Early Stage Venture Capital
In The News
Goldman's Golden Quarter BusinessWeek While rival investment banks struggled, Goldman used its global reach and subprime savvy to increase profits sharply ..... the undisputed leader of the investment banking sector. ..... Goldman's performance was stellar during a period marked by crisis in the U.S. and European credit markets. ..... Citing a global revenue base and savvy bets on subprime mortgage .... the second-highest in the firm's history. ... included $1.5 billion in losses stemming from the reduced value of assets such as leveraged buyout loans ..... all but sailed through one of the most painful and abrupt financial crises in memory. ...... worse than the stock market crash of 1987 or the credit crisis of 1998 .... Goldman reported record revenue in investment banking, equities, and even fixed-income investments. ...... even though Goldman made some bad bets on the subprime mortgage market, they were offset by others wagering that the subprime mortgage market would fall. Its net position was a bet on falling asset prices ....... clever and swift in exploiting volatility in the mortgage market .... Goldman has benefited tremendously from its globalization. In 2006 it derived 52% of its revenue from outside the U.S. ..... Goldman has one of only two domestic securities licenses in China, allowing it to sell securities on the local exchange, and to "try to capture some of the $3 trillion in domestic savings…and win additional investment banking and trading with a portion of the 250,000 state-owned enterprises that may ultimately go public on the local exchange." ...... China…It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest focus we have ..... Beyond China, Goldman has extensive business in other "hot spots" such as India, Russia and the Middle East ..... a market cap of $83 billion .... $16.7 billion Bear Stearns .... Bear reported Thursday that its third quarter profit fell 62%. ... smallest of the top-five investment banks ... will be able to outpay any of its peers in competition to hire top talent.
Dear Ben: Please Fix the Housing Mess Oversight of the lending industry leaves much to be desired. Whether the markets should continue to work out the excesses or the government should step in with more aid—either through monetary or fiscal policies—is very much an open question and one that the experts are debating vigorously. ..... Years of lax lending standards and aggressive practices by Wall Street banks to fund risky loans have touched off a housing crisis that spans not only the U.S., but the globe. ...... The worst operators have gone out of business and the lenders still standing have seriously reined in bad practices. Big banks and institutional investors, such as hedge funds and foreign pension funds, have taken billion-dollar hits and reassessed their appetite for risk. ..... Some compromises are already on the table
Nasdaq, Dubai, OMX in Tieup A far-reaching deal involving Sweden's OMX Group as well as the London Stock Exchange alters the dynamics in financial markets ..... the fast-growing and rapidly consolidating universe of financial exchanges. ..... This deal is a snapshot of how fast the world is changing. .... The money piling up in the Gulf has to go somewhere ..... the two exchanges figured out that their interests were "parallel; they did not intersect." ... Dubai, meanwhile, wanted to use OMX technology to take a leadership role in emerging markets. ...... one of the world's fastest-growing regions—one that has amassed trillions (BusinessWeek, 3/13/06) in petrodollar wealth over the last few years. ..... Dubai's so-far-successful effort to be the financial center of the Gulf region and beyond ...... Dubai as a kind of New York or London of the Gulf. ..... become the center of capital-markets activities in the emerging markets ....... Borse Dubai .. its new 28% ownership stake in the London Stock Exchange. ....... Qatar on its own acquired 20% of the LSE .... the exchange wars are far from over.
The Debt Market: Signs of Life parts of the debt markets that nearly shut down in August are coming back to life. ..... The rapidity of the recovery in some hard-hit sectors is impressive. .... investors fled to ultra-safe U.S. Treasury bills. ...... investors are making sharper distinctions between risky and less risky securities instead of trashing them all equally
Is Jaguar Facing Extinction? Critics say the design isn't radical enough .... 18 years of failed attempts to revive Jaguar ..... eight full clay models for management to consider
Barry Diller's Web Gaming Play
IAC/InterActiveCorp's gaming foray could revolutionize online games and hurt console makers—if it succeeds .... Web-based gaming ..... Web gaming, which is already the third most popular online activity after e-mail and chat .... sector attracted 28% of the total worldwide online population in May ..... revenue of $3.4 billion in 2005 to more than $13 billion in 2011. ..... launch InstantAction.com, a Web site offering first-person shooter, real-time strategy, and action games of the quality currently found on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo's Wii. ...... users won't need to invest in additional hardware: They'll be able to play through any device with a browser, be it a low-end personal computer, a Web appliance, a gaming console, or even a mobile phone. ..... browser-based games won't require users to download software or install it from a disk ..... InstantAction.com will offer some games free if users view ads. ...... easier, more robust Web offerings would likely bring a flux of new players.
SAP's Down-Market Gamble The German giant's new, Web-based software targets smaller outfits than its usual corporate clients. ....... software, called Business By Design ..... Sept. 19 press conference in New York ..... A company with 100 users could license it for less than $180,000 year ..... SAP's traditional software for managing companies' manufacturing and back-office operations. ...... a computer industry that's shifting quickly toward software delivered online. ...... SAP software's notorious complexity ..... SAP's shares are up just 10% in 2007, while arch-rival Oracle's (ORCL) stock has jumped 21% on growth from a string of acquisitions. ...... SAP's engineering, marketing, distribution, and sales are tuned to reach big accounts (BusinessWeek, 9/14/07), not the fragmented small-business market. ..... Business By Design's price—$149 a month per user— ..... Business By Design will aim for companies that have outgrown Intuit's (INTU) QuickBooks or Microsoft's (MSFT) Great Plains accounting software—plus offer them supply-chain management, customer relationship management, and human resource features. ..... Salesforce.com (CRM) on Sept. 17 introduced programming tools called Force.com that would let independent software developers use its technology to create new software products ...... "I don't know what their slogan will be. Maybe 'the world's most complex software for small business'"
The Maestro Speaks His Mind his willingness to say straight out that "the Iraq war is largely about oil." ....... the leading practical economist of our era .... The liveliest personal anecdote describes his first date with future wife and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. "At the restaurant we ended up discussing monopolies," writes Greenspan. "I told her I'd written an essay on the subject and invited her back to my apartment to read it." High romance indeed! ...... praises Ronald Reagan for "the clarity of his conservatism." ...... Bill Clinton, whom he calls "as far from the classic tax-and-spend liberal as you could get and still be a Democrat." ..... compliments Clinton for having, unlike most politicians, "a preference for dealing in facts." ...... He refused to join the Nixon Administration in 1969 because of the dark side of the newly elected President's personality. ......... George H.W. Bush, in Greenspan's view, did not have a "thoughtful view" about interest rates. And he is upset about George W. Bush's approach to economic policy: "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences," writes Greenspan. "'Deficits don't matter,' to my chagrin, became part of Republicans' rhetoric." ...... reserves his maximum scorn for the congressional Republicans who voted for budgets that were almost guaranteed to produce big deficits. ..... Greenspan's disdain for academic economics. "As elegant as modern-day econometrics has become, it is not up to the task of delivering policy prescriptions," Greenspan writes. "The world economy has become too complex and interlinked." ...... "while politics had not been my intent, I'd misjudged the emotions of the moment." ..... acknowledged that he didn't understand how deep the subprime problem was until very late in his term at the Fed. ..... he gives globalization and financial markets far more attention than technology, despite his identification with the 1990s New Economy (a term, incidentally, that he mostly avoids). ..... "sometime before 2030 the world is likely to be trading ten-year U.S. treasuries at a rate of at least 8 percent."
China's Rising Leaders Beijing's next cadre is market-smart, business-savvy—and perhaps even open to change .... once every five years .. 2,000-plus bureaucrats ... they'll listen to hours and hours of turgid speeches and then cast near-unanimous votes. ..... President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao will almost certainly rule for another five years. But below them, a new generation of leaders will likely be promoted into key positions. ...... Many of these up-and-comers have fought in the trenches of China's reform wars, have the skills needed to run complex economies, and have shed earlier generations' mistrust of foreigners. They certainly won't turn China into a replica of the U.S. system. But the dialogue they start with the West may be the most sophisticated yet. ..... they will be more progressive, pragmatic, and forward-thinking ..... many in this generation speak English and have traveled widely. Some have studied at Western universities, and most have advanced degrees in social sciences, economics, and law. ...... Zhou Xiaochuan, currently head of the People's Bank of China. ..... a strong contender for vice-premier in charge of finance. .... He shares major responsibility for opening China's financial sector to big Western banks and brokerages. ..... Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, for instance, may become vice-premier and take over as China's top trade official. Bo would be at home in Washington or New York: "He's stylistically very un-Chinese, a Mayor Ed Koch type ....... his rhetoric is matched by his mastery of the issues. .... Li Yuancho, 56, is a contender for Hu's job. ..... took a backwater northeast town, Dalian, and turned it into an outsourcing center for Japanese business. That made it one of the hottest urban economies in China. ..... these new leaders, once they take over the top positions, might even start to dabble in democracy. ..... Li Keqiang, the 52-year-old ... Wang Yang, 52, who runs China's largest city, Chongqing. ..... local officials who often ignore Beijing's edicts and focus on economic growth, no matter the cost.
Selling Computers to India For years the world's computer manufacturers focused the bulk of their energy in Asia on China. ..... This year, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Lenovo (LNVGY), and Acer (ACEFF) have all announced major initiatives there, making India one of their key battlegrounds. ....... "All three segments of the market will grow at 25% to 30%," says Rajan Anandan, Dell's general manager for India. ..... India's economy is booming, with growth running at above 9% annually. .... Over the past three years, the average cost of a Windows PC has fallen from $500 to $350 ..... 22 million machines. .... PC sales in India are expected to climb at 20%-plus rates annually through 2011 .... China, though, has some 110 million computers installed, vs. the 22 million in India. ..... The People's Republic has long been dominated by Lenovo, but in India, HP has overtaken local favorite HCL Infosystems .... In March, HP opened a new factory near Delhi, its second Indian plan ..... In August, Dell opened a factory in the southern city of Chennai, its first in the country. The company expects sales of $500 million this year. ...... "In the consumer market, all the growth is coming from notebooks" ..... India is one of the best overseas markets for Lenovo ...... Lenovo is also contending with the departure of South Asia Managing Director Neeraj Sharma, who quit last month to take a job at IBM ...... Taiwan's Acer, which is acquiring Gateway ..... HCL skimped on brand-building for more than a decade ..... it is partnering with Intel .. to produce a low-cost notebook called the Classmate PC. ..... "Our No. 1 challenge," says Venkatesan, "is to make the PC more compelling and relevant."
Confessions of a Debt Pusher He ended up with $13,000 worth of debt that he is now struggling to repay. "I hadn't learned anything about credit cards in high school, and I didn't know anything about them at the time," says Rhoades. "I was duped." ..... maybe that's another person who got a credit card because they wanted a free T-shirt .... "He told us phrases to tell students if they were skeptical about filling out an application," says Rhoades. "He told us to say things like, 'Even if you apply, you can always cut up the card,' and 'It's easy to pay off your balance once you graduate and get a great job.'" ..... lures—the promise of a job and the prospect of just using the card during emergencies— ..... He was pretty successful, signing up roughly 29 students in a single morning. "Most of the students just wanted the T-shirt, and so I told them to fill out the application anyway," remembers Rhoades. "I just told them to fill it out and never use the card again." ....... even though the credit-card application terms and conditions were listed in fine print, none of the students even glanced at them. ..... "Students are rarely given financial literacy training," notes Dahlheimer. "And access to cards in the absence of a warning is like giving car keys to someone who has never been taught to drive." ...... He was just one application short of getting a cash bonus so he decided to fill one out himself. After marketing the cards all morning, he had begun to buy his own sales pitch ..... "They should put warnings on credit cards like they do on cigarettes," he says, "to make sure people know how dangerous the cards are."
Fixing the Credit-Card Mess limit the amount of credit extended to students to 20% of their total income if they have a co-signer, like a parent, or $500 without a co-signer. .... "No industry in America is more deserving of oversight by Congress ..... setting caps on interest rates, late payments .... Credit-card companies, according to consumer advocates, have operated since the early 1980s in a legislative no-fly zone ...... return address is most likely South Dakota or Delaware—states considered safe harbors for credit-card companies because they have no cap on interest rates or late payments ...... Credit in manageable amounts can be a wonderful thing for college students, allowing them to build credit histories and learn to manage money. ...... the Schumer Box, which clearly displays basic information like annual fees. ...... The warning, which would improve on the Schumer Box disclosures, would tell consumers how many years it would take to pay off their balance with only minimum payments, even if they never used the card again. ..... requiring that schools funded with taxpayer dollars disclose the key terms of their contracts with card companies. ..... extra charges and fees. Typically these are levied with impenetrable explanations that leave customers scratching their heads about how to avoid them in the future. ....... double-cycle billing. ..... Under universal default, a consumer who has two credit cards and never misses a payment on one card but fails to pay the other card on time can see the interest rates charged on both cards rise. ....... 8 in 10 banks still practice universal default ..... "pay to pay." .... ban any fees imposed for on-time payments by phone. ..... credit cards have become the most profitable arm of the banking industry. .... the explosion in money they've brought in from special fees and charges .... banks pulled in $17.1 billion from credit-card penalty fees in 2006 .... wide latitude to raise the interest rates and fees .. One common clause in their contracts is known as "any time for any reason, including no reason." .... Information is the lifeblood of a market economy. ..... crippling debt that could potentially harm their chances of getting a good job or an apartment. ..... the affinity contract between Virginia Tech and Chase.
Vodafone Eyes First Mideast Deal still in the hunt to win a contract to build a new mobile phone network in the Gulf state. ..... new Qatari licence could cost over $300m .... Vodafone has invested in high-growth emerging markets, most notably in India ..... Vodacom, the African operator of which it already owns half, and has invested heavily in Turkey and Egypt, pursuing growth in emerging markets while cutting costs and launching broadband services across Europe. ...... would strengthen Vodafone's hand in pursuing investment opportunities in other Middle Eastern countries
One Giant Leap for Entrepreneurs the $2 million first prize in the DARPA Urban Challenge—a series of races with driverless vehicles ...... sophisticated, unmanned vehicles for use in urban combat zones ....... the search giant's competition to land an unmanned vehicle on the moon and complete a series of tasks ...... the Google competition is an incentive for the emerging private space industry to build exploration technologies faster and on a tighter budget than the government ....... wily entrepreneurs like Whittaker .... deep-pocketed tycoons like Allen. ...... NASA, which plans to return a manned vehicle to the moon by 2020, makes no secret of the fact that if private entrepreneurs can build better technologies for cheaper, it will adopt them. .... it has awarded $200,000 to Peter Homer, who designed a better astronaut glove; and $250,000 to various entrepreneurs who engineered Jetsons-like personal air vehicles. ..... placing the bar so high is necessary to get great innovation ..... "The day before something is considered a breakthrough, it's considered a crazy idea, and the traditional industry will react against it" ..... in 1919 offered a $25,000 reward for anyone who could fly a nonstop flight across the Atlantic. ..... "As in any enterprise, the trick is not to spend your own money," he says. .... Japan, China, India, and Russia have all announced plans to fly to the moon .... create new industries or change existing ones.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Nic Butterworth's Open Coffee MeetUp
I was there when Nic launched the Open Coffee MeetUp. The dude is a minor tech celebrity locally. And the turnout was good. More than 20 people showed. I kept coming a few times. It is not like investors did not show, and plenty of entrepreneurs. But the investors were institutional ones who would be good for round 2, round 3, round 4, kind of. They did not click with my seed money needs. And then I dropped out, kind of. Then I got slightly distracted with things Obama.
Now I am back. I went two weeks back. Noone showed up. So I left at 9:15. I met someone - Hilary Rowland - who I knew had RSVPd and who I met again at the NY Tech MeetUp - that 800 pound gorilla of MeetUps - and she said she did go. I did not see Nic, I did not see her, what was going on?
"We were in the corner in the left," she said.
Ends up I was in the wrong location. Nic started at the Astor Place Starbucks. Now it is a different location, better for me since now I don't have to change trains.
I set my alarm for seven. How about tomatoes for breakfast? Makes you feel cutting edge, healthy eating and all that.
I show up at nine. Only one other person was there before me, someone I had emailed before on the MeetUp system, but did not have a face for.
Facebook Group: New York Open Coffee MeetUp
Prospect Park Pick-Up Soccer
NY Tech Meetup
Nic set it up for a Thursday morning on purpose. Jobholders and entrepreneurs are two different species. He wanted to weed out the former.
Slowly people gathered. Nic did not show, but someone from his vertical video search company did. It was a good size crowd,more than a dozen. You get the intimate talk at the Open Coffee MeetUp that you don't get at the NY Tech MeetUp. That second usually has 500 people in the audience and presentations. Afterwards you interact for a few minutes with the celebrity presenters, like last time I did with the DoubleClick guy who sold it to Google for $1.6 billion. Now, that is some big fish.
Scott had also sold Fotolog for $90 million only a week before. So I needed to congratulate him.
I introduced myself saying I used to come here looking for investors, but I am here now primarily because I consider it a great learning experience to interact with entrepreneurs at various stages of growth.
Someone took the initiative to break the group into two. One for current affairs. I chose to stick with the second.
Lefty said his name was Lefty.
"Is that really your name?"
"When people say Lefty, I respond."
The actual name on his card was even more exotic. Leftonred Atanycorner. Dean is a consultant who helps early stage companies. He told me I had emailed him. Have I?
He said he was not interested but he came to sit near me twice. That is a lead to follow through.
Arnaud recently moved here from France. I could hardly pronounce his name.
This was my third or fourth time meeting Mark. The first two times I met him at Drinking Liberally, Rudy's, near Times Square. He was with The Huffington Post. Then I also saw him last week at the NY Tech MeetUp and waved him hello from a distance. Another person I was surprised to see there was Carlos, one of the top Obama volunteers in the city. His CEO ended up the guy who had sold his company to Google. I am impressed, Carlos.
Mark personally knows Arianna Huffington, of course. Yahoo, Salon ("Slate," he corrected me fast) and The Huffington Post had just hosted the first ever online only presidential debate, mashup, to be specific. We talked about that a little. By the way, Arianna Huffington is a Facebook friend of mine, as is Howard Dean, and Matt Damon, and Hilary Rowland, and Andrew Rasiej, and Greta Van Sustern at Fox News who has written a few times on my Facebook wall.
Yahoo: The First Online Only Debate
After everyone had left, Mark and I kept talking. Ends up he also lives in Brooklyn, "the most residential of the four boroughs," I said. I have been meaning to go to the Drinking Liberally in Brooklyn.
We talked. He gave me some very good advice on my startup. Then we talked soap. Then we walked to Union Square where I took the train to Astoria where I was meeting a former Nepali ambassador to Qatar for lunch. He is flying back to Nepal on Monday. We talked for hours.
The past two years I have met most of the top Nepali politicians here in the city including two former Prime Ministers one of whom said to me, "Thanks for saving me."
Lance I had seen once before. He was back. He was sitting next to me, but he ended up in the Current Affairs group.
Vlad, now that is a Slavic name.
JP has a real interesting startup. It is a social networking site. But it looks like a desktop application. There is the free part, and there is the premium version, so no ads. "Distraction." He is half Chinese, half Hispanic. He speaks Spanish.
Troy is in the mobile space. That is exciting. So much going on in that space.
I got engaged in a mini conversation with him. I could propose Christmas be celebrated in January but that is not going to happen, it is ingrained in the culture; do you think America's lagging behind in the mobile domain is partly cultural, I asked. He said it was more to do with the regulatory framework. The tiger had not been unleashed.
Not my space, though. I empathize with the Homo Sapien that needs the screen and the keyboard to be a certain size.
An Asian young woman who did not have her card with her, but who had a startup "that I can't tell you much about."
Hmm. I should use that line. If I tell you more, I will have to kill you.
Facebook Group: NY Open Coffee MeetUp.
"The IC is going to be like a frying pan, like a rice cooker. It is not the technology of it. It is the business part that is going to be amazing."
The Open Coffee MeetUp is a great Thursday morning thing to do. And the monthly NY Tech MeetUp is where you start the month.
Soccer on Sundays. And you got it all made.
"I live in Little Bangladesh. Prospect Park is the best part of where I live."
Scott 2.0, MeetUp.com 2.0
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Quick Take: Dell Comes Out of the Storage Closet Motley Fool Storage networks are a reasonably cheap way to keep pace with the digital Everest of data that businesses must track. ..... By choosing to go "mostly" direct, Dell is eschewing services partners who could make the MD3000i a hit. And, worse, it's blowing a ripe opportunity to become a consultative partner to fast-growing small businesses
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New stocks for 'Today's List of Top Growers' CNNMoney.com The new additions have little debt and offer well-above-average growth. ..... The case for replacing Dell is simply that the computer-maker's results have deteriorated, and it's not clear how it can restore rapid growth. Dell's greatest strength has been cost-efficient production of made-to-order PCs. The company has had initial success broadening that business by selling through Wal-Mart and other stores. But managing large inventories will make it harder to maintain profit margins. ...... Corning, the leading maker of optical fiber.
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Cisco Continues to Deliver on Data Center 3.0 Vision by ... CNNMoney.com Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced the integration of Cisco VFrame Data Center with VMware Virtual Infrastructure, a key solution for the Cisco vision of next generation data centers, called Data Center 3.0. ...... increased IT agility and flexibility, faster coordinated provisioning of storage and network resources, and improved business continuance. ...... The Cisco vision for Data Center 3.0 entails the real-time, dynamic orchestration of infrastructure services from shared pools of virtualized server, storage and network resources, while optimizing application service levels, efficiency and collaboration. Cisco and its partners are helping organizations to design and build virtualized, self-defending and efficient data center infrastructure for delivering superior application performance and user experience.
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Sun Expands Alliance With Microsoft The Associated Press is the latest twist in a truce the companies, once bitter rivals, hammered out in 2004, when Sun pocketed $1.95 billion in a settlement payout from Microsoft over antitrust and patent allegations, and both companies vowed to make their products work better together. ........ Microsoft, the world's largest software company, stands to gain from the agreement because of Sun's reach in the server world. Sun is the world's No. 3 server seller with 13 percent of the worldwide market, behind IBM and Hewlett-Packard ....... the momentum surrounding so-called virtualization technology, which allows computers to run more than one operating system, saving hardware and electricity costs while boosting the performance of giant, energy-sapping machines. ........ Sun and Microsoft vowed to make sure their respective operating systems worked well with one another's virtualization technologies, a commitment that could help both companies prosper from the trend toward data center consolidation and urgent efforts by technology managers to reduce energy costs. ........ Sun's attempts to shed its image as that of a quarrelsome startup that in the late 1990s was eager to pick public fights with big rivals. ....... Sun is becoming a more restrained and inclusive company willing to forge alliances ....... the growing open-source movement in hopes that it will sell more hardware and services as more companies and programmers start using Sun's free technologies.
Wal-Mart touts return to low prices BusinessWeek after disappointing results from last year's push into trendier clothes and merchandise. ...... the world's largest retailer.
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