Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Google, GroupOn: Facebook Needs To Go Public

Marissa MayerImage via WikipediaFacebook has so far never made an acquisition. Acquihires like Dropio and Hot Potato don't count. And a company can not do internal innovation forever. The price you pay to get big is you are open to innovation from outside. You keep a clear vision of where you want to go as a company, and you make acquisitions along the way in emerging spaces and sub spaces.

Facebook was ready to go IPO last year based on its fundamentals. But a recession perhaps was not a great time to go public. But now the recession is over. Further delays will cause Facebook harm. To put it down bluntly, Facebook can not make GroupOn like acquisitions if it stays private.

Google, GroupOn: Integration Will Be Key

Marissa Mayer at LeWeb 2009 / Day 1Image by earcos via FlickrThis is not a merger, this is an acquisition, but it feels like a merger. Granted this is no AOL Time Warner - thank God - but it feels like a merger more so than the YouTube acquisition felt. The YouTube acquisition felt like an acquisition, a big acquisition but still an acquisition. This feels like a merger.

Google, GroupOn: Marissa Mayer's Stalking Of Andrew Mason

Marissa MayerImage by jdlasica via FlickrAndrew Mason first spotted Marissa Mayer at South By Southwest. He did not think much of it. He did not think someone like Marissa Mayer might actually know who he was. Only two years before he had been eating Ramen noodles. He could still feel the taste of Ramen in his mouth.

Google, GroupOn: Say No The First Time

Marissa MayerImage by jdlasica via FlickrHotmail was hot. So Bill Gates wanted to buy it. The joke in the industry for a decade and a half had been that Microsoft was always one step behind.

Sabeer Bhatia was summoned for some face time with Bill G. Bill Gates offered $200 million.

"Can I sleep on it?" Sabeer Bhatia replied. He flew back home to the Bay Area where he lived.

Google, GroupOn: It's The G Factor

Marissa Mayer at LeWeb 2009 / Day 1Image by earcos via FlickrI am going to post a hypothesis. The hypothesis is that GroupOn always wanted to get bought, and it wanted to get bought by Google. From. Day. One. GroupOn plotted for this day to come before its inception.

Why do I say that?

Google, GroupOn: GroupOn Perhaps Was Not The Next Big Thing

Marissa MayerImage via WikipediaApple and Microsoft were born around the same time. They were not at peace. Netscape came along. Microsoft killed Netscape. Google offered to sell itself to Yahoo. Yahoo refused. A few years later Bill Gates offered to buy Google "at any price." Google refused. Google tried to buy or bury Facebook. Facebook survived. Facebook tried to buy Twitter. Twitter refused. So Facebook hunkered down and "learned" as much as possible from Twitter. Facebook has tried to buy FourSquare, more recently it has tried to bury it.

See, there is that buzz factor. The company that had the crown seat in the buzz kingdom until recently is able to spot the next taker and gets uncomfortable.

Google, GroupOn: Google Just Got Offline

Marissa MayerImage by ifindkarma via FlickrThis is Google getting offline. That is a big jump. I hear GroupOn has a salesforce. Google has not had that. This is Google now getting high touch. High tech is no longer enough. Online only is no longer enough.

Google went offline before it went into hardware. That's significant. A company like Google getting offline also shows how mainstream the web has become. The term In Real Life no longer applies. What do you mean in real life? The web is as real as it gets.

Local, social, mobile, global.

Google, GroupOn: Google Could Not Have Avoided The Deal

Image representing Marissa Mayer as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase
TechCrunch: Why Google Hearts Groupon: Groupon is the clear market leader in the fastest growing new category on the Internet .... “I think the way Google will evolve is they will want to control everything significant on the Internet.” ....... Google Places is increasingly front and center on the main search results page for local searches, and VP Marissa Mayer recently switched from Search to now running Location and Local Services. She is known to be a big fan of Groupon .... Through its online-to-offline coupons, Groupon has figured out how to track that last mile in local online commerce between the ad and customers showing up at a store..... Google could start showing Groupon deals as tags on local searches or within Google Maps. The ability to add deals to their Places pages could make Places more appealing to local businesses as well. ..... scaling the business from one which deals with a few hundred businesses per day to tens or hundreds of thousands .... Groupon still requires a large local sales force to manage these deals, and an army of copy writers to make the deals appealing.
This is a case of the dog finally catching up with the car. Google might have missed out on social, but it tried extra hard to get local and location right. That begs the question, Facebook refused to be bought for a billion, and now its market value is 50 billion, did GroupOn just miss out?

Google, GroupOn

Image representing Andrew Mason as depicted in...Image via CrunchBaseThis is great for Google. But was this great for GroupOn? Why did GroupOn not seek an IPO route? That is the question I find myself asking.

Tech Bangalore: A Blog

I would like to introduce you to this awesome blog: Tech Bangalore.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Google Earth: A House Is A House Is A House

Image representing Google Earth as depicted in...Image via CrunchBaseGoogle Earth is just swell. When it first came out, I downloaded it right away. I saw the country I grew up in - Nepal - in ways I had never seen before. The Himalayas were so awesome to explore on Google Earth. I spun the globe in slow motion over large stretches of Russia. I was a kid in a candy shop.

Number 52 In New York

Is GroupOn Like YouTube?

Groupon logo.Image via WikipediaFor one I was thinking GroupOn was not going to want to get bought. It had a great independent future, I thought. But perhaps the GroupOn founders felt like they were a one trick pony, and they were not going to be able to ride the imagination wave year in year out, and another hot company will show up, the buzz will move on. And Google wanted the sexy back bad.

I Am A Browser Bigot

MacWorld Conference & Expo 2007 - San Francisc...Image via WikipediaI have called Steve Jobs a Pied Piper at this blog several times before. I mean, the guy goes ahead and does iPhone apps.
Fred Wilson: HTML5 Mobile Apps: They looked and worked exactly like their mobile app counterparts.... you could cache all the elements, including the database, on the phone and deliver an offline experience in HTML5 in the browser .... I've accepted the mobile app paradigm as something we will be living with for the next five years.
But I do realize that HTML 5 is not here yet. Universal wireless broadband is not here yet. And that begets the swamp that begets the mosquitoes: iPhone apps.

Racism Caused Recession

Comet P/Halley as taken March 8, 1986 by W. Li...Image via Wikipedia
Farrakhan: Levee May Have Been Bombed To Flood ... flood poor black people out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
You could argue it was cyclical. It happens every 70 years. The last time was the Great Depression. And there was something like the Great Depression about 70 years before the Great Depression. I guess I will not see the Halley's Comet or another Great Recession in my lifetime then.

Is Google The New Microsoft?

Google Chrome IconImage via Wikipedia
New York Times: Now a Giant, Google Works to Retain Nimble Minds: “At Facebook, I could see how quickly I could get things done compared to Google.” .... Google, which only 12 years ago was a scrappy start-up in a garage, now finds itself viewed in Silicon Valley as the big, lumbering incumbent. Inside the company some of its best engineers are chafing under the growing bureaucracy ..... Omar Hamoui, the founder of AdMob who was vice president for mobile ads at Google .... Much of Silicon Valley’s innovation comes about as engineers leave companies to start their own. ...... a short step from scale to sclerosis .... The company’s attrition rate for people it wished would stay has been constant for seven years ..... “There was a time when three people at Google could build a world-class product and deliver it, and it is gone,” Mr. Schmidt said .... Google has given several engineers who said they were leaving to start new companies the chance to start them within Google. They work independently and can recruit other engineers and use Google’s resources ....... Google is considering opening a start-up incubator inside the company ..... 20 percent time .... The company tries to limit groups of engineers working on projects to 10.... in reality, engineering groups quickly swell to 20 or even 40 .... new products created during 20 percent time are less likely to get anywhere these days..... Popular Google products like Gmail grew out of 20 percent time .... engineers say they have been encouraged to build fewer new products and focus on building improvements to existing ones .... Part of Google’s problem is that the best engineers are often the ones with the most entrepreneurial thirst. ..... said he knew it was time to leave as the number of people he had to copy on e-mail messages ballooned. .... Google says 80 percent of people who get a counteroffer stay put.... According to résumés posted on LinkedIn, 142 of Facebook’s 1,700 employees came from Google. .... “We hire more people in a week than go to Facebook in its lifetime.”
I am not the first to ask this question. And I have tried to answer this before. But this is not a question that is about to go away. On the one hand you have people who think Google has already become a monopoly. I beg to differ. On the other hand you have people who are worried not every cutting edge technology is coming out of the Google shop. Those are not opposing views. Those are two weird poles of views.

What Does Google Do?

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  Google co-founder...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe title of this post is a slight play on a famous book by Jeff Jarvis. This New York Times article below has been making the rounds. Looks like the Google algorithms reward bad behavior. Provide bad customer service, have enraged customers talk about you at various sites, and see yourself go up in search rankings.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why Are They Still Communicating Through Cables?

DEA badge CImage via Wikipedia

Whatever happened to email?

New York Times: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years ..... The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict. ..... The cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism..... The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.” .... When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. ...... China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country .... The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002 ....... Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda ..... while Mr. Putin enjoyed supremacy over all other public figures in Russia, he was undermined by an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignored his edicts. ...... nearly a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the dark shadow of terrorism still dominates the United States’ relations with the world ..... adding Australians who have disappeared in the Middle East to terrorist watch lists .... American officials managing relations with a China on the rise and a Russia retreating from democracy........ “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours” ..... The authoritarian ruler of a conservative Muslim country, Mr. Saleh complains of smuggling from nearby Djibouti, but tells General Petraeus that his concerns are drugs and weapons, not whiskey, “provided it’s good whiskey.” ..... describe the volatile Libyan leader as rarely without the companionship of “his senior Ukrainian nurse,” described as “a voluptuous blonde.” ...... Qaddafi was so upset by his reception in New York that he balked at carrying out a promise to return dangerous enriched uranium to Russia. ...... Mugabe “a brilliant tactician” but mocked “his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics).” ..... Private Manning said he had delivered the cables and other documents to WikiLeaks. ..... The State Department’s unclassified history series, titled “Foreign Relations of the United States,” has reached only 1972 . ..... several hundred date from 1966 to the 1990s. Some show diplomats struggling to make sense of major events whose future course they could not guess. ..... In a 1979 cable to Washington, Bruce Laingen, an American diplomat in Tehran, mused with a knowing tone about the Iranian revolution that had just occurred: “Perhaps the single dominant aspect of the Persian psyche is an overriding egoism,” Mr. Laingen wrote, offering tips on exploiting this psyche in negotiations with the new government. Less than three months later, Mr. Laingen and his colleagues would be taken hostage by radical Iranian students, hurling the Carter administration into crisis and, perhaps, demonstrating the hazards of diplomatic hubris. ...... In an era of satellites and fiber-optic links, the cable retains the archaic name of an earlier technological era. ...... the drama in the cables often comes from diplomats’ narratives of meetings with foreign figures, games of diplomatic poker ..... half brother of the Afghan president .... trying to win over the Americans with nostalgic tales about his years running a Chicago restaurant near Wrigley Field. ...... “He appears not to understand the level of our knowledge of his activities. ....... Even in places far from war zones and international crises, where the stakes for the United States are not as high, curious diplomats can turn out to be accomplished reporters, sending vivid dispatches to deepen the government’s understanding of exotic places. ..... ‘Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.’

The Real Message From Apple Apps

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseThe real message from iPhone and iPad apps is not that the web is dead, like one magazine put it recently, but that people are willing to pay. Steve Jobs dove into the world of music piracy and created the iTunes store. People were willing to pay, it is just that they like the digital format better, he concluded.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Events: November 29 - December 10

Old Media, New Media: Man Bit Dog, Dog Bit Man

That is an old dictum from journalism school, that man (sic) bit dog is news, but dog bit man is not. How new media has changed that and turned it upside down! If a dog bit man, and that man is your friend, that is not only news, that is big news. If that man walked his dog, and sent out a tweet about it, that is still news, to you. How things have changed!


Making Dick Costolo An Offer He Can't Refuse

Making Dick Costolo An Offer He Can't Refuse

The Telegraph: Twitter lacks ‘clear long term vision’ admits new CEO: I am currently trying to define what Twitter’s purpose is in the long term. .... Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and chairman, added that it was difficult to try and define Twitter’s function and purpose, as so many of its uses had been defined by its users over the past four years..... mindful of Twitter not losing its company culture, as it opens up offices around the world. ...... , similar to other US technology companies, such as Facebook, most of its international offices would be sales focused as opposed to having a product development division.
Vision happens at the DNA level. Founding CEOs who turbocharge - Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg come to mind - are few and far between. People say it is not the idea, it is the execution. But then big, unsexy companies execute all the time. Then people say, it is not the execution, it is the ideas. But then startups with great ideas flounder all the time. It is quite a chicken and egg situation, don't you think?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro: Videos (2)

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro: Videos

Brazil: Sao Paulo: Videos (2)

Brazil: Sao Paulo: Videos

Brazil: Sao Paulo: Photos

Brazil: Sao Paulo: Carmo Planetarium: Photo
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Mercado Municipal: Photos
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Museum of Art: Photos
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Parque Zoológico: Photos
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Serra da Cantareira: Photos
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Ibirapuera Park: Photos

Brazil: Sao Paulo: Adopted City
Brazil: Sao Paulo: Photos

Brazil: Economy: Not South Korea

Brazil has come a long way, but Brazil still has a long way to go. $10,000 per capita income is not $20,000, it is not $30,000.

Brazil: Economy: Paving The Way

Brazil's story shows a poor country lifting itself up is great news for the global economy, it is great news for the rich countries. They don't steal your jobs. They create jobs that never existed before and they get rich and then they buy from you.

Brazil: Economy: Amazon And Biotech

Brazil is a modern, world class economy. Most Brazilians work in the service sector. If Brazil is poised to be a world power, it is to be on the strength of its economy, not the might of its military.

Brazil: The Amazon Rainforest: Videos (3)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brazil: The Amazon Rainforest: Videos (2)

Brazil: The Amazon Rainforest: Videos

Brazil: The Amazon Forest: Photos

Brazil: The Landscape

The Amazon rainforest is the most well known geographical feature of Brazil's landscape. But the country is geographically diverse like most large countries tend to be. I don't know if it has a desert though. Looks like it maybe does.

Zappos Being Sold

tony hsieh, ceo, zappos.comImage via WikipediaI am going to dig up on this and blog about it more later. But I have been circling Zappos, and my hunch is selling Zappos to Amazon was a very, very bad idea. Zappos was IPO material. I am going to learn the details. And comment more later.