Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ben Horowitz And Dave McClure

SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 09:  Ben Horowitz, co-fo...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBen Horowitz: Why Has Andreessen Horowitz Raised $2.7B in 3 Years?

I was just reading this blog post by Ben Horowitz - great blog, by the way - and could not help thinking this guy sounds a lot like Dave McClure, only at a much larger scale. Dave McClure wants to help build your accounting department.

Investment firms aspire to be incubators. It is not like, here's the money, and now go build. The money is good, heck, it is the primary thing. But then there's the advice, the network.

I mean, look at this, this looks like a FoxConn report. As in, we cooked 30 tons of rice today and 12 tons of pork.
Image representing Dave McClure as depicted in...Image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/2659065551/ via CrunchBaseIn 2011, we hosted over 600 portfolio presentations to corporate customers and partners at our office in Menlo Park. These presentations resulted in more than 3,000 introductions between portfolio companies and prospective Fortune 500/Global 2000 senior executives.

We’ve built relationships with over 4,000 engineers, designers and product managers, and we’ve made more than 1,300 introductions to our portfolio companies, resulting in 130 hires within the portfolio.

We added over 550 executives to our network in 2011 and made more than 300 executive introductions to our portfolio companies.

We’ve had nearly 400 interactions with media on behalf of our portfolio companies.

Amazon, I Never Received My Book

Twitter Integration Into Google's Search Plus

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 17:  Twitter CEO D...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeDick Costolo in GigaOm: “Google crawls us at a rate of 1300 hits per second… They’ve indexed 3 billion of our pages,” Costolo said. “They have all the data they need.”

The Next Web: 2009: Total Tweets Tweeted Nearing 5 Billion

http://gigatweeter.com/counter: 29 Billion Tweets

Twitter Blog: Measuring Tweets

If there are 29 billion tweets out there and counting, and according to the Twitter CEO Google has indexed three billion of them, then obviously Google does not have access to all the tweets out there. There is some cooperation that is necessary. And so far it has not been forthcoming.

I speak for the consumer. If tweets are not included in Google's Search Plus Your World, that is not a good thing. I hope the two giants work things out.

Dick Costolo Of Twitter
Google Should Get The Twitter Firehose
Twitter, France And Germany
Twitter Should Open Up Its API ---- To Google

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shit Birds Say

Via Craig Newmark

MegaUpload: The SOPA/PIPA Aftermath

Image representing Megaupload Limited as depic...Image via CrunchBaseThe Shout: Megaupload: A Lot Less Guilty Than You Think
The heart of this case is whether and when an enterprise can be held criminally liable for the conduct of its users. ....... “Can the Grokster theory of CIVIL liability even be the basis for CRIMINAL copyright claims?” This has never been decided by any Court. ...... Rojadirecta’s lawyers at Durie Tangri have challenged the U.S. Government’s assertion that criminal liability arises from linking to infringing content. The lawyers argue that judge-made secondary infringement liability theories, including Grokster style inducement, cannot be the basis for a criminal copyright violation because the criminal copyright statute doesn’t mention secondary liability. Congress considered and rejected statutes that would have created such liability, in COICA and PROTECT IP. In sum, due process doesn’t allow incarceration under a civil legal theory that the Supreme Court dreamed up in 2005. The issues yet to be decided in Rojadirecta apply to the Megaupload case as well. ...... The list of overt acts show that the object of the conspiracy was infringement by Mega users. ....... If the idea is that Mega conspired with its users to infringe, those users may or may not have been criminally infringing copyright. They were located all over the world, and may or may not have acted willfully, i.e. intended to violate U.S. law. Again, the government would basically have alleged an agreement to violate a U.S. CIVIL law, including by many people who are not subject to U.S. rules. ....... Is it a federal crime to conspire to induce others to violate a U.S. civil law? ....... The answer to that is an obvious “no”. ...... prosecuting this case against Mega, especially if Defendants get good criminal lawyers who also understand copyright law, is going to be an uphill battle for the government. ..... the indictment identifies four films that the defendants supposedly distributed before release: The Green Hornet, Thor, Bad Teacher, Twilight–Breaking Dawn Part 1. But Count 4 only charges one such act of prerelease infringement, the movie Taken. What about the other films? Why were those not also charged? .......... Finally, this case is extremely interesting from a JURISDICTIONAL standpoint. One of the very first issue to be litigated will be extradition to the United States. Does the United States have jurisdiction over anyone who uses a hosting provider in the Eastern District of Virginia? What about over any company that uses PayPal? That’s a very broad claim of power, and I expect it will be vigorously contested.
TorrentFreak: Mega Aftermath: Upheaval In Pirate Warez Land
While last week’s shutdown of MegaUpload is of huge interest in itself, but a wave of aftershocks and side-effects are proving equally fascinating to watch. In addition to causing all sorts of problems for legitimate users of file-sharing services, there is no avoiding the fact that certain elements of the piracy scene are in a mess. But amazingly, still the beat goes on. ....... The perception of the established ground rules had been changed, without the passing of a single new law. ....... “If the US government can come for Kim Dotcom it can happen to almost anyone,” a file-hosting operator told TorrentFreak on condition of anonymity. “I’m trying to think of everything I did possibly wrong in the last 3 years and worrying about that and the next 3 years also, if we even have that long.” ..... For many hosting sites it was time to react – quickly. ......... drastic actions taken by services such as Filesonic and Fileserve who shut down all 3rd party sharing and, like many others, closed down their affiliate payout programs ...... file-hosting competitors such as 4shared, Rapidshare and Hotfile had grown as users hunted for spare capacity ...... huge libraries of both legitimate and pirated material were wiped out as filehost after filehost deleted an impossible-to-calculate number of files and closed down thousands of suspected infringing accounts. ....... For more than half a decade Hollywood and the recording industry have spent millions of dollars not so much on actually eliminating illegal content, but getting rid of links to content such as those found on BitTorrent........ But this week, without a single cease and desist being sent, cyberlockers across the globe not only self-deleted vast quantities of files, but in doing so made millions of links across thousands of ‘linking sites’ completely useless too. ......... While there is money to be made in torrent sites, the content sharers there are largely altruistic. ...... But like worker ants whose nest has just been smashed apart by angry humans, others are utterly unfazed and just want to know which hosts are still paying out. Despite the climate of fear, quite a few hosts say they are ...... Cyberlockers are in a mess, but already recovering. Release sites are continuing, albeit with a reduced number of multiple links to the same content. ...... Perhaps the best test is whether it’s now very hard or impossible to find and download popular content. Not even close.
This MegaUpload stuff is related to SOPA/PIPA. The people who lost the battle in Congress hit back in New Zealand. There is no fighting the technology. But the music and movie industries have the option to come up with new business models.

The Solution Is Tech Heavy, Data Heavy

Mark Suster's Web Second Applies To Instagram

Mark SusterImage via WikipediaSomeone also needs to shout Android!Android!Android! to them Instagram folks.

Kevin Shitstorm Of Instagram

Mark Suster: Web Second, Mobile First

In the long run it will not be an issue of first and second. Right now I am talking to a client who has this iPhone app in mind that I think would be great on all three platforms: iPhone, Android, web. I think I have convinced him, but now it is just a matter of money. If the money is tight he will start with iPhone only. My team will build him an iPhone app first.

Seven Screens

But then the real news here is Mark links to a blog post from Fred Wilson where Fred Wilson links to a blog post from me.

A friend was quick to note. And I was quick to pass that message on to Mark in his comments section.

Safe House
Getting To Meet Mark Suster In Person
Local Response: Monetizing On "Their" Behalf

I wish there were a few top tech entrepreneurs who blogged like Fred Wilson and Mark Suster do. As in, regularly, or at all. Where is Sean Parker when you need him?

John Borthwick Of Betaworks

Betaworks Shareholder Letter

Friday, January 27, 2012

Arkansas Dude

Google Should Get The Twitter Firehose

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseAll tweets are public. On Facebook many things are private. But that is not at all true of Twitter. So it makes absolutely no philosophical sense for Twitter to not give Google access to all tweets.

Twitter fundamentally misunderstands real time. Real time is not only real time as it is happening now, today. Real time is also real time as it happened in real time two years ago, two months ago. And I want access to all my tweets.

Twitter Should Open Up Its API ---- To Google

If Google were to have access to all tweets, it would show them in the Google search results. Maybe Twitter should make available only tweets that are at least 50 hours old. That I can understand. Because you don't want people doing Google searches for real time results. For that they should go to Twitter. But for all the old tweets, Google is best positioned to serve them to us. I mean, Twitter is not even trying.

Giving Google that access will suddenly give Twitter all this amazing real estate on which to serve big display ads.

Twitter, France And Germany

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseWhen I read these headlines I was like, oh no, China is at it again. Ends up the guilty parties are France and Germany. And we all know Twitter never was allowed to enter China in the first place.

Sergey Brin's Is The Right Stand

Twitter Blog: Tweets still must flow
The Next Web: Twitter isn't censoring you. Your government is.
technosociology: Why Twitter's new policy is helpful for free-speech advocates
Marketing Land: Twitter Now Able To Censor Tweets, If Required By Law, On A Country-By-Country Basis
Jillian C. York: Thoughts on Twitter's Latest Move
Boing Boing: Twitter caves to global censorship, will block content on country-specific basis as required

Something tells me there is going to be a ruckus.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Digital Dumbo

Google's Hidden Card: Become An ISP

English: Left to right, Eric E. Schmidt, Serge...Image via WikipediaSteve Jobs decided a long time ago that he wanted to do both hardware and software. Bill Gates' cofounder Paul Allen wanted the same. But Bill Gates vetoed the idea. He wanted to focus just on software. Software that will run on all kinds of hardware.

You could argue Bill Gates won the first round and Steve Jobs won the second round. But then Google was even more detached from hardware than was Microsoft. And yet Google bought Motorola, a hardware company. Granted it bought Motorola primarily for the patents to hit back in the Android fight. But there is no denying all that hardware.

Larry Page's Challenge

Google is going to build smartphones and tablets in-house. And that is not easy to do. Apple leads that herd.

Google, the king of search, made several clumsy efforts in the social space until it finally hit Google Plus. Google Plus is great, but it is no Facebook. And Google is well positioned in the Big Data space as well as next generation industries like driverless cars. Talk about hardware, software integration. A car is conspicuous hardware.

I think what though will set Google on the path to becoming the most valuable company in the world is Google getting into the ISP space. Hardware-software-connectivity integration beats hardware-software integration. (Not Hardware, Not Software, But Connectivity, One Gig Per Sec: This Is What I Am Talking About)

What would be some of the ingredients? One gigabit per second speed. Ad based. Use snooping technology. (Eric Schmidt's Cloud Computing And My IC Vision)

The snooping technology is that the ISP reads the web addresses of all the websites you visit and serves ads accordingly. It is like Gmail reads all your emails and serves relevant ads. Same thing. It will not be an invasion of privacy. It is machines reading.

Google as a global ISP would eclipse Google as the search engine of choice in terms of influence and revenue. That also might be the best way to conquer the mobile space with Android.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The $100 Price Point For The Smartphone

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11:  A person holds a new  ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife$200 does not feel right. Microsoft and Nokia will have a huge advantage that they seem to want to enter the market at the $100 price point.

Microsoft Finally Cracked The Phone

A $200 price point is actually a $600 price point. Only they don't charge you up front. You pay month after month for two years.

BGR: AT&T’s Q1 2012 roadmap: Nokia Lumia 900 to launch March 18th for $99.99
That price point would make this sleek smartphone an absolute game-changer for Windows Phone ..... Nokia could easily have a hit on its hands when this handset launches later this quarter.
If Android is free why are the good Android phones the same price as the iPhone?

The real stickler though is the monthly price. There Republic Wireless has nailed it. Only they are not a reality in the market yet. $19 a month is a good price point there.

Republic Wireless, Galaxy Nexus And Tardiness

Netflix Bouncing Back

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseI rooted for Netflix when it decided to bet on streaming. (Netflix Cut Off The Gangrene Limb) And then its stock price collapsed. And that surprised me.

But now looks like Netflix is bouncing back. That stock price drop was a sneeze it just had to wade through. But cutting off DVDs before the market cut off Netflix was a smart move. It was a life saving move, to put it more bluntly.

A drop in the stock price was the price Netflix paid to stay alive long term.

GigaOm: Netflix streaming users now outnumber DVD subscribers 2:1
even with its steep decline in DVD rentals, the overall number of customers is growing again. Netflix lost 810,000 U.S. subscribers in Q3 as a result of its unsuccessful attempts to spin off the DVD business into a separate company, as well as a price hike earlier in 2011. In Q4, that combined subscriber number once again grew by 610,000...... Netflix won’t enter any other territories in 2012, and might have to work on making more money with streaming if it wants to keep expanding in the future. Because DVDs may not be around for much longer.
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Secretive Apple (2)

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseSecretive Apple
Apple: $10 Billion To $400 Billion In 10 Years
The Significance Of Eating An Apple

The Next Web: This is how Apple’s top secret product development process works
Every product at Apple starts with design..... Instead of the design being beholden to the manufacturing, finance or manufacturing departments, these all conform to the will of the design department headed by Jony Ive.

A start-up is formed....... Once a new product has been decided on, a team is organized and segregated from the rest of the company by secrecy agreements and sometimes physical barriers. Sections of the building may be locked or cordoned off to make room for the teams working on a sensitive new project. This effectively creates a ‘start-up’ inside the company that is only responsible to the executive team, freeing them from the reporting structure of a big company.

Apple New Product Process (ANPP). .... a document that sets out every step in the development process of a product in detail .... maps out the stages of the creation, who is responsible for completion, who will work on each stage and when they will be completed.

Products are reviewed every Monday. ...... no product is ever more than two-weeks away from a key decision being made

The EPM mafia. ...... The engineering program manager (EPM) and the global supply manager (GSM). ...... executives that spend most of their time in China overseeing the production process.

Once a product is done, it is designed, built and tested again. ...... a 4-6 week process that ends with a gathering of responsible Apple employees at the factory. ..... The EPM then takes the beta device back to Cupertino for examination and comments, hopping right back on a plane to China to oversee the next iteration of the product. This means that many versions of any given device have been completed, not just partially prototyped. This is an insanely expensive way of building a new product, but it is the standard at Apple.

The packaging room. ...... A room in the Marketing building is completely dedicated to device packaging. The security here is matched only by the sections of the building dedicated to new products and to design. At one point before a new iPod was launched there was an employee who spent hours every day for months simply opening the hundreds of box prototypes within in order to experience and refine the unboxing process.

The launch is controlled by the Rules of the Road....... a top secret document that lists every significant milestone of a product’s development up until launch. Each milestone is annotated with a DRI (directly responsible individual)
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Penina First, Swifto


Safe House

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do You Have Anyone Working For You In Cyprus?

I do.

PlanCast Failed For Not Catering To Its Power Users

Image representing Mark Hendrickson as depicte...Image via CrunchBaseMark Hendrickson, CEO, PlanCast: The Uphill Battle Of Social Event Sharing: A Post-Mortem for Plancast

PlanCast is a liked service. And it is still going down. Why?

Robert Scoble's comments to the post are enlightening. Scoble is a power user. PlanCast needed to cater to his needs to take off.

PlanCast needed to engage people who create events, promote events.

PlanCast's Facebook, Twitter, EventBrite, MeetUp Integrations

Robert Scoble's Comment
Image representing Robert Scoble as depicted i...Image via CrunchBaseI'm really sad that you are killing this. Unfortunately there were several other things you did wrong:

1. You didn't have ways to share a calendar of things for my readers that's SEPARATE of those that I'm actually attending.

2. You never improved it and you didn't listen to users.

3. It wasn't integrated with Facebook events. I would hear about things on Facebook and adding them to Plancast was a real pain.

4. Whenever I heard about events almost always I would be mobile. But the mobile version of Plancast sucked.

5. Searching for things or adding them was difficult.

6. You never really got to the business model. That should have set off red flags for me. Yet no one else knew about my travels. I'm in Europe right now, which meant I spent more than $4,000 on travel and you couldn't monetize that at all? Nope. Why? Because you never made deals with AirBNB or Kayak or Hipmunk or other travel sites.

7. I couldn't create calendars for specific kinds of events. For instance, I could never create a calendar of just Barcamps around the world.
It bums me out a service I actually liked using won't be improved and, even, will disappear. So sad.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Solution Is Tech Heavy, Data Heavy

Hollywood Might Not Get Killed, Any More Than Silicon Valley Might
What Price A Movie?
MegaUpload, SOPA, PIPA
SOPA Went Down
SOPA Has Egg In The Face
SOPA Is So Going Down

TV ads are not as effective as Google ads. On TV you could be showing me beer ads and I don't even drink beer. But you are hoping many of the million people who got bombarded do.

When I search for beer on Google and you show me beer ads, that is way more effective. You already know I am interested in beer. TV ads not as effective. Search ads more effective. Social ads even more effective. You are more likely to buy something a friend bought and recommends. The engagement on Twitter for ads is more than on the Google platform.

Big Data ads should be 10 or more times more effective than even social ads. And at that point the freemium model really takes off. All you want as content people is people's attention. You don't want their money, at least not directly. I think that is the real solution to the piracy problem.

Fred Wilson: A Post PIPA Post
Clay Shirky: Pick up the pitchforks: David Pogue underestimates Hollywood
O'Reilly Radar: The week the web changed Washington

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hollywood Might Not Get Killed, Any More Than Silicon Valley Might

Paul Graham: Kill Hollywood
SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying .... What's going to kill movies and TV is what's already killing them: better ways to entertain people.

Technically speaking Silicon Valley could be anywhere, the magic that happens in Silicon Valley could be replicated anywhere. But instead of Silicon Valley getting parceled out, what has happened is Silicon Valley has gone on to do the next big things like clean tech. It is amazing to me how many of the new energy companies are based in California.

I guess geography matters. It takes some time to build that optimum ecosystem. People meeting people in person is magic. You can't take that over to Skype or a Google Hangout.

I mean, I am a huge fan of Hollywood. I love watching movies. And I think there is a magic happening in Hollywood that is not going away any time soon. As far as the production of movies goes, they have nailed it.

Silicon Valley has staying power. Hollywood has staying power. But innovation and creation will get replicated across the country and across the world. I hope the movie houses adopt to the Internet better. And I think it will end up happening one way or the other. But something tells me it will not be a smooth ride. There's just something in the nature of change. Disruptions by definition are not smooth.

In the far future good movies could come out of anywhere, and could be seen anywhere. Hollywood could end up a rust town. As could Silicon Valley, theoretically speaking.

Movies have their place in the grand scheme of things. And software will not take that place. Although it is hard to imagine a future where software is not key to every single aspect of movie creation and distribution.

What Price A Movie?
MegaUpload, SOPA, PIPA
SOPA Went Down

We need a new generation of movie production and distribution companies. Just like we need a new generation of finance companies.

Jhoom Jhoom Ta Hun Main

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Price A Movie?

It's All in the MoviesImage via WikipediaNew York Times: Dodd Calls for Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Meet
..... no Washington player can safely assume that a well-wired, heavily financed legislative program is safe from a sudden burst of Web-driven populism...... “This is altogether a new effect,” Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing “an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically” in the last four decades, he added.
Say it is 10 dollars at the movie theater on release day. Some places it is 13, some 9. But let's say it's 10.

If the movie industry would move such that new releases can be watched on your laptop the day of the release, how much should you be asked to pay for it? It has to be less than 10. They did not build the home you are sitting in. They are not having to pay for the air conditioning, or the chair. The laptop is yours. The Internet is not charging them for the streaming.

The only thing they need is the production cost and the profit.

I think three dollars. Maybe even two.

They will make more money that way than they do now. They will reach a much, much wider audience for one. They could stream it from their own websites. Ads at that site would be the new popcorn.

I don't understand what stops them.

MegaUpload, SOPA, PIPA

Image representing Megaupload Limited as depic...Image via CrunchBaseAre they related?

GigaOm: Follow the traffic: What MegaUpload’s downfall did to the web
Arbor Networks said it saw traffic begin to drop fairly sharply in Europe after about 7 p.m. GMT and 2 p.m. EST, when the site was estimated to have been shut down on Thursday. ...... MegaUpload was indeed one of the more popular sites on the web for storing and sharing content. It ranked as .98 percent of the total web traffic in the U.S. and 11.39 of the total web traffic in Brazil. It garnered 1.95 percent of the traffic in Asia-Pacific and a less substantial .86 percent in Europe.
Reuters: Megaupload site wants assets back, to fight charges
The Internet website Megaupload.com, shut down by authorities over allegations that it illegally peddled copyrighted material, is trying to recover its servers and get back online ..... "Megaupload will vigorously defend itself." ..... The company's executives earned more than $175 million from subscription fees and advertising ..... The new website, which is being hosted in the Netherlands, looked similar to the original Megaupload.com website.
CNet: Megaupload assembles worldwide criminal defense
"There are significant issues of due process," Rothken said early this morning. "The government has taken down one of the world's largest storage providers and have done so without giving Megaupload an opportunity to be heard in court." ....... cost the film industry more than $600 million in damages ..... Rothken dismissed the government's attempt to file criminal charges against his clients. "Many of the allegations made are similar to those in the copyright case filed against YouTube and that was a civil case....and YouTube won." ...... Anonymous launched denial-of-service attacks on a number of music and film industry sites as well as the Web site of the Justice Department. ..... lives in a $30 million mansion in New Zealand. ..... DotCom was known for his flamboyant lifestyle and partying. He was certainly not hiding out in New Zealand. He threw a New Year's party and paid for a huge fireworks show over Auckland. ...... "Despite our staff clearly identifying themselves, Mr Dotcom retreated into the house and activated a number of electronic locking mechanisms," Detective Inspector Grant Wormald said in a report from New Zealand news outlet TVNZ. "While police neutralized these locks he then further barricaded himself into a safe room within the house which officers had to cut their way into."
TechCrunch: Anonymous Reacts to Megaupload Takedown With “Largest Attack Ever”
“The government takes down #Megaupload? 15 minutes later #Anonymous takes down government & record label sites. #ExpectUs.” ..... the group claimed responsibility for taking down the Universal Music, RIAA (the record industry’s lobbying arm), MPAA (the movie industry’s lobbying arm), and Department of Justice websites, among others. As of 3pm Pacific, the sites were still down for me ..... The group also claimed that the current attacks were “the largest attack ever by Anonymous,” with 5,635 participants. And it looks like the campaign is ongoing — Anonymous says it’s going after the FBI’s website next: “Get some popcorn… it’s going to be a long lulzy night.”

I Can't Believe I Just Watched This

SOPA Went Down

Jack Valenti, former President, Motion Picture...Image via WikipediaWhat just happened? SOPA went down.

The enormous passion some of the early opponents of SOPA exhibited told me right there and then that SOPA was so going down. And now it is official. SOPA will not make it to the floor of the House. This is victory.

Copyright asks for a new definition. Intellectual property has to be redefined. The nation state itself has to be redefined. There is a guttural feeling among tech innovators that that is the case. And the jinn is out of the bottle. There is no going back.

SOPA Has Egg In The Face
SOPA Is So Going Down

More people consume more news than ever before. But many newspapers have crashed and burned. What is going on? Enormous amounts of music is being created, more than ever before. More books are being written than ever before. If piracy is devaluing intellectual property then there should be this strong signal to authors and music people and creative people in general that they should cease work. But the signal is the exact opposite. What's going on?

Artificial scarcity is being made fun of. Access is being democratized globally. If you have internet access, you are in. Compare that to the pains of getting a visa to the US.

There is so much good news going on. How could such enormous good news be bad news to some people? One person's freedom fighter is another person's terrorist.

As far as I was concerned this was a fight between good and evil. Good won.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Running Meetings: Charging Hard

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  Google co-founder...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBusiness Insider: How Larry Page Changed Meetings At Google After Taking Over Last Spring
  1. Every meeting must have one clear decision maker. If there's no decision maker -- or no decision to be made -- the meeting shouldn't happen.
  2. No more than 10 people should attend.
  3. Every person should give input, otherwise they shouldn't be there.
  4. No decision should ever wait for a meeting. If a meeting absolutely has to happen before a decision should be made, then the meeting should be scheduled immediately.
To that I would add another observation. A team should be three people, maximum five people. And then you are moving.

Think Quarterly: Start-Up Speed
.... we needed to grow and speed up at the same time ..... that holy grail of business speed: The start-up ..... For starters, we noted that every decision-oriented meeting should have a clear decision-maker, and if it didn’t, the meeting shouldn’t happen. Those meetings should ideally consist of no more than 10 people, and everyone who attends should provide input. If someone has no input to give, then perhaps they shouldn’t be there. That’s okay – attending meetings isn’t a badge of honor – but the people who are attending need to get there on time. Most importantly, decisions should never wait for a meeting. If it’s critical that a meeting take place before a decision is made, then that meeting needs to happen right away. ...... “Google+ shipped over 100 new features in the 90 days after launch, while accelerating to over 40 million users. That’s a velocity we’re proud of.” ..... Besides fast decisions, another key hallmark of start-ups is their fast-paced, densely populated offices. We’ve always promoted this approach at Google, organizing around small teams and working in close proximity to one another. Even Eric Schmidt shared his office with an engineer when he first joined the company. ...... we created a ‘bullpen’ in one of the buildings on our main campus, which was specially designed as a place for members of our executive team to work and talk in an informal setting. These execs now set aside a number of hours per week to be there. It’s amazing how fast things can get done – even in a large company – when you put so many key people together and don’t give them an agenda. ....... Creating quarterly OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) has been part of Google’s culture since board member John Doerr introduced the concept in 1999. ...... Team by team, the leaders lay out their objectives and how they’ll measure success. Afterwards, they’re posted for anyone within the company to see. ..... a recent OKR objective for our search team was to improve the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, which restates and reiterates the company’s mission statement ....... Having these shared goals also has the benefit of helping prevent the formation of silos – always a concern as companies grow. ...... in a permanently accelerating environment, we’re all seeking the best ways to move faster and be smarter. ... Larry’s closing speech at Zeitgeist: “There are no companies that make good slow decisions.”

Larry Page's Challenge

English: Left to right, Eric E. Schmidt, Serge...Image via WikipediaLarry Page's challenge is to turn Google first into a company more valuable than Apple, and then perhaps into the most valuable company in the world. And he does not have 10 years. He could not have done it without some hardware muscle, so I have been positive he bought Motorola.

But so far I have been disappointed in Google's fight back on the Android front. Android is Google's number one most promising product right now. But it has been let to pasture. Google has not fought back hard enough to the onslaught on Android from the likes of Microsoft. You don't do that and still end up the most valuable company in the world. The price of Google not fighting back is in the tens of billions of dollars.

Google is king of search. Finally it has found its mojo on the next big thing after search: social. And it is well positioned for the next big thing after social: Big Data. But the biggest trend of all is mobile. And there Google has given ground for no reason despite having a winning product. It's a shame.

Business Insider: How Larry Page Plans To Change Google Forever In 2012
Larry Page Outlines His Plan And Vision For Google

Google Plus Numbers In A Year

Larry Page laughs with his friend.Image via WikipediaIf Google Plus has 90 million users now, that was achieved in half a year. So even at that growth rate it should have 270 million users by the end of 2012. But it is most likely the growth will accelerate. Say it ends up with 350 million users by December. Those are rad numbers. I see no fog between 90 million and 500 million. As in, there is no stopping Google Plus from hitting 500 million users. I just don't know how long that will take.

If it can grow to 90 million users in half a year, then it is 270 million users by the end of 2012, and to 450 million users by the end of 2013. But that is saying growth will not accelerate. I am saying it will.

If Google Plus has not hit 500 million users by the summer of 2013, I will be surprised.

TechCrunch: Larry Page Is Super Excited To Announce That Google+ Has 90M Users
"I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: +users are very engaged with our products — over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly."

Apple: $10 Billion To $400 Billion In 10 Years

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseAnd with most of the growth happening once the Great Recession hit.

CNN: At $400 billion, Apple is worth more than Greece
Only Exxon Mobil has a higher valuation, at about $420 billion. PetroChina (PTR) is Apple's closest competitor, at $270 billion, and Microsoft follows at $235 billion. ..... Apple's market cap is higher than the gross domestic product of Greece, Austria, Argentina, or South Africa. ..... Despite its size, Apple is still one of the fastest growing technology companies...... a $15 price cap for e-textbooks
This is a remarkable story. It came from the company inventing one new category after another. There were digital music players before the iPod, but I remember a Time or Newsweek front cover that said: iPod, therefore I am.

The iPhone was the gizmo that really did it for Apple. This was truly a trailblazing product. It shook the landscape.

And now Apple marches into TV and textbooks. TV is a hard nut to crack.

I stay fascinated as to how Apple manages to keep its startup culture. It still acts like one.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Secretive Apple

Steve & Apple Inc.Image by marcopako  via FlickrApple's ways are so different from Google's and yet they go neck and neck. It is a study in contrasts. No free lunch? Come on.

Fortune: The secrets Apple keeps
Undercover meetings! Stealth product developments! The world's most successful company is obsessed with privacy. ..... for a corporation so frequently discussed, Apple is poorly understood. Its products are ubiquitous, but information about the institution is scarce -- which is exactly how Apple wants it ..... The business world keeps nattering on about the importance of corporate transparency, yet the most successful company in the world is beyond opaque. ...... Apple employees know something big is afoot when the carpenters appear in their office building. New walls are quickly erected. Doors are added and new security protocols put into place. Windows that once were transparent are now frosted. Other rooms have no windows at all. They are called lockdown rooms: No information goes in or out without a reason. ...... If it hasn't been disclosed to you, then it's literally none of your business. ...... the link between secrecy and productivity is one way that Apple (AAPL) challenges long-held management truths and the notion of transparency as a corporate virtue. ...... at Apple everything is a secret. .... loose-lips-sink-ships mentality: A T‑shirt for sale in the company store, which is open to the public at 1 Infinite Loop, reads: I VISITED THE APPLE CAMPUS. BUT THAT'S ALL I'M ALLOWED TO SAY. ....... Apple's airy physical surroundings belie its secretive core. ..... Unlike Google's famously and ridiculously named "Googleplex," where a visitor can roam the inner courtyards and slip into an open door as employees come and go, Apple's buildings are airtight. Employees can be spotted on the volleyball courts from time to time. More typically, visitors gaping into the courtyard will see a campus in constant motion. Apple employees scurry from building to building for meetings that start and end on time. ...... "And half the folks can't tell you what they're doing, because it's a secret project that they've gotten hired for." ....... Outside, Apple is revered. Inside, it is cultish ...... "There's only one free lunch at Apple, and it's on your first day" ...... the rationale is that when Apple launches a product, if it's been a secret up until the launch, the amount of press and coverage and buzz that you get is hugely valuable to the company. 'It's worth millions of dollars' ...... Apple's powerful senior vice president of product marketing, has been known to compare an Apple product launch to a blockbuster Hollywood movie opening weekend. ...... Apple fanboys camp out in front of Apple stores in anticipation of new Apple product releases in a way that is reminiscent of the lines that once greeted a new installment in the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars franchises ..... so they don't steal the thunder from existing products. If consumers know exactly what's coming, they may hold off on a purchase for fear it will be superseded by the next generation. .......... announcing products before they are ready gives the competition time to respond, raises customer expectations, and opens a company up to the carping of critics who are bashing an idea rather than an actual product. ...... Unfathomably, HP later "pre-announced" the sale of its PC business, inflicting immeasurable damage on a unit that accounted for nearly a third of its sales. (HP's board fired its CEO, Léo Apotheker, shortly after the announcement about the PC unit.) ....... Valley engineers love to swap stories about their work, but Apple engineers have a reputation for keeping to themselves. ..... "It's best in general not to talk about work." The mentality makes Apple stand out in the tech world. ..... People working on launch events will be given watermarked paper copies of a booklet called Rules of the Road that details every milestone leading up to launch day. In the booklet is a legal statement whose message is clear: If this copy ends up in the wrong hands, the responsible party will be fired. ...... You had to sign extra-special agreements acknowledging that you were working on a super-secret project and you wouldn't talk about it to anyone -- not your wife, not your kids. ...... "He'd say, 'Anything disclosed from this meeting will result not just in termination but in the prosecution to the fullest extent that our lawyers can.' This made me very uncomfortable. You have to watch everything you do. I'd have nightmares." ....... Company lore holds that plainclothes Apple security agents lurk near the bar at BJ's and that employees have been fired for loose talk there. It doesn't matter if the yarn is true or apocryphal. The fact that employees repeat it serves the purpose. ...... the Apple way is to mind one's own business. This has a side benefit that is striking in its simplicity: Employees prevented from butting into one another's affairs will have more time to focus on their own work. Below a certain level, it is difficult to play politics at Apple, because the average employee doesn't have enough information to get into the game. Like a horse fitted with blinders, the Apple employee charges forward to the exclusion of all else. ...... "We have cells, like a terrorist organization ... Everything is on a need‑to‑know basis." ...... Organization charts, typical fare at most big companies, don't exist at Apple. That is information employees don't need and outsiders shouldn't have. ...... the internal Apple Directory. This electronic guide lists each employee's name, group, manager, location, e-mail, and phone number, and might include a photograph. ..... The executive team, a small council of advisers to the CEO, runs the company, assisted by a cadre of fewer than 100 vice presidents. But rank doesn't always confer status at Apple. Everyone is aware of an unwritten caste system. The industrial designers are untouchable, as were, until his death, the cadre of engineers who had worked with Steve Jobs for years, some dating to his first stint at Apple. A small group of engineers carries the title of DEST, distinguished engineer/scientist, technologist. These are individual contributors with clout in the organization but no management responsibilities. ..... In terms of corporate coolness, functions such as sales, human resources, and customer service wouldn't even rate. ..... it isn't uncommon for employees to go places their boss cannot. ...... By and large, Apple is a collaborative and cooperative environment, devoid of overt politicking. The reason for the cooperation, according to former insiders, is the command-and-control structure. ...... Apple's culture may be cooperative, but it isn't usually nice, and it's almost never relaxed. ...... "The fighting can get personal and ugly. There's a mentality that it's okay to shred somebody in the spirit of making the best products." ...... "It's a culture of excellence," this person noted. "You don't want to be the weak link. There is an intense desire to not let the company down." ...... Apple's culture is the polar opposite of Google's, where fliers announcing extracurricular activities -- from ski outings to a high-profile author series -- hang everywhere. At Apple, the iTunes team sponsors the occasional band, and there is a company gym (which isn't free), but by and large Apple people come to work to work. "At meetings, there is no discussion about the lake house where you just spent the weekend," recalled a senior engineer. "You get right down to business." ...... "There is not a culture of recognizing and celebrating success. It's very much about work." Said another: "If you're a die-hard Apple geek, it's magical. It's also a really tough place to work." ..... Apple pays salaries that are competitive with the marketplace -- but no better. A senior director might make an annual salary of $200,000, with bonuses in good years amounting to 50% of the base. Talking about money is frowned upon at Apple. ..... "Sitting in a bar and seeing that 90% of the people there are using devices that your company made -- there is something cool about that, and you can't put a dollar value on it."

SOPA Has Egg In The Face

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 05:  In this photo i...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeSOPA Is So Going Down

Google: Don't Censor The Web
Mark Zuckerberg: The Internet Is The Most Powerful Tool
Search Engine Land: Google Slows Web Crawlers To Help Blackouts Sites
TechCrunch: In Face Of Protests, Congressmen Begin To Abandon SOPA Ship
TechCrunch: Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian On SOPA: “The Fight Isn’t Over”
GigaOm: Taking SOPA/PIPA to the streets: Protests on for SF, NYC

My favorite has to be this one:

TechCrunch: In Face Of Protests, Congressmen Begin To Abandon SOPA Ship
The tide began to turn this weekend when a hearing scheduled for today was canceled and the White House pushed back on some of the more controversial portions ..... Already, a couple of co-sponsors of the bill are pulling their support. Representative Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) is no longer a co-sponsor, and Representative Lee Terry (R-Neb.) is also planning to remove his name from the co-sponsor list, according to Politico. One Congressman, Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is even joining the protest movement.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Social Media Week: Registration Now Open

Social Media Week Is Upon Us

I was able to get into all except one event I wanted to get into.

Monday, February 13th

3:00pm - 5:00pm Big Data and Bigger Conversations: Measuring Your Brand's Social Performance
6:30pm - 9:00pm Meet The Afropolitans: Digital Media + Culture In Africa

Tuesday, February 14th

9:00am - 11:30am The Classroom of The Future: How Social Media Can Better Our Education System
10:00am - 11:00am Global Brand Management: Best Practices in a Social World

Wednesday, February 15th

9:00am - 12:00pm Keynote: Dave Gray & The Connected Company: An Inventory of the Possible
12:00pm - 2:00pm Keynote: Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, followed by GOOD Panel: Beyond Crowdsourcing: Using The Community To Report
2:15pm - 3:30pm Creating Community Around Your Blog
3:00pm - 4:00pm Building Community: Combining Real World Experiences with Online Social Networks
8:00pm - 1:00am Social Media Mania! A networking party hosted by DaniWeb

Thursday, February 16th

12:00pm - 2:00pm Keynote: Jeremy Heimans, CEO of Purpose, followed by Weapons of Choice: The Design of Insurgency
6:00pm - 11:00pm New Business Models to Convert Human Intent into Tangible Action (followed by free after party)
6:00pm - 11:00pm Obliterati

I was not able to get into this one.

Friday, February 17th

12:00pm - 2:00pm Keynote: Alec Ross, Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by Team Obama Talks Digital Vision: Strategies and Tools for 2012 and Beyond

I think I might sign up for a few more. Let's start with the parties.

Monday, January 16, 2012

ResearchGate: A Facebook For Scientists

Image representing ResearchGate as depicted in...Image via CrunchBaseNew York Times: Cracking Open the Scientific Process
For centuries, this is how science has operated — through research done in private, then submitted to science and medical journals to be reviewed by peers and published for the benefit of other researchers and the public at large. But to many scientists, the longevity of that process is nothing to celebrate. ....... It is an ideal system for sharing knowledge, said the quantum physicist Michael Nielsen, only “if you’re stuck with 17th-century technology.” ......... science can accomplish much more, much faster, in an environment of friction-free collaboration over the Internet ....... Open-access archives and journals like arXiv and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) have sprung up in recent years. GalaxyZoo, a citizen-science site, has classified millions of objects in space, discovering characteristics that have led to a raft of scientific papers........... On the collaborative blog MathOverflow, mathematicians earn reputation points for contributing to solutions; in another math experiment dubbed the Polymath Project, mathematicians commenting on the Fields medalist Timothy Gower’s blog in 2009 found a new proof for a particularly complicated theorem in just six weeks......... And a social networking site called ResearchGate — where scientists can answer one another’s questions, share papers and find collaborators — is rapidly gaining popularity........ the sixth annual ScienceOnline conference ...... Indeed, he said, scientists who attend the conference should not be seen as competing with one another. “Lindsay Lohan is our competitor,” he continued. “We have to get her off the screen and get science there instead.” ....... Ijad Madisch, 31, the Harvard-trained virologist and computer scientist behind ResearchGate, the social networking site for scientists. ....... has attracted several million dollars in venture capital from some of the original investors of Twitter, eBay and Facebook. ...... The Web site is a sort of mash-up of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with profile pages, comments, groups, job listings, and “like” and “follow” buttons ...... Only scientists are invited to pose and answer questions — a rule that should not be hard to enforce, with discussion threads about topics like polymerase chain reactions that only a scientist could love. ...... Scientists populate their ResearchGate profiles with their real names, professional details and publications — data that the site uses to suggest connections with other members. Users can create public or private discussion groups, and share papers and lecture materials. ResearchGate is also developing a “reputation score” to reward members for online contributions. ........ ResearchGate offers a simple yet effective end run around restrictive journal access with its “self-archiving repository.” Since most journals allow scientists to link to their submitted papers on their own Web sites, Dr. Madisch encourages his users to do so on their ResearchGate profiles. In addition to housing 350,000 papers (and counting), the platform provides a way to search 40 million abstracts and papers from other science databases. ........ find new collaborators, get expert advice and read journal articles ....... Now he spends up to two hours a day, five days a week, on the site. ...... Changing the status quo — opening data, papers, research ideas and partial solutions to anyone and everyone — is still far more idea than reality. As the established journals argue, they provide a critical service that does not come cheap. ....... (Like other media organizations, Science has responded to the decline in advertising revenue by enhancing its Web offerings, and most of its growth comes from online subscriptions.) ..... Scott Aaronson, a quantum computing theorist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has refused to conduct peer review for or submit papers to commercial journals. “I got tired of giving free labor,” he said, to “these very rich for-profit companies.” ....... Journals seem noticeably less important than 10 years ago ....... “trillions” are spent each year on global scientific research. Investors are betting that a successful site catering to scientists could shave at least a sliver off that enormous pie. ....... wait.. until younger scientists weaned on social media and open-source collaboration start running their own labs.
Looks like it is not only movies, music and newspapers that are in trouble.

This makes me happy.

Scott Aaronson: Review of The Access Principle by John Willinsky
But who on Earth could possibly be so paralyzed by indecision, so averse to change, so immune to common sense? I've got it: academics! ...... One would think such a request would anger everyone: conservatives and libertarians because of the unpaid labor, liberals because of the beneficiaries of that labor. ...... But the first step is for a critical mass of us to acknowledge that we are being had. ...... Today, many journal articles are online, but are accessible only from schools, companies, and research centers that have bought exorbitantly-priced "institutional subscriptions" to services like Elsevier's ScienceDirect. I've always been amazed by the arrogance of the view that this represents an acceptable solution to the problem of circulating research. Even if the subscriptions cost a reasonable amount (they don't), and even if the researchers who were "entitled" to them could easily access them away from their workplaces (they can't), who are we to say that a precocious high-school student, or a struggling researcher in Belarus or Ghana, has no legitimate use for our work? ..... Granted, it might not be feasible for every elementary school on Earth to stock journals containing articles about the Tribonacci sequence. The point is that today, in the Internet age, they shouldn't have to. And yet, even as I write, much of the serious content on the Internet remains sequestered behind pointless, artificial walls -- walls that serve the interests of neither the readers nor the authors, but only of the wall-builders themselves. ...... When will we in academia get our act together enough to make the world's scholarly output readable, for free, by anyone with a web browser?