Showing posts with label Zappos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zappos. Show all posts

Monday, April 09, 2012

Instagram: A Billion In Two Years

Image representing Zappos as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseTo create a billion dollars in wealth in just two years is remarkable no matter which way you look at it. And this is Facebook's first acquisition. Acquiring companies to shut down their product and hire their people doesn't count.

Instagram should have come on Android sooner. And it should have gone for a web presence very early on. Instagram not having a web version gave Pinterest a lot of room. Those three things - not adopting Android early, not having a web version, and now selling to Facebook - tell me the Instagram founders never really knew what they had in their hands.

I hope Facebook pushes them to get a web version.

Zappos should not have been bought by Amazon. Instagram should not have been bought by Facebook. Both needed to stay independent.

Mark Zuckerberg On The Acquisition
Instagram Blog: Instagram + Facebook
TechCrunch: Right Before Acquisition, Instagram Closed $50M At A $500M Valuation From Sequoia, Thrive, Greylock And Benchmark

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Fascinates Me About GroupOn

grouponImage by smemon87 via FlickrOf all the tech companies out there, the one that most fascinates me is GroupOn. It speaks to me. Its emphasis on people action, and its emphasis on words - cute emails - are really something. Of all the tech companies out there, the one that I find most inspiring in terms of what I would want to do with my microfinance startup, GroupOn stands out. You focus on a few basic human actions, and you go for it. You splurge.

I also like how fast they have grown. They were not here at all. And suddenly they are everywhere.

This blog post explains where I think group dynamics stand on the tech map: front and center.

My Web Diagram

GroupOn is the web maturing to land in the human domain, in the flesh.

Live Nation And GroupOn: That Offline Component
18 Months Ago GroupOn Did Not Exist
GroupOn's Legacy: Cute Email?
Groupon logo.Image via WikipediaGroupOn, Zappos, And The Non Tech Components
GroupOn Did Not Launch At South By South West
GroupOn Did The Right Thing
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Friday, April 15, 2011

GroupOn's Legacy: Cute Email?

Groupon logo.Image via Wikipedia
BusinessWeek: This Tech Bubble Is Different: Groupon, which e-mails coupons to people, may be the fastest-growing company of all time. Its revenue could hit $4 billion this year, up from $750 million last year, and the startup has reached a valuation of $25 billion. Its technological legacy is cute e-mail.
GroupOn is a great example of a company that has used fairly simple technology to build an amazing company. The wealth GroupOn has create is very legitimate.

And you thought the inbox had gone stale. For most people their inbox is still their most prized web possession.

But it's not even the inbox. GruopOn has hired thousands of salespeople. The action is not on the computer screen. It is offline. It is in face time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tony Tsieh Could Have Been Richard Branson

New York Times: Why Is This Man Smiling?: In his book, Mr. Hsieh implies that the company’s investors forced him to make the Amazon deal
I have not read Tony's book, and this is the first time I am seeing somewhere he is hinting the sale was forced upon him, but I guessed that on my own a long time ago, and I strongly disapproved of it.

Zappos deserved an IPO. Zappos deserved an airline. The forced sale was an act of racism. Don't act surprised. I have made that statement before.

No, it was not about money. Those VCs would have made more money if Zappos had gone IPO.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Sam Walton Than Bill Gates

My startup is a tech startup, sure. But it is first and foremost a high touch startup. Face time is key to my operations to be.

I keep thinking in terms of companies like Zappos. Zappos sells phone calls, not shoes. Customer service is key to how Zappos rolls. I also end up thinking about the offline components of companies like GroupOn.

Walmart early on became a major user of computer technology. Walmart collects so much data. Every transaction is valuable data. And you can only hope to make meaningful sense of all that data if you employ computers. So that's there.

But in microfinance, you can do all the tech trick in the parlor, but it still boils down to face time. The most precious time you will spend with your customers will be in person. Technology helps, but technology can't be front and center, that space is reserved for flesh and blood people.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

GroupOn, Zappos, And The Non Tech Components

Texas Longhorn bull during South by Southwest ...Image by David Berkowitz via FlickrGroupOn Did Not Launch At South By South West

I dig these two companies for their emphasis on non tech components. Zappos does not sell shoes, it sells phone calls. The emphasis is on customer service. Tony has told his people, talk to the customers for as long as they will talk to you.

GroupOn has boots on the ground. That army of sales people is integral to how GroupOn rolls.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Passion For Microfinance, Passion For Social Media

By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007. Image of E...Image via WikipediaWhen you are gelling the DNA of a young company, when you are laying down the rudiments of its culture, when you are slowly building a team, there are decisions you have to make.

Tony of Zappos has a few things to say about the topic. One thing Tony does is after he trains people, he offers them 3,000 dollars to leave. Another thing he does is he lets go the top talented people who deliver when they don't fit into the Zappos corporate culture.

Two obvious things I have figured out are that you have to have a passion for microfinance - duh! - and you have to have a passion for social media if you want to belong on my corporate team.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

GroupOn Did The Right Thing

Image representing Zappos as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
Groupon logo.Image via WikipediaSources: Groupon rejects Google's offer; will stay independent
Groupon Annual Revenues Actually $2 Billion

Secretly I was hoping this would not come to be. Google and GroupOn were not a good match. A great high tech company is not automatically a great high touch company. GroupOn does a lot of stuff offline. In that way GroupOn is not like YouTube at all. YouTube is all tech, all online.

This was not going to be a good buy for Google. And this would have severely limited GroupOn. GroupOn is just now getting started. This company could do really well independently.
Image representing KAYAK as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
Amazon buying Zappos was similarly a bad idea. Zappos was IPO material. The white venture capitalists who forced Tony into Jeff Bezos' arms acted racist.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Big Money Is Not In Blogging

Dave WinerImage via Wikipedia

  1. The Secret To Making Money Online
  2. How Long Does It Take To Start Making Money Online?
  3. Is “Make Money Online” The Secret To Traffic?
  4. The Future of Making Money As a Blogger Is…
  5. Should Bloggers Feel Guilty For Making Money?
Top 10 Blog Monetization Strategies, Ranked In Order
  • America's Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire Mark Penn, Hillary 2008's top guy ... more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers ... blogging is an important social and cultural movement that people care passionately about, and the number of people doing it for at least some income is approaching 1% of American adults. ... a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income ... one percent of the nation, or three million people, can create new markets for a business, spark a social movement, or produce political change ... The Information Age has spawned many new professions, but blogging could well be the one with the most profound effect on our culture. ... Demographically, bloggers are extremely well educated ... It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. ... Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as "spokesbloggers" -- paid by advertisers to blog about products. As a job with zero commuting, blogging could be one of the most environmentally friendly jobs around -- but it can also be quite profitable. ... Pros who work for companies are typically paid $45,000 to $90,000 a year for their blogging. One percent make over $200,000. ... Bloggers make money if their consumers click the ads on their sites. ... bloggers say they are overwhelmingly happy in their work, reporting high job satisfaction ... There are more questions than answers about America's Newest Profession. ... hard to think of another job category that has grown so quickly and become such a force in society without having any tests, degrees, or regulation of virtually any kind. ... a lot of interest now in Twittering and Facebooking -- but those venues don't offer the career opportunities of blogging. Not since eBay opened its doors have so many been able to sit at their computer screens and make some money, or even make a whole living. ...
  • U.S. Now Has Almost As Many Paid Bloggers As Lawyers
There is plenty of money in blogging, but the real big money is not in blogging.

How I made over $2 million with this blog (Scripting News)

This guy Dave Winer has an ugly looking blog, and he runs no ads, but he makes millions blogging. How?

To get excited about blogging is to "get" 2.0. And if you have been missing out on 2.0, it is not possible you are on the cutting edge.

(1) Value

The market rewards value. Are you meeting some kind of market need? Your blog adds to your value. It helps your marketing efforts. It is real intimate talk with your most important clients. Like A VC says, if you read his blog, and that of his five partners, it is like you sit with them in their office every day: that intimate.

(2) StartUp/Corporate

If you are a tech startup person, you breathe blogging. That rectangle on the screen is your office. And the blogosphere is a big chunk of it. Blogging becomes that fundamental, indispensable skill. It is like, can you type? Can you do that keyboard thing? If you can't, I think you are still beautiful, but how are you going to get any work done? Blogging is what typing was. Are you blogging literate? That is a fair question these days.

(3) Lifelong Education

Blogging is to the brain what jogging is to your thighs. If you are an active blogger, chances are you keep up with the news in your chosen field. You think about the hot issues of the day. You are alert. You can still type as of today.

(4) Living Life To The Full

says somewhere that because he tweets, he lives life more fully. Blogging makes you more alive as a person. You are more likely to squeeze that last drop out of each moment.

(5) Plenty Of Money

Write great content, regularly, jack up your traffic, and let the ads do their work.
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Spamming Om Malik

Digg Button, Twitter Button For Your Blog Posts
Blogging Several Times A Day
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Blog Daily
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