Friday, December 30, 2005

Predicting future is tough

This is both funny and good perspective on how difficult predicting future is

Matthew Thomas Humor: "Bill Gates predictions about speech recognition: a historical review

Speech recognition software will become mainstream by 2007. Or by 2002. Or by 2007, or 2008, or 2006, or 2003, or 2001, or Windows XP, or 2006, or 2004, or 2005, or 2004, or 2009, or 2010, or 2007, or 2010, or 2015, or 2008. You can count on it."

Weather 2.0

This is brilliant, very creative thinking by the 'Silent Penguin' what could be the businessmodel?


The Silent Penguin: "Social Weather 2.0


Here's an idea for a Weather site built around Web 2.0 goodness. There is probably something like this out there already - please let me know if so.

Basically the idea hinges around something I read once, that stated the highest chance of forecasting the correct weather for the next day was to say that it would be the same as today. I can't remember where I read that - but anyway.

The Weather 2.0 site is built on the Google Maps API and a user-base. Each user logs on to the site and can enter the current weather where they happen to be. The form allows things like general observations such as 'sun is shining', 'snowing' or just 'cloudy'. You can also enter things like current temperature, wind direction etc. if you happen to have the necessary gadgets available. Free text annotations are also possible 'freaking cold' or 'raining cats and dogs'. The information is then shown as a layer on top of the Google Map and pinned at your current position.

The user can also take a picture of the weather situation, upload that to say Flickr and link to the picture from their current weather observation. Of course you can subscribe to RSS feeds of weather observations from places you may be interested in."

Big OS news in 2005

Good article on Businessweek recapping many big OS news for 2005

A Watershed for Open Source: "A Watershed for Open Source

Building & realizing value

Great post about selling your company & about building value

The Post Money Value: "Build to Flip = Build to Fail

There are a bunch of blog posts flying around on the subject of flipping companies. Yes, weve been here before, 5 years or so ago, and yeah all the same issues remain. The interesting difference this time around is, thanks to the world wide everybody talking to/about/for everybody/everything, there is a ton of material for you, the start up, to absorb in your quest for world domination or just a bigger house. Some notable blog postings out there are Don Dodges notes on selling your start up. Smart guy, worth reading and listening to. He makes the point about talent and does it in a way that shows his experience and professionalism.

One superstar engineer/visionary like Ray Ozzie is worth 100 really great engineers. And, one really great engineer is worth another 100 good engineers. This is the normal order of things, yet few CEOs understand this. The truth is you need all levels of talent to build out a team, but without the superstar it will be tough to win.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What is Real?

I love this kind of challenges to our perception of reality!

Fractals of Change: Evolutions Not Religion and Vice Versa: "You also cant prove that the whole universe wasnt created the minute you started to read this sentence completely populated with your memories and evidence of a much longer history."

Apple Moving Away From Mac, Building On iPod

Great example how large companies can reinvent themselves...btw did any startups benefit/take advantage of this?

Apple will continue to move away from its Mac core in 2006. In a new research note, Goldman Sachs research analyst David Bailey maintained an "in-line" rating on Apple, but raised earnings estimates for the company, expecting holiday iPod demand and anticipation of upcoming product announcements to continue to drive earnings growth into 2006.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

There is a Billion of Us!

One Billion Internet Users (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox): "One Billion Internet Users

Summary:

The Internet is growing at an annualized rate of 18% and now has one billion users. A second billion users will follow in the next ten years, bringing a dramatic change in worldwide usability needs.

Some time in 2005, we quietly passed a dramatic milestone in Internet history: the one-billionth user went online. Because we have no central register of Internet users, we don't know who that user was, or when he or she first logged on. Statistically, we're likely talking about a 24-year-old woman in Shanghai.

According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers -- one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto -- were networked together."

Nokia 770: Okay, Silicon Valley Time To Get To Work :: AO

Not just valley, rest of the world as well...or what are you waiting for?

Nokia 770: Okay, Silicon Valley Time To Get To Work :: AO: "Nokia 770: Okay, Silicon Valley Time To Get To Work"

Great Time to be an Entrepreneur

I am REALLY waiting for another post by Joe Kraus, read the full post, as well as the comments, pure gold!

Bnoopy: "Its a great time to be an entrepreneur

Thers never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because its never been cheaper to be one. Heres one example.

Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000.

Why on earth is there a 30X difference? Theres probably a lot of reasons, but here are my top four. Im interested in hearing about what other people think are factors as well."

Digital Future

What does this mean for my or yours business in the future?

Digital Rules By Rich Karlgaard: "Terrifying Internet Facts"

How much should you give away?

This got me thinking...how much should you just give away...and expect to get a ROI somewhere else?

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog: "FREE SERVER! Just in time for the Holidays.
We ran an interesting experiment not too long ago, when we were rolling out our first Opteron servers. We distributed a bunch of free servers to new customers, just to get them exposed to Sun. It had the desired impact - on average, the 'return' on the investment of a free server was an average purchase order of ~15 systems. So we gradually ramped up the number of free systems - like a free software download, it's easier to close a sale with a self-qualified customer than an unqualified marketplace."

Why Blog?

Enough said;)

gapingvoid: gapingvoid highlights 2005: "gapingvoid highlights 2005"

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thieves Everywhere

If you haven't read Dilbert Blog yet, do so, atleast I really loved this particular post...I never thought of blaming other people for this!

The Dilbert Blog: Thieves Everywhere: "Thieves Everywhere

Today my wallet was stolen for the 400th time, and frankly Im sick of it. I dont know what bothers me more the crime or the fact that the thief always sneaks back into my home an hour later and puts the wallet back in a hard-to-find place such as the top of my dresser.

Theres never anything missing from the wallet, so I know the thief isnt especially good at his job. It might be the same idiot who keeps stealing my car every time I park it at the airport. He always refills the gas tank and parks it somewhere in the general vicinity of where I know I left it, but still its rude and unsettling."

global microbrand rant

I love this viewpoint! Now I just need to create my own ''Global Microbrand'':-)

gapingvoid: the global microbrand rant: "the global microbrand rant"

Remember LinuxCare

Good article on Slashdot on lessons from the past OpenSource startups

Slashdot | Advice for OpenSource
Startups: Remember LinuxCare
: "Advice for OpenSource
Startups: Remember LinuxCare"

Red Hat vs Novell

Interesting post by Matt Asay comparing Red Hat's and Novell's approaches to the market.

AC/OS: The differences between Red Hat and Novell: "The differences between Red Hat and Novell"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sony to lose $1 billion on Playstation 3

Wow, it sure is not easy to be in big business..good perspective to look at if you are start-up, or even more established player like Nokia and are thinking how much launching of e.g. Nokia 770 will/could cost.

A report by Merrill Lynch has estimated that Sony will lose over US $1 billion in its first year.

read more | digg story

Getting it Right

Great post by Ari Paparo on reflecting what del.ico.us did right and what he and his partners did wrong with a similar startup...must read for all wannabe entrepreneurs!

Ari Paparo Dot Com: Getting it Right: "Getting it Right

Congratulations to Josh on the del.ico.us acquisition. Yahoo will make a great partner for the bookmarking service.

Now a little part of me is cringing as I write this. Having founded a bookmarking company in 1999 with pretty much the exact same vision as the new crop of services, Ive got to feel, well, a little stupid. (or angry, or depressed, or whatever). Maybe writing about it will make me feel better and maybe even help me make a point or two about product development."

A VC: 27,000 Readers

I follow closely to what Fred Wilson posts on his blog...and I certainly am not the only, check below! He has 27000 monthly readers...pretty good for a Venture Capitalist whose main job is afterall to make and manage investments!

A VC: 27,000 Readers: "27,000 Readers


I have been flying blind for over two years on a very important statistic.That being my unique audience count.

I started out using TypePad's stats and quickly realized they weren't going to cut it.

I put Sitemeter on my blog and have been tracking pageviews and unique visits for a couple years now."

The Post Money Value: Inside the process

good, long post about raising VC funds, read it!

The Post Money Value: Inside the process: "Inside the process

Starting the day at 4a on a Sunday, having to roll out of a toasty warm bed into the Canadian winter, is not something Im all that excited about. Unfortunately, duty calls with this, the beginning of a busy week of meetings, travel, and checking out some new companies.
Over the past several weeks, Ive been packing in the meetings with new companies. Ive been impressed with the quality of the management and the opportunities being created. Its also nice to see folks doing some homework on our firm. Many entrepreneurs read this blog, check out our web site and, in general, are doing a good job knowing a bit more about our firm. Well done. And Alberts been back all focused and ready to ship stuff, go get em Albert.
One question that comes up is about the VC process and what to expect, timing, process, etc. Ive put together this long entry in an attempt to give you our process in the hopes it can help with your expectations. Keep in mind every firm is different and we all have our particular quirks, so your mileage may vary."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What to expect from Web 3.0

just as I was starting to get some understanding of web 2.0...pace of things developing is so rapid it is some days quite frustrating trying to keep up with it

What to expect from Web 3.0 by ZDNet's Phil Wainewright -- Web 2.0 is just a staging post. Web 3.0 is coming, and it's going to recreate our notion of the application as well as upsetting a few applecarts along the way.

Software Only: The GapingVoid on Business Models

This is funny, I guess happy times are returning to start-ups on the expense of VCs...

http://blog.softtechvc.com/2005/12/the_gapingvoid_.html

Monday, December 12, 2005

Discover Music - Pandora

I am totally hooked to this, check it out!


Discover Music - Pandora: "When was the last time you fell in love with a new artist or song?

At Pandora Media (formerly Savage Beast Technologies), we have a single mission: To help you discover new music you'll love.

To understand just how we do this, and why we think we do it really, really well, you need to know about the Music Genome Project.

For almost six years now, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It's the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of thirty musician-analysts have been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound - melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics ... and more - close to 400 attributes! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country."

web 2.0 exit

Things are moving with web 2.0, money in, money out...

A Delicious Eight Months | Union Square Ventures: "A Delicious Eight Months
On April 14th, we closed an investment in Delicious. We wrote about our initial investment here.

Eight months later, Delicious has been sold to Yahoo!. The news is on the Delicious blog."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Why Open Source?

This is good, read the whole post as to what happened to SUN!

As you know, I am enamored by frictionless sales. Frictionless sales means reducing the pain for customers to adopt and use a service/product and consequently reducing the cost of sales and marketing to get a customer and generate revenue. As I mention in an earlier post, "The less friction you have in your
sales and delivery model, the easier it is to scale. The easier it is
to scale the faster and more efficiently you can grow.
http://www.beyondvc.com/2005/12/frictionless_sa.html

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dealing_with_Darwin

One of my favorite business thinker's Geoffrey Moore has set up, like almost everyone, a blog. One entry that caught my eye was about the new challenges Microsoft, and other software vendors as: "the old innovation type of Microsoft was product innovation, while the new one is value migration innovation. That is, the web-enabled world has forced a value migration from product to service, the latter already beginning to marginalize the former, and the question is, can the company reposition itself in the new value chain to continue to capitalize on its intellectual property?"

Dealing_with_Darwin: "Microsoft, Meet Darwin Again

New Open Source Investment

Index seems to be one of the most active investors in this space...

The venture firm that made a splash with Skype has added an open-source company to its stable.December 8, 2005Index Venture Partners, backer of blowout-success Skype, added an open-source company to its stable Thursday with a $5-million investment in business-intelligence software maker Pentaho.
This isnt the first open-source startup in the European venture firms portfolio. It is a backer of MySQL, a Red Herring 100 Europe company. The database startup has gained significant traction internationally, with some $20 million in sales in 2004 (see RH-100 Europe: The Ikea of Databases)."

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=14797&hed=Index+Bets+on+Open+Source§or=Industries&subsector=Computing

Thursday, December 08, 2005

If you have a flower shop, you are most likely infringing a patent...

This says something about the relevance of patents today:

full article at http://biz.yahoo.com/usat/051206/13263022.html

For more than 50 years, Thomas Edison has been considered the nation's all-time most prolific inventor. He has 1,093 patents to his name, including the electric light bulb and phonograph. He is to American innovation what Thomas Jefferson is to American politics.However, Edison is apparently NOT the top American inventor. He has been bested by Donald Weder of Highland, Ill. - a man who, in contrast to the stupendous impact of Edison, has mostly used his inventive powers to give the world better floral arrangements. Weder, who is still alive and whose family runs floral packaging company Highland Supply, has his name on 1,321 patents. Almost all have to do with items you'd find at a florist. Weder's most recent patent - No. 6,962,021, granted Nov. 8 - is for a sleeve for holding a group of flowers. Before that, on Oct. 11, Weder was issued a patent titled, 'Method of covering a flower pot.' On Sept. 20, he was issued a patent titled, 'Method of covering a flower pot or floral grouping.'"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tech's Big Comeback

Cool, inspiring article in Business 2.0

Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - Printable Version - Tech's Big Comeback: "Tech's Big Comeback

Startups are hot -- again.
Valuations are nuts -- again.
Fortunes are being made -- again.
Here's how to play it right this time. "

Invention: The McDownload

I guess this was expected...

New Scientist Breaking News - Invention: The McDownload: "For over 30 years, Barry Fox has trawled the world's weird and wonderful patent applications each week, digging out the most exciting, intriguing and even terrifying new ideas. His column, Invention, is available exclusively online. Scroll down for a round-up of previous Invention articles.


Movie, music or game with your Big Mac, sir? Thats what The Walt Disney Company in Hollywood has in mind. Patents filed by Disney reveal plans to drip-feed entertainment into a portable player while the owner eats in a restaurant.


You only get the full programme by coming back to the restaurant a number of times to collect all the instalments. McDonalds could use the system instead of giving out toys with Happy Meals, suggests Disneys patent."

Web 2.0 in Europe

Web 2.0 phenomena is Coming to Europe as well, with a little help of our US friends...this is one of the only events I've noted in Europe on this topic:

Software Only: "Les Blogs II: Session on Investing 2.0

Five days to go before the already sold out Les Blogs begins. I will be leading the session on Investing 2.0, or investing in a Web 2.0 context - in which not that much investing is required. There have been plenty of panels and speeches on the subject, including the VC 2.0 panel of the Web 2.0 conference that I liveblogged."

Creating your own luck

I enjoyed this post by Steve, I have to find this book for Christmas reading for myself...

VCball: "How to Create Your Own Luck

This week I picked up a book, called Lucky or Smart, written by Bo Peabody. Bo was the founder of Tripod, a 'user generated platform company' in today's parlance, which he sold to Lycos for $58M. At the time, Lycos fortuitively put into a lockup, against his desire, so by the time he was able to sell the stock, it had gone up 10X."

10 Challenges for Software CEOs

I don't think I've come across more than a handful of sw start-ups that could answer these questions in the 10+ years I have been involved with them

http://www.sandhill.com/opinion/editorial.php?id=57
10 Challenges for Software CEOs
As the industry evolves, vendors must ask themselves tough questions about their current operations - and be ready to act on the answers."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

OSSI site and Blog

Website for our Open Source research project is up, including a blog, check it out! www.coss.fi/ossi

Tips for the first VC meeting

good stuff for entrepreneurs....Happy Independence day to all my fellow Finns!



I had a meeting last week where an entrepreneur insisted on showing me a demo first. He was scrambling around asking for wireless keys and looking for ethernet jacks, while I sat there and tried to engage him in conversation. He lost my interest right then and there. As I started to think more about it, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my thoughts on how to make the first VC pitch a better experience for all participants."

http://www.beyondvc.com/2005/11/tips_for_the_fi.html

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Edge: THE UNIVERSAL LIBRARY By George Dyson

From one of my favorite websites edge.org an interesting viewpoint about books having souls, I totally agree on that, while I do like the idea of a universal library

Edge: THE UNIVERSAL LIBRARY By George Dyson: "Why does
this strike such a nerve? Because so many of us (not only authors) love books.
In their combination of mortal, physical embodiment with immortal,
disembodied knowledge, books are the mirror of ourselves. Books are not mere
physical objects. They have a life of their own. Wholesale scanning,
we fear, will strip our books of their souls. Works that were
sewn together by hand, one chapter at a time, should not be unbound
page by page and distributed click by click. Talk about 'snippets' makes
authors flinch."

O'Reilly: What Is Web 2.0

Many have asked me to define web 2.0, as in Europe, and especially in Finland there is still very little discussion or action in it...O'Reilly has a comprehensive post on it, check it out

O'Reilly: What Is Web 2.0: "What Is Web 2.0
Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software"

Conversion rates

A challenge many OS companies face...how to turn users into dollars, check out the post!

AC/OS: "Downloads and conversion rates

Who has the most downloads? Mozilla FireFox, with MySQL not far behind."