Monthly Archives: October 2005

The Facebook unplugged at Stanford ETL

I have attended last night’s session of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (ETL) program featuring Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder and CEO of the Facebook, and Jim Breyer, Accel’s Managing Partner who is sitting on the board of the company after his firm led a $13M round of financing (at a rumored $100M-ish post-money valuation).The Terman auditorium was close to full to hear these two share their stories and experiences about the Facebook and its stellar growth. I have written about it in the past right after their financing, and actually this post is one of the most visited on my blog. Also check out their TechCrunch profile (and do read the comments from Facebook users).

Before I get into the actual session, here is an update on their metrics – which are (increasingly) stunning:

5M+ registered users coverage of 45% of US colleges (a total of 2,000 – representing 8M students) 80% penetration among … Read more »


John Battelle interviews Omid Kordestani

I recommend reading John’s interview of Google’s Omid Kordestani, who also spoke at the Web 2.0 conference (see SearchViews’ account). Omid was the first sales/business person to join Google in 1998, and runs sales and global business development for the search&advertising giant.

There are some interesting nuggets of information in this piece:

[Kordestani]  has to manage relationships with agencies that want more control over their clients’ campaigns and with publishing partners who see Google as a prime source of online revenue — and a long-term threat to their media businesses. Once [Google] proved that the text ads on Google could be successful and not interfere with the search experience, then it really turned into a science. We applied auction theory to maximize value — it was the best way to reach the right pricing, both for advertisers and for Google. And then we innovated by introducing the rate at which users actually click on the ads … Read more »


David Beisel on Seven Questions Employees Should Ask Before Joining a Startup

David Beisel is bringing to us another great post in his Startups series: Seven Questions Employees Should Ask Before Joining a Startup.

As usual, very relevant and worth a read for anyone considering joining a startup. Amusingly, a friend of mine asked me the same question last night, as she interviewed today with the CEO of a young venture-backed company. I would add:

How is the company positioned in its ecosystem: client/users, partners/channels, competitors ? What are the 3 top reasons for clients/users to buy/use the company’s products/services ? How are our competitors funded ? If there is a major difference in stage or size of funding, enquire about the future financing strategy ? If the position is a senior one, ask to meet the VC/board members – if ever they were not part of the hiring process.

I had the pleasure to meet David face to face … Read more »


My first ZDNet column: Innovation 2.0

Recently, Dan Farber – the Editor in Chief of ZDNet – was kind enough to invite me to contribute to Between the Lines, the excellent ZDNet group blog. My inaugural post is now up: Innovation 2.0: Why Web 2.0 companies might have to flip to avoid being flopped, and I will be back every now and then.

Want the short version on Innovation 2.0 ?

Forget the innovator’s dilemna principle in the Web 2.0 world: established players (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft & al) are bringing in talents by hiring them away or acquiring their companies, and are playing catch up on new features and services at an unprecedented pace. The initial versions of what they produce are not always great and don’t really match startup products or services, but in a relatively short order, they get closer and closer. And since the “elephants in the room” know one thing – scale, they can intercept startups when these start facing scalability issues and … Read more »


Flying Song for the first time

Song is the low cost airline operation of Delta Airlines, sort of an in-house equivalent of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue from what I understand. I discovered the airline when shopping for tickets to fly to NYC for Blogon 2005: $292 for an SFO/JFK.

The airline flies single class Boeing 757 with comfortable leg room. Actually I am seating at an exit row and the leg room is *huge*. There is an entertainment system with 20 TV channels, pay per view movies at $5 a pop, games and a selection of a thousand-plus MP3 files.

You have to pay for the food which actually seems OK, and not too expensive, and only alcohol beverages are charged.

Staff is very friendly, with a jean and a cool flashy t-shirt (that matches the color of the cabin). Recorded safety instructions at the beginning of the flight are spoken by an Irish gal with a very thick local accent and Irish folk music playing in … Read more »