Blog Archives

Scoble is movin’ and the blogosphere is shakin’

I came back to my hotel room late last night from a fantastic dinner with great company (thanks again Will) and crashed before checking my feeds. What a tidal wave! The news about Robert moving to PodTech.net has completely taken over Memeorandum (and temporarily crashed PodTech’s servers because of the traffic)!

What I find almost hilarious is that Robert’s move has leaked as a rumor that the tech bloggers have immediately jumped on (“Rumor”, ”might”, ”may”, ”will”, ”is going to”, ”50%”, ”100%”), before Robert and John had actually crafted their announcement:

I looked at my cell phone and I think there was a call from Om Malik that I ignored (sorry, Om, I didn’t know you were calling about THAT). Then the email started coming in. Oh, crud. It was out.

It also means that the reasons and circumstances of Robert’s leaving were subjects to rumors and supputations, so much so that Robert had … Read more »


Vonage’s IPO quickest to be hit by a class action lawsuit ?

What a disaster: float on May 24th, lose over 30% in market capitalization, and get hit by a shareholder lawsuit less than 2 weeks after the IPO. CNET has the details:

The suit filed on Friday in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by the Atlanta-based law firm Motley Rice asserts that the Internet telephony provider, its officers and the IPO’s underwriters misled investors.

Vonage’s stock, which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on May 24 at $17 per share, has lost about 30 percent of its value in its first seven days of trading. The complaint filed against Vonage claims that the company’s investors were motivated to push for an IPO because the company had been losing money, and the investors were desperate for … Read more »


A couple of things to do before getting into your demo or presentation

My buddy Ed Sim has posted a piece that I recommend anyone doing a company, financing or product pitch to read: Don’t forget that vision thing. This paragraph sums it well:

As one of our marketing consultants, Richard Currier, has always told our portfolio companies, "you market the vision, and sell the product." If you get too locked into talking about a product, then your partner or customer gets stuck into thinking about who else does this and why are you different.  Getting into a feature/function battle in the first meeting is not a great way to start.  Sure enough, our prospective partner started naming several companies asking us how we differed from them.  If you start with a vision first and clearly talk about your view of the market in the future and how your product evolves from where it is today to a roadmap of the future, then it is easier to differentiate your company and … Read more »


FeedBurner’s “-blogger_feel_good” option

Ah! Check this out.

That is a bug that I am not unhappy with for once: suddenly my FeedBurner FeedCount has grown 900% to a TechCrunch-like subscriber number.

(Gee! Mike is at 62K subscribers now. Sounds like this whole re-design brouhaha did not have much impact after all, did it ?)

So I know it is a wrong number, but many thanks to my FeedBurner friends for introducing this “”-blogger_feel_good“ command line option,  or to one of the many RSS readers out therefore for reporting an (obviously outreagously) inflated number .

Update: it is now clear from the FeedBurner subscribers statistics page that ”the issue“ is NetVibes, which is reporting 51,328 users reading my feed.

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Trends in Venture Financing – Q106 Data

I wrote a year ago about the compilation that law firm Fenwick & West produces every quarter of the venture financing terms received by a sample of companies in the Bay Area. The Q106 data report essentially shows a strong support in financing across stages, with a total $6B invested during the quarters, and increasing valuation “”step-ups” from one round to the next:

The Fenwick & West Venture Capital Barometer showed a 64% average price increase for companies receiving venture capital in 1Q06 compared to such companies’ previous financing round.  This was also the largest increase since the survey began.

What the report does not show is an increase in valuations asked by entrepreneurs for their initial round of financing, especially in last three months. Event at seed stage, it is not uncommon these days to hear about high single digit pre-money ($5M to $8M) which is – at least in the areas in which I invest – becoming pretty expensive. 

Terms are also increasingly entrepreneur … Read more »


Auren Hoffman on the Internet “Black Hat” Tax

My friend Auren Hoffman has an interesting post on the “Black Hat” Tax on consumer Internet businesses, basically pegging the cost of dealing with all aspects of fraud, scams, phising, and related government legal requests,… to 25% of revenues. He then goes on to mention a couple of examples:

A great example is PayPal. The book PayPal Wars details an intense battle the engineering team and even the CEO fought against fraud. This was one of the consuming issues of the company. Now PayPal is a financial institution, so you would expect lots of fraud. But dating?

After surveying most of the dating sites, I have found that one of their top three issues is fraud. A frequent scam is to contact an unsuspecting middle-age man from a profile of a good looking woman saying "my husband is beating me here in Moscow, please send $2000 so I … Read more »


Two great blogs to track the enterprise software market

Even though I no longer focus on enterprise architecture and related software solutions, I try to keep an eye on developments in that market, especially as consumer applications and Web 2.0 concepts make their way into it (dubbed Enterprise 2.0 of course)

I have recently added to my “Favorites” folder the 451 CAOS Theory, a group blog written by analysts of the 451 Group, an analyst firm, and Confused of Calcutta, the blog of JP Rangaswami, the CIO of Dresdner Kleiner Wasserstein.

I have met JP a number of times, mainly during conferences in the US and in Europe, and have always enjoyed his progressist approach to the adoption of new tools and processes to Enterprise IT. His “About this Blog” section says it all:

I believe that it is only a matter of time before enterprise software consists of only four types of application: publishing, search, fulfilment and conversation. I believe that weaknesses and corruptions … Read more »


More thoughts about the “Web 2.0 service mark” controversy

Well, saying that the blogosphere has been busy “commenting” on the “Web 2.0 service mark” affair is an understatement. It has been on top of TechMeme for over 24 hours, it has been /.’ed, dugg, linked to 300 times, and commented upon thousands of times in aggregate, etc. After the initial admission of involvement from O’Reilly’s Corporate Communication, we have gathered that Tim is on a boat and therefore out of reach until after the week-end, so we all look forward to his thoughts on this mess situation.

John Battelle, O’Reilly’s partner in the organization of the Web 2.0 conference, has chimed in a few times on his blog to comment on the situation and confirm that letting the lawyers loose on an Irish non profit was a mistake:

As I said, as they said, as we all said, sending the Bigfoot letter to the non profit was a mistake. We’re SORRY. Tim and I did not … Read more »


Lightspeed-Gemini Internet Lab (LGiLab) launches with French TechCrunch Editor as General Manager

Blogging buddy Ouriel Ohayon, the Editor of the French version of TechCrunch and former ICQ Business Development director, has been appointed General Manager of a new seed stage Israeli investment vehicle, the Lightspeed-Gemini Internet Lab (LGiLab). The Lab is located in Herzliya (the Israeli equivalent of Palo Alto), and has appointed the former CEO of Shopping.com, Dan Ciporin, as Chairman.

Two well known VC firms, Gemini Israel Funds and LightSpeed Venture Partners, are funding the operations of the Lab and will be providing the capital to seed finance these companies. Their goal, I assume, is to efficiently support the development of a few projects in their initial phases, and figure out which ones make sense to invest in as VC deals. And they will be able to do so at a tiny fraction of the cost of Web 1.0 incubators that burnt through hundreds of millions of dollars.

Congratulations to Ouriel, and looking forward to hearing … Read more »


Bebo statistics explained

There has been quite a bit of confusion around the numbers I (and others) have quoted related to Bebo’s page views, uniques, etc. Jim Scheinman, Bebo’s VP of Business Development and Sales, kindly stopped by and clarified things in the comments of my original post on the company’s $15M financing:

Much of the confusion in the #s above (and frankly in many blog postings) about Bebo’s and other SN site #s come from the mashing of various data sources. So, for example, while Bebo reported 2.5 Billion monthly page views (and we’re actually just shy of 3 Billion now), we never reported the 1 million unique user #. In fact, I’m not sure where that came from, but I suspect it’s a Media Metrix/Comscore unique user # for US members only. Our internal data shows that Bebo overall has significantly higher unique user #s, and you can do the research to see what 3rd parties report our … Read more »


Conference Speakers 2.0: Swimming in a sea of laptops

Heather Green from Blogspotting fame reflects on her experience at the Syndicate conference, where she faced the same harsh situation encountered by all panels and speakers nowadays: competition for attention from other sources of information/engagements leading to the bizarre impression that you are addressing a sea of laptops.

Yesterday I was on a panel at the Syndicate Conference here in NYC and it was odd. Looking across the room, I was treated to the sight of people bathed in blue light, busily peering into their computers. It reminded me of when I was in school and I actively ignored the teacher during class.

Maybe people were blogging. Or maybe they really had no interest in anything I or the other folks on the panel were saying. But that doesn’t make sense, because why did they chose to be there then? Either way (and I know folks have been complaining about the whole conference culture) I don’t … Read more »


Comment spammers ever changing strategy: now they try jokes

After numerous attempts of comment spammers to fool us with their bogus content, I have just gotten a “next generation” one. A joke – or at least an attempt thereof:

Ok, don’t shoot me if I actually read this joke on this forum in the first place…

During a visit to the Mental Asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criteria was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalised.

“Well,” said the Director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No.” said the Director, “A normal person would pull the plug.” Do you want a room with or without a view?

Not even funny…