Blog Archives

Yahoo RSS Reader: I heart Firefox (IE, what IE ?)

I am sure that this is a temporary bug (or even buguette), but I can’t get the new Yahoo RSS Reader to display my feeds on Internet Explorer (V6 with latest patches, both on Windows 2000 and Windows XP) whereas it works great on Firefox. I am all for Firefox but developers should at least test Internet Explorer a little bit .

 

                   Firefox displays RSS Feeds properly                                     No feeds in IE

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Yahoo Mail becomes a full fledged RSS Reader – and messes up with MyYahoo home page

TechCrunch reports that the new Yahoo Mail (still in closed beta ?) now offers the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds and display the content as a river of news, etc. Makes sense.

You can add feeds by entering their URL, or selecting from a very limited set of tech-focused feeds. Bit raw given the ever increasing number of blogs out there. Rojo and BlogBridge have implemented directories of feeds per industry, allowing new blog readers to start somewhere, which is an idea that ought to be considered.

What does not work *at all* for me is that this list of feeds is actually the list of news sources displayed on My Yahoo. Which means that adding/removing feeds from your RSS/Email reader also changes the content of your MyYahoo home page – without any warning or notice. Hello ?Importing the content of MyYahoo would be appropriate, but could we … Read more »


Check these references before making a hiring decision

Buddy Ed Sim just posted a useful note on the Importance of back channel reference checks. The person you are looking at hiring, or take money from, will volunteer contacts who will provide glowing reports about her/him. In order to get a more nuanced view (nobody’s perfect), you do want to find other references in or through your own network. Former colleagues are obviously the most natural sources, and in the case of a senior startup executive, former investors also fit the bill. Services helping with these “investigations” are obviously search engines, specialized databases like Zoominfo (which has an uneven quality of data and coverage) and LinkedIn (that has even developed a specific feature for that purpose).

As Ed states, it is critical to do a thorough job when going through these references, because like software bugs, fixing a mistake costs way more than avoiding one:

A wrong hiring decision for an early … Read more »


Software Only joins the Web 2.0 Workgroup

A few weeks back, TechCrunch‘s Mike Arrington has invited me to join the Web 2.0 Workgroup, the network of blogs, and podcasts, covering the next generation of Web applications and services. You can now access Software Only from the home page of the group, and in the aggregated OPML file that lists all these blogs.

For more information about the genesis of the Group, you can listen to this podcast recorded by PodTech.net’s John Furrier, and the founding members: Mike, Richard “Kiwi” Mc Manus and Fred Oliveira. Thanks Guys!

Also: as a founding member of the TechCrunch BBQ Party series, I am delighted to report that the next bash is planned for Fri, Nov 18th at – obviously – TechCrunch’s HQ in Atherton. We’ll actually celebrate the launch of Riya. Should be fun. See you there!


Ross Levinsohn interview at the Consumer Technology Ventures Conference

I spent a portion of the day at the Consumer Technology Ventures Conference today, catching the interview of Ross Levinsohn, the President of Fox Interactive Media (“FIM”) by Lee Gomes, from the Wall Street Journal.

NewsCorp’s re-entry in the Internet market was kicked off by Rupert Murdoch after Christmas 2004, and a summit of 85 top executives in February 2005. During this meeting, Murdoch’s team brainstormed about the threats and opportunities of taking a prominent position. Last May was when Ross presented a plan of actions – starting with the acquisition of MySpace and also involved investing in their FMI’s properties.

NewsCorp is focusing on companies built as a mix of content and communities. Ross mentions that Murdoch is "fearless" and ready to make bold moves, especially to enter new spaces in which they are not present. He also explains that he did not initially grasp the power of communities like MySpace, but he eventually came around and … Read more »


Brightcove’s “whole tail” advertising and delivery platform

Brightcove, the company founded by Jeremy Allaire, is disclosing its advertising platform offering in this Clickz piece. This goes a step further from the pre-alpha launch presentation Jeremy gave at the Web 2.0 conference.

The company has developed a platform to allow commercial video publishers of all sizes to distribute their video content over the Internet using Flash. Smaller publishers can use a self-service interface, while larger ones will have access to more advanced tools used by traditional broadcasters. Publishers upload their video, categorize it with metadata tags, choose a design template, create graphic overlays with their brand or an affiliate’s brand, and publish the Flash file.

Publishers will be able to monetize their content either by selling and serving their own ads, by running ads from Brightcove’s ad network, or by selling their content for purchase or subscription. The Brightcove platform allows publishers to create customized video players to distribute on their own site, or on affiliate sites. Brightcove offers … Read more »


Trend: Over 1 million Windows to Mac converts so far in 2005? Et moi, et moi, et moi…

I just stumbled across this piece from AppleInsider on Memeorandum: Over 1 million Windows to Mac converts so far in 2005?:

In a research note released to clients on Monday, Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf said the number of Windows users purchasing a Mac appears to be far higher than the firm had previously anticipated.

"If we assume that all of the growth in Mac shipments during the past three quarters resulted from Windows users purchasing a Mac, then purchases by Windows users exceeded one million," the analyst said. "Indeed, the number of Windows users purchasing Macs in 2005 could easily exceed our forecast of 1.3 million switchers in 2006."

Needham had previously estimated that 500,000 Windows users would purchase a Mac in 2005, but says its model underestimated the number of Windows users the Mac could capture because it was limited to Windows users … Read more »


Paul Graham on the Venture Capital Squeeze – or will founders be able to get VC funding AND partially cash out ?

Paul Graham has a provocative suggestion in his post, “The Venture Capital Squeeze” [via Kevin Burton]: as they fund the working capital of a startup, VCs should consider acquiring a small portion of Founders’ equity in order to provide them with a (sometimes much needed) bit of cash. Paul’s thesis is that this would make “early take-out” offers from large companies less interesting:

Whatever they say, the reason founders are selling their companies early instead of doing Series A rounds is that they get paid up front. That first million is just worth so much more than the subsequent ones. If founders could sell a little stock early, they’d be happy to take VC money and bet the rest on a bigger outcome.

So why not let the founders have that first million, or at least half million? The VCs would get same number of shares for the money. So what if some of the money would go to … Read more »


Web 2.0: Top 10 Issues ?

Dion Hinchcliffe has posted a thoughtful piece on the issues he perceives with Web 2.0:

Excessive Hype Lack of Simple Definition  Aging Poster Children  Needing A Permaconnection Ajax as the Official Web 2.0 Experience Excessive Attention On The Technology  Really Bad Adherents  Blogging Instead of Doing Not Facing Hard Truths Adopting The Lightweight Creation Model Web 2.0 is too Silicon Valley focused (one commenter added)

Accepting the pragmatic fact that Web 2.0 is the new generation of the Web (the “Furrier definition”), #2 and #7 disappear.#1 and #8 are linked in sort of a virtuous circle. #4 is not an issue, it is good news – we need the next generation of the web to increase the penetration of broadband, as opposed to holding it back – Minitel anyone ? #3 is sort of natural: there are so many new services popping up all over the place that our attention is dispersed and noone service has made it to the … Read more »


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 »