Riya recognizes 150,000 Benjamin Franklins

I just read on TechCrunch the official announcement of the fund raising Riya has recently completed, and I must admit that I had to check the number twice: $15M is the amount the company has brought in from new investor Bay Partners. Munjal comments on the news, which was sort of pre-announced, or at least eluded to, when the Google acquisition went kapputt.

It is great news for the Riya team, and this financing round makes the company one of the largest Web 2.0 “capitalization” – $19M raised across two rounds. The amount strikes me as very large in a context of “cheap” startup build-up costs, and it can only mean two things: Munjal, who’s been around the block already once with Andale, was able to command a high valuation (one can only assume that the rumored take-out valuation range has been a useful benchmark), and Riya has some serious development ahead of them, and infrastructure to … Read more »

The enterprise software market is shrinking – and old stars ain’t shining

I am off to CES in less than 3 hours, so I’ll make it quick: Bill Burnham has a series of great posts regarding the Internet and Enterprise software sectors of the public market, particularly:

Software IPOs: 2005 Year In Review Top 10 Worst Performing Software Stocks of 2005 Software Stock Update: 2005 Year In Review The Incredibly Shrinking Software Industry

In a nutshell, and I recommend taking a look at the compilation of data points and analysis work done by Bill: 4 software IPOs in 2005, a lot of Web 1.0 software darlings are in the list of worst performers for 2005, and the aggregate valuation of the Software sector has shrunk  by 10% in 2005 – to compare with a modest 1.4% growth of the Nasdaq and a nice uplift of 14.4% of the Internet sector.

Bill lists five reasons behind this systemic decrease of the sector, which does not look … Read more »

Happy New Year!

We wish you all a happy, healthy and successful new Year!

(from Robert, Michael, Don and Jeff – taking the picture)

I was giving a crash course on blog publishing to my friend Michael, and thought I would kill two birds with one stone by posting my wishes at the same time!

Want an online Word Processor ? Check out Zoho Writer

As a disclaimer to this post, I should point out that I am not yet in the “Everything Online” camp in terms of productivity applications, and that’s why I still spend my life in Outlook, Office and a few other key products. Two reasons drive that choice: 1) I am not yet online 100% of the time (though I am looking with envy at one of these EVDO cards) and 2) online services have a tendency of going down a lot these days. Furthermore having had a demo of Office 12 from Scoble last night, I really like the UI work Microsoft has done for this release and am looking forward to testing it at some point (unlike the two or three last revisions of Office). That’s why I have not really reviewed a lot of online office applications, besides RSS aggregators, even if online suites like Zimbra caught my eye when they launched at the Web 2.0 … Read more »

ThinkPad X41 Tablet PC named Latop of the Year

Jupiter Research Michael Gartenberg just announced his recent decision to name the ThinkPad X41 Tablet PC “Laptop of the Year”:

It’s the first Tablet PC I’ve used where there is no penalty at all for the Tablet OS feature. It just works as a great notebook and when you need it in Tablet mode (like in that middle seat in coach on the way to CES) it’s just there for you. Still no integrated drive and the screen is still XGA. But if you need more, you might want to look at the Z60t. Take the great IBM keyboard, add in a nice DVD burner and a 15“ screen. Toss in a Pentium M and a gig of memory and a 100gb HD and you’re talking about a first class system that will keep up with most desktops. The best part is that it’s still only 5.5lbs so it’s still truly portable.

I … Read more »

Attending Syndicate this Tuesday

A quick note to mention that I will be attending the first day of Syndicate in San Francisco – the last conference of the year for me, and I did attend a lot of them in 2005 indeed. Send me a note on jeff [dot] clavier [at] gmail [dot] com if you are also there and want to meet.

I have missed Doc Searl’s opening remarks because we were celebrating my five year old’s birthday, but Doc blogged the gist of them on ITGarage.


The GapingVoid on Business Models

I met and hung out with a ton of cool people during my trip to Paris, and one of them was Hugh MacLeod from GapingVoid fame. We had crossed each other’s path at Les Blogs 2.0 a number of times, and had a chance to chat for a while at Fon‘s Martin Varsavsky’s place. Hugh was kindly drawing some of his famous cartoons for some of the guests, and inherited this one – based on some of the topics covered during my panel.

No comment :-P.

Also worth the read: Hugh’s thoughts on Les Blogs.

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 :-P.


                   Firefox displays RSS Feeds properly                                     No feeds in IE


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’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 »