Monday, August 30, 2010
Here's the video I made from the year before:
A short digression, but it's really exciting for me to see my friends from Kellogg putting up posts that relay their experiences and opinions. That's one of the main reasons I started this blog 3 years ago. I wanted to create seed a hub for my Kellogg friends so we wouldn't lose track of each other. It's worked better than I ever could have hoped with many people contributing the bulk of my content. On the marketing front, their insights are invaluable as many of my friends now run big brands. Brands that spend a lot of money on marketing. I want to know what they are thinking and it's so cool to be able to read it on a lazy Sunday.
"OBP, how can I ‘splain it? It’s the fabled baseball metric that rose from obscurity proceeding Michael Lewis’s Moneyball. OBP ( on-base percentage) indicates how good a hitter is at getting on base (duh), and is highly correlated with winning. It’s so simple in its elegance, but was largely overlooked for many years by “old baseball”. You get on base more, you score more, you win more.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
How playtime is responsible for Post-It Notes, Lasik, and more - (37signals)
How playtime is responsible for Post-It Notes, Lasik, and more
Jobs:See more on the Job Board.
Are you giving employees time to play? Often, that's when breakthrough ideas happen.
It's something Jim Coudal has mentioned before — how he actually encourages employees to goof around. I asked him to expand on that and here's what he wrote:
Most of the smart, creative, successful people I know spend a good deal of time looking for inspiration, tracking down ideas and doing research.
We do all those things too, we just don't have a problem with calling it what it is, "goofing around."
Play is essential, it's through play that you find connections between things that might not be at all obvious through logic or practicality.
If you don't have any accidents how are you ever going to have happy ones?
3M gives all employees 15-20 percent free time to work on their own projects. If it's a success, the project can be spun off into a new business and the employee who originated it is given an equity share. Most of the inventions that 3M depends upon today came from this free time.
In 1968, 3M employee [Art] Fry was singing in the church choir and got annoyed that his bookmark kept falling out of his hymnal. "It was during the sermon," Fry remembers, "that I first thought, What I really need is a little bookmark that will stick to the paper but will not tear the paper when I remove it." Fry wondered whether it would be possible to create a repositionable bookmark that would stick only gently to a page. In the months after his church choir daydreaming, he spent his side-project time researching what would ultimately become the adhesive behind the hugely popular yellow Post-it Note. It was an unexpected, even random, invention that saw the light of day thanks to 3M's flexible employee policy.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Note the icon next to my name.
Click through the post to get to the playlist (I couldn't figure out how to embed it).
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"Similarly, the things we did in our cars reflected the entertainment available. And in the broadcast world, being in your car wasn't so bad: you listened to the radio for fun at home, so the car was kind of a couch on wheels. (See: drive-in movie theaters.) One system helped support the other.
But the latest network to overspread our country -- the wireless electromagnetic one -- is just not fully compatible with driving, at least for human brains. In more economic terms, the opportunity cost of car commuting is going up. You can listen to Howard Stern in a car; you can run your business from a train or bus."
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
For what it's worth, I've had a lot of informal conversations with small business owners about Groupon and the established ones are generally aligned with Calkins thoughts. At the same time, I think Groupon is hugely valuable and as real-time couponing goes mainstream, which I think it will, there is going to be gigantic slide into game theory, specifically Prisoner's Dilemma, for local retailers. Each neighborhood shopping area is going to become a micro couponing climate. I predict a short term raise to the bottom in couponing. Something that will greatly benefit consumers and the couponing companies but hurt retailers.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Here is Ben's quote, which is 100% true. If we didn't use a service like Odesk, we'd never be able to scale Ben's Friends like we have.
Oh well, we'll get them next time.
"Benjamin Munoz, an Austin-based entrepreneur, has used several international outsourcers whose lower costs have benefitted both his two startup companies and his nonprofit website. "If we had to pay for U.S. or Western talent, it would be pretty difficult to do what we're doing," he says.
Recently he created a 90-second video for his nonprofit site—a networking organization for people with rare diseases—that cost him a little over $300 working with an artist and a musician in the Philippines. That's about one-tenth of what he expected to pay using domestic talent."
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"The way you price expensive transactions is going to train your partners and customers in how to behave.
When selling a book to a major publisher, it’s common for the publisher to offer an advance against royalties. In fact, the advance is the most significant tool that publishers use to get a coveted author to pick one house over another--royalties and most everything else are fixed.
It turns out that if an agent offers a hot book to multiple publishers at the same time, the advance offered goes up, often dramatically. Obviously, the publisher was capable of offering the higher advance without the auction, but it was the risk of losing the book that got them to pony up more money.
This trains agents and authors to be disloyal, to shop around and to create an artificial game to raise the price."
Monday, August 16, 2010
"Rosetta and other protein folding algorithms do much better then simple trial and error; they incorporate all the rules and ‘tricks’ that we know about. But as Pietszch writes “Any realistic hope of cracking the folding code… is probably a very long way off.”
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
- I remember when they hired Semel to be CEO. I knew the goose was finally cooked then. He was a studio guy and Yahoo fully embraced the entertainment company mantra. They even hired a guy named Loyd Braun, who had green lighted Lost at ABC but was fired before it was proved successful. Together, he and Semel were to turn Yahoo into a content company. Shortly after hiring him, there was a glowing article on him in something like Fortune or BusinessWeek and it casually mentioned that he didn't know how to work his computer and his assistant read his email to him. I nearly blew a gasket. The most important anecdote of the whole article was a throw away sentence buried in the middle. The guy in charge of Yahoo couldn't work email!!!
- Some people probably say, "who cares about yahoo?" - totally get it. It's a company that lost its way and that happens all the time. However, I think it's valid for tech people to care about Yahoo for two reasons, 1) It's a shame to see wasted potential. Whether it's a superstar high school athlete that can't get out of their own way, or a Fortune 500 company that does the same. It stinks to see someone/something not reach full potential. and 2) Yahoo is one of the big three of potential Internet acquirers - Google, MSFT and Yahoo. To have a strong startup ecosystem, there needs be acquirers to cash out investors and take smaller, but useful tech concepts mainstream. Facebook and Twitter are on their way to reshaping the acquisition environment, but for the last 3 or 4 years, you had three choices when selling an Internet company, and two of those choices were in obvious decline. The startup exit market was less competitive, and less lucrative, because of Yahoo's missteps.
My first exposure to Skype was one of the first days in school when my section was trying to choose an IM service to standardize on. All of the Americans wanted to use Yahoo or Microsoft, and said so. That's when all of the international students freaked out. People were going crazy. We were told in no uncertain words that the rest of the world used Skype and so would the Poet section.
Skype is one of the first Internet services I've ever heard of becoming a standard in the rest of the world before the U.S. Sure enough, when I got to London Business School for a quarter, everyone used Skype. I bought credits to call friends and family back home and used it all of the time.
Fast forward to today and it's clear those international students knew what they were talking about.
From the Skype S-1 Filing (you file an S-1 Registration disclosure when you are going public):
Holy cow! Those are some crazy user numbers. It's an IPO I'll consider buying because of those adoption numbers. Yes, Skype generates revenue from only about 5% of it's user base, which is quite small. However, many Internet services today are adopting a business model that monetizes only a fraction of their user bases. More important than the short term monetization rate, is that Skype is rapidly becoming the communication tool of choice across the world. I heard a crazy stat last year that 8% of all phone calls worldwide travel across Skype. I'm not sure if that is true, but it seems reasonable given the user stats above. It's the phone system of the present and future, and I want to own a part of it.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
"Have you ever hooked up with a co-worker from a remote office and had to look him up in your Outlook corporate directory the following morning to remember his first name?"
Alex, tip of the cap to you my friend. Thanks so much for your support!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
She's ridiculously cute in the video. Matt is a developer dude. Is there any doubt his daughter is following in his footsteps?
Love, Love Computer from Matt Koidin on Vimeo.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I really enjoyed Mark Cuban's blog post on his quest to buy the Texas Rangers. I did investment banking at Hambrecht & Quist for my first three years after college and his post brought back many fond H&Q memories.
Banking is kind of like joining a fraternity & the hazing, you'd recommend the entire experience to someone but you wouldn't want to do it again.
Anyways, this post is excellent and it captures the adrenaline that comes with the chase, the analysis that keeps you from over paying, and the disappointment that comes when your bid loses, which happens almost every time. You can even read between the lines and see that Cuban is blowing off a lot of steam in this post.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Lisanti writes a tongue and cheek recap full of humor and sexual innuendos (or overt sexual humor). His Mad Men logo is an inside joke for those that enjoy Draper's "Finger Bang Threat Level" update each week. Note, Lisanti's column is for adult reading only.
Goodman's recap are always enlightening and point out a bunch of little things that I missed, but make the show so much more enjoyable.
Check them both out on Monday after they've had time to write the recaps.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Very thorough explanation of the movie and what's really going on. Loved this!
Nice piece of Inception music trivia. What are they trying to tell us?
A late addition is this beautiful chart posted on Flowing Data (fast becoming one of my favorite blogs).
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
"As OfficeDrop has grown I’ve found my MBA more and more useful. Basic stuff like statistics, pricing strategies, etc are particularly useful. I sure that I could have learned this in a book, but there is something about the classroom learning environment that is good for the way I acquire knowledge.
Also, he has a great point about how student loan availability make tuition increases easy for schools, but they end up crowding out risk appetite of recent grads because of the huge debt burden.