Tech Market Analysis


FNAC. I first heard the term from Chris Fralic at First Round Capital. Feature, not a company.

Click this link if you want to see the video – for some reason the image link isn’t working.

It has always stood out in my mind. Whether something is a feature or a company is clearly subjective. And sometimes features (say, Twitter) turn into companies.

For me it is a useful shorthand for a very clever set of product features that in my mind would be hard to remain a stand-alone business or themselves to generate enough revenue to justify the company’s existence. I sometimes use it as a mental shorthand for teams that really have given no thought to how they might make money some day.

It’s really not as pejorative as it sounds. Sure, it’s intended to shock. It’s intended in a discussion with an entrepreneur to get them to question whether there is really amazing underlying value in the product or service they’re offering. I’m not so arrogant as to say that I’m always right. But in each discussion if I’ve caused the founders to think, to test their resolve – then I think I’ve added value from our encounter.

A few months ago I did a short interview with Dan Frommer who was then at Business Insider (and has since started SplatF, which is well written and worth your reading). It’s about 10 minutes long. We spoke about my interest in cloud computing, digital media and mobile.

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“People still want calls …”

When I first got into VC I decided I better have some investment themes. My macro theme was “great entrepreneurs” who mapped to my belief system about the kind of entrepreneurs I wanted to work with.

My background was 8 years of telecoms & mobile and 8 years of cloud computing & SaaS – so these two themes were a given.

But then I had to overlay another filter – what kind of deals could I get proprietary access to?

Digital Media was an obvious theme because it’s one in which LA (where I’m based) and NY (where I spend a lot of time) have strong assets, companies and management teams.

While the media industry is driven by a combination of subscriptions and advertising – it’s clear that the latter plays a unique role in media. So my strategy was to focus on technology heavy companies who could bring measurability and performance to inefficient parts of the digital media landscape.

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This article was originally published on TechCrunch.

Venture Capitalists typically have partners’ meetings on Mondays. Why is that? Who knows. But probably because as a group we travel a lot. So the industry formed around a day of the week when all partners could avoid having company board meetings or traveling.

Yesterday was a Monday. And not a pleasant one.

Rewind. When I first got into the industry it was 2007. Valuations were enormous relative to progress in companies. Web 2.0 was still a term being bandied about. Companies with less than $2 million in revenue were asking for $50-60 million valuations and getting them. My partnership was pretty bearish and scratched our heads a bit at price tags.

It was a great learning time for me.

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I’d like to start by asking each of you to consider helping under-privileged children in America get a little bit more than they have today. Sure, you can give a small amount of money. Even $10. Please. It’s better than zero.

You can combine that with supporting Fred & Joanne Wilson.
(if you click no other links on theis site click that one)

But even more valuable if you don’t have much money to give is to give your creativity or your programming time. DonorsChoose let’s you “hack their data” in creative ways to create offerings that may be relevant to helping with education projects in America. So my call-to-action is do something. Anything. Small or large.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Charles Best, the founder of DonorsChoose.

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I recently wrote a post about the open nature of Twitter and why I’m long on its future. I know it’s easier to write “horse race” stories about who’s signing up more users, raising more funding or who’s “hot” lately. But something more nuanced is at hand that is worth debating – is the future of the Internet & global communications more open or more closed?

I’ve discussed this on StockTwits with Howard Lindzon before, so if you want the longer view check that out.

Not just the fact that you Tweet publicly versus privately, but also that they’re open in letting their Tweet stream flow into other products & services. They’re an open feed.

It is open also in the same way that Google was open in its early days. Google started as a place where you came to be taken via links to other people’s websites.

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This article originally appeared on TechCrunch (this version is slightly different).  Most web publishers measure where their traffic is coming from using an analytics package such as Google Analytics, Omniture or Core Metrics.

These were good packages in the pre social media world at helping figure out who was driving your traffic.

Today they’re wrong. Terribly wrong. And figuring out who is referring your traffic is a very important part of determining how you allocate your marketing budgets. It is almost certain that Twitter is driving much more of your referrals than you think.

Possibly up to 4x more.

Here’s the awe.sm story of why:

Take a look at the Google Analytics log for BothSidesofTheTable.com for yesterday. I had 8,502 visitors yesterday of which 1,669 are listed as “direct.

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