Scaling, returning, learning - mix of articles

Mike on Ads: The Challenge of Scaling an Adserver and Scalability Follow-Up ? The challenge customers impose on innovation. When a site/service gets big fast, it is as much about operating it as developing new features. Doing both, like Facebook for example, at the same time is always impressive.

Internet Retailer: Get Back - Return policies can win over customers, and there?s more than one way to do it. Zappo uses returns to drive average spend and thus revenue (as long as additional contribution dollars are less than cost of returns it works well).

Lessons Learned: Learning is better than optimization (the local maximum problem). It's important to keep the big picture in mind and not start to micro-optimize too early.

Venture Beat: China?s top four social networks: RenRen, Kaixin001, Qzone, and 51.com. The Chinese Internet is not like the Western Internet. Interesting data on four of the large social networks in China.

Reaction Wheel: Everybody's an ad exchange (The Thin Exchange, 1) and Open Source the Ad Exchange. Using the stock exchange and a 'perfect market' as the metaphor for an ad exchange doesn't seem like a perfect fit. The, not always perfect, electricity market is likely a better metaphor as an ad impression is not an asset but a flow.

Sticky Slides: CVs are coming to PowerPoint and Axiom One presentation. The way you say it always matters.The way to describe work history in the presentation gave me food for thought.

Google and China

Google's A new approach to China: an update. I didn't post about Google's March 22nd decision to stop offering a censored version of its search engine for mainland China, but it is one of the most interesting decisions ever made by a technology or media company.

It shows that a corporation doesn't exist solely for (short-term) profit maximization if the owners have other principles or objectives. It also shows that a media/tech company can come to the conclusion that sometimes it is not possible to do business if the price is that one has to accept censorship.

Tencent invests 300 MUSD in DST, form strategic partnership

Chinese Tencent has invested $300 million in Russian Internet investment firm Digital Sky Technologies for 10.26 % ownership (economic interest mainly, as share of votes is 0.51 %). Obviously DST owns a few percentages of Facebook and Tencent operates QQ, one of the largest Chinese Internet services.


Videoplaza raises 3.5 million euros from Creandum and Northzone

A little over two years ago Swedish Kanal 5 started using Videoplaza to manage its video advertising. After having spent time with the company's founders Sorosh, Alfred and Dante that spring, I was so impressed with them and their combination of business/sales focus, software development skills and vision that I asked to and was allowed to participate in Videoplaza's angel financing round and joined the company's board of directors.

After almost two years of seeing the business grow, with clients like TV4 Group (Sweden), Ekstrabladet (Denmark), La Vanguardia (Spain), myvideorights.com (UK) and Incisive Media (UK), it feels good that Videoplaza can announce that VC firms Creandum and Northzone have invested 3.5 million euros in a Series A financing round. Read Sorosh's blog post Why we raise 3,5M EUR and what it means for our clients and the press release (pdf) for more information.

It's going to be great to see Sorosh, Alfred, Dante and the amazing team they've assembled continue to build a great service for publishers and a great company to work with and for. As Videoplaza is growing and looking for more employees, the company has move into a new Stockholm office (see video).


Chrome is getting the job done for Google

Google's web browser Chrome has been growing in the last year and is now used by 5-7 % of Internet users (in the ballpark were I thought Chrome would be by now). Chrome hasn't gotten as many headlines as Google's mobile operating system Android, but Chrome is likely more important to Google's revenue and profit in the next 18 months.

By controlling the browser, Google makes sure it is the default search engine for users. By having its own web browser, Google doesn't have to pay Mozilla (Firefox), Apple (Safari) or Opera to be the default search engine and makes it impossible for Microsoft to buy a part of the market.

In addition by building a faster browser and thus forcing all browser makers to speed up especially JavaScript rendering, Google is putting browser-based applications in a fundamentally stronger competitive situation to native Windows and MacOSX applications. And anything that can undermine Microsoft's profits from Office and Windows is seen as a good thing by Google.


Rusty blogging

Blogging, like most things, is something you should do often to keep your skills in shape. Not blogging very often makes writing a blog post take a long time. Which proves that input and output are two very different things.

Bronte Media: Bezos 37 Signals. An interesting take on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as an investor, secondary markets for private companies and venture capital industry returns.

Venture Beat: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek vague on U.S. launch, company has 320,000 paid subscribers. 10,000 paid subscriptions are roughly ?1 million per year in revenue. Given that Spotify talked about hitting 250,000 subscribers around Midem in January, they seem to be growing their subscription-revenue quite nicely.

Inside Adsense: Google-certified ad networks now available to all publishers. AdSense as a platform for monetization through advertising for publishers. Google's play is more interesting than a general ad network's.

Newteevee: YouTube Opens Up Banner Ad Overlays to Everyone. Standardized ad unit sizes are a good thing as they enable advertising buying at scale. Innovation should happen with the ad server with targeting and inside the ad unit with personalization and dynamic content if the goal is to make a multi-billion industry grow quicker.


The New Dork

Way more online biz geekier version of Empire State of Mind.


Google's Parisian Love ad is a great feature-oriented ad

Google's Super Bowl-aired commercial Parisian Love is a great featured-oriented advertisement. It does a really good job describing the depth of Google search to "ordinary" users. An advertisement that shows everyone trying to explain a product that it is possible to explain a deep product in less than a minute.


Happiness and life

Jim Rohn: "Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present." [via: Amanda Rose]