2008-12-31

Happy New Year 2009!

I wish all readers of this blog a great 2009.

2008-12-23

Merry Christmas!

I wish you a Merry Christmas and, if you don't plan to check back before the end of the year, a Happy New Year! Take care of your loved ones and don't forget that there are organizations like Kiva, Medecins Sans Frontiers/Läkare Utan Gränser and Wikipedia that can use a small Christmas-inspired donation.

Jyri on innovation

Jyri Engeström (of Jaiku and Google) on (software) innovation: "Bottom line: binge on your own dogfood, live by usage stats, and iterate like mad"

Good advice.

Update: Jyri expanded on the Jaiku post in a longer blog post: Three simple points on innovation.

2008-12-21

Umair Haque in Stockholm for Daytona Sessions vol 2

Daytona is arranging Daytona Sessions vol 2 on February 12th. Announced speakers are Umair Haque (bubblegeneration and more!) and Katarina Graffman.

Report card: predictions 2008

Almost a year ago I made some predictions for 2008:

- Flash 9 will make QT/WMA less relevant and make life difficult for Joost. In online video Flash was the underlying technology of choice for the year (except for the Olympics) and in the end even Joost launched in Flash.

- Better advertising targeting (interest/behavioral/contextual) makes remnant inventory more valuable and adds significant revenue to communities, social networks and other non-premium media. Even if MySpace is, reportedly, making $50 million a year from MyAds, targeting hasn't improved value of non-premium advertising space to the extent I expected.

- Social graph turns out to be more buzz than biz. Pretty obvious that it turned out that way.

- Google will still be king. Check. Even if the king might have been hurt, the princes fared much worse.

- Search traffic, Web 2.0 features and web analytics will make non-hyped e-commerce companies increase sales and margins in 2008. I haven't made a deep-dive into the data, but search and analytics have been a pretty big theme of the year. And with Twingly at least some Swedish retailers have started to go 2.0 beyond AJAX. The question is how it affected sales and margins.

- Spotify. If Spotify gets the label deals, it is going to be big. As Spotify launched pretty late in the year it doesn't seem to be quite as big in absolute terms as I thought it would be. By most other accounts (praise, media buzz and interest in invites) Spotify is big.

I'm not going to grade my predictions, or themes, as they are relatively broad and grading shouldn't be done by me but rather by you (feel free to leave a comment). In the next week or two I'm going to spend some time thinking about which themes I think will be important in 2009 (feel free to add predictions and ideas in the comments or via e-mail).

2008-12-14

Kiva after 9 months

This spring I started lending on Kiva. As Christmas is approaching and some of you might be thinking about charitable contributions before the end of the year, I thought of writing a second post about my experiences with Kiva (triggered by the post that Joakim Jardenberg is once again offering gift certificates of $25 to people who want to try out Kiva (sv)).

Between March and December I've participated in funding 12 loans to groups of female entrepreneurs in Pakistan, Bolivia, Vietnam, Guatemala, and Paraguay. I've followed one of the key learnings of Grameen Bank and the strategy I outlined in my initial post.

So far, two of the loans have been fully paid back and no borrower has fallen behind on paying back nor defaulted.

During the year Kiva has started to deposit money paid back into lenders account as it receives the funds from its field partners, instead of paying everything back when the loan is repaid in full. Two thumbs up from me.

I'm very happy with Kiva and think it is a worthy cause and organization to support. (If you sign-up after reading this, feel free but by no means obliged to write henrik@torstensson.com in the field where Kiva asks if you were referred by a friend.)

2008-12-13

Pretending

Dilbert.com

The strip captures the zeitgeist of the world's banks and financial institutions. Not least considering the astounding $50 billion fraud by former Nasdaq Chairman Bernard Madoff.

2008-12-12

List of Nordic tech companies: ArcticIndex

ArcticStartup has launched ArcticIndex, the Nordic equivalent of TechCrunch's database of technology companies CrunchBase. So far ArcticIndex has a Finnish slant, so go there and add Swedish, Danish and Norwegian companies and people.

It is about the advertiser's health

Given the timing of Google's embrace of gambling ads in the UK and hard liquor ads in the US, I suspect the company is taking some punches in industries like finance, travel and retail. The value of a customer and number of customers is key when advertisers decide how much to spend in measurable media.

2008-12-11

TIME says Flash game 8th best game of the year

TIME says that King.com's Hunted Forever is the 8th best game of 2008. Pretty cool that a free Flash game can be part of a list that includes games like Grand Theft Auto 4, Gears of War 2, Rock Band 2 and Little Big Planet amongst others. Congrats to Alex Norström and the rest of the King.com team!

2008-12-10

Flickr For Musicians

It is pretty cool when a smart venture capitalist calls your friends' startup Flickr For Musicians. Good to see that Eric, Alex & team are getting the recognition they deserve.

Nobel LOLcatting

Nobel Prize winner goes LOLcats in The New York Times. This is indeed a brave new world.