2009-02-22

The Music Keeps on Playing, part 3

Which songs are you currently listening to? Please add your current favorites to this collaborative Spotify playlist!

Older collaborative playlists created by the readers of this blog.

2009-02-21

Meetic and Match.com Europe become one

Dating sites Match.com, where I briefly worked a few years back, and Meetic have combined their European operations with Match.com-owner IAC getting a 27 % share of Meetic and a ?5 million note. (Not quite in the same league as IAC-owner Liberty Media's deal with Sirius XM, but nevertheless.)

This combination is not the only one where European competitors have merged to attain greater economies of scale and category dominance status. An example from another line of Internet business would be online DVD rentals with Lovefilm being the surviving entity after a number of mergers between Lovefilm, Video Island, Amazon UK's DVD rental business, Boxman and others.

Obviously there are internal savings to be made when combining two companies, but in addition the combination of two large competitors could take some pressure off marketing spend/customer acquisition cost as it becomes less of "either you win a customer or your competitor does" (and if brands are combined there is a chance of greater brand recognition/recall as the market becomes less cluttered). I'm writing could and not should as there still are local competitors who probably will continue to fight for market share, which could keep customer acquisition costs at the same level.

Marc Andreessen on Charlie Rose



Great discussion. Definitely worth watching the full 54 minutes.

2009-02-18

Twitter is fun and sometimes useful, but I don't get the investment hype

If people's bit-sized thoughts are extremely valuable, why haven't anyone managed to really monetize either IM status messages or the somewhat longer thoughts that are blog posts? Or the other way around, why haven't advertisers seen a ROI gap a'la search had in 2002-2003 and started to jump onto the opportunity? (Maybe a great revenue model to-be-implemented is what Twitter has shown to investors, but I don't see real-time search of some of the world's current thinking being the next great model).

On a related note, according to Comscore, Facebook added 21 million unique visitors between November and December, compared to Twitter's 4.3 million unique in total. And between December and January it seems like Facebook's U.S. new members growth was an insane 60 % from an already high level. If one believes the numbers, the real action currently is with Facebook and not with Twitter.

Update April 26, 2009: Twitter usage exploded in February and March growing crica 100 % per month to 19+ million unique visitors in March, so now the real action is with Twitter as well.

2009-02-14

Twitter raises $35+ million

Twitter, the digitari it kid of the moment, has raised an additional $35-40 million from new and old investors at a valuation of about $250 million. While Twitter has attractive characteristics, this feels like a go big or go home round for a pre-revenue startup.

Obviously one should raise money when one doesn't need it, but now Twitter has to become a large company if this should work out for both investors, founders, employees and a potential acquirer. It feels a little bit like when Slide and Ning raised around $50 million at valuations around $500 million. Obviously a good thing for the company, but it makes the math harder for both old and new investors.

2009-02-09

Mary Hodder: Google laying off staff

I haven't seen a second source or confirmation on this, but Mary Hodder is twittering that Google is laying off staff (not contractors):

MaryHodder: "Talkng to friend laid off from Google Friday. Others in their eng. gp as well. They don't want to discuss publicly, but R ok w. my telling."

MaryHodder:"We think Goog is quietly laying ppl off so as not to alert press. Mgrs have mandate to reduce headcnt, no matter how critical the project."

johnbattelle: "@MaryHodder was your friend a full time or contractor?"

MaryHodder: "@johnbattelle full time eng on a critical path project. so were others.. 4-5 yr employees."

moon: "@MaryHodder These Engineers laid-off by Google, were their Projects discontinued?"

MaryHodder: "@moon no.. projects still there. my impression is Mgr told to reduce.. so they got rid of a couple of ppl."

2009-02-08

Be driven by customers and products, not ego

A post by Dave McClure worth reading by all entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs: Great Entrepreneurs are PASSIONATE about Customers & Products, NOT about being Great Entrepreneurs.

2009-02-02

Has Knuff gotten too mainstream and political-oriented to be interesting?

In the last 12-24 months I've stopped using Swedish blog aggregator Knuff to discover interesting blog posts almost completely. Sure, I quickly check it out every other week, but I just don't use it as a tool to find interesting stuff from the blogosphere any longer.

I don't know why, it has been a gradual change, but would guess it is the combination of politics, piracy (in the broader Swedish political sense of the word) and down-market, mainstream news (a.k.a. Aftonbladet) that just doesn't appeal that much to me.