2010-02-09

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.

2010-02-06

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]

2010-02-03

Chris Dixon interviewed, startup life and business models

StockTwits.tv: Interview with Chris Dixon of Hunch. Good video interview with one of the best Internet biz/startup bloggers out there.

The Monster In Your Head: Disappearing into the Fire. "How many of us create companies, create products where our blood and bone fuse with the glaze to create something so exquisite as to never have existed before? How romantically seductive is the image of giving one?s all to the fire? After all, as Whyte says:

"Work is the very fire where we are baked to perfection, and like the master of the fire itself, we add the essential ingredient and fulfillment when we walk into the flames ourselves and fuel the transformation of ordinary, everyday forms into the exquisite and the rare."

I have to understand this viscerally if I'm going to be of service to my clients. But I have to be mindful, too, of the cost. In disappearing into the kiln, the potter created the most meaningful thing possible. But in the end, he ceased to exist."

There are both good and bad days in the world of startups.

Master of 500 Hats: Subscriptions are the New BLACK. (+ why Facebook, Google, & Apple will own your wallet by 2015). "We have largely WASTED an entire web decade of time, energy & venture capital on extremely inefficient revenue models. There have been a few interesting examples of startups acquired in the 00's for large amounts due to amazing growth (eGroups, MySpace, Skype, YouTube) or advertising potential (aQuantive, DoubleClick, AdMob, RightMedia). However, mostly the decade has been an uninterrupted string of uninspiring business models and small-time acquisitions of Web 2.0 startups filled with rainbows & unicorns, rather than those based on simple, transactional revenue models."

Read the entire post for perspective, but I'm pretty bullish on branded advertising for the next 5-10 years. Especially video advertising. For sites that are not traditional media sites (games, services etc) I see user paid growing as it makes more sense than remnant ads.

Chris Dixon: Institutional failure. "The TV show The Wire is an incredibly instructive lesson on how the modern world works (besides being a great work of art). The recurring theme is how individuals with good intentions are stymied by large institutions."

The Wire is an excellent series (watch it if you haven't already), read how some lessons can be applied to startups and big companies.

2010-02-01

Health, bonuses and NYC

Both Sides of The Table: The Yo-Yo Life of a Tech Entrepreneur - A Cautionary Tale. "I somehow never really felt stressed during all of this. At least not externally. Immediately following the closing of the round I flew out to a big real estate conference in France to meet with prospective customers. On the trip I nearly collapsed. I felt dizzy and had an aching in my chest. I started feeling panic attacks. I had never had any symptoms like this in my life.

[...]

The doctor told me that while I didn't ever show my anxiety to my friends and colleagues or even acknowledge it myself, my body still went through the stress internally. How had I let myself get to this point? If you're still young I'm sure you think it would never happen to you - you're fit, right? Age and life catches up with you. I was you, too."

Being an entrepreneur is not the rosy story politicians too often tell.

Steve Blank: Incentives and Legends. "Everyone at our startup was working on startup starvation salaries, and Bob had taken a large pay cut to join us. When the Japanese partner deal was done, Bob said, "Steve, I deserve at least a $10,000 bonus. I haven't been home in weeks, and I pulled off a financing even you admit was unbelievable."

I patiently explained that this type of miraculous event was the norm for startups. The engineers were pulling off miracles on a daily basis, we were all taking fumes for salaries, but our payoff will be when our stock is worth something. Until then, tell your wife you'll get $10,000 when hell freezes over. No bonuses in a startup. To his credit Bob said while he understood, he was going to hear about it at home for not being appreciated.

[...]

I said, "Extraordinary work in a startup is the norm, but you performed even beyond my expectations. In my startups that's worth recognizing.

Rewards for extraordinary effort became part of the company's legend.

[...]

In three or so years these cash incentives added up to no more than $50K. While everyone understood the theory that we were working to make the stock valuable (and we did,) the cash reminded them that we cared and noticed."

Good points.


Chris Dixon: The NYC tech scene is exploding. "The one thing we really need to complete the ecosystem is a couple of runaway succesesses. As California has seen with Paypal, Google, Facebook etc, the big successes spawn all sorts of interesting new startups when employees leave and start new companies. They also set an example for younger entrepreneurs who, say, start a social networking site at Harvard and then decide to move."

Stockholm is developing quite nicely too, but more angel investors and some decent exits would benefit the Stockholm web scene.