Carried Away

The last decade hasn’t been a very good one for venture capitalists, showing poor returns for their investors. There are many reasons for this including over-expansion, poor management, and a dearth of companies going public. Now to make matters worse Congress is trying to take away the VC’s traditional greatest single source of income, called “carried interest” — their piece of the pie, so to speak. That is if there was any pie. I’m not here to defend carried interest, nor to condemn it. My purpose is to point out that the VC industry will just restructure itself to regain any lost income if carried interest is taken away.

Easy go, easy come.

Venture capitalists […]

By |May 30th, 2010|2010|122 Comments

Death by Foxconn

I want to make a point here, but I need to make it carefully, gently, so as not to rile people up. I’m not here to start a fight, folks, but it seems to me not nearly as many workers are throwing themselves off the roof of that Foxconn factory in China as I would expect.

Foxconn is the largest contract manufacturer in China and the world, making products notably for Apple and for other American companies, too. The company has been in the news lately because of very public worker suicides by jumping from the factory roof.

Were these people worked to death? Were they worked insane? In one case was the suicide the result of […]

By |May 27th, 2010|2010|91 Comments

Let's Get Small

“The step after ubiquity is invisibility,” my old friend from Apple Al Mandel explained to me years ago. And it’s true. Telephone service was once rare but is now universal and anything truly universal eventually become a commodity. No wonder phone companies no longer make money from long-distance calling nor — as Verizon’s sale of its New England landlines business confirms — even make enough money from local phone service. Now it is all about mobile and thank God for texting and ringtones, the telco execs say… for awhile. Well I think the same thing is about to happen to Facebook — privacy issues or no.

Facebook is huge with 350 million members but that’s not […]

By |May 26th, 2010|2010|120 Comments

LifeBlocked

Internet-y as the next blogger, I’d like to point out how wired.com noticed that the Phoenix New Times figured out that LifeLock CEO Todd Davis (you know, Mr. 457-55-5462) who dares criminals to steal his identity has, in fact had his identity stolen at least 13 times. But in a repudiation of the Internet tendency to simply point at the findings of others and say “like he said, ” I’ll now explain how the identity thieves got away with it. Given that, as you know, LifeLock is “guaranteed. ”

What LifeLock does primarily when you subscribe is they put a fraud alert on your file at all three national credit monitoring agencies […]

By |May 24th, 2010|2010|122 Comments

TV after YouTube

YouTube made two fascinating announcements recently: 1) viewers are now downloading an average of two billion videos per day on the service, and; 2) YouTube is almost showing a profit for Google, its owner.  Think about the glorious inefficiency embodied in that latter statement:  two billion downloads per day just to break even.  And this is supposed to be the future of television?  Hardly.

I think the future of television is Veetle.

Veetle, if you haven’t heard of it, is a Palo Alto-based startup that isn’t nominated for this summer’s Startup Tour.  Veetle appears from my vantage point to be a peer-to-peer video distribution system that most closely parallels the current cable TV model except […]

By |May 19th, 2010|2010|256 Comments