Equity crowdfunding finally arrives May 15th: curb your enthusiasm

equitycrowdfundingBack in the spring of 2012 Congress passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) to make it easier for small companies to raise capital. The Act recognized that nearly all job creation in the U.S. economy comes from new businesses and attempted to accelerate startups by creating whole new ways to fund them. The Act required the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by the end of 2012 to come up with regulations to enable the centerpiece of the Act, equity crowd funding, which would allow any legal U.S. resident to become a venture capitalist. But the regulations weren’t finished by the end of 2012. They weren’t […]

$99 Mineserver: The Devil is in the Details

IMG_0734You may recall my three sons ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall for their $99 Mineserver, a multiuser Minecraft server the size of a pack (not a carton) of cigarettes. On the eve of their product finally shipping here’s an update with some lessons for any complex technical project.

At the time we shot the Kickstarter video my kids already had in hand a functional prototype. Everything seen in the video was real and the boys felt that only producing custom cases really stood in the way of shipping. How wrong they were!

First we needed a mobile app to administer the server so we hired an experienced […]

Why Yahoo is worth less than nothing


marissamayerA reader pointed out to me today that Yahoo, minus its Alibaba and Yahoo Japan stakes plus cash, is now worth less than nothing according to Wall Street. This says a lot about Yahoo but even more about Wall Street, since the core company is still profitable if in decline. If I were a trader (I’m not) that would argue Yahoo is a buy since there’s likely to be a future point at which the company will be free of those other riches and even Wall Street will be forced to give the carcass a positive value.

But when I heard about the negative value story the first thing […]

Last chance to get a Mineserver™ for Christmas!

newmineserverlogo.jpgIt took only two days for our three sons to reach their $15,000 Kickstarter funding goal and visions of building a kit car were dancing in their heads. Almost three weeks later, however, total pledges are just nearing $30,000, which puts profits more in the deluxe quadcopter range. Still good, but not a Manx dune buggy. But there is one more day to make your pledge — the only way to get a Mineserver™ or Mineserver Pro™ in time for Christmas.

Along the way we gained the attention of Mojang, owners of Minecraft, who didn’t like our logo so the boys held a contest with the winner (from Hamilton, New Zealand!) getting a […]

The Cringely boys Kickstart Mineserver™, a $99 Minecraft server

When my three sons, ages 13, 11, and 9 decided to do a summer business together I thought it could be almost anything. After all, they’ve visited three dozen tech startups with me in our RV and they’ve been surrounded by technology entrepreneurs their entire lives. What business would it be?

I just never expected a $99 Minecraft server.

It’s brilliant, really. Minecraft is hugely popular but the Minecraft hardware market is almost nonexistent. It’s not that nobody thought to do such a server but that it’s a business idea most entrepreneurs would see as not having legs. It will scale, sure, but will it endure? In a few months someone — no doubt someone in Asia — will copy the idea, […]