Above the Crowd

Archive for 2009

Google Redefines Disruption: The “Less Than Free” Business Model

October 29, 2009:

[Follow Me on Twitter] I like to think of myself as an aficionado of business disruption. After all, as a venture capitalist it is imperative to understand ways in which a smaller private company can gain the upper hand on a large incumbent. One of the most successful ways to do this is to change the rules of the game in such a way that the incumbent would need to abandon or destroy its core business in order to lay chase to your strategy. This thinking, which was eloquently chronicled in Clay Christiansen’s The Innovator’s Delimma , is the key premise behind recently successful business movements like […]

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Want To Know More About the Future of Internet TV?: Let’s Look to Korea

September 29, 2009:

[Follow Me on Twitter] We are clearly at a very important point in time when it comes to Internet video, especially video that is served to your television, but over the Internet (also known as “over-the-top” Internet video). Christmas of 2009 and Christmas of 2010 will mark the point in time that Internet menus began to show up in-mass on televisions, DVD players, and game machines. That said, one would be hard pressed to predict exactly how this market will evolve.  There are simply way more questions than answers. For example: Who will own the operating system layer? Who will own the menu “stack” […]

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What Is Really Happening to the Venture Capital Industry?

August 24, 2009:

[Follow Me on Twitter] Many are speculating that the year two thousand and nine represents a fundamental turning point for the venture capital industry. Some are arguing that  the industry is in dire straits  after years of poor performance. Others have argued that  the math simply does not work  for the industry’s current size. Another theory suggests that  permanent challenges with the IPO market call into question the fundamental economics of the VC industry . Lastly, some  credible authors have suggested  that things are so bad that a federal bailout may be in order. What is really happening in the venture capital industry? It is indeed quite likely that the venture industry is in the process of a very substantial reduction in size, perhaps the first in the history of the industry. However, the specific catalyst for this reduction is not directly related to […]

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A Real Time Free Vs Fee Example: Rosetta Stone vs. LiveMocha

August 20, 2009:

As I was driving to work this morning listening to NPR, it became clear to me that this “free vs fee” discussion has some legs ( to listen to the NPR piece click here ). Last week, Rosetta Stone was back in the news with regards to an earnings miss as well as pulled secondary offering. Over a year ago, I had the chance to meet with a very interesting Seattle based company called  LiveMocha  (we are not an investor in LiveMocha). As you might have guessed, LiveMocha offers language learning on the Internet, in a manner that is similar to Rosetta Stone, for free. If you read  our previous thoughts on the free business model , we […]

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More IPO News, Ancestry.com Files S-1

August 4, 2009:

For those of you that get the subscription VentureWire emails, you may have noticed the subtitle  today “Recent buyout-backed IPO activity is a positive sign, but don’t expect any VC-funded IPOs anytime soon.” It also included the equally pessimistic, “…but doesn’t expect any venture-backed companies to price before Thanksgiving.” For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the press is so feverishly pessimistic about the IPO market. In 2009, no major company IPO filings have been pulled.  Moreover, all five companies that have gone have done extremely well.  Meanwhile, while VentureWire is laying it thick on the negative […]

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