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Archive for June, 2007

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Take Justin Rosenstein, 24 years old, a Google employee since March 2004 who invented its Web-site-building service, Page Creator. He joined social-networking start-up Facebook Inc. last month as a senior software engineer, and says Google’s past success in hiring entrepreneurial people helps explain why it’s seeing some of those people leave as it becomes larger: “That same caliber of people is naturally going to consider carefully whether it’s at Google or somewhere else that they have the most potential to do big things and do them quickly.” More…

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Semantic Way of Browsing.

Because the browser is your gateway to the Internet, it should present you with a personalized view of the web. The more time you spend online, the more your browser should be aware of what you like and what you are looking for. As any good piece of software, it should do as much as possible automatically and then get out of your way. More here

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Standard URLs

We spend most of our time online searching for information. This is not surprising, since the Web is a vast sea of information, where finding exactly what you are looking for is not easy. But why is it that when we find something on one site it is still not easy to find it on another? Say you found a Harry Potter book on Barnes and Noble, why is it still hard to find the same item on other sites like Amazon and Powells? Why is search a one time deal?We are used to a Web where each site has its own copy of the information. Each web site is a silo. But that does not need to be the case. If web sites agree on how to represent things like books, music, movies, travel destinations and gadgets, then we would spend a lot less time searching. Imagine that the URL for the Harry Potter Goblet of Fire book is this:

http://www.amazon.com/books/j-k-rowling/harry-potter-and-the-goblet-of-fire

In other words, if there was a standard way to turn things into URLs, then finding information would be a lot easier. More here…

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Net media darling Friendster should have become a billion-dollar company. What happened?
Founder Jonathan Abrams who invented social networking tells us all.

[…]

Jonathan Abrams created the first online social network and enlisted Silicon Valleys best and brightest to run it. Yet Friendster flamed out spectacularly. What went wrong?

[…]

By the rules of Silicon Valley, Friendster–a bold idea backed by experienced investors and the best managers money could buy–was destined for greatness. Instead, it failed spectacularly. “I did what you’re always told to do as a young entrepreneur,” Abrams says. “I brought on experienced investors to help Friendster fulfill its potential. But the all-star team was the curse of death.”

[…]

In the business and technology media, the fall of Friendster has been widely portrayed as an isolated management failure–with Abrams shouldering most of the blame.

[…]

Abrams, who seemed to understand Silicon Valley as well as just about anyone. He came to Netscape in 1996 as a software engineer, having worked several years for Canadian telecom giant Nortel (NYSE:NT). He spent a year and a half at Netscape, writing code for the Navigator Web browser and immersing himself in the culture of the time & place, becoming a regular at meetings of the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs and the Software Development Forum.

[…]

If the engineering challenges at Friendster were obvious, Abrams was having too much fun to worry. He assumed that with enough money and the right people, the problems would solve themselves. By July 2003, with the site pushing a million members, Abrams raised $1 million from Ram Shriram, an early investor in Google; Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal; and Tim Koogle, who’d served as CEO of Yahoo from 1995 to 2001.

Three months later, he turned down a $30 million acquisition offer from Google in favor of a $13 million VC round from Kleiner Perkins & Benchmark Capital, at a valuation of $53 million. The deal, one of the first big transactions since the bursting of the tech bubble, was widely portrayed as the harbinger of a dot-com renaissance.

[…]

[very important point for startups]
Kleiner and Benchmark were, in fact, so eager to grab a piece of Friendster that they agreed to a highly unusual condition: a $4.7 million cash payout for Abrams. Nonetheless, Abrams believes he made a critical mistake in negotiating the deal. He kept about a third of the company’s stock but no longer had control of the five-person board. The deal specified that “preferred” shareholders–the VCs–would pick two board members, that Abrams would pick two,and that there would be a tiebreaker who would be mutually acceptable to both sides. Abrams says he didn’t pay much attention to the issue because he had resolved to let the experienced VCs take charge.

[…]

[very important point for startups]
Each of the new hires came to Friendster with strong ideas about how to make the company as big as possible as fast as possible, with an eye toward a big exit for the investors. With new rivals–most notably, MySpace & Facebook–emerging, they wanted to move fast. But agreeing on a game plan turned out to be a problem. “There was this leadership battle on topthat was like a war in Valhalla,” says Chris Lunt, who joined Friendster in 2003 and took over as director of engineering when Winner left in late 2004. “Everybody had their own agenda.” The result was a kind of corporate schizophrenia. Rather than improving the software, Friendster went on a partnership binge, resulting in a hodgepodge of incongruous and poorly integrated features: blogs (with Six Apart), video sharing (with Grouper (NYSE:SNE) ), personalized searches (with Eurekster), VoIP (with GloPhone), and Internet radio (with Pandora).

[…]

[very important point for startups]
The tenor of the board meetings quickly deteriorated, with Abrams becoming increasingly isolated from the board, which now also included Sassa. “We had an inexperienced founder & a lot of experienced and high-powered board members,” says Kleiner’s Siegelman. “There were too many cooks in the kitchen.” Abrams, the board’s chairman, hardly considered himself inexperienced and felt ignored by his five colleagues, who, he says, generally sided with Doerr. He was particularly vexed by the company’s apparent obsession with partnerships. “At the board meetings they would say, ‘We should do a deal with AOL (NYSE:TWX),'” he recalls. “And I’d be like, ‘Guys, the site is not working.'” He never got anyone’s attention, and in 2005 he was stripped of his chairmanship. He stopped coming into the office regularly.

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You are the kind of person that dreams of owning their own company, working the hours that they set, and realizing the kind of success that is reserved for big names and big business. […]

Here are five simple steps to go from employee to entrepreneur.

  1. Settle on an idea. Spend a few weeks writing every good idea down. Then root through them and pick out your ten best ideas. Once you’ve done that, sit down and work out possible ways to monetize on it. Out of those ten, pick the one that you think has the highest chance of success – that’s your business.
  2. Lay the foundation. Don’t quit your current job if your new business needs a bankroll. Start saving money, researching the actual business itself, and start surveying your competition. Register your company name, finalize your business plan, and get ready.
  3. Get into it, fast. Quit your job and start building your business. Formulate your final business plan and set your objectives. Then, once that is complete, start constructing your business. Set up accounts, organize products or services, get a storefront, build a website, etc.
  4. Get your business active and generate clients. No one expects you to start making thousands of dollars per month without sales, so start making them. If you’re selling auto parts, call up local mechanics and offer your services. Give them special pricing or an incentive to buy from you. If you’re selling web hosting, start calling local business and offering your services- always give your potential customers a reason to buy from you.
  5. Grow. Always, always, always work towards expanding your business. Generate new clients, hire staff, get a larger warehouse, etc. The more you grow, the more you can sell. The more you sell, the more you grow. More here

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Server2Go Server2Go is a Webserver that runs out of box without any installation. That means it is a web server that can run directly from cdrom, usb stick or from any folder on hard disk. Server2Go allows you to create a standalone working web site or PHP application on a CD-ROM. Server2Go was primary developed for the usage on CD-ROM but there is no problem use it from other drives too. Using a web browser, a user can run php programs as well as view html files on the CD-ROM. He only need to insert a CD with Server2Go under the supported Windows operations systems. The server starts automaticly and opens a browser with the Website of the CD-ROM. more

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Slide executive Keith Rabois, one of the many new converts to Facebook in Silicon Valley, asks how much a Facebook app user is worth. The increasingly popular social network lets other Web companies plant applications, like Slide’s photo-sharing service, on its site. But it’s not clear how much loyalty users of such add-ons have to any site besides Facebook.

more here . . .

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