Archives / March, 2008

How do you make money on the Internet?

My partner Brad Feld was interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on the topic of how companies make money online. You can listen to the broadcast here.  The key take-away ultimately is that is you aggregate enough traffic you have a handful of options for turning those eyeballs into cash (probably worth of a full post about the pros and cons of these various models, but no time today to get that down on paper).  Brad did a great job and I’m psyched that I now know someone who’s been on TOTN!

This Internet thing is just a fad

A 1995 article by Clifford Stoll has resurfaced on the Newsweek site: The Internet? Bah.  Hype Alert: Why cyberspace isn’t and will never be, nirvana.  Of course its fun (and easy) to make fun of pundits with the benefit of hindsight, but this one is particularly juicy with its sweeping – and as it turns out completely off base – prognostications.  Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online…

Sharing practical experience

My partner Ryan related amusing story about leaving his brand new MacBook Air on a recent flight. I had a similar experience myself last week, which unfortunately didn’t end up quite as happily (although fortunately didn’t involve a $3,000 piece of technology). I left the office for a meeting on Friday afternoon with my hands full: I had my computer bag in one hand and was carrying my jacket and a garment bag in the other. In addition I was on my phone as I dragged all of this down to the parking garage. I managed to get everything in the car without disrupting (or dropping) my call and drove off. After a few blocks, I noticed that my phone…

Theme: Glue – Foundry Group cross-post

We’ve just put up another in a series of posts the active investment "themes" that we’re pursuing on the Foundry Group blog (see earlier theme posts here and here).  Today’s post introduces a theme that we’re calling "glue".  Glue is our term for the web infrastructure layer that facilitates the connections between web services and content companies. As this ecosystem becomes increasingly complex and as web sites and web based applications rely on more underlying services, this “glue” layer of the Internet is becoming more and more core to overall web infrastructure. You can view the full post here.  And don’t forget to subscribe to the Foundry blog so you can keep up to date on what we’re thinking about.

Munger has it right

I came across a great quote from Charlie Munger that I thought was right on: "if something’s not worth doing at all, its not worth doing well" Nicely put.

Serial vs. collective board communication

Board communication has been the topic of a handful of conversations over the past few weeks as several of the companies I work with have grappled with both the right level of communication as well as the correct forum for certain board level discussions and decisions.  Although there are a handful venues in which boards communicate, fundamentally they fall into one of two categories: conversations between a subset of the board (often just the CEO and an individual board member) and those that involve the full board.  While there are some decisions that must clearly be made by the full board at properly noticed board meetings (and documented as such) there are many more day-to-day decisions that either do not,…

Sonos has guts

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you already know that I’m crazy about my Sonos system. Time has only increased my love of the product, which is on in our house pretty much non-stop when someone is home. Today I was pointed to a TeardownTV video of Sonos.  It’s definitely geeky, but if you’re into taking a look at what’s under the hood of electronics devices (but like me wouldn’t even consider taking your very own Sonos apart for fear of never getting it back together again) you’ll love it.   For me the video underscores just how well thought out the Sonos system is – there’s an unbelievable amount going on inside the sleek Sonos boxes but it’s…

Apple juice

This is a shameless request for help from anyone out there who has a good Apple connection.  I’m trying to make the switch over to the iPhone.  So far I love it – the interface is great (intuitive in a way that only Apple seems to be able to perfect) and the touch screen typing isn’t nearly the challenge that friends suggested it would be.  There are a few things that I’d love to see improved (dial by name, full inbox delete, longer battery life . . . etc.) but they are minor compared to my major problem – lack of exchange sync. Fortunately this problem is scheduled to be fixed in a release due out this summer.  There’s a…

Closing the top of the world

China has effectively closed off Mt. Everest peak attempts this year by baring teams from being on the mountain between March and June (which effectively closes off the window for an attempt from the Tibet side this year).  All of this is apparently in reaction to protests in recent years over Tibeten independence and the plan to have the olympic torch scale the mountain during that time period on its approach to China for the games (apparently the Chinese would prefer not to have the torch run into protesters this year).  Yikes! See stories here and here.

The 6 / 50 rule of internet advertising

comScore and behavioral ad network Tacoda  released a study last month that caught my eye.  It at least partially answers the question that I’m sure most regular internet users have asked themselves at one time or another: "who the heck actually clicks on these banner ads anyway?!?".  Turns out that about 6% of users are "heavy clickers" in the study’s parlance.  These users generate about 50% of the total banner clicks.  The study points out that these users are heavily skewing banner click-through data.  They are also not representative of the overall internet population (heavy clickers according to the study are between the ages of 25 and 44 with household incomes less than $40k; they spend a lot of time…