Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Will borrowers prosper with Prosper?

Yesterday I came across Prosper for the first time and funny enough it was just after talking to a friend about developing a model for MBA students in which they would sell a share of future earnings in exchange for school fees etc. Any opinions on this idea?

Regarding Prosper I really like the idea of ebay-like connecting loan seekers and lenders. The transparency provided through Credit Grade and Debt to Income ratios seems enough for me when it comes to making a $50-$10,000 decision. Group arrangements on the borrower side help to mitigate risk. There's a good amount on liquidity on there and I'll probably start participating soon. Check it out!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii

Yes, I want one and still haven't found one. Any suggestions except for Ebay?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nascar goes Social Networking

This is awesome - you can finally park infield - online! NASCAR is launching their own social networking site - just in time for the new season. Check it out here. My guess is that this is going to be one of the most successful social network launches this year - strong brand, huge established user base, advertisers already lined up - all set for a great social networking site.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Morning roundup

This morning I went over to Circuit City to try to buy a Nintendo Wii - no luck again with more than 50 people in line since at least 9am. Bunch of people camping outside of Game Stop as well - when did we last see such euphoria for a product on the market for more than two months now?

And here's the link of the day for all of you out there looking to buy an apartment: House Math 2.0 is an absolutely amazing tool for making real estate investment decisions. I've learnt more from it this morning than from real estate books in a few months. Check it out!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Can Google convince the Publishing industry it's up to no evil?

Yesterday I attended an interesting event organized by Google Books. It took place at the New York Public Library and had a great roster of speakers featuring Chris Andersen, Seth Godin, Tim O'Reilly and Cori Doctorow as well as several publishing executives. The two broad themes for the day were:

1) The Long Tail is real and needs to be addressed (and several publishers are doing it successfully) and
2) Google Books is good for publishers and we can prove it (that's what the publishing exec speakers were in charge of).

Overall the event was very interesting, fairly unbiased (no open Google glam session) and attended by interesting people. I got a chance to talk to Marissa Mayer briefly after two Chinese students took fan pictures with her and asked her about the future of Google Reader. She said she didn't really see it as a long-term standalone but rather as something that would merge with Gmail and/or their custom publishing platform (Jotspot, Blogger, Writely) in the mid-term.

Good luck Google!

Farewell Art Buchwald

The Times put up this touching video obituary for Art Buchwald after his death yesterday. Worthwhile watching. I remember reading his columns as a child in Italy - some of the funniest pieces I can remember. And he had fun until the end. In memoriam.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Logos 2.0

Nice piece here by Darren Herman - you should all show this to your Designers and see what they come up with. Applr anyone?

Monday, January 15, 2007

How Blockbuster could really win over Netflix members like me

I just tried out MyYearbook - a new myspace competitor aimed at - you guessed it - Teens. Their signup process has one very neat feature: it lets you automatically import your myspace profile by simply entering your myspace email and password- takes about 10 seconds and it's all there. Great way to reduce friction/ switching costs!
This leads me to the battle between NFLX and BBI. If BBI came up with an easy way for people to 1) export their NFLX list and 2) import it into BBI - the switching costs would fall close to zero....

I'm surprised no one has come up with that widget yet...

Who'd have thought Michael Dell is the biggest intellectual?

Fun post from out West - the Seattle PI has analyzed the speeches of Bill, Steve and Michael - Gates, Jobs and Dell that is. Turns out Mr. Dell used the most hard words - who'd have thought. And Steve's favorite word - guess what... phone!

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Good post on vertical strategies

Just found this piece by a so-far-unknown-to-me Aussie blogger: Verticals discussed as expansion models from various angles. Good reading!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Improve your own blog and optimize Adsense

Just found this pretty good blog by Amit Agrawal. Great tips on optimizing Adsense eCPMs on your site. Check it out

Lunch with Craig Newmark

On Friday I attended a lunch plus presentation event with Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist. It was organized by the folks at Ibreakfast together with NYU. What's striking about Craig is how genuine he is. You really get the feeling that what you see is what you get with him. No hidden agenda, no public face, no attitude - he's just a straight out nice guy who wants to do good to the community. He describes his job there as (his title is "Chief Customer Representative" or something like that as this:
1) Listen to your customers' wishes
2) Try to help them

What a great way to approach a company - so simple and yet true. And now pair this with the temptations of a 6bn monthly page impressions "empire" - all the power to Craig and his fellow listers for keeping it so real!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The New York Tech Meetup on 01/09/07

Finally went back to Scott's NY Tech meetup last night. I remember first going about 18 months ago and it was in a conference room at the meetup.com office in Soho - about 40 men, brooklyn beer and chips. Last night there were anywhere between 300 and 500 at Cooper Union. Good crowd and saw some good demos. My favorite can already be found on the right side of this blog - Platial's mapkit is something i'd been looking for for a long time. Great little toy. Another demo was by one of the founders of Daylife - the first public demo of the site. The guy giving the demo wasn't the best public speaker but Scott Heiferman definitely salvaged it by calling Michael Arrington "an asshole" for criticizing the fact that Daylife doesn't have RSS feeds yet.
Daylife is much hyped but I wonder what content owners are going to say once it's reached a certain scale. Daylife will want to profit from big sites'content and another Youtube legal situation might be looming. Will be interesting to watch!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My visit to Hamburg

On my way back to New York I had the opportunity to spend 24 hours in Hamburg. It's a beautiful city with lots to see and definitely worth visiting for longer than a day. Ping me if you want some tips - but don't miss out on Speicherstadt - a complex of old warehouses on the picture right below.

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In-store search has a lot of potential

Yesterday I went to my local Bed, Bath and Beyond (stock: BBBY) - unfortunately there was no time left for Home Depot...
I was looking for a CD-Rack (yes, some people still use CDs) and asked about 5 sales associates. The common answer was something along the lines of "yes, somewhere downstairs or maybe not at all" - which led me to abandon the store pretty quickly...
Everybody is in love with Online Search - but how easily could BBBY increase its in-store conversion rate by equipping sales associates with a little PDA that contained an overview of the entire store and would let them search for the item, answer the question and ideally print out a little map? I'm sure some stores are doing just this - but it seems like a logical extension of search into the offline world for me.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Modern-day networking with Linkedin and Xing

Great post on Linkedin by Guy Kawasaki yesterday - absolute must read for anyone interested in modern networking. Linkedin is definitely a great tool and has really reached critical size here in the US over the last 12 months. As a European I also use Xing and I wish that at some point either one of them bought the other. They are essentially doing the same thing and a lot of folks are on both networks - why not join forces and become one awesome networking powerhouse - that could ultimately be worth more than Facebook b/c it enables business people to meet and work together.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Acquisition by Holtzbrinck - Studivz strikes Facebook gold

This came through last night - Studivz - a German Facebook clone was acquired by Holtzbrinck for a striking $100-$130MM. That's about $100 per registered user considering the 1MM registered Studis (students). As far as I know this is the biggest deal for a zero-revenue company in Germany so far - correct me if i'm wrong. Spiegel has the story. If you translate this into Facebook's 7 million users it would be worth about $700MM. Sounds better than the $2bn that were recently tossed around. Still, lots of cash for some fickle college students currently favorite online hangout...

Congrats to Essan and the other guys though - well done!

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