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Archive for March, 2006

The view from Budapest

by henrycopeland
Monday, March 20th, 2006

I’m hanging in our Budapest office. After a freezing winter, things warmed up just in time for our arrival. Some photos here. Here’s today’s weather.

People have asked what I think about the venture funding flooding into our fledgling industry. And would Blogads like new investors? Well, first, we’re profitable and happily expanding the business with our own cash. So no thank you. Second, we like knowing that we’ve got our customers’ best interests at heart, rather than an avaricious VC’s. Finally, academic studies suggest that while VC definitely increases your beta (wonk-speak for the ups and downs in an equity’s value), it can actually lessen a company’s chance of survival.

Why? Some hypotheses:
– considerable time/resources are sunk in meeting with VC, then jumping through their hoops. The best meetings and hoops are those held with/by customers.
– you’ve got to scramble to make lots of money fast to generate eye-popping returns on a bigger nut. It’s much harder to generate a 100X return on $10 million than on $1 million.
– many VC are sheep, so you end up selling the VC a business plan that conforms to yesterday’s zeitgeist, rather than tomorrow’s.
– because you are spending OPM, its easy to wreck your company’s bottom-line focused ethos.
– locked into “the plan” you’ve sold yourself/investors, it’s nearly impossible to attend to the subtle breezes that fortell tomorrow’s hurricanes.
– most VC focuses on home-runs, not the accretive base-hits that power long-term success. So what if half a VC’s portfolio companies flounder? The VC will double his portfolio’s size with monster returns on just a couple of investments. (Tough luck if you or your customers are in the failing half.)

Meanwhile, long-time blog advertiser Michelle Lamar, she of WhiteTrashPalace, got a nice write up in the Wpost.

Freedom mongering

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Dr. Bill Frist praises praises blogging. Blogger David Weinberger talks right back, asking for net-neutrality.

For the folks at home, “net neutrality” means that all content can pass through the web under the same tariff scheme and that some content providers are not privileged. (Can’t we come up with a less neutered term than “net neutrality?” How about “web freedom” or “net liberty?”)

Blogosphere emergence

by henrycopeland
Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Anyone who attended our “emergence” panel at the IPDI last week might enjoy this video.

Success depends on: do all the traps have similar triggers? are all traps set? are all close enough to each other? And, for self-perpetuation, how quickly are they reset after being sprung? Others? (For emergence geeks: lots more tangents in “Six degrees” by Duncan Watts.)

At IPDI, Peter Daou, Mike Krempasky and John Aravosis and I brainstormed about what makes a blog hurricane happen and whether one can be seeded. Peter and I agree that higher order behaviors are emerging as the blogosphere grows in size and connectedness; John and Mike were more skeptical, though they agree that hurricanes do happen. (It’s the attribution of quasi animal spirits to the blogosphere that puts them off, I guess.) We all agreed, at least, that blog hurricane forecasting is still in the 1920s at best. (Mike forwards a journalist’s take on the panel. )

SXSW party

by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 9th, 2006

We’ll all be at SXSW for the next few days. If you want to have a drink, we’re having a party with friends from Alfred Knopf, Buzznet, GMD Studios, Paste Magazine, and PBS at 8PM at Headhunters on Sunday night. Drop me a line if you’d like to join us.

2006 political blog survey closed

by henrycopeland
Friday, March 3rd, 2006

We’ve just closed out the political blogs reader survey. I’ve only been able to skim results so far, but it seems some numbers are eerily constant.

Last year 20% of blog readers said they were bloggers, this year 18% profess to being bloggers. This year, for the first time, we got a glimpse of when those people started to blog.
1998 and before: 2.3%
1999: 1.7%
2000: 2.9%
2001: 5.1%
2002: 8.2%
2003: 14%
2004: 24.6%
2005: 33.4%
2006: 7.9%

One thing is clear: since this survey was just of political blog readers (whereas last year included a broader range of blogs), the average age has risen signficantly. Last year 41.7% of respondents were 40-60 years old, this year 50.4% join me in that graying, bulging bucket. Lots more fun stuff to come.

She’s here

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Pre-occupied by other coding, we’ve gotten the new logo up and running. Ooops, except not on the weblog. Go look at the front page and you’ll see it. (You can read more on the collaborative process that brought us the logo.) The logo was designed by Karl Frankowski.

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Survey madness

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

We’ve learned a lot the last two years surveying blog readers. (See prior survey results for 2005 and 2004.)

So we’re doing it again this year, but with a twist, breaking out the blogs into different categories. We launched the
2006 political blogs reader survey this evening and will follow with surveys of other blogospheres shortly. Here’s a logo Nick created this afternoon — if you’ve got a better idea, shoot it to me.

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