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Archive for the ‘Idea entrepreneurs’ Category

Huffpo’s flight from seriousness continues

by henrycopeland
Monday, July 20th, 2009

Check out what Huffpo’s readers are excited about today.

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with any of this stuff… it’s just that this bonfire of skin is a long way from the highbrow content that Arianna claims to be championing:

When journalism becomes a popularity contest

by henrycopeland
Monday, July 13th, 2009

WaPo’s web columnist Dan Froomkin gets the ax because his online articles don’t get enough traffic.

Think about all the coverage that will disappear in coming years as this philosophy becomes standard.

Think about all the far away places about which the average person knows little and care less — Sudan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Pakistan, Ghana, Taiwan, South Korea, Peru — that won’t measure up to the web’s popularity standards and slowly disappear as take-it-or-leave-it bundle of The Newspaper is replaced by the “every word for itself” metrics of web publishing.

The HuffingtonPost has stepped up to hire Froomkin — no doubt garnering a nice little spike in page impressions and PR — but is itself on vanguard of the desperate commercial scramble to add frothy content to drive page impressions and revenues. (Right this second the most popular stories on Huffpo are #1 “Sarah Palin’s Most memorable style moments” #2 “Women’s iconic swimsuit movie moments” #3 “ADN confirms, Sarah Palin’s story doesn’t add up” and #4 “Emma Watson’s Wardrobe Malfunction.”)

I’m not arguing that Froomkin was a great journalist or deserved to stay at the Post. I’m just marking this small moment in the shifting climate of publishing, a moment in which web metrics nudge aside the editor’s judgement.

Obscure thought for the day

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

“Disciplines are cultures, with embedded practices and ways of thinking that have been successful at tackling certain kinds of problems. When a new problem or opportunity arises that does not fall into one of the traditional disciplinary bins—like converging technologies–then practitioners from different fields may find they have fundamentally different perspectives on it, including whether there really is an opportunity. This kind of communications barrier depends, in part, on one’s level of inclusion in the disciplinary culture (Law & Bijker, 1992) and on which invisible colleges a particular member of the culture belongs to (Crane, 1972).” (From draft workshop proposal, Trading zones, interactional expertise and interdisciplinary collaboration, by Michael E. Gorman, University of Virginia)

Remember our logo?

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 20th, 2009

Someone asked about our logo.

Here’s a distilled version of its origin. Boy was our first logo ugly.

Luckily, we had a contest and got reader feedback.


Welcome Tina!

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Last week Tina Merrill joined us a COO in our Carrboro NC office.

Our US staff has grown steadily since 2002 to the current 17, so we’re all very excited to draw on Tina’s great energy, organizational skills and business insights.

Tina spent the last 3 years working as Finance Director for the Southern Rural Development Initiative. Before that, Tina founded and ran Citizen Canine, a luxury dog care business, in Oakland CA. Tina graduated from what is formally known the Stanford Graduate School for Business after a stint in the energy industry. (Her employer there had been acquired by Enron, so Tina can share some horrifying tales from inside the E-beast.) Rounding out her checkered past, Tina graduated from Harvard with a BA in economics.

Calacanis counts

by henrycopeland
Friday, March 27th, 2009

Jason Calacanis, the Donald Trump of the interwebs, has written an adrenalized chest-thumping column on living near the edge.

I’ve been to the precipice and faced the fall a couple of times. I’ve
learned a couple of things from the experience. I can tell you that
the first time it happens, you’re terrified, because everything you’ve
done–all the effort and dreams–will probably be lost (like tears in
the rain).

The second time it happens, you’re deeply concerned, but know it ain’t
over until you’re splattered on the boulders below.

The third time it happens, you smile and say “let’s get it on!”



by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Funny that politicians and economists never do A/B testing of policies.

Here come the suckers

by henrycopeland
Thursday, October 9th, 2008

In every bear market, there comes a moment when reasonable people say “Enough is enough. Let us take a stand. Prices are now 20% lower than they were a month ago. The market is cheap. We will buy and show that we are wise.”

These reasonable people are called suckers. They mistake “cheaper” for “cheap.” They’re trading the market looking in the rear view mirror. Watching the sunny day behind them, they don’t notice the tornado just ahead.

I write this because stocks are up in overnight trading because IBM’s Q3 results were good and IBM projects strong numbers going forward.

I.B.M. said its third-quarter net income rose 22 percent, to $2.05 a share, which was 3 cents higher than analysts’ consensus estimate, as compiled by Thomson Reuters. …

I.B.M. went beyond saying it did well last quarter. It also reaffirmed its previous guidance for its profits for the entire year, despite the weakening economic outlook in the United States and elsewhere.

The company expects to earn $8.75 a share for 2008, a 22 percent increase over 2007.

Just what the suckers need to hear.

Valuations look attractive,” said Espen Furnes, an Oslo- based fund manager at Storebrand Asset Management, which has the equivalent of $48 billion. “It’s time for a rebound, the stock market has just fallen too rapidly. IBM’s numbers show that it’s not all doom and gloom out there.”

No, Oslo based Espen Fumes IBM’s numbers show that Q3 was OK and IBM economists and treasurers haven’t absorbed (or can’t yet admit to themselves) that things have changed.

See Espen, it’s like the seasons. Plants that grow in the summer doesn’t grow in the winter. Animals that eat those plants either hibernate, migrate or die. Espen doesn’t know it yet, but it’s now officially winter. Winter, Espen, is a silly time to plant seeds or buy swimming suits. And its a silly time to buy stocks. Even if the market does rally 10% in the coming week — and it easily could — the downside risk is still far greater than the upside.

We still do not know — and IBM forecasters certainly do not know —

Plenty of folks bought Lehman Brothers at $20 a share in August because “Hey, it’s trading at a 60% discount to its price in May, this is crazy cheap!” They discovered crazy cheap can, in hindsight, be crazy expensive when shares are headed in a matter of days to $0.17.

View the full LEH chart at Wikinvest

Goog gurgles

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

In the closing four minutes of trading today, Google dropped $70 on volume of 4.27 million shares to $341. Usually trades 50 to 100,000 shares in a 4 minute stretch. Either somebody knows something, somebody panicked or somebody mistakenly added an extra zero (or more) to a sell order. In after hours trading, Google is back up at $410. To put the swing in perspective, that’s a roughly $20 billion swing in Google’s valuation in 4 minutes.

Update: Clearly there’s zero liquidity in the markets right now. A big seller comes along and all the buyers hide. Who me? I’m not a market maker in the hottest tech company around. Maybe they’re going out of business and I don’t know something. Pity the poor guy who finally stepped up to buy the 4.27 million shares at a deep discount (approximately $280 million discount to be exact)… only to have the trade DKed the next day. (DK: Street lingo for “don’t know” or cancelled trade.)

Two keys to growth: stomp and yell

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003

A new Bain study looks at what makes brands grow. As this blog sums up: “Quick, pick the best indicator a brand will grow faster than its category: Brand size? Newness? Leadership within a category? Such is conventional wisdom, but a recent Bain study of 524 brands across 100 categories found none of the above. The study “winners”-defined as any brand that beat its category’s growth each year from 1997-2001-invested differentially in just two components of the marketing mix: product innovation and advertising.”

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