Bloggers like “Marc Andreessen”:http://blog.pmarca.com/2008/02/abc-thinks-your.html, “John Gruber”:http://daringfireball.net/linked/2008/february#mon-25-tivo, and “TechDirt”:http://techdirt.com/articles/20080224/231143340.shtml have heaped scorn upon “ABC’s decidedly feature-retro on-demand service”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/25/business/media/25abc.html?_r=1&ex=1361682000&en=23079907c62f6977&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin. With ads you can’t skip, ABC’s offering gets rid of what everybody seems to agree is the most wonderful feature of the DVR. Is ABC stupid or brilliant? I’m almost tempted to argue the former — this could be a clever business move.
Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo for $45 billion is both unexpected and widely-foreseen. Pundits have, for some time now, “suggested that might be a reasonable course of action”:http://watchmojo.com/web/blog/index.php/2007/04/18/yhoo-let-one-rip-and-everyone-in-the-room-heard-it/. But the purchase price is clearly aggressive, at $31/share for a stock that had closed at under $19 the day before. In fact, as “Jupiter’s Michael Gartenberg puts it”:http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/gartenberg/archives/2008/02/dear_yahoo_shar.html, this proposal looks more like Microsoft is saying “Dear Yahoo Shareholder: How would you like to get Yahoo’s share price from six months ago back, tomorrow?” Where’s the logic behind this price?
Almost no matter what you want to do with it, it’s tough to bend Outlook to your whims. This goes double if you follow the precepts of Getting Things Done. There’s the high-powered but somewhat obtuse GTD Outlook Add-in of course, but that loses a lot of fidelity once you go to the ubiquitous smartphone. Because I can’t be separated from my Treo, I set up my system to be low-fi, while still providing a reliable inbox and review set-up.
There’s nothing like a Steve Jobs keynote address for a Mac fan like me. For a lot of years in the ’90s, the Macworld keynote was just a list of products; but, since Apple’s turn-of-the-century rebirth, it’s been a window on the company’s emerging strategy. In Macworld after Macworld, Apple has revealed products that represented long bets — the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, Apple TV, iWork — and, if you look at Macworld with the same strategic eye as Jobs, there’s indications of the future there.
At my company, we send out a moderate amount of mail. There’s the bills, of course, and also reply envelopes to help get feedback from customers. Obviously, keeping mailing costs down is key, but so is having convenient access to postage and minimizing the amount of work I have to do (after all, there’s only one of me, and I have a lot more than just sending mail on my plate). After trying out some options, I decided to stick with plain old-fashioned stamps, bought at the USPS Web site.
Nothing ever goes right for my neighbor. His tires are flat, someone broke his cabinet (the one that he left in the driveway), and his car accidentally got impounded. The things he hopes for never pan out. For Steve Jobs, “it’s the opposite story”:http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/10/22results.htm – Apple sold a boatload of Macs last quarter, more than anyone expected. It seems like, after years of hoping, Steve finally got some iPod users to make the big switch to the Mac.
In a former life, I designed Web sites for a living — I still do a bit of consulting here and there. For someone starting a new business, having a great Web site can make a big difference. But it’s not always clear how to make a site that really sells online. Here are some common mistakes that companies of all sizes make on their Web sites, as well as some tips and tools you can use to make sure these mistakes don’t appear on your site.
Starting a company is a messy business. Things go wrong. Worse, things that you never thought could go wrong go wrong. You have to create everything afresh, and that always takes longer than expected. It’s a mess, and it’ll get you down. But you just have to believe. You can be the princess. You can go home again. It’s like a Disney movie — you just have to believe.
On top of their mostly-symbolic cut to the discount rate a month ago, “the Fed has now cut the Federal Funds rate”:http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/18/news/economy/fed_rates/index.htm?cnn=yes, hopefully lowering lenders’ interest rates and saving the economy from a Real Estate bubble-fueled recession. This is a dangerous game: the added credit availability may not trickle down to homeowners or other consumers, and the new liquidity may simply allow predatory and irresponsible lenders to cover their own losses while not learning a thing. This cut is a gift to the lenders — and shows that what we need is a policy solution to this housing crisis.
I’m not much of an economist, but it’s starting to seem like I can predict recessions. Specifically, I start companies right before the economy goes in the toilet. I don’t know what I’m on to, but this is two times around the track now that this has happened. It’s a bit funny, but, if I’m clever, maybe I can figure out how to make money off of it.