BLOG STARTUPS, VENTURE AND THE TECH BUSINESS

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July 5 2011
by Scott Johnson

Execution is Everything

The most common mistake entrepreneurs make is overestimating their ability to execute.  This is so common that I am surprised it is so rarely written about.  Sometimes perfect market timing (aka luck) can mask less than stellar execution.  But 99% of the time, great execution is everything. Execution is the really hard work it takes […]

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May 31 2011
by Scott Johnson

Way Too Early – On Market Timing

Market timing is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for venture success.  Obvious, right?  The problem is that timing is obvious only in retrospect.  Predicting how markets will evolve is an art, and probably is the single most important job of a venture firm.  Boiled down to its essence, our role is to help companies […]

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May 2 2011
by Scott Johnson

Waste = Opportunity

Waste is something I abhor.  Waste of time, waste of resource, I love funding businesses that help others be more efficient and stop waste.   Time wasters are fertile ground for new business ideas.  If anyone is wasting your time, think about how that happened and create a solution for it. Resource wasters are also […]

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April 28 2011
by Scott Johnson

Yahoo! – Come to Boston!

Dear Yahoo! You are completely unappreciated in your home town.  You are compared unfavorably to Google and FaceBook and Twitter; and are kicked around by the local press as a washed-up has-been.  Because of this bashing, your executives are embarrassed to admit to their neighbors that they work for you.  It is clear to me […]

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April 27 2011
by Scott Johnson

Color, Valuations, and the Winner’s Curse

My friend Kevin Lewis is a professor at Duke Business school and he sends out a feed of interesting abstracts describing recent research that I sift through every  day or so.  Today I found this one: The Bidder’s Curse Ulrike Malmendier & Young Han Lee, American Economic Review, April 2011, Pages 749-787 Abstract: We employ […]

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February 23 2011
by Scott Johnson

Amazon Changes the Game (again).

Amazon is a company I hold in the highest esteem as a customer, and as an informed observer of tech-based businesses.  Evolving from discount books to discount everything to cloud services is that rare case of excellent strategy meets superior execution.  Other online retailers are mere specs in their rear-view mirror. Now they have set […]

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February 15 2011
by Scott Johnson

Another Great Day for Android

Apple’s new publisher subscription policy is a big win for Android.  By forcing publishers to offer subscriptions at the same price via iTunes, and then skimming 30%, Apple will drive high-value content off its platform.  Apple went from smart to greedy with this policy.  It is fine to get paid a nice 30% bounty when […]

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February 8 2011
by Scott Johnson

Groupon Super Bowl Ads – Brilliant?

There is a ton of buzz around the Groupon Super Bowl advertisements, and it is all “negative publicity.”  Let’s stipulate for now that the ads were insensitive.  Even further, let’s stipulate that they lost some subscribers as a result.  Short term, this is not good.  Long term?  I think all this attention is a big […]

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February 8 2011
by Scott Johnson

Is The UnGoogle Economy Viable?

Is there enough market to sustain a startup that competes directly with Google?  This is an increasingly frequent topic, as we find ourselves asking entrepreneurs and our CEOs “what if Google decided to do this?”   Back in the mid nineties, we used to ask this same question about Microsoft, as the graveyard of companies […]

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January 28 2011
by Scott Johnson

Mobile Clicks Are Garbage!

Most mobile advertisement banner clicks are accidental.  The Harris group published a study yesterday saying this.  Surprised?  I’m not!  Has anyone actually clicked a mobile banner on purpose?  Really?  I can’t imagine doing so – the experience is so bad.  I think Shakespeare might have been thinking of mobile banner ads when he quipped “It is […]

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