My Internet usage habit

 

Today, my entire window the web is Bloglines, a neat and nifty web-based RSS feedreader which I have been using for an year now. I guess I have I have about 200 odd feeds configured in it (of which not all are read on a daily basis - I have a Favorites folder of about 25 feeds that I catch up with daily, the rest when possible).

In almost all cases I have stopped visiting the various web sites like News.com or Economictimes.com etc. Since these sites provide RSS Feeds, I just add these to my Bloglines list and then most of my interaction with the content is through Bloglines. Add to this a list of good blogs that I catch up regularly with (Emergic.org, Jeremy Zawodny’s blog, Om Malik on Broadband, Paidcontent.org) … I have little or no reason on most days to surf any other site other than through Bloglines ! Further, being a great fan and user of Firefox, the uber-cool browser from the Mozilla guys, I use their Livelines extension to add new feeds that I come across directly to Bloglines straight from the Firefox interface. I have also gotten very used to the Bookmarks toolbar of Firefox wherein I have my most frequently visited sites lined up (things like Gmail, Sify.com, Bloglines, My Photoblog as well as nifty Javascript hacks aka Bookmarklets that let me add pages to del.icio.us without any hassles). I have never been the kind of user who would use Browser bookmarks or Address bar history to go to sites that I have already visited.

The entire ritual of exploring new sites is almost fully through del.icio.us wherein I have subscribed to the RSS feeds of the tags of my interest (Broadband, Firefox etc) and through the del.icio.us Popular links feed By all means, today, I can manage most of my browser related activity without the Address bar !!! (worst case I have the integrated Google search box in Firefox) - thanks to Bloglines and del.icio.us

With the recent acquisition of Bloglines by Ask Jeeves I only hope that they dont screw things up at Bloglines and make me start my search for the perfect RSS reader again …

Gmail Mobile

 

Finally, the folks at Google seem to have managed to port Gmail to a Mobile version.

I checked it out this morning using my Blackberry and must say that I am glad to see it. This has been a long standing user need from Gmail and now that it has arrived, it is a real cool and neat way for me to access my mails on the go.

Also came across a views feature wherein you can select the Jasminlive Labels that you want to see on the Gmail mobile interface.

Also, looks like they have implemented a keyboard shortcuts kinda hack, eg., press 0 to go to the inbox etc, but this did not work on my Blackberry.

I wondered what is wrong with Om Malik?

 

I think it was yesterday or maybe the day before when I was doing my daily ritual of running through RSS feeds using Bloglines when I came across Om Mailk’s Blog and what I saw drove me crazy.

Here it was, a blog from a man I respect for his knowledge of the Broadband and VoIP tech & business and here is his RSS feed with a dirty & huge graphic banner ad from Citibank in every posting. Gawd ! it looked ugh !!! I wondered … has Om mailk gone bananas ???

Fortunately, I didnt rave or rant but just about ignored it with a sexchat feeling at the back of my mind that I aint gonna click on any of those and if this goes in, I’m gonna unsubscribe form his blog.

Fortunately, it was a Snafu as Om admits it and everything is OK and fixed now.

New delicious features?

 

As a regular del.icio.us user I have long wondered why these folks dont have a Blog where there can sound their user’s off on the new things that they come up with. Now come on, it today’s world it is more than just cool to have a blog, and for something like del.icio.us, it is not just a nice to have, it is a bloody necessity !!!

This thought came to my mind as I was lurking around the del.icio.us interface to rename some tags wherein I found 2 new thingies in the settings menu under the title ‘Experimental’:

Tag bundles

Daily Blog posting

Tag bundles seems to be a Metatag for Tags, kind of a set of LiveJasmin tags, so the next time you want to add a long list of tags like: Technology Internet Web Google Search Cool Firefox, just as GFCool instead of the long list (this is my hypothesis and I am yet to check this feature out).

Daily Blog posting as of now looks very very kludgy and clumsy and I actually see what look like database field names in the interaface (things like: job_name, out_name etc etc).

Looks like you can set up a cronjob of sorts that can spew out your del.icio.us links to your blog.

The thing about these 2 new ‘Experimental’ additions is the absolute lack of any text / description about these. Waiting for del.icio.us to provide more info on both

Back From Holiday Break and into The BlogoMatrix

 

Just writing to get my fingers warmed up after no blogging for almost 10 days :) Havent got to the point of “missing” blogging yet but I thought if I dont write soon I might lose “it” so I’m just typing for the hell of it.

The office is still pretty empty today with traffic really really light on 680. Lots of people took some time off between Christmas and New Years to re-charge. It was actually a great time to get some stuff done around the office without meetings after meetings interupting my work/thought process. Just got done with 2006 planning for eBay so I can do some 2006 personal/career planning work for myself . . . kicking ass it the keyword . . . on both fronts :)

Everytime during this time of the year eBay Nation basically takes a break . . . listing volume drops by over 70% as people take some time off from the internet and enjoy real human beings. The blogosphere is not so different, many of the blogs I like to read havent posted for days . . . that’s good though . . . knowing that we all have real lifes outside of Matrix like world of blogging. That we are not so self-absorbed we cant stand people NOT listening to us bicker and moan over the latest startups or meme’s for just a week.

Anyways, happy holidays everyone, and lets all hope that 2006 wont be like 2001 . . . the last bubble lasted about 3 years . . . so if this “2.0″ thing is a bubble, the popping sound should be starting just about now too. . .

Entrepreneurial Fuzzy Math

 

Lots of talk recently about structural changes in the venture capital industry with major internet companies competing with VC’s for not just series B ventures but also series A/Seed. Om’s Business 2.0 article summarizes some of the issues involved while Silicon Valley Sleuth takes a longer term view. Paul Graham has been pushing the general topic for a while, calling the VC business outdated . . . most recently in Venture Capital Squeeze. Furthermore, Yahoo’s purchase of Flikr and Delicious and the recent rumors on Riya did not help VC’s case on proving their value proposition to entrepreneurs either.

As a one-time entrepreneur, I wondered aloud whether the so call change is temporary or structural. I’ve bitched and moaned about venture capitalists from time to time (exhibit A) but always understood that venture capital is neccessary, important, and (sometimes :) ) welcomed part of the ecosystem. Putting myself in the shoes of these founders, I did some fuzzy math on the alternatives these 2 “financing” options. (huge caveat, I call this fuzzy for a reason cause I’m making a lot of assumptions and they varies widely case by case . . . if my finance professors or my ex-colleagues CSFB see this they’ll revoke their association with me).

Option A - Tier One VC

Pre-money valuation- 15M

Investment - 8M

Post-money valuation - 23M

VC - 35% stake

Pre-allocated employee pool - 20%

Founder(s)/founding team stake - 45%

(doesnt look TOO bad at this point, but this is where it gets dicey)

Liquidation Preference - 1.5x

(people has been telling me that this is around the market level these days . . . better than the last bubble)

Participation - Yes

(double dipping on the preference)

Vesting - 4 years, 1 year cliff . . . founders get 1 year credit for the work they put in (again VC’s being nice)

Automatic vestiing of 1/2 outstanding shares upon acquisition

Now, if the founders chose this option they are probably assuming that in one year they can triple the value of the company and sell it off at a higher price. (no discount factors used here, I’m being really aggressive but this is a Riya-esque company I’m talking about) A year later, the company is sold for $69M, the founders vested 2 years already + 1 year automatic vesting upon acquisition = total 3/4 of their 45% = ~34%. BUT since the VC’s have a liquidiation preference + double dip, only 69M-12M = 57M is available for the founders. 34%* 57M = ~$19M. (again this is very fuzzy since we dont know the status of the employee pool and the acquisition terms) Final founders take - ~$19M, one year later, working hard to 3x the value of the company.

Option B - Yahoo/Google

Offer - $25M

Founders share - 100% of $25M

Time - now

Effort - none

Fuzzy math confusion - none

Obviouse choice . . . sell out to the highest bidder...

Unless the entrepreneurs are 1) already somewhat & rich looking for a homerun OR 2) extremely confident of their ability to get to a IPO . . . Financially, there is really no reason to go route A. Of course, there are other reasons to work with VC’s, the desire to build a lasting and great company is the ultimate goal why many of us are doing what we are doing instead of working for millions at a investment bank or consulting firm . . . We make that choice a long time ago to walk down this path, making that choice again isnt really that hard. For VC’s the ultimate value add or sales pitch to entreperneurs isnt financial returns but the desire and the means to help us achieve our dreams and goals. The venture business is changing, and I think its for the better. VC’s who specialize in dumping their entrepreneurs at the first sign of trouble and view their startups as an exercise in portfolio optimization will no longer be able to attract the best and most promising startups. . . and will eventually disappear.

Web 3.0 = Micro-Commissions?

 

Apparently me and Phil Wainewright shared the same thoughts around the need for a revenue sharing infrastructure for the long-tail. I’ve gotten a couple emails regarding my post and I’ve been struggling with how to reply given that I am an insider at a company that does have a vested interest in the space (eBay-Paypal). (please accept my apology) But given that Phill already brought up many of the issues, I think I can share a little more thoughts. I believe a lot of the lessons of how a startup could own this space could be learned through how paypal built a multi-billion $ business ON TOP of the existing ACH and CC infrastructure.

That given the right value proposition, the right functionalities, the right barrier to entries, and right integration with the required payment and metering pieces, a startup could very much become Paypal’s strategy into the space rather than competing with it.