YouTube and Clip Culture

The Economist writes about YouTube’s phenomenal success with video on the Internet:

In December people were uploading 8,000 clips a day, and watching 3m a day. This month they were uploading 35,000 a day and watching 40m a day. With such amazing growthalmost all by word of mouth, e-mail and hyperlinkYouTube already has four times the traffic of Google Video, the online video market of the world’s largest search-engine firm, and the nearest thing to a rival.

The success of YouTube points to another development. People are spending an average of 15 minutes on the site during each visit, enough to view several short, funny clips. This is because they are using YouTube for little breaks during a dull workday. And it is a lean-forward experience, as people sit in front of computer screens. This clip culture, as Mr Hurley calls it, is quite different from the lean-back experience of enjoying a half-hour show while reclining on the sofa.

How to Evangelise a Blog

Guy Kawasaki suggests a plan. Among the ideas:

1. Think book not diary. First, a bit of philosophy: my suggestion is that you think of your blog as a “product.” A good analogy is the difference between a diary and a book. When you write a diary, it contains your spontaneous thoughts and feelings. You have no plans for others to read it. By contrast, if you write a book, from day one you should be thinking about spreading the word about it. If you want to evangelize your blog, then think book not diary and market the heck out of it.

VC Deal Pricing

VC Confidential digs deeper:

The venture business is driven off of multiples. Early stage VC’s target 10x return of capital and expansion/late stage investors target 3-5x. Why 10x…seems a bit usurious? The classic venture portfolio looks like this. Of ten deals done:
— 4 crater
— 2 are breakeven +/- a little
— 3 are 2-5x capital
— 1 is 8-10x

So, as a VC, you hope that all 10 deals will be the next Microsoft, but reality sets in at the first board meeting. You need to target 10x for your winners in order to pay for the losses elsewhere.

VCs will then try to estimate a) what they think the company might be worth if successful in 3-5 years and b) how much more capital will be needed. In a simple case, lets assume that the company is worth $100m in 4 years and will not take additional capital. Using the 10x rule, the VC will price the deal so that post-$ valuation of the deal is $10m. If the company is raising $2M and adds $1M worth of options to its pool, the VC will pay $7M pre-$.

Maps and Directions

The New Yorker writes about the “the science of driving directions.”

Navigation is big business these days. Web sites that offer maps and directions, such as MapQuest and Google Earth, are growing more sophisticated; global-positioning satellite technology and the in-car navigation systems that rely on it, such as General Motorss OnStar and Hertzs NeverLost, are becoming ubiquitous. Geographic Information Systems, or G.I.S., may be the plastics of our time. Its not hard to envision the demise of the paper road map, in a generation or two, because a map, for all its charms, is really a smorgasbord of chance information, most of it useless. Who cares where Buffalo is, if youre trying to get to Coxsackie? Most people just want to be told where to turn.

TECH TALK: Revolution on the Roads: Random Thoughts

As I look back on my two Surat trips, there are some other thoughts that come to mind. For one, we definitely need to inculcate road sense among our drivers. Slow traffic needs to keep to the left. It is incredibly frustrating to see the right lane blocked with a slow moving vehicle which refuses to shift to the left!

Also, the octroi check posts are becoming huge bottlenecks. Besides being huge corruption joints, they slow traffic to a crawl around them as trucks have to go through those points and long queues form. The One India concept needs to be extended so that these checkposts are abolished and there is free flow across states and cities.

Urgent attention needs to be paid to city roads and infrastructure. That remains the most frustrating part of the experience. In Surat, I saw a key flyover on the Ring Road built barely a few years ago closed in one of the directions for resurfacing. We need to build roads that last. We need to make rapid investments in improving city roads. Whether it is bridges across the sea in Mumbai or double-decker roads, decisions need to be made fast and complemented with speedy construction.

There is a need for alerts on traffic conditions. Everyone has a mobile phone. So, is there a way one can subscribe to traffic alerts for the road one is traveling on? We really need to create a decentralised system that enables person-to-person updates (via a central server). This way, one knows what to expect ahead on the road (high traffic, accident) so one can then make alternative decisions.

The signage need to be a lot better. For example, there is a turn off the highway one needs to make to get to Surat. The visibility of that information needs to be made better for first-time travellers. We also need to get better maps which are updated rapidly given the new construction that is being built. Also, how about integrating GPS into vehicles in India leapfrogging the rest of the world? In short, we need to use the emerging technologies to build a much better information and alerts system.

Another stupid system that needs rethinking is that of collecting tolls. These points and there are about five or six en route to Surat need to be made much more efficient. Perhaps, the EZ-Pass system from the US can be introduced in India. More importantly, we should collect double the toll in one direction and eliminate the toll booths in the other direction. Look at New York City, for example. In the short term, this may encourage travelers to look at alternative routes to save toll in the direction where the booths are, but they will quickly realize the futility of that given also that there really arent too many alternative routes!

It would be nice to ensure that all inter-city roads constructed have three lanes in each direction rather than two. This will ensure much faster driving times and make it much safer also.

We also need to promote the use of hybrid cars so as to optimise energy consumption. We cannot stop people from traveling by cars if anything, this will increase. But we can definitely work on promoting fuel efficiency.

In summary, roads in India are changing and so will our travel habits. By thinking a little about the future and adopting best practices from other parts of the world, we can make the experience much more pleasant.

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