Internet Radio

WSJ writes:

Internet radio, which can draw on vast troves of music from around the world and customize them to a listener’s personal tastes, is growing. While ratings for traditional radio broadcasters have been lackluster, Internet radio listenership in the U.S. has risen to 29 million a week, up from 20 million three years ago, according to Arbitron Inc. and Edison Media Research.

Even so, the nascent industry has yet to capture the biggest prize — portability. Some halfway solutions exist, such as music devices that allow people to stream Internet radio on speakers, or software that allows technology buffs to access Internet radio from their phones. But results can be glitchy, expensive and technically against the terms of contracts with mobile-phone service providers. Now, start-ups and giants are jockeying for position in mobile Internet radio, in a race that could rearrange the business model of music and broadcasting.

Digital Baseball Business

Newsweek writes about Major League Baseball Advanced Media and how it is transforming the economics of ths sport:

Growing at a rate of roughly 30 percent a year, BAM now takes in about $400 million in revenue. Going by its logs, it entertains more than 50 million visitors a month, putting it close to the top 100 sites of any kind. By the end of the season, more than a million subscribers will pay for its media offerings, including video content of all out-of-market games at $99 to $120 a season and audio broadcasts for $20 a season. More than a billion minutes of baseball will flow from its servers. It sells more than $80 million in merchandise, ranging from hats and jerseys to authenticated relics like signed baseballs and bases. (In the 24 hours after Boston became champs in 2004, the site sold $5 million worth of Red Sox gear.) BAM processes a third of the 75 million tickets sold for major-league parks, and resells at premium prices the ducats that season-ticket holders want to offload. It also employs a team of journalists who cover each team”we had to make sure our reporters were independent,” says BAM’s content czar Dinn Mannand hosts hundreds of blogs written by players, celebrities and fans. One of the fastest-growing revenue streams is advertising, now bringing in 15 percent of the total. And more than a million wireless subscribers get mobile updates, ringtones and cell-phone wallpaper.

BAM’s successas well as the egalitarian structure of its ownership schemehas deep implications for the sport’s future.

Think of what can be done with cricket.

Opening up Social Networking

Dave Winer writes:

Closed systems are fine in the early stages of a new technology. They’re the training wheels for a new layer of users and uses. But, as we always see, the training wheels eventually come off, explosively, creating new systems that throw out the assumptions of the old. Oddly, I think this is what’s really behind the Fred Wilson thread, it has little to do with the age of the people, and has more to do with the age of the technology. (The personal computer was “invented” by a group of people, with wide ranging ages. Bill Gates was a teen, but many of the other people were adults. How old were Chuck Geschke, John Warnock and Paul Brainerd when Desktop Publishing came online? Tim Berners-Lee was in his 30s when he created the web.) Permalink to this paragraph

Eventually, soon I think, we’ll see an explosive unbundling of the services that make up social networks. What was centralized in the form of Facebook, Linked-in, even YouTube, is going to blow up and reconstitute itself. How exactly it will happen is something the historians can argue about 25 years from now. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will, unless the rules of technology evolution have been repealed (and they haven’t, trust me).

First Square Mile

[via Anish Sankhalia] Bob Frankston writes: “Telecom is about services delivered over the last mile. Our connected neighborhood gives us the opportunity to discover the unanticipated. Instead of waiting at the end of the last mile we should look within our first square mile and see the possibilities, not just the choices offered.”

ESPN and Mobiles

The New York Times writes:

After some hits and misses in creating content for cellphones, ESPN thinks it knows how to keep up with its fans as they go about their days. Cellphones and other mobile devices, says ESPN, are natural platforms for its content. Consumers waiting in line, riding a bus or sitting in a cafeteria will use their phones to watch sports commentary or to check scores just as often as they glance at their wristwatches or so the thinking goes. In ESPNs view, it is only a matter of time, and mobile technology upgrades, until phone watching is as common as phone calling.

People talk about it being the third screen, says John Zehr, senior vice president for digital video and mobile products at ESPN. I talk about it being the first screen because its the closest to you.

TECH TALK: Good Books: The Dhandho Investor

I attended a talk by Mohnish Pabrai a few years ago in Mumbai. He spoke about his philosophy of investing, which has been heavily influenced by Warren Buffet. But there were also some unique perspectives that he had. Now, Mohnish has written a book that every investor and entrepreneur must read: The Dhandho Investor. The subtitle The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns could as easily have been Heads I win, Tails I don’t lose much.

From the book’s inside flap:

All investors are told that if you want to earn high rates of returns, you must take on greater risk. Of course, the groundbreaking value investing strategies of Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger have shown that it is indeed possible to keep risk to a minimum while still making a reasonable profit. The Dhandho method takes their successful approach to investing one step further and shows how you can actually maximize rewards while minimizing risk.

Dhandho (pronounced dhun-doe), literally translated, means “endeavors that create wealth.” In The Dhandho Investor, Mohnish Pabrai demonstrates how the powerful Dhandho capital allocation framework of India’s business-savvy Patels can be successfully applied and replicated by individual value investors in the stock market. The Patels, a small ethnic group from India, first began arriving in the United States in the 1970s as refugees with little education or capital. Today, they own over $40 billion in motel assets in the United States, pay over $725 million a year in taxes, and employ nearly a million people. How did this small, impoverished group come out of nowhere and end up accumulating such vast resources? The answer lies in their low-risk, high-return approach to business: Dhandho. This book will show you how to use that same technique to generate high returns in the stock market.

Pabrai’s hedge funds, Pabrai Investment Funds, have outperformed all of the major indices and over 99% of other managed funds. $100,000 invested with Pabrai in 1999 was worth over $659,000 by 2006an annualized return of over 28% after all fees and expenses. In this book, Pabrai distills the methods of Buffett, Graham, and Munger into a user-friendly approach applicable to individual investors. Combining their legendary investing wisdom with the business acumen of the Patels, Pabrai lays out the Dhandho framework in an easy-to-use format that will help any investor significantly improve on their results and soundly beat the marketsas well as most professionals.

BloggingStocks writes in a review:

The key concept to glean from this book is the difference between uncertainty and risk. According to Pabrai, most investors don’t understand the difference. Risk means the chance of a loss of capital. Uncertainty is the range of different outcomes. So a stock may have high uncertainty but may not be risky, if no one knows what will happen but the worst case scenario would not results in a huge loss. According to Pabrai, these investments provide the greatest opportunities for investors.

The Dhandho Investor is pretty lean for an investment book –183 pages with fairly large type. Consequently, it’s short on specifics. You won’t really learn about how to analyze stocks. But that’s fine. There are hundreds of books for that. But Monish Pabrai has presented a compelling way of looking at investing and decision-making in general, and reading this book will likely benefit any investor.

Here is an outline of Mohnish Pabrai’s Dhandho Framework which he discusses in detail in the book:

Invest in Existing Businesses
Invest in Simple Businesses
Invest in Distressed Businesses in Distressed Industries
Invest in Businesses with Durable Models
Few Bets, Big Bets, Infrequent Bets
Fixate on Arbitrage
Margin of Safety Always
Invest in Low-Risk, High-Uncertainty Businesses
Invest in the Copycats rather than the Innovators

Tomorrow: Everything is Miscellaneous

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