Early Stage Companies

Peter Rip has a nice comment:

Early stage companies go through predictable phases. First, it is about the Product. Then it is about the early Customers. Then it is about the Partners. Then it is about the Investment Community. All along the team is changing, expanding, and improving.

The successful early stage companies have two fates they either get acquired at nice prices or they go public. Either way, these companies benefit enormously from having friends that run in those circles.

Microsoft’s Entertainment Plans

Techcrunch writes:

Earlier this week, Microsofts Xbox 360 division announced partnerships with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting, UFC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to Digitally Deliver TV Shows and Movies to Gamers. This is Microsofts first move into digital movie and TV show sales and is also another move towards turning their Xbox gaming system into a full-fledged digital entertainment system.
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Microsoft has a serious strategy to dominate digital entertainment. Microsoft already has a very successful gaming console (Xbox 360) that allows users to play games, watch movies, buy movies, buy TV shows, stream video from their computer, stream music from their computer, and Im sure buying music from URGE is in the gameplan not to mention the social networking features that allow Xbox 360 users (and maybe Zune users, considering the wi-fi built-in?) to chat with each other in games, send messages to each other, add users to their friends list, etc.

Second to YouTube

The Economist writes about Metacafe:

Although YouTube is skilled at building online communities around video clips, says Arik Czerniak, the co-founder of Metacafe, it appears strangely uninterested in solving two bigger problems that are still holding back the genre of web video: quality control and incentives for contributors. So Metacafe, which is now the largest independent video-sharing site, is having a go.

Unlike its rival, it makes an effort to choose and promote good videos on its home page. First, it rejects duplicates (about half of submissions). Then it uses 100,000 volunteers as film criticsjust as Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, uses volunteers to write and vet articles. As a third filter, Metacafe then analyses the clips with its VideoRank algorithm, which crunches all sorts of metrics (whether viewers watch a clip to the end, for instance) in order to rank themrather as Google’s famous PageRank algorithm ranks web-search results.

Google as OS for Advertising

Robert Young writes:

Just like Microsofts Windows (or any other OS) manages all the hardware and software resources of a computer, Googles Ad/OS will similarly manage all the critical components of an ad campaign, regardless of media type. But instead of controlling and allocating memory, Googles Ad/OS will allocate ad budgets instead of prioritizing system requests, controlling input & output devices, Googles Ad/OS will enable ad inventory buying & placement instead of facilitating networks and managing files, Googles Ad/OS will optimize media buying across the spectrum & manage creative placement.

Googles Ad/OS will be used to manage and buy ads at many of the top new media publishers like MySpace, YouTube, AOL, Ask, and Google itself, of course, along with hundreds of thousands of blogs. It will also be used to buy ads in the NY Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and all sorts of local papers owned by Tribune, Gannett and McClatchy not to mention radio stations all over the country that are owned by Clear Channel and other radio conglomerates. And if Google executes on its plan, soon all the major broadcast TV and cable networks will join in to make their ad inventory available via Googles Ad/OS.

TECH TALK: Two 2.0 Events: Web 2.0 Summit

The Web 2.0 Summit took place last week in San Francisco. Almost in parallel, was a 1-day Mobile 2.0 conference. In a sense, these are the two defining trends around us the next upgrade of the Internet for the desktops and mobiles. In this weeks Tech Talk, I will summarise the discussions that took place drawing from bloggers and people who attended. I find this a good way to get a snapshot of what happened being far away in Mumbai. Let us begin with Web 2.0.

Here is the introduction from the Web 2.0 Summit site on what the objectives of the event, now in its third year, were:

What began as a focused gathering on the implications of the Web becoming a platform has transformed into an industry event focused on the latest Internet innovationsthe services, applications, businesses, and modelsthat are redefining the way companies do business and how people live.

In 2004, Web 2.0 focused on one big idea: The Web has become a platform, a foundation upon which thousands of new forms of business would emerge. In 2005, at the second annual Web 2.0 Conference, we focused on the idea of Revving the Web – with the platform in place, we highlighted emerging innovations, with a particular emphasis on the entertainment, communications and IT industries.

This year, we’re thinking even bigger. It’s clear that major swaths of the global economy are in significant flux. Now that the Web has become a robust platform with countless innovations driving its ongoing development, widespread disruptions in traditional business models are well underway. The telcos are under siege from VoIP and bandwidth hungry content companies. Entertainment and publishing companies are struggling with consumer-driven media and the attention economy. And the IT giants – Microsoft chief among them – are in a battle for their lives with the give it away free and monetize it with ads model of Yahoo! and Google.

As a lead-up to the event, OReilly released a 100-page report entitled Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices by John Musser. From the executive summary:

Web 2.0 is here today, yet its vast disruptive impact is just beginning. More than just the latest technology buzzword, its a transformative force thats propelling companies across all industries toward a new way of doing business. Those who act on the Web 2.0 opportunity stand to gain an early-mover advantage in their markets. OReilly Media has identified eight core patterns that are keys to understanding and navigating the Web 2.0 era. This report details the problems each pattern solves or opportunities it creates, and provides a thorough analysis of market trends, proven best practices, case studies of industry leaders, and tools for hands-on self-assessment. To compete and thrive in todays Web 2.0 world, technology decision-makersincluding executives, product strategists, entrepreneurs, and thought leadersneed to act now, before the market settles into a new equilibrium. This report shows you how.

Whats causing this change? Consider the following raw demographic and technological drivers:

One billion people around the globe now have access to the Internet
Mobile devices outnumber desktop computers by a factor of two
Nearly 50 percent of all U.S. Internet access is now via always-on broadband connections

Combine drivers with the fundamental laws of social networks and lessons from the Webs first decade, and:

In the first quarter of 2006, MySpace.com signed up 280,000 new users each day and had the second most Internet traffic
By the second quarter of 2006, 50 million blogs were creatednew ones were added at a rate of two per second
In 2005, eBay conducted 8 billion API-based web services transactions

These trends manifest themselves under a variety of guises, names, and technologies: social computing, user-generated content, software as a service, podcasting, blogs, and the readwrite web. Taken together, they are Web 2.0, the next-generation, user-driven, intelligent web.

Tomorrow: Web 2.0 Core Patterns