BLOG STARTUPS, VENTURE AND THE TECH BUSINESS

Author Archive

December 6 2011
by Scott Johnson

iMessage Goodbye SMS?

I love anything that takes undeserved and absurd profit away from telecom companies.  This is because of the “WTF Gap”.  In case this gap is new to you, which it probably is since I just invented the name, the WTF gap is the large difference between what your telco advertised you were going to pay ...

Read on and discuss (1)

September 26 2011
by Scott Johnson

My 5 Laws of Consumer Behavior

We are pitched with consumer business ideas all the time.  Many of them are asking consumers to change behavior, which requires time and learning, which requires effort, which all consumers abhor.  Only absurdly great value propositions can overcome this trait.  The business ideas I like best recognize the following laws of adult consumer behavior: 1) ...

Read on and discuss (2)

September 19 2011
by Scott Johnson

Direct Marketing 3.0 – The Social Era

One place where there is growth aplenty thesedays is good old direct marketing, which search reinvented last decade.  This decade, social media is reinventing it once again. Picture this: You’re playing a social game like Mafia Wars on Facebook and you want more “credits.”  So you type “Drink Dr. Pepper” into a box, and then buy a ...

Read on and discuss (0)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (1)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (0)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (0)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (0)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (0)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (0)

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 ...

Read on and discuss (0)