Craigslist Meets the Capitalist

This is pretty funny… you can’t deny that Craigslist is one of the most durable destination sites on the entire internet, and equally the most unlikely success given that the user interface is positively primitive and it can be amazingly frustrating to use but amazingly effective at the same time. I use it craigslist regularly, just today to find a santa claus for our Christmas party next week. It’s one of a kind, that is for certain.

Craigslist Meets the Capitalists – Mergers, Acquisitions, Venture Capital, Hedge Funds — DealBook – New York Times:

Wendy Davis of MediaPost describes the presentation as a “a culture clash of near-epic proportions.” She recounts how UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn’t, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). “That definitely is not part of the equation,” he said, according to MediaPost. “It’s not part of the goal.”

Google Announces Transferable Stock Options

This is an interesting move by Google, it effectively creates liquidity for vested but unexercised options. I would be curious to know what the tax implications are, if any, beyond simply exercising and selling the stock. While this is all well and good for employees by making it easier to sell options through the privileged position that financial institutions will enjoy, it seems that the real beneficiary here is Google itself by creating a market for valuing options through a realtime market that values employee options based on the difference between the exercise price and the market price instead of Black-Scholes. Interesting although somewhat unique due to the market position and valuation that Google enjoys and the relatively small float on the stock which creates huge demand.

BTW, the new Google Finance page has a number of very nice upgrades.

UPDATE: Actually, in looking at how this program works it may not result in Google having that much of a benefit given that there will likely be additional expense charges for Google because institutions will hold the options longer than employees. It’s definitely an interesting program, they should get credit for innovating in an area that few would have expected.

Official Google Blog: About Transferable Stock Options:

As with most employee stock option programs, Google’s program to date has allowed employees to do two things with their options. Upon vesting they can (1) hold them or (2) exercise them and then hold or sell the stock. With the new TSO program, employees will have an additional alternative: they can transfer (sell) their options to a financial institution through a competitive bidding process. The ability to sell options is not a novel concept — today people can buy and sell options to purchase GOOG stock and the stock of many other companies on the public markets. What is novel is that we are extending this ability to trade options to employee stock options.

Technorati Tags:

LeWeb LeSucked

Sure glad I didn’t invest the time and money to go that event. When I was at IT@Cork a couple of weeks ago more than a couple of people asked me if I was going but I really couldn’t justify the expense even though it was talked up as one of the must go events in Europe.

UPDATE: Tom Raftery, my host at IT@Cork, has some more detail on why the conference attendees felt hijacked.

Tom Morris: Tuesday, December 12, 2006:

“we basically lost energy and momentum because some bunch of French politicians wanted to do themselves some public relations and build an image of modernity. If they are modern they ought to go for conversations, not top-down broadcasts of official truths and by the way accept questions for the audience, Mr Sarkozy”

320531781 1F9F5D0C4A M-1

Technorati Tags:

Who Says Macs Aren’t Used In Businesses?

When I’m at conferences or in any group of people I can’t help but take a quick survey of macs vs. windows laptops and consistently it runs about 50/50, which is obviously out of spectrum for the broader market but should nonetheless be very concerning for Microsoft because Apple’s quarterly data does point to a considerable degree of switching going on. At Teqlo we give the option of a Mac or a Windows laptop and interestingly enough it’s also about 50/50.

I won’t go back to Windows except for maybe when I have meetings at Microsoft, and then I’ll just borrow one. My MacBook Pro just works, all the time.

Who Says Macs Aren’t Used In Businesses?:

Meanwhile, Cross and her colleagues were happily running all the applications they needed, including a very slick-looking Java-based Reuters terminal application. From where I sat, I could see all three of these MacBook-carrying analysts were very busy and very productive, sending IM’s checking quotes, staying up to speed on the moves of the market, with not a single Windows application needed.

Some venture capitalists switching sides

This resonates with me big time. My last couple of years as a VC I would sit in first meetings with entrepreneurs and know in 5 minutes that I wasn’t interested but didn’t have the balls to cut it short by saying “hey this isn’t for me and I don’t want to waste your time”. I wish I did, it would have saved a lot of needless meetings watching the minutes tick by. Having said that, I only recently realized that the reason all those meetings were so boring to me is that I was only interested in funding and pursuing one kind of business, what I am doing now, but to do that from the perch of being the venture investor would still have been unfulfilling. For all the perks and privilege that venture capital affords those who are fortunate enough to call that their profession, it is still one step removed from the raw success and failures that businesses experience. | 12/12/2006 | Some venture capitalists switching sides:

However, the biggest plus, say these Web entrepreneurs — each of whom hopes as much as the next company founder to strike it rich — is knowing what they’ll do differently if they return to venture capital. “I used to sit and nod and think I could fake my way through another meeting with someone,” said the founder of the online advertising start-up. “As an entrepreneur, I now see you can instantly recognize who doesn’t get it, or care.”

More on this topic (What's this?)
Venture Capital: Powerful trio puts hedge fund together
City-states are the Future?
Two Bilzzards
$10 Million Here…
Read more on Venture Capital (VC), Entrepreneurship, Venture at Wikinvest

Maybe It Should Be Called “The Puritanical Open Source Society”

I’m kind of tired of these debates about whether something is open source enough or adheres to Stallman’esque values of what free software is supposed to adhere to. There is a further sense of irony that in order for something to be “open” it has to be approved by someone. Having said that, the OSI has to be singled out for doing really good work over the years and it is a legitimate caretaker of open source software principles.

This debate really isn’t about whether something is open enough or not, it’s about a tension that exists between a group of open source advocates who have a rather strict view of the world, let’s call it orthodox, and another group of people who are trying to build businesses and recognize that open source offers them a route to market but want flexibility in how much they adopt. In other words, can you still be Jewish if you don’t eat kosher? I think so.

The issue that Berlind and Perens and others are making is an academic one, whereas the broader market, like me, looks at the issue and says: 1) can I download and use the software without fee or penalty, 2) can I embed it in my own products by meeting appropriate attribution and license requirements for redistribution, and 3) do I get the source code. If so, then it’s open source enough for me, whether right or wrong that is my general feeling about it.

Lastly, I think when you venture into the area of headlines that begin with “so and so makes disingenuous claims” you are treading on thin ice. It’s my great pleasure to have known Ismael and Intalio for many years and I can say without hesitation that this guy embodies the spirit and enthusiasm that the open source community should be actively recruiting. The minute you start advocating purity laws is the minute your movement “turns the worm” by repelling rather than attracting advocates.

» Intalio makes disingenuous claim that it has released code as open source | Between the Lines |

Where ever a vendor uses the phrase open source with relation to a license that is not yet approved by the Open Source Initiative, it should be disclosed that the license has yet to be approved by the OSI. So far, I haven’t seen any vendors heeding this simple request (although it’s possible some have started to do it and I just haven’t seen it yet).

Technorati Tags: , , ,