Archive for the ‘Silicon Valley’ Category

Microsoft’s desperate acquisition of aQuantive: What they could have done instead

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Are 70,000+ Microsoft employees that useless? Or the 1,000+ Senior Management has no clue? Can’t believe that Microsoft would pay 85% premium and fork out $6bn dollars! They could have bought for that money and saved $500 million to acquire several smart startups in search and online advertising space. Microsoft could have successfully negated Google’s further foray into the growing on-demand business and may have brought raw energy to Redmond.
However, by the time, Microsoft figures out the monetization model for Search and online ad market, Google would start making significant inroads into the on-demand business and productivity applications. Why don’t they focus on solving problems? Well, it’s the big company syndrome; I’m a manager-I don’t solve problems-I get vendors/acquire companies. What a pity.
Does any B-school offer a course on intra-preneurship? Take a leaf from Google or even HP has a lesson to offer from their recent release of the NeoView Business Intelligence product.

Apple’s Next Gig: A Digital Camera?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Josh Kopelman points to Kodak’s Winds of Change video which got released onto YouTube. While I was watching this video, I was also watching Apple’s stock price. This got me thinking. What would be Apple’s next gig. An iCam? A Digital Camera from Apple is long due.
Interestingly enough, Apple had a digital camera up its sleeves, which went by the name QuickTake and was discontinued when Steve Jobs took the helm in 1997.
The digital camera vendors shipped 100m units in 2006 and the market is growing at 15% with total sales being pegged at $25 billion. With Apple’s brand name and possible integration with it’s suite of desktop authoring tools like iLife and Aperture, it can be easily speculated to capture 2% – 5% of market share, if and when it comes out. This would give $1 billion – $2 billion in additional sales. It would also boost the sales of Appleā€™s software products.
Compare this with iPhone; it is aiming at 1% of the total 1 billion unit sales of the $115 billion Mobile phone market, which would add another $2b – $5b in revenues in next few years.
Makes sense? Eh, I can speculate at least. Remember, iPod came out in a crowded MP3 Player market, which was considered “mature” 5 years ago.
Wikipedia:Apple QuickTake

Keeping a meaning in daily meetings: How Genentech does it everyday

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

Everyday in corporate meetings we have to sit through “mindless”, “unintelligible”, and gibberish-laden presentations. Most of the times, it’s only after first 10-15 slides the actual “meat” of the presentation comes out — if not it’s covered with buzz words, marketing-speak and what not to sift through.
Genentech, a company which symbolizes itself as a “beater” of corporate bureaucracy and CYA (“cover-your-ass”) culture, has a game called gBuzz Bingo. To play:
1. An employee downloads a bingo card from the intranet. The bingo card features terms like “actionable”, “traction”, “value-added”, “win-win”, “strategy”, etc
2. The card is then taken to a meeting where a not so positive outcome is expected.
3. The boxes next to the words are checked as these words are uttered.
4. First to complete these words win — The player shouts out “gBuzz!” and is declared the winner, effectively silencing the bull-shit being discoursed.
On the side, sometimes I attend meetings where a lot of swearing and finger pointing happens — Here are my favorite phrases to be checked off a) “Where are the dates?” b) “Are you sure?” (1 point for every 3 utterances) c) “Is the project on track?” (1 point for every 3 utterances) d) “I don’t think you got it covered.” etc. etc. There are more. Shout it out and for repeat cases, gift a box of detergent soap to the person next Christmas.

Ram Shriram’s Book of Mistakes

Thursday, November 4th, 2004

SliconBeat via VentureIntelligence
Ram Shriram, founder of Sherpalo Ventures, and one of the first investors in Google, helped Google’s co-founders “in the Menlo Park garage by consulting his ‘Ram