Thursday, December 07, 2006

10 things that ex-Googlers can do

Earlier, I gave reasons on why Google should buy the NYT. When I wrote for the Hellocompany blog, I predicted that Google would buy local newspapers in the United States. Neither of that prediction have come true as of now.

Let me try again. Fortune writes about a scenario where Google employees, bored with having not much challemnging stuff to do and with the Google stock stuck within the $500 and below range (less surety of reaching furher highs, according to some), start leaving the company.

What would these super-rich ex-googlers do? Apart from buying Luxury Yachts and energy-guzzling Hummers, that is.

My humble suggestions:

1. Start a new Search Engine, combining the best of Google and
2. Start better Vertical search engines - autos, real estate, jobs, B2B niches, etc.
3. Start a better Google Checkout.
4. Buy out the local newspaper in their town and make it better.
5. Start 5000 Craigslist-type web sites . There are 5000+ employees in Google. One city for every town- making that person the in-charge.
6. Sell stock, pool money and buy any newspaper company that can be had for less than 1 Billion dolars. Newspapers will be prifitable for atleast 10-15 years. Can you say the same about other busiensses?
7. Join a cause - anti-Microsoft, For-privacy, anti-DRM, pick one.
8. Start a global university, providing MIT-like Education at a discount to people all over the world, online.
9. Do something about Global Warming.
10. Go back to Google - for the good food at least.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Calacanis has left the building but the bite is still there

Jason Calacanis, responsible for inflicting the WeblogsInc Empire, Digg-like Netscape, sharp blog posts at and great conference talker, has joined VC firm Sequoia Capital as an Entrepreneur in Action, after leaving AOL.

Jason is a natural speaker and media mogul-aspirer. His wit and opinions were on full display when he recently spoke at Search Engine Strategies Chicago.

An example of some ‘Jasonisms’ can be foind be found on SearchEngineJournal site.

Word association on AOL “… (long pause)… Transition”, Google “Good, Unstoppable”, Netscape “the future”, AdSense “I love you”, SEO “Keep it simple”… ValleyWag “liar, evil, idiot, stupid”
Did you notice how he went after Valleywag? The blow is probably meant for arch-rival (still?) Nick Denton.

Useful Crowdsourcing

A rough guide to Crowdsourcing: where you get users to come up with ideas, designs and information,among other things.

There are 2 example of people using Crwodsourcing productively, although the second one has just started.
People come up with T-shirt slogans and ideas.
Where people submit ideas for a new electronic product, vote on it, come up with specifications collectively, test the final product, recommend to retailers – it is a long value chain. No surprising that the web site is still in development mode.

However, the idea seems okay on paper.

I can visualize readers using Crowdsourcing to solve the world’s problems.

Related Item
List of Top 10 Crowdsourcing Companies can be found here

How Yahoo can still close the gap with Google

The secret ingredient is no secret anymore: If Yahoo can somehow efficiently monetize its Paid Search Business, which is Google’s cash cow.

Google’s market capitalization is roughly 3 times that of Yahoo ($132 bn. Vs. $34 bn.). The two companies’ cash position is almost in the same ration ($11.6 bn vs. $3.5 bn., according to some sources).

Advising people to go long on Yahoo and to short Google’s stock, Seeking Alpha cites a research that showed that Yahoo generates $0.04 per US search vs $0.11 at Google.

Seeking Alpha says that this amounts to almost 65% discount! It says that if Yahoo’s Project Panama [placing ads based on price and relevancy of ads] succeeds, that could significantly reduce the gap vis-à-vis Google.

It says:
A reduction of the gap to a more reasonable 30% discount [$0.077 per search] would generate something like $800m of extra revenues based on the number of searches in IIIQ 06.

Optimizing its Paid Search business (just like us bloggers have to optimize our pages for search) will benefit Yahoo more than its other good features – namely, a more balanced portfolio of ads inventory including CPC, cost-per-thousand [CPM], cost-per-ad [CPA] and video advertising, being chockfull with Web 2.0 beauty (Flickr,, Yahoo answers, MyWeb et all).

If Yahoo succeeds in making Project Panama work, it will also mean that Google is a one trick Pony after all.

The odd one out in Google’s Big Five

Nicholas Carr summarizes Google’s numerous product introduction, possibly resulting from its famous ’80-20’ rule. He reports the recent dominace of Sergey Brin’s ‘Features, not products’ formula vs. Marissa Meyer’s earlier “Throw it on the wall and see what sticks’ style.

In the end, he comes up with a list of 5 Key Google Products:

Google Search ("Google" goes back to meaning just search: for all information types, on all devices, personalized)
AdMarket (a unified market place for buyers and sellers, spanning web text, web video, web banners, print, radio, TV)
YouTube (YouTube expands from video to become the common interface for all media sharing)
YouTools (what Apps for Your Domain morphs into, with different tool sets for businesses, families, universities, and hospitals)
YouFile (a personal information management service, covering health data, finances, etc.)

All well and fine, but I think Google's YouFile product area will trouble privacy advocates around the world. In Google’s Cloud-like system, it will astound users when they will know about the amount of data Google knows about them through their searches, purchases, visits and so on.

These privacy concerns are not going away despite Google’s ‘fair use and safe harbor’ policy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

After VoIP, Om Malik goes after ToIP

Om Malik made a good name for himself with covering VoIP among other emerging tech. topics. Om wrote on VoIP when it was just a trend. Now, VoIP is very much a commodity.

It is good that now, OM Malik has shifted focus to TV/Video over the internet. I call it ToIP - a hyper mix of Broadband. Online video, gaming, data centers and virtual work.

Om Malik has seen the trend and so should we.

The TeeVee Site.

Yahoo's Citizen Video Project: Show me the money

Heard about the latest big Media attempt at using Citizen Journalism for mostly PR purposes and was convinced that Big Media people are often morons.

I will explain why Yahoo and Reuter’s latest Citizen Video project is good PR and nothing else:

Show me the money
The Web 2.0 user, savvy with Youtube and likes will not like the fuzzy payment details offered by Yahoo and Reuters. They will be paid only when Reuters is able to sell the videos to others. Huh?

Surely, the big cash-rich media companies woulkd have offered better money. Even the publicly funded BBC will pay users who submit content.

Yahoo is famous for buying promising media companies. Why doesn't it buy Metacafe or Revver?

Sites that pay Users
A list of sites that pay content-submitters can be found here.

When you let big media use concepts such as Citizen Journalism, they get loads of media coverage, when already scores of sites are doing it. All they need is Big Daddy Google’s support.

When Google starts a mutually acceptable system of putting ads on videos submitted by users, that will boost citizen journalism efforts, just as Adsense has done for blogging.

Suggestion to all video and photo sites:
Start a citizen journalism sub site.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Government of India: The biggest real estate agent in the world

The Indian Government is forcing farmers across the country to give up their lands to wealthy industrialists at throw-away prices. The Government wants to create Special Economic Zones, an idea which the Business Standard newspaper did not find appealing.

Many say the SEZs are real estate plays in disguise.

The above data is from the print issue of Business Today. It is odd that none of indian newspapers and magazines have really useful web sites. It all looks like an extension of the print edition, an afterthought. It is pity. This good article must have been made available to a larger audience for comments and addition. All that stuff is hedden behind a pay wall. The pay concept is fine for business analysis, but this?

You can wonder how much money is going into the politicians’ and bureaucrats’ pockets. The primary duty of a government is to provide law & order. It is sad that the Indian Government, all these 60 years has dose everything but that. For that, Indians have had to pay heavy price – we lagged behind for long Now, in the name of faster development and to catch Chine, the government is forcing valuable land to the same old rich business houses which have well-funded lobbies and ‘pairvi-people’ working fulltime in New Delhi and the state capitals.

If you look at the SEZ rules and regulations, you will find they allow building shopping malls, apartments (purportedly for the workers) and worst, after all that heavy land discount, they get a tax holiday as well. These may have severe repercussions on the economy in times to come. The government had made sure that the ‘inspector raj' returns too – meaning the SEZs will pay off the inspectors for looking away from all the law-violations that happen within that gated compound.

Ideally, we should just have lessened the cumbersome paperwork and time it requires to start a business in India. We must have left the rest to market forces.

I could have titled this story as ‘India Tanking #4: How the government is selling our land for cheap’, but why rub it in?

Related reading:
SEZ: Tax Scam?

Sunil Jain's SEZ article

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Making popstars in the un-Myspace/Youtube world

Critics of music popstars like Britney Spears, Jessica Simpsonn and like will say:
‘hear them without the aid of all that technical gadgetry’

Watch this excellent video titled ‘How to create a Sexy Pop Star’ on Youtube.

A comment on the page says:
It took a voice-correction engineer 6 weeks, 6 days a week, to fix the vocals on Jay-Lo's new record.