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Are Web 2.0 Entrepreneur’s Love Affair with Venture Capital Over March 18, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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Cnet has a story headline “Is venture capital’s love affair with Web 2.0 over?”- Ironic??

According to this massive trend 2007 deals are down an amazing amount – total deal numbers down an amazing 5.   “Web 2.0 deals in the Bay Area actually dropped from 74 deals in 2006 to 69 last year” -Wow.

Entrepreneurs are starting companies that require less capital and no venture capital at all.  Maybe entrepreneur’s love affair with venture capital is over.  It’s clear to me that entrepreneurs that I talk to are bootstrapping longer and financing ventures themselves.

I hardly think that a reduction of 5 deals validates a venture capitalist trend.  Most VCs are not that savvy on Web 2.0 and are generally skeptical on web deals.  The ones that do get it are doing many deals.  Jeff Clavier has already pounded out 16+ deals in his new fund.

Social Everything: Interaction and Integration – The Future of Social Networks and Media March 7, 2008

Posted by John in social media.
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For the past three years I’ve been working with over 40 corporate advertisers in developing, testing, deploying, and measuring social media. I’ve discovered many things and learning more everyday.  As I am documenting my findings I have to highlight Charline Li’s post from yesterday.

Charlene Li has a great post on her views of Social Graphs and business models. It’s about “Social Everything”.

The big trend in Charlene’s post is that social individuals, groups, networks, graphs are great, but they still don’t connect to real world value. This linchpin to real world benefits is where I have the vision for social everything – it’s about collaboration. Virtual activity is highly productive, but seems to dead end when translating and scaling to real world offline benefits.

If you have been one of the 10k people following my blog you know where I stand and have a sense of what I’m working on for my next venture- Social Advertising, Social Media, Social Graph, Social Everything.   Charlene’s post reasonated with alot of my findings and the direction that I’m heading.  Here are some nice gems in Charlene’s post:

“.. the idea of social graphs being “owned” by different social networks makes no sense. Yet, all of today’s social networks build their business model and competitive advantage on having the largest, most complete social graph. The result: I have a close colleague who enjoys exploring all of the new social networks and “friends” me on all of them, figuring I’m a pretty good person to have in his new network. In a world with a single social graph, he would be able to import his existing personal, social graph into any new service, and immediately begin enjoying the new service without having to wait for his friends to catch up. And I would be spared the insanity of having to accept his umpteenth “friend” invitation!….In a world of a single social graph, social networks will have to compete on the basis of creating the best experience for its members – not because it controls a unique social graph.”….

…”The brilliance of Facebook Platform is that it greatly expanded what people could do on social networks. The problem is that what people do is still pretty limited. Take a look at the top applications on Facebook – they can be roughly grouped into 1) managing/comparing/interacting with friends in a general context; 2) self-expression (FunWall, Bumper Sticker); 3) games; and 4) media preferences (iLike, Flikster). These are all fun and interesting, but they only begin to scratch the surface of what I do every day.”….

…”A business model where social influence defines marketing value. Today’s advertising models don’t work on social networking sites – that’s because simply targeting better on profile or social graph details is still the same old media model of CPM and CPC pricing. What’s missing is marketing value based on how valuable I am in the context of my influence. For example, Steve Rubel is a highly influential person because he is an authority on social media, the people in his social graph tend to interested in his views, and they in turn have a great deal of authority as well. (Several people came up to me after the speech and said that this is similar to a “PageRank of people”, a very easy way to crystallize the idea.)

This means that each person will have their own “personal CPM”, an idea I heard JWT‘s Marian Salzman discuss at a private event in February (here are more details on the JWT’s Top Trends for 2008). The idea is that marketers want to reach highly influential people, and hopefully curry their endorsements. This has traditionally been the province of public relations, where they reach out to key influencers. But in the world of social networks, this is influence writ large and wide – every person has their own network of influence, and hence, their own personal CPM or value that they contribute to a social network.

..”There are several start-ups as well as established agencies that are already looking at marketing, brokering, measuring, etc. social influence, so you can expect to hear more about this topic soon. But don’t expect advertising spending to quickly embrace social influence – after all, the vast majority of ad budgets are spent by media buyers who still cleave to the tried and true reach and frequency, CPM models.”

Why is this relevant? Because as pointed out yesterday by industry visionaries, the iPhone SDK announcement represents the biggest trend since the PC revolution – socially connected individuals, groups, and media are at the heart of this new revolution.

Social Everything includes devices (iphone) to connect to networks (open social + social graphs) to consume media and information (social media). Users love it and so advertisers will soon have solutions – hopefully provided by us entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs Beware. Yahoo Buyout Could Kill Technology Startups? Advice: Be an Arms Dealer. February 2, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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Entrepreneurs beware Microsoft buying Yahoo could shut down the tech startup scene.  It could send the startup climate back to 2001 levels – nuclear winter shut down.  I lived through 2001-2004.  It was ugly.  

Brad Burnham has hit on a narrow topic about the downside of the Yahoo buyout for Silicon Valley.  Brad’s story is very relevant with ‘macro’ implications to the tech world not just Silicon Valley.   This deal could cripple startup activity.

Efficiency for Microsoft means leverage with suppliers.  Translation:  Startups are suppliers and Microsoft just became Walmart.  This could have a chilling effect on the VC and tech investment community.  This new industry structure puts even more of an emphasis on ‘hits’ or category specific deals.   If the Venture Capitalists are confused today can you imaging what they will do going forward.   This could get ugly. 

Advice for Technology Startups and VCs:  Understand where your company is in the pecking order in this war.  If you’re not an arms dealer then you might want to rethink your strategy. 

Update:   others are thinking the same….  A VC -Fred Wilson; Opportunity for another big player to bid:   News Corp. 

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