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Financial

VCs disrupted by Angels thanks to Cloud, Apple, Google and Facebook

August 23, 2012

How too many investors can lead us to irrational exuberance 2.0

Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures is one of the most well-respected VCs around and does an amazing job with his AVC blog – it is in many ways a blueprint to starting a company. He has had so many good posts over the years it is tough to count.

In a recent interview with Technology Review he made some alarming comments which you should be aware of.

Pensions May Break Companies like They are Breaking Cities

August 21, 2012

We know that bloated and unsustainable pensions have already helped bankrupt industries like airlines and more recently cities in California. But just wait… Our low interest environment is making it difficult if not impossible for pension funds at many public companies to make the returns they need to fund themselves. To resolve the problem, Congress has changed the way pension obligations are calculated and as a result, they can use a 25-year average instead of today’s rates.

CenturyLink recently reported it is able to save a billion dollars due to this federal legislation.

Facebook's Plummeting Share Price to Hurt Tech Market?

August 17, 2012

Recently, on a trip to Silicon Valley to meet with execs and newsmakers I got a good sense of what tech business leaders were thinking. As you could expect “cautiously optimistic” was the tone but I sensed more optimism this year over last. It certainly wasn’t euphoria and a few people even said they were glad Facebook had a crappy IPO.

But I wonder if they expected the “crappy” IPO to have tuned into a stock which is setting new lows regularly.

 

Beyond Amazon Price Match - What Best Buy Must Do

July 24, 2012

Recently I was in a Best Buy store while traveling because I needed three items which retailed each for $99. I needed one right away but the other two could have waited. So while in the store I decided to do something novel. I picked up all three items and went to an employee in the store and explained I would rather buy all three of these items right now but I can’t see paying retail when Amazon sells this product for $73 each.

Who Wants a Shot at Another Morgan Stanley Tech IPO? Apparently No One

May 30, 2012

Hear that noise? Its the sound of the retail investor rapidly paddling away from the Kayak IPO

Facebook is breaking through $28 per share as I write this blog post and this news coincides with the reports that the Kayak IPO will be postponed. And guess what... This IPO is brought to you by the same lead underwriter Morgan Stanley who is being lauded for maximizing the returns for Facebook and screwing the public.

Turns out Cisco Cius Can't Compete With the iPad Either

May 25, 2012

Company after company is learning what most of instinctively know already – competing with Apple head-on is like trying to tackle a freight train with your bare hands as it is barreling down the tracks in your direction. Amazon with its Kindle Fire competed on price and used its services to subsidize the device. Other tablet makers are finding it virtually impossible to compete without such advantages.

Disruption Targets Currency Exchange Kiosks

May 25, 2012

Technology has resulted in massive margin compression among industry after industry. Retailers have to struggle to make money to pay their brick and mortar overhead while consumers routinely see and touch the merchandise in their store while buying it online simultaneously. A coworker in fact detailed how he saved $30 on an iPad case buy using eBay on a computer from the Apple store he was in.

But the retail story isn’t a new one – we wrote stories at TMC in the nineties about the death of brick and mortar and certainly the loss of Circuit City was in-part caused by competition not only from WalMart and Costco but Amazon.

Kickstarter, A Solution for the Patient

May 23, 2012

If you want to be involved - intimately involved with the manufacturing process behind a product you purchase then I suggest you immediately jump onto Kickstarter and start backing projects. The high-flying site has made lots of news in a short amount of time. In March of last year they received $10 million in funding. In its third year the site raised almost $120 million in funding - almost three times as much as total revenue from the prior years combined.

Perhaps the company's highest-profile project was Arianna Huffington looking to use the site to raise $1 billion to buy back the Huffington Post from AOL.

In December of last year I came to the conclusion that the TouchFire Keyboard - a silicone keyboard project on the site may be  the perfect companion for those of us using the iPad 2 as a data entry device.

So with my readers in mind I ordered it and waited.





More Advice on Buying Apple, Shorting Amazon

May 18, 2012

Yes Virginia, P/E ratios still matter

Two days ago I wrote a piece trying to justify how Amazon could have a P/E ratio 16x higher than Apple. In short, I couldn’t. Recently Rocco Pendola wrote a piece which says P/E ratios don’t mean much, instead good management does (a paraphrase).

Gadgets to Have Integrated Welcome Ads Soon?

May 18, 2012

If ads on the Kindle Fire Welcome Screen are successful, others will follow



There are a few things which are well known about Amazon’s Kindle Fire. First of all at $199 the company either loses money or at best breaks even depending on which analyst you speak with. We also know the version of Android the device runs is unusual as Amazon has its own proprietary shell around it.

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