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Pinterest Now Worth $1.5B

May 17, 2012

Now that was fast – Pinterest just raised $100M at a valuation of $1.5B in a round of funding led by Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten Inc. Pinterest's existing venture-capital investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners also participated according to a press release.

Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten said: "While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining. We see tremendous synergies between Pinterest's vision and Rakuten's model for e-commerce. Rakuten looks forward to introducing Pinterest to the Japanese market as well as other markets around the world."

And the Japan connection makes sense as I have recently detected a dearth of Hello Kitty pins.

Justifying Amazon's 16x Greater than Apple P/E Ratio

May 16, 2012

One of the biggest surprises to me is comparing P/E ratios of tech companies against Amazon. Actually to be more specific, I marvel at Amazon’s P/E against pretty much any company I have seen lately. Now I don’t go around memorizing the price to earnings ratios of companies but yesterday I happened to be talking to TMC webmaster Robert Hashemian who is also an accomplished financial author having written Financial Markets for the Rest of Us. Together we compared the trailing P/E of Amazon against virtually any company we could think of like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft which were far lower.

Volubill Helps Carriers Deliver Enhanced Wireless Services

March 19, 2012

The FCC has a web page dedicated to bill shock and encourages wireless users who haven’t achieved a successful resolution with their wireless carrier to call and complain. The same page explains one in six users has at one time or another experienced bill shock – totaling 30 million users in total.

One of the companies helping carriers reduce bill shock for their customers is Volubill, the policy management and charging company has many innovative ideas to help carriers in an era of data caps and ballooning cell phone bills. In a recent conversation with Akil Chomoko Head of Product Marketing at the company he explained the company looks at the business side of things – enabling subscribers to be unrestricted and subsequently free to choose from various options which not only serve the needs of the customer better but potentially can generate more revenue for carriers.

Will Nimble 2.0 take Social CRM Mainstream?

February 14, 2012

Recently consumer products manufacturer P&G – one of the largest advertising spenders at over $9B announced it will cut its marketing headcount in-part because advertising on Facebook and Google is more efficient. The maker of Gillette and Pantene products is not alone; in-fact the business world is focusing heavily on social media including Google+ and Twitter.

But while it is understood by many web-savvy companies that social is important – how many of them are embracing social CRM? My informal analysis shows the numbers are very low meaning there could be huge room for growth.

Rewards Network, the Social Restaurant Hub

February 7, 2012

In the last few decades it has become apparent that all companies are for the most part limited by their imaginations. Apple was thought to be a computer company but is now a leader in music, movies and phones. Amazon went from selling books to everything – even its servers are for rent via its cloud-computing solutions. Google went from search to purchasing Motorola Mobility and is well known for being involved in many projects from solar to self-driving cars and the television space.

Trends and Surprises Regarding Google's 2011 Advertisers

January 25, 2012

Google’s 2011 revenues were $37.9 billion last year and 96% of that money came from ads. Now I know what you are thinking. Where is all that money coming from? Well thankfully, the people at Wired put together an infographic that explains it all.

Analysis of FT and NYT Paywall Success

January 9, 2012

For newspapers looking to offset falling advertising revenues via increased paid subscriptions one solution is to raise prices of the printed versions of your product in order to gently nudge loyal readers online. A great analysis of how two newspapers the Financial Times and New York Times have been successful in doing so comes from Frédéric Filloux of The Guardian who explains that the NYT has increased their print prices by 25% in the UK and the FT has had a whopping 40% increase over a similar time period.

The article goes on to explain how the FT has a simple strategy when it comes to paywalls – you get less and less free articles per month unless you pay. The NYT has a more convoluted strategy which has a few tiers – and the article says both newspapers have models which work.

Does PhoneDog Lawsuit Mean a New Twitter Revenue Opportunity?

December 27, 2011

Gadget review and news site PhoneDog is suing a former worker Noah Kravitz over a Twitter account even though when he left the company he changed his Twitter handle from one which implied company sponsorship (@PhoneDog_Noah) to one which didn’t (@noahkravitz). Kravitz said he had the company’s blessing until they changed their mind after Kravitz began promoting PhoneDog competitor TechnoBuffalo.

As a result, his former employer is suing for $2.50/month per Twitter follower or $340,000 over eight months. PhoneDog says in its complaint that this amount is in line with industry standards but it is unclear which standards they are using.

Will Microsoft Departure Kill CES?

December 22, 2011

Can one major defector kill a trade show institution?

It happened with COMDEX – the show got so big that it exerted tremendous pressure on companies to spend more and more money to keep their coveted locations on the show floor. Location – being in the North Hall of Las Vegas was so important in fact that companies acquired others so they could improve their location! And as the desire to be in an important location increased, show organizers decided to increase the sizes of the booths exhibitors had to take in order to remain in important halls.

New Interactive Intelligence Quick Spin Cloud Contact Center Trial Portal

October 17, 2011

Coming off the first six months of 2011, Interactive Intelligence enjoyed cloud-based revenue growth numbers of 58% while orders increased a whopping 146% during the same period. Moreover, the cloud accounted for 26% of the company’s total new order dollar volume in the first half of 2011. Company CMO Joe Staples said the following to me in a meeting in New York, “We are seeing a huge shift towards the cloud.” He continued, “It is talked about in every single deal we are in.”

As a refresher – the company started selling a hosted solution in 2005 but relaunched its cloud-based communications as a service or CaaS solution in 2009.

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