The writing seems to be on the wall that Feedburner may not continue as we know it today. With the Feedburner API deprecated, continued feed troubles (twitter account abandoned!), Adsense for feeds gone, and more it seems the service needs to retire. With the recent shutdown announcement of Google Reader I have no doubt that services like this are on the chopping block.
For the record I am a huge fan of Feedburner. Back in 2006 I created a Marketing and Advertising blog network (monetized through Feedburner). I even know that Google used it in pitches to sell into folks to buy ads against touting big subscriber numbers. Heck, I even got excited when Feedburner crossed the 250,000 feeds mark! I loved this approach as it showed the market size of blogs and their capture of share. Soon after it was sold to Google and I actually went to work for Union Square Ventures, the firm that invested in Feedburner.
I am not sure how many people actively use Feedburner dashboards, a common metric of success of services, but I doubt its usage numbers are growing. There are no ways to monetize feeds any longer, and I don’t know of any monetization efforts that involve the Feedburner system (but I could be wrong). The dashboards themselves and stats seem to be on auto-pilot and have not yet had the facelift that the rest of Google has underwent with the G+ changes and integration. I also do not see a key integration point into the Google+ ecosystem.
Therefore, after reading the tea leaves here, I think that Google Feedburner should park the entire service under the Google Analytics team. They are pioneering the way data is looked at, and are doing some very innovative thinking around external data sources. Its a great home for a service that I am sure is still used by many and could even should some connection points between how people consume content through their RSS feeds.
I don’t have a G+ button on my site, but if my reader count became a “share” button I could not stop them.
Feedburner was a great web service. It deserves a retirement under a service that will keep the system up and running. That is unless web 3.0 is just a monetization wave that takes perfectly good non revenue driving services behind the shed and shoots them…
I recently came across information on how to include rich snippets in Google. This is the art of including meta data or other informative information into the search results that help folks identify what is on a page. Examples include star ratings, site links, an author image etc… Here is the official verbiage right from Google on what rich snippets are and how you can work them into your site. It may not seem like much, and a little vain, but I am learning about some new SEO methods by changing things on my own site which can help in diagnosing other URLs having issues and influencing how I setup my other projects.
As you can see the SERP is now pulling in my profile pic from G+ alongside my blog and URL info. Its a great way to semi control your results pages and link more meta data about you around the web together.
As far as I can tell I have not made any other changes, although my results for “Eric Friedman” have gone down dramatically in Google. It could be because there are more Eric Friedmans out there, including some famous ones as well as some old sites with a lot more “authority” that rank much higher. As mentioned all this is a little vain, but learning about controlling search results is a good way to keep up on ranking for things you actually care about in the future.
I recently turned on 2-factor authentication for my personal Gmail account. I have had it on for my foursquare account for quite some time for security purposes, but I never thought about turning it on for my personal account. After reading this account via Wired of Mat Honan losing almost everything – I decided to take the plunge.
Since I already had 2-factor on for work it was not that complicated to make the switch.
I highly advise getting the Google Authenticator app if you are going to do this as it makes having the codes necessary for logins much easier. The app also handles multiple logins very easily.
The biggest challenge is setting up apps that use your gmail authentication every day. For me these were;
iPhone mail + cal
And a handful of others
Each app that you have authed in the past or need ongoing access to needs an application specific password. This sounds complicated and google does not make the process easy, probably because once its done you never go back to this complex settings area. The benefit is that you can immediately control app specific access to your gmail account.
The truth is that my gmail is essentially a gateway into the rest of my identity. I was amazed at how long I went without two factor authentication for gmail. Along with the typical security controls in place which monitor your account in the background, this is a (in my opinion) a necessary step for anyone that has much of their identity tied to a gmail address.
The added security comes at some time cost as you need a 6 digit pin when you use a new machine to login for the first time. If you have your phone handy with the app you should be all set. You also get the option to print out a set of codes for backup. It’s kind of a nerdy set of your own special codes but worth it if you need them.
All Google related login products will require the 6 digit code – but again its worth it.
I recently started using BufferApp both on my phone and my browser to syndicate content to my other networks. I currently have the free account and have connected Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and App.net. I also use Buffer on my phone to send content (but mainly through the email function).
Buffer is a web service that takes content from you or others, and syndicates it via a shortened URL across multiple services. You can “buffer” content to be sent instantly, or scheduled for some time in the future.
It has been very handy for me as I come across great links to share, and quickly want a way to send them out.
My buffer flow is as follows;
1. find great content
2. open in mobile safari and email link to buffer app (modifying subject which is the words in the post)
3. check stats/rinse and repeat
I started using my own Bit.ly account to track better stats across content which has been eye opening to see how things perform. I continue to predict content that will flourish and am constantly surprised at how things do. Links that I think are great sometimes fall flat, while linke I think are “meh” seem to get lots of traction. Overall people seem to enjoy the content which is a net win.
For the first time ever I am pushing content to LinkedIn. I have been on the service forever, but never thought to share links there because its just too cumbersome. Now with Buffer I share everything – and am getting a decent response rate. My content is limited to my LinkedIn network which is inversely impacting my overall reach. I don’t want to optimize for reach in LinkedIn as it would grow the network beyond people that I know – but strangely sharing content their make it almost the point. As someone once said about linkedin “its like Pokemon, you just need to collect them all” which is to say you may as well try to connect with the world. Whats the downside?
I am also for the first time sharing content with App.net – which has been a virtual graveyard for me that I am trying to resurrect. I don’t participate in the network other than sending info, but all communities need the initial seeds to grow. I feel I can spend time there for a future time when its had time to grow.
My primary network of “attention” is Twitter and Facebook which continue to grow. My engagement seems “good” but I don’t have a decent proxy for what to expect.
I am very interested in determining the virality of my links and ability to read things first vs. catching them later. I no longer use a news reader (like google reader) which as any long time reader of my blog know is a big deal as I used to be fixated on reading all my feeds.
I love sharing this content and wonder if I can keep up my momentum – I would love to hear feedback either way if you are on the receiving end of my links.
Where do you share your content?
I noticed recently that I have posted 100+ Instagram photos since I started – http://instagram.com/ericfriedman. It’s been quite a ride for them and I will leave commentary on the Company up to others. On the personal side it’s been a fun ride as well and I thought I would take stock.
I find myself browsing and interacting (read “liking”) way more than I am posting. There is no aggregate place where I can see my likes, or likes I have “given” but I think it’s high. This might be available through the API. Its been great getting Timehop emails reminding me of past photos though!
I have posted 100 photos (heavily skewed towards my dog!) and don’t see much rhyme or reason to my instagramming habits. I also have inverse prediction abilities when it comes to the traction of my photos. Some that I think are cool don’t get much attention, and others that I think are fleeting get a very high interaction rate. I am reminded of what Fred Wilson wrote about service and user engagement “rules” and I definitely find that I interact “lurk” more. I believe I have hundreds of interactions, while only 100+ direct contributions of original content. FWIW I have also connected my account to 9 other services (giving read/write options)
One of my primary use cases of Instagram is using it to post a photo and check in on Foursquare at the same time. No surprise here as I work at Foursquare, but it certainly serves a need I have. I love the ability to “snap once and cross post as I choose”. I mainly share to Foursquare with almost every photo, as associating a real place has a lot of value to me. Every now and again I push to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – no connection to Flickr yet.
When the world map opened up sometime last year I was at first a little amazed at all the places I took photos. On the “open” side of the privacy debates I embraced the feature, but was definitely interested to see if I cared about sharing all photos. I have since left sharing on, and shared almost all the photos on the map. I have not gone back yet to look, but I am hoping the exif data becomes valuable to me in the future.
I was in the 250,000 or so users who “may” have had their Twitter account compromised last week. There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not this is connected to other security breaches elsewhere.
I changed my password and actually audited where else I may have used this password – hopefully I am clear.
However during the process Twitter reminded me of all the other sites/apps/services I have OAuth’d with in the past few years.
WOW – ALMOST 200 APPS! (oops!)
I don’t think I have visited the full list of apps (where can you do this) in years. I methodically went through and disconnected many many services. A ton of them have either; been acquired, gone out of business, are defunct, or just seem random.
It feels good to do this housekeeping, but its also a dangerous reminder of the sheer number of services that had rights to my account.
When I was looking at companies at USV I must have connected my Twitter account to services multiple times per day/week/month – and I never kept track of them.
Its a reminder to audit these connections every so often and make sure your machine to machine credentials are not in the wrong hands.
Thanks to Rob Wilk, VP of Sales at Foursquare, I have become a big fan of what he calls the “no update” update. Defined by rob its; “An effective way to make someone comfortable with a deliverable that you are working on that isn’t quite ready yet”. I have used it countless times without giving it a proper name, but now its great to be able to give someone direction on the team to provide the “no update” update.
You would think that its common sense to provide context into the project or deliverable, but that is not always the case. Sometimes you might get wrapped up in completing the task, that you do not alert the person who made the request. The fact is that getting back to someone that “work is happening” is a great way to keep someone in the loop and make them feel good about the current situation.
In a sales environment it’s also a great way to check in with folks even when things are not yet done. It can show a white glove treatment where normally it’s not expected and differentiate you from others very well. As sometimes on the client side, I can tell you that this type of communication can go a long way, especially at the beginning of a partnership.
Its been said that no news is good news, but in a world where you can never know if someone read your email or is going to follow up – this is a great way to ensure good communication.
The funny part is that it works in almost any context; a mechanic fixing your car, a contractor waiting for a part, a broker with a status update and so on…
Letting someone know you are “on it” is the best way to show you got the task and its a work in progress.
At first I think the amazing folks at the NYTM didn’t love the idea, but once I had a chance to chat with Nate about it, he unofficially officially gave it his blessing Earlier this year they made simulcasting the NYTM official.
Now in the heart of SOHO at foursquare HQ, I am in a great position to host this type of event for the NY tech community. Our office provides a great space to live stream the event and encourage conversation between the small group of people that will be here. So many great conversations have started at these events, as well as been a first step into getting involved at a startup or technology company that I am happy host. We have a few first timers already signed up and I hope to have a great group of people, and an even better conversation.
Interested? Sign up for the NYTM Simulcast at foursquare (I am starting with a small group at first so it may be full quickly)
As part of my goal to Always Be Helping the NYTM, I hope this delivers.
(huge thanks to Kristin Stannard for helping to coordinate!)
I recently got invited to “claim” a custom Google+ URL in which I got www.google.com/+EricFriedman through a simple process for pre approved users.
This is a smart move for Google+ and clearly a benefit to users and pages alike. As Google+ competes to be your “identity” on the web against the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and other services, custom URLs seem like a logical next step. Thankfully the URLs are case iNsEnSiTiVe so any variation works.
Its a strange thing to be able to have a custom namespace off of the root Google.com and sort of nerdtastic at the same time.
I missed the boat on Facebook and had to throw a middle initial into my Facebook.com custom URL. Despite my attempts to reach out to the “other” Eric Friedman on Facebook, he would not budge and give up his namespace (having got their first).
So add another service to your list when you go to register your Company/page/name/childrens names on the web and add Google+ to the list.
Mozilla announced that their messaging software Thunderbird will essentially be put on autopilot, shifting resources to other projects. Lots of sites weighing in (and people too) with commentary and even internal memos about the news.
This is bittersweet news for me as a user of Thunderbird for years when I was a Windows user. It was far better than any other software at handling multiple pop3 email addresses at the same time. I can remember a time when I setup my websites and going through the process of configuring email addresses online in a hosting control panel, followed by authenticating each email in Thunderbird. For me, this was an important learning step in understanding POP3 and IMAP and the implications of each. I thought I had it made when IMAP became supported and I was able to truly see messages across multiple Windows boxes all updates together in real time.
The writing was on the wall of course, as managing multiple email addresses across multiple computers could be made exponentially easier by having them all controlled via browser. It was around this time that I discovered Google Apps For Your Domain (that was the orignal name!) and switched everything over. Painful, but very worth it.
Now of course web based email is the norm (sorry Exchange users its true!) and everyone expects services to be available via browser. Thus, the withering of desktop clients continue. This is a bit unfair as there are a bunch of applications I still use on my desktop – but for the most part I look for a web solution first.
The biggest shift is that when looking for a solution, I am inclined to pick a web based product simply because the switching costs are lower and it makes hardware obsolete. As with many things its not obvious at first, but over the past few years I have switched many of my primary use cases to browser based solutions.
The crux of the deal is that you will have Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, and Shareable Data. The matrix below outlines the offering
I am now starting a countdown until they open up the third pillar with Unlimited Data. I don’t think that its too far off. I know there are other “unlimited everything” plans but they do not include family plans and add on devices such as tablets and wifi hotspots. The closest you can get is with TMobile’s unlimited plan and adding devices that way (trust me, I used to do it)
The race to the bottom is happening and I expect other mobile carriers to follow suit. I can imagine a time where there is total ubiquitous connectivity and the services you pay for are on top of the pipes (carriers) and are all added value.
The convergence to unlimited Talk, Text, and Data is already on its way and Verizon just took a big step to get there faster. I hope other carriers follow shortly.
In a world where there is unlimited bandwidth these things are all possible.
When I first started working at foursquare I heard this term as a way of explaining that some things were not possible (right now!) but could be built in the future (soon!). It is one of my favorite terms for a lot of reasons, but mainly because of the challenge of overcoming whatever obstacle is in the way.
For different groups to understand what is possible and what is not, a matrix of sorts is needed to quantify why things may or may not be possible. Things like an overall Company vision and roadmap contribute to why and when things are happening, but scoring things can also bring some much needed transparency into the process.
At first glance this seems like an excuse as why not to get something done – simply blaming “its too computationally expensive” – but as you can see there are a myriad of reasons.
I am far enough away from the time when this was first discussed that I have started to think about the issues that came up in another way. You can easily plot the overall Difficulty and Impact of a project by plotting them on a graph similar to the one below.
Scoring would work such that;
Green = justification for immediate completion
Yellow = decide based on subjective views
Red = justification to wait
You can see how almost any discussion between groups, such as BD and engineering, could be plotted on this graph. Something that has extremely high impact but is technically very difficult (red) may not get the hours/work necessary in light of other projects. However something that is high impact and low difficulty (green) could get prioritized right away. Using this methodology brings in some objectivity that may otherwise be absent from a discussion.
There are many subjective reasons why something may end up in a specific area or color, but this at least lets you plot all projects accordingly.
As an organization grows, this allows you to weigh the ideas and complexities of partner requests with that of folks who have longer term (cross quarter) projects currently in motion. Things like engineering hours, PM resources, and design may play a role in the score and color of a dot. Previously running projects have probably the highest impact, but provide justification on a high impact low difficulty project being pushed off a month.
Everyone in the organization should understand how a suggestion or feature improvement could affect the overall goals and timeline of a Company.
I don’t think I will stop contributing grand ideas to the product and eng. teams here anytime soon though
In most meetings the last 5-10 minutes are used to go over the “ask” or the crux of what folks are there to talk to in the first place.
I have noticed a common occurrence where someone sets up a meeting or call to go over something new or propose something interesting, but they only cover this within the last part of the meeting time. This sets you up to have very little time to present your request, while spending significant time setting up and getting ready for your big “ask”.
Commonly after introductions are made via email and calls or meetings have been setup, folks never dive into the crux of the issue until there is little time for healthy discussion. It can be daunting to go into a big request at the early stages of a conversation or relationship, but you should strike the right balance. Even setting someone up with a brief agenda early, including the “ask” within it can be helpful. This way both parties know that eventually you will bring up the request sooner or later. This can also help in letting them digest the request first, while you setup the story behind the rest of your discussion.
There are a few different types of meetings that happen and each can be handled differently. Sometimes in a sales meeting you need to set up the product or proposal the right way, or give proper background. Other times in a proposed partnership you need to go over some of the important details that pertain to your proposal. Other meetings are used to brainstorm something entirely new, but there are one or two key points that must be a part of the final product. In any of these cases it is always prudent to make sure there is plenty of time to discuss the price, requirements, or demands that you have.
The “big crescendo” at the end of a meeting can sometimes be a surprise to the audience and does not leave them with enough time to process the demand as well as ask questions.
I recommend bringing the “ask” as upfront as you can without harming the story you are there to tell.
Getting started with gadgets has changed. It used to be that each electronic gizmo, phone, or device required a quick registration and understanding of their proprietary system.
Now however, you are greeted with ever familiar OAuth prompts for services you probably already have an account with. This happens with more than just web services. Unboxing a new TV you are asked to install widgets for Facebook and Twitter. Setting up a digital picture frame you are asked to OAuth with Flickr. Certain sites and web services can even benefit from handshaking with foursquare too.
This is somewhat of a realization of BizDev 2.0, showing that the openness of these APIs is making life easier for first time customers.
Even in the latest iPhone, there is a deep iOS 5 Twitter integration, that makes for sharing to that service very easy. Creating a prompt from photos and more gives you easy access to an already established social network that you want to share to anyway. Some may think this means that the kings are decided in this arena, but I think that is hardly the case. Folks like Twitter may have a stronger foothold, but there will always be room for people to break out beyond the constraints of the social networks of today.
Back to my original thought, getting started with gadgets, you now have a much higher chance of an interconnected device. The so called “internet of things” is coming, highlighted most recently by Twine raising over 500K on Kickstarter.
This shows a world of interconnected devices, that starts with the initial OAuth handshake.
Do you think you will be able to have a device in the future that doesn’t require a sign in?
With the new year comes a flurry of new years resolutions from everyone – myself included. I am giving iDoneThis a try at the recommendation of two friends. Its a simple a lightweight way to track what happened each day, and build momentum for the next entry.
Their system emails you when you want (mine come at 11pm) and you simply reply back with whatever you want for that day. I am using this as a personal “snippets” of sorts to see if I get value. I am trying to stay on top of it, and I am proud to say I have so far been great at it (yup, almost all 10 days of the new year). Anything that integrates into an already existing behavior is much easier than many of the personal tracking/diary type apps I looked into. iDoneThis uses email, which I live in daily.
Outside of work recaps or snippets of the week there is a lot going on and it was recommended to me that getting everything written down/journaled would be a decent attempt at tracking everything. We will see how it goes.
I am already using foursquare for where I go, and this should be a nice example to fill in the blanks on what goes on.
What are some other great personal tracking / quantified self tools are out there?
Tonight I finished watching Homeland from Showtime – and tweeted about it (really great show by the way!)
To my surprise it set off a flurry of responses from friends and colleagues who were at various stages of being either interested in starting to watch it, in the middle of it, or interested in more. This presents a “hello Homeland” situation for many of my friends who want to see the show from this tweet, heard about it elsewhere, or maybe just have an interest and want to sample it. But right now they can’t do that.
Some friends even started watching it right away based on or tipped into watching it from my recommendation.
This is the part I find extremely fascinating (and no, I am not looking for a pat on the back). Everyone is looking to cut their cable, and stop paying large cable co’s for service, or switch to an a la carte model. The problem is that this does not mesh well with the behavior that we currently follow. Its extremely hard to change peoples behavior, and although the complaints are real, the bills are high – the benefit of cable to solve this need/desire to consume things as they are broadcast is a real benefit.
I’ve long believed that piracy is largely a business model problem not a human behavior problem. If you give people a legal way to consume the content they want, they will pay for it.
So what business model supports the current behavior? Affiliate links and capturing attention.
Currently there are different models that could support this type of behavior. The simplest is affiliate links. More difficult is capturing attention. If I could have linked out to two (or one if they were smart) types of content, I bet I could have generated direct sales, or possibly even subscription sales for Showtime via Homeland. Afterwards, there is interest and intent around the show – just waiting to happen online.
The first, and simplest method would be to allow someone to deeplink to content that only subscribers have access to. Meaning a Showtime subscriber could link to an extended viewing of Homeland to their social network, attributing the longer viewing and following episode sale or subscription sale to their account.
The second, would be driving views to content (read: ratings) via my recommendation. This attention could be monetized by ads, and because it comes from a trusted source (me) my friends and colleagues may sit through advertising supported video for their first viewing of the show. Subsequent purchases and subscriptions would also be attributed to the original seeder (again me).
This method has been tried for years by many startups. I have personally seen many companies that have promised solutions, but never delivered. A real time chat room or re-played chatroom next to video content isn’t what anyone is really looking for. They want to share their thoughts about something when its over with their friends in real time. This is today solved by Twitter and Facebook – usually in a hard to follow thread of comments.
The real time (somewhat solved by Twitter today) and post watch need for a watercooler is very prevalent. Some friends even wanted to chat about it as soon as they were done watching. Why can’t Showtime (or someone else for that matter) give us a place to have this conversation. I am much less excited about this opportunity, but if it offsets the cost of all-you-can-eat cable and gets us to the a-la-carte model faster than so be it.
The problem with an immediate consumption based behavior means that only true a-la-carte cable pricing would suffice. This would mean an ever growing firehose of video on demand, available at a clicks notice. Since this is not going to happen anytime soon, this affiliate model would work quite well.
Based on the reactions of some of my various friends, its clear this would have resulted in views of Homeland from a single tweet, which in an affiliate model would have ultimately been good for the show, good for me, and great for Showtime.
Getting everyone on the same page is important for any company.
It becomes especially important in the beginning of a startup when you have small teams working on small projects in different departments. This helps everyone know exactly what metric of success you are going after. It also helps align groups to determine whether or not the work that they are doing aligns with the quantified goals of the company.
These metrics could be anything such as; pageviews, sign ups, paying customers, shipments made, monthly accounts activated, downloads, etc… The common number helps people in any team from business development to engineering know and understand that what they are doing has an impact on the business.
This type of clarity also helps people decide whether the next task they are going to work on aligns with the vision.
Here is an example of what Panic did
You certainly don’t need a flat panel display pulling in APIs to get the job done (although this is a beautiful way to do it). A shared Google Spreadsheet does the trick just as well, and you can jump in to see the data behind a graph.
When you question what you are working on, or what the CEO finds most important, you should be able to consult this document, graph, or screen and know the answer. Its great to help multiple departments start to understand how each team works together towards a common metric of success.
Please vote for me at http://bit.ly/EricNYTM
I have been a member and participant of the New York Tech Meetup for many years, and it was one of the ways in which I got exposed to great startups in NYC.
I have met some great people, seen some incredible demos, and made some good friends over the years. When I saw the opportunity to participate further, I jumped at the chance and wanted to pitch how I can continue to be helpful, only this time as a member of the board.
I am running to Always Be Helping the NY Tech Meetup, or simply #abh.
If I continue to help people get introduce to tech companies, help startups hire more engineers, or simply bring exposure to the meetup, I have accomplished my goal.
For many, the NYTM is a large gathering of tech minded folks around the idea that anyone with a great idea can present to their peers to get feedback, users, pitch practice, networking help, and various other benefits. What it has evolved into is a great organization for New York, capturing the mindshare of both those new to the tech sector, and bringing back those who have worked in the area for decades.
I have participated since the organization matured from a warehouse meeting led by Scott Heiferman, to a ful fledged non profit transitioned to Nate Westheimer and a full board. Its been a great ride and the core principles have remained the same which is why it is a thriving group with thousands of members.
I have enjoyed and benefited from getting to know folks involved in many startups and want to continue in the following ways;
1. Always be helping to hire bring great talent to startups
2. Always be helping guide people to the technology sector
3. Always be helping people network with relevance
Hire great talent
Referrals are the best way to get great talent. By identifying great candidates, understanding company culture, and knowing about openings and needs I hope to be a resources to startups large and small, looking for great people.
Guide and mentor
Having worked on both sides of the table in this arena over the past 8 years I can bring some perspective, answer questions, and know when to get out of the way. Sometimes people need a sounding board for their next move, sometimes they need more direction and I provide both.
I would like to think I have the unique ability to connect folks together when there is a need. Identifying the right people and opportunities is helpful to startups that have just started, and those that have been around for years. I have done both over the years.
If you agree with helping the New York Tech Community I hope you can share this mantra and use the #ABH hashtag!
I support the @NYTM and want to help Hire great talent #ABH
I support the @NYTM and want to help guide and mentor #ABH
I support the @NYTM and want to help network #ABH
Getting more members, being active, and supporting great organizations like this make the ecosystem better as a whole, and I hope to continue doing that for years to come.
In it, he details the current state of the union for big companies and small ones looking to build out portions of their expertise through acquiring entire companies, and adding/folding them into the larger entity and concludes:
It’s not necessarily a new frontier we’re entering. The current environment is simply turning up the volume on what has been happening for some time. And it’s only going to get louder. So BigCos and scaling startups, with increasingly valuable equity, are enjoying a perfect storm for acqhires.
I commented on the post, and as Bryce invited me to write up my thoughts, I figured I would do so here. This is paraphrased from that comment and explored further below.
I can buy the parts to build a car, or I can pay more and buy one that I know will perform. This is a no brainer decision because of time, quality, safety, and ongoing maintenance.
In the world of web startups, you can hire individuals and try to make the team hum, or you can buy an agile group that you know can perform. The issue is the premium you will pay for a fully functioning web startup team, but it may be worth acquiring a fully operational team that you know is going to produce what you want.
I am sure someone could do a better calculation but this is just back of the napkin stuff;
what are 8 people worth all at once who can produce? lets call it $10MM
2 mobile client developers
2 front end developers
2 BD folks (hey im biased and can’t leave us out )
Assuming $100K each thats $1MM in headcount instantly.
Cost? $10MM upfront to buy the startup and product. Great small exit for the team.
Time ~ instant (or 90 days)
Hope they work at your co. for 5 years
You are paying $200K per person for an instahire situation. (more if you count options, raises, more payments and “other” but trying to simplify)
Hire 2 people per month ~ $100K/month/per person across 12 months is 24 people at a $2.4MM burn rate. This obviously does not include ANYTHING else you need to be spending money on like office, computers, insurance, food, other so lets double it and call it $5MM
You get a stellar group that takes approx. 1 month per person to get up to speed (I think this is generous) so you are not running at full speed for 1.5-2 months per person.
Time ~ 10 months (but really longer in my opinion)
Have equal to or less than team in 5 months – hope they all can work well together – and get them up to speed on your product.
Time is now an important ingredient to a startup trying to crank something and suddenly $200K per head for an “insta-team” situation makes a lot of sense.
I believe that you can buy a fully functioning machine, and pay a premium – or you can buy all the parts and assemble a machine yourself. In the example of buying a car, buying the parts is most certainly not an option, and you are better off buying the finished product from a safe and stable Company.
A million things could go wrong with each scenario above – and I am sure I am leaving parts out, but I wanted to get my thoughts down after the request.
Last week everyone shared things online through things such as the Facebook “like” button. Starting last Thursday, everyone is now going to start streaming them with a new opt in functionality of all “verbs” on the new Facebook. Facebook held their F8 experience last week and according to MG Siegler, changed the game. I called it an “experience” because they had Andy Samberg open the show and it was quite a production.
With last weeks announcement, the “game change” that happened is that previously Facebook had websites including “Like” buttons all over the web. In a move that I commend as extremely smart, they have people “liking” content both on Facebook.com and offsite, which in turn puts more content into the Facebook news feed, then making the content seen by more people, hoping for more “likes”. It is/was a Möbius strip of activity that resulted in more activity and attention.
Now, they have included a “always on” setting which takes your actions from apps, sites, and services and automatically ports it into your news feed. Although its not the same main news feed, its now a smaller, faster, news feed inside your main feed on the right hand side (yo dawg!)
The actions though are now well beyond “like” and include basically anything you can think of.
You will now be able to “watch” content, “read” a magazine, “listen” to some music, etc..
But the catch is, everything now goes into the mini feed that is a firehose of activity.
As RWW said (emphasis theirs)
Be forewarned though, with these apps you’re automatically sending anything you read into your Facebook news feed. No “read” button. No clicking a “like” or “recommend” button. As soon as you click through to an article you are deemed to have “read” it and all of your Facebook friends and subscribers will hear about it.
I did this myself with Rdio + Facebook and you can see the following results
Interestingly this activity came from my Android (using Rdio) while I was at the gym. Embarrassing or not, the world of activity streaming is now here.
The firehose feed is interesting because if you interact with content streaming by, Facebook sees this as intent and automatically upgrades how important it thinks this content is. I see the firehose as actually “training” the main Facebook feed, which is also interesting because you will be seeing content that is more relevant to you as well. What is interesting here is that users are training the feed with firehose intent, and marketers will now be able to target towards this new streaming activity.
I see a ton of Spotify and Rdio activity right now in my firehose facebook feed, but as developers dig in, I expect to see much more content from third party apps, and expect to get bombarded with the initial requests to “stream” from apps I use.