Archive for January, 2007

Podcamp Berlin, January 12-14

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Since everybody really seemed to have liked the general concept, why not do another one?

Podcamp Berlin is upon us:

Podcamp Berlin is a free, two-day ad hoc conference on blogging, internet TV, new media, and podcasting. It will be the first event of its kind outside of the US.

Podcamp is an interdisciplinary event for media creators (amateurs and professionals), consumers, service providers, social scientists, lawyers, economists, entrepreneurs, consultants, and investors. Participants talk and learn about the essentials of content, business models, concepts, and advertising of today and tomorrow in the area of new media.

More than 100 people have signed up (a German who’s who in podcasting and social media), but there is still room for last minute campers.

Follow the blog for updates (in German).

Naturally, things kick off Friday night with a little party.

Have fun, everybody!

Startup ingredients 2007

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Three good articles this morning:


So, if you’re just now starting up, don’t get blinded by the successes of the first people to realize a platform could be built and operated on the cheap. You already missed that wave. Now, unless you are extraordinarily lucky or well-connected, you aren’t going to succeed in publicizing your new service and getting up to a critical mass of content or subscribers or both unless you raise or have enough money to create initial awareness or value. There is too much clutter from which you must emerge.


The thing startups have to spend capital on is this: time. Nuance and pitch-perfect user experience are going to sort winners from losers. That takes time, community engagement, trial and error, a team.


Tom may be onto something. In a noisy market, it gets harder to stand out.

But the real issue is the lemming-like clustering of products. Who needs another clipping tool? Another “I like this product” list manager? Another social bookmarking solution? Another web-based multi-headed instant messaging proxy? Another start page app?

There is so much empty space out there. Where are the CRM tools? Where are the financial apps? Why do all the inventors cluster so tightly?

I am hoping for a migration out into the white space, where no apps are. That will lead to less noise, for sure.

This is what I like most about the blogosphere: there is so much free consulting for your startup out there — you just need to listen carefully!

Events around Macworld in San Francisco this week

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Chris has a lot, if not all of’em: MacWorld events and Citizen Central

Any transatlantic bridge builders in town (other than Raju and Carsten)? Let’s get together. I’ll be in the city tomorrow for NetTuesday (Upcoming).

Deadpool II

Monday, January 8th, 2007


As for Peerflix, there is a German startup that is trying to carve out its niche in the swapping business as well: Hitflip, who are expected to hit 100,000 users within the next few weeks.

2007: Business models for widgets?

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

German e-commerce blog Exciting Commerce points to an interesting comment on Techcrunch by Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners with regard to the recent $20 million venture round in Slide and just how they might be making money:

I led Lightspeed Venture Partner’s invesment in Rockyou, and am also a friend of Max’s at Slide. I can’t comment on the substance of this rumor, but wanted to respond to some of the comments.

Looking at Rockyou and Slide as pure technology, and considering their worth as simply the engineering time to duplicate their code, substantially undervalues them. Both companies serve up over 100 million total widgets, and create more than 100k new widgets, every single DAY. Thats a lot of adoption.

Users of social networks don’t decide who to create a slideshow with by issuing an RFP, or by doing an exhaustive feature comparison of vendors. They use what they see others using, what they see their friends using. In that sort of decision making environment, size matters in generating further growth. A great user experience and good technology are antes to play, but they are not enough to win the hand. Both Rockyou and Slide have scale and that is a key driver of the value that they’ve created.

I think skeptical comments about business model are understandable. I posted in my set of 2007 Consumer Internet Predictions that this year widgets will find a business model (if you’re interested in reading more, click my name in this comment). But it’s also fair to say that they haven’t demonstrated a business model yet.

Youtube was able to generate a destination browsing site and monetize traffic directly. Photobucket drives enough traffic through creation and editing to make very substantial advertising revenue. But many other widget companies (and I’d include both Slide and Rockyou in this category) have not yet crossed this bridge.

However, I think that there are a number of promising business model avenues that have not yet been fully explored, some ad based, some sponsorship based, some freemium models, some likely requiring a revenue share with the social networks. But I wouldn’t have invested if I didn’t think that!

In his 2007 Consumer Internet Predictions, Jeremy mentions a few more potential options:

2. Social Network widgets find a business model. Pete Cashmore and many others have proclaimed the rise of the widget economy, but there hasn’t been too much money floating around this economy to date. Widgets have been primarily a marketing tool, used to drive traffic to a destination site, with Youtube being the most obviously successful at doing this. Once there, monetizing traffic on your own site is uncontroversial. But few others have been able to build a browsing destination on the back of widgets, which begs the question as to how widgets can be directly monetized where they are embedded, and what sort of revenue splits will be struck between the three relevant parties; widget owner, social networking site, and user. I don’t know the answer to this, but have some ideas (syndicated advertising, sponsorship, micropayments for bling, freemium models etc). I think we’ll see more clarity emerge in ‘07.

Also worth reading in that context is this article on GigaOm (01/04/2007): For Social Networks, 2007 is about MONEY

Towards such ends, there are four critical success factors that any innovation in monetization scheme for social networks must adhere to:

And, if you’ve been following the German web 2.0 scene lately (with Facebook clone StudiVZ having been acquired for what appears to be EUR 85 million), you’ve probably noticed that there is a German contender to Slide as well: Imagelooop — who have received a total of EUR 1 million in venture capital so far. In a recent press release, they had this to say:

At present, it is completely free to use imagelooop. A re-structuring of costs through the introduction of premium membership, exclusive third-party products and advertising will take place at a later point.

We’ll see how that goes.

Dojo Offline Toolkit

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Brad just announced he’s working on a new project: The Dojo Offline Toolkit

What is the Dojo Offline Toolkit?

The Dojo Offline Toolkit will be a small, cross-platform, generic download that enables web applications to work offline.

There was a brief presentation on the Dojo Framework last January at Web Monday Cologne. Maybe next time Brad is in or near Germany, we can arrange for him to stop by one of the Web Monday meetings and give an exclusive follow-up?

Philipp Lenssen SEO tutorial

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Philipp has a nice tutorial today: The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

Basically, you’d want to:

  1. Write good content.
  2. Be accessible.
  3. Engage in the community.

Yes, it’s that simple.


Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Looks like 2007 may turn out to be a little bumpy for one web 2.0 startup or the other:

Mike Arrington takes a minute to examine whether or not we’re in a new Bubble, Bubble, Bubble:

In Web 1.0 companies didn’t fail (until the crash). They just raised more money, at a higher valuation, and gave it another shot. That isn’t happening today. VCs are letting their startups die, as they should. Things aren’t as exciting as they were in 1999, but it’s a whole lot saner.

So every time a startup dies, I don’t think it’s evidence of a bubble about to burst. I think it’s evidence of a market that is working exactly as it should. Most companies fail, but enough win to keep the whole ecosystem healthy.

There you have it.

Obama ‘12

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Has Barack Obama announced his 2008 candidacy for president yet? You gotta admit, he comes across as a very positive, down-to-earth guy in TV interviews.

Don’t know what his chances are in 2008, but maybe a run in 2012? He would be 51 by then.

Btw, while he seems to have a Facebook profile (as of now, there are 2252 “wall posts”, or personal comments by other Facebook users), I can’t find a blog on his campaign website yet.

Anyway, the 2008 race will be fun to watch in many ways, especially with the use of social media and all.

Second Life: More numbers…

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Just how many users are using Second Life? Well, more people are looking into the numbers (users, adoption, money etc.):

Be it as it may, I still plan to find me some property and build a little shack once I find the time. Anyone know of a nice neighborhood?