Sun-Intel Deal

Sun could use “any” good press. So it is not surprising that they went ahead with this announcement. (Remember the joint announcement with Google about a year back. Nothing has come out of it. Has it?)

The loser from this Intel-Sun partnership is obviously AMD. Intel has a chance to poke their chief rival in the eye with this announcement. The actual volume of Intel processor sales to Sun is not going to be huge anytime soon but if and when it picks up it is likely to be at the expense of AMD.

Wonder where this leaves Sun’s Sparc? Eventually Sun will probably have to phase out their home grown processor or at least reduce their investment in it in the short run. The end-users as a whole benefit as hardware and software vendors compete to work with each other.

Gates Foundation: Charity Conflicts With Investments

Interesting article reprinted in the mercury news (originally from LA Times) about the the Gates Foundation investments being in conflict with its charity contributions.

“…the Times found that the Gates Foundation has holdings in many companies that have failed tests of social responsibility because of environmental lapses, employment discrimination, disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices.”

Oprah’s Philanthropy Mis-directed?

Saw the news report in the papers this morning about Oprah Winfrey’s $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the town of Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg.

“Built on 52 acres, the 28-building campus resembles a luxury hotel, with state-of-the-art classrooms, computer and science labs, and a library, theater and wellness center. Each girl lives in a two-bedroom suite.”

Isn’t this excessive? Do you need to “pluck” people from such abject poverty and transform them overnight by giving them a Hollywood upbringing? Winfrey said she chose “every brick tile, sheet and spoon,” because “if you are surrounded by beautiful things and wonderful teachers who inspire you, that beauty brings out the beauty in you.”

Sounds overly excessive, to say the least. At a time when, basic healthcare, education and everyday living is a challenge for many across Africa, Oprah’s attempts at philanthropy appear to grossly mis-directed.

Oprah is a smart woman no doubt, but surely she will be serving the world’s poor a lot better if she drew a leaf out of Warren Buffet and simply wrote a big check to the Gates Foundation.

Wisdom from the TiE Internet SIG

There were several sessions. Here are a few points from the various sessions.

1. Naming and Branding

  • Features of a good name: Relevant, but unexpected; combine tangible with intangible; Always spark emotion; competitive clarity — not just what it is, but what it can do for me; distinct personality to generate inteest.
  • Marketing is all about conversation. What is the conversation about the compny and how do you continue that in the marketplace?

2. Wikipedia is 4 times the size of encyclopedia!

3. For the younger generation, the Internet is all about “self-expression”. They don’t care as much about privacy. Its more about sharing their “cool stuff”

  • Related buzz terms: “Platforms of Participation” and “Browsing Experience”.

4. Why/How Youtube got acquired for a hefty sum:

  • The momentum from Myspace acquisition (Google’s deal with MySpace).
  • Great browsing experience
  • Fits into the “self expression” category.
  • Plenty of copyrighted content generated hordes of traffic.

Silicon Valley Celebrities who participated. Reid Hoffman (Linked In), Caterina fake (Flickr), Munjal Shah (Riya), Michael Jones (Userplane), Ashwin Navin (BitTorrent), Mike Cassidy (xFire), Heather Harde (Fox M&A), Raj Kapoor (Snapfish fame, now a VC at Mayfield).

  • Reid Hoffman, “I am really busy. The best way to get my attention is to reach me through someone in my network”
  • Caterina Fake, “You know…its like, its like…you know…you know,,…its like, its like….”
  • Munjal Shah, “When the money runs out, the business is dead. So you raise all the money you can, but when you get it, don’t spend it”.
  • Michael Jones, “When you raise money from VCs selling the business can be a lot tougher. 50M might be ok for the founders but the VCs migt need 3X. So you gotta think it through before raising money”
  • Raj Kapoor (Snapfish fame): “I hear that at Google/Yahoo etc. for acquisitions under 30M, VPs can just go in and fill out an online form on the company intranet!”

For those technically inclined there was a brief discussion on software technology. Lance Tokuda (RockYou) said, “If you are building a system for lots of users on the web. don’t use Java. Its just too slow!”. Reid Hoffman (Linked In), shot back, “I disagree. Java is just fine if you know what you are doing!”. Someone brought up Ruby and the word was that its great but not scalable.

HP: Back in the News

All this recent news about HP is really sad. The so called management gurus on the board, the former CEO all combined have done great disservice to everything that the original founders “H” and “P” stood for. The only good news at the moment is that Mark Hurd appears to be a sensible guy to lead the company and letting him consolidate power might not be a bad thing (at least in the short term). Any investigation into the recent scandal is likely to expose the inner workings of the Silicon Valley given that so many big-wigs are involved. It is not surprising that HP’s Chairman Patricia Dunn is being phased out given that she has chosen to take on some real heavy hitters —Tom Perkins and the like. It should be a great time for the press as the saga unfolds.

Change at Ford a sign of deep crisis?

I was reading an interview with William Ford in Businessweek (I think) over the weekend and was really surprised to read today that he has been replaced! Its surely a sign that Ford is in serious trouble and on the verge of some major changes.

It will be interesting to see if the new CEO after 37 years at Boeing manages to survive in a largely family owned (yet public) environment.

Youtube Buzz

The Youtube buzz is very reminiscent of the dotcomm days. Lots of free video and lots of traffic. How they will make money no one seems to know (I dare say “care”). Yet, they have boat loads of dough. One investor said to me, “If I had a chance to invest in Youtube, I would simply because Sequoia Capital has invested”

This is sooooooo dotcomm!

Meanwhile, there are competitors galore. In the same space this company seems to at least have a business model of some sort.