'Please Leave Your Ad Blocking Software On'

A frame grab from Hulu.com.

Albert Cheng: Closed is Open, but Money Matters

Summarizing two posts I wrote on CNET's Webware and the Naked Media blog, from Disney-ABC EVP for digital media Albert Cheng:

1. ABC, though requiring people to watch Web video in the ABC player is open because it's working so hard to give people video when, where and how they want -- everywhere from the ABC site to Facebook, AOL and Veoh.
2. You have to think of the digital media business not purely in terms of revenue per viewer or per ad, but rather *per episode,* where, he said, ABC's digital properties were not that far off TV, sort of like the comparison of a teenager to an adult, not pennies to the dollar.

AP Signs up 500 Papers for Online Sharing

I've written about AP's difficulties as papers eschew the service in favor of trading among themselves, or challenge its two-year cancellation policy.

Today, comes word (via PaidContent) that they've signed up 500 papers to trade stories, photos and graphics via its AP Member Marketplace.

Verizon Provides Sneak Peak of FiOS

Was at the Verizon FiOS demo last night, where we went to the CIO's apartment and looked at all the nifty things you can do. We're getting there: one place for a consumer to access and view everything from room-to-room at a price point that's almost becoming reasonable. FiOS is going to have Verizon competing with a host of new folks -- from the cable TV companies (MSOs) to Apple TV and even SlingBox. Take a look at the coverage and photos, here.

David Rose Tells me What He Taught Me

David left the below in the comments, but I'm bringing it out front, because it's a great clarification and enhancement to what I had written:

1) The Most Important Person on the Startup Team
In a blog post that I wrote on the subject after it came up in a conversation on the nextNY mailing list, I posit that it's not "the techie", nor "the UI person" nor even "the biz guy"...but rather The Entrepreneur... someone with a special set of skils and characteristics that may—or may not—be co-resident with the other functional skills mentioned above.

2) The Ten Crucial Attributes of an Entrepreneur
Although I haven't yet taken the time to blog about this one yet, it has been a staple of my business school lectures (and was captured by the New York Times during my Ignite presentation last month). In a nutshell, I have found that most investors look for the following ten 'must-haves' (pretty much in this order) in their search for the Perfect Entrepreneur: Integrity, Passion, Startup Experience, Domain Expertise, Functional Skills, Leadership, Commitment, Vision, Realism and 'Coachability'.

3) The Entrepreneur/Investor Disconnect on Returns
My point here was that even if you could get a typical entrepreneur and a typical investor to agree on the same target investment return for the investor (say, 25% IRR, as a reasonably high return for investing in a really risky startup), there is a gaping chasm between the two, because the entrepreneur looks at the question in light of his or her own venture, whereas the investor looks at it in light of his or her entire portfolio. The result is that the entrepreneur has heart attack when, having come to such an agreement, the investor says, "great, now that, of course, means that I need to get thirty times my money back from YOUR company! I've gone through the math in detail on my blog, but a crib note version is available over on Center Networks from a presentation I gave last Spring.

Things I Learned from David Rose

Angel investor and pitch expert David Rose was in fine form at the Shake Shack gathering this evening, holding court and telling us the key traits he tells his biz school students make an entrepreneur. They are, as I remember:
  • Integrity. The most important trait. Rose won’t give money to you if a whiff of dishonesty crosses his sensors. He’s giving you his money for your idea, and he wants to make sure it’s in the right place.
  • Passion
  • Great idea
  • Domain experience (helps if someone’s done something related before, and, perhaps, had successful business)
  • Leadership

You also need a team: sales, tech, BizDev, ... and an entrepreneur, who can be one of the folks doing other function(s) on the team, someone to marshall the others -- a team can’t really be bought, Rose says, and who lives, eats and breathes the stuff. Someone who is by nature that person, an entrepreneur. Someone who, if this one fails, is going to make it on the next one, or the next, or one of the ones after that and so is worth the investment because s/he’ll eventually pay off. You need 30X potential return, because only 1 of ten ventures will make it, and it has to pay for all the rest, at a rate that’s better than if you, say, put your $$ in a hedge fund.

Twitter of Online News Association

Twitter feed of ONA Conference in DC in right column. More posts here, later.

Journalists and Business

Was talking with Jeff Jarvis, Anthony Moor, and another professional this evening at the Online News Association conference about journalists studying business issues. While Jarvis, who teaches an entrepreneurial journalism course, (rightly) said journalists don't need MBA-level business training, he and I agreed business acumen is needed. The question, though, came up of how to convince journalists they should learn anything about the business side. (I don't see the divider like I once did.) Here's one answer:

Only a fool doesn't care about the value of his work. And one of the best ways to understand the value being placed on what you do is to understand the ways business people think about it. That way, you have a much better chance of making sure you continue to have work to do, that it's sustained.

Openness Comes to Money

Having been around VCs and private equity (sometimes because my company helped construct strategy for a private equity events company), I'd sometimes thought that this often clubby, personally connected (and largely white and majority male) group of money purveyors was ripe to have their proprietary and costly databases chipped away at if not blown apart by someone who would make the data more open. Now "A VC" Fred Wilson points out that Angelsoft is showing industry data and that his firm would be glad to contribute to make it better.

He also notes that his Union Square Ventures doesn't subscribe to the expensive industry databases because they already have a good read of the market.

Silicon Alley Insider is doing something conceptually similar, analyzing SEC statements and industry trends, and making the information available for free, rather than keeping it paid and proprietary as Wall St. firms' research departments do.

Look Over There ---->

If you're reading this on the blog page, look in the right column -------> 

A lot of days, my Tweets tell as much as I would in any blog post.

Refreshing Laughter at NY Tech Meetup

Was good to hear laughs at last night's Tech Meetup in New York (some coverage here, from NY Convergence, which I'm helping), not only for the roaming dentist-in-a-van, Mobile Tek Labs, but also the iPhone app from iRetroPhone that mirrors a rotary phone (one of a few of what Gavi Narra from the company called "goofy apps") and his joke that the next app would be allowing SMS text messages via morse code through an "iTelegraph" application.

True, as NY Convergence notes, "only" 17% of those trying on Angelsoft get a meeting with potential angel investors, but COO Ryan Jonnsen also noted that with "only" 9,000 or so applications since the company's founding, and some 400 angel groups on five continents, the investment ratio is "through the roof." Jonnsen said details on the angel groups were not available, but he is advocating more openness.

And NYC Seed's Owen Davis got big applause from the audience of perhaps 600 at the IAC building when he said their investments, up to $200,000, were focussed on companies that have a true presence in New York, not just a P.O. Box. And, he noted -- showing pictures of babies from Google images (above) -- they're looking for early stage companies, and ones with creativity. (A photo in this stream  shows the "psychadelic" imagery he used to illustrate "creative".)