Home-brewed TV Everywhere

Unlike Jeff Bewkes’ original vision for TV Everywhere, in which all new use-cases for TV content would be discretely licensed, the courts are carving out a growing list of use-cases that do not need to be licensed.

Microsoft Locks Up The Guild

felicia-dayFelicia Day, creator of web series The Guild, said during her talk at NewTeeVee Live that she had some major sponsorship on news on the way. Looks like it’s a bit more than just that: The Hollywood Reporter writes that Microsoft (s MSFT) has nabbed the exclusive rights to the second season of the series and will show it across the Xbox, MSN and Zune platforms.

Sprint (s S) will sponsor all 12 episodes of the season across the three Microsoft outlets and will have commercials attached as well as product placements within the show.
Day told us earlier this month that she rejected about 25 offers to sponsor the geek-friendly comedy, saying, “For me, an important part of the show is that I retain the rights to the show.” Her deal with the Redmond giant lets her keep the intellectual property rights to The Guild while collecting an up-front fee. This means that should The Guild follow in the footsteps of Sanctuary (another series where the creator held on to the IP) and move to TV, Microsoft won’t participate in any revenues generated from that.
Read More about Microsoft Locks Up The Guild

Found|LINKS Mar 22 – Mar 29

Here’s this week’s list of stories we may have missed, but which you shouldn’t.


1) Why we make misjudgments:
On Tues. Mar 25, our friends at VentureHacks did a better job than I did of editing-down Marc Andreessen’s latest opus on cognitive bias, which is based on investor-lawyer Charlie Munger’s theories of “25 key forms of human behavior that lead to misjudgment and error, derived from Mr. Munger’s 60 years of business experience.” Mr. Munger is the longtime investing partner of Warren Buffett. Marc’s essay, The Psychology of Entrepreneurial Misjudgment, part 1: Biases 1-6., is worth reading, but try the VentureHacks version first. You might also want to check out Mr. Munger’s book: Poor Charlie’s Almanack.


2) Ideas/Business Models:
OK, it’s becoming a Twitter world. Could it be that now, instead of a Facebook app, you’ll need to write a Twitter app? Do your employees use Twitter? And ask yourself: does your company or business have a Twitter-play? With the access to consumers Twitter offers, it won’t take long for this platform will be monetized, big time. You need to be ready to take advantage. To wit: from blogger-founder Loic le Mur we get this list of 58 Twitter apps. Check it out.


3) Founder profile:
And speaking of Twitter, for a glimpse inside a the mind of another role model, read 10 Questions for Ev Williams, from Inc. magazine’s March issue. See also Max Chafkin’s profile of Ev, Anything Could Happen. Or if you’re pressed for time, our crib sheet of it, published Mar. 26: Do as Ev Says, and as Ev Does.

4) And related: reread Ev Williams’ magnum opus, dating from 2005!: Ten Rules for Web Startups .

5) How to be sticky: “If you want to succeed, you need people to remember and act on your ideas. For instance, if you are a leader, you want people to catch your vision.” F|R wrote on this very topic in November, but this week Life Optimizer published a great summary of Stanford Professor Chip Heath’s book: Made to Stick: why some ideas survive and others die. It’s written with his brother Dan. Read this post, and you don’t have to buy the book!

Found|LINKS: Mar. 15 – Mar. 22

Our weekly roundup of posts you might have missed, but shouldn’t.

1) The 1st and 2nd Gospels of Sequoia Capital.
We posted on these last week, following a nod form TechCrunch (thank you). Gospel 1: Elements of Sustainable Companies. Gospel 2: Writing A Business Plan. Sequoia funded Google, Yahoo, Apple and others, so these lists are like success crib sheets from the Burning Bush. Frame them on your wall.

2.) Strategic Tools: Site performance is a moving target, and demands your constant attention. On Mar. 19 we found this compendium of 20 posts on how to use Google Analytics better. We get it via Manoj Jasra.

3) Creativity: You’re working so hard, it’s really difficult to keep the mind inspired. On Mar. 20, Lifehack.org published one of the best lists I’ve read recently on how to nurture your own creativity. 30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity.

4.) Hiring & Retaining Talent: On Mar. 21 our friend Ben Yoskovitz published How To Use Perks and Rewards in Startups to Get The Best Talent, following the flak over Jason Calacanis’ claim that you should hire workaholics. One of Ben’s readers noted: “the best employees are motivated by a combination of working on something intellectually stimulating, working with smart people, and making money… in that order.” Great! but where paying people is easy, motivating them in HARD. So how to motivate your employees? Ben’s has your tips.

5.) Book of the Week: on Mar. 17 Harvard Working Knowledge wrote about the new Oxford Handbook of Business History. All of business history in one tome? Sounds grand, but consider picking up the handbook for one reason: it offers accounts from all geographies and cultures (Japanese business history, Latin American business history). Euro-centric histories still dominate our academic business literature, but a world view is important to startups too in an era of globaization! “The references in almost every chapter contain multiple citations to literatures not published in English [on] entrepreneurship, corporate governance, technology and innovation, and economic theory and development.” Check it out.

My Case Against Venture Capital

Even though my company, Altos Research, isn’t actively seeking capital, I had breakfast the other day with a venture guy at Buck’s in Woodside, Calif. VCs can be very useful for strategic advice even if — or, especially when — you don’t want their money. Interestingly, we spent much of the time talking about why Altos should not take venture capital.

From day one my cofounder and I planned to bootstrap Altos, which provides real-time real estate market analytics, but it was really an intuitive decision. I left Woodside pondering how to express the logic behind our bootstrapping choice. I finally hit on the straight answer: taking venture capital actually reduces your odds of success.

I’m talking about your success as founder. This is considerably different than the ultimate success of a company. Maybe I’m romantic, but… Read More about My Case Against Venture Capital

Inc.’s Man of 2007, Elon, wants his old job back!

20071201.gif At each year’s end, Inc. magazine elects its “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Deal flow being what it was in 2007, we might have expected the honor this year to grace Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. But maybe he’s gotten too much “ink” already. Instead, the magazine’s editors have picked Elon Musk, and it’s not a bad choice. This guy is innovative, and active. Count up his current projects:

SpaceX, which aims to be the Southwest of space exploration; electric speedster shop, Tesla Motors; and SolarCity which designs and installs solar panels. And don’t forget his original hit, Pay Pal (now eBay).

The profile of Elon is nice, but the best tidbit comes in the sidebar “10 Questions for Elon Musk”:

If you could go back in time and do one thing differently in your business, what would it be?
The whole back-in-time thing is hard for me, because I’m pretty happy with the way things are right now. I would have liked to remain as CEO of PayPal. I think it could be a $50 billion, $60 billion company.

Pretty happy!? Uh, that’s $1.5 billion-happy; the price eBay paid for PayPal in 2002. I find it hard to fathom that, given the chance, Elon might rather be suffocating inside the sclerotic halls of eBay, trying to grow PayPal — oh, … hang on, he means he wishes he’d never sold to Meg Whitman, et al. Now, that makes sense.

But, get this… Read More about Inc.’s Man of 2007, Elon, wants his old job back!