9 Things Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You

Editor’s Note: Our instructive humorist, Larry Chiang, is at it again. If you enjoyed 9 VC’s You’re Gonna Want To Avoid, you’ll like this week’s submission, on some all-important business skills no founder could glean from a GSB syllabus. We’re co-sponsoring Larry’s contest to discover the best founder’s skill acquired outside an Ivory Tower. Submit yours at the end.
1) Triple-Threat-Got-Game. Big Ducky (that’s me) thinks the key to success is having as many options as possible. Three is better than two; just as in hoops. Pass. Shoot. Drive. In founders’ terms this means 80% of your time should be spent bringing money in the door — I mean revenue! If founders aren’t money pressured, then VCs will provide better terms (DRIVE). If a founder doesn’t have to sell his biz during a downturn, he can sell it whenever he wants to (PASS). If a founder can sell when he wants, then he can generate a return (SCORE). Willie Sutton robbed banks “cuz that’s where the money is.” He meant, banks have more money than the corner store. Be the ‘bank.’ Them ‘robbers’ will come. (And you know who I’m talking about!) Read More about 9 Things Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You

A list of Long Tail b-models

WIRED Editor Chris Anderson, who is also author of the best-selling book, The Long Tail,
recently published a blog post listing various new media b-models, a.k.a, “long tail” b-models where, generally, the content you’re “selling” is free or almost free — and you make money off something else, such as banner ads.
Chris’s point, this time, is that there are now many revenue models for you to consider besides old-school banner ads.

“Think of all the various ways that an audience that is paying attention to your service can be paid for by companies and people who want some of that attention,” he writes, quoting the prolific VC-blogger, Fred Wilson.

Then Anderson lists several of these monetization alternatives. We encourage you to review them — there are lots of opportunities here for enhancing your “operational flexibility” as you prepare your startup for the economy’s downturn. Read More about A list of Long Tail b-models

Which trend is for you in ’08?

Raghav ‘Rags’ Gupta, a partner at Brightcove, and a Gigaom contributor, put up a thoughtful post Sunday called 5 Trends & Themes for the Year Ahead. Rags moves beyond a few super-exposed stories (clean tech and the 700 megahertz wireless auction), and he phrases his trends as questions, not declarations, which is a constructive way to ponder the business landscape.
Take a look at this abbreviation of Rag’s list. As yourself if your startup can address his questions, or ours (in itals). If not, consider whether, with some strategic modification, your b-model, product, or service could. Do this and chances are you’ll be better-positioned for 2008.
1. Can user-generated video be directly monetized and made to be profitable? Iā€™m skeptical that the effective CPMs from running ads on UGV will outweigh the cost of goods sold (bandwidth, etc.) to make a good business. Does your video startup have a revenue-model than beats COGS? Read More about Which trend is for you in ’08?

Peter’s Principle: Absolute Openness

Fortune magazine recently ran a feature on PayPal alumni that includes folks like Slide CEO & Founder Max Levchin, the YouTube boys and David Sacks of Geni.
The star of the story, however is Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of PayPal and now a hedge fund investor non-pariel, who manages billions of dollars and is an ultimate contrarian. His investments include Facebook (stake worth over a billion dollars), LinkedIn and Slide. Amusing as it might be, the story has one nugget of information that most start-up founders should at least attempt to copy.

His hallmark management MO at PayPal (at least, pre-IPO) was the all-hands open-book session. Customer logs, revenue flow, fraud losses, burn rate: He’d display it all for every employee to see. This access to information, coupled with the lack of offices, created a flat structure where any idea could win the day.

Also watch my video interviews with Max Levchin and David Sacks, on the GigaOM.TV website.

Touch in context: what a great feature!

N800_smallThe touch interface is clearly gaining momentum: we’ve got touch-enabled Tablet PCs, UMPCs, PDAs, smartphones and other small handhelds. Palm rejection is a staple in the latest Fujitsu P1610 devices and true multi-touch devices are on the near-horizon with Apple’s iPhone. Ironically, my MacBook Pro has multi-touch to a degree as well. Most Mac users know that you can use two fingers on the touchpad simultaneously for scrolling; did you try moving those two fingers in different directions like I did? Hop over to Google Maps, find your favorite location and try moving your two fingers apart and then together. See what happens; I won’t spoil the surprise. šŸ˜‰

The Nokia N800 is another touchscreen device and there’s a feature that I’m calling "touch in context" for lack of a better phrase. It’s a simple function, but I find it so useful that I’d love to see it on all touchscreen computing devices going forward.

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Norwegian Telenor buys $1 billion worth of broadband

Norwegian giant has spent $1 billion to buy two broadband operators – Sweden’s Bredbandsbolaget for $823 million (335,000 subscribers) and another $237 million on Danish broadband outfit Cybercity, which has about 90,000 customers. Looks like it is trying to become a major player in that region. via