septiembre 04, 2004

Another link incentive

If you link to me, I'll send you a Gmail invite. I have quite a few to give away.

Please send me an email or leave a comment with your email address after you link to me.

Arbitraging govt policies for billions

That's more or less what NextWave did.

I don't aspire to be that sort of entrepreneur, but it is an interesting story.

septiembre 03, 2004

Link policy

If I were Tyler and Alex, I'd probably call this post "markets in everything: links."

Links are the commodity in the bloggers' market. We spend them, and hope to earn them in return. Just like in the real economy, there isn't a fixed amount of wealth in the blogosphere. So it is a positive sum game: we can create more blog wealth by linking more. This isn't a perfect analogy: bloggers trade links, but we really desire traffic, not links. So our commerce is transacted in a real commodity, but it is only a proxy for the commodity we really want: traffic.

As a new blogger, it can be tough to receive links and build traffic. As of right now, Technorati shows that I have one link from the Window Manager.

Of course, that's somewhat frustrating. I can't complain too much; I just started this blog and people want to see that a blog is going to last longer than 5 days before they link to it.

But still, if I'm going to blog, I'd like to have some links. So here's some options for my marketing plan:
1. Join a geographic link exchange, eg the Bear Flag League for Californians.

2. Join a partisan link exchange, eg Blogs for Bush or the Liberal Coalition.

3. Email individual bloggers and ask for a reciprocal link.

4. Start submitting to the Carnival of the Capitalists.

5. Find sites that always reciprocate links.
1. I don't know of a league for Texas. Perhaps I could get one together.

2. This is a biz blog, so I'd prefer to stay away from politics. However, I'm willing to consider option 2.

3. I'm amenable to people emailing me asking for a link, but I am surprisingly lukewarm to the idea of emailing people asking to exchange links. At first I wasn't willing to consider this option, but now I think I will.

4. Obviously I should do this, but I'm hesitant to nominate myself. However, this is clearly an attractive option.

5. I don't know of any sites that always reciprocate links. James Joyner of used to reciprocate, but apparently has ended the practice.

So, my link policy is this: I will gladly link to anyone who links to me. Anyone who does not reciprocate my link within about 30 days is unlikely to keep my link. This will hopefully create an incentive (to go back to my economic metaphor) to link to me. I'll try to email all of those people to whom I've linked and ask for a link before I delink them.

We'll see if it works.

septiembre 02, 2004

Instant messaging is the new email

It's surprised me how long it's taken for instant messaging (im) to catch on in the corporate world. According to the article, 4 in 10 adults use IM, but only 1 in 5 IM users use it at work. So, only about a 10% penetration rate?

Surprising it's taking so long. Among my generation, everyone uses IM. The only people I know that don't use IM are people that were spending too much time on IM, so they deleted the program.

Of course, the network isn't secure, and it can be an easy way for disgruntled employees to leak information out of the company. But it is a quick, easy and cheap way to communicate.

Free internet access?

The Washington Post reports that Philadelphia is considering offering free wireless internet access across the entire city:
Forget finding an Internet cafe. For less than what it costs to build a small library, city officials believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot.

The ambitious plan under discussion would involve placing thousands of small transmitters around the city, probably atop lampposts. Each of these wireless hot spots would be capable of communicating with the WiFi network cards that come standard with many computers.

Once complete, the $10 million network would deliver broadband Internet almost anywhere radio waves can travel, including neighborhoods where high-speed Internet access is now rare.

The city would likely offer the service either for free or at costs far lower than the $35 to $60 a month charged for broadband delivered over telephone and cable TV lines, said the city's chief information officer, Dianah Neff.

"If you're out on your front porch with a laptop, you could dial in, register at no charge, and be able to access a high-speed connection," Neff said.

But free, citywide Internet access would appear to pose a competitive threat to businesses such as phone carrier Verizon Communications Inc. and cable provider Comcast Corp. Both companies have invested heavily in upgrading their networks to provide high-speed Internet connections for a monthly fee.
Interesting proposal. It reminds me of the time that Newt Gingrich suggested rethinking everything, and his example was giving the homeless a laptop.

Perhaps it really is as easy as the article seems to suggest, but I have my doubts. It seems to me that the City of Philadelphia will find it much harder to manage this program, as government generally isn't the lowest cost provider of services. After all, it's a city, and that means the program will quickly be subject to patronage.

So I guess color me skeptical, though if the city manages to offer the service cheaply and efficiently in the long term, I imagine it would set a trend.

septiembre 01, 2004

There's a market for healthy fast food

From the WashPost:
When major food companies began widely using partially hydrogenated oils in the 1970s, they thought they were making their products more healthful. Consumer groups and regulators applauded the industry's switch from heavily saturated fats, such as lard and palm oil.

But the evidence is growing that the trans fatty acids in partially hydrogenated oils are damaging to the heart too -- and more so than other kinds of fats. Once again, the food industry is looking for an alternative fat, only this time there doesn't seem to be an easy answer.

Though a few major players, such as Frito-Lay Inc. and Pepperidge Farm Inc., have already made the switch to other oils, industry officials said many other companies won't be able to make the change in time. They say that's because alternative oils have their own health problems, are too expensive, or can't be substituted without changing the taste, texture or shelf life of a product.
The article was interesting. But I'm posting it because it spurred me to a different thought: the last business I would want to enter for the long term would be the burger industry.

Americans are increasingly health conscious, and it seems to me that the current predominance of burger places in fast food is not sustainable. The question is what will be the new big thing. In some ways Subway has already started the evolution towards more healthy fast food, but I imagine the fast food landscape will look much different in 30 years.

Six Flags

Bill Gates and Washington Redskins owner are buying up shares in Six Flags, Inc, reports the Washington Post.
Investors in Six Flags Inc. have discovered that two entrepreneurs have plans for turning around the amusement park company, whose stock price has plunged as fast as its roller coasters.

Daniel Snyder, the principal owner of the Washington Redskins, and Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp., have bought up big chunks of the 40-year-old purveyor of water parks, drive-through safaris and corndogs.

In a filing yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gates said he may seek a spot on the company's board. Snyder made a similar filing Monday. In the documents, both men sharply criticized Six Flags' management.
Gates now has about 11.5% of the company, and Snyder has almost 9%. According to the article, both are buying shares through their respective LLC investment companies. However, they are not doing it together. They have independently decided that Six Flags management needed a shakeup.

Readers should know, of course, that Six Flags refers to Texas, because of the "Six Flags Over Texas."

agosto 31, 2004

Dealing with partners

In my new venture, I have a partner. I don't know him very well, but I trust him about as much as I can trust someone I just recently met.

So far, I've done alot more of the work load than he has. Much of this is due to the nature of the work. Still, I've sorta assigned something relatively simple to him just recently, and no real results yet.

Now I'm not complaining yet. He seems committed -- it's something he's been kicking around for awhile. And he sorta quit his (good) job to do this yesterday.

I may just be impatient about this since it's the first real thing for him to do, plus we both have expressed our desire to hurry. So I guess that makes me ponder whether he has the commitment (he is a quasi-socialist after all) , and business relationships overall.

This venture was his idea and I feel lucky to get the opportunity. My partner had mentioned it to me in passing and I thought it was worth exploring. It mushroomed from there.

We're set to file our LLC papers soon, based on an LLC operating agreement template that I found on the web and modified. It may be somewhat risky to go into business with someone without having fully thought through and codified our responsibilities...but there's always time to revisit the issue later. Easier said than done though, I'm sure.

I suppose there is alot more I could write that would head off some inevitable (and logical) questions from any readers. But I'll leave it here.

Tech and biz

Has anyone else ever thought it redundant to have a technology and a business section? Very little goes on in tech that isn't also business -- at least what gets reported. Sure some of the tech news is going to be government funding related

Even if you're only interested in business, it's a good idea to read the tech section. Technology changes so quickly these days that it's important to keep up with tech. Your competitors are reading about tech. They're trying to harness the power of tech evolution so that they can beat you.

agosto 30, 2004

Krispy Kreme, part 2

More from the same WashPost article:
Krispy Kreme closed some stores because it couldn't sell enough doughnuts to keep up with the company's automated doughnut machines, which churn out 270 dozen an hour. (You don't slow down a doughnut production machine.) New machinery that makes 65 dozen an hour will make it possible to open smaller, lower-volume units that can operate profitably without excess capacity, the spokeswoman said.
I know that the marginal cost of a few donuts probably isn't that high, but...?

It baffles me that they didn't think of this earlier. Managing supply of the product to meet demand seems like a pretty basic strategy.

Later in the article we find out that KK had expected to sell excess supply by the dozen in supermarkets. Apparently that business is sharply down, which is why excess supply is such a problem for them right now.

Which doesn't surprise me. I'm not a big fan of Krispy Kreme, but I do know that most KK fans place a high premium on getting their KK hot and fresh.

Worst Excuse Ever?

In an attempt to explain why Krispy Kremes Q2 profits plunged 56%:
Gasoline prices have gotten so high that people are no longer willing to drive to the doughnut shop, Krispy Kreme executives said in a conference call with investors Thursday.
Sorry, but I don't think that's it.

And sure, I know the reporter probably took this out of context. But this is just prepostorous and I'm surprised the execs said it in a conference call.

agosto 29, 2004


Another test post. 2 out of 4 posts are test posts so far. That's not good.