Category Archives: media

Leadership at Google, talent and education

Interesting article on how Google’s HR team uses “data” to uncover leadership qualities in its employees. Their findings may surprise a bit…”successful managers”, or however they define such qualities, are not necessarily correlated to their undergrad/bschool, SAT boards or pedigree.

Its probably some combination of autonomy, gumption, grit and innate talent?




On this topic, i recently finished a wonderful book by Amanda Ripley titled “Smartest Kids in the World”. This book outlines teaching methods and approach in disparate countries like Korea, Finland and Poland. The book juxtaposes these approaches to teaching math vis a vis “how its done” in the US. Fascinating if you have children and think about the US education system, if you are interested in US competitiveness and labor, how math influences skill sets for the work population, etc…smartest kids

Geography is the new black…

Two articles that caught my attention:

Bloomberg’s rally cry for the benefits of Silicon Valley and the power of the networking effect. His article describes how environments and creative talent draw in capital and new ideas. A quick read!

An article on the global ad business and how geography is influencing the buy and sell side.

Go global!global

Surfing the web….30k feet up

I know it was inevitable…but there were two places that offered solace from the constant barrage of cell phones and keyboard clatter – a cross country flight and the movie theater. Cross country flights enabled deep thinking, reflection and thoughtful musings due to the lack of connectivity.

Virgin America

Virgin America

Air travel and web connectivity would happen sooner or later…no shocker. Airlines were bound to relax their rules on cellphone usage while increasing their internet capabilities. The old adage that one couldnt use a cellphone while flying because it interfered with navigation and the equipment on-boad was total rubbish. It actually affected the mobile towers and users on the ground.

“Virgin America invited celebrities and tech bloggers on a free flight to the YouTube concert to promote the beta launch of the Gogo WiFi Inflight internet service, scheduled to launch fleet-wide during the Q2 2009. The service will offer a 3.6 Mbps downstream connection and 1.8 Mbps up, charging $10 for flights under 3 hours and $13 for longer flights.”

So now, flying across the country will include Skype, IM and potentially other voice enabled services…clogging the in-tube airwaves with a cacophony of noise. The ambient noise factor enhanced by Bose ear phones will be a must (vs a want)! I cant wait to have someone shouting in their cell piece (or video enabled conference call on their Mac Air) when flying over Denver on my next trip to SF.

Good times!

Online Ad Revenue

IAB article reports: “that Q3 2008 online ad revenues were flat. The Q3 revenues of $5.9 billion were 2 percent higher than the Q2 2008 results.  For the first nine months of 2008, revenues totaled $17.3 billion, up from $15.2 billion in the same period a year ago and surpassing the record set in the first nine months of 2007 by nearly 14 percent.”

What will be telling and presumably a barometer for 2009 is the “Q’4 bump”. Advertisers always have excess money in Q4 that they “need” to spend before end of year in order to keep their budgets intact (use it or lose it). Not sure there will be such monies this Q4?

Online ad spending

Online ad spending

Will display ad spending take a hit in 2009? I bet you dollars to donuts there is a material shift in spending from display to SEM during the course of next year in tandem with a pullback in overall spending. While I don’t agree with some prognosticators that we will experience a 40-50% reduction in online ad spending…I think there is a possibility of 30%+ reduction in online spending as companies decide to sit on the proverbial sidelines during 2009 and let the bad news filter through.

Web 2.0 Women

Fast Company wrote a good article on some of the most influential women on the web.

Some names you would expect to see, including Marissa Mayer at Google and Arianna Huffington at the Huffington Post, along with a few others that were interesting to read about.

Fast Company Women of the Web

Fast Company Women of the Web

Ron Conway on VC in recession

I had the opportunity to meet Ron about a year ago in SF at his palatial Pacific Heights casa in the hills over-looking the Golden Gate bridge. I chatted with Ron and two of his colleagues from Baseline about potential acquisition opportunities in the digital media space. He is a very smart guy, gets in early, but has a very low profile and folksy way about him.

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Mary Meeker’s “Technology and Internet Trends”

The Morgan Stanley presentation from the Web 2.0 summit is located here.

I also find this to be a bit of “information overload” but also incredibly useful. Her team went to a lot of work to gather this info!

– Govt mandate to increase home ownership (64% to 69% in 10 year period)

– Low interest rates

– Savings rate went negative in 2005

– Foreign ownership of US Treasuries (20% in 80s to 60% now); a lot of money flowing into the US to fund debt.

Trending advertising spend and projecting what might happen in the next 1-3 years is of interest.  Also interesting to see their regression with GDP and advertising contraction as the economy pulls back.

– Tech and ad spend closely tied to GDP growth (uh huh); ad spend 81% correlated to GDP

– Growth in low CPM category which is currently undermonetized (VOIP, payments, social media, video, UGC); arbitrage the display/search/low CPM category

– Mobile innovation (Wii, xbox 360, kindle, iphone, skype phone, GPS devices) – single biggest area of wealth creation (and destruction from carriers); mobile evolving at blistering pace (iPhone is a tectonic shift)

– too many operating systems for smart phones in N.A.; Symbian a leader now

– Internet usage (net new adopters) occuring in emerging markets – China, Brazil, Pakistan, Colombia and India