09/5/13

Passwords: This Necessary Evil [infographics]

computer-large-newPasswords are ubiquitous. We all use them and despite the fact that we keep grumbling that they aren’t good enough, we still rely on them in order to protect our most precious information like bank account details, personal and electronic commerce details and such like. What I learned today while looking at Ken Peterson’s infographics is that passwords, as it were, aren’t a new invention. They were created with WWII for cyphers and were adapted in 1972 to become the classic passwords as we know them. Yet, however important, passwords are still misused by users who use the same passwords for multiple sites (73%), use the same passwords for all their sites (33%), or even use the word “passwords” and other niceties as a secret code. all sources for stats are quoted at the end of the picture.

07/17/13

A Free Yet Legal Copy of Microsoft Office on Your Tablet With Cloudon

imageLet’s make the most of the summer with a bit of light reading and what I would call the application of the week: cloudon. I have selected a number of applications which I find particularly good or changed my way of working, or of entertaining myself, unless it’s both. This week, I will dwell on the cloud on iPad application, which I find really extraordinary, and I really wonder whether these guys are making money out of this and how. Is this the latest mystery of the new economy?

We will start with a visit to the application website in order to confirm that the application is available both for android and iOS. The application is available for both iPhones and iPads, and I will focus on the iPad version here in this blog post.

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Step number 1: once the location has been installed, fire it up. First and foremost you will have to fine-tune the settings so they have access to your online cloud discs: four spaces are available with cloud on, which you can use concurrently. As far as I’m concerned, I have set up Google drive and Skydrive (by Microsoft’s, by far my preferred, because I was one of the first users, so that I have access to 25 GB free of charge). I left dropbox and box on the side for the moment by can you back to it later and at them to my final if I so wish. All that is needed to complete this setup is to let cloud on access your online disc by clicking the button “authorise”.

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Step number 2: once your online disc has been selected (here I chose Skydrive), the folder structure of your disk is then displayed to you, and you can choose the list or icon formats from the top menu.

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Step number 3: Once I’ve changed the display to icon mode which I find more convenient, I can then select the folder in which I have stored all the draft pieces for my blog. I call it “blog posts”.

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Step number 4: I then select the relevant blog piece in word format. I can see on the screen but it was last changed on 24 June at 7:39 AM.

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Step number 5: once you’ve clicked on the right file, it is then downloaded from the Internet. It is subsequently displayed, see the following screen grab, directly on my tablet into a Microsoft word window, more or less identical to the one I have on my PC (in fact it is a simplified version of Microsoft Word 2010, similar to the one you can find Skydrive itself). The greatest weaknesses that I spot in this application, is in my minde the relative slowness of download of the file (even more so if the file is really big like the entirety of our forthcoming book typescript for instance). My hunch is that we will see performance improving significantly within the next few months if this kind of applications remain in the future. As a matter of fact, what we are witnessing here is more than just another application but the implementation of something which I have described many times on this blog, which is called “ubiquitous computing” and was invented, I mean the concept, by the late Mark Weiser in the late 1980s. The missing link though is connectivity, as always, even though enormous headway has been made in the past few years. My guess is that it will take another 2 to 3 years, maybe 5, before we enjoy seamless connectivity coverage, with the kind of comfort that I experience while sitting behind my PC, connected via Ethernet on my 100 Mbs fibre access.

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Step number 6: I can then write directly into the file which is editable in real time ; in order to prove this I have underlined a word by clicking at length on it, which triggered the contextual Microsoft menu which everybody knows. This the tablet equivalent to the right click of the mouse on a computer

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Step number 7: then click the icon on the top bar which represents a compass on the top right-hand side of the screen, and this will open the menu which will make it possible for you to create a new file: either a spreadsheet (maybe not the most convenient type of file for tablets), a wordprocessing Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation. I decide to choose the latter…

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Step number 8:  I then rename this new file which will be saved directly  in the original folder.

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Step number 9:  an empty PowerPoint file will then be opened , which I will be able to populate exactly as if I were on my computer,  with a simplified version of PowerPoint 2010. This is a simplified version,  but yet, it is very usable, and it caters for basic Microsoft templates for instance. in order to create a presentation with a personalised template, I recommend that you use a presentation which you have created beforehand (with no content preferably ) in order to make the most of all the available screen layouts. This will save you a lot of time and will make it unnecessary for you to spend hours twiddling page templates on the tablet which is not very convenient.  You can then focus on adding text but also clipart, images, video etc. It is in fact very easy for you to modify an existing PowerPoint presentation and even create one directly from the tablet, and then synchronise the file directly on your computer , or vice versa.  I remind you that, with Skydrive, you do not need to own a local version of Microsoft PowerPoint, because it is available online too. Personally, being a teacher and benefiting from the special teacher/student price for Microsoft Office, I still think that owning a local Microsoft license is preferable.

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Beyond the fact that this application is nice and convenient and mostly free of charge, one may ask oneself a few questions. On the one hand, what will be the business model of Microsoft in the next few years ? I could actually bet on the fact that access to software will be increasingly “cloudified”, namely from the moment that connectivity is really improved and made seamless and ubiquitous. from then on, I really wonder whether software which you either install or download is a model which will survive for very long .  This, however , is the model on which Microsoft thrived for so many years. Besides,  I really have a few questions about the business model of cloudon itself; I mean beyond its potential acquisition by Microsoft one day.

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I also found it very strange that cloudon has had little coverage on the Web since 2012 , even though a great number of downloads have already been  performed  by users . I would be surprised if the Palo Alto company decided to remain silent , and maybe one day , what Geoffrey Moore calls the early majority will catch up with the “visionaries , dreamers and doers”. Wired pointed out  rightfully  that  the application’s limits came from the fact that the data was stored on the cloud, which rendered the display a little blurry but usable anyhow. this is a valid remark, but I couldn’t find that problem with PowerPoint, which I found to be the most useful application of the three.

There are a few limits with regard to the use of this application in presentation mode, but in our case I would recommend a more specialised application which I will describe in a forthcoming blog post.  As Wired pointed out, it is still very difficult to use such applications in order to create a presentation from scratch and the use of cloud on is , probably for today, limited to minor edits.

My hunch is that the self-proclaimed “visionaries” of Palo Alto shall not be deterred.

Time will tell…

01/29/13

The love-hate relationship of Governments with “cyberspace”

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A few weeks ago I started contributing to the innovation generation blogs, an initiative sponsored by Alcatel. Here is my first piece entitled: Governments Ease Into Cyberspace.

In October 2012 I took part in the Conference on Cyberspace, an event put together by the Hungarian government on behalf of the international community. The conference hall was packed with ministers, dignitaries, and ambassadors, as well as a few business people like myself. My pitch was about the importance of the digital economy, and I learned that approaches can differ greatly depending on countries.

The conference title is eye opening. I hadn’t heard the term “cyberspace” since the beginning of the 1990s. Today, 81 percent of the UK population is using the Internet; we all spend our days in cyberspace, so it doesn’t need to be called that anymore. My hunch is that governments still perceive the digital economy as something on the side that they need to embrace — maybe reluctantly. I also know of too many businesses that still see the Internet in that manner. They are the ones that won’t be there in a few years.

[the digital economy and the public sector are, sometimes, worlds apart]

Developing markets are where things will happen and are already happening. Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, India, and even Albania are among those showing the most progress. The effort Albania is putting into digitizing schools and government institutions and procedures is amazing. The country went from nothing in 2005 to a situation where “all possible government services are pushed online” in the words of Genc Pollo, its innovation and ICT minister.

Similarly, India’s conference representative showed determination and poise. In India, information technology and the Internet are clearly seen as big opportunities, not just for business, but also for national development. Yet I couldn’t get the same feeling of passion from the more developed countries’ presentations. Western economies have a lot to worry about at a time when industrialization is faltering and the digital economy already weighs so much.

My peers on the panel about the digital economy and growth agreed with me that there is a serious disconnect between politicians and business people. This is not a matter of scorn or disregard. What it means is that we are not on the same wavelength. Most policy makers wish to foster growth and seduce innovators and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the language they use is often incomprehensible to the business community.

Living and breathing open data
Governments speak of open data as a goal, but we have lived and breathed open data for years (more than a decade, in fact, for many of us on that panel). Sharing information has always been a staple of Internet marketing. Our Websites must contain what Vincent Flanders calls “addictive content.”

The European journal ePractice said in a 2011 report that governments are coming to grips with this, but too often the rubber doesn’t meet the road, due to “the closed culture within government, which is caused by a general fear of the disclosure of government failures.” Not only can citizens benefit from open data, but businesses can, too, by proposing services and applications based on such data.

Control and ownership is probably one of the most difficult issues for government authorities. All governments want to embrace the openness of the Web and its promise of a porous global economy. At the same time, an unfiltered democracy in which all expressions are allowed is a serious challenge. There was a precedent for that debate with the eG8 forum that took place in Paris in 2011.

It’s hard to tell whether the Conference on Cyberspace will change the way governments and their citizens use the Internet or if our efforts to promote the digital economy will prove successful. It also seems that the Web grew organically from day one. Then citizens, governments, and businessmen embraced it and broke a few laws en passant. Then regulations were put in place, and all moved to the next thing. This chaotic yet pragmatic way of enforcing innovation has proven very efficient. I’m certain it will remain the case.

09/18/12

5 major trends for the future of IT and the Web – #blogbus

imageThe Orange Blogger bus tour – of which I am the organiser on behalf of Orange of which I am the Director of Internet and social media – was stopping by San Francisco today and the whole day was hosted by Orange Silicon Valley

Georges Nahon delivered a very inspiring keynote today before our panel of bloggers in which he shared his vision with regard to what is happening in IT in general, and in the Valley in particular. I will begin my account of Georges’s visionary presentation by detailing his conclusions. As I always do, I have taken detailed notes of the pitch and they are made available at the end of this piece. If there is one thing that should be remembered from that pitch is that the Web is everywhere and in everything that will be happening in the future. Something which established players don’t like according to the Head of Orange Silicon Valley. However, Nahon insisted on the fact that it won’t be the same Internet we used to know.

Facebook will be “Yahooed!”

“Social” has been going through a rough patch over the Summer, with the now infamous Facebook IPO, dubbed “IPOcalypse”, IPO meaning “It’s Probably Overpriced” Nahon said facetiously. Yet, Europeans are wrong when they interpret these issues as the end of social media, Georges Nahon said in essence. Social is here to stay, and beyond, it will change everything which takes place on the Web, even though Facebook itself will probably be “Yahooed!” Georges added.

But the worrying thing I got from his pitch is that, according to his analysis, next to the World Wide Web that we all know, an increasing number of companies, including Amazon, are creating a “non-searchable adjacent Web” which sounds very much like the end of the Web as Chris Anderson announced in Wired a few years ago. I think Georges is right indeed, there is a growing concern that Net neutrality is being sacrificed for the sake of user experience. Time will tell, but there are indeed worrying signs.

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Georges Nahon, head of Orange Silicon Valley, on the first day of the blogger bus tour

Here is how I summed up Georges’s 5 trends for the future of IT:

  1. Tech is all about mobile: “Twitter is a mobile-first company” and thriving he said, “Facebook isn’t and is suffering”. 10% of Internet traffic is made of mobile traffic. Yet, 25% of US users are using the Web from mobile only, but in Egypt, this number soars up to 70%, and India is close to 60%! And 68% place their mobile next to their bed while sleeping at night.
  2. The default is now social: and social meets mobile (over 50% of smartphones connect to Facebook). Social graph (Facebook), interest graph (Twitter) and influence graph (Klout) are the new frontiers of the Web and “they are here to stay … for a long time” Nahon said. For many, Facebook is the new web (“find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter). What is the future of search? it is social and both Google and Microsoft are working on it… “and Facebook search is coming fast” Nahon added.
  3. Another Web: At the same time, traditional web development is slowing down, and Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Mobile will continue develop their “non-searchable adjacent webs” as Nahon called it.
  4. The Cloud as a new frontier: “The new guys are Amazon, Zynga, Rackspace and even people like Google were taken by surprise” Nahon said. But there are even newer guys you may never heard of such as Bluejeans, Alfresco, Joyent and many many more. Explosive data growth is also forcing companies to develop solutions for data reduction. And “the next big thing isn’t Software, it’s data” Nahon concluded on that subject.
  5. All video will be on the Net: most players in that field are coming from the Internet world, not the media world. “We think that the future of TV is to be streamed” Nahon said. There is more innovation than ever before in that area he said. Nahon added though that the concept of app-centric TV on smart TVs wasn’t entirely convincing. Time Warner see their future in apps but another trend is Social TV (described by Nahon as “a descendant of interactive TV which never worked”. 85% of tablet owners use their device while watching TV he said. What are they doing? Social websites, Zynga, Search, Craigslits (an old web survivor!) according to Nielsen.

the future of the World Wide Web

So, what is the future of the Web? Georges Nahon highlighted 10 trends in that area too:

  1. the web is becoming data centric
  2. apps will rule consumer and entreprise innovations and html5 will infiltrate apps and web services
  3. non searchable adjacent webs will continue to develop and the web will be fragmented and site-less (mobile, apps)
  4. the web of sites is dead and Facebook like buttons are the new hyper links
  5. Real-time multi-user game cloud platforms will influence enterprise cloud technologies: the main issue will be “latency” ‘as already explained on that blog)
  6. 4G/LTE (which we all were using to day via local mifi devives) will trigger innovation
  7. mobile payment will kick off from 2015
  8. all video will be on the web
  9. Enterprise IT will shift to the cloud.
  10. Facebook will rule the web during the next 2 years and Google will be in catch-up mode and within 3 years they will be “Yahooed!” Nahon said
  11. Amazon will continue to diversify and will create more online commerce/entertainment clouds and mobile devices (tablets/phones). “Amazon is belittled in Europe” Nahon added, “and it should be considered as a major player, for Bezos is the new Steve Jobs”.

Started as an R&D organisation and evolved towards what they are today (scouting organisation). 60 people, 40 of  which are in a position to file patents and they file 20 per annum. Often, it’s about reviewing the strategy. Statement from Prussian general “no plan survives contact with the enemy” e.g. 5 years ago, no one had seen the iPhone coming. Even analysts. An none of these people has seen Apple becoming a major player in the Telecom industry => be prepared for the unexpected. There were times in which you telcos could go to the ITU organisation and get things sorted but this isn’t the case anymore.

Essentially Orange wants to get prepared for the future. One of the key elements for Silicon Valley is capital investment. In Bay Area only, venture investments represent $3.2 bn 46% of total investments in the USA (San Jose chronicle on Q2 results). Texas only represents $ 179 m (3%) despite the huge tech firms in that state. The core subjects is ICT and media but not only.

The software industry in Q2 of this year received the highest level of funding. (34 out of 39% other source) $2.37 bn i.e. 32% of the total.

Market capitalisation: Apple + Cisco +Oracle +Google +Intel have a total of $ 1,261.82 bn (IBM is only $236b or FTE $37b). What this hides is the myriad of small companies which help these companies become what they are.

Continue reading

05/2/12

Is Sir Berners Lee’s view one-sided?

today’s selection is …

A report from Edouard Austin in my team at Orange who was attending the WW2012 keynote speech by one of the Web’s founders, Sir Tim Berners Lee who issued a clear warning as to the growing threat to freedom of speech on the Internet. In that speech, he addresses a clear comment to Mark Zuckerberg who announced a few years ago that “privacy was no longer a social norm”. Whereas the growing threat to freedom of speech is a non debatable and an increasingly worrying threat, I would venture to say that this keynote fails to address the other side of the issue and the fact that the lack of regulations has also impinged the rights of others and namely those of artists, sometimes in favour of thieves who have amassed humongous fortunes. I know that this is a debatable issue but as much as I have been a proponent of the free Internet and online freedom of speech from day one – i.e. for the past 17 years – I can’t believe that anything can be done. Or at least I believe that the two sides of the issues have to be analysed and debated, and freedom of speech placed within the sound borders established by the law (you know, that old-fashioned thing one used to abide to). As a matter of fact, I am a firm believer in free speech and open creativity but I am not convinced that copying and endorsing illegally others’ content is an option.

Web founder warns of lack of freedom online

Keynote speaker at the World Wide Web 12 in Lyon, the founder of the Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee shared his growing concerns regarding the freedom and liberties of the web.

“It is a danger to national security for a country to have information about all the people stored on one disk”. As I arrived (late) inside the imposing lecture theatre of the Cité Internationale, sir Tim Berners-Lee was just beginning to underline the dangers of the web for democracy today. “It’s not only the open market which depends on an open Internet, but democracy, human discourse”.

The founder of the Web is growing worried about the amount of confidential information circulating on the web and the way personal data can be used by companies or politics. The Internet must remain a platform for innovation and creation but Berners-Lee insists on the fact that “we have to be alert. 90% of the time, we have to spend creating, doing cool things and innovating, but 10% of the time, we have to spend protecting the platform we do it on”.

via Web founder warns of lack of freedom online | live Orange blog – Orange events blog.

02/13/12

Chinese Internet: the global battle has begun (1/2)

In a previous series, Alban Fournier, a young French professional who fell in love with Asia warned us that China was the next worldwide International giant in the making. In this piece, he is expatiating on this previous report and delving into the details of what makes Chinese Internet players stand out from the crowd.

[this report is published in instalments, type http://bit.ly/albanchina2 to put all the pieces back together]

alban qq inter 2010

Fournier: the man who prefers QQ ID: 1557637787 to his Twitter handle

What is currently planned at Alibaba, Tencent, Sina, and Baidu is worth further investigation, hence this sequel to my initial piece on Chinese Internet. My duty is to continue the story published last year and called “Chinese Internet industry ready to grow beyond borders”.

People were quite sceptical in 2008 when I announced that China, as a country, was good at disruptive innovation following a trip in Beijing. At that time, I placed my bets on a Chinese Internet becoming almost the only alternative to its American predecessor. Who would have imagined that change would accelerate so much at the very beginning of 2012?

China: already an Internet giant

China has the world’s largest Internet traffic thanks to its population, the world’s biggest with more than 1.3 billion people. With the strong increase of its Gross Domestic Product, extraordinary engineering talent, plenty of venture capital, Chinese entrepreneurs and large firms now have the necessary resources to compete worldwide.

Baidu Yi

[Baidu : screen capture by Alban Fournier]

From a social behaviour point of view, there is a fundamental difference between American and Chinese people: in the U.S.A. (and in Europe too) a majority of online users are “spectators” while a majority of users in China are “creators”[1]. China is therefore much more active market and its users generate a lot of UGC (user generated content) every day. This discrepancy is one of the reasons behind the success of QQ games, a Tencent service dedicated to free online gaming.

Now that Chinese Internet players are giants at home, aren’t we just about to see them thrive beyond borders?

Strategic investments before 2012

In 2011, Tencent formed several strategic partnerships in China: among them, Kingsoft Corporation Limited, an Internet security software editor and eLong, Inc, a leading online travel service provider in China. Outside China, in addition of being active in the U.S.A., Russia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Tencent acquired a majority stake in Riot Games, a Los Angeles-based developer and publisher of online video games. [2] In 2010, Tencent invested $300m in Digital Sky Technologies (DST) of Russia, bringing two internet powerhouses of the emerging markets together in a long-term strategic partnership.

Alibaba prepared the future of Alipay reaching an agreement with Yahoo!, and SoftBank. Alipay is a leader in China in providing payment processing services. Alibaba also developed operations in the U.S.A. and formed a partnership with Turkey’s Logo Group to reach Turkish companies.

Among others, Renren and Dangdang are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. We can expect more US IPOs by Chinese companies. There are at least 10 Chinese Internet companies which have made confidential filings through the Security Exchange Commission. Those Chinese tech companies aiming at an IPO are also growing their business through innovation.

to be continued …


[1] http://blogs.forrester.com/gina_sverdlov/12-01-04-global_social_technographics_update_2011_us_and_eu_mature_emerging_markets_show_lots_of_activity

[2] http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2011-03/01/content_12095412.htm

02/2/12

the end of social media … as we knew it ( via @wcgworld )

Today’s selection is …

My 2 cents on the future of Social Media for enterprises after 5 years of field practice as Director of Digital Media at Orange Business Services and – more recently – the Orange group. All of this courtesy of Bob Pearson on the Pre Commerce blog. I will soon expatiate on these views in order to prepare for an upcoming event organised by usefulsocialmedia, which is due to take place in London on that subject. 

Yann Gourvennec, Director of Digital and Social Media, Orange Group – “The end of social media … as we knew it”

Change is happening now. Four to five years of social media practice in the enterprise world have shown us that the social web is pertinent to business and – when used properly – it can enhance our online and even offline reputations. Yet, so many years later, social media can no longer be considered an “innovation”. We need to structure our initiatives if we want to get through the rough patches ahead and thrive beyond 2012. This implies that those who haven’t done so already cease to use social media as a standalone or lame advertising practice but integrate it into their core activities. For example, start with these good old websites of ours which need to be made social. I don’t believe that the Web is dead, but it is certainly being turned into something new, more interactive and more social, which encompasses social media; not the other way round. And it’s happening today.

via Insights for 2012 from Today’s Business Thought Leaders – Pre-Commerce.

12/7/11

LeWeb Paris 11: don’t miss a thing thanks to our blogging team

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From December 7-9, I will be taking part in Le Web in Paris and leading an international team of bloggers from and outside Orange

Readers who are not able to make it to the event will nonetheless be able to keep in touch with what happens in Paris at Le Web thanks to our twitter handle @orange, which will lead them to the right resources on blog and other media. The #leweb hashtag will also be funnelled through Orange Timeline so you can see, not only what we are going to tweet and post during the event, but all the content provided by all users talking/writing about the event.

Discover our Social media team’s members

Glenn Le Santo
Writer. Journalist. Broadcaster. Photographer. PR. Social Media commentator. Speaker. His specialties are social media, mobile, people, travel
Twitter @lesanto

Camille Bouiller
High Tech enthusiastic, he writes regularly on Presse Citron High Tech blog to talk about web news, and to share his developper work experience
Twitter @nephthys

Camille Jourdain
Social Media Manager at Up 2 Social, blogger (his own blog and a collaborative one, Locita). Social media enthuastic
Twitter @camj59

Laurent Moulinier
Mobile Marketing Strategy Marketer (at Orange France) – SoLoMo evangelist. His specialities are social, local, mobile, mcommerce, etourism, startup, entrepreneurship
Twitter @laurent_local

Raphaelle Laubie
Health 2.0 Serial Entrepreneur, Corporate Affiliate Lecturer at ESCP-Europe, operating on Soft Skills, Organizational Behavior, Web 2.0 and Open Innovation topics
Twitter @raphaellelaubie

Kevin Dicop
Social Media Manager, Blogger and Community Manager for MyCommunityManager – Former Mba EBusiness ESG student. Web, travel, street art and cooking geek enthusiastic
Twitter @KDicop

Lise Janody
President and chief content strategist at Dot-Connection, a small, fully bilingual consultancy based in Paris, France. Content and web management
Twitter @lisajanody

Stewart Baines
Co-founder of Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. Stewart’s focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. A graduate of philosophy & science, he has studied futurology & foresight to post-grad level.
Twitter @stewartbaines

Orange Group social media team

Lionel Fumado, Social media manager at Orange Group
Twitter @lionelfumado

Céline Louis, Live blog chief editor and blogger at Orange Group
Twitter @celine_louis

Alexandra Operto, Social media project manager & community manager Orange Group
Twitter @aoperto

Yann Gourvennec (yours truly), Director, Web Digital Media & Social Media at Orange Group
Twitter @ygourven

09/27/11

all you’ve ever wanted to know about Copyright Protection

What is Copyright Protection? The question might seem ludicrous but who know what the “Berne Convention” is and when any particular country, say Togo, did or didn’t ratify the convention. It is too often taken for granted that material taken from the Internet is free and can be saved in any form or fashion. This isn’t true. The author of the Whatiscopyright.org website, although unnamed (a fellow who is obviously obsessed with remaining so since he registered his domain anonymously) , is nontheless very aware of Copyright laws and regulations and delivers a must-see lecture (please check the small copyright print at the bottom!)

via What is Copyright Protection?.

Introduction

This page covers the basic definitions regarding copyrights. It has been written using the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (Berne Convention) as the main bibliographical source (other sources are credited at foot of this page), and does not refer to the laws of any country in particular. Therefore, comparing this document to the particular laws of your country may arise in discrepancies. Copyright laws vary from country to country but as a rule do not contravene or provide less copyright protection than the Berne Convention, provided the country in question is a member thereof.

via What is Copyright Protection?

08/26/11

Startups Don’t Need Marketing … Or Maybe Later

today’s selection …

Is a piece by Fred Wilson, a NYC Venture Capitalist, about why Marketing isn’t what a startup needs when its initiative is kick-started. Startups need intuition, hunches, “segmentuition” as I often say, not pricy surveys or acquisition campaigns. All of that comes later. 

You asked for it Arnold and 84 others (so far). So I’m gonna talk about marketing.

I believe that marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks or when you make so much profit on every marginal customer that it would be crazy to not spend a bit of that profit acquiring more of them (coke, zynga, bud, viagra).

A very experienced and successful entrepreneur came into our office a week ago to pitch his latest company. At the end of his pitch he showed us some numbers. Normally for a raw startup we see almost all product and engineering expenses (headcount). But his plan had a monthly budget for customer acquisition. After he left, we talked about his plan and my partners focused on the customer acquisition number. It bugged us. It felt wrong.

So a few days later, I called him. We talked about what we liked about his plan and pitch and what we didn’t like. I brought up the customer acquisition line item at one point in that call. He said “every company needs a marketing budget.” It seemed like a strong reply but in truth not one of our top performing companies had a marketing budget in their initial business plan.

Read on at: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/02/marketing.html