Bio not provided
@MichaelWolfe ... almost certainly "will never".
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Is pretty good really good enough for Facebook?
"That said, university professors who teach Coursera courses told the Wall Street Journal in Februarythat they have no plans to award credit to students who complete MOOCs."
While there may not be true college credit at Coursera. there is something that certainly looks a lot like it -- and someone really ought to tell the folks at Coursera this, because I suspect students are seeing it that way right now. For a fee -- you know, actual money, you get to take many courses in "Signature Track", where they spend a great deal of time (and inconvenience I might add) verifying you are you and aren't cheating. When you finish a Signature Track course (again, for which they took your money), they give you a verified certificate of completion.
I understand that isn't true, transferrable college credit, but it resembles it. A lot.
1 month ago on EXPLAINER: Everything you need to know about MOOCs
How is there tyranny of EPS when Amazon isn't required to show any earnings yet is rewarded with a high valuation?
1 month, 1 week ago on Amazon and the tyranny of the EPS
"The question is whether or not an approach that failed in clothing can work for computers."
I think what you're missing is that this hasn't failed at JCP. It's barely even rolled out there.
1 month, 1 week ago on Ron Johnson’s brand-oriented boutiques couldn’t save JC Penney. Is Best Buy any different?
@jessebushkar Good luck with that LivingSocial theory. It's almost certainly worth nothing (not that Groupon is worth legendary amounts, but at least it's in the billions right now).
If anything, it fits the 90-10 theory Andreeseen mentioned.
1 month, 1 week ago on In Silicon Valley, it’s good to be king
I find this more than a little befuddling. I'm a Starbucks regular and I have Square installed on my phone, too. I can't imagine any scenario where I'd forgo my Starbucks rewards to use Square. In fact, outside of Silicon Valley types who worship at the altar of Square (as opposed to those of us who "merely" think it's a great company going far), I don't understand why anyone was excited to begin with.
Starbucks has a smartphone-enabled payment and loyalty card already. Square promised... a smartphone-enabled payment card without any loyalty program benefits. Who was going to be excited about this?
The FastCompany article, in fact, seems to agree: "The problem, ironically, might be that not enough consumers are using Square Wallet. Though Starbucks declined to share Square usage data, at least one study has indicated adoption is low." Most Square Wallet early adopters aren't chumps and yet using Square Wallet instead of a Starbucks card currently makes you a chump. Why would I give up a free drink every 12 just to use Square, which currently offers me absolutely no benefits to speak of. Well, other than potentially an even slower checkout.
2 months ago on Barista problems: Why Starbucks isn’t the energy shot Square needed
"If you can’t find 10 people to use your product, you can’t find 100."
Great insight, although tricky to tell with social products. I suspect Pinterest seemed really useless to a lot of people for a long while then suddenly seemed very useful. Even if that assumption isn't quite correct, it's certainly true that the flat part of the growth curve was very flat for a long while before the "hockey stick" phase took off.
You probably kept believing the same would be true of your equipment sharing idea.
2 months ago on What can be learned when sharing leads to failing
LivingSocial has been far closer to liquidation than IPO for more than a year. It was when they took the money and it still is.
What I suppose is unfortunate for them is that merging the company with Groupon to recover some investor value looks less likely than ever. The only hope for a no-shutdown scenario remains a buyout by Amazon or Google. But keep in mind, that will be at a price close to the Series G's funding amount not this fantastical $1 billion valuation.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Last night LivingSocial’s pneumonia took a turn for the worse
I tried to make sense of the re-filed COI and it's a huge, huge mess. The reality is that the company was borderline bankrupt. This funding is a lifeline, but it hands the company to the people who provided the lifeline.
Someone with 3 hours to kill could probably parse out exactly what valuations would leave people whole beyond the "Series G" folks who did this funding, but it's hard to imagine why anyone would.
Honestly, if you know merchants who are considering running with LivingSocial and you care about them, you should tell them not to. I don't wish the consequences of that on LS employees, but the jig is up here.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on PrivCo may be wrong, but LivingSocial’s CEO is still sugarcoating this round
"Add to the “emergency” aspect that there are uniquenesses to the daily deals business. If merchants have no confidence that there’s enough incoming money from new deals to pay them what they’re owed, there can effectively be a run on the bank situation"
This is the most important point. Why would any merchant who is paying attention run a deal with LivingSocial even after this round? They are clearly in a situation where bankruptcy remains a very real possibility in the near term. And you can run your deal on Groupon. So why bother with LivingSocial?
As for the CEO's claim about it not being a 4x liquidation preference, he then adds that at $1 billion, they clear it easily. That sounds like, uh, at least 4x? Maybe more... So I don't know what to make of that, but it sure sounds like a gigantic liquidation preference.
You must be the only person who missed the fact the Galaxy Nexus was never banned in the U.S. That case showed, in fact, that a ban is perfectly not possible. It's always appealed immediately and always set aside on appeal. There is simply not any chance at all that Amazon -- a huge multi-billion-dollar company that isn't infringing on anyone's patents -- will be forced to stop selling Kindles because the e-Ink folks might have done so.The remedy here would be for e-Ink to pay a license or disgorge profits, not for the Kindle to leave the market.So, no, the case you cited doesn't prove a ban is possible, In fact, it's one of dozens of examples of even when a ban is "granted" it never goes into effect.
3 months, 1 week ago on Could a patent dispute take the Kindle off the market?
Could a patent dispute take the Kindle off the market? No. It doesn't ever work that way.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Could a patent dispute take the Kindle off the market?
Scalable is an interesting word here. By all accounts, all these sites hit a wall after a similar revenue spot on the curve. That's almost the antithesis of scalable.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Flash sales are (still) the most scalable e-commerce business model
The future -- and present really -- of vision correction is lasik. This is a non-problem for non-Luddites, although a few admittedly are shut out as they are non-candidates.
4 months, 1 week ago on The future of displays has a problem: Our eyes
You get that Zipcar doesn't really make money and has terrible utilization of fixed assets right?
Sure, Avis could wreck some of what's good about Zipcar. They also can make more cars available in more places, charge lower rates (over time) than Zipcar could muster, offer long-term rentals competitively (Zipcar couldn't), offer one-ways, etc.
This is dangerous territory -- like going out over a frozen lake when you aren't sure how thick the ice is -- but it's an attempt to cross said lake, which Zipcar wasn't going to be able to do on its own. The structure was fundamentally flawed (in a way that, say, Airbnb isn't since most people can live with low utilization of a spare room).
You've been in a snit lately on companies you hate. I wonder if it's getting in the way of seeing that businesses need to make money or else they can't do much "disrupting" of anything.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on There are just so many reasons to hate the Zipcar/Avis deal
@HardCovenant I would absolutely engage in quantitative easing. And I would absolutely be reluctant to raise taxes in times of tepid economic growth. But the idea that long term, the carried-interest deduction is important to the economy is offensive to those of us that are aware of its place in prior periods of growth. That is to say, it has not ever been an important contributor to it. When the time comes to find deductions and preferences to eliminate -- preferably along with permanently lowering of rates across the board -- pointless breaks like "carried interest" should be atop the list.
5 months ago on The eerie silence about carried interest amid the fiscal cliff hysteria
The first great venture boom occurred in the 1990s when the capital gains tax was -- for a time -- joined at the hip to ordinary income by the 1986 tax reform. When the great firms of Sand Hill Road became great, they did on funds raids when this was true. They did not need a tax advantage to get into the game. They don't need one now.
The very fact you you are sitting here defending the indefensible makes me sad.
"So the NVCA and VCs can argue that an investor is more aligned with the entrepreneur — the two of them both forgo any real return until there’s a big exit and an entrepreneurs’ proceeds are most definitely taxed as capital gains. Why should a VCs’ return on the same effort, risk, and timescale be different?"
Because it's different.
The entrepreneur has no portfolio. He or she is typically all in or nearly all in. The investor isn't. There are dozens of companies (or in the case of someone like Dave McClure hundreds) in the portfolio. The risk profiles of the two resemble one another in no way. Furthermore, the venture capitalist isn't even using his or her own money. The "carried interest" is a vigorish, a take of the profits of the deal, typically 20-30% of the returns generated from the investors' money, above and beyond the management fee.
This resembles the entrepreneur's risk in no way, except that we are talking about the same company.
I'm an entrepreneur. I'm friends with investors. I actually believe we should slash marginal rates down and remove all differential taxation as we did in 1986. It was the closest we came to an intelligent tax code since the U.S. instituted an income tax.
But we're not there. Instead we load the code with preferences. Few of them make much sense. The only ones we "need" to preserve are those without which we'd literally have dislocation affects. For example, an overnight removal of the mortgage break would likely hurt high-priced real-estate markets in devastating ways so removing it overnight is a terrible idea even if dealing with it over time is almost certainly a good one.
The idea that the carried interest break needs to exist for any purpose at all or that venture capital in the long run might dry up without it is patently silly. Venture capital ebbs and flows with fund returns, not whether partners get somewhat rich or really rich. It just doesn't work that way. It never has and it never will.
@jholyhead I love Sarah's writing -- and from what I can tell, her personality -- but these things of "I'm experiencing this therefore a lot of people are..." tend to go too far. Most of us travelling on Virgin don't have kids with us (whether or not we have them at all). The idea that a group of people Sarah's age are really the customers of an entire airline, all are suddenly having kids, and all are suddenly being alienated isn't really correct.
I get her frustration. But as someone who doesn't usually travel with kids, well, as I said elsewhere, I'm not especially upset that the short security line has become kid unfriendly. Oh, and I'm the guy who will entertain your kid on the plane for half an hour. It's not like I hate your kids; I just guess I resent them getting my earned privileges.
5 months ago on Virgin America’s business flounders as it doubles down on party planes
@wjackson Right, and as I said in my comments, their frequent-flyer earning methods ensure that you pretty much don't earn anything. It's very weird.
Virgin America has an incomprehensibly bad frequent-flyer program. It takes about twice as long to earn a free ticket as on legacy airlines. They aren't really rewarding loyalty; they are selling a better product and telling you to like it or leave. Honestly, mathing out free tickets on Virgin, I long ago concluded that the reason to fly them is not to ever expect to fly them for free. I have more freebies left on American -- which I haven't flown on in years -- than I will likely ever earn on Virgin, which is my preferred carrier.
A slightly child-unfriendly policy sounds about right to me. Most travelers with children are a nightmare and I don't get why they should get privileged screening over me. I'm not unsympathetic to the challenges of travelling with kids; I get that it's hard. But the perks of frequent travelling are the short line. Once the short line is filled with every family with kids, it's not the short line. It's the really long, slow line.
What's strange about your story, however, is that SFO doesn't use the TSA -- it's one of a small handful of U.S. airports with private contractors. You've concluded Virgin is lying to you and that they are ordering these contractors to do their bidding. Isn't it possible that this non-TSA group -- which is probably about the only time you ever encounter non-TSA screeners -- has decided of its own volition to do what Virgin wants? In other words, that fits your passive aggressive theory, but it also is kind of the market working. Virgin suggests, the private company surveys the situation and follows what it thinks >most< travelers would like.
Here's the entire list of non-TSA airports:
Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS); Dawson Community Airport (GDV); Frank Wiley Field (MLS); Greater Rochester International (ROC); Havre City County Airport (HVR); Jackson Hole (JAC); Joe Foss Field (FSD); Kansas City International (MCI); Key West International Airport (EYW); L.M. Clayton Airport (OLF); Lewistown Municipal Airport (LWT); Roswell International Air Center (ROW); San Francisco International (SFO); Sidney Richland Regional (SDY); Tupelo Regional (TUP); Wokal Field (GGW)
5 months, 1 week ago on Virgin America’s business flounders as it doubles down on party planes