I’m going to California very early tomorrow morning. Work and fun in SF on Friday & Saturday and then golf with friends in Napa on Sunday. So I thought this song was fitting. It’s from a live show at the The Ritz in NYC, July 1987. Original version is by The Rivieras.
There is nothing wrong with that especially since Yahoo is having a tough time to say the least. And despite all of the challenges in front of Yahoo there are some fantastic people at that company.
Presumably Microsoft is going after great technical folks but they also need some new DNA at Microsoft when it comes to user experience, community, advertising and web entertainment.
Here is the thing though. There is a double standard going on and I really don’t like double-standards.
Microsoft and other companies in the state of Washington enforce the employee non-compete clause. California does not. So luckily those Yahoo folks that want to leave (or are being forced to leave) can join Microsoft or pursue any company for that matter.
That’s a good thing. California recognizes all the problems associated with non-competes so they aren’t enforced.
However, the reverse isn’t true. Microsoft employees cannot go whereever they want. They cannot start any company they want. That same restriction is true here in MA and NY and elsewhere.
I’ve written many times why I’m opposed to the non-compete clause because they aren’t fair, stifle innovation and are not helpful in the big picture.
But this double standard needs to be pointed out.
There are other double standards when it comes to the non-compete clause that I’ll save for a future post. For example, why do some investors force their founders & employees to sign a non-compete but that investor and future board member in your company isn’t signing a non-compete.
It looks like it’s still just a rumor but it wouldn’t surprise me. Last year Dell acquired my friend Tim Bucher’s company Zing. Tim was formerly VP Engineering at Apple and was the VP engineering at WebTV and Microsoft and has tremendous skills building fantastic cosumer products.
And my friend Andy Rubin who started Android which Google acquired was also with me and Tim at WebTV.
So I wonder if Tim & Andy have something up their sleeves.
We had a Tumblr board meeting yesterday in NYC. It was great to get everyone in a room and discuss the future of Tumblr. Lots of interesting ideas and needless to say, David & Marco are working on some very cool new things :)
I was also blown away by some of the recent Tumblr stats.
Tumblr users are super active & passionate. I knew that from the folks I follow but it’s true across the board.
For example Tumblr averages 43k new posts per day across the 180k tumblelogs out there (that does not include imported feeds into tumblr). And it’s growing at an impressive rate. To put that in context: consider that wildly popular Wordpress generates about 106k posts per day across 2.3M Wordpress blogs.
That’s not a ding on Wordpress which I consider a very cool company and great software (we use it to power the Spark website).
I’m just quite proud of the Tumblr community and excited about where this is going.
Last night I was having a U2 itch and twittered that I wanted to go see the U2 3D. Eric sent back a note saying he wants to see it too. So we are going to check it out on Friday in SF. Really looking forward to it.
Here's another example: non-competes stifle innovation
A few days ago I received an email from an entrepreneur that wants to leave his current employer along with two other colleagues to start a new company. Here’s the email with the name removed:
On 1/26/08 7:19 PM, “nameremoved” wrote:
I have been a big fan of your attempts to abolish “non-compete” agreements. Given your expertise and experience, I thought I might try to solicit your advice. A few of my colleagues and I came up with the idea to found a company in the telecom field. Within a week, we received verbal offers from multiple VCs. However, I am stuck with a non-compete with my present company while the other two colleagues have no issues as they never signed it (we all are from the same company). The non-compete is way too broad and covers the entire solar-system. However, as you know the drill, the VC’s don’t want any risks and are proposing to establish the company with only two members who did not sign it. Obviously, I will bow out and let them go forward. But, is there anything that I could do to get my non-compete waived by my present company, instead of waiting to be sued by t hem?
I asked him a few follow up questions and understood that he works for a large company, he is mid level manager and the product he wants to go build is something well beyond any product roadmap at his current employer.
But as you can see from the email above, the VCs backing the new company with his colleagues aren’t ready to take on the risk of his direct participation in the new venture.
Compare that with the story on TechCrunch today about Gokul Rajaram leaving Google to join a new startup’s board that is doing something (I would argue is) competitive with Google. That’s great for Tumri, will create new opportunities at Google for the younger guys, keep everyone competitive and focused on innnovation across the landscape. California has it exactly right.
We need to get rid of the non-compete clause here in MA, NY, WA and other states.
There is a growing meme around Wordpress latest theme called Prologue.
Some predict this could threaten Twitter.
I don’t think so.
I could never imagine using Prologue the way I use Twitter. If you take a look at my Twitter updates over the past week and the interactions I’ve had with Charlie, Eric, Brad, Rafer, Dave, Fred etc it’s over a wide range of topics and with a range of different folks.
Sometimes I will send someone a direct message or a replyto or just a public tweet.
Just last week I was able to quickly find a native Dutch speaker to help translate a document by sending out a help request on Twitter. That’s random and even more special was I received multiple messages from folks offering to help.
And since I track the word “bijan” I can even get twitter posts from folks at aren’t in my immediate twitter network.
Twitter is a messaging platform that is as open as I want or as narrow as I want and always on.
I’ve been having a ball listening to The Magnetic Fields “Distortion” lately. The guitars and vocals are just too good. This cover (not on the album) is probably going provide mixed reviews. Lauren loves David Bowie so my guess is that she will hate it. I like it but I’m not sure I would dislike anything from these guys at the moment.
Until last night I’ve been sitting on the fence about Obama vs Clinton.
Both candidates are highly intelligent, passionate and either should be a significant upgrade to life under Bush/Cheney. That’s why I will support either of them should they win the nomination.
I’ve been on the fence because I’ve been frustrated with the “Republican-lite” nature of these candidates at times. By Republican-lite I mean that it’s tough to tell our democratic leaders from their republican counterpart on some key issues.
For example, neither Obama or Clinton have come out against the death penalty. And I think you can’t be the anti-war candidate if you have funded the war (again & again). Both candidates supported the Patriot Act v2.0. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act and both H. Clinton and Obama have said they believe the nonesensical bullshit that a marriage should be reserved for only between a man and a woman. I’m sure my progressive friends can list other issues that support my Republican-lite concern. But as Charlie says, no one is going to perfect.
With all of these things in mind I was also the fence about Obama vs Clinton because I couldn’t decide between the experience/plan vs vision/hope debate.
But last night it came to me. My nature is to always go with hope & vision vs experience & plans.
In my experience hope & vision always yield the best results. Always.
“Over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.”—Caroline Kennedy, NYT Op-Ed, 1/27/2008
We had a variety of different advertising networks and technology come in as well and talk to our companies. We heard from the folks at ScanScout, Tremor, AdMeld, Inform, Advertising.com, Microsoft and Adap.tv. They shared their insights and feedback about this market and their solutions. We talked about challenges and opportunities with professional, amatuer and UGC video.
Over lunch we were also joined by our friends Jon Miller, former CEO of AOL/now at Velocity, Beth Ann Eason formerly with Yahoo, Jonathan Shapiro, CEO of MediaWhiz, formerly with DoubleClick and Eileen Naughton from Google.
It was an excellent event and many interesting discussions. I’m also pleased to see that several of our portfolio companies discovered ways that they can help each other.
Many thanks to everyone that came and participated.
Yes, they are viable candidates. (Personally, I’m still on the fence about Clinton vs Obama to this day.)
But their rationale is so confusing. I just don’t get it. Some examples:
" The leading [Republican] candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq."
" We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle."
I don’t want to see any Republican candidate in office but how can the NYT feel like McCain is so great with the above point of view.
”(she promises) to an end to the politics of division of George W. Bush and Karl Rove.” and then later they state
"we urge Mrs. Clinton to take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign. It is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or for Mrs. Clinton, who is often tagged as divisive"
Huh? How does she promise to end division with all of her history and the recent weeks of Rove-like attacks.
"We opposed President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and we disagree with Mrs. Clinton’s vote for the resolution on the use of force. That’s not the issue now; it is how the war will be ended. Mrs. Clinton seems not only more aware than Mr. Obama of the consequences of withdrawal,"
This one really makes me upset and confused. They don’t like Clinton’s vote for war but somehow they believe that she is more “aware” than Obama on getting out? How is it that she has better judgement on this vs the candidate that was against the war in the first place?
I read through all the of the comments following the editorial. I think this comment from Eli in Syrcuse is one of the reasons I’m leaning towards Obama at this point. Eli writes:
"I am 23 years old. I have never known a United States without a Bush or a Clinton in the White House"
The links for the main story and at the footer were automatically created by Inform software. No human intervention required. And the links go to related posts from CNN/Time Warner properties. If the publisher chooses it could find related posts from other properties as well. All of this content is rich, relavant and their readers love it. And it creates new valuable advertising inventory for the publisher.
That’s why I post just about every day and many days I’m posting several times a day.
But I gotta tell you. I really dig reading other people’s blogs.
And when they are honest & transparent…well, that’s just the best.
I’ve known Brad Feld for a few years now. Lucky for me, we are co-investors in a few companies. I enjoy talking to him about startups or exchanging emails about issues like non-competes, the screwed up patent system, etc.
“Despite superficial commentary like this, the Bernanke put won’t have much of an effect. It’s like treating cancer with Jack Daniels.”—One day I gotta find a way to meet Umair Haque. I’m a fan of his blog. He has a mighty fine post today about the Fed’s decision to cut interest rates.
I think we often get stuck as entpreneurs and investors in pigeonholing ideas or people.
Many times we are misled by this and start believing:
-only young folks understand how to start Web2.0 companies -cto’s can’t be ceos -founders can’t scale -only seasoned execs are backable -all ideas in a given a category are losers just because no one to date has figured it out -that the world hasn’t changed and what didn’t work before will never work now or in the future -that what has always worked for us in the past is always going to work in the future -about people that we worked with many years ago as the same junior person that we managed in the past as the same person without giving them credit to all of their new experiences, lessons, successs and failures since those days.
Just recently I met an extremely talented entreprenuer that worked for a particular CEO for many years. The two of them had extraordinary success together. That CEO is now a VC and this entpreneur doesn’t want to work with that VC because he’s concerned that he’s still pigeonholed as direct report in that persons eyes. Maybe it’s true.