A word about the google/DoubleClick non compete story
Valleywag reported today that google required DoubleClick employees to sign a non compete. And then there was a subsequent layoff after the acquisition . Many folks asked me what I thought since I have been so vocal about ending non competes.
Here are my thoughts. I don’t like non compete ageements. I don’t think they are fair and they stifle innovation. I believe that California has it exactly right. Non competes are not permitted or enforced However even in California there is an exception.
Non competes are permitted if they are part of a negotiation in merger or acquisition. In that case the courts have ruled in CA that the two parties are balanced and exchanging value. In other words its part of the sale price of the company. That balance does not exist in a normal employer/employee ageement I think that is the right model.
Get rid of non competes except for a m&a. But if Valleywag story is accurate than I think that this was consistent with the letter of my opinion but breaks the spirit in my view unless employees and common shareholders knew that their portion of the $3B sale to google was going to include a non compete and then a layoff.
“In adding up the quantifiable costs of the war, it is hard not to come up with a number in excess of $3 trillion. In putting a $3 trillion price tag on the war, we believe we have been excessively conservative - a $4 or $5 trillion tag would be more reasonable. And remember - this is just the cost for America.”—Joseph Stiglitz & Linda Bilmes - The Guardian/UK
I know a lot of folks that refuse to carry a blackberry.
They can’t handle the constant vibration or the blinking red light. Or just the idea that there inbox is growing and they are just a click from checking it out. Anytime. Anywhere.
So these friends of mine carry two phones. One for talking. And one for email/sms.
I have some other friends that won’t even turn on their blackberry on the weekends. They can’t handle it. That’s because the Blackberry is so good at messaging that they can’t put it down. Ever. I set up my blackberry differently. Mine doesn’t vibrate or flash a red light when I get a new email. I check it when I want on my terms.
There are a suite of web services that I’m addicted to and want to use every day. Either for fun, or to stay connected with friends, loved ones or colleagues or to learn or whatever. Readers of this site know that one of them is Tumblr. I’ve been posting every day for a long time at this point. I love the product and that’s one of the reasons why I invested in David and the company.
Another service that I use every day and many times a day is Twitter. I’m not just broadcasting - I’m reading other people’s updates. More than ever. I’m using it in new ways too. It’s my real time version of yahoo answers. With tracking I talk to folks that I don’t yet follow, I keep track of our portfolio companies and I can interact during important events. I am super excited about the possiblities with tracking on Twitter. I believe it can lead to amazing stuff including business applications and other cool ideas that I can’t stop thinking about.
I just mentioned 3 things that I’m addicted to. Blackberry, Tumblr and Twitter. Am I going to give them up. No way. They mean to much to me at this point. But I use them all on my terms.
I’m getting way more from those things than I give.
“In the Rolling Stones’ new concert movie, Shine a Light, there is a vintage interview with guitarist Keith Richards. A reporter asks Richards what he thinks about when he’s onstage playing with the Stones. Richards coolly replies, “I don’t think onstage. I feel.”—Blues Brothers : Rolling Stone
With Covestor you can securely and easily link your Covestor profile to your brokerage account and have a public track record of your investments. And you can track others on the site as well and see how they are performing. Fred has a great post on Covestor today.
Right now there are several benefits for sharing your track record in a secure way. It’s fun, competitive and educational. And soon there will be even more reasons to do this.
So check out Covestor if you are an active public stock investor or just an aspiring one!
I just mentioned John Adams in my post earlier today and now I find out that John Adams is using Tumblr from the grave and it’s quite funny. The blog is about John Adams’s view on current events (and no, it’s not me).
Silicon Alley Insider links to the late Presidents observation on the Microsoft/Yahoo news of the day.
I thought this post from John Adams was really funny. It’s call from John Adams to the actor Paul Giamatti playing John Adams on HBO.
“We wake up every day thinking about digital,” said Mr. Kessel, senior vice president for worldwide digital media, who reports to Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder. “Jeff once said he couldn’t imagine anything more important than reinventing the book. I think that sums it up really well, if you think about that across all our media products.”—
I clearly remember the last boom and bust. I was an entrepreneur at the time.
The boom was amazing. Lots of innovative companies were built. Founders, employees and investors were rewarded big time for the very best companies.
The bust was interesting too. Lots of great companies were built in the last bust. And of course a lot of companies didn’t make it and lots of folks lost their shirt. In the world of early stage startups this is the risk we all take. And when I say “all” I mean it.
One thing I hated the most about the last bust was the behavior of some individuals that seemed to grow by the day. These particular folks started blaming everyone else. It was nasty nasty. I’m sure many of you remember.
Matthew Ingram’s post in response sums it up nicely when he says:
This is the essence of the “freemium” approach. Give people some of what you have for nothing, and see if they like it. If they do, then offer them more for a fee. It works for SmugMug.com, it works for 37Signals.com and other companies. Did Craigslist choose to offer its services for free because its VC backers forced it to? No. It did so because Craig wanted to do it that way — and because he could do it that way. Only when it had become obvious how valuable it was did he start to charge for certain things, and then only in a limited way, and still the company makes close to $100-million a year with virtually no more effort than when it was free.
That is the power of the “free” model — it’s not some kind of snake-oil trick that VCs desperate for an exit have foisted on Web startups.
I won’t go into the merits of why free can be a great idea because that isn’t the subject of this post. The real message of this post is keep your chin up and keep innovating thru the cycle.
We need to keep cool and offer constructive advice. Thru the good times and bad.
I’ve been on a few panels as a VC. Some have been great - some, well…not so much.
But I’m looking really looking forward to a panel that I just agreed to join. It’s Convergence 2.0 being held on June 9th in NYC and organized by The Deal. I’m on the panel called “VC Investment in a Capital - Efficent Age”. The time is incorrect and will be updated shortly. It starts at 3:45pm.
I think it’s an interesting topic. David Karp will also be on this panel. David is the founder & ceo of Tumblr (a Spark portfolio company and i’m on his board). And so will Adeo Ressi. I’ve never met Adeo but am looking forward to it. Adeo is the creator of theFunded.com. I think theFunded is cool concept and hopefully can find a way to filter out those that are favorably stuffing the ballot box and those with a (negative/nasty) agenda.
Please join us if you have time!
UPDATE: 4/14: I just found out that they canceled this conference. Oh well!
There is a lot of attention in the world of network services to properly scale bandwidth and service utlization. For example, it used to be an ISP & VOD rule of thumb to plan for 10% peak concurrency - namely, assume that 10% of your users are online at any given time. It’s critical to plan for concurrent peak ulitilzation.
I’ve been thinking that lately my personal peak concurrency is beyond the system I have built to date.
Work life is always busy. But sometimes it gets to a point where eveything needs to happen at the same time.
Family life is always busy. Three kids and lots of changes means that life is moving too fast. And sometimes it gets to a point where eveything needs to happen at the same time.
And it’s manageable. Except when the family & work life needs happen at the exact same point. Then my system doesn’t work. And that is happening right now.
I need more bandwidth and I need more brain servers.