Archive for 19/01/2012

You don’t have to agree on everything. If you do, you haven’t found the right person.

Finding the right partner is one of the most important steps in building your business. 

Here’s what you must have in common:
Passion:

 You and your partner may not have equal levels of passion but they should be close. A great partner is a person you can call at 3 a.m. who will pick up the phone at that hour to listen to your idea with nearly the same amount of excitement.
Goals:

What’s the exit strategy? Does he want to sell at X dollars and you want to sell at Y? How will your business be structured? Do you envision a full staff, and he envisions just you and a couple people? What will be the range of your products and services? Does he want to be the jack-of-all-trades and you want to focus on just a couple things? Being in complete alignment with your goals at the start of your business is a make-or-break decision.

Location:

It’s very difficult to truly commit to a new business when your partner is not in the same location as you. Find a partner you can meet with in person.

Commitment :

If you don’t have a full-time job, but your partner does, this could be a sign of trouble. Having a partner who commits only a fraction of the time will quickly lead to arguments. If you do find a great partner who simply doesn’t have the same availability as you, be sure you clearly define your expectations, and know whether or not he can meet them. Level of commitment can also be set by equity.

Motivation :

Both partners need to have the ability to motivate each other. Ever have a gym buddy? If I call you to work out, and you don’t feel like it, trust me, I’ll make you want to go and you will go. The same goes the other way. It’s easy to be lazy. You MUST find a partner who can push you forward. And you MUST be that person as well.

Here’s where you should differ:

Having different skillsets is extremely important. As long as you have the five things above in common, the rest of the qualifications should be complementary.
1- Ideas vs. execution.

If you’re the visionary or the idea guy, look for a partner who can execute your ideas. Two idea guys will get the business nowhere.

2- Right brain vs. left.

 Are you a creative? Great! Find your analytical half. A successful business needs both sides of the brain covered.
3- Sales vs. production

Can you sell ice to an Eskimo? Excellent. Now you need a partner who can make the ice. I’m a marketing guy. I don’t know how to build a website. But my partner, a Harvard computer science grad, does.
Problems vs. solutions

 Creating a process around various aspects of your business is very important. You may be great at seeing the problems, but your partner needs to be good at implementing the solutions.
Gas vs. brakes

If you’ve got more ambition than your partner, that’s not a bad thing. It’s great to have a partnership where one of you is the gas and the other is the brakes. Having both put the pedal to the metal is asking for your business to crash.

Twitter has acquired Summify, a small start-up that smartly aggregates links shared by users’ friends on social networks.

Instead, five members of the Summify team will be joining Twitter’s growth team in San Francisco to help work on its products “to explore ways to help people connect and engage with relevant, timely news.”

Summify had started as an email service and extended to an iPhone app. One of its more novel features was that it focused on giving users less news instead of more, by sending users daily email summaries of only the most important stories. At the end of each day’s list it said “You’re done!”

The service picked those stories through a combination of how many times each user’s contacts had recently shared them on Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader, and how many times they had been shared on those networks globally.

Summify disabled new registrations today and dropped some features in anticipation of shutting down the service at an unspecified date.

Summify, which was started in Romania and based in Vancouver, had raised seed funding from investors including Accel Partners, Rob Glaser and Stewart Butterfield.

 

This week families will gather to celebrate the holidays over home-cooked meals, gift exchanges and fights over the TV remote.

That last annual tradition may be dying off, thanks to changing technology habits. More people now watch TV while simultaneously using second screens like tablets, laptops and smartphones. A recent Nielson study showed 70% of tablet owners and 68% of smartphone owners said they use their devices while watching television.

I, too, find myself watching TV in this multi-tasking mode. Using apps require people to look away from the TV and at their second screens, but in my experience, this actually worked. I tried Yahoo’s IntoNow, which runs on iPhone and iPad and Android smartphones; Showtime Social, which works on the iPad; and Shazam, which works on nearly all mobile platforms, including Apple, RIM, Android and Windows Phones.

I was fun with these apps, and each uses a different method to draw in users. IntoNow and Showtime Social poll viewers during shows, Shazam displays behind-the-scenes footage, and IntoNow displays related social-network updates and live discussions. The apps virtually introduced me to fans of shows I liked, reminding me of my freshman year of college when I piled into a dorm room with 20 people (many of whom I didn’t know) to watch the series finale of “Felicity”: The show got more interesting in the company of other fans.

Although Apple’s popular iPad tablet has been able to replace laptops for many tasks, it isn’t a big hit with folks who’d like to use it to create or edit long Microsoft Office documents.

While Microsoft has released a number of apps for the iPad, it hasn’t yet released an iPad version of Office. There are a number of valuable apps that can create or edit Office documents, such as Quickoffice Pro, Documents To Go and the iPad version of Apple’s own iWork suite. But their fidelity with Office documents created on a Windows PC or a Mac isn’t perfect.

This week, OnLive Inc., in Palo Alto, Calif., is releasing an app that brings the full, genuine Windows versions of the key Office productivity apps—Word, Excel and PowerPoint—to the iPad. And it’s free. These are the real programs. They look and work just like they do on a real Windows PC. They let you create or edit genuine Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

The  pre-release version of this new app, called OnLive Desktop, which the company says will be available in the next few days in Apple’s app store. More information is at desktop.onlive.com.

OnLive Desktop is a cloud-based app. That means it doesn’t actually install Office on your iPad. It acts as a gateway to a remote server where Windows 7, and the three Office apps, are actually running. You create an account, sign in, and Windows pops up on your iPad, with icons allowing you to launch Word, Excel or PowerPoint. (There are also a few other, minor Windows programs included, like Notepad, Calculator and Paint.)

A  week after turning its mobile “Explore” function for finding businesses into a full-fledged Web service, Foursquare has now partnered with start-up SinglePlatform to offer menu information for nearly 250,000 restaurants across the U.S. The partnership significantly bulks up Foursquare’s database, which previously included check-ins and short tips left by its mobile app users, and brings the New York-based start-up into the territory of Yelp and Seamless, which already offer online menu pages.

There’s always a chance that Google delivers something other than a monster Q4 this afternoon. But that is really going to mess with Wall Street, which is expecting epic stuff.

Earlier this month, investors pushed Google shares up past $670 — the highest they’ve ever been. They’ve since pulled back a bit, but not for performance reasons: The Street still expects Google to post net revenue of around $8.4 billion — that’s up about 30 percent over the previous year — and earnings of around $10.46 a share — up about 20 percent.

If there are questions out there about Google, the Street seems to think they’re about what could happen — government regulation, a misstep with the $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility deal, etc. — than what just happened over the last three months.

Analysts who have been listening to search marketers say they don’t see any real signs of slowdown over the last quarter, even as other ad businesses have been roughed up. (We’ll ignore, for now, an outlier report from Kantar Media which reports a huge and puzzling decrease in paid search.)

As always, there is lots of interesting stuff going on at Google. And, as usual, you can expect Larry Page and company to say very little about it, other than making vague comments about the strength of their core search business, and some acknowledgement that their video, mobile and display ads are starting to become very significant businesses of their own.

Two years after the Facebook “Like” button launched for publishers and brands, for a user to “Like” something is so generic and widespread thing that it hardly means anything.

But with Facebook’s new Timeline apps, users don’t necessarily have to press those “Like” buttons anymore. They can choose to share with Facebook everything that they consume, purchase, record, create or bookmark.

Facebook thinks its users will get value out of having a centralized visual record of their online and offline activity that friends and family can see and comment on (and yes, “Like”).

These new Open Graph apps are likely to give rise to way more sharing than had occurred on Facebook before, which is not something many people think they want or need.

It’s the responsibility of Facebook’s Carl Sjogreen, who is director of product management for the company’s platform, to give application creators the tools and settings that ensure that all this recording and sharing of activities is appealing to users.

He explained to us tonight how Facebook is going beyond the “Like,” and why the new Timeline apps aren’t a repeat of the much-hated Facebook Beacon.

At the top of Sjogreen’s priority list is respecting users’ privacy and expectations, he said. (That may come as a surprise to the many Facebook skeptics out there, but you can watch my video interview and judge his sincerity for yourself.)

“No one should be surprised by what’s shared,” Sjogreen said. “That’s not good for us, that’s not good for users, that’s not good for application partners.”

Start with some momentum statistics, show off the new software, end with a look at the new hardware and then give product specifics.

But, even as CEO Tim Cook stuck with a familiar pattern, the absence of Steve Jobs was palpable at Tuesday’s event. It’s not that Cook is not an able stage presence, which he is. But only Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs.

It also didn’t help that the iPhone Cook had to introduce looks so much like the iPhone 4 that preceded it. Cook continued the recent trend of having other Apple executives share more of the announcements and demos, enlisting Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue and Scott Forstall to share in the duties, with Schiller doing most of the iPhone 4S introduction and Forstall showing Siri, probably the biggest new thing of the day.

Though he kept the event squarely focused on Apple’s products, Cook did begin Tuesday’s event with a few personal remarks. Cook called his time at Apple the privilege of a lifetime and declared his love for the company he now leads, following Jobs’s health-related resignation earlier this year. And for what it’s worth, his performance since taking over as CEO hasn’t seemed to rattle investors significantly. On Aug. 24, when Jobs announced his resignation, Apple stock closed at $376.18; today it closed at $372.50.

Interestingly, Cook didn’t specifically reference Jobs, either to note how he was doing, send regards or update the audience on his health.

When Google acquired Motorola Mobility, the search giant insisted other Android manufacturers had nothing to worry about. It would run Motorola as an entirely separate unit, granting it no special privileges. During a Wednesday evening interview at AsiaD, Google mobile chief Andy Rubin reiterated this claim, saying the company didn’t buy Motorola for its hardware, but for its patents.

“I’m focused on delighting a lot of consumers, but there are other folks focused on putting me out of business,” Rubin said, suggesting that Motorola’s patent portfolio will be a potent weapon in the intellectual property spats that riddle the mobile industry these days.

As for the hardware business, Rubin reiterated that a Google-owned Motorola would operate “at arm’s length” from its Android unit.

I don’t think you should consider Google’s acquisition of Motorola as Google entering the hardware business,” Rubin said. “This is going to be an arm’s-length thing … Motorola isn’t going to get any special treatment.”

They’ve stopped producing the holiday-themed white cans

Coca-Cola’s putting a stop to their holiday-themed white cans after just one month, because customers keep thinking they are Diet Cokes. Others insist that the taste was tweaked (which it wasn’t), saying white cans taste “funky.”

So now Coca-Cola has gone back to the red cans, but if you’re still confused about the white can, here’s a handy tip sheet from the company itself. It notes that Diet Coke cans have “Diet” written in black script and “Coke” written in red block font. Also, there are snowflakes on the can.

Reporters at the Wall Street Journal seem to like the change, saying in a video, “I think they look pretty snazzy.” Watch the full video below, where one man sadly says, “We don’t have the meaningful changes in our lives, so how about the superficial ones?”