Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fragile Internet business

Yahoo's been in the news the last few days. First they had their annual meet, then their CEO got fired/ resigned and then they appointed the co-founder Jerry Yang as the new CEO. There are also rumors of them being merged with Myspace - a part of Rupert Murdoch's newscorp empire. Yahoo last quarter reported revenues of about 1.6bn USD and free cash flows of about 330mn USD. The company enjoys a market cap of about 37bn USD and a P/E ratio of about 58. Google in comparison has a market cap of about 160bn USD and a P/E of about 44.

I think the happenings at Yahoo are an important lesson for CEO's and for followers of business in general. Today smart shareholders know that business is fragile. They expect management teams to be aggressive in responding to change and to have the intellectual honesty to admit when there's a problem. I think Terry Semel was just too slow to respond to the google threat. Shareholders realized that here was someone who was just clueless about how to address the impending threat and they acted swiftly to ensure that the situation did not get out of hand and further value is eroded.

Now the important question:- what will Jerry Yang do to turn this ship around? Personally I feel Yahoo is a great company that somewhere down the line lost its way and probably its soul. It needs to focus on product, product, product.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Google Reader subscriptions cross 100

I am addicted to Google reader. I have realised I no longer 'surf' the net. I only read whatever is in my subscription list. I like something. I add it to the list. It's a great way to manage my time. As of today I'm subscribed to 105 feeds!!

Must read for Shiv

From Marc Andreesen's blog is this entry on some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A little idealism

“Our search is for those moments and situations when we are most alive”*
- stone outside Sonoma Country Day School, Santa Rosa, CA.

* borrowed from The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander.

The dots will connect

From Steve Jobs' commencement speech. I love reading this and it never fails to inspire me.

"you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."


mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.

I've often thought what I would ask for if I were to suddenly discover a magic lamp. My thoughts keep varying but today evening as I sit with a heavy feeling in my heart, I think to myself - fortitude. I think thats the one quality that every entrepreneur needs to keep by his side. It's bound to be required in tough moments. Being the leader is a lonely job and sometimes the only place you can turn to for strength is inside. I ask for fortitude.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My first blog meet

Had a very busy Saturday. On site Customer meeting that went on from 11:30a.m. till half past 3. Had a quick bite with office team members where the conversation took the usual turn- one of the guys is facing the biggest of those problems that an Indian male faces - getting married. Well interesting problems aside, had lunch and then went about finishing off some long pending work.

This weekend promises to be lazy. Hemisha is in Dahanu (where she grew up and her parents live) and after a long time I'm having a weekend with absolutely nothing to do. Decided to make the most of Saturday night and attend the Mumbai bloggers meet-up. Interesting meet organized by two very enterprising ladies - Sakshi and Melody. They managed to pull in quite a crowd at Seijo - a fashionable bandra nightspot and I was impressed by their energy levels - it's tough work being the life of the party. Good work Ladies!! Met quite a few interesting people who were all very passionate about blogging. Left early to spend some quality time on the phone and then got home. Made some pasta and then spent some time in Silence. It's actually an amazing feeling. The work week is a blur and then you are in your living room, all alone with a realization that you are in the midst of absolute silence. After a long time you have a totally free Sunday. I'm tempted to call the Intercon and book myself for an Ayurvedic massage but refrain. I'm gonna try out Marc Andreesen's formula for success - not keeping a schedule. If I still feel like it tomm. I'll walk into the spa and ask them if they have a free slot. Do some reading. Hit the sack. Very happy.

Sunday morning.
Wake up at 6 - This is a routine. I always wake up at 6 on a daily basis. Realize that I have nothing to do. Go back to sleep.
Wake up again- Spend 15 mins in bed fooling around with my cell phone and sending out some SMSes. Walk out to my entrance and open my door. Look below and am stunned to see the newspaper there. This is the first reminder that this is my chilled sunday. My daily routine involves me getting up at 6, stumbling to the door, opening it hoping to see my newspapers - the DNA and Mint, and realizing that the delivery guy has not yet come in. It's only 6 after-all. This happens religiously everyday. Today there is a newspaper there. No mint though -they don't have a sunday paper. I pick up the newspaper walk into the living room and check the time. It's 8:30a.m. That explains why the paper is here early.

Go through the morning activities, look in the fridge- see some pre-boiled pasta from yesterday night which I use to make some breaker. This is my second deviation from routine. On a daily basis breaker for me has to involve an egg. It's a habit that has just gotten into me post my IIT days. Go through the newspaper and then get on my computer. Spend an hour going through various articles on Trader Daily - the online offering from Trader Monthly. They've come out with their list of best cities for a trader to be based - Dubai is 4th worldwide and Mumbai is 46th. I agree broadly though I would put dubai more around 10th and Mumbai 90th or so. Frankly the place lacks a decent airport and the internet infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.

Decide to make a blog post. After typing for what seems like an hour, look at the computer clock - It's only 10:20a.m. Damn why does time fly so slow when you are trying to chill.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Innovation is still alive !!

For the past year I've been really disappointed by the quality of stuff coming out of Google. Finally they seem to have launched something really cool - Google Gears. I think this is a revolutionary product that will change the way we use the internet in a few years. I feel this might be the beginning of the push that will cause a revolution thus pushing the sleeping elephant that is Microsoft over the edge of the cliff. I must say I am very impressed by whoever within google came up with this. KUDOS!!

For more info

Monday, June 04, 2007

another week begins

Monday morning. Somehow the relaxed sunday is making me look forward to this week. Lots to accomplish, many tasks to be ticked off from the list. Lets goooooo!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

reclaiming those sundays

after a long time had a more relaxed sunday. Slept late, woke up, lazed around, had a slow lunch by myself then went out with the significant other and her friend who is migrating to australia to buy her a tapori, snacks at crepe station, a quick ride to and fro churchgate and then back home, having a mango and lazing around, making this post. This has been by far the least hectic of my sundays from as far as I can remember. I don't know what a really relaxed Sunday like those I used to have two years ago would feel like. (P.S. then it used to be a friday)

Am hoping life gets less hectic.

If not debt, then equity?

Given that my last post discourages entrepreneurs from raising debt apart from a few specific cases namely:- 1. Very high ROCE low risk bus...