Reading Techmeme Outloud

I’m doing what I do every morning. Reading techmeme. So I figured I’d read it "outloud" this morning.

Google Might Take Skype Off Of eBay’s Hands
– Awesome news, if true. Skype is a fantastic property owned by the wrong company. I’ve said that since the news of the eBay purchase first came out. Skype has languished under eBay’s ownership. I can imagine all kinds of great things Google (which I own) can do with Skype.

Google Exec Goes To EMI To Run Digital – When Brad Feld sent me this link yesterday, I thought it was an april fools joke. I still do.

Children Flock To Social Networks – Tell me something I don’t know. My kids live on social nets and their cell phones.

Amazon Launches SMS Buying Service – Sweeeeeet. I posted about this idea a while back. It’s a killer idea and Amazon (which I own) is so smart to do this.

VCs hunkering down because of economic problems – Ooh. I have to post about that and I will.

Four startups make it easier to follow twitter discussions – it never ceases to amaze me how many great services are built on top of twitter.

Is anyone else having trouble with techcrunch this morning? The links to techcrunch aren’t working on my laptop.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. TechPRGuy

    TechCrunch was slow loading, and never full loaded for me this a.m., though the content did. I didn’t get a chance to try to click through to anything

  2. Brad Jashinsky

    Glad I saw your post this morning Fred, because I was having the same problem with TechCrunch and wasn’t sure if the Internet connection here was having problems again. I experienced the problem with a few sites so I think their host (Media Temple?) is having some downtime.Regarding the new start-ups helping us follow Twitter conversations:Fully opening up Twitter was one of the smartest moves by a Web 2.0 company in the recent bubble. Without that openness I doubt they would be as big as they are now, and it wouldn’t be nearly as ingrained into web culture. I’m now having some of my non-technical friends asking if I had heard of it.

    1. fredwilson

      I love that last line. ³I’m now having some of my non-technical friendsasking if I had heard of it.² I am seeing the same thing.

  3. Guest

    Continuing from yesterday’s discussion on irresponsible corporate management: how is it that Fred Wilson and about 5,000 other commentators and by-standers saw that the value to E-Bay in acquiring Skype does not justify the price tag, yet it wasn’t clear to Meg Whitman, who stuck her shareholders with the $1B write-off and her successor with the task of finding a home for Skype? Is she going to return some of her bonuses to shareholders? More importantly, what kind of Treasury Secretary would she make, if it is true that she would be McCain choice for the position?Obviously, there is something broken in the system that needs to be addressed. Some suggestions:1. Shareholders need to be able, by federal law, to vote directly on the following issues:1.1. Voting up or down a CEO nominated by the Board1.2. CEO Compensation1.3. Any significant M&A’Representative Governance” through a Board of Directors was historically necessitated by the inconvenience of regular shareholder polling. I see no reason in this Internet age that shareholders should not have a more decisive voice on matters. (heck, if they was Skype, they can vote for free!)2. The “business judgement” rule needs to be modified so that when a CEO makes a decision that has been at the time questioned, or for which legitimate concerns have been raised, there has to be documented evidence that the concerns were addressed and thought through by the CEO; the burden should be on the CEO to show that there was a reasonable explanation for his/her actions in such a situation.I mean, what is this? According to Sarb-Ox, companies need to account for every missing paperclip, yet a CEO can waste billions in shareholder value and then give shareholders the finger by claiming “well this was my best judgement in good faith.” How can people buy this stuff, especially when it benefits people associated with the CEO?In the case of Skype the VCs from Skype who sold it to E-bay were from DFJ. Here’s how Jennifer Fonstad was hyping the deal in 2005:http://blog.seattlepi.nwsou…Well, it also helps to have someone like Meg Whitman – a former colleague of Fonstad at Romney’s Bain Capital – to be able to stick her shareholders with a multibillion dollar lemon. That’s the culture of these inbred networks that is so troubling. It leads to loss of value to regular shareholders, pension funds and college endowments. This needs to be addressed by President Obama in some clever and productive fashion. Otherwise, as we discussed yesterday, ten more years of this crap and we WILL be seeing CEO heads rolling on the streets as per the reader “jackson” proposal…

  4. Ferruccio Fortini

    “Google Exec Goes To EMI To Run Digital – When Brad Feld sent me this link yesterday, I thought it was an april fools joke. I still do.” — hmm, Fred, do you KNOW Douglas Merrill? I mean, personally? This comments suggests you don’t — if you DID, you might never be surprised at anything he did, except if he ever did anything “normal”. Research him by search, read his copious blog, that might be enough to show you what I mean. Incredibly productive, creative, innovative, but NEVER somebody whose next move you could POSSIBLY predict — if anybody can save EMI (or any other record label) by inventing a new weird way to break all the rules, HE can — I wish him and EMI best of luck (as a friendly not-deep-enough acquaintance) — but THAT was one Apr 1 press release I doubted very briefly, from what I knew of him…

    1. fredwilson

      I didn’t mean to suggest that Douglas Merrill is a joke. I don’t know himbut I have only the highest regard for googlers. I have met very few, ifany, googlers who are not super bright and quality people.What I meant was that I can’t believe it’s true. How EMI can recruit aserious technology talent to the music business in the state its in rightnow. It’s of course a great coup for EMI if what you say of Doug is true andI have no reason to believe its not.Sorry for the confusion. It’s often the case that a one liner is going to bemisconstrued.Fred

  5. jonbeverley

    Remarkable isn’t it? Amazon launches price comparison and ordering by SMS, almost exactly 8 years after I launched a company (with idealab money), called Scan Mobile that did exactly that. The trouble, as Amazon will discover is that:- most consumers can’t find the barcode number- most consumers send texts like this: “Are you going to bar tonight?”, not ones like this: “Are you going to the bar tonight, reply 1=YES, 2=NO”. Barcodes are just command line interfaces by another name, and unless you’re a Linux admin, as consumers we’ve become used to the idea that the command line interface died roughly 15 years ago.- “when you open a channel, you open a channel”. I’ve worked with SMS banking (where people ask “did my rent go out?”), with ordering items in-store (where people ask “how do I turn my loyalty points into $$$?”), with marketing campaigns (where people send in “Sprint you suck, I’m switching to Verizon!!!”) and so on. Text as a channel is, first and foremost, a communication medium. The trouble with looking for the killer application of the mobile phone is that it was found many years ago – it’s the ability to make a call, or communicate with people, wherever you are.Don’t get me wrong, SMS is great, I’ve been working solely with the technology, as a marketing channel (pull not push), and as a solution for a low-cost-of-serve customer-self-service channel, since 1998. But it is hilarious to see a great company launch something without taking the time to try and learn any of the lessons of the past.Bu then as Howard Morgan (who was chairman of Scan, and something of a mentor to me) says: “there’s a reason I called myblog ‘Way Too Early”).Jon

    1. fredwilson

      This is great feedback JonThanks for sharing it.I suspect sms based commerce will take a while to develop.But even if it’s not a mainstream thing, I will certainly use the service.It’s perfect for mefred

  6. salutor

    Agree that Google buying Skype makes tremendous sense. Skype has languished under eBay, which has no clear incentive to improve the service. Google’s engineering talent could do wonders for Skype. The lack of customer service on Skype actually makes it a better candidate, culturally, for integration with Google. Both companies are all about engineering.