Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

Harvard Business Review, Top-line Growth

BR0407_cI picked up the July/August edition of HBR because it was a double issue on Growth. Normally, HBR articles are interesting, but very high-level concepts that are difficult to actually use. This particular edition offers more granular information including formulae for determining budget allocations when marketing (retention rates vs. customer acquisition) and how this ties into the NPV of the customer.

There are several articles that I thought were practical. There actually are ideas regarding where real competitive advantage can be gain: focus on customer profitability, product configuration through value curves (and how one offers exponential value), the dilemma of when to acquire or form an alliance, and profitability through price discrimination (bundling), among others.

One flawed concept, in my opinion, was in Geoffrey Moore’s “Darwin and the Demon”. Moore is famous for his book “Crossing the Chasm” and the stages a new technology product goes through. He has further developed this concept to include the full product life cycle (Early Market, The Chasm, Bowing Alley, Tornado, Main Street (Early), Main Street (Mature), Main Street (Declining), Fault Line!, End of Life) and proceeds to explain the competencies and types of management needed for a company to go through each stage successfully.

The problem is that the same company that develops a technology early on is not the same company that brings it to wide markets. There is a sufficient amount of empirical data in The Art of Scale to suggest this is the case (and common sense tells you this as well). The commercialization shifts to organizations that are fully aware of how to market these products and have the correct management and resources in place to do so. Assuming that just one company will take a technology through the entire life-cycle is unrealistic in 95% of the cases.

Filed under: Other

HP iPod Tattoos [Updated]

HP_ipod_tatooHP introduced their “HP iPod by Apple” today. The most interesting addition was the HP Tattoos. These will be great if 1. They are cheap and 2. They last for longer than 1 week of heavy iPod use. I have never really liked the other iPod covers…but these have won me over. Now how long until we see the first Pepsi iPod Tattoos?

Apparently they *will* be free and will be appearing in the September issue of Rolling Stone.

Filed under: Apple Computer

Monstermob Buys U.S. Rival 9 Squared

UK mobile content group Monstermob has bought out Denver-based rival company 9Squared, for about $3 million cash and deferred payments later, which could add up to a total of about $30 million. (Some complex formula here… read this for exact details).
9 Squared supplies products under the RingTone JukeBox, mTat2 and Great American Country brands to various major US and international mobile network operators. The group is rolling out a subscription-based ringtone application on China Mobile, the largest mobile network operator in the world with more than 160 million subscribers.

Via MocoNews.net: mobile content news

(Note: Agnitio Capital was the advisor on this)

Filed under: Mergers and Acquisitions

Airport Express

im002142jpgI finally received my Airport Express today. Set up was a snap, even with my lackluster BT service. (I’m using the Hermstedt XDSL modem as well, which has also made my life a lot easier.)

The most impressive aspect of the Airport Express is the size, as you can see from the picture. It’s basically the same size as the power adapter for my PowerBook.

Apple has done an excellent job with the Airport Express. Connecting my printer, an HP Laserjet 1010, was a matter of clicks as well, even though it is not listed on the Airport Express compatibility chart. Connecting my stereo was equally as simple.

I purchased a Netgear base station last Christmas and it continually dropped the signal and needed to be restarted. It was also a pain in the neck to set up.

Five stars for the Airport Express- I highly recommend it.

Filed under: Apple Computer

ESADE Rankings

I’ve been getting asked a lot lately where ESADE ranks on the Business School tables. Just for the record, The Wall Street Journal ranked ESADE as the #2 International School for 2003.

(I don’t put a whole lot of stock in these rankings, because they vary so widely between sources…and business school is only worth the network you build anyway. Real learning, at least in my opinion, doesn’t happen in an MBA classroom.)

Filed under: Other

Playlist Club night in London September 4

The Playlist Club is set to rock again at Nambucca in North London on September 4. The event allows people to bring in their favourite 15-minute playlist on an iPod (or other digital music player) and play their songs, first come, first served. The best DJs will win prizes from Everything iPod. If you love music and don’t have a music player, you can still go to the event and listen to the music, be a judge, have a dance, and party with the Playlist people.  

Via MacMinute | Mac News First.

Filed under: Apple Computer

How to get a job in Banking

From WSJ.com – On Campus, iTunes Finds an Illicit Groove

“Another programmer, Michael Thole, who will be a senior at Purdue University, discontinued his iTunes companion program, Leechster, earlier this year after it stopped working with a new version of iTunes. Mr. Thole, who didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment, is now plying his genius as a summer intern at Apple.”

Isn’t that the equivalent of robbing a bank, and then being offered a job in Security at that bank?

Filed under: Apple Computer

Why the Move to TypePad?

Well, I’ve been pretty unhappy with my site on .Mac for quite some time. I had really hoped that Apple would release some decent tools to keep a website there… iBlog is a good tool, but I was really looking for something a bit more portable. iBlog ties me down to my PowerBook. TypePad offers me a bit more flexibility, plus it’s a snap to update the look and feel of the site. I have lost many, many hours coding TechBytes in all of its incarnations.

Plus, TypePad & NetNewsWire make a good combination of local editor/online host. I’m not a big fan of having to work on a post in an HTML interface. Call me an eccentric.

I hope this is the last migration for quite some time. Thanks for following me around…

Filed under: Other

Storage wants to be free

There’s a nice new service out there called Streamload . This would solve *many* of my current file storage and distribution problems.


You have the power to control your files anywhere, anytime. Fast, unlimited, inexpensive, this is the power of the internet used for your convenience —for your needs — for your demanding lifestyle. This is the power of Streamload. Life without limits.”

One interesting twist is that you get 10GB of storage FREE. Your pricing plan is based on how much you download per month. For an offsite backup solution, the $4.95/month gives you 10GB of storage and 2GB of downloads per month. If you want to be able to upload and download the full 10GB it’s only $9.95 per month.

(That beats the pants off of Apple’s $100 per year for a paltry 100MB of online storage. Even my USB flash drive offers more storage than that.)

This is very similar to the type of service that I posted over at my ipod blog a few weeks ago saying that Apple needed to introduce…

Here’s to innovative companies making Apple look like Microsoft. Well, even Microsoft is looking better than Apple these days as far as online services are concerned … (see rant below)

[Jason Ball’s TechBytes]

Filed under: Apple Computer

London Olympics

If you live in London, or simply want to support London, go register here to back the bid for hosting the olympics in London in 2012.

[Jason Ball’s TechBytes]

Filed under: Other

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