Jason Ball's TechBytes

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

Apple’s New iPod Mini

I was very impressed my Apple’s iPod Mini announcements yesterday. Mainly two things:

1. $199 price point

2. 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE

Wow. I love my mini- it goes with me everywhere. The size is perfect and the aluminum finish still looks great after almost 1 yr. The only gripe to date has been battery life. I’ve been caught half way between London and Oxford when the battery would die several times…

Now with 18 hours and 6GB of storage, the mini has become a monster….Go Apple!

At least I don’t feel completely out of date though- had Apple introduced color screens also for the mini I might be singing a different tune though.

Filed under: Apple, iPod

Apple’s New iPod Mini

I was very impressed my Apple’s iPod Mini announcements yesterday. Mainly two things:

1. $199 price point

2. 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE

Wow. I love my mini- it goes with me everywhere. The size is perfect and the aluminum finish still looks great after almost 1 yr. The only gripe to date has been battery life. I’ve been caught half way between London and Oxford when the battery would die several times…

Now with 18 hours and 6GB of storage, the mini has become a monster….Go Apple!

At least I don’t feel completely out of date though- had Apple introduced color screens also for the mini I might be singing a different tune though.

Filed under: Apple, iPod

Apple’s New iPod Mini

I was very impressed my Apple’s iPod Mini announcements yesterday. Mainly two things:

1. $199 price point

2. 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE

Wow. I love my mini- it goes with me everywhere. The size is perfect and the aluminum finish still looks great after almost 1 yr. The only gripe to date has been battery life. I’ve been caught half way between London and Oxford when the battery would die several times…

Now with 18 hours and 6GB of storage, the mini has become a monster….Go Apple!

At least I don’t feel completely out of date though- had Apple introduced color screens also for the mini I might be singing a different tune though.

Filed under: Apple Computer, iPod

Fixing Venture Capital

I had the chance to read Joel Spolsky’s “Fixing Venture Capital“, and I had a great laugh at the Whack-a-mole game: I do play “Whack-a-mole” daily. Not only do I play, I am a “High Score” player.

However, I don’t play Whack-a-mole just to play it, there is a set list of criteria we use for selecting businesses for the London Business Angel Network, and if a business doesn’t fit those criteria, then it’s rejected. It’s that simple.

Any self-respecting VC is going to have a strict set of investment criteria. If companies do not fit within those pre-defined parameters, then the fund will not pursue that investment opportunity. This works for Mutual Fund Managers all the way down to Business Angel investors.

On many occasions I have had to reject businesses or ideas that I felt were good, but did not fit the criteria for the LBA and LSC closely enough.

Joel overlooks the fact that, for the businesses that meet the selection criteria, selecting businesses to invest in is very similar to choosing between straight-A students. VCs have limited resources- mainly in terms of time- and cannot give every idea or company the attention they probably deserve- especially B,C,D or F Students. Yes, occasionally the random “back row” student outshines all the straight-A students combined. We all overlook good businesses. We all make mistakes.

Regarding the VC model being broken, I definitely think there are many aspects of the UK VC model that are broken, but I will address those issues in future posts.

For now, go read the manifesto.

Filed under: Venture Capital

iTunes Music Store Sale

GrammyIn case you didn’t get the reminder email from Apple, all grammy winners are on sale at the iTunes Music Store. I decided to pick up both U2 and Green Day’s new albums.

I also noticed the Cure’s entire discography is now available, along with the new (to the US) compilation “Join the Dots”. I picked up Seventeen Seconds, since I never bought it originally. Listening to old Cure albums really brings out the fact that Disintegration was the last great album the Cure made.

Every time I listen to The Killers, I can’t help thinking “Ooohhh. THAT’s what Robert Smith was trying to sound like on every album for the past 10 years…”

Filed under: Apple Computer, iPod

London Venture Capital Events

Since I was actively looking for a list of events like this last year, I thought it might be useful to post an abbreviated list of upcoming London VC-related events. These are the events in London that I’ve confirmed I am attending:

Feb 22nd
Business4you Lunch
Oion Event, Oxford

Feb 23rd
CityZone

Feb 24th
Geek Dinner

March 2nd
Biowednesday

March 8th
BVCA Tech Meeting

March 18th
London Innovation Conference

If you are planning on attending any of these events, please be sure to say hello. Also, if you know of any additional events (and I’m sure there are quite a few more), please post them in the Comments section or email me.

Filed under: Other, Venture Capital

VentureOne UK Venture Capital Investment Activity

European venture capital investment held steady in 2004.

‘The UK venture capital market showed signs of recovery by the end of 2004. Investors are working hard to pick real winners, particularly in the biopharma and other healthcare sectors. As a result we are seeing early stage investment showing strong growth and value per deal increasing as well. The froth has been blown off the market and quality not quantity is showing through,’ Watson said.

Positive signals were also set by the early stage deals in 2004. Early stage rounds represented one-third of all deals in Europe in 2004 – compared to 28 per cent in 2003. The amount invested in seed and first rounds increased by 42 per cent over 2003 amounts.

These figures are exactly what we have seen at London Business Angels and London Seed Capital. We, and the business angels in our network, are being much more selective in our investments – investing higher sums of money in fewer companies.

Filed under: Venture Capital

Browser Share on TechBytes

Graph_browserI was looking at the stats for TechBytes by browser type. I was surprised to see that Microsoft’s Explorer only has 45% of the market. I was very happy to see that Firefox + Safari = 46% “market share”. Just edging out Explorer…

Take that Micro$oft!

Filed under: Other

BVCA Investment Documents

The European Venture Capital Journal reports that:

… the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) has decided to go ahead to prepare these documents a set of model investment documents

On the face of things, this will make life easier for both entrepreneurs and investors by providing standard documentation for documenting the equity deal. Also, legal documentation in a deal can easily reach tens of thousands for any given investment, so the potential savings could be substantial.

However, having just completed the BVCA Legal Documentation in Private Equity Transactions course, I am skeptical that the BVCA will rush to cannibalize those (pricey) courses. The legals course is obviously geared towards venture capitalists and protecting your investment- and my main interest will be to see if these docments are neutral, investor friendly or entrepreneur friendly.

Filed under: Venture Capital

Google AdSense – Program Policies

I think CK hit the nail on the head with his comments on Google’s policies:

Google AdSense  – Program Policies  Please note that clicking on your own ads for any reason is prohibited, to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs.

What if the random ad served up by Google
interests me? I understand the reason they are putting up this rule,
but still, it seems like the very way the service is structured,
there’s a high chance that the ads running on my page will sometimes appeal to me more than anyone else visiting my site. Link: Sample the Web.

Filed under: Other

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