Jason Ball's TechBytes

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

MacJournal Test

Testing Macjournal 4.0. Does seem to work, but doesn’t support categories. What about linking?.Well, the biggest drawbacks of Macjournal 4.0 are the lack of category support, existing post import and trackbacks. Once the blogging part of the application is better, I’ll definitely buy a copy.

Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s Time to Pull Up Our SOX

Yet another article pointing to problems with the US at the Wall Street Journal.

I think I’ve covered the AIM vs. NASDAQ issue enough now…

[Via Jeff Clavier]

Filed under: Mergers and Acquisitions

It’s Time to Pull Up Our SOX

Yet another article pointing to problems with the US at the Wall Street Journal.

I think I’ve covered the AIM vs. NASDAQ issue enough now…

[Via Jeff Clavier]

Filed under: Mergers and Acquisitions

It’s Time to Pull Up Our SOX

Yet another article pointing to problems with the US at the Wall Street Journal.

I think I’ve covered the AIM vs. NASDAQ issue enough now…

[Via Jeff Clavier]

Filed under: Mergers and Acquisitions

Selling to the Big Guys

Great post over at Will Price’s blog. I’ve excerpted my favorite section here for future reference:

In order to sell against giants, Jamie laid out the following suggestions:

He joked that selling against incumbents is more like jetskiing with whales than like swimming with sharks

  • Focus on competing with bloated products that are overly complex to install, overly complex to price, and where the cost of sale requires very large deal sizes
  • Sell into a market frustrated, scarred, and damaged by the incumbent vendors – lots of shelfware and history of failed implementations
  • Pick markets where the incumbents illustrate a history of incompetence evidenced by frequent CEO changes, failed mega acquisitions, failed customer projects, etc
  • Don’t bloody your nose – sell where they cannot afford to compete (mid market or via delivery models they cannot afford to mimic). Don’t take them head on – nip at their heels
  • Sell deal sizes their sales teams, cost of sales, and quota models cannot support
  • Leverage start-ups strengths: Speed, agility, service
  • Executive sponsorship
  • Pricing flexibility
  • Attention and support
  • Fight FUD and vendor viability attacks: Sell your business fundamentals when they question your viability and staying power, Walk the customer through the clear demand for the product, customer references and case studies, profitability or revenue run rate, and quality of the team

I’m also reading Mike Southon’s "Sales on a Beermat", which is good reading for both novices and seasoned sales professionals.

Filed under: Venture Capital

Tesco.com Shopping

Since CK brought it up, yes, I have started using Tesco to order my groceries online. The price points are good (Tesco’s cheap) and delivery is only £3.99. That compares very favorably to Ocado.co.uk, who has Waitrose’s prices (high) and a £5 delivery charge + £5 if you live in central London.

At £3.99 for delivery, it’s really not worth me making the trip to the supermarket and burning my Saturday morning to stock up for the week. I can stop by Borough Market (one of the best markets in London) during lunch and grab some fresh ingredients any day of the week to supplement my online purchases (and we have a Tesco express downstairs if I need eggs, milk, etc.).

I’m sold on online shopping. It’s cheap, convenient and delivered to your door.

Filed under: Other

Tim Draper – The US is losing its competitive edge

As the guest comment in last weeks Real Deals, Tim Draper outlined his views on how the US is losing its competitive advantage and has lost its competitive governance. The key issues he points to are:

1. Stock Options. 409a forces US companies to value stocks in the future and if they get it wrong, penalizes them
2. Sarbanes-Oxley. It forces companies to spend between $2million and $6 million per year in compliance.

Again, two reasons why the UK is an interesting place to be making early stage investments- options are tax free, and capital gains tax is only 10%. AIM is lightly regulated and costs half as much for the initial listing vs NASDAQ.

However, I still think the West-coast approach to investing is the correct one – and is an approach very few VCs in the UK take.

Filed under: Venture Capital

Conjoint Analysis

Screenshot_2
Conjoint analysis is an obscure marketing research technique that marketers use to determine what
features a new product should have and how it should be priced.  The key is to indentify those criteria that a customer values most- and is willing to pay for- through a series of "options" (See screen shot on the left).

I have used it successfully as a strategic
consultant in turn-around situations. It’s a very useful way to determine price elacticity and
identify features or combinations of features that users are willing to
pay more for.

Transport for London sent me a request to participate in a survery
about Oyster Card users. The survey is the first time I’ve seen a
conjoint analysis behind a survey in the wild.

I think Venture Capitalists would be wise to use conjoint analysis as part of their due diligence when evaluating new products entering the market. The key issue is to identify all relevant features- some of which are lateral- which makes the process a challenge. If the conjoint analysis is well thought out, however, the results can be astounding.

Filed under: Other, Venture Capital

European Business Angel Network- Award Ceremony

Kapitalismus
I’ve just gotten back from Prague where the annual European Business Angel Network conference was held. Last night we were awarded the Most Promising Exit for a 20x return on a deal that’s come through our network. Unfortunately, the competition was slim- there was only one other network that had an exit this year.

We’re already in the running for next year as one of our companies just exited providing a 400% IRR…

Also, check out the poster on the left. I snapped this while walking down the street. Not the best place for Homo Kapitalismus, also known as the venture capitalist.

Filed under: Venture Capital

VC exits?

Jeff points to two articles lamenting the exit opportunities for American VCs. With IPOs down, Jeff identifies three options: Non-US floatation (i.e. London’s AIM), M&A, and Secondaries.

From a London perspective, I would say that AIM isn’t even an exit. There are certainly benefits to listing on AIM, but on the balance it is still an underdeveloped market (although that is changing very rapidly) and provides limited liquidity. An AIM listing is not considered an exit by most investors here.

That leaves only two options…

Filed under: Venture Capital

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