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Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Did WalMart Buy Kosmix?

This was a question asked on Quora - "What do people think of WalMart's acquisition of Kosmix?".

The short answer is - because it made strategic and financial sense. Here is the answer I wrote on Quora, as a start -

(disclosure, I used to work at Kosmix).
1) Kosmix, or WalMart Labs, is already on the way to earning their purchase price back for WalMart. Without any social media or online marketing of any sort (SEO, SEM, you name it), currently gets between 40 - 70 MM monthly visitors. The WalMart Labs team can easily get multiples of this number without breaking a sweat. (Kosmix operated the second largest Health website in the US, and some other very high volume web properties - they know how to get traffic).

2) Kosmix has built categorization technology that will be very useful for WalMart (lots of folks have written about this, so I won't repeat). This tech will help WalMart use social media to streamline operations, offer deals, and increase revenues.

By the way, the OneRiot acquisition ties right into the points above - seems WalMart has a large gameplan they're putting into action quite fast.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Visa Credit Card Transaction Flow

Credit card value chains are quite complex. With all the new payment alternatives coming in (Square, Boku, Noca, Google and Visa's digital wallets, etc.), I thought of sharing an overview I had created some time back.

This is of course a basic view, and shows the value chain. I will post more information about all the fees and payment flows later. The interesting parts of the value chain are all the points of potential disruption. Paypal is the current Champion of Disruption, of course.

Monday, June 29, 2009

An Update on Microsoft's Razorfish

I had written in November about the layoffs at Razorfish, and early rumors of a sale.

Seems this sale is happening soon. According to the Financial Times, Microsoft has appointed Morgan Stanley to look for a buyer for Razorfish, with French firm Publicis emerging as an early front-runner.

Omnicom and WPP, which are trying to put more focus on digital advertising, are also potential suitors.

Publicis has recently made some financial moves aimed at enabling an acquisition, and have also gotten cozier with Microsoft - on Friday, Publicis announced an agreement with Microsoft Advertising to use Microsoft technology to place Publicis ads on television set-top boxes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

NBC and ABC Suck Lemons

I would like NBC and ABC to lose enough money that they have to shut down. Or at least fire their entire sports-related teams. Let me explain why:


NBC has the rights to show the French Open Men's Semifinals this morning. The matches started at 5 am PST today, Friday, June 5th.
You have the opportunity to watch arguably the greatest to ever play the game, Roger Federer. In the other match, you have the cinderalla, who has already dispatched the world's greatest Clay Court player (and a possible arguable greatest ever to play the game, Rafael Nadal).

So when you switch on NBC, what do you see? Why, Dave Matthew's Band, Tom Brokaw, and the rest of the idiots from their morning show. Interspersed with ads from our local carpet dealer. They've decided we can wait until 10 am PST (on a workday!) to watch the matches. That made me develop my first symptoms of high blood pressure.

I am pissed off at NBC. Very pissed off. This is exactly what they did during the Olympics - while also lying about having the broadcasts live.

So what am I going to do about it? I am going to stop watching NBC. Anything on NBC. And I'm going to bad-mouth NBC whenever I can. I like Conan O'Brien. So I'm going to watch him free on YouTube. Hah!


ABC won the rights to show the NBA Finals. I know, I know, the NBA season is unreasonably long. But after all that time, we've gotten to the point where we can see Superman and Skip-to-my-Lou go up against the Black Mamba and 9-time winner Phil Jeannie Buss. Kobe, at this point, is in the "best ever" discussions. And had a game to prove it last night. What I would have loved to have seen after the game would be some great analysis, interspersed with humor, etc. etc.... ok, I would have loved to have the TNT Inside The NBA crew (EJ, Barkley, Kenny) take us through the game.

Do you know what I saw instead? A local Oakland crew. Three guys - at least I know/ like Nate Thurmond. The other expert they brought in was the Warriors assistant coach for shooting for big men, or something. No disrespect, but.... And they kept trying to work the Warriors into everything. Kept talking about Michael Pietrus, and showing clips of him as a Warrior. WTF!?!?!?

Ok, so ABC wasn't as bad as NBC. I'm not going to bad-mouth them as much as I will NBC. But I'm quite unhappy.

NBC and ABC suck lemons. I want NBC to fail.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Layoff Spectrum - No One Spared

Layoffs are here, and they're here to stay. The surprising thing is how many supposedly (at least to me) well-performing companies are also having to lay off staff.

Nike - Nike is doing very well, thank you, with their stable of highly paid stars selling the socks off the competition. Really, how many other shoe ads do you see nowadays? And Nike is better positioned than most, since it is highly diversified throughout the sports arena - shoes, clothes, sports equipment (rackets, balls, bats), related gear.
It doesn't matter. Nike is laying off 5% of their global staff. And surprisingly, the jobs are not just mostly in the higher-wage countries - China is coming in for a high proportion of manufacturing job losses.

Miami Heat - The Heat were not expected to compete this year... or get any audience worth mentioning. But an MVP-caliber year by the NBA's scoring leader (Dwayne Wade), two highly touted rookies, and a surprise 5th seed in the playoffs capped by a 7-game first round series boosted the Heat's revenues well beyond any reasonable projections.
No matter - the Heat are also going through a round of layoffs.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The End Of Valleywag

Valleywag, Silicon Valley's gossip site (and sort of pretend tech and startups related site) was always a fun read.  After the staff was trimmed, it became a little less so.  Ok, maybe a lot less so.

But today sounds the death bell.  Owen Thomas is leaving Gawker Media (Valleywag's parent), and moving to NBC.   There's no one left.

Rest in peace, Valleywag.