Kevin Kelly - 1,000 True Fans. "A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans."
More interesting than Chris Anderson's Free meme, imho.
Evan Williams - The Focus Paradox. "Both Facebook and Google had early success in (large?) part because of their focus. Google in terms of what they did, Facebook in terms of who could use it.
That success provided both pressure and opportunities to grow in new directions. Expansion is always tricky, and each company has handled it in different ways." (note: focus is not the same thing as niche)
Fred Wilson - One a day. "There's just something about limiting yourself to one a day that creates something special. You don't want to waste the opportunity on something average, so you carefully select the one thing you are gong to showcase or possibly create. And when viewed over time, it's way more than that. It's a timeline to your life."
Umair Haque (Edge Economy) - How to fix venture capital. "Let's revisit the spectre haunting venture capital. Why aren't there more Googles?
The answer's very simple. Because every company that had the potential to be economically revolutionary over the last five years sold out long before it ever had the chance to revolutionize anything economically.
Think about that for a second. Every single one: Myspace, Skype, Last.fm, del.icio.us, Right Media, the works. All sold out to behemoths who are destroying, with Kafkaesque precision, every ounce of radical innovation within them.
Let's replay the Google story. Google, despite serious interest from Microsoft and Yahoo - what must have seemed like lucrative interest at the time - didn't sell out. Google might simply have been nothing but Yahoo's or MSN's search box.
Why isn't it? Because Google had a deeply felt sense of purpose: a conviction to change the world for the better. Because it did, it held on and revolutionized the advertising value chain – and, in turn, capital markets gave Google an exuberant welcome.
See the point? If all Larry, Sergey, and Google's investors had wanted to do was to sell out fast to the highest bidder, they could have done so at any time. But they didn't: they chose to revolutionize something that sucked - and so a tsunami of new value was unlocked. That's how Google was made."