July 5, 2009

5 good posts to read elsewhere

Lightspeed Venture Partners: New Media companies should emphasize "media" over "new". "The new media companies that are doing the best in this recession have taken a similar approach. Companies like CafeMom, Flixster (a Lightspeed portfolio company) and Glam have focused on creating highly valuable inventory for endemic advertisers, and on building excellence in sales execution." Agree, it is an important insight if you're building an company with an advertising-driven business model.

A VC: Freemium and Freeconomics. "I like to keep my posts short, so I'll end here with the observation that the Internet allows an entrrepreneur to enter a market with a free offering because the costs of doing so are not astronomical. And most entrpreneurs who take this approach will maintain an attractive free offering of their basic service forever. But that doesn't mean that everything they offer will be free. That's the whole point of freemium. Free gets you to a place where you can ask to get paid. But if you don't start with free on the Internet, most companies will never get paid." Hear, hear! Freemium is not about free, it is a strategy to get paid.

Futuristic Play: Matt Humphrey of Bumba Labs on User Retention Curves. "Let me state, for reality-checking purposes, that retention rates over 90% are unrealistic, but are useful for discussion purposes because they bring out the extreme cases. More realistically, the numbers I've seen are generally much closer to 30-60% revisit rates after the initial registration. Similarly, the typically retention rates are not linear – you see the most churn initially, but then the cohort usually settles and becomes much more loyal." Good intro if you're into subscriptions, transactions and memberships for your service.

Andie: Some thoughts on the iPhone single-task magic. "This is key - the operating system gets the hell out of the way, because it doesn't need to be anywhere on the screen. On a device that is in many ways too small and powerless to do multitasking well, the iPhone OS just gives center stage to the current app and gets out of the way, letting the apps transform the iPhone into just what you need for performing the task or entertainment at hand. The best apps are the ones that use this paradigm to the fullest - they do one thing, with a super polished experience."

Steve Blank: Convergent Technologies: War Story 1 – Selling with Sports Scores and Agile Opportunism – Entrepreneurial DNA. Steve's blog posts are among the best ones on startup life. The first one is on sales, always helpful to understand, and the second one on getting ahead in corporate life when you start working (showing up counts, a lot!).

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