What do you get when you buy a startup?

SAP acquired my startup in 2002. It was SAP’s first meaningful move to the SMB space and the expectations were high. SAP achieved its goal as our product, now called SAP Business One, became the leading SMB product for SAP, competing and winning against Microsoft, Sage and other market leaders.  Since then I acquired two startups, spent some time in a VC, started a company and now I am experiencing it all over again as I help a startup integrate into a much larger company. Doing it, I feel that the first order of business for the acquiring company is to realize what is it that you acquire.  Often, it will be bunch of hacks, knowhow and a group of passionate individuals.  Once you align your expectations, the chances of getting more out of the deal are much higher.  Continue reading “What do you get when you buy a startup?”

What do you get when you buy a startup?

China’s winning formula: MIN (human rights, wealth) and MAX (education, discipline)

Both Sarah Lacy and the New York Times covered the story of Apple iPhone manufacturing in China. The short of it is simple: companies don’t go to China because of cost anymore, but rather because a Chinese company provides better flexibility and higher quality than an American one. The days of cheap plastic chairs manufacturing in China are over- they outsource it to Vietnam now… Today’s China makes the most sophisticated devices in the world.

But why China wins? I believe that China is winning because it got to an optimum between education, wealth, human rights and discipline. It seems like the formula to a national success is MIN (human rights, wealth) and MAX (education, discipline).  Continue reading “China’s winning formula: MIN (human rights, wealth) and MAX (education, discipline)”

China’s winning formula: MIN (human rights, wealth) and MAX (education, discipline)

Gowalla/ Facebook deal: welcome to 2003, 1999 is over

Most of the chatter about the Gowalla and Facebook deal was about the investors and whether the founders screwed over the investors or not (to make a long story short, Arrington thinks they did but Jason Calacanis (an actual investor) think they didn’t. the End). In my humble opinion, it doesn’t matter. It’s nothing more than Silicon Valley gossip. What really matters is this deal impact on the future of the location base services space (LBS) and consumer apps in general: The number 2 player in the LBS space got picked up for what’s considered in the valley to be pocket money? What does it mean for the 100s of LBS/consumer apps that are competing over the limited consumer attention? Continue reading “Gowalla/ Facebook deal: welcome to 2003, 1999 is over”

Gowalla/ Facebook deal: welcome to 2003, 1999 is over

The one thing branding can’t do

We are planning a branding expertise this week and in the spirit of all good workshops the moderator sent us some pre-work (AKA homework if you ask my kids). One of the questions were:

What are your thoughts on what makes some brands inspirational while others struggle?

In order to answer the question, I listed the brands I like: Apple, Amazon, Virgin Atlantic, SPG and Facebook to name few. When I thought of these brands, I found one thing in common: All are brands I like talking about with my friends and colleagues. A great brand is one that its target audience wants to speak about.

Why does it matter to my branding exercise? Continue reading “The one thing branding can’t do”

The one thing branding can’t do

The Well Known Secrets of the VC world (Part 2)

OK, it took a while since part 1. It is kind of busy here in Project-X and weekends are the only time left for some writing. Before it gets too far from my VC days, I wanted to write the promised (but perhaps not anticipated) part 2 of my post, and get it out of the way. The last post covered some basics: What’s a good VC, getting meetings and the strange habit of VCs not to pass on deals. Today we will focus on what’s important- what will a VC look into when  meeting you. Continue reading “The Well Known Secrets of the VC world (Part 2)”

The Well Known Secrets of the VC world (Part 2)

Workday Raises $75 Million- Good Sign for the Business Software World

Workday, a financial and human resources SaaS provider, has secured $75 million in Series E funding. In my humble opinion, this is a very good sign that investments in business software are going to get a boost in the next few years.

Look back 15 years ago and compare the progress in “consumer computing” to the progress in “business computing” – the differences are amazing.  Consumers moved from 14K modems to cable, from one inbox per office to unlimited mail accounts and storage, from backing up files on floppy disks to box.net, from from Rolodex to manage their personal lives to Facebook, from expensive and complex Photoshop to Picasa, from mail orders to Amazon and from paper atlas to Google maps. Our lives as consumers are almost 100% digitized now. Continue reading “Workday Raises $75 Million- Good Sign for the Business Software World”

Workday Raises $75 Million- Good Sign for the Business Software World

The Well Known Secrets of the VC world (Part 1)

The news are all grim about VCs recently. They can’t raise money, they don’t invest…While it is not the best time for VCs and startups (and for the rest of us), money is still invested.  I spent the last 6 months as an EIR (Executive In Residence) with a venture capital firm, classically located on Sand Hill road. Destiny (and network) got me to spend my winter with Storm Ventures, one of the finest VCs I got to know. During this time I saw dozens of startups, attended many internal discussions and learned a lot. And, as my old grandmother used to say: “learning is solidified by writing”. So here are some of my learnings that many people know, but more don’t…

The Well Known Secrets of the VC world (Part 1)