links for 2009-08-06

  • Greenhill SAVP announced today it has invested in TRAFFIQ. Greenhill SAVP partnered with Grotech Ventures and existing investor Court Square Ventures on a $10 million Series B financing. As a result of this financing, Brian Hirsch, Managing Director of Greenhill SAVP, will join the TRAFFIQ Board of Directors.
    (tags: grotech vc)
  • Over the past three decades, a few titanic rivalries have defined the technology industry’s megatrends, ultimately determining which products eventually end up in consumers’ and companies’ hands.
    Now, adding to the annals of competition that include Microsoft’s (MSFT) clashes with Apple (AAPL) in the ’80s, IBM (IBM) in the ’90s, and Google (GOOG) in this decade, the new defining rivalry in tech may be between Google and Apple. Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s resignation from Apple’s board on Aug. 3 highlights the degree to which these companies are more foe than friend.
    (tags: apple Google)

  • It’s the single most famous story of scientific discovery: in 1666, Isaac Newton was walking in his garden outside Cambridge, England – he was avoiding the city because of the plague – when he saw an apple fall from a tree. The fruit fell straight to the earth, as if tugged by an invisible force. (Subsequent versions of the story had the apple hitting Newton on the head.) This mundane observation led Newton to devise the concept of universal gravitation, which explained everything from the falling apple to the orbit of the moon.
    There is something appealing about such narratives. They reduce the scientific process to a sudden epiphany: There is no sweat or toil, just a new idea, produced by a genius. Everybody knows that things fall – it took Newton to explain why.
  • VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world, is broadening its portfolio of trust-building solutions for online commerce with buySAFE, Inc. buySAFE provides online merchants a bonding solution that inspects the merchant’s business, monitors their performance and enables shoppers to bond their purchases, which has been shown to significantly increase Web site conversion, sales and customer loyalty.
    Under terms of a new alliance, VeriSign will promote the buySAFE solution along with its globally trusted VeriSign® Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates and VeriSign Secured® Seal solutions. Together, the two offerings make it easier than ever for online businesses to cultivate trust with consumers. For more information, go to http://www.verisign.com/buysafe
  • VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world, is broadening its portfolio of trust-building solutions for online commerce with buySAFE, Inc. buySAFE provides online merchants a bonding solution that inspects the merchant’s business, monitors their performance and enables shoppers to bond their purchases, which has been shown to significantly increase Web site conversion, sales and customer loyalty.
  • After months of controversy over possible conflicts of interest between Google and Apple, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors. The decision comes after the FTC launched a probe into the two companies to see whether competition between them had been reduced thanks to Schmidt’s (and Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson’s) presence on Apple’s board. Continuing concerns from shareholders have forced Schmidt to discuss the issue with the board, apparently resulting in his decision to leave.
    (tags: apple Google)
  • The “borrowing” of creative ideas has long been a top concern in Adland, but these disputes are set to get more contentious, thanks to the growing popularity among agency folk of data-tracking tools that measure not only who visits a website but also how long they stay.
    Case in point: Grasshopper, a provider of phone services to small businesses, claims that a new ad by Ogilvy & Mather for longtime client American Express uses the same thinking and creative behind a video Grasshopper made called “Entrepreneurs Can Change the World.” Grasshopper says it was shocked to discover the similarities the AmEx ad bears to its video, which it released in May in the hope of sparking a turnaround of the sagging economy.
    (tags: Advertising)
  • There are many reasons for not working with jerks, as Bob Sutton has pointed out in his memorably-titled book The No Asshole Rule. But I think I’ve discovered another reason for not having them in your organization’s employ: they often make bad decisions. While all jerks don’t always make bad decisions, and non-jerks occasionally decide badly too, I’d guess that there is a sizable correlation between jerkiness and bad judgment.
    For example, I’ve been reviewing some examples of bad decisions in the financial crisis; fortunately, there is no shortage of them. The mother of all bad decisions in the crisis was probably AIG’s decision to issue credit default swaps for subprime mortgage derivatives, which led to the over $180 billion U.S. bailout of AIG. Michael Lewis describes the core of the problem in its Financial Products (F.P.) business unit in Vanity Fair:
    (tags: Leadership)
  • VeriSign is broadening its portfolio of trust-building solutions for online commerce through a strategic partnership and investment in buySAFE Inc. BuySafe President and CEO Jeffrey Grass said VeriSign has a dedicated sales and marketing team that will promote BuySafe to VeriSign customers – the marketing will roll out in phases.
    Grass said the companies are not disclosing details on the investment, but said it was a “non-trivial amount” for buySAFE. The company provides online merchants a bonding solution that inspects a merchant’s business, monitors their performance and enables shoppers to bond their purchases, which has been shown to increase Web site conversion, sales and customer loyalty. BuySAFE had started as a service for eBay sellers and then broadened its scope to off-eBay merchants.
  • I’ve been surprised by how much negative commentary has been flowing in the local startup community about the role of venture capitalists. If you believe the recent comments on blogs and the chatter at startup events, Seattle venture capitalists are out of touch, slow, arrogant, and generally unsupportive of entrepreneurs.
    As a managing partner at Founder’s Co-op, I’m (sort of) a venture capitalist myself. In addition to starting and working with early-stage Web companies, I now invest money (mine and other people’s) to help get them off the ground.
  • According to IDC’s numbers, the BlackBerry Curve was the best-selling smartphone in the U.S. during the second quarter. This is a highly misleading result, however. I’ll concede that the 8310, 8320, 8330 and 8350i are similar enough that they can all count as “one” model. The 8900, however, is a different phone and should not be lumped in with the other Curves. In fact, that RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) has given the 8900 the Curve name is a complete mystery.
    I don’t have access to the hard sales figures directly, but I have to call into question the validity of this result. Did the other four variants of the Curve together surpass iPhone 3GS sales, or was the addition of the 8900 necessary for RIM to surpass Apple and take the number one spot? Why not let the 8900 stand on its own two feet? Did it sell poorly fresh out of the gate?
    (tags: Mobile)

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