links for 2010-01-08

  • A lot of entrepreneurs think that their startup is the next big thing when in reality they’re just building a small business. How can you tell if your startup has the potential to be the next Google, Intel or Facebook? A first order filter is whether the founders are aiming for a scalable startup.

    Go For Broke
    A few years ago I sat on the board of IMVU when the young company faced a choice my mother used to describe as “you should be so lucky to have this problem.” For its first year IMVU had funded itself with money from friends and family. Now with customers and early revenue, it was out raising its first round of venture money. (Not only did their sales curve look like a textbook case of a VC-friendly hockey stick, but their Lessons Learned funding presentation was an eye-opener.)

  • So, in my experience, there are seven levels of "traction," and each level has various nuances. For example, "the launch" could be a soft launch or a beta launch. "The idea" may be rough, modeled, patented, etc.

    THE TRACTION CURVE
    1. The Idea
    2. The Team
    3. The Prototype
    4. The Launch
    5. Adoption
    6. Revenue
    7. Profitability

  • Android devices have finally come to AT&T. The carrier, which has benefited a great deal from its exclusive deal to carry Apple's iPhone, is the last major network to offer a phone loaded with Google's mobile operating system.

    Now it plans to enter with a splash, by offering customers five devices, made by HTC, Dell, and Motorola, all within the first half of this year. Dell's Mini 3 will reportedly be the first device for AT&T's network to hit the market.

    Some are speculating that AT&T's sudden big push into Android is inspired by the impending end of its iPhone deal.

    The announcement was one of a series that AT&T made this week at the company's developer conference in Las Vegas, which coincides with CES. The carrier also announced that it will improve the speed of its 3G network.

  • This story is difficult to confirm because my Uncle Dale is dead. He died of a heart attack in 1961 — fact or fiction, the story goes like this.

    Dale operated clothing stores in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. “He was the best merchant of the bunch,” my father often said. Everyone on my father’s side of the family were small town retailers; his two brothers, his sister and his father.

    The family lore is that my Uncle Dale knew Sam Walton. Here is the connection. Walton purchased a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. The store was a franchise of the Butler Brothers chain, where my Uncle Dale worked before he opened his own stores. In the 1950s and early 1960s, they were both budding businessmen in that part of Arkansas.

  • Wi-Fi, laptops and cell phones make it possible to work from just about anywhere these days. They've helped people leave the office and work from the comfort of their living rooms or corner coffee shops.

    But now, an increasing number of Americans are looking for something in between.

    Community

    Kevin Prentiss started his Internet-based business from his apartment in New York City. For two years, he says he worked 14-hour days in solitude — ironic, considering he runs a social networking site.

    "I don’t know that I was talking to myself," he says. "I think that probably I was talking to myself."

    Then one day he heard about New Work City. It's a rented office space in Manhattan where workers like Prentiss can drop in, hook up their laptops and work away with other people similarly mobile, while making face-to-face connections.

  • To borrow from John Lennon: Imagine there's no latency, no spam or phishing, a community of trust. Imagine all the people, able to get online.

    This is the kind of utopian network architecture that leading Internet engineers are dreaming about today

    As they imagine the Internet of 2020, computer scientists across the country are starting from scratch and re-thinking everything: from IP addresses to DNS to routing tables to Internet security in general. They're envisioning how the Internet might work without some of the most fundamental features of today's ISP and enterprise networks.

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