links for 2010-11-12

  • Gil Elbaz recalls meeting with a prominent venture capitalist during the late 1990s to discuss his first startup, Applied Semantics. When Elbaz said the company could someday generate $100 billion in sales, the potential investor was dismissive. "He about threw me out of the room," says Elbaz. In 2003, Google (GOOG) bought Applied Semantics for $102 million. It became the foundation for the search giant's AdSense, which places relevant text ads on Web pages and in 2009 accounted for 30 percent of the company's $24 billion in revenue. Elbaz commands more respect these days. Earlier this year a who's who of Silicon Valley power players invested $2.1 million in Factual, the company Elbaz formed after leaving Google in 2007. Factual, which opened its service to the public in October, is organizing bits of useful data strewn across the Internet.
  • For the better part of 20 years, Mac lovers fumed in frustration as Apple languished in sub-5% PC market share territory. Wintel dominated. Big, ugly, buggy, clunky, and everywhere. It seemed as if graphic designers were the only people stubbornly refusing to admit defeat and join the rest of the planet in using Windows. But then Steve Jobs came to the rescue — and over time, people actually started buying Macs again. And then the iPod! and iTunes! Somehow Apple found a way to reinvent and completely dominate an entire category of consumer electronics. The company seemed to change overnight — and became the leading-edge technology giant it always knew it was supposed to be. And then the iPod begat the iPhone – and lo, the consumer beheld it and said it was good.

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