links for 2011-02-12

  • After struggling to create your business plan for months, every entrepreneur likes to think that their document is inspirational and will reach someone who is smart enough to see the brilliance of the idea, intuitive enough to recognize their business acumen, and enthusiastic enough to offer the money required to make it happen. Every serious investor, on the other hand, has a stack of these in their in-basket (email or real plastic) awaiting review, and is looking for the flaw or less-capable entrepreneur in each that predicts failure, allowing them to discard it like another piece of junk mail. Many VC firms and investment banks receive as many as ten plans per day, so it’s hard to get them salivating.
  • What ever happened to the mashup? It seems like it was only a few years ago that we were breathlessly talking about mashing up Flickr photos with Google Maps to create something entirely new. But now when we talk of mashups it's seemingly only to describe music, like DJ Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk whom mixes-and-matches hundreds of pop songs at a staggering rate. The answer, simply enough, is that the mashup has become woven into the fabric of the modern web. Now, instead of talking about mashups, we talk about APIs, apps and cloud computing, all of which are rewiring the internet and have the potential to dramatically change the way brands connect with consumers.
    (tags: api developers)
  • When Russian investor Yuri Milner approached Y Combinator’s Paul Graham about a week ago, Graham said he thought it was just “one of those random meetings” between two investors talking shop. Paul Graham, managing director of Y Combinator It turns out, however, that Milner–the chief executive of DST Global which made a splash in the U.S. by betting big money on Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc.–was looking to offer to invest his own money in all 43 start-ups recently coming out of Y Combinator’s latest three-month boot camp. “It’s probably one of the most surprising things that has happened so far,” Graham said. As TechCrunch first reported, Milner teamed up with SV Angel–the seed fund run by prominent angel investor Ron Conway–to offer $150,000 each in convertible debt in each company.
  • More than 90% of consumers unsubscribe, “unlike” or stop following brands because of too frequent, irrelevant or boring communications, according to a report by social media and e-mail marketing services company ExactTarget. Released Tuesday, “The Social Break-Up” is a study that surveyed more than 1,500 consumers, exploring changing online behaviors and top motivations for “unliking,” unfollowing and unsubscribing from brand communications via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Here are a few key findings from the study:
  • In April 2009 the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks published a secret U.S. military document detailing technological capabilities of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. In an online post explaining how it obtained the information, WikiLeaks indicated only that it came from "a source." It was another coup for WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, who describes the far-flung organization—it has no fixed domicile—as a secure digital drop box for disaffected insiders. He has repeatedly said WikiLeaks doesn't actively obtain classified documents but rather provides a platform for others who have confidential information to reveal for the public good. Except that WikiLeaks, according to Internet security company Tiversa, appears to have hunted down that military document itself. Tiversa says the group may have exploited a feature of file-sharing applications such as LimeWire and Kazaa that are often used to swap pirated copies of movies and music for free.
  • For its first few decades Silicon Valley was content flying under the radar of Washington politics. It wasn’t until Fairchild and Intel were almost bankrupted by Japanese semiconductor manufacturers in the early 1980’s that they formed Silicon Valley’s first lobbying group. Microsoft did not open a Washington office until 1995. Fast forward to today. The words “startup,” “entrepreneur,” and “innovation” are used fast, loose and furious by both parties in Washington. Last week the White House announced Startup America, a public/private initiative to accelerate accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in the U.S.  by expanding startups access to capital (with two $1 billion programs); creating a national network of entrepreneurship education, commercializing federally-funded research and development programs and getting rid of tax and paperwork barriers for startups. What’s not to like?
  • Nokia Corp. is in talks with Microsoft Corp. about using the U.S. software giant's operating system on mobile phones, a person familiar with the situation said. If an agreement can be reached in time, Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop likely would announce the deal Friday, when he is expected to present his strategy to investors in London, the person said. Nokia also could reach a deal to use Google Inc.'s popular Android operating system, analysts have said. Nokia also offers its own Symbian software platform. The Finnish company, scrambling to revise its handset strategy and reverse deep declines in its core business, could choose to strike a deal with one of the U.S. companies or both.

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