Osama bin Laden: Caught by Friendster!

We’ve resisted blogging any of the predictions for 2004 because, frankly, anyone who says DVD-Rs, Google’s IPO, social software and weblogs/videoblogs are going to be “huge” in 2004 is not really telling us anything we don’t already know. However, Salon had two solid predictions we felt merited a link:

1. Bin Laden Captured Investigators Cite Terror Mastermind’s Addiction to Friendster “It’s not easy living in a cave,” Osama bin Laden explains to U.S. interrogators moments after he’s captured early in 2004. “You might learn to put up with the cold, the bugs, the lumpy bed, but it’s the social life that hurts the most. So you go online for a few hours to keep up with your friends. Where’s the harm in that?” But Friendster, the popular online social networking tool, proves to be OBL’s undoing. Through a series of unlikely relationships which folks like Michael Moore have long been whining about but which were not quite clear until Friendster graphically demonstrated them George W. Bush turns out to be connected to bin Laden.

2. Google’s Rise to Real World DominationGoogle ends months of fevered speculation regarding its IPO plans by announcing that, instead of a stock offering, executives have decided that the company will best achieve “increased long-term asset valuation” by taking over the world.

New Yorker on Trippi using Blogs and Meetup to make Dean

Interesting New Yorker article on Joe Trippi making Dean, recently a Technophile, into the first real “Internet” candidate. Found my self not surprised, but perhaps disappointed, that Dean didn’t have a computer until 1998. However, five years of using the web is probably five more then the other candidates have. If Dean wins perhaps we will finally see eGovernment start to flourish.

Trippi proposed using the Internet to build a base of supporters. As they discussed how the process might work, one of Dean’s questions was “What’s a blog?” In Vermont, Dean’s staff regarded him as a Luddite. But, listening to Trippi, he grasped the idea of a blog as a running political-debate forum, with an abundantly flexible capacity to receive and broadcast ideas and opinions, and suddenly Deanwho didn’t use a computer until 1998 and who had refused to have a government e-mail addresswas a technophile.

Last January, three months before an interactive Dean Web page came into being, supporters on both coasts were discovering each other online through Yahoo.com. The same month, Meetup.com, a new Internet service that made it possible for like-minded folkhood-ornament collectors, ferret ownersto find each other and congregate in local communities, began listing gatherings for people interested in various political candidates.

seattlepi.com Buzzworthy: The business of blogging

Interesting blog post about a story talking about the most blog-friendly company in the world: Macromedia. No doubt about that, the last time I was in San Fran I spent an hourr talking to RobBurgess about blogging. Proves my point that management works best when the people people at are aware of, and embrace, new trends.

Blogging about your company and its products can be an express route to unemployment, true, but it can also be good for business, writes the Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray. Some companies are even backing employee blog efforts:

“Perhaps the most blog-friendly company in America is Macromedia Inc., a multimedia software producer based in San Francisco. Blogging is at the core of Macromedia’s customer marketing strategy. In 2002, as the company released a number of new products, it asked several employees to launch blogs where they could field questions from customers. ‘We needed a mechanism to communicate incredibly quickly,” said Tom Hale, Macromedia’s senior vice president of business strategy. ‘We hit upon the blog strategy as a mechanism to do that.” Hale said the experiment succeeded beyond expectation. ‘People really liked hearing directly from Macromedia experts, and getting really fast response,” he said. Today there are at least 16 employee-run blogs providing assistance to Macromedia customers.”

Google hires Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to raise up to *gulp* four billion!!!

Google is about to step up to the plate according to Bloomberg (the site, not the Mayor). Here are the three import facts:

1. Google probably had revenue of about $1 billion in 2003 and net income of about $200 million that will increase to about $1.5 billion of sales and net income of $300 million in this year, according to Eric Martinuzzi, an analyst at Craig-Hallum Capital Group in Minneapolis.

2. Google Inc. hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to arrange its initial public offering, a sale that may raise as much as $4 billion, a banker involved in the transaction said.

3. About a third of Mountain View, California-based Google may be sold in the IPO, giving the company a market value of about $12 billion, the bankers said.

Which leads me to ask the following questions/points:

1. What the hell is Google going to do with four *billion* dollars in cash? Actually, make that $4.3 billion in cash if they make a profit of $300 million this year. Perhaps they should spend $2.7 billion buying jetBlue (the other company that tries not to be evilexcept when they give the Army your travel records).

2. If they have a $12 billion dollar valuation that is a 40×2004’s projected earnings and about 120x this year’s earning of $100 million (the $100 million this year has not been confirmed by Google, but that number is out there). That is pretty darn rich. Then again, Yahoo trades at 140x revenues.

3. Yahoo is making $350 million a quarter right now, or about a $1.4 billion run rate with $65 million in profits a quarter (run rate of $260 a year). Wait a second, aren’t those almost exactly the same numbers given by the executive in the Bloomberg story. Is it impossible that Google and Yahoo are making close to the exact same amount of money?

Big day for WLI: Four new blogs, one new blogger!

We’re hard at work over here at Weblogs, Inc.

Last week we launched the new 1.0 site and moved out of our three month beta. Today we launched a bunch of sites (some are just getting started):

http://sundance.weblogsinc.com
http://indiefilm.weblogsinc.com
http://docfilm.weblogsinc.com
http://grid.weblogsinc.com

We are also psyched to report that Greg Scher is our first blogger (well, Jason’s mom Cathie Calacanis is doing a great job on Telemedicine and Medical Informatics, but she is part of the family so that doesn’t really count does it?!). Greg is working on the Spam and Grid Computing weblogs.

If you have an idea for a blog or want to work on our new film blogs, P2P or VoIP please drop us a line.

Best regards,

Jason & Brian

Sundance 2003 takes prizes at National Society of Film Critics awards.

A lot of films from last year’s Sundance, including American Splendor, Lost in Translation (thanks JW!) and The Station Agent took home awards at the National Society of Film Critics awards.

AP: “American Splendor,” the life story of a grumpy file clerk who attains cult celebrity status by becoming a comic book writer, took best picture honors at the National Society of Film Critics awards Saturday. Clint Eastwood’s working class crime drama “Mystic River” was second in the voting for best picture and Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” a quirky tale of two Americans finding friendship while in Japan, took third. Eastwood got the nod for best director for “Mystic River;” Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini won best screenplay for “American Splendor;” and Bill Murray won best actor for “Lost in Translation.” Charlize Theron’s performance in “Monster” earned best actress honors, while Peter Sarsgaard was named best supporting actor for his role in “Shattered Glass.” Patricia Clarkson took the best supporting actress prize for two films: “The Station Agent” and “Pieces of April.” Aki Kaurismaki won the award for best foreign language film as director of “The Man Without a Past.” The society’s pick for best nonfiction film was Nicolas Philibert’s “To Be and to Have.”

New offices: 30 West 21st Street

We (VentureReporter.net) just spent the day moving into our new office space at 30 West 21st Street. How ironic that five years later we are able to afford the rent in Silicon Alley again!

We moved in with Connors Communications, the most excellent PR firm in the world run by the most excellent Connie Connors. Connie was one of the first advertisers in Silicon Alley Reportershe bought ads before it even existed!

So, anyway, if you’re looking for us you know where to find us, and if you’re looking for a great PR firm I can’t say enough good things about Connors!

Yahoo Instant Messenger to go down today.

This is a first. Yahoo IM is going to go down at midnight tonight for scheduled maintenance.I guess I can’t complain since Yahoo IM is free, but the couple of times Yahoo went down WITHOUT notice over the past couple of years we had some big problems at my last company (VentureReporter.net). It is amazing how quickly you can become dependant on something like IM.

YahooSystemAdmin: In continuing to provide a quality service, Yahoo! Messenger will be unavailable temporarily while under going a scheduled maintenance at 8:00 PM PST today. You will automatically be disconnected at that time. Please finish any conversations in progress before that time. After the maintenance has been completed, you will be able to successfully login. For more information visit http://messenger.yahoo.com/maintenance

Sprewell takes apart Knicks and Dolan

Went to see Sprewell came back to the Garden on Tuesday night and was not disappointed. Sprewell put on a show in his TimberWolves uniform, but you could tell his heart was still in New York.

Spree made a point of letting James Dolan, the worst executive in sports, know exactly what a mistake he made by trading him for the soft Keith Van Horn. Spree let his game do some of the talking, with 31 points, but he didn’t stop there he yelled in profanities in Dolan’s face. The fans heckled Dolan from behind.

While I don’t agree with Spree letting loose on the profanities (there are a lot of kids in the arena), he has a lot of heart and firethings the Knicks desperately need and wish they had.

LimeWire=Amazing

So, I’ve been a big Kazaa fan for years (almost as good as the old Scour if you remember that). Then I get my Mac running OS X and install Limewire on it and I’m all like “wow, this is fast, stable and look at all the files in the network.”

Then I realize, oh snap! This is available for PC too. So, I install it on my PC and I’m like this is written in Java and it’s like stable “shut up!”

So, like, if you want a really cool P2P network sharing app that isn’t, like, all spywareand stuff go get LimeWire. You will not be disappointed.

Who says a blog can't be worth a million now?!

Well Nick Denton, it looks like a blog can be worth a millionor in Daily Candy’s case $3.5-$4m!

Yes, I know Daily Candy is an email newsletter but let’s be honest here: there is no difference between Daily Candy and Gawker.

So, Nick, I think you owe me sushi or something (I’ll wait till you sell Gawker.com and hit you up for Nobu or better yet, Ginzo). Nice job Dany Levy (below)!

Media mogul Bob Pittman is satisfying his sweet tooth for daily

Pittman, the architect who helped build AOL and MTV into household names, has gobbled up DailyCandy, the trendy Web site featuring tips on everything from restaurants and nightclubs to sample sales and beauty finds.

The plan behind Pittman’s investment, say sources familiar with the situation, is to help transform DailyCandy from a Web site into a multimedia player that could extend its brand into magazines and books, stand-alone television shows and perhaps even shopping or restaurant guides.

The Pilot Group, an investment firm founded by former AOL chief Pittman, quietly bought privately held DailyCandy a few weeks ago for roughly $3.5 million to $4 million, sources familiar with the situation told The Post.

Lord of the Rings quick review: Amazing! Four Stars, Oscar for Best Picture for sure.

Just got back from the 9:50AM showing of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I decided to use a vacation day just to see it!

In a word: amazing. Perhaps the best film about friendship ever made. Three and half hours and it felt like 15 minutes. Everything about the film is perfect, or close to perfect: the characters, the acting, the special effects, the action, the pacing. If it doesn’t win Best Picture it will be the greatest crime since Dances With Wolves beat out Goodfellas.

However, you do need to see the first two films at least once, perhaps twice, in order to really be able to follow the nuances of the characters and their interpersonal relationships.

Elvis Mitchell has a great review in the Times, but I would NOT read it until after you see the movie as it gives away too much.

Anyway, you won’t be disappointed by this film. Just go see it.