Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Refreshing VC Perspective

In one of my initial blog posts, I expressed concern over the current financing environment for start-up software companies; I said that there is a disconnect between the current funding needs of most start-ups and the VC model. I just read a refreshing perspective from Charles Moldow, a general partner at Foundation Capital. He summarizes his perspective with the following:
To sum up, the point I’m making is pretty basic. When you’re looking to fund your young company, definitely consider venture capital, but also be aware that for your particular situation it may make more sense to explore alternatives to venture money, like angel investors or bootstrapping, with help from family and friends. We like to keep our focus on building successful, long-term companies of a certain scale. Not many mice ever grow up to become antelopes.
I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Marketing of the Nintendo Wii

Over the holidays, my family was in Santa Fe, NM visiting my brother-in-law and his family. They have a Nintendo Wii so, much to my seven-year-old son's (and frankly, my) delight, we got to spend a significant amount of time playing with it. After having hours of fun with the Wii, like David Pogue of the NY Times, even though I am not a gamer, I feel compelled to write about it.

The Wii is not only the coolest gaming system out there right now but I am extremely impressed with what Nintendo is pulling off from a marketing perspective. Explicitly, they are targeting non-gamers like myself but the brilliant part is that they have the hard core gamers as probably their biggest fans. My brother-in-law and his wife have two teenage sons who are hard core gamers and they LOVE the Wii. The scene over the holidays was something to behold -- you had everybody from my seven-year-old son to my wife (who is less of a gamer than me and that is saying something) to our teenage nephews, all having fun playing with the Wii together. This goes against Marketing 101 where you are told to target a particular market segment. Bravo, Nintendo!

BTW, for those of you who are fortunate enough to have a Wii, if you don't have the game, Rayman Raving Rabbids, I highly recommend you purchase it. You will never have this much fun again with a bunch of lunatic rabbits!

The iPhone Introduction - Marketing At Its Best!

For you marketers out there, if you haven't seen Steve Jobs' iPhone announcement presentation at Macworld yesterday, it is worth taking the time to check it out. It is marketing at its best. Besides the fact that the product itself seems to be the coolest thing since, well, the iPod, Jobs shows how presentations should be done. He uses a lot of the basic tenets on giving a good presentation...
  • Keep your messages simple and repeat them over and over again. The primary iPhone message was, "The iPhone is a three-in-one device -- an iPod, a cell phone, and an Internet communicator." There is no way you don't remember that after watching Jobs' presentation.
  • Tell people what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you have just told them. For each element of the iPhone (iPod, cell phone, Internet communicator), there were key messages that were communicated, then demo'd, then communicated again.
  • Keep your slides simple. The number of words used on each slide was minimal. You didn't spend all of your time trying to read the slides.
I am generally not a gadget guy but when it comes to the cell phone/PDA, I have been a devoted Palm/Treo guy from the get-go. After seeing Jobs' presentation, however, I wish I could have run out and purchased an iPhone right away. After thinking about it overnight and after reading some of the early hands-on reviews, my feelings are a bit more tempered. Here are a couple questions I need answered before I make a purchase:
  • Will I be able to sync my Outlook contact/calendar info into iTunes? Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research is not sure about this. Would Apple really ignore Outlook's installed base of about 300 million users?
  • Will I be able to drive the iPhone with one hand? One of the things I love about the Treo is that I can do almost everything I need to do with one hand. To drive the iPhone with one hand, the thumb needs to be used to make gestures. In Gizmodo's initial use of the iPhone, they think you may need to use your index finger for typing, not your thumb. Is this also true for other gestures?
Despite these questions, I am still excited about the iPhone and I plan to spend some time up at Macworld tomorrow to take a look a today's version of the Hope Diamond.