Archive for August, 2007

     "While we are still waiting to see what Yang has in store for Yahoo, we note that the valuation has become more reasonable and our SELL rating is no longer warranted. We also note that a management transition and an innovation in the email platform have buoyed our expectations for the coming turn around announcement."
When technologists run technology companies, innovation happens… and get communicated to those that want to know… like analysts… technologists can’t help but brag about the stuff they’re working on that’s cool.  <smile>
To say YHOO has been noticeably absent from recent rallies is an understatement:  It’s setting new 52-week lows.
But some would say the real YHOO action is in stock option calls, where call options (the right to buy stock at a locked-in price), "are near the top of the most-active list," or so says Steven Smith in his, "The Time Is Right To Step Into Yahoo! Calls" article in article today.
Wonder who knows something we don’t?
Far fetched? 
Maybe not so much.  I’m a fan of online advertising — which is blowing-the-doors off of traditional advertising — so any online ad company with their stuff together can join the party, too.  Removing ex-CEO Terry Semel is a step in the right direction to qualify for a, "stuff together" title.

Great Sentence

Posted: August 26, 2007 in Technology and Business
Under the same category of, "damn, I wish I wrote that," I’m reading Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, full of over-the-top imagery, and came across this gem… some guy was so eerily calm that:
     It’s like talking to an asteroid.
"The purpose of the first meeting is to get a second meeting. The purpose of the first meeting is not:
  • To secure an investment from the VC at the end of the meeting, or
  • To tell the VC everything there is to know about your company.

VCs are too busy to dive deeply into every business that they see.  As a result, in the first meeting the VC’s primary objectives are:


  • To verify that your plan is realistic and based on solid research and strategic thinking, and
  • To see if there is a fit between your business and the VC’s investment criteria."
Great read for anyone raising venture capital.

What I find inspiring:  They scored 16 runs in the last two innings.
Why is this inspiring?
Because no matter how far you are behind going into the late innings, there’s always a chance… 16 runs pretty much overcomes any obstacle.

A Step Backwards?

Posted: August 22, 2007 in Technology and Business
Everyone knows I’m ever the GOOG fan.
They popularized advertising that is:
(1)  Immediately trackable
(2)  Performance based (i.e., risk free, or at least the perception of)
Exactly the things missing in traditional advertising.  A killer combination.
But, is GOOG moving away from what’s made them successful?
GOOG just announced that YouTube was going to do small overlay advertising on the bottom of the viewed videos… much better than those annoying 15 second "pre-rolls".
But, here’s what really caught my eye:  They’re using a CPM model… even though the overlay mechanism allows for click-thrus.
Uh oh:  My spidersense is tingling.  Why in the world would the company that dominates performance-based advertising take a step backwards to an old, outdated model for such an important medium as video?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Guess the only thing you can say in light of the stock market getting crushed over the last few weeks is this:  Everything is now on sale.
To wit, a brilliant summary of what we’ve been discussing the last few years from Henry Blodget in his Internet Outsider blog:
The Great Advertising Share Shift: Google Sucks Life Out Of Old Media
Everyone talks about advertising dollars shifting online, but when you’re fighting all day in the trenches it’s tough to get a handle on what this really means.  Here’s what it means:
US advertising revenue at 4 big online media companies–Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO), AOL (TWX), and MSN (MSFT)–grew by $1.3 billion in Q2, or 42%
US advertising revenue at 15 big television, newspaper, magazine, radio, and outdoor companies (Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, etc.) shrank by $280 million in Q2, or 3%.
Here’s a breath of fresh air: Sue Decker, YHOO president, buys $1.1 million of YHOO stock.
Not converting stock options (she does that, too)… but an open market purchase… that’s the real deal, what we "average" shareholders do.
     Decker’s buy was "just the fourth by any Yahoo insider in more than four years; and, the largest by any Yahoo insider in more than four years," InsiderScore analysts wrote in a research note on Friday.
Guess Semel didn’t believe the rhetoric he was feeding shareholders over the last four years.
Decker, on the other hand, just stepped to the plate.
P.S.  Reminds me of when Microsoft was on the ropes (I think late 80’s) and Steve Ballmer stepped up and bought a ton of stock… they still talk about that purchase around Microsoft to this day.
Mark Hulbert has a great little piece about contrarian investing in MarketWatch this morning.
Bottomline:  Being on the cover of a magazine for outstanding performance is a tremendous, well-deserved honor… but research suggests that all of that positiveness is probably already priced into the stock.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the commonsense stuff.
P.S.  Works in reverse, too.  Just like you’d expect a contrarian indicator to do. <smile>