via @davemc500hats - more good news that someone is taking a gutsy stand !
"Even as the economy has weakened in recent months, Facebook has decided to stick with its spend-now, profit-later approach. "We still think it’s a land grab where we have to try to get to scale first," says Thiel. I
t’s a gutsy strategy, increasingly rare in Silicon Valley. Last month, prominent venture firm Sequoia Capital gave a presentation to its startups titled “R.I.P. Good Times,” which argued that companies must cut costs fast to survive. One Power Point slide included a skull-and-crossbones and the words “death spiral” to show the likely fate of startups that fail to come to grips with the new reality. The Sequoia view has become accepted wisdom among Valley venture capitalists, leading to layoffs at scores of companies. Facebook isn’t yet profitable.
But Thiel says the company can afford to be aggressive. It has raised about $500 million and is “slightly cash-flow negative,” Thiel says. At its current burn rate, he says, the company has enough cash for three or four years. “If we stopped growing, we could make money, but it makes no sense for us to stop growing,” he says.”
How much energy we waste: According to published reports, the losses of electrical energy because grid systems are not “smart” range as high as 40 to 70 percent around the world.
How gridlocked our cities are: Congested roadways in the U.S. cost $78 billion annually, in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted gas—and that’s not even counting the impact on our air quality.
How inefficient our supply chains are: Consumer product and retail industries lose about $40 billion annually, or 3.5 percent of their sales, due to supply chain inefficiencies.
How antiquated our healthcare system is: In truth, it isn’t a “system” at all. It doesn’t link from diagnosis, to drug discovery, to healthcare deliverers, to insurers, to employers. Meanwhile, personal expenditures on health now push more than 100 million people worldwide below the poverty line each year.
How our planet’s water supply is drying up: Global water usage has increased six-fold since the 1900s, twice the rate of human population growth. According to the Asian Development Bank, one in five people living today lacks access to safe drinking water, and half the world’s population does not have adequate sanitation.
It’s obvious, when you consider the trajectories of development driving the planet today, that we’re going to have to run a lot smarter and more efficiently—especially as we seek the next areas of investment to drive economic growth and to move large parts of the global economy out of recession.
Fortunately, we now can. We see this in how companies and institutions are rethinking their systems and applying technology in new ways.
Stockholm’s smart traffic system has resulted in 20 percent less traffic, a 12 percent drop in emissions and a reported 40,000 additional daily users of public transport. Smart traffic systems are strengthening the competitive positions of cities from London to Brisbane to Singapore—with many more being planned.
Intelligent oil field technologies can increase both pump performance and well productivity—in a business where only 20-30 percent of available reserves are currently extracted.
Smart food systems—such as one now running in the Nordics—can use RFID technology to trace meat and poultry from the farm through the supply chain to supermarket shelves.
Smart healthcare can lower the cost of therapy by as much as 90 percent—as ActiveCare Network is doing for more than 2 million patients in 38 states, whom it monitors for the proper delivery of their injections and vaccines. “
Great post by Tom Evslin on the vicious cycle of fear that is eating away at our economies:
"Have we been talked into a recession? There’s little question that’s where the economy is now and it seems to be spiraling deeper by the day as we anxiously cut back on almost everything and, in the process, help make our worst economic fears come true. Did it have to be this way? Just a few months ago we had mainly a severe problem with mortgages that should never have been written. The people who shouldn’t have had the mortgages were losing their homes (or speculative investments); the people who shouldn’t have bought the mortgages, including the companies that shouldn’t have written the mortgages and the companies that shouldn’t have securitized the mortgages, were in a lot of trouble.
But, other than housing prices which were arguably too high anyway, the real economy seemed to be doing pretty well. This being an election year there was a healthy dose of “stimulus” from Washington. Many more dollars than were in the stimulus program were saved by drivers who went on partial strike and helped drive the prices of gasoline and oil back to less than they were a year ago. Most of these were dollars that otherwise would have left the US economy so that was pretty much all gain.
So why are we having a recession? At least partially because we were talked into it. But who would want to do that? Who would want to spread so much fear that the mighty US consumer put his or her credit card under the mattress?
Bankers who wanted a bailout (and got it) An administration that needed to justify bailing out the bankers A Treasury Secretary with a bankerish POV A Fed chief whose academic specialty was the Great Depression The Democratic Party which wanted to show how bad things had gotten on the Republican watch The McCain campaign which wanted to show it wasn’t four more years of W Those who would like to regulate everything in sight (forgetting that regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were among the worst offenders) Those in Congress who didn’t want the blame for pushing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to make worse and worse mortgages Everybody else who wants a bailout and has seen that the threat of bankruptcy is the best way to get one A press which is largely economically illiterate but can tell scary and sad stories well”
excerpt: “T-Mobile USA is unveiling its new portal strategy on Thursday, which integrates Yahoo! (NSDQ: YHOO) search, and an application storefront similar to the one found on the iPhone. The new portal is being called web2go, and is replacing the company’s long-standing T-Zones experience. What’s new for the subscriber is that the store will display applications in order of how they are ranked by user reviews. Ian McKerlich, T-Mobile’s director of mobile Web and content services, said: “With user rankings, they will rate applications on a five-star scale, and they’ll be able to say which downloads that they’ve purchased and what they think about them, rather than an editorial team making the decisions. That’s important, It brings a web-type discovery to the mobile device.”
excerpt:"Mogees is launching an SDK for Android that will allow developers to charge for applications on the Android Market using its mobile billing platform. In doing so, it’s beating Google to the punch by at least a few months. Currently, Google doesn’t have a system that allows developers to charge for applications, but it plans to fix that by early next year.”
a must-read by Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker) for anyone trying to piece back together the mess we’re in ! excerpt: "Meredith Whitney was an obscure analyst of financial firms for Oppenheimer Securities who, on October 31, 2007, ceased to be obscure. On that day, she predicted that Citigroup had so mismanaged its affairs that it would need to slash its dividend or go bust.Whitney became E.F. Hutton: When she spoke, people listened. Her message was clear: If you want to know what these Wall Street firms are really worth, take a hard look at the crappy assets they bought with huge sums of borrowed money, and imagine what they’d fetch in a fire sale. The vast assemblages of highly paid people inside the firms were essentially worth nothing. For better than a year now, Whitney has responded to the claims by bankers and brokers that they had put their problems behind them with this write-down or that capital raise with a claim of her own: You’re wrong." The End of Wall Street’s Boom - National Business News - Portfolio.com
excerpt: “Microblogging service Twitter may be brewing a pay-to-Tweet model for businesses using it to promote wares or connect with consumers.
Among other options, Twitter is considering charging companies that use it for consumer feedback purposes. Such firms include Zappos, Comcast, Starbucks, GoDaddy and Amazon. It may also begin placing ads alongside search engine results.
Last week Twitter surpassed one billion published tweets. The two-year-old service is popular among marketers, social media evangelists, PR folk and techies, but has so far failed to monetize its business model.”
" I think the key line from Denton’s bearish blog entry on Tuesday is this one:
Marketers and their agencies can track engagement and clicks in great detail online; but it’s still only television advertising that can demonstrate a correlation between spending and a boost to a marketer’s sales.
Why is that? Simple: television is a mass medium, which can reliably reach tens of millions of people. The dream of internet publishers was that media buyers would flock to a more niche medium, where they could target people much more accurately. But the problem is that media buyers, and ad sales people, get paid a lot of money: it’s just not worth their while to collaborate on a campaign which only reaches a relative handful of readers. To be successful in publishing, you need economies of scale, and that means big websites with a mass audience rather than niche blogs which need to be sold separately by expensive sales teams.”
"The Population Reference Bureau estimates the population of France at 62 million as of mid-2008. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pegs his site’s population at 125 million. Facebook is bigger than France. Heck, it’s twice as big.
Last week, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that Facebook has 280,000 applications hosted at its site, small programs that enhance the service. Some, like Mob Wars, are huge moneymakers. Facebook’s own virtual gifts — $1 page decorations — bring in more than $30 million annually.”