entrepreneurship

My OnePlus One review and the nine customizations I recommend for it are among the most popular posts on this blog. It’s easy to see why. Even with the all the new phones coming out for the holidays, the OnePlus One remains one of the best phones you can buy. If you can stomach not being able to take a phone into a store nearby for customer service, the One’s combination of power, price, aesthetics and software is nigh unbeatable.

So of course I noticed that OnePlus is moving from an invite to a pre-order system, similar to how you’d pre-order an iPhone or Xiaomi. People must log on the moment the system opens up and it’s a mad scramble to be among those who click nanoseconds faster than others.

To no one’s surprise, the OnePlus One pre-order page went bust when it opened to spike in traffic earlier this week. To think that merely doubling server capacity would be enough is naive!

Anyway, I hate the whole system. It’s not consumer friendly and it’s not company friendly either. Here’s how I would have done it.

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Maybe even the most important. Re/code is reporting that Larry Paige is handing off the day-to-day management of Google’s major products:

It’s a very big portfolio for one of Page’s senior product lieutenants and a fast-rising company executive. The highly respected Pichai will now have purview over research, search, maps, Google+, commerce and ad products and infrastructure. And he will continue to keep his existing responsibility for Android, Chrome and Google Apps. The six executives in charge of newly added product areas, all of whom previously reported directly to Page, will now report to Pichai.

What a bold, audacious move. First, acknowledgement is required for Pichai’s rocket ship rise to the top. This guy is only 8 years older than me and is now the point person for much of $370 billion company. Absolutely amazing. Getting recognition as the leader in a sprawling organization like Google couldn’t have been easy.

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As an entrepreneur or CEO of a company, you might think it’s hard to find the time to do anything outside of work, family and a hobby or two. Well, Mark Zuckerberg runs a $200 billion dollar company, and he still found the time to learn Mandarin Chinese.

I learned Mandarin Chinese and let me assure you — it’s a really tough language.

But Mark was interviewed recently at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing and spoke entirely in Mandarin Chinese! Wow!!

That puts me to shame — I don’t even know if I dare do that, and I learned Chinese while young. Mark’s accent is funky, but it’s definitely understandable and he has a decent vocabulary.

If you can understand Chinese, see the 30 minute interview below.

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There’s a story on TechCrunch today on how Microsoft’s market value exceeded Google’s market value. I don’t know if this is news, but I suppose it’s interesting to check in from time to time on how the public markets perceive the two tech giants.

What caught my eye were two comments from those claiming to be from two prestigious venture capital firms: Accel Partners and Silver Lake Partners.

Here’s an angry one from Han Lee, Accel Partners:

Dear writer, do you really not know the difference between market cap and enterprise value? Pathetic.

From Jeff Schnabel, Operating Executive at Silver Lake Partners:

Total enterprise value is a more accurate measure of a company’s value (market cap is only a piece of the puzzle – the value of the company’s publicly traded equity).

If you look at TEV, Google is still worth more than Microsoft ($306.4B vs. $290.4B)

What is Enterprise Value and how’s it different to Market Value you may ask? Finance people love to confuse lay people to make themselves look smarter, so let’s peel away the jargon.

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I love this essay from Paul Graham of Y Combinator. It’s chock full of truths, as Paul’s essays typically are, and I encourage you read the whole thing. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

It’s not surprising that after being trained for their whole lives to play such games, young founders’ first impulse on starting a startup is to try to figure out the tricks for winning at this new game. Since fundraising appears to be the measure of success for startups (another classic noob mistake), they always want to know what the tricks are for convincing investors. We tell them the best way to convince investors is to make a startup that’s actually doing well, meaning growing fast, and then simply tell investors so. Then they want to know what the tricks are for growing fast. And we have to tell them the best way to do that is simply to make something people want.

So many of the conversations YC partners have with young founders begin with the founder asking “How do we…” and the partner replying “Just…”

Why do the founders always make things so complicated? The reason, I realized, is that they’re looking for the trick.

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I was reading on Mashable how most are happy with their iPhone 6 Plus, a few are undecided, and a few returned it for the 6 — usually after only a day of use. That’s interesting because many who are happy with the 6 Plus needed a week or two to get used to it. Once they did, they loved it. That too was my experience with the OnePlus One.

The biggest reason for not liking the 6 Plus is that it wasn’t ideal for one handed use. Which I find fascinating, because the reason for that is not hardware — i.e. size per se — but software.

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The conventional wisdom is not to invest in videogames because of its hit-driven nature. Only a handful make money and it’s difficult to predict which will. A company that produced a successful game may never produce another. Like a music band that’s a one hit wonder.

Videogame companies typically make a bad investment, because you want to invest in a repeatable business model. Not luck.

The traditional console games industry has combated that with franchises. Gamers who love a game will remember the brand and are more likely to buy the sequel. Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Madden, etc. are all examples of this.

Unfortunately, this strategy does not appear to work for mobile, casual games. Casual games, by definition, have simple gameplay. Is it possible for a sequel to feel fresh and new, yet still have the same simple gameplay?

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