Friday, February 27, 2009

Analyze this - Who is writing the Boulder Net Blog?

There is a neat website called Typealyzer, that can take a blog URL and tell the rest of the world something about the person who is writing the blog.
So what does it say about this blog's author?  "Scientist".

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Boulder - Paradise or Not Discussion

I would like to point you to the discussions going on in other, extremely well written, blogs. The discussion started with Megan Soto of LaunchSquad stating in her blog, Boulder, I’m Lookin’ And I’m Likin’,

What is it about the Boulder scene that makes me yearn so to be a part of it? My curiosity-turned-fascination-turned-safe-distance (I swear)-obsession was probably fueled by the fact that I can’t be part of it. My location prevents it and they just don’t seem interested in pursuing me as a remote member of their clan, though, granted, no overt outreach was established from my end.

Her fascination with Boulder is understandable. I am not however fully convinced about the startup scene, especially given the tough economy.

In response to Megan, Boulder Blogger Brian says, Boulder is Nice, but No Paradise:

Rather, my point is to try and paint a more realistic picture of the city. Because frankly, while Boulder is nice, it’s no paradise.

There are dirty people here. There are too many bikes, and they run too many stop signs. There are mountain lions, and they eat humans. There are college students, and they don’t act like humans. There are 12,00 foot peaks, but they’re far away. And fuck, there’s not much water here. Or nice trees.

What do you think?

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The High Cost of News Reporting - Rocky Mountain News

From tomorrow Denver will have only one newspaper. The Rocky Mountain News said that it will cease publication after tomorrow. They are not talking just about stopping the print edition, they will cease news reporting, print or online.
The story reported in Rocky Mountain News website says why they decided not to go to online only version:

Mark Contreras, vice president of newspapers for Scripps, said the math simply didn't work.
"If you cut both newsrooms in half, fired half the people in each newsroom, you'd be down to where other market newsrooms are today. And they're struggling," he said.
As for online revenues, he said if they were to grow 40 percent a year for the next five years, they still would be equal to the cost of one newsroom today.
It goes to show that news media is a high fixed cost operation. The fact that online version has a marginal cost of $0.00 is immaterial, they still need the news room to report news.
Can they go to a fee version? Not at this juncture. Once you give away  a service for free, customers are not going to value it enough to pay for it at a later stage. According to their cost estimates the total revenue (subscription plus Ad ) has to be at least $100 to break even. A tall order.
So can free work for all the other Web2.0 services?

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crocs Signaling Its Focus On Brand Value With New CEO Pick

Crocs saw its shareholder value fall by close to 96% from its highs in 2007. Crocs stock has fallen to $1.45, a downfall that is twice as steep as the rest of the market. Crocs announced that Mr.John Duerden will become the new CEO of the Niwot, Colorado based company. Crocs footwear may have few takers these days, as evidenced by the fall in revenues (to $126.1 million, half of previous year number), but its brand still has some equity that quite possibly some "brand elasticity" that can be transferred to other related items.

The economy and its current product line does not bode well for Crox. Mr. Duerden's appointment signals a possible Crocs' plan to leverage this brand equity, possibly with line extensions. The new CEO used to run another big brand in footwear, Reebok. Most recently, Mr.Duerden was with the Chrysallis Group, a brand development and renewal consulting group that he founded in 2006. We should expect him to be more brand focused and rebuild shareholder value through products with higher premium rather than increasing sales with lower priced items. Crox cannot win by  going  after market share by competing purely on price, profit should be the number focus.

Of course for all those coming to this post from Yahoo Finance Crox message board, this is just my opinion. Mr. Duerden's resume is verifable and it is true. I am not making any recommendation here. You should not make your stock decisions based on this or any other opinions. Look at my previous post on Crox  from last year here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Valuing Free - What will you pay for something you always received for free?

Many web based free services, including from market leaders like Google, are shutting down. From Boulder, recently Andrew Hyde called R.I.P magnolia a Boulder based startup. Is there a problem in giving away a service that adds value for free? I believe there is. Most web services focus on building user base with the hope of Ad supported business model. While free is never a good business model, the dependence on Ad is coming under severe threat more now than ever in the past.
Can't these services simply start charging their subscribers for the service? The problem is if your users never paid for it and if alternatives are available their reference price for the service is $0.00 even though they may get great value from the service.

For a related article on increasing reference price from $0.00, see my article in my Unbundled Pricing blog.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Applying to Job Postings in Craigslist

Craigslist has no advertisements. It makes its money from job postings by employees. So are all the job postings in Craigslist real and worth applying for? One of the Boulder Net Professional (a LinkedIn based Colorado Networking Group) posed a question to the Boulder Net, whether anyone got a job by applying to one of those Craigslist postings. Another member said that she had applied to several but never got any response and doubted whether or not the postings are real. There is a really nice article in today's Wall Street Journal that asks "Is it a real job behind the job posting".

If you're launching an online job hunt for the first time in a while; take caution. What may look like an ad for employment may lead to something entirely different, like a hard sell for career services or job-training manuals. Or worse, it might be a plan by identity thieves to get you to share sensitive personal information via "phishing" expeditions. Some of the job postings -- sometimes for positions long filled -- also could be from recruiting agencies looking to collect résumés.
Definitely a advice we should all take to heart and follow. It may be a better idea to send a resume that only has an email address rather than the home address. But as the article points out, applying for these online postings may only have zero to low response rates.

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Using LinkedIn Endorsements

Sometime back I wrote a blog post on LinkedIn Endorsements. The post was discussed within the Boulder Net LinkedIn group (Boulder Colorado Networking Group for Professionals in LinkedIn).
One member pointed out information from tips on job search that stated that recommendations do help. I do agree but claim that LinkedIn endorsements alone cannot be a differentiating factor. Since everyone can get endorsed, it only helps if people are competing against do not have any. It is also very difficult for a reviewer of a profile to see the nuances between the endorsements of two different candidates. It also means that if you ask for LinkedIn endorsements you work with your colleague to get an authentic and nuanced text rather than platitudes.

Do you write recommendations for your colleagues? What do you think?

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Growing Faster Than Most Colorado LinkedIn Groups

Boulder Net is growing faster than the top five Colorado networking groups. Will you join us?

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Level 3 - Managing in Turbulent Times

Broomfield, Colorado based Level 3 Communications is profiled in today's Wall Street Journal. The article talks about how the company managed to survive not one but two financial storms. As the playing field in telecommunications and credit market shifted and became too uneven for many of the telecom players, Level 3 managed to fund its operations and save jobs.
How did they do it? The management convinced the original investors to do more and bought back some of their old debts for cents on the dollar.

"These guys pull rabbits out of the hat," says Jefferies & Co. Inc. credit analyst Romeo Reyes. "They've been shrewd about taking advantage of what the market offers."

The company did not report positive earnings since 1999 and saw its market capitalization shrink to $1.6 billion, almost half of its value in from the highs of June 2008. What is the prognosis?

At this point in the crisis, however, survival is victory. And that should offer some inspiration for managers rebuffed by the banks: If Level 3 can stay in the game, there just may be hope yet.

Saving jobs in this economy is indeed truly inspirational act.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Searching for the right opportunity?

One of the responses to the recent Boulder Net employment survey was regarding a job with fewer responsibilities, at lower pay, than one was laid off from. The commenter said that it was better to have a decent employment while continuing to search for the right opportunity. I think there is no right or wrong answer here and the approach heavily depends not only personal situation but also on the overall market prospects.

Recently in the Wall Street Journal Career section a similar question was raised regarding taking on part-time or hourly jobs while searching for the right opportunity.

To decide whether to hold out -- and for how long -- your husband needs to look at the overall health of his chosen career path. Is it getting better or worse? Will there be other, better offers down the line? "If employment prospects in his prior industry or occupation are poor, it might be wise for him to go back to work as soon as possible and start building new experience on a job that will result in higher future wages,"
The one key point is the risk of allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by the current job leaving no time for career development. When taking a part-time or other jobs one has to conscientiously allocate time for their networking and career search.

What do you think?
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