Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm up for the challenge, Mike! :-)

I already knew that Mike Arrington is very sceptical about AJAX desktops like Pageflakes.

Today I learned that he is similarly sceptical about online calendars like CalendarHub:

Ajax calendars are faily commonplace now (they are kissing cousins to Ajax home pages as far as I’m concerned) and seem to be breeding just as prolifically.

So, one of the most influential persons from the Web 2.0 world basically says that the two startups I'm involved with are doomed.

What should I say? Maybe just this: I'm up for the challenge, Mike! :-)

P.S.: I know that Mike wishes every startup success, so I know that while he fears we may fail he doesn't hope so.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pageflakes nearing launch

We’re getting closer to our Public Beta in large steps. Here’s a little update:

  • Pageflakes can now be viewed with Firefox and Opera. You might still experience a bug though. Please forbear with us – we’re working hard to offer 100% Firefox, Opera and Safari support ASAP. It won’t take long until we’re done.
  • We created a really cool Address Book Flake. We tried to keep it simple (in a 37signals kind of way) and I’m very happy with the result. We will add some more very useful features to this Flake in the future (e.g. import/export and printing of contacts), but we’ll make sure that usability won’t suffer. Check it out!
  • Another really cool new module is our To-Do-List Flake. It allows you to manage multiple To-Do-Lists, set due times and receive email reminders. When a task is done, tick the checkbox and it’ll be stroked-through. Hit “delete” and it will be removed completely. Simple! This comes very handy for people like me who lose everything they write on paper and who’re thus trying to put every bit of information online.
  • Thanks to our fantastic Community Developers, we’ve been able to add several applications from independent developers already, just five weeks after the Developer Release: My personal favourites include the Del.icio.us Flake, the Movie Finder Flake and the Bushisms Flake, but be sure to try and enjoy them all. You’ll find them under “Add Content”.
  • Together with the folks over at AdventNet Inc., we created a little module that lets you access your Zoho Writer documents right from your personal startpage. Pretty handy. Thanks, guys!
  • Many glitches fixed, but still some to fix before we can launch the site big.

Many new exciting flakes are in the works – by our own developer team as well as by Community Developers and companies we’ve partnered with. So, stay tuned!

If you check out the site, please bear in mind that we’re not in Public Beta yet. So, please forgive any inconveniences, and let us know what you like and what you don’t like.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pandora's Box

Most readers probably know Pandora, but maybe there are still some who don't. Pandora is a wonderful music service that lets you listen to a music selection tailored to your taste. You start by entering the name of a band or a title that you like. Pandora then starts playing songs of a similar style. You can rate any song you hear to educate Pandora about your taste, so over the time the selection becomes better and better.

You can read a little bit about the underlying magic here. I assume in addition to the results from The Music Genome Project they utilize collaborative filtering (like Amazon's "if you like this book, you may also like these books" feature) so that the service will automatically become better as more users use it. I still don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to work pretty well. I like the majority of the songs suggested by Pandora and stumbled on great music by bands I never heard of before. So either it works, or I'm such a philistine that you could play any song to me and I'll like it.

In any case you should try it. Amazingly, it's even free.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

$22,000,000 per employee

Yesterday Piper Jaffray rose its price target for Google to $600, reminding me of Henry Blodget's famous Amazon.com recommendation in the dot-com frenzy days. At today's close of $445.24, Google's market cap is about $131.6B, with an enterprise value of about $121.0B.

Divide that by 5,500 employees (5,000 as of September 30, 2005 - the rest is just a guess), and you get $22M for every employee. Not bad! I'm wondering if any public company ever achieved a higher value per employee. Does this mean that Google is overvalued? No. Maybe it is, maybe it's not - I don't know.