Does Microsoft feel that they got royally shafted by Facebook’s Whatsapp acquisition?

In a talk at the Cloud Factory conference MS Ventures GM Rahul Sood highlighted the Whatsapp acquisition as the summit of this web generation’s landscape, the top of the bubble. While armed with solidly reasoned points, one specific statement stood out.

You know you’re in a bubble when you see people throwing money at dog-shit companies

The Whatsapp acquisition has been widely debated and several have tried to explain the ridiculous price tag, none the least sole investor Sequoia who raked in in more than bucket loads from the acquisition.

But one can but wonder whether Sood’s statement represented Microsoft feeling about it until now partner. The question on too few people’s lips: What does the Whatsapp acquisition mean for Skype and thus MSFT.

On a related note, is it time for the Richter Scales again?

Read Venturebeat’s complete recap of Rahud Sood’s talk here.

Startups, Tumbling

This story keeps on getting rehashed. No matter how one looks at it, Apple iOS owners/users are the larger spenders. While the original angle to Slate’s article is to compare in what areas which mobile OS most popular is, it all revolves around the money spent.

Some may say the iPhone is still a status symbol, but end of the day for developers and startups all that matters is the potential to generate revenue. And there it is highly likely that iOS users will buy first and faster than Android users.

There are some fantastic high-end, high-price Android phones. But all the talk is about the cheap ones. At the recent Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain—a huge mobile industry confab—the buzz was about the Chinese Android companies marketing smartphones for just $35.

In the U.K., Google’s Moto G budget Android smartphone grabbed 6 percent of the market in just three months simply because a high-quality phone for a low price appealed to poor men. The Guardian reported:
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech says that the Moto G was particularly popular with men aged 16-24 in “lower income” groups: 83% of buyers were male, and 40% have annual earnings of below £20,000.

Simple as that.

Read: Android is huge but here’s why developers keep on favoring Apple on Slate.

Yard Sale, but no Hookers.
Startups, Tumbling

Sales for a Startup, A Whole Different Beast than Sales in General

Too often get a sales guy becomes the standard advice once a startup has validated its concept. Today a conversation with a founder of one of the startups we mentor/are stakeholder in at Proudcloud reminded me of this valuable advice: it is important to understand that there are different stages in the whole startup sales process.

This post by Mark Suster perfectly summarizes the different stages and needs of a startup.

The mistake many startup people make is they hire a “sales person” to go out and talk with customers so they can do what they’re good at which is building product or “running the company.” Sales people are a different breed, you say. The problem is that in an early stage business there probably isn’t a perfect fit between your early product and a customer’s needs. You learn that by showing them your product, watching their reactions, asking them questions about what they’d like to see improved and then racing back to the office to talk with the team about what you’ve learned and how you can incorporate it into your product plans. Repeat this process 50 times and trust me you’ll see patterns.

Obviously the first, and hopefully best sales person, is the CEO – who also uses early sales as a mode of validation and product market fit fine-tuning opportunity. After that, it is still important to not go for the candidate with a stellar (corporate) sales record but understand that startup have a different dynamic and often lack in process. The next sales hire should be the evangelical sales person.

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Chris Dixon on the decline of the mobile web:

The open architecture of the web led to an incredible era of experimentation. Many startups are controversial when they are first founded. What if AOL or some other central gatekeeper had controlled the web, and developers had to ask permission to create Google, Youtube, eBay, Paypal, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Sadly, this is where we’re headed on mobile.

For years have I said that developers should not fight to be one of 60 or more installed apps on my phone and should make sure their website is fully functional on mobile. I barely ever open apps on my third screen, I have only so much time.

Sadly most mobile apps provide better functionality than their mobile versions and thus I spend ever more time in apps. The only way to improve this – and stand a better chance as a (web) app is to make sure mobile sites are as good as their native app counter part. HTML5 still isn’t ready, but too often I still visit links coming from social media and just because I followed a link doesn’t mean I will also install your app.


Improve your web and mobile version first. This will also avoid that the Silicon overlords can control what works and what doesn’t. Or continue to hijack your functionality and obliterate the need of your app with every OS update.

PS: Using WPtouch is a sure-fire way to make sure I close the tab and leave your mobile optimized site.

The Decline of the Mobile Web


Great insight by Joel Gascoigne, of Buffer, on 1:1s:

You might notice that in the structure breakdown above, it translates to 60 minutes dictated by the team member, and only 10 minutes led by myself or the team lead. This is very deliberate, and in the early days the balance was the other way around.


Unlike many meetings, 1:1s should be empowering.

When you share the structure in advance and 85% of the time is dedicated to the team member, and it is up to them to set the agenda, it suddenly becomes very empowering.

I’m a firm fan of regular, recurring, compulsory and holy One-on-ones. They shall take place on regular base, nothing can cancel them or reschedule and the team member leads the meeting. Every time. 1:1s are their time.

Also read Rands’ post about 1:1s.

1:1s are ALL About the Team Member, not the Manager


Ray Wu, Ambassador at JFDI Asia, on the importance of reading

…and really valued the VC blogs and numerous Lean Startup and Customer Development posts that helped me grow in the last 4 years.



RSS has taught me everything. These awesome writers have opened their most inner thoughts to the world, and I am the beneficiary. Over the last few years, I’ve shared my RSS feeds with friends, who are interested in startups and the VC world to give them a jumping start.

Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces, Salvador Dali

Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces, Salvador Dali

Succinct and poignant in a way you can find only on Rands in Repose:

You remember those expectations we had of you? The impossibly high ones that we never told you about, but mostly just felt? Yeah, they were way off. In fact, our opinions of your ability appear to be way off. You appear to be just a regular old disappointing human. Those mistakes you keep making? We don’t know if you’re not getting it or what.

Most folks have figured it out by now. Figured what out, you ask? You know, the undefinable but very important ‘it’ that everyone else knows, but can’t explain it. You not getting ‘it’ is worrying us.
Michael Lopp

Everything in this company seems to go a little slower, not sure whether this is due to process, inertia or just plain old ‘Just another day at the office culture’, but starting my third month here, I think I am entering the Fall from Grace stage this month.

While they may not think of it as such – at least not consciously – there is no doubt that I went through the Bright and Shiny stage. Now to help them discover where my superpower lies.

Will I reach the Steady State any time soon?

The Fall from Grace