I’m pleased to announce that I’m joining Yahoo as SEO Lead.
At Digital DD, we puzzled through the strategies behind some of the biggest SEO companies out there. But Yahoo is an order of magnitude bigger. They have over a hundred million monthly uniques; if I improve things by 1%, I’ve affected the lives of a million people. It’s hard to get that elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »05.6.11
I’m pleased to announce that I’m now working full-time as co-founder and CEO of Digital Due Diligence, an advisory firm focused on helping investors evaluate online assets.
(Note: A previous version of this post had a rather significant typo. I’m now working at Digital Due Diligence. Not “I’m not” working there.)02.27.11
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity” was surely coined by an otherwise bad publicist. Of course there’s such a thing as bad publicity, if you’re already famous.
If you’re not famous, there’s a tradeoff: at some point, it’s better to piss off most of your audience and impress a few people, rather than having no audience at all.
The Black-Scholes model provides a helpful way to look at this. The Black-Scholes formula allows you to price a stock option knowing only a few data points—the current price of the stock, the strike price and maturity of the option, the risk-free interest rate, and the stock’s volatility. Read the rest of this entry »02.16.11
Good PR is priceless. But if you’re willing to skirt some ethical boundaries, you can get it for a couple hundred dollars, plus $1.89 per click. Read the rest of this entry »02.15.11
Some day, the education bubble will burst. How can you trade this?02.14.11
Note to readers: my new startup research boutique, Digital Due Diligence, performs in-depth research on dozens of companies, public and private, including LinkedIn and its key competitors. Visit our equity research page for more information.
Last month, LinkedIn filed a prospectus with the SEC. It’s a great case study: LinkedIn is one of the largest social networks, and it may be the most mature of the major social networking businesses. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has turned a profit; unlike Facebook, LinkedIn’s profit is dependent on several known business models.
The filing itself was a better read than most. Among other risks, it cited the possibility that:
[O]ur initial public offering could create disparities of wealth among our employees, which could adversely impact relations among employees and our culture in general.
I guess that’s what you get when your Chairman is an avowed “free-market socialist.”
The hurdle LinkedIn’s IPO faces is that the easy comparisons are completely wrong. LinkedIn shouldn’t be valued like a job board: for a variety of reasons, it’s a much more defensible model; LinkedIn is likely to stomp all over the traditional job boards (not so much traditional recruiters). But it’s not a “social network” that can be valued like Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn’s business model is already in place, and its potential is a matter of execution, not innovation. Read the rest of this entry »02.7.11
It’s hard to say when the “blogger” phenomenon peaked. In the runup to the 2004 election, the media meta-narrative centered around “the blogger”—a possibly psuedonymous individual whose commentary was upending the traditional news cycle.
In the next few years, something strange happened: blogs became ubiquitous. But “the blogger” lost influence; the personalities that originally defined blogging never became as influential as most people expected.
I suspect that three forces sapped the blogging trend of most of its strength:
•Social media sites replaced low-traffic blogs.
•The right economic unit for high-traffic blogs is the blog network or the content farm, not the blogger.
•The only use for a blog qua blog is as an extended résumé or biz-dev pitch. Read the rest of this entry »12.2.10
No, you can’t rank well just by cultivating terrible reviews: I posted this on Search Engine Land yesterday.
And then it was cited in a follow-up story in today’s New York Times.11.10.10
Lawyers, consultants, and investment bankers follow a fairly similar career path: excessive hours and tedious work at the start of their careers, followed by vastly better compensation and marginally better hours later on.
This makes a certain amount of sense: the fastest way to get a decade of experience is do work double-time for five years.
The system works for people who are already in the industry: they get their grunt-work done. It works for people who are joining the industry: they learn everything they need to know, and the difficulty of the work allows the industry to keep an “up or out” structure along with a steady path for advancement.
Read the rest of this entry »
In the last 20 years, smoking has been transformed from something that seemed totally normal into a rather seedy habit: from something movie stars did in publicity shots to something small huddles of addicts do outside the doors of office buildings. A lot of the change was due to legislation, of course, but the legislation couldn’t have happened if customs hadn’t already changed.
—Paul Graham, The Acceleration of Addiction
“Whig History” is history rewritten to support a narrative of constant progress. The single best example I’ve found comes from David Brin’s essay on Lord of the Rings: JRR Tolkein — Enemy of Progress:
It’s only been 200 years or so — an eye blink — that “scientific enlightenment” began waging its rebellion against the nearly universal pattern called feudalism, a hierarchic system that ruled our ancestors in every culture that developed both metallurgy and agriculture. Wherever human beings acquired both plows and swords, gangs of large men picked up the latter and took other men’s women and wheat. (Sexist language is meaningfully accurate here; those cultures had no word for “sexism,” it was simply assumed.)
They then proceeded to announce rules and “traditions” ensuring that their sons would inherit everything.
Putting aside cultural superficialities, on every continent society quickly shaped itself into a pyramid with a few well-armed bullies at the top — accompanied by some fast-talking guys with painted faces or spangled cloaks, who curried favor by weaving stories to explain why the bullies should remain on top.
Only something exceptional started happening…