Friday, April 08, 2005

Hustle, Passion, Resiliency

This is a great post by Jason Calcanis, not just for the humor value.

Jason shares an exchange he had with a young VC associate:

Associate: “So your business is based on hustle?”
Me: “Isn’t every business?”
Associate: “I’ve never heard that.”
Me: “They don’t teach hustle at Harvard’s MBA program?”
Associate: “I went to Wharton.”
Me: “Do they teach it there?”
Associate: “Not really, but do you think that is what business is about?”

While we all get a good laugh at the Associate's expense, Jason is being serious (and quite correct) when he attributes business success to hustle, passion, and resiliency. Of the three, I think the third is the rarest, and thus the most valuable.

I work with a very talented salesperson. She has spent her entire career at established companies before joining my startup. At times, she's had a hard time adjusting to how unsettled the startup world can be. But she's developing the resilience that will let her succeed. People who don't have resilience can still make a lot of money in a traditional corporate role, just based on hustle and passion, but they will have a hard time with the entrepreneurial process.

Bay Area Housing

This is a pretty amazing example of the kind of service that is really useful.

Paul Rademacher used craigslist and Google Maps to create a real estate searc service that shows the location of the houses on a map.

Is there any reason why MLSListings.com should not do this?

Web Services in action, baby! Many thanks to Om Malik for pointing this out!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Virtual Currency, Real Profits

Terra Nova reports that Korean MMO Cyworld is now selling its virtual currency, the dotori, in offline retail stores. Right now, Cyworld is selling $200,000 worth of virtual currency every day. Just to make the math easy for you, that's $73 million per year.

Statistics like this really ram home two points. First, virtual worlds are big business. Second, we are rapidly approaching the point where the real world will have no more legitimacy than its online equivalents.

Many are already making a living online, and spending most of their earnings there as well. The fact that they have to still eat, pay rent and (infrequently) bathe in the real world is mere annoyance that some enterprising business will one day do away with.

Will hardcore MMO players be the first people to go entirely electronic?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More Than Meets The Eye

Boommeister Michael Bay (Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) has been tapped to direct the live-action Transformers movie, due out in fall 2006.

My favorite part about the article is the high-toned plot summary. The Transformers is about cars and planes that turn into giant robots and blow things up--it's not some kind of morality play!

"The Transformers are divided into two groups of robots, one led by Optimus Prime, which believes in tolerance and the sanctity of life, the other by Megatron, which espouses survival of the fittest and the extermination of biological life."

I would love to hear their descriptions of previous Michael Bay movies...

The Rock: A delicate rumination on the nature of heroism and what we owe to our fighting men.

Armageddon: An ensemble of actors deals with the existential dilemma when the world is threatened by a giant asteroid.

And so on. Come on, people, the essence of your oeuvre can best be summed up by a quote from the movie XXX: "Blow sh-t up!"

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bill Gross Rocks (No, not that Bill Gross)

While most people in the startup world think of the IdeaLab! founder when they hear the name Bill Gross, people from the financial world know that the one true Bill Gross is the superstar PIMCO bond fund manager who is the world's greatest bond investor.

Much like the world's greatest equity investor, Warren Buffett, Bill Gross writes an extremely entertaining and informative letter to his investors, which he is kind enough to make available over the Internet to the rest of us peons.

In this month's letter, Bill tackles the subject of real interest rates, and how negative real interest rates have led to various asset bubbles, including the current housing bubble.

When homebuyers can borrow money at a post-inflation zero real interest rate, home prices should grow higher. It's essentially free money. However, as Bill's letter points out, the party is probably over. Real interest rates are on the rise, and home prices are already at an all time high. Bear this in mind the next time someone tries to convince you that real estate is the best possible investment, and that house prices can only go up.