Thursday, January 05, 2006

Virtual Words And Third World Countries

Virtual Words And Third World Countries

At the end of today's Silicon Valley Junto meeting, Valerie Cunningham asked me for my opinion on the craze for virtual real estate.

My response was that most of our wealth is imaginary, and that investing in virtual real estate is just like investing in real real estate. Even the risk that the game company will go out of business or change the rules of the game is roughly analogous to the chance that a government will seize your land or outlaw whatever makes your land valuable.

As it turns out, my response was prescient. The folks over at Linden Lab recently changed the way avatars move around in Second Life. Instead of teleporting from one hub to another (roughly the equivalent of going from subway station to subway station), Second Life now allows point-to-point teleportation. The result? Folks who had paid big (virtual) bucks to buy prime "hub" real estate are up in arms.

Just imagine how a store owner inside Grand Central Station would react if suddenly people stopped using the subway!

The story is still developing, so it will be interesting to see what happens from here. Will the price of virtual real estate drop to take into account the increased perceived risk?

Buying Stock In People

Buying Stock In People

Remember when I talked about personal VC? Eric Allam is now selling shares in himself for $1. There are 1 million shares authorized, but Eric plans on retaining a 51% stake.

Alas, owning EA stock doesn't entitle you to anything other than a stock certificate, which may be why he has only sold $67 worth so far.

Eric seems to be a bright college student, so I expect that his future ventures will be more successful.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Shhhh...Writers & Marketers Wanted For Founding Team Of A Secret Project

Shhhh...Writers & Marketers Wanted For Founding Team Of A Secret Project
You just knew that I couldn't watch all the excitement in the Web world without doing something to get in on the action.While I'm now a boring enterprise software guy, I haven't forgotten my Internet roots, and am advising and working with a number of entrepreneurs in this space.

One of these projects is coming to fruition, and we're offering some exciting opportunities for good writers and marketers.

Here's what we're looking for:

A team of experienced entrepreneurs from Stanford and Harvard Business School is recruiting aggressive, entrepreneurial writers and marketers for a new venture.

We have created a phenomenal business idea, built all the infrastructure and technology necessary to execute on this idea, and are now looking for people to join the founding team and execute.

We are looking for people with good writing skills, a diverse set of interests, and the ability to kick ass.

Notice that we didn't say that we're looking for people with particular degrees or work experience. We don't believe that age or background is the best measure of a person. Some of us graduated high school at age 15, or started our first company before we could drive.

In fact, we would prefer to select at least some people who are currently in high school or college to become a part of this founding team (though we are also eager to recruit people with a seasoned perspective).

This opportunity isn't for everyone. You will need to work purely for equity, though we are targeting a liquidity event in less than 18 months. Because of this aggressive schedule, your equity will actually vest in only 12 months. We plan to allocate up to 25% of the equity of the venture to this founding team.

While we are recruiting individuals, we will give special preference to small groups that apply as a team. The reasons for this will be apparent after we talk.

Because of the great potential of this venture, you will be required to sign an NDA before we interview you.

If you or your team are interested in applying, contact We recommend that you email your resume and provide links to online writing samples such as personal web sites, blogs, or other such written content.

P.S. Happy New Year!

Last Chance To Sign Up For The Silicon Valley Junto!

Last Chance To Sign Up For The Silicon Valley Junto!
Don't forget folks, this is your last chance to sign up to attend the first meeting of the Silicon Valley Junto (tomorrow, Thursday January 6).

The Junto, modeled on the philosophical and scientific society that Ben Franklin created in pre-Revolutionary America, gives Silicon Valley types a venue for thoughtful conversations about topics that matter (as opposed to conversations about Web 2.0, VOIP, and the other flavor of the month).

Our first topic will be grappling with the concept of Americanism, and what it means in today's flat, post 9/11 world.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"It's not what you say, but what is believed.

It's not what you mean, but what is understood."

--Ed McLean (courtesy of David Garfinkel)