November 10, 2006

CitiBank Offering Ferrari Test Drives in China

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 09:33:00 AM
In an effort to get deposits from China's noveau riche, CitiBank is offering Ferrari test drives to wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs.
For now, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE C) is reaching out to China's wealthy by marketing fancy deposit products tied to stocks and commodities which it already has permission to sell, such as an investment account linked to the stock performance of five retailers. Mr. Selvakesari targeted affluent customers in Singapore with similar products in the mid-1990s. He says they offer customers higher returns than basic Chinese savings accounts do, and they underscore Citigroup's global reach.

Mr. Selvakesari says he wants to get wealthy people buzzing about Citigroup. He arranges for prospective customers to test drive Ferraris and Range Rovers. His team has invited prospects to "micromarketing events" such as presentations on feng shui, wine appreciation, health and economics.

That's entrepreneurial marketing!

How to Reclaim Hidden Stock Trading Fees

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 05:57:00 AM

Every broker assesses fees for various services. Some of these services are legitimate. Examples include: getting stock certificates, charging you for margin, getting duplicate copy of statements. However, there are also other fees that I would consider to be "hidden fees." One hidden fee that I just learned about is called the late settlement fee.

So, what is this late settlement fee? Late settlement occurs when you buy or sell a stock and payment or securities are not received and booked into your account by 4 p.m. Eastern time on the settlement date of your trade. Say for instance, you have $1000 in your account and you buy $2000 worth of stock. This is perfectly reasonable if you use 50% margin. Margin just means you borrow 50% of the amount you purchased. So, in this case, you buy $2000 of stock by using your $1000 plus borrowing $1000. So, how come there is a fee? Unscrupulous brokers can choose to book the trade as a cash trade which means they will count your purchase as a $2000 cash trade instead of a $2000 margin trade. Guess what? You don't have $2000 in your account. And then the hidden fees start kicking in.

Notice how the broker has full discretion on how they book the trade? And how insidious it is? The broker has allowed you to purchase $2000 of stock as a cash trade when you only have $1000 in cash - knowing full well that it needs to be booked as a margin trade or else it would be in violation of Regulation T (ie you didn't have enough purchasing power to do it). That is why it is a hidden fee.
Brokers can make alot of money on this type of hidden fee particularly on active accounts.

Unsuspecting customers don't even notice what happens because customers rarely check their papers statements anymore. However, if you are an investor with any brokerage including the big ones like Fidelity, The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE SCH), E*Trade Financial Corporation (NYSE ET), and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (Nasdaq AMTD), check your statements. Don't believe for a single second that just because you invest through a broker that buy glossy advertisements in expensive magazines that you have an honest broker. Yours truly recently discovered this the hard way.

The Real Borat

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 05:26:00 AM
If you are a Borat fan, you can read about the Real Borat, Mahir Cagri, and check out his website at http://www.ikissyou.org . Mahir became famous for his cheesy "I Kiss You" photo portraying him in skimpy underwear with women on a beach. Mahir counts Bill Gates among his fans. You may need to come back later because the site is being swamped.Mahir bears an uncanny resemblance to Borat.

FishBowl Brings Email Marketing to Restaurants

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 04:58:00 AM
This is a neat article about FishBowl, a company doing email marketing for restaurants. The market size may be small, but it looks like an interesting owner owned business. The profile says they do about $5 million a year and judging from the website it looks like there is a professional services component. The client list looks interesting: Maggiano's Little Italy and Dairy Queen. Is it a good business? Yes.

Is it a good venture business? Probably not. The challenge is that as clients get bigger, they will take these services in house. Without a strong software component, it will be hard to scale, since clients seem to want personalized campaigns as shown in the case studies for Famous Dave's, Maggiano's and Dairy Queen.

The moral of the story is that good businesses don't necessarily need venture capital, and all good businesses aren't necessarily good venture businesses.

Sony Puts Free Clips on Grouper

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 03:39:00 AM
Sony is putting free movie clips on Grouper. Check out the ScreenBites channel. There are clips from A League of Their Own, Jerry McGuire (Show Me The Money clip), and SpiderMan. Sony is using it as a promotional tool. With each clip, there is a Buy DVD now button.

Shoppers Plan to Spend an Average of $800 This Season

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 03:29:00 AM
For upcoming planning and anticipations, the NRF continues to forecast that holiday sales will increase 5.0 percent this year to $457.4 billion, and the 2006 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that the average consumer plans to spend $791.10 this holiday season, up from $738.11 last year. Furthermore, shoppers will take advantage of sales and discounts during the holiday season to spend an additional $99.22 on themselves.
The Mall of America has 400 stores, employs 12,000 people - even has a Ferris Wheel indoors.

Most consumers will be shopping at discount stores.
NRF President and CEO, Tracy Mullin, said "With gas prices coming down and consumer sentiment on the rise, shoppers want to celebrate the holidays in style."

* 70.3% of consumers this year will shop at discount stores
* 48.4% at specialty stores
* 49.3% grocery stores
* 21.0% drug stores
* 20.5% crafts or fabrics stores
* Additionally, 47.1% of consumers said they plan to shop online this year, up from 36.0 percent three years ago.
So who gets the most love?
Most holiday budgets will be allocated to gifts, with the average person spending:

* $451.34 on family
* $85.60 on friends
* $22.40 on coworkers
* $44.52 on other people like clergy, teachers, and babysitters.

Thermage IPO Gets a Flabby Reception

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 03:14:00 AM
Thermage Inc. (Nasdaq THRM), the company that makes a device to remove flab under your arms and your face, got a flabby reception this evening. Even as Americans get older and flabbier, the company couldn't get support for its IPO. Guess the market doesn't think women will continue to go under the Thermage machine to get the sag removed.

NEW YORK, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Thermage Inc., a wrinkle treatment medical company, on Thursday raised $42 million with an initial public offering that priced below a forecast range, according to an underwriter.

The 6 million share offering, which represents about a 27 percent stake in the company, sold for $7 per share compared with an $8 to $9 forecast.

The forecast was adjusted from an initial $11 to $13.

For all intents and purposes, more and more Americans will probably need this procedure. It's very popular with men and women who have sagging bags under their arms - sorry, I couldn't find a better way to describe. The procedure is non-invasive. With boomers getting older and baby boomers starting to get saggier, I would bet the other way. I think this is a really big market. Seeing is believing. Check these before and after photos.

The deal is backed by a list of who's who's of Sandhill Road: Institutional Venture Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures, Delphi Ventures Technology Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson ePlanet Ventures, Essex Woodlands Health. I find the weak pricing very surprising. The lack of revenue momentum may have something to do with the weak pricing. (Read the IPO prospectus). Investors seem to be squeemish unless there is a clear shot at some hypergrowth. It may also have to do with the market sentiment which has not be too good on recent IPOs.

How to Put Adsense or Yahoo Publisher in the Middle of Blogger Posts

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/10/2006 02:11:00 AM
I have wanted to put ads in the beginning of my Blogger posts, so that they blend with the posts, but until now, I haven't been able to. Because Blogger doesn't give users the ability to insert ads inside posts, the only alternative until now was to stick them before or after a post.

The typical way of doing it renders a webpage that looks like the blog below. Stick AdSense or Y! Publisher Before the Post. There are several problems with this approach: It is not very attractive. It creates a very poor user experience. Click thru rates are low. Blogger doesn't allow you to put AdSense code easily at the beginning of your post by default, and that makes for bad design and occasional emails from readers that there are too many ads.

Problem: Blogger places ads before the content. This creates a poor user experience.

To put ads in the middle or beginning of your post so they blend with the content, you need Javascript. Now you too can place the ads besides your posts, Wave Theory style, like the blog below. (See the actual page.) Note how the ad flows right next to the text and your ad appears next to your article? Simply put, the ad blends in. That's good design. It pays too. According to the AdSense heatmap, clicks are highest when you place ads in the middle of a page. Webmasters who place ads in the hot spots of the heatmap report significant increases in profits.
Solution: Place Ads beside the content using Javascript.

Because alot of people use Blogger, I thought I'd share my solution to the problem. Here's how you can blends ads into your Blogger posts in 4 easy steps.

  1. Place the following Browser Detection Script immediately before the </head> tag in your Blogger Template. This piece of code will detect whether you are using Internet Explorer or FireFox. Because IE and FireFox render different HTML object models, you need this piece of code. Otherwise, IE and FireFox will mangle your webpage.



  2. <script type="text/javascript">
    var BrowserDetect = {
    init: function () {
    this.browser = this.searchString(this.dataBrowser) || "An unknown browser";
    this.version = this.searchVersion(navigator.userAgent)
    || this.searchVersion(navigator.appVersion)
    || "an unknown version";
    this.OS = this.searchString(this.dataOS) || "an unknown OS";
    },
    searchString: function (data) {
    for (var i=0;i<data.length;i++) {
    var dataString = data[i].string;
    var dataProp = data[i].prop;
    this.versionSearchString = data[i].versionSearch || data[i].identity;
    if (dataString) {
    if (dataString.indexOf(data[i].subString) != -1)
    return data[i].identity;
    }
    else if (dataProp)
    return data[i].identity;
    }
    },
    searchVersion: function (dataString) {
    var index = dataString.indexOf(this.versionSearchString);
    if (index == -1) return;
    return parseFloat(dataString.substring(index+this.versionSearchString.length+1));
    },
    dataBrowser: [
    { string: navigator.userAgent,
    subString: "OmniWeb",
    versionSearch: "OmniWeb/",
    identity: "OmniWeb"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.vendor,
    subString: "Apple",
    identity: "Safari"
    },
    {
    prop: window.opera,
    identity: "Opera"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.vendor,
    subString: "iCab",
    identity: "iCab"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.vendor,
    subString: "KDE",
    identity: "Konqueror"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.userAgent,
    subString: "Firefox",
    identity: "Firefox"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.vendor,
    subString: "Camino",
    identity: "Camino"
    },
    { // for newer Netscapes (6+)
    string: navigator.userAgent,
    subString: "Netscape",
    identity: "Netscape"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.userAgent,
    subString: "MSIE",
    identity: "Explorer",
    versionSearch: "MSIE"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.userAgent,
    subString: "Gecko",
    identity: "Mozilla",
    versionSearch: "rv"
    },
    { // for older Netscapes (4-)
    string: navigator.userAgent,
    subString: "Mozilla",
    identity: "Netscape",
    versionSearch: "Mozilla"
    }
    ],
    dataOS : [
    {
    string: navigator.platform,
    subString: "Win",
    identity: "Windows"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.platform,
    subString: "Mac",
    identity: "Mac"
    },
    {
    string: navigator.platform,
    subString: "Linux",
    identity: "Linux"
    }
    ]

    };
    BrowserDetect.init();
    </script>




  3. Put your AdSense or Yahoo! Publisher ad code between the <!-- Begin Yahoo Large Rectangle --> and the <!-- End Yahoo Large Rectangle --> tags. Place the entire DIV below into your Blogger Template after the <body> tag.



  4. <div id="ypnlargerect" style="visibility:hidden;width:0px;height:0px;overflow:hidden;position:absolute;">
    <!-- Begin Yahoo Large Rectangle -->
    <script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
    <!--
    ctxt_ad_partner = "1189821761";
    ctxt_ad_section = "45988";
    ctxt_ad_bg = "";
    ctxt_ad_width = 336;
    ctxt_ad_height = 280;
    ctxt_ad_bc = "FFFFFF";
    ctxt_ad_cc = "FFFFFF";
    ctxt_ad_lc = "CC6600";
    ctxt_ad_tc = "000000";
    ctxt_ad_uc = "CC6600";
    // -->
    </script>
    <script language="JavaScript" src="http://ypn-js.overture.com/partner/js/ypn.js">
    </script>
    <!-- End Yahoo Large Rectangle -->
    </div>



  5. Add this attribute to the DIV containing the <$BlogItemBody$>



  6. id="<$BlogItemNumber$>post"


    When you are done, you should have something that looks like this.


    <div id="<$BlogItemNumber$>post"><$BlogItemBody$>


  7. Add the following Javascript right before the <!-- End .post --> section of your Blogger Template




  8. <!-- Begin Yahoo Large Rect Ad //-->
    <script type="text/javascript">

    if(counter < 3)
    {
    counter++;
    var documentobj = document.getElementById('<$BlogItemNumber$>post');
    var documenthtml = document.getElementById('<$BlogItemNumber$>post').innerHTML;
    var clearindex = documenthtml.indexOf("both");

    var offset = 12;
    if(BrowserDetect.browser.search(/FireFox/gi) > -1)
    {
    offset = 13;
    }

    var head = documenthtml.substr(0,clearindex + offset);
    var tail = documenthtml.substr(clearindex + offset);
    var middle = document.getElementById('ypnlargerect').innerHTML;
    documentobj.innerHTML = head + "<div style='float:right;position:relative;'>" + middle + "</div>" + tail;

    }
    </script>
    <!-- End Yahoo Large Rect Ad //-->





You're done. Now you AdSense ads will blend in with your Blogger posts and your blog will look much better. Congratulations!

November 09, 2006

China Seeking Value Added Investors

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 06:17:00 PM
China outlined a new approach to foreign investment, with planners saying they will now focus less on attracting large amounts of cash and more on selecting investments that will lure valuable skills and technology into the country. Firms from around the globe poured more than $70 billion into China last year, drawn by its low costs and huge domestic marketplace. But the flood of cash from abroad has awakened some unease among citizens and policy makers who also want domestic enterprises to prosper. The new plan is a statement of principles, not a blueprint, but it promises that regulators will look more closely at foreign takeovers of local companies and other issues of "national economic security." The plan said China would continue to open up service industries like banking and retailing, though it offered no new specific commitments.

Did they get a private equity guy to write this statement? It sounds like something straight out of a venture capital / private equity fundraising document.

The planning agency said its major goal is to advance what it calls a "fundamental shift from quantity to quality" of investment. For instance, new investments by foreign companies will face stricter environmental and land-use standards, in an effort to weed out projects that use up scarce resources without contributing much to the local economy. On the other hand, multinationals can expect incentives to invest in things such as research centers and training and purchasing operations.

"We will strive to realize a shift by foreign investors away from simple processing, assembly and low-level manufacturing and into research and development, high-end design, modern logistics and other new areas," an unnamed commission official said in a statement accompanying the plan. "This will help our country become one of the world's manufacturing bases for high value-added products."

Pay for A Coke with your Cell Phone - Again

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 06:11:00 PM
Even a monkey can buy a Coke with a cell phone in Japan.
The idea of purchasing a soda via a mobile phone appears to have come full circle. Six years ago everyone was looking at Japan and saying, "They even have the capability to buy sodas from a vending machine with their mobile phone! Look how far ahead Japan is!"

Well, six years later, VeriSign's intelligent software is enabling wireless customers in Austria to make purchases at Coca-Cola vending machines. It's good to see other markets finally catching up with Japan, albeit six years later. VeriSign announced a deal with wireless carriers mobilkom austria and the ONE to bring this mobile payment function to more than 2 million customers. VeriSign developed the technical interface between Coca-Cola machines, cellular operators and the payment system for the more than 100 beverage vending machines around Austria enabled for mobile payment.
VeriSign, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN), the leading provider of intelligent infrastructure for the networked world, today announced a deal to enable purchases at Coca-Cola vending machines via mobile phones in Austria. Now, over two million mobilkom austria and ONE wireless customers have access to the mobile payment function at vending machines across Austria.

Time Magazine Cutting Circs by 20%

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 06:04:00 PM
Time Magazine Cover: It's Over
This is pretty alarming. Time magazine which is owned by Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE TWX) plans to announce on Monday that it will dramatically reduce its rate base by 750,000 to 3.25 million - or 20%. The expected move, which was first reported by Mediaweek on Sept. 4, will allow the title to maintain its position as the leading newsweekly. Archrival Newsweek boasts a rate base of 3.1 million.

In a great example of supply and demand in action, Time will be increasing the price of each issue by 20% - scarcity creates premium pricing?

In addition to the shift in circulation strategy, Time will increase the newsstand cover price effective with the Nov. 20 issue by one dollar to $4.95. Finally, Time will cut back on its domestic targeted editions to three from eight. Along with the national magazine, the newsweekly will continue to publish the Time Global Business (1.5 million circ), Time Select (800,000), and Time Style & Design (55,000), which will continue to publish quarterly.

Novell Mono 1.2 Supports .NET API on Linux

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 06:11:00 AM
This is pretty big news from Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq NOVL). It's a first step in getting Microsoft .NET applications to run on Linux (press release). For once, Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq MSFT) seems very serious about getting Windows applications to work on Linux.

With full Mono support for the Windows Forms API, the graphical user interface portion of the Microsoft .NET development framework, developers can now bring their existing Microsoft-based client applications to Linux while significantly minimizing the time and effort required to migrate these applications. The inclusion of Windows Forms capabilities in this version is an important milestone in the expansion of the Mono project. Not only does it provide corporate IT and ISV developers with operating system alternatives for hosting existing .NET applications, but it also opens up the possibility of new desktop applications on Linux. Novell's award-winning SUSE® Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, which debuted in July of this year, includes a number of new Mono-based desktop Linux applications such as the Banshee(TM) music player, F-spot photo management tool and the Beagle® desktop search tool.

Some background on Mono Project:

The Mono project started in 2001 as an effort to implement the .NET Framework to Unix. To bring both the new programming model based on the Common Language Infrastructure and C# as well as helping people migrate their existing knowledge and applications to Unix. Mono today supports a wide variety of operating systems, CPUs and a large chunk of the functionality available in the .NET Framework.

Bonnie and Clyde of Mortgage Fraud

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 05:42:00 AM
They were real Bonnie and Clydes, made possible only by Match.com.
The Bonnie and Clyde of mortgage fraud met on Match.com. His name was Matthew Cox and her name was Rebecca Hauck. Together, they defrauded home owners out of $15 million in fake mortgages.

How did they do?

One way Cox got the deals done, authorities say, was to hire so-called straw men - people willing to pose or act as buyers. The straw man would tell the homeowner, "I want to buy your house - I'll pay you the full price you're asking. But I need a loan for triple the purchase price to make improvements. Would you agree to up the price just for the paperwork?" The unsophisticated sellers agreed. Why not? They were getting their price, and heck, the house needed repairs anyway. After the price was artificially inflated, the straw man would take out a loan, pay the homeowner the full price, pocket some cash, and give the biggest cut by far - around 90 percent - to Cox. Cox and his associates netted $2.7 million in fraudulent loans, authorities say.

How did they meet? Hauck met Cox on Match.com, the Internet dating service, in September 2003. Both were living in Tampa; she was new in town. Cox had described himself in his ad as a wealthy real estate pro. Plus, "he had posted images of some of his paintings on his Match.com page. I was blown away by his art," Hauck says. "I thought, here's a guy who's both sensitive and successful."

Read the rest of it.

Web 2.0 Casulty - Another Viacom Dude Resigns

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 04:46:00 AM
Panaromic view of Viacom / MTV headquarters at Times Square
Viacom CFO Michael Dolan is the latest Web 2.0 casulty at Viacom. That follows Tom Freston's departure. That's what happens when you miss the boat. It's not easy working for the Rockstone, I mean, the Redstone.

Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) announced today that Michael J. Dolan, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will leave the company at the end of 2006. Thomas Dooley, Viacom Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, will take on the additional duties of Chief Financial Officer following Mr. Dolan's departure.
Tags: ,

UnitedHealth Executives Refund $390 million in Ill Gotten Gains

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 04:10:00 AM
Just when you thought Dick Grasso had it bad (he had to repay $150 million of his "retirement money"), the top two executives at UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE UNH), well, they have it worse. They are forfeiting $390 million in backdated stock options. UnitedHealth Group is the largest US insurer.
The two top executives of UnitedHealth Group agreed to forfeit about $390 million in stock-option compensation -- by far the biggest sum returned to a company under scrutiny for backdating options awards -- a move that was announced at the same time the giant health insurer disavowed more than a decade's worth of earnings statements.

Ad Supported Games Coming to You

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 03:58:00 AM

CASUAL GAMING PUBLISHER POPCAP IS readying a test of a new ad-supported version of one of its best-selling titles, "Zuma."

With the test, slated for next month, users will be able to play the game for free--provided that they're willing to view ads. The ads--30- to 60-second video spots--will be served and sold by Eyeblaster, and will appear during breaks in the gameplay. Eyeblaster also provides in-game ad services to RealNetworks, Inc. (Nasdaq RNWK)

Zuma is a very popular game:

Unearth the ancient secrets of Zuma! Survive the hidden jungle temples... shoot magical balls to clear a deadly chain... avoid dangerous traps... and do it all before the chain reaches the golden skull. Be quick, or you'll be history in this action-packed challenge.

Tags: ,

Google AdWords Incorporates Landing Page Quality into Pricing

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 03:52:00 AM
Google AdWords has incorporated the landing page quality into the quality score for an ad. Google Inc. (Nasdaq GOOG) invited relevance and the quality score of an ad determines relevance of an ad. It also determines the price the advertisers pay per click. Better landing pages = better prices for the advertiser. I suspect this is geared towards weeding out affiliates that buy lots of keywords and are doing keyword arbitrage.
We know that you’ve worked hard to create quality content for your sites, and that you look for the same quality in the ads you’re displaying. That’s why we’re happy to let you know about a change in AdWords that will improve the quality of ads.

Recently, we have begun incorporating the quality of an ad's landing page into the determination of what ads appear on your site. The quality of the ad's landing page now affects the Quality Score that the ad receives -- this score helps to determine the amount an advertiser must bid to appear on your site. The lower the Quality Score, the more "expensive" it is for the advertiser to show up on your site. As a result, you should see fewer ads on your pages which lead to low-quality sites.

And what defines low quality? We've published a general set of landing page and site guidelines. We encourage advertisers to offer relevant, substantial content so that visitors can find what they are looking for when they click on ads. Ensuring that the ads that appear on your site are high quality is an important part of our efforts to make sure that we provide the best experience for your visitors.

AOL Time Warner Acquires Relegence for $55 Million

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 03:51:00 AM
AOL HAS PURCHASED THE RELEGENCE Corporation, a New York-based company that offers Web users financial news feeds gleaned from more than 20,000 sources including Bloomberg TV, SEC filings and niche newsletters. Purchase terms were not disclosed. AOL Time Warner Inc. (NYSE TWX) plans to incorporate it into their finance product.

Update:
The value of the deal remains undisclosed, however it was reported to be $55-65 million. AOL's last acquisition in Israel was its 1998 acquisition of Mirabilis, developer of the ICQ messaging software.

Relegance was founded in 1999 and operated until 2001 under the name eNow. Using proprietary technology, Relegence simultaneously monitors, indexes, and filters tens of thousands of live content streams, mostly internet and television. The company was considered very promising at its outset and was initially invested in by 1980's junk bond king Michael Milken, through Entertainment Media Ventures fund.

The company's customers include 70 large investment institutions around the world including Merrill-Lynch, Fidelity and Credit-Suisse. Relegence also provides information to large financial newspapers such as Bloomberg, and Reuters. The company does not have any Israeli customers.

How to Get a Job in Venture Capital and Private Equity

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/09/2006 03:27:00 AM
Every college graduate and MBA graduate today wants a job in venture capital or private equity. Getting a job in venture capital and private is not easy. It is very hard, so here are some tips and advice from candidates who have succeeded in getting VC and PE jobs. If you can get a VC or PE job, you can get any job in the world.

Getting a VC / private equity job as a pre-MBA candidate:
“The first few rounds of interviews were grueling. I had never built an LBO model from
soup to nuts, but I believed that I understood how. After all, I had spent the last two years
advising clients on purchase and leveraged buyout accounting. My background gave me
the ability to read financial models and follow the flow of funds through the income
statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. During the interviews they drilled me
hard on financial modeling. I was candid with them about what I knew and didn’t know. I
also told them that I was confident I could build a model, but I had to convince them of
this. I think this firm saw in me someone who brought a different perspective, with no
pretensions. I knew the learning curve would be steep, but it was steeper than I thought it
would be.”

Getting a VC / private equity job as a post-MBA candidate:
“Once I decided to go after private equity job opportunities, I realized quickly how
difficult it would be. I was at a top business school and many of my classmates had PE
experience. So, not only was I competing against top students, but they were top students
with the experience that I did not have. I took courses on restructuring and investing, but
many firms could not get around the fact that I had no PE experience. I tried for a
summer internship, but there are very few available….I never got picked for interviews
out of the resume book, but I started to understand what they wanted. I spent several
months researching the industry so I could understand the business….I knew I had a lot
of exposure to deals on the research side and was aware that deal skills are a commodity.
With that in mind, I spun my leadership skills showing that I was competitive and could
manage people… I got some interviews at PE funds during my second year, but I only
made it past the first round on a few occasions. It always came back to the same thing – I
had no PE experience. I knew my options were limited, but I also knew I could get a
job.”

Getting a VC / private equity job after an Analyst Program
“PE funds compete each year for the top pre-MBA talent. If you’re one of these elite
Analysts you usually know it—you’re probably in a top group at a top firm; you’ve been
invited to work on live deals with extensive modeling, have traveled for the firm and
received a positive mid-year review. Over the last few years the competition for the
leading Analysts has picked up in intensity due to the tight market and the record amount
of capital that has flowed into the industry. The demand has become so great that a lot of funds (especially larger ones that make multiple hires for each Analyst class) are starting their searches earlier each year to ensure they are previewing all of the best Analysts before they are hired by other funds or commit to staying on longer at their current firms. Some PE funds even extend offers for positions a full year in advance. The accelerated hiring has been led by the mega funds and there has been a trickle down effect on hiring at all funds that want to get the best talent available. For example, under the new pace, funds that used to make offers to Analysts in March of their last year are now hiring in December and the ones that hired in December are hiring in October or earlier.”

Getting a VC / private equity job after Business School
“Post-MBA positions are generally assumed to be career track and come with a bigger commitment from the hiring firm and, thus, naturally have a high hurdle to entry. This is
why when looking to fill these roles there is an overwhelming, if not absolute, preference
to hire MBAs who have already worked and proven themselves in private equity… As
the private equity market has continued to grow and mature, a hiring cycle has developed
at the MBA level similar to the pre-MBA hiring cycle. Just as they did for pre-MBAs, at
the post-MBA level PE funds will compete early and hard for the best talent. If you’re at
one of the top three to five business schools and have previous PE experience at a brand
name fund, you can expect to hear from funds that are hiring (and even recruiters) soon
after you unpack your bags from your summer break…Historically, there have not been
enough top-pedigree candidates from brand name funds to go around. So, once that pool
of talent has been exhausted, the PE funds reach a point at which they have to decide to
look at alternate pools of candidates. This is when the choices become tougher and the
process a little more encouraging as there is a more of a level playing field. It’s when PE
funds are willing to widen the scope of MBA programs from which they seek candidates
with previous PE experience and begin to consider some select candidates who haven’t
previously worked in PE. This trend, which we expect to continue, has opened the door
for those MBAs without previous PE experience to potentially take opportunities away
from MBAs who followed the traditional path.”

November 08, 2006

Google Video Sued for CopyRight Infringement

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 11:29:00 PM
Larry announces Google Video

In the 10-Q just filed by Google (Nasdaq GOOG), Google reported Google Video has been sued for copyright infringement. Not much information was provided on who sued.
Certain entities have also filed copyright claims against us, alleging that features of certain of our products, including Google Web Search, Google News, Google Video, Google Image Search, and Google Book Search, infringe their rights. In addition, our planned acquisition of YouTube may also subject us to additional copyright claims upon the closing of the transaction. Adverse results in these lawsuits may include awards of damages and may also result in, or even compel, a change in our business practices, which could result in a loss of revenue for us or otherwise harm our business.

Kazakhstanis Against Borat

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 10:25:00 PM

With all the commotion about Borat, you have to check out Kazakhstanis against Borat.

My favorite quote:

"We don't have horse and cart on the highway. Maybe you would see that only in Uzbekstan."

You can also buy panties against Borat.


Tags:

MySpace Blocking MySpace Founders New Sites

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 09:43:00 PM

MySpace is blocking MySpacer founder, Brad Greenspan's, new sites called VidiLife and Stickam. Something tells me this has to do with the $20 billion suit that Brad Greenspan filed against News Corporation (NYSE NWS) for selling MySpace for just $237 million when it was worth $20 billion. He accused News Corporation of a $20 billion fraud.

In case you were wondering, the VCs behind the MySpace sale were VantagePoint Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures. The structure of the deal was very unconventional, because VantagePoint had put money into eUniverse which was a public company in a convertible round while eUniverse stock was languishing in penny stock land. eUniverse then began to take off and eUniverse launched MySpace. Redpoint, aka Geoff Yang and company, invested in MySpace after the launch. In the meantime, eUniverse renamed itself Intermix Media which was the entity bought by News Corporation. The VCs were responsible for the sale. In summary, Brad has a beef against VantagePoint and RedPoint. Got the point?
Brad Greenspan, the man who helped launch MySpace in 2003 but left to start a new company, has launched a legal campaign against the site's owner, News Corp, alleging "anti-competitive behaviour".

The suit was filed last week with the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, and alleges that MySpace has broken antitrust laws by censoring competitor services.

Greenspan's new company, LiveUniverse, owns a number of internet properties, including social networking site Stickam.com and YouTube competitor Vidilife.com. He alleges that MySpace blocks users from even mentioning Stickam.com and Vidilife.com in their profiles.

He says that "any attempts by users to type the url of sites like 'stickam.com' or 'vidilife.com' into a [MySpace] blog or profile [are replaced] with '......' ".

He also claims that MySpace has previously imposed the same "censorship" on other video sharing sites such as YouTube and Revver, but stopped this after a revolt from its users. However, the censoring of Vidilife.com and Stickam.com remains.

"When we started Myspace in 2003, we empowered users by giving them full control over their profile pages," Greenspan said.

"News Corp's moves to destroy and limit the freedom MySpace users have enjoyed is analogous to the strategies a dictator would employ after seizing control of a previously free nation."

In the repartee, News Corporation answered that it was because the content on Greenspan's sites were copyrighted.

"MySpace generally blocks links to websites for three reasons: adult content, copyright infringement, and security risks," the company said in a statement.

"Universal Music Group identified vidiLife.com as a website that is a primary source of infringing UMG content. We continue to look into the matter."

I don't buy that. YouTube has tons of copyrighted content and MySpace allows YouTube content on its site.

Tags: ,

Christie's Halts Sale of Picasso by Lloyd Webber

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 05:35:00 PM
Who owns the $60 million Picasso? That's the question that is being asked.

Christie's International and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation withdrew Pablo Picasso's ``Portrait de Angel Fernandez de Soto'' from tonight's impressionist and modern art auction in New York after a German collector said it was forcibly sold to the Nazis.


Christie's had estimated that the 1903 painting would sell for $40 million to $60 million. The auction may still be the biggest of all time, with a high presale estimate of more than $400 million.

Ugg Boots are on Fire

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 05:26:00 PM

Search queries for "Ugg Boots" are up 69% this year. Ugg is owned by Deckers Outdoor Corporation (Nasdaq DECK). Time to buy the stock!

UK internet searches for "ugg boots" nearly doubled last week - up 82% in market share of UK internet searches. Year on year, searches for "ugg boots" were up more than six-fold. I asked colleagues about it today - one suggestion was that the recent cold weather is driving consumers to look for the warm (if bulky) boots.

Did the recent cold-spell cause the surge? There is a definite seasonal pattern in searches for "ugg boots", as you can see in the chart below. Searches for "ugg boots" peaked later in 2005 - in the week ending 26th November 2005, but last week's peak exceeded the peak from 2005 by 69%.

FaceBook Traffic Up 16% in October

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 05:24:00 PM
Hitwise is reporting that FaceBook got a bump in traffic in October after a slump in September.

The market share of visits to Facebook were up 16.4% from September to October 2006, possibly due to it opening up of the site to non-school users. Visits to YouTube were up 7.8%, GaiaOnline and Orkut were each up 5%, Slide was up 13%, and Photobucket was up 3.1% in the same period.

NBC Counting on iVillage Live

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 05:11:00 PM
If you still watch TV, you may have noticed that NBC has started promoting iVillage on primetime. iVillage is the portal that NBC acquired recently. NBC paid half a billion dollars for a property that had a fraction of the audience of MySpace. It is supposed to be NBC's attempt at replicating MySpace. Not much news has surfaced until today. NBC has announced a talk show called iVillageLive that will be simulcast on radio, TV, and internet.

NBC Universal has announced details on iVillage Live, a new multiplatform talk show set to launch on Dec. 4 at noon simultaneously on all NBC owned-and-operated stations, Bravo and iVillageLive.com. The show, which marks the most integrated offering to come from NBC and iVillage since the network acquired the women's portal back in March, has lined up a host of sponsors, including Bally Total Fitness, Calphalon and Estee Lauder.

The truth is I don't think this really taps into the MySpace audience. It sounds so contrived - an effort to mashup everything Web 2.0 into a brand that is so Web 1.0. Maybe it's just the name. It sounds so un Web 2.0.

$5.8 Million for a Seat

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 05:07:00 PM

How hot are derivatives exchanges? Check out the New York Mercantile Exchange, where a seat just sold for $5.8 million, another record. Clearly, the feeling is that the upcoming public offering will do for NYMEX seat holders what the New York Stock Exchange's offering did for its seat owners. The buyer was not disclosed. The issue is how long the NYMEX will last before it is engaged in another deal. To survive these days, you need a certain scale and it just might prove to be an attractive partner to another exchange.


This is just a few weeks before Nymex Holdings Inc. (NYSE NMX) is scheduled to go public. Nymex Holdings Inc., the exchange's parent company, said last Tuesday in a regulatory filing that its initial public offering could raise up to $358.8 million. The company plans to list 6.9 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 17 under the symbol NMX.

Google's Dilemma - What is Fair Use?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 04:58:00 PM

When all is said and done, Google's ability to tread lightly in the realm of copyright law is at the heart of Google's business. Google Inc. (Nasdaq GOOG) has succeeded because it has been able to store large amounts of content in its databases without paying royalties. If Google had to pay royalties for all the data it has indexed, then it would be deep sixed. After all, Google's cost of goods sold is the data it has stored in its database - produced by content creators. Except today, Google doesn't really have any COGS because it doesn't pay for content. Australia is about to pass a law that would restrict the ability of companies to record, copy, or download content for their own use.

At present, Australian citizens technically break the law whenever they record their favourite television program or copy or download music for their own use.

The new laws will create an exemption for "fair use" and give effect to Australia's intellectual property obligations under the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

In a submission to a Senate inquiry into the laws, Google's senior counsel Andrew McLaughlin, asked the Government to create an exemption clause that would allow search engines to reproduce and store digital copies of books and other material as long as the reproduction was being used for research or in private.

No $500 million reserve for YouTube

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/08/2006 04:46:00 PM

Google Inc. (Nasdaq GOOG) is denying that there is a $500 million reserve on the purchase of YouTube.
Chief Executive Eric Schmidt on Tuesday denied a widely circulated rumor
that his company had set aside $500 million to settle copyright claims by media
companies as part of its deal to acquire video-sharing site YouTube Inc.

Speaking to more than 500 Internet industry insiders at the annual Web
2.0 Summit, Schmidt said an anonymous blog post asserting YouTube has reserved
$500 million for legal claims, out of the $1.65 billion takeover price, was "not
true."

It seems as if many people had misinterpreted Mark Cuban's original post. I believe the post meant that instead of having a $500 million reserve, Google gave the media companies equity stakes in YouTube prior to the deal closing. That's how I read it.

I have to give the folks there brownie points for being very creative on
the structuring. YouTube was going to set aside $500 million for copyright
infringement claims but instead it offered the big media companies each an
equity stake of $50 million each so that they would have a cease fire for 6
months in which big media like Viacom Inc. (NYSE
VIA), Warner Music Group Corp (NYSE WMG), and Universal would not sue. $50 million that was immediately worth a lot more in the hours after the deal was announced with Google Inc. (Nasdaq GOOG).

November 07, 2006

Wall Street Bonuses $50 million?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 07:36:00 PM
The Times says that managing directors can expect a few million in bonuses.

The average managing director at a top Wall Street bank is expected to take home a bonus of $1.7 million this year, up from about $1.2 million last year. The range of managing director total compensation, according to Mr. Johnson, is $1.7 million to $2.3 million. While those may seem stately sums to many, it puts those executives back where they started before the technology bubble burst and their pay tumbled nearly 50 percent.

How much do the top traders make? 10% of the money they make for their firm or $50 million.

Traders, in comparison, can make extraordinary sums because they use the bank’s capital to make bets, allowing them to take big risks that either result in big rewards or gigantic headaches. Traders can make 5 percent to 10 percent of what they earn. For example, a trader who makes $500 million for the bank might take home $50 million.

How much do the grunts, associates, and analysts make?

First-year associates, those just out of business school, can expect a range of $200,000 to $270,000 in total compensation — base pay, bonus and long-term compensation — while a first-year analyst, just out of college, can expect to make $105,000 to $145,000. Guarantees — contracts which promise to pay bankers a fixed amount for a certain number of years — are back, but only one- and two-year contracts, Mr. Johnson said. At the height of the technology boom, three-year guarantees were commonplace.

Not bad.

Wifi Enabled Cars

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 07:31:00 PM
It is here: The WiFi-enabled car. In keeping with the times, manufacturers say that the in-car system will, in the not too distant future. The automotive PCs will allow car drivers and passengers to check their email and make restaurant reservations, but also avoid traffic jams and the scenes of traffic accidents. Here are some of the developments on this front:
  • Ford Motor Company (NYSE F): Customers who buy F-Series pickups can now ask the dealer to equip their truck with FordLink, a $2,999 option which went on sale in September. The automotive PC is mainly aimed at contractors who want to order materials or use e-mail to contact subcontractors and customers from the cab. A rugged PC sits in a cradle in front of the dashboard. The PC, which runs Microsoft XP software, can also play Internet radio and MP3 music files.
  • KVH Industries: The TracNet 100 system (about $2,000 for the hardware and $79 monthly for the connection) displays Web pages on a vehicle's navigation and video screens and offers a wireless connection in the car. Web access in vehicles "is going to be as common as cell phones," predicts Ian Palmer, executive vice president at KVH.
  • Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq MSFT) is working with Azentek to offer drivers two small PCs next year. The first is about the size of a cereal box which can be carried around and inserted into the dash where the stereo is located; the second, more powerful model, is installed in the dash. The prices for both systems will start at about $2,000.

Borat SoundBoard

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 06:28:00 PM
The best part of Borat are the witty jokes and quotes. Check out the Borat Soundboard. It's good for a nice laugh.

Borat Box Office $29 million

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 06:23:00 PM
Borat, which is a mocumentary, has grossed $29 million last weekend and $50 million total worldwide in box office receipts. Borat box office receipts are phenomenal given the budget of $18 million - the cost of one startup. Maybe VCs should start funding Borat movies.

BORAT:
CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN


Domestic Total as of Nov. 6, 2006: $29,763,354
Distributor: FoxRelease Date: November 3, 2006
Genre: ComedyRunning Time: 1 hrs. 24 min.
MPAA Rating: RProduction Budget: $18 million

Chelsea Clinton Joins Hedge Fund Avenue Capital

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 05:38:00 PM
Chelsea Clinton hanging out with princes from the Emirates.
Chelsea Clinton is joining a hedge fund, Avenue Capital and the rich and famous are getting richer and famouser (I know it's wrong but it rhymes). Avenue is a mega fund. Founded in 1995, Avenue Capital Group manages assets valued at approximately $12 billion as of September 30, 2006. They focus primarily on distressed securities - formerly category known as vulture capital / debt.
Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton will join Avenue Capital Management, according to a press statement.

The only child of ex-President Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has been an employee at McKinsey & Co.

Further information, such as her salary and position at the hedge fund company, could not be ascertained.

Avenue Capital is a known donor to the Democratic Party. Founder Mark Lasry has backed Bill Bradley, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.

The 26-year-old Clinton graduated Stanford University in 2001 before attending the graduate program at Oxford University.

She began working at consultant McKinsey in 2003.

Avenue Capital opened in 1995. The distressed debt specialist is a 240-person operation with $12 billion in capital.

New York-based Avenue Capital sold Morgan Stanley a minority stake of itself last Monday.
What are Avenue Capital's IRR or internal rate or return?

You can see that the returns from Avenue's Europe funds have been positive this year up about 9% YTD, but the even driven strategy is in the red down 5% YTD. See the
ROR for the Avenue Europe Investments LP, Avenue Asia Investments LP, Avenue Event Drive LP, Avenue Investments LP.

Avenue Europe Investments LP
Data in this table based on: September 2006 performance.
NAV Monthly RoR Quarterly RoR YTD RoR 1 Year RoR 3 Year RoR 5 Year RoR Since Inception
1309.04 1.54% 2.59% 9.44% 14.06% -- -- 12.71%


Avenue Asia Investments LP
Data in this table based on: September 2006 performance.
NAV Monthly RoR Quarterly RoR YTD RoR 1 Year RoR 3 Year RoR 5 Year RoR Since Inception
2851.15 0.00% 0.12% 0.83% 3.29% 9.84% 13.56% 15.36%


Avenue Event Drive LP
Data in this table based on: September 2006 performance.
NAV Monthly RoR Quarterly RoR YTD RoR 1 Year RoR 3 Year RoR 5 Year RoR Since Inception
998.60 -1.20% -5.70% -6.90% -5.96% -- -- -0.08%


Avenue Investments LP
Data in this table based on: September 2006 performance.
NAV Monthly RoR Quarterly RoR YTD RoR 1 Year RoR 3 Year RoR 5 Year RoR Since Inception
326.44 -0.08% 0.37% 6.74% 10.92% 10.04% 12.96% 11.35%

AMD Going to China to Eat Intel's Lunch

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 05:20:00 PM
Ad of AMD64 in MetroCity, Xujiahui, one of the busiest business area in Shanghai.

China is the number 2 PC market in the world and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE AMD) has 18 percent marketshare. It wants more and AMD is going to China. THis is just after Dell, Inc. (Nasdaq DELL) announced it will offer a second notebook with AMD chips.

According to IDC, AMD held a market share of 18 percent in China last year.

"Even though there are common denominators in each of the emerging markets, they are not all the same, by any means," Arenas said. "But still, AMD could become much stronger by looking at what are some of the product and resource requirements in those regions."

For instance, AMD is supplying processors in MIT's One Laptop per Child initiative. In 2004, the company also started a program to develop new technology that will bring affordable Internet access and computing capability to 50 percent of the world's population by 2015, Arenas said.

NTP - RIMM Down, Palm To Go

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/07/2006 05:10:00 PM
NTP is setting its sights on Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq PALM) now, goes to show that today, patents are more important than ever, after winning against Research in Motion Limited (USA) (Nasdaq RIMM). NTP filed a lawsuit yesterday. RIMM had to shell out $612.5 million to get out of jail. Why sue Palm? It's market cap of $1.5 billion is miniscule compared to RIMM and it has just $527 million in cash. If NTP got a similar settlement from Palm, Palm would be in deep trouble.

NTP is back in lawsuit mode. The company, which forced BlackBerry maker RIM to settle the patent lawsuit between the two earlier this year, said it is suing Palm. It alleges that Palm's products, services, systems and processes violate NTP's wireless email technology. The suit seeks to bar Palm from "continuing to infringe on NTP's patents" and requests monetary damages for the alleged past infringements. Interestingly, the patent infringement centers on seven patents, five of which were part of NTP's lawsuit against RIM.

It's the email patent again.
The Complaint concerns Palm's manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, and/or importation into the U.S. of infringing products, methods, processes, services and systems that are primarily used or primarily adapted for use in electronic mail systems with radio frequency (RF) communications to mobile processors and related services, and methods.
NTP has an interesting history according to Wikipedia. Note the last sentence that NTP owns a stake in Visto. Rather than suing for cash, could this be a ploy to get Palm to buy Visto?
NTP, Inc. is a Virginia-based patent holding company, founded in 1992 by the late inventor Thomas J. Campana Jr. and Donald E. Stout. The company's primary asset is a portfolio of 50 US patents[1] and additional pending US and international patent applications. These patents and patent applications disclose inventions in the fields of wireless email and RF Antenna design. The named inventors include Andrew Andros and Thomas Campana. About one half of the US patents were originally assigned to Telefind Corporation, a Florida-based company (now out of business) partly owned by Campana.[2]

NTP also owns an equity stake in mobile email start up company Visto.