Tinsel town turns deaf ear to Kutcher’s request to plug his start-ups

September 13, 2011

Ashton Kutcher may have more clout in Silicon Valley than in Hollywood.

The star of movies like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and now of the hit show ‘Two and a Half Men” told conference goers at TechCrunch Disrupt that he tried to get the studio to plug some of his Internet start-up investments on the show– but they wouldn’t do it without compensation.

Sequoia’s Doug Leone on the spot for lunch, money

September 12, 2011

By Sarah McBride 

Nailing down a few minutes of a VC’s time can be tough, but one start-up tried a novel approach at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference: put the guy on the spot.

A simple plan to save Yahoo, by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman

September 12, 2011

In Silicon Valley, it’s not tough to find someone to offer advice on how to save Yahoo, the struggling Internet portal that fired CEO Carol Bartz last week.
But one voice that the Sunnyvale, California-based company may want to pay attention to is Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn-turned-venture capitalist, and one of the most respected players in the fast-growing social networking market.
While investment bankers and private equity advisors are circling around Yahoo, looking for the best way to break the company into little pieces that can be auctioned off to the highest bidder, Hoffman thinks Yahoo may still be able to pull off a comeback.
“I think renovation and rebirth is possible and I think that’s the play you make,” Hoffman said, citing the Apple example, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Monday.
How would he do it?
First, Hoffman said he’d focus on investing the resources to make big technological innovations on Yahoo’s most popular online assets, such as its Web-based email product, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Groups.
Then, he suggested, Yahoo to end its reliance on online brand advertising and get creative about how it makes money.
“There are other kinds of business models that I think we have yet to invent on the consumer Internet,” Hoffman said, citing Zynga, which has developed revenue from new sources, such as the sale of virtual goods that enhance the experience of Zynga games.
So there you have it, a simple two-step plan to revive Yahoo. Perhaps Reid Hoffman should call Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang directly…

Arrington Exits TechCrunch; Takes jab at Arianna Huffington

September 12, 2011

From the TechCrunch conference in San Francisco, this post is brought to you by Alexei Oreskovic and Sarah McBride:

Tech wrap: AOL talking merger with Yahoo?

September 9, 2011

AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has reportedly approached private equity firms to gauge interest in a deal with Yahoo that would place Armstrong as the head of the combined company, according to a Bloomberg report.

Tech wrap: AT&T preps plan to salvage T-Mobile deal

September 2, 2011

AT&T was expected to soon present a two-track plan that allows the company to try to find a settlement before the government lawsuit to block its planned $39 billion acquisition of smaller rival T-Mobile USA reaches the court. Details of AT&T’s proposed settlement were not available, but it is expected to include pledges to maintain T-Mobile’s relatively cheap mobile subscription plans, and asset sales.

Crunch theater: blogger’s VC fund creates media spectacle

September 2, 2011

The tech blogosphere was on fire on Friday with a flood of constantly-updated news reports and a barrage of tweets dissecting every angle of the story.

Is Groupon a savior or a destroyer?

June 15, 2011

By James Ledbetter

The opinions expressed are his own.

You could hardly imagine a starker contrast. The Wall Street Journal this week portrayed Groupon and rival group-purchasing sites as the ultimate friend of the small business owner. The Journal interviewed Cynthia Yee, who runs a Chinatown walking-tour business in San Francisco. Yee told the paper she’d participated in at least 7 “deal of the day” promotions in the last 18 months; Groupon alone sold a whopping 1700 vouchers for Yee’s service. Yee estimates that the deals brought in $25,000, and her trade has exploded to the point where she’s had to hire two assistants.

David Eun Exits AOL after Huff Po purchase

February 24, 2011

david-eunAnother high-level AOL executive is heading for the exit door after the company shifted its content strategy again with the $315 million acquisitionof the Huffington Post. David Eun (pictured left), the ex-Googler recruited by AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong to be president of AOL media and studios, is leaving. Eun is a causality of the Huff Po purchase that put the charismatic high profile  founder Arianna Huffington in charge of AOL’s content.

Spotify isn’t in talks to be bought by Apple or anyone – source

October 26, 2010

Music industry types must have had been reaching for their tranquilizers this afternoon, following a report that Apple is in early stage talks to buy Spotify. The report spread quickly, as these things do, and some thought it made  a lot of sense.  So Apple, maker of the world’s most popular music device, the iPod,  which already owns the No.1 music  download retailer iTunes, would be buying Spotify –the much-loved and critically acclaimed music streaming service, just as it’s finalizing deals to launch in the U.S.? This would be too much to handle for many music executives, who think Apple already holds way too much power.