Sarah's Feed
Nov 12, 2011
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Tesla: pricey cars, Ikea desks

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The electric cars made by Tesla Motors may be affordable only for the better-heeled, but that doesn’t stop CEO Elon Musk from injecting a common-man touch at his company’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.

The desks, several hundred in one cavernous room, come from Ikea. Just two people have offices– the HR and legal heads. “It comes with heavy responsibilities,” joked Arnnon Geshuri, vice president for human resources, about his tiny office– which with its big window onto the main work floor still is far from private.

Nov 9, 2011
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Lots of IPOs, just one Nasdaq bell

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Nasdaq’s senior vice president of new listings and capital markets has some bad news for companies looking to hold an initial public offering: don’t expect to ring the opening bell.

The backlog of companies looking to list in the next few months is so big that “I’m going to disappoint a lot of people,” said Robert McCooey during an IPO panel at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth conference.  “Some people won’t even get a closing bell ceremony.” He counts 210 companies hoping to list on public markets.

Nov 4, 2011
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Shoes, glorious shoes (even in footloose Silicon Valley)

Silicon Valley is known for being more fleece than Ferragamo. But former Google executive Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is working on giving the place a makeover via her new shopping site, Joyus.com. Unlike other high-end shopping sites such as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La that are based in the fashion hub of New York, Joyus calls the dress-down Bay Area home.

That means she raises lots of eyebrows with her wardrobe. The picture below, snapped by a friend in the audience and uncropped, shows Singh onstage at tech confab AllThingsD Asia last month with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg. No prize for guessing which shoes are hers.

Nov 3, 2011
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Airbnb CEO Chesky ambushed over grade inflation in user reviews

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Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky found himself ambushed after a talk he gave last night at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club with LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman. A young British man approached and told Chesky about his one and only Airbnb experience: staying with a woman who got great reviews on the site but in person, seemed lonely and wouldn’t stop talking. He ended up forgoing his paid-for bed for a friend’s sofa.

His point: Airbnb is suffering from the same grade-inflation common to other peer-reviewed sites such as Yelp — exacerbated, he said, by peer pressure not to trash talk somebody who could be the friend of a friend. This is a case, he argued, where Facebook connections — which Airbnb fans tout as a great way to establish the credibility of a potential host or guest — are harming rather than promoting the flow of information.

Oct 31, 2011

Too many start-ups chase too little cash

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Venture capitalist Bill Gurley has noticed something new this autumn: a big jump in the number of what he calls “legitimate introductions” that he receives each day to entrepreneurs who hope he might invest in their start-up companies.

The money-seekers are companies that have benefited from a tidal wave of early-stage investing in start-ups and who now need funding from mainline VC firm’s such as Gurley’s Benchmark Capital to take them to the next level. But many companies, even some that have done fairly well in their initial phase, are finding it increasingly difficult to raise the next round of cash.

Oct 30, 2011

Analysis: Too many start-ups chase too little cash

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Venture capitalist Bill Gurley has noticed something new this autumn: a big jump in the number of what he calls “legitimate introductions” that he receives each day to entrepreneurs who hope he might invest in their start-up companies.

The money-seekers are companies that have benefited from a tidal wave of early-stage investing in start-ups and who now need funding from mainline VC firm’s such as Gurley’s Benchmark Capital to take them to the next level. But many companies, even some that have done fairly well in their initial phase, are finding it increasingly difficult to raise the next round of cash.

Oct 28, 2011
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Corporate flip-flops

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HP’s new CEO Meg Whitman said the company would be keeping its personal-computer business, just two months after the company said it was considering ditching it. The news shocked people from Wall Street to Main Street, who consider computer hardware the heart of HP. Call it corporate schizophrenia—but hardly the first time corporate titans have changed their minds. Click to see some of the biggest flip-flops, from New Coke to Netflix…

Oct 26, 2011

Nextdoor introduces neighborhood social network

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The team behind
customer-review site Epinions.com launched another
community-based site Wednesday, but this time, for physical
communities rather than virtual ones.

Nextdoor.com allows neighbors to form online groups to
share information on details like babysitter recommendations,
leaf collection, and events in the community. The information
comes in updates, Facebook style, but also has tabs that allow
for easy retrieval of tips on things like good handymen or
items for sale.

Oct 24, 2011

Special Report: Synged by Solyndra

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – David Prend is one of the most respected investors in green technology – but even he picks some losers.

Like the Department of Energy, Prend thought Solyndra, an innovative solar company, was a good bet. His venture capital firm, RockPort Capital, began investing in the company three years before the federal government gave the start-up a loan guarantee. RockPort eventually put more than $63.5 million into Solyndra.