Background on the Yahoo-Tumblr deal
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been looking to revitalize Yahoo since hopping aboard last year, examining several companies for possible acquisition. But it wasn’t until early this morning that Yahoo’s big push to gain the trust of a younger online audience was finally confirmed with a $1.1-billion purchase of Tumblr.
But many of the Tumblr faithful are concerned about Yahoo’s shaky track record in properly handling fresh acquisitions:
Yahoo has a history of buying promising young companies only to let them waste away. Acquisitions under previous Yahoo chiefs such as Geocities, an early social networking site, and Flickr, the popular photo sharing website, were long neglected within the company.
Mayer, aware of the widespread concerns of an audience that contains many users who weren’t even alive when Yahoo began, maintains that Tumblr will be independent:
We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve.
Read more on the Yahoo-Tumblr deal via tech reporter Jessica Guynn, or sound off below on whether Yahoo’s move is brilliant, or doomed to be a bust.
Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns: We’re not turning purple. Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to…
The rumors turned out to be true: Yahoo has purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion, in what may be the first corporate acquisition announced via .gif.
test reblogged from staff
Silicon Valley’s squishy, feel-good language
The tech firms that dominate Silicon Valley are largely data-driven, high-concept businesses brimming with complexities. So how do they present the culmination of their technological prowess?
Try Joshua Reeves of ZenPayroll Inc., who seeks to describe the feeling his company provides as delightful.
“That’s the effect we’re trying to achieve,” said Reeves, whose company has applied to trademark “delightful payroll.” “We talk about how to create that ‘aha moment,’ that feeling the first time you use it where you just stop and say, ‘This is amazing. Why weren’t you here 10 years ago?’”
In fact, the word “delight” pops up Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has used it, as has Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston and most importantly of all, the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Read the full story in our latest Column One feature. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get some delight out of it.
Photo: Times Wire Services
More legal action likely for Facebook’s bungled IPO
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. may plan to repay brokerages $62 million lost during the disastrous launch of Facebook’s IPO, which morphed from a minor slip-up to an investment debacle last year. An estimated $500 million was lost due to the delays and general chaos caused by Nasdaq’s insufficient planning for demand of the stock.
But waiting in the wings is the possibility of the government or other interested parties filing their own legal complaints against Nasdaq.
Plus, there’s the SEC probe into the matter that has yet to be released, which probably won’t like the handling of Facebook’s IPO.
Photos: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Setting the groundwork for profitable legalization
As more and more states alter their marijuana policies, from decriminalizing the possession within preset restrictions, allowing its use for medicinal purposes to outright legalization, entrepreneurs are increasingly seeing green.
Ken VandeVrede, chief operating officer at Terra Tech, a hydroponic equipment maker, is among those bracing for the flood gates to open:
“We can scale this thing very, very quickly. When hemp and cannabis become legal, we’re ready to rock and roll.”
And things aren’t exactly quiet on the investment side of things. From Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of the Seattle private equity firm Privateer Holdings
“More and more people see the inevitability. They see that the Berlin Wall of cannabis prohibition is going to come down.”
Read more, and learn about the possible involvement of Wall Street in the marijuana industry, here.
Photo: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg
From jamming to jingles
Wonder where those catchy little song snippets in commercials come from? With the high cost of licensing songs from famous artists scaring of advertisers, many companies are looking to create their own songs. And in a music industry grasping for new revenue streams, many artists are willing to play ball.
As musician Casey Gibson told Times reporter Colin Stutz:
“It used to be that you got called a sellout. But times have changed,” said Gibson, who has been paid to write jingles for Purina dog food and Columbia Sportswear commercials. “I’m actually proud of the fact that I’m able to make a living being a creative person.”
Read more on Gibson, and other commercially-inclined musicians, here.
Photos: Christina House / For The Times
Why not start your own seaborne colony?
Two Silicon valley entrepreneurs, fed up with U.S. regulations on visas granted to highly-educated workers, have turned to the sea to solve their difficulty in hiring new workers.
Currently, just 65,000 temporary work visas are granted yearly, hence the so-called project “Blueseed.” Hosted on a cruise ship 12 miles off of the coast of northern California, the goal is to create a start-up culture, workspace and living quarters independent of visa restrictions.
Keep an eye out for the spring of 2014, the planned launch time-frame for Blueseed, and hope it doesn’t turn out like another (fictional) aquatic attempt to leave governmental restrictions.
So long, drearily-designed Silicon Valley
Awash with cash, the technology companies that have come to define Silicon Valley are just coming to realize how much of an eyesore their offices can be.
Rather than complementing the lush rolling hills to the west and the expansive San Francisco Bay to the east, this high-tech hub has produced an unending line of dreary office parks full of two-story, cubicle-lined buildings whose main visual goal is to escape notice.
Pictured above, for example, is concept art for Apple’s gigantic new headquarters plan, dubbed “Apple Campus 2,” planned to occupy 175 acres.
Photo: Foster + Partners, cupertino.org
(This is for Groupon employees, but I’m posting it publicly since it will leak anyway)
People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company - it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be - I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness - don’t waste the opportunity!
I will miss you terribly.
test reblogged from digg
Want to buy the L.A. Times?
As first reported by CNBC, sources familiar with the matter within Tribune Co. revealed today that the firm has hired investment bankers to advise on the sale of its newspaper publishing unit (including the Times).
That, of course, doesn’t mean that the Times or other Tribune papers will necessarily be sold off, but it increasingly looks like that option will be on the table.
To be or not to be (at the office)
High-profile Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer may have spent her goodwill in declaring that employees may no longer work from home. The reason? As explained by Yahoo Human Resources Chief Jackie Reses in a memo sent to employees:
“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”
Mayer’s black-and-white policy has particularly offended working mothers, a group that Mayer herself just joined - and has compensated for by using her vast personal wealth to build a nursery next to her office.
Many view telecommuting as the only way time-crunched women can care for young children and advance their careers without the pay, privilege or perks that come with being the chief executive of a Fortune 500 company.
Delis in crisis: Traditional Jewish delicatessens, once a mainstay in urban areas, are in a tailspin, facing a decline in customers and a changing culinary climate. In New York, where thousands of delis thrived following World War II, now just a few dozen remain. And the delis in the Big Apple aren’t alone in their struggles:
Demographic shifts in Los Angeles in the last few decades — along with the arrival of brands such as Langer’s in MacArthur Park, Canter’s on Fairfax and the Brent’s chain — sparked hope of a Jewish deli revival in the Southland.
Lately, however, the region has suffered the same troubles bedeviling delis in the east.
Read more on the decline of the Jewish deli, just know that the read is best accompanied by pastrami on rye.
If you thought your boss was harsh: Check out what tire magnate Maurice “Morry” Taylor Jr. of Titan International said about French workers, when asked by the French government to take over a tire production plant about to be shut down.
Sir, your letter suggests you would like to open discussions with Titan. How stupid do you think we are? Titan has money and the know-how to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.
The French workers are paid high wages but only work three hours. They have one hour for their lunch, they talk for three hours and they work for three hours. I told this to their union leaders directly; they replied, that is the way it is in France.
Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP/Getty Images
A federal bankruptcy judge has approved Hostess’ plan for an “orderly wind-down,” clearing the way for the company to start selling off the rights to products like Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Ding-Dongs. 15,000 layoffs are expected.
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images