Twitter Mobile Ad Revenue Surpasses Web RevenueOn Wednesday, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo spoke at a conference in San Francisco hosted by The Economist Group, and focused many of his comments on the company's advertising strategy. Costolo said that, during the last quarter, the company's mobile ad revenue would occasionally surpass advertising revenue from the website, on some days. The discussion, of course, came as investors and the industry are paying increasing attention to Facebook's attempts to improve performance of their mobile ads. (Twitter is often cited as the next potentially large tech IPO prospect.)
The Twitter service, which currently boasts about 140 million monthly active users sending about 400 million daily tweets, is "inherently suited to mobile," according to Costolo. The company introduced ads into smartphone user timelines in February, and shortly thereafter, released a feature allowing advertisers to send promoted tweets specifically to iPhone and Android users. Though Twitter has not released revenue numbers, it has been estimated that their revenue could reach as much as $260 million in 2012.
QUESTION: Is Twitter going to have more relative success with mobile ads than Facebook? Why? Think we'll see a Twitter IPO in the near future?
Paul Graham’s Message to Startups: Lower Your Funding ExpectationsIn the wake of Facebook's IPO disaster, and its potential to freeze new investments in the startup market, Y Combinator's Paul Graham is apparently warning his companies to conserve what funding they have already raised, and to lower their funding expectations for the immediate future. One major concern of Graham's is that companies with prior, high valuations that are seeking further investment will have to raise money at lower valuations - so-called "down rounds" that dilute founder shares and generally depress interest and enthusiasm around a young company.
A similar warning from Sequoia Capital to its portfolio companies back in 2008 - part of a presentation called "RIP Good Times" - urged startups to cut costs. It sent shockwaves through the industry at the time, and is still referenced regarding that particular downtown.
The warning came in the form of a private letter which was spread by a user on the Y Combinator-managed aggregation site Hacker News.
Fanning and Parker Launch AirtimeNapster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker have launched Airtime to the public. It's a Web app that allows for person-to-person calling, but with the catch that it matches users together for conversations based on shared interests. (It's being called a "social discovery" app for helping people to expand their social graphs and make new friends. So, in some ways similar to the Google+ "Hangout" feature, but geared more towards strangers. The duo have raised $35 million in funding for the project, which has been gestating for over two years.
Much like the viral sensation ChatRoulette, Airtime allows users to connect anonymously, though the service is apparently working on a system for dismiss users who behave inappropriately, regardless of whether or not they elect to share their name.
QUESTIONS: Is this a service people really want, or like ChatRoulette, will it end up being a temporary novelty? Think that the company's method of banning users will be able to stem the tide of perverts who almost immediately ruined the utility of ChatRoulette?
LinkedIn Passwords HackedLinkedIn has confirmed that they had suffered a security breach this week on Thursday, though they have not yet released information about how many users or accounts had been compromised, or whether e-mail addresses were leaked along with passwords. (Early estimates and reports had suggested as many as 6.5 million passwords were exposed.)
The company has started an internal investigation into exactly how the accounts were compromised. They have also assured users that, once they change their passwords (WHICH EVERYONE SHOULD DO), the new passwords will be protected. As well, users with passwords that are confirmed to have leaked will be prompted to create a new password. (They also warned not to respond to e-mail correspondence asking you to change your password via a link.)
The team at FictiveKin have launched a tool called LeakedIn that can check if your particular password has been compromised. These include usual suspects like "Linkedin" and "Password" along with some slightly harder-to-guess examples.
QUESTION: Is this just one of those things that happens, or something that reflects poorly on LinkedIn and its security practices? What will it take to get people to stop using obvious passwords like "password"?
Ellen Pao Breaks Silence, is Still with KPCBEllen Pao, the partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who is suing for alleged gender discrimination and acts of retaliation, broke her public silence by answering a question about the case on online Q&A site Quora. An anonymous user had asked: “Did Ellen Pao quit KPCB after the lawsuit?” Pao responded on Monday afternoon: “No, and I don’t plan to quit.”
The Quora thread has received a lot of attention from the tech community in the ensuing days. Venture capitalist Dave McClure of 500 Startups wrote “hang in there ellen.”
Kleiner Perkins has already been presenting their side to the public. Last week, longtime partner John Doerr wrote that while legal constraints prevent Kleiner from fully responding to the suit, the firm maintains that Pao’s claims are without merit. He also pointed to Kleiner Perkins’ history as a pioneer of diversity and gender equality in the VC space.
Kleiner Perkins just added another female partner last week, with the hiring of former Square executive Megan Quinn.
QUESTIONS: Surprised that Pao's first public comments on the case were on Quora? Think she will continue working there for the foreseeable future? (After all, leaving on her own accord would sort of ruin her case, and KPCB might get in more trouble if they let her go.)
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