Look Beyond Facebook’s Perceived Value to Find Growth

On October 28, Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) released its third-quarter 2014 earnings report announcing, for the three months ending September 30, that total revenue of $3.20 billion was generated, an increase of 59%, compared to $2.02 billion in 2013 the same quarter. The earnings release also give a margin of operations of 44%, or $1.40 billion, for the third quarter compared to 37%, or $736 million, in the third quarter the prior year, and net income of $806 million, up 90%, from $425 million for the third-quarter of 2013.

Other financial results are as follows:
• Revenue from advertising was $2.96 billion, a 64% increase from the same quarter last year.
• Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 66% of advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2014, up from approximately 49% of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2013.
• Payments and other fees revenue was $246 million, a 13% increase from the same quarter last year.

Back in 2012, in one of two posts I wrote on Facebook, I gave an assessment on what I felt as the upcoming dovetail phase in the tech IPO sector and how Facebook, as a newly-forming public corporation, and its stock, would be received in such a market. Since that time period till now, giving the current corporate and market conditions, my views on Facebook – purely as a tradable stock- remain unchanged. (more…)

Netflix Sets its Sights on Content, Competition and Customization

Remember the self-inflicted bruising Netflix received in late 2011 with the Qwikster disaster? Well rest ashore; skeptics aren’t letting CEO Reed Hastings forget either.

Besides the company’s miscue (and a few others since its 2007 video-streaming inception) Netflix accrued a 4.96% quarter-over-quarter increase in earnings (from 3Q 2011- 2Q 2014) since my last posting of Netflix back in 2011. In April of that same year – before the reversal decision to split its online streaming and DVD-rental plans into two companies – Netflix announced that it had 23.6 million subscribers in the United States and over 26 million worldwide and by year’s end, total revenues (domestic and international) for the company reached $3.2 billion. But due to price hikes, customers left and as a result in 2012 Netflix reported an 88% drop in third-quarter profits.

And like the finale of a favored Hollywood movie, many thought this was the end of a beautiful beginning. (more…)

When ‘Serving up’ Business, Don’t Forget Company Culture

“Bon Appétit!”

I admit, hunger doesn’t typically pop into mind when pondering business strategies, and, that it is a rather odd request when discussing the matter of company culture (the soup du jour, if you will), nevertheless, it is my intention to present this subject in a pleasing and easily digestible way. I should point out a word of caution, as you can gather; there will be puns in this post.
To begin, instead of the usual “5 Steps to Achieve…” or “10 Things Never to do…” approach, I thought it would be fun to play-up the concept of the institution of business as a well prepared and hopefully delightful dish. Cutlery included.
Whether its a startup, a small business operation or a seasoned company, when recognizing what is at the core of your business, consider culture as one of the main ingredients to running a successful business. We understand the importance of customer service, alliances with other businesses and organizations, and having mutual support from your respective communities, but, these actions are usually developed after the business has already been established.

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Lessons to Learn: How Bad Customer Service Can Best Serve Us All

Horrible customer service; at one point (or two, three, four…) we’ve all experienced it. From the disinterested employee and their despondent supervisor to the corporate-level manager who seemingly is never in the office when you attempt to speak with them, when acts such as these occur, they are far from comparable – yet alone compelled – to a shred of decency.

Unfortunately, when it comes to resolution matters, I justly feel that I have had more than my fair share of terrible experiences. Ever had someone to hang up on you when they couldn’t figure out what to do? It is not a pleasant feeling. For those of you old enough to remember, sometimes finding someone who is capable of and willing to help is like playing a game of “Press Your Luck;” you’re anxiously and silently declaring “No Whammies, no Whammies,” only to be met instead with a devilishly, smarmy little monster of a creature and in return receiving nothing. The overwhelming sense of your basic expectations of assistance not being met has an astounding ability to completely ruin your day. (more…)

You’re More of a Risk Than You Think You Are

risk-management-24354901Risk: We are constantly being told to look out for it, and for what I have gathered, outwardly, we have become very good at recognizing it. From insurance prevention and business management to investment analysis, scores of actuary estimations, compliance regulations and financial projections, are regularly adjusted to prognosticate the possibility of loss or damage, be it physical or financial. We are well rehearsed in knowing how to see external forces of harm or hazard for what they are, however, these factors only highlight the requirement of something being done to you. Risk – as it turns out – for it to be fully seen as what it is must be evaluated with an inner lens, that being said, many of us only accept risk as an act done to us by someone or something else rather than ever perceiving it with an internal perspective.

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Magazine Publishers Remain Fast on Production, Slow on Integration

Coverage of long-time print magazines shifting towards an all-digital format has left many audiences feeling as though the ending of an era is appearing closer in view. Countless stories of a publications journey reaching the proverbial fork in the road being forced to choose a substandard existence over death have been told. Needless to say, this approach should not be done with a cautionary tale of tragedy and dejection, or as either necessary for survival, but acknowledged as an alternate avenue for publications to venture upon to stay on the continual path to success (instead of it being an ‘if/or’ situation, but more as an ‘also/additional’ decision to be made). Even though a last-ditch-effort approach has resulted in some cases, the overall condition of the industry remains on shaky but good ground.

Magazines came to life with the Edifying Monthly Discussions launched in Germany in 1663 and leading the trail as the first modern general-interest magazine, was England’s The Gentleman’s Magazine, published in 1731. Today, there are over 200,000 magazines in print worldwide with an average 20 billion paid copies in circulation monthly (both figures conservatively estimated). (more…)

Venture Capitalism: When Old and New Collide

Buzzwords like crowdfunding, disruptive technology, angel investing, and the latest funding category to enter: entrepreneurial investing; have all aided in the attraction to the hotbed topic of venture capitalism. It would appear to the keen observer that private equity – a relative of venture capital – has spurred new attention. Perform any casual browser search and what will show up are descriptions such as “cool” and “sexy” to characterize what being in the VC industry must be like; as though it were a handsome and suave cadet and private equity was Cyrano de Bergerac.

With so much press in general about venture capital and, thusly, those who run them, such as Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, serial entrepreneur Max Levchin, and long-time investor John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, that I have decided to form my own take on the matter. But rather than spending most of the time on various individuals, I will instead do a broader view of the industry and where I see it going moving forward. (more…)

Hello, America? Diversion is Calling!

It is often stated that small business owners are the driving force behind job growth; particularly in developed nations such as the United States: that cooperative economic prosperity is dependent upon the independent-oriented nature of entrepreneurs. As the land of opportunity, what would America be without its free-spirited and always enterprising citizens?

But, would it surprise you to know that this theoretical wisdom, albeit optimistic, is not entirely true?

While it is true that small establishments create more jobs – 67 percent, or 8.1 million, of net new jobs were created by small businesses (with 499 employees or less) since 1995 – and small business employer firms represent 99.7 percent of the American working population, the contribution level of startups however is not more significant nor despairing than large corporations in terms of overall net job growth.

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Why I’m Not Sold on Bitcoin

As globalization expands and technology evolves many conclude that the foreseeable threat to privacy is closer than one would imagine.  Even more prevalent- those same people would argue- is for the need for innovation in personal security to be just as fast as the speed in access to information to be both set with the same global speedometer.

I couldn’t agree more.

I recall of a time long, long ago back before the internet ruined… I mean enhanced our lives; when the newly developing concept of e-commerce was in its infancy stage.  You remember- if you’re old enough to- how life as we knew it would change EVERYTHING.  We thought life as ‘The Jetsons’ have finally become a reality. With just one click of a button whatever you wanted would instantly appear. No more trekking all the way to the corner store for milk. Need a lozenge for your sore throat? Just press “enter.” Believe me I’m not exaggerating I remember having conversations like these on the endless possibilities of the internet. (more…)

Have Briefcase, Bands, Bonds and the Market Will Bolster

As U.S. corporations and the stock markets enter another fiscal quarter for the year of 2013 with promising gains in sales and return – despite the positive movements of the S&P 500 (SPX), Dow Jones (DJIA)  and NASDAQ (IXIC) reaching record highs-investors remain leery.

And, with not only stabilization in the markets but, also, the economy improving.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013 (third quarter report expected to be released September 26th), up 1.1 percent from the first quarter and from last year’s annual rate of 1.2 percent, however, lower than the long term average of 3.29 percent. The report also declares that, “The increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from federal government spending.” (more…)

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