Gustavo Ballvé on December 31st, 2009

Zynga Games creates games for Facebook and MySpace. Its users number in the tens of millions, and many of them pay real cash for virtual goods to spice up their gaming. In fact, Zynga might well be making more money with Facebook than Facebook itself is. In paper, the business model seems great. We’ll probably get to know this soon, since Zynga is supposedly preparing for an IPO. Anyway it’s a huge reminder that disrupting technologies don’t necessarily imply that the inventors will make the most money – in some cases, any money. For new and old industries, always look at the entire value chain, be it suppliers, service providers, etc.

Read more about Zynga and “Web 3.0”

Gustavo Ballvé on December 30th, 2009

We’ve recently had the opportunity to do research on Buffett’s letters to shareholders beginning in 1959 (when Buffett managed Partnerships and Berkshire Hathaway was not even in his sights). His consistency and transparency are always impressive – especially in times like these and since we’re talking about more than 50 years of Buffett clearly practicing what he preaches.

Read more about Walking the talk

Gustavo Ballvé on December 25th, 2009

David Brooks has a nice teaser article on the current and future economic “protocols”. His tip is to not just read the book he’s reviewing but another that complements what he feels are the first book’s weaknesses. Always a nice way to help readers better form opinions of their own, and it’s what we will always try to do here as well. Also includes links to other columns of his.

Read more about Christmas bonus, part 2: David Brooks

Gustavo Ballvé on December 25th, 2009

We have put together a small collection of links regarding competition and corporate strategy as defined by Harvard’s Michael Porter. As this blog will always remind readers, “take it with a grain of salt”! No matter how famous the expert, how “make-sense” his arguments, always check, search for contradictions and weaknesses and then make up your own mind.

Read more about Christmas bonus, part 1: Michael Porter

Gustavo Ballvé on December 20th, 2009

Alice “Snowball” Schroeder last month wrote a piece on Bloomberg called “Wall Street makes it hard to earn a legal living”. While IP has always discussed the obvious conflicts of interest for all the market’s agents, and the sell side in particular, Alicemisses a turn in the road somewhere – falls down the rabbit hole? – and turns this article into quite the generalization. The issue of conflicts of interests deserved a better effort.

Read more about Alice in wonderland

Gustavo Ballvé on December 14th, 2009

Free e-book organized by Seth Godin sounds a lot like the Red Balloon experience we just discussed on Dec. 6th: it’s less about advertising the authors’ work than it’s about discovering ways that content gets disseminated online – how does an e-book become “viral”? Interesting experiment, so-so book.

Read more about What matters now

Gustavo Ballvé on December 13th, 2009

Sometimes we’ll publish “older” stuff as part of what we like to call “weekend catch-up reading”. This time it’s a Fortune Magazine interview with Joel I. Klen, New York City’s school chancellor and former CEO of Bertelsmann’s USA operations. He’s best know as the Dept. of Justice’s anti-trust czar that sued Microsoft, so it’s telling […]

Read more about The CEO educator

Gustavo Ballvé on December 10th, 2009

Fred Wilson had an interesting post today on action oriented entrepreneurs/ leaders. While we don’t agree 100%, there are some interesting teasers to think about not only for the companies we study but also for our own. The situation one wants to get to is to have a team composed of people with diverse backgrounds and complementary skills – and personalities – combined with carefully-planned incentives that align individuals and teams with the company’s vision. Easier said than done, but the closer you get to this the better.

Read more about Action oriented entrepreneurs

Gustavo Ballvé on December 8th, 2009

There is an increasing amount of BRK shares sold short and people seem quick enough to point to the Burlington deal as the culprit, for many reasons (listed inside). They may be missing the number one reason, and it’s one that merits attention.

Read more about Buffett on sale?

Gustavo Ballvé on December 6th, 2009

DARPA, the US military agency that 40 years ago spawned the Internet, organized a contest to study how people collaborate online and, most importantly, how information spreads virally through social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. The winning team took less than 9 hours to locate 10 balloons spread throughout the US – unthinkable maybe even 5 years ago… And the implications are quite interesting.

Read more about Follow the red balloon

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