Scoble on iPhone vs. Android

Scoble has a well written piece on Android vs. the iPhone for 2011. I’ve been worried/thinking for a long time that Apple was going to have another “Windows” moment for a while, this time with Google beating Apple for control of the mobile space.

Read Scoble’s article here:

Techcrunch on the same issue:

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Online ads to trump Newspaper ads in 2011

eMarketer is predicting that online advertising spend will be bigger than newspaper advertising in 2011. Too bad most of that is search and isn’t the type of $ that directly subsidizes good content…

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Do MBAs make for worse VCs?

I’m not really sure how I came across this piece of academic research, but Rebecca Zarutskie of Duke University published a research piece in May 2008 called “The role of top management team human capital in venture capital markets: evidence from first-time funds.” Basically, she looks at various qualities of the partners at first time venture capital funds and runs regressions to see if any of those experiences impact fund performance.*

She concludes that VCs with previous venture capital experience, previous experience as startup execs and experience as management consultants make for better funds. Ok, so other than the last piece, this isn’t too surprising. She also looks to see if other things like having a PhDs or law degrees  help as a partner, and she doesn’t find a statistical improvement in exit percentages.

But there is one finding that is statistically significant that I find a little funny:

Funds with MBAs perform WORSE

That’s right, if the partners of a fresh fund have MBAs their fund is likely to do worse than a fund without! The finding is statistically significant.

Is it possible that MBAs make you a worse investor? That would seem like a real problem, since something like 59% of the investors in her sample had them.

Rebecca isn’t really sure how to interpret this finding:

However, I do find, perhaps counter-intuitively, that management teams with more general human capital in business obtained through MBAs perform on average worse than other fund management teams. A possible explanation for this result is that there is an oversupply of individuals of possessing MBAs relative to those with other educational backgrounds who are typically candidates to enter the venture capital industry.

My gut would be that, no, being an MBA does not make you a worse potential investor, but that it might make it easier for you to raise that first fund. And, since the bar may be a little lower for first time funds if the partners have MBAs then the group as a whole may under perform. The reason I’d think it would be easier to raise a fund if you had an MBA is 1) better connections, 2) LPs may like the brand associated with people who have HBS type degrees and well, that’s the two reasons.

Forgive me if someone already wrote about this research a while ago, I just discovered it over the weekend.

*(Her definition of fund performance is the % of deals in the fund that were exited, which is a crude but decent enough metric to make her research interesting.)

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Go ZipCar Go

Wow, lots of “the sky is falling” reporting going on yesterday when ZipCar announced a new fund raising round. I exchanged DM’s with a couple of local reporters on how the Series G round didn’t have to mean that the company was having trouble, and looks like (hopefully for ZipCar fans) I was right.

Dan Primack actually did some real reporting here and got the scoop - ZipCar’s IPO was taking longer than expected due to regulatory issues and the company needed a top off round of capital prior to going public. These types of last minute financings (i.e. right before going public) can be really lucrative to investors, so props to the firms that stepped up and good luck to them on making a quick, solid return. And serious Kudos to Dan for taking the time to find out what was really happening.

Also, props to Galen Moore for taking the story in a totally different direction and commenting on the lack of ZipCars in less ritzy neighborhoods. As the company grows they are probably going to have to take this sort of publicity into account…

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One a day for a better Boston startup ecosystem

I’ve made noise recently about how Boston needs a stronger early stage technology press/blog ecosystem.

But I’ve also been thinking about what I can do to help fix this problem. I know that there are real journalists and dedicated bloggers here working hard to put out legit pieces on the New England startup scene. How can I support them?

One of the things that I think helps set the publications in other cities apart is the large number of readers who interact with the articles – in particular, in the comment sections. There are real conversations that happen around the stories by members of the startup communities in the comments on blogs like Techcrunch and Mashable. You don’t see that as much in Boston.

So, my New Years resolution is this:

I will leave at least one comment a day on a Boston tech blog

I know this isn’t much, but if other members of the community would do this too we would not only show our support for the journalists who try to help Boston tech companies get the word out, we would also potentially help increase the dialog that goes on around the local scene. (If I miss a day I’ll make it up the following with an extra comment…)

Maybe this is putting the cart before the horse. I know that other the big tech blogs have a lot of traffic, which leads to the large number of comments. But I also know, from my own blog and from the different blog publishing I’ve done for OfficeDrop, that after there are one or more comments on a post other readers are more likely to come out of the woodwork and post comments. And a healthy number of comments helps build community around a topic.

Here are the blogs that I want to try to help promote. Please let me know if I’m missing any:

Mass High Tech Galen Moore is out there everyday trying to make noise for New England.

BostInnovation I’m hopeful these guys will evolve into our own local Mashable.

Xconomy Boston I love the national ambitions coupled with local coverage.

Scott Kirsner Boston’s best known technology promoter.

Let’s try to help these local bloggers take their message to a national level. Is anyone else up for this? You could show your support by leaving a comment :)

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