Category Archives: Business

How Lavabit Will Win on Appeal

There’s something missing from the arguments being set forth in the Lavabit appeal, and I think it opens a gaping hole in the government’s case. This case actually isn’t about encryption keys at all, and I think refocusing the argument will give the appeals court the “out” they’re looking for to decide in Lavabit’s favor without actually deciding the issue of whether the government can compel production of SSL keys.

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The Perfect Founders

For a while now, certain venture capitalists have had an unwritten rule: a good team consists of a developer, a designer, and a CEO. But I have news. It’s not a designer you need. It’s a system architect.

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Security isn’t a feature. Security is the product

Why are sites insecure? Because security is treated like a feature.

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Don’t trade a sure thing for a gamble

A guest post, from Shawn, in response to the NY Times article titled Goldman Sachs and a Sale Gone Horribly Awry

They made two mistakes.  The first, and smallest, was paying $5M to GS without understanding what they were getting in return.

The second, and major mistake was doing an all-stock deal.  Or else, in exchange for stock, they should have granted an exclusive license instead of selling the technology outright.

Frankly, I side with GS.  They hired GS to make a deal and GS made a deal that they accepted.  The fact that the deal turned out to be a bad one is not the fault of GS.  That whole due diligence kerfluffle is what you, yourself, would call 20-20 hindsight.

My point::  An existing product is a mostly sure thing and stock is a gamble.  You don’t trade a sure thing for a gamble.  You might trade a mostly sure thing for cash and a small wager.


Going Public

There’s really two times a company goes public.  There’s the obvious facebook kind of going public, which we’d all love to get to, and then there’s day 0.  Today is that day for me, officially announcing TapLink.

TapLink is simply about creating incredible software. It will probably be online, web based, and mobile software, but no matter what it will be in a big markets, ripe for disruption, where I think I can make a dent in the universe.

Nice to meet you.  My name is Jeremy Spilman, and I’m the Founder of TapLink.


What Buffer Could Do

It was great to read about Buffer getting $400,000, even though they weren’t able to stay in the U.S. It was also great how they pulled the curtain back a little bit so you could see how it all came together for them.

I met the pre-seed round Buffer at a BizSpark sponsered event on SEO in San Jose last month. They were really nice guys. They showed me their app, gave me a tour of how their product worked, told me how their business was doing, and even gave me a tour of their admin panel and showed me their growth curve. It was truly interesting to hear them discuss their business, and hear a bit of their insight and plans. Listening to them talk, I thought to myself, this is a useful product, and I hope they succeed.

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Batttle Cry of a Startup

Sales happen at the moment when a buyer and seller agree on a price. When customers pay less than they would have, we call it consumer surplus. If you’re the type of person who speaks at shareholder meetings, consumer surplus is a bad thing.

Companies deal with consumer surplus by calibrating their product offerings to match different customer segments. Sometimes the variable pricing is actually a result of variable costs. More often than not, variable cost is just a concept that salesmen will use to rationalize their power grab for every last dollar of consumer surplus. In the auto industry they like to call this ‘optional equipment’. It’s almost universally true, as the price goes up, so too does the margin.

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