Olson’s Observations

Technology. Innovation. Science. VC. Media. :: by Eric Olson

Post Spotlight: March 15, 2007

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Slacker Music Player: Is it the iPod killer?

Heard about a new music service called Slacker the other day. This is a music service I can get into. Basically, the service works like Last.fm or Pandora but it is not only a web based service. They also have devices that are satellite fed which allow for a portable version of “your station.” You customize your station by using the “love it” and “ban it” features (much like Pandora’s thumbs up and thumbs down approach). As you put more input into Slacker it will keep looking for music you might like based on what you’ve told it (it doesn’t not analyze the music itself like Pandora though). From VentureBeat:

Slacker is so named because it is designed for the estimated 70 percent of people who like music, but who can’t be bothered to constantly update their playlists.

I have to believe that stat is close to true. I love music but I despise scrolling through my giant list of music on iTunes and my iPod for something I want to listen to. More often than not I leave both on shuffle but this does not help me find new music of course. For more detail on Slaker check out the VentureBeat post.

Side note: If XM/Sirius start to offer this type of service Slacker will have a tough time competing.

Failing Cheap

Josh Kopelman put out another great post recently. This time he tackled the difference between the funding cycles of companies “this time around” versus back in the 1999 - 2000 time frame. I won’t be able to do this post justice in just one paragraph so please go read it. Josh made some nice graphs as well which are worth the trip to his site alone.

Bill James is Smart

Chad Finn has a nice analysis of Bill James’ predictions for the 2007 Red Sox and he starts off the piece with how right James was last year about Youkilis’ performance. It’s eerie.

VC Performance by Quartile and Vintage Year

Paul Kedrosky has a quick analysis and nice graph of VC performance data by quartile and vintage year. I especially like this post since the data comes from my prior employer Cambridge Associates. I worked on the team that was responsible for, among a lot of other things, the VC and PE performance data and benchmarks. Nice work guys!

The Funded

I caught a VentureBeat post about a new site called simply “The Funded” the other day. The basic gist of the site is that it lets its’ members rate VC firms and these ratings are then made public on the site. However, not just anyone can become a member. VentureBeat explains:

… you can’t be a member if you are partner or an agent of a firm. Also, you can only become a member if you are invited by another member or somehow convince TheFunded that you should be a member.

Looks like they have some decent controls in place but I would like to see, as would VentureBeat, some sort of disclosure as to whether or not the entrepreneur making the comments or adding the ratings was rejected by the VC firm(s) in question. This is hard to do of course since most rejections are oral and, to make matters worse, are usually cryptic (the old I didn’t say no specifically in case I want to invest down the road issue). There aren’t a ton of reviews on The Funded now but over time I figure there will be more contributors. In any case it is a really great idea and could be very useful to entrepreneurs.

Written by Eric Olson

March 15th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Baseball, Technology, VC, Web 2.0

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