One of the top iPhone competitors is expected to be Nokia’s N95, a high-end smart phone that, like the iPhone, has a relatively large color screen (2.6 in), can surf the Web and can play music and DVD-quality video. Unlike the iPhone, the N95, however, cannot access the iTunes store. It costs $749, accesses Wi-Fi, and is available in Europe and Asia, primarily, and in some US stores. It is not available through any major US carriers, making it a non-event for the US market. The iPhone, on the other hand, is primarily focused on the US right now, so the Nokia vs. Apple battle will take place in different geographies. The Nokia N95 is a dual mode (GSM/WCDMA) phone.
Quite possibly, both phones will be successful as music phones in their respective core markets, as Consumer phones.
But what about the convergence device that the industry is moving towards? >>>
Does naivete rule, when investors send Cadence shares up to a 52-week high on the rumors of a buy-out? The truth is, a Private Equity player buying Cadence doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, since the company has a very slow growth rate due to the industry’s normal behavior patterns. It has been reasonably well-managed within its constraints, and cannot be split up due to the integrated nature of its design platform.
I have said this before, but will say it again: the buy-out target in EDA is Mentor Graphics, not Cadence. It can be split up. In fact, it should be chopped up and sold in parts. They have a GREAT DFM piece that both Cadence and Synopsys would pay a premium to get their hands on. Synopsys would also buy their PCB business (Cadence already has one of these), especially with increasing emphasis in chip consumption by the Automotive industry, Mentor’s PCB business is a very good asset. On the other hand, Mentor’s IC Design tools lag behind the rest, and are nothing to write home about.
Among the most significant challenges a company faces is obtaining its initial reference customers. Salesforce has a core competency revolving around telemarketing and sales, so I inquire about the type of support they provide to companies in the Incubator in order to address this challenge.
SM: How do you handle the go-to-market phase with Incubator companies, especially when it comes to deciding how to go after the market segment? Do you give them any lists? RB: No, because we don’t want to spoon feed them. We help them build a good business model. We have success managers on our end who are dedicated to making our partners successful through business planning. We help them create that business plan, we help them get the fundamentals right; “how do you pay for this, what strategies will work for you”, and so forth. Oftentimes we tell them the opposite of what they want to hear, which is simply to focus on one thing and not on 50.
SM: I understand that, but I am going to push back on this a bit. If I were sitting in your incubator and were trying to leverage what you already have, and I already know how to segment the market and focus on one thing, what would be really powerful for me would be to apply those principles on a Salesforce.com lead list. It is a customer base which is already familiar with Salesforce.com, familiar with on-demand, and it is a great place for me to penetrate the market. RB: I am sure you will penetrate the market, but the problem with that value proposition is that I have to share that same list with 60 companies, many of whom are in the exact same business. >>>
Here Om and I discuss some the challenges of operating a blog. The industry is in its infancy. In particular, there are difficulties with advertising networks and lack of analytics.
SM: Are you following what Time Warner is doing with companies like Adify? OM: I have not. There are several reasons for that, mainly I need to worry about my own thing, so I am basically not paying that much attention to Adify. I know what they are doing, and what their model is about. I think it will be interesting to see what happens with them.
SM: What about other ad networks; are you seeing other innovative things from the industry? OM: So far, to be honest, nothing has just grabbed my attention. The game is still all about selling CPMs, which is what blogs are annoyed about. I think this is why I feel that guys at FM do a better job, because they are educating the market at the same time. They are selling sponsorships and that yields much better revenue for blogs. >>>
Bootstrapping has emerged as a very popular trend recently in the Valley as more entrepreneurs are bypassing Venture Capital. Here I ask Rene about the roll of boostrapping within the Incubator, and also get introduced to SmartFunded.
SM: Do you have examples of partners who have been able to bootstrap and avoid VC funding? RB: Many of the partners in the Incubator today do not have any VC funding. They are either bootstrapping or have Angel investors. They still need to prove they are viable in that model, but a fair portion of the companies in the Incubator do not have, and do not desire, VC funding. There is a company in the AppExchange network that focus on financing transactions rather than financing companies. For example, SmartFundit.com funds transactions. They allow a flex income company to fund through their first number of transactions to bootstrap. >>>
Over the last few months, I have done a series of interviews with leaders – CEOs, Entrepreneurs, Innovators, Technologists, Academics, and Social Entrepreneurs – which offer insights to young and old alike about key choices – in business, in career, in life.
* Jerry Rawls, CoFounder & CEO of Finisar
* Philippe Courtot, Founder and CEO of Qualys
* Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower
* Russ Fradin, CEO of Adify
* Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Citizens Communication
* Manoj Saxena, Founder & CEO of Webify
* Raj Reddy, Legendary Computer Scientist
* Taher El Gamal, Security Industry Visionary
* Peng Ong, Serial Entrepreneur
* HP Michelet, Chairman of Water Desalination Company, ERI
* Harish Hande, Social Entrepreneur
* Om Malik, Blogging Pioneer
* Sass Somekh, former President of Novellus
* Raj Vaswani, Entrepreneur-in-Residence turned CTO
Here is a Facebook Group called Role Models, which I invite you to join if you are interested in brainstorming on the topic. Or, you can use the Comments section right here to give me your feedback on whether or not you have been finding these interviews interesting and useful. Please, also write in your suggestions, as I would love to know what is it about the interviews (and the blog in general) that we could be doing differently and better.
Om discusses his vision for the company.
SM: When you look at the scaling of the company, what is your vision? Where do you want to take it? OM: I want Giga Omnimedia to be a proper publishing company. Just like companies publish magazines and newspapers, we publish a web / blog hybrid. Just think of it as another publishing company. We are going to take advantage of Moore’s law and do things cheaper, faster and better. There is no rocket science.
SM: So you are thinking of a series of websites? OM: Right. We are up to four now, and there will be two more before the end of the year. From there it should be one every two months.
SM: What kind of traffic do these sites get? OM: We are doing 100K – 200K on some of the smaller sites, the newer sites are still growing. They are all growing at a fairly rapid clip. They are growing about 20% a month. I don’t look at the spikes, I look at the baseline which shows anywhere from 10% to 20% growth. A lot of it has to do with the Market being back. Technology is back. >>>
Here we review the details of the terms. Companies pay $20,000 per cubicle per year for the Incubator, and in exchange they receive training, facilities and access to expertize.
SM: Does that $20,000 also give them access to the SalesForce.com platform? RB: We do not charge for building upon the platform. When you start to sell applications on the platform, then you pay SalesForce fees. Especially if you bundle in the solution.
SM: Sorry, I meant, what is the fee structure of the royalties? RB: The way we structure this is really pretty simple. If you are an ISV and all you do is deliver the application through the AppExchange, which is the on-demand marketplace, there are revenue sharing models in place which function on a very simple basis. When you book revenue and it originates through the influence of the AppExchange you owe us referral fees. If you decide to bundle the SalesForce platform into your solution, and there are companies which do this, it is more like an OEM agreement, then the fee is $25 per user, per month, which is the royalty fee. >>>