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Building the Electronic Arts of Casual Gaming: PlayFirst CEO John Welch (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Aug 5th 2007

SM: How did you penetrate the market and get early traction?

JW: While I was at Shockwave, I had the privilege to work with some of the top developers in casual games. We saw the opportunity to help those developers do what they love – focus on making games – by becoming the first publisher in casual games. Game making is an art, but if you want to do it for very long you also need to focus on efficient production practices, business development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, etc. Shipping a good game is hard enough, but creating the foundation for a long-term business is even harder. We provide that solution to our developers. >>>

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2007 Base of the Pyramid e-Journal Competition

Posted on Sunday, Aug 5th 2007

The Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Learning Lab of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson School of Management, Cornell University is accepting submissions for its 2007 BoP e-Journal Competition. The competition seeks to highlight the challenges of doing business in underserved markets and identify innovative business experiments or solutions to those challenges.

Lying: That Your Final Answer?

Posted on Saturday, Aug 4th 2007

By Richard Laermer, Guest Author

How the hell did lying become so fashionable – again!

Lately it appears everyone has foregone lessons of our recent
forefathers (Mr. WorldCom, Mr. Rigas, and M.S. Living) and it’s right back
to “what can I get away with” time AGAIN.

We are entering a nascent period where it’s too easy to get caught now since our faithful media consists of citizen journalists who will do absolutely
anything for a scoop-like lose sleep and not get paid. The trip down is
way too low these days. >>>

Video FAQs

Building the Electronic Arts of Casual Gaming: PlayFirst CEO John Welch (Part 6)

Posted on Saturday, Aug 4th 2007

SM. How big is the market? How do you calculate TAM (Total Available Market)?

JW: The casual games market is expected to hit $1.5 billion next year. More than 200 million people play casual games via the Internet today, with about 60 million downloads each month (Computerworld). Analyst firm DFC Intelligence predicts that casual games will become a $13 billion industry by 2012. This is amazing validation that casual games are truly the future of gaming because just as of 2005, the entire U.S. videogame software market was just $7.1 billion (ESA annual report).

SM: What is your business model? >>>

Jagriti Yatra

Posted on Saturday, Aug 4th 2007

Kaustav Bhattacharya sends this open letter:

Ten years ago a young gentleman by the name of Shashank Tripathi set out
to organize a train journey around India for 200 gifted students to
commemorate 50 years of India’s independence and visit the change makers
who were defining and shaping India. >>>

The Last Rajah

Posted on Saturday, Aug 4th 2007

Business Week has a wonderful profile of Ratan Tata, titled The Last Rajah.

It is simply incredible what Tata’s acquisition of Corus and the more recent bid for Jaguar/Land Rover is doing for the image of India, Inc. Reminds me a bit of the time when India defied the international powers and did the first nuclear tests, sending out a message to the world: “Hey, we are adults too!”

The only problem I have with Ratan Tata’s passions is that small car project.

More on the LOCM Patent Situation

Posted on Friday, Aug 3rd 2007

Here’s a must-read analysis of the patent by Marty Himmelstein, formerly from Vicinity.

Marty also wrote to me privately: “Hi Sramana – I read your post on today. As I tried to make the case in my post, the patent is fatally flawed. First, the copious prior art makes the patent irrelevant. I just don’t see how the patent could possibly survive that hurdle. Yahoo! has had a geographic search capability on their site since before Google. So, as I point out in my post, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have nothing to gain by acquiring I don’t think there is much room for to maneuver here: that the prior art pertains directly to’s patent is obvious; it is plentiful, and it is better. I don’t think the patent should have been granted in the first place.”

Google, by buying, wouldn’t be blocking anybody out of this multi-billion dollar market, because there are other doors that actually work. It reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles, where to slow their pursuers down, the good-guys put a toll-booth in the middle of the desert. And the bandits, none too bright, queue up in line. It won’t work this way. Best, Marty Himmelstein” >>>

MTV CTO Articulates CDN Open Problems

Posted on Friday, Aug 3rd 2007

As we discuss Web 3.0 and Online Music, I have also been pondering some of the issues that large media companies are facing today. I had an interesting chat with Nick Rockwell, CTO of MTV Networks, focusing on MTVN’s digital businesses, including some of the internet’s most popular and recognizable brands:,,, and Nick has led MTVN’s digital technology organization since 2000.

One issue that MTV faces, like many others in the content business, is the shift in advertising technologies, and the demand from advertisers to provide more accountability. You have read some of my rather detailed commentary on the subject recently, as I discussed the vulnerability of Google’s AdSense model, which has skewed too far in favor of the Advertisers, and by disregarding entirely the publishers’ interests.

In this piece, I want to explore the infrastructure issues related to streaming large files to large audiences, that Nick talked about.
The basic problem is that it is still not possible to stream an online event to millions of simultaneous viewers. A hundred thousand viewers is okay. But not Millions. >>>