The ‘Jeff Bezos Reality Distortion Field’

Convincing Wall Street that you are a growth story is one thing; keeping them convinced that you are still a growth story for more than a decade, without showing much of profits – that is something else. People talk about the ‘Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field’ but he just made you shell out money for a real product, after all. Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, has such a strong reality distortion field, that he makes you shell out money for AMZN, which is essentially a promise on future cash flows.

Two points to look at:

1. AMZN shareholders are paying $265.00 for $.075 of trailing earnings. (Source)

2. “Amazon has been around for well over a decade, and they have never been able to get their EPS over $3.00 for a full year, even with revenue per share as high as $124.00. Meaning they have never been able to even get EBITDA to crack that $2.5 billion threshold – or 2% of their company’s current shareholder-determined value.” (Source)

The Jeff Bezos Reality Distortion Field id the real deal. He has managed to sell AMZN as a perennial growth story – with growth on the topline and a near-non-existent bottomline.

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Pinterest Statistics: 58 Percent of Users Pin From Tablets

Tracking the initial stages of any new technology adoption is good fun. Particularly, tracking high-impact devices, like the tablet for instance, could be very exciting. We had spotted some tablet statistics recently – today, we spotted this stat on users’ pinning behavior – that the tablet is the most used device for pinning (Source)

How do we digest this? One way could be this: Pinterest could be a type of interaction that is easier on tablets. Another way to digest this could be Pinterest’s user demographics.

Soon, we’ll see a series of stats showing the dominance of the tablet – we are witnessing a generational device settling in. Exciting times, these.

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‘The Most Popular New Version of An OS In History’

Objective-C is really, really bad. We had in fact given up learning it for fear of starting to hate programming in general, and object-oriented programming in particular. But it might be a very good idea to just ignore the truly painful object and function call notations, and go through the pain of learning it. Why?

Well, the argument about more ‘paying’ customers on the iOS side has been made rather convincingly before. Here is a new one – a ‘vastly more engaged’ customer base. We spotted this stat today, that just 4 days after iOS 6.1 was released, 26 percent of users are already on iOS 6.1 (Source). Speaking of the only other game in town, Jelly Bean is on just 10 percent of devices, 6 months after the update (Source).

It could be the whole android fragmentation thing, or it could just be the way updates are rolled out. But as a developer, this is solid evidence of user engagement. ‘The Most Popular New Version of An OS In History’ two times in a row can definitely not be ignored.

// First program example
#import
int main (int argc, const char * argv[])
{
NSAutoreleasePool *pool = [[NSAutoreleasePool alloc] init];
NSLog (@”Hello, World!”);
[pool drain];
return 0;
}

(Source)

Well that might not be your idea of the best way of saying “Hello, World!” but chances are, you might end up doing it that way!

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‘Sell To People Who Handle Other People’s Money’

In one quick sentence, here is the case for building stuff for the enterprise and not the consumer: It is a better idea to sell to someone handling other people’s money. Because it is definitely easier to part with money when it is not your own.

Of course, there are multiple other issues with enterprise sales. Decision making could be slow. It might be difficult to identify the decision maker because there would be a group in all probability. There might be influencers that you need to worry about. There would be quarterly budgets and related issues. Sometimes you think Steve Jobs was absolutely right when he said that enterprise decision makers are ‘confused’. Consumers are different – if they like your product, they buy them else they won’t. It is that simple.

Except that it isn’t. It is extremely difficult to get a consumer to part with her money. Unless you have a truly compelling product – of the painkiller variety, she is just going to look around, and buy somewhere else (where? we don’t know). She will browse, she will talk, she will comment – but parting with money? Forget it. It is her money. Why should she give it to you? There is a reason why even the darlings of consumer internet, facebook and twitter, finally get their revenue checks signed by someone who is dealing with other people’s money.

Make something for the enterprise. It might not be cool – but you will not feel the heat where it matters. Because all said and done, it is easier to part with money when it is not yours.

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76 Percent Of Startups Acquired In 2012 Had No VC Funding

We had spotted quite a few stats on VC funding recently, including the top VC funded domains. We had also spotted a not so great stat on the success percentage of VC funded startups. But what we spotted today was definitely a surprise – that 76 percent of startups acquired last year had NO VC funding (Source)

How do we digest this stat? Well, maybe the size of the startups getting acquired is not ‘VC’able. That is one explanation. The other explanation could be that the definition of VC is changing as well.

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75.3 Percent Rise Vs 6.4 Percent Drop In Q4: What Are We Talking About?

The Tablet and PC markets, of course. This is following a pattern similar to the ebooks vs physical books graph. We spotted this today, that in Q4 2012, PC sales were down 6.4 percent from a year ago – and tablet sales were way up. 52.5 million units – that is the total number of tablets sold in Q4. (Source).

How do we digest this stat? That’s easy – people buy iPads for the holidays and not big old PCs. For example, Apple’s iPad Mini alone sold some 22.9 million units. But attributing this stat to the holidays would be missing the big picture change happening in the industry: the emergence of the post-pc era.

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Ebooks Statistics: 70 Percent YoY Growth In 2012, Says Bezos

Ebooks statistics continue to surprise many. Well, this has to be a record in many ways, considering that the ebooks business is just 5 years old inside Amazon. And physical book sales have slowed, and that is on expected lines (Source)

The smartest thing Amazon did was making the Kindle app available for all platforms, including tablets. As a result, ebooks have spread like wildfire – just look at that 70 percent growth number, in 2012.

Challenge for you: Name five things that grew at more than a 70 percent YoY rate in 2012. (We know one)

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What do you do?

1. To do something really well, you have to love doing it
2. The market does not care about whether you love what you do
3. The market HAS to buy what you do, for you to be successful.
4. Unless you are Steve Jobs, generally speaking, you cannot influence the market to like whatever you make
5. You are not Steve Jobs.

Say you are not very lucky, and there is no market for what you love doing.

What do you do?

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‘Hey, What’s That Big Phone?’

Steve Jobs had famously said that Americans do not read books anymore. He had also declared the 7 inch tablet dead on arrival. He has said many such things – but had always acted right. For the most part, in any case. He would definitely have picked up the one strong signal that the market seems to be sending to Apple: Where is your big phone?

First, some numbers. In Q4 2012 (for Samsung, that would be the three month period ending Dec 31, 2012), Profits for the whole firm were up 76% year on year to 7.04tn Korean won (£4.2bn), but Samsung would not reveal the profit margin on its smartphone shipments or the number of devices it had sold. (Source) – but analysts say that the number is close to 65 million. Driven mostly by those 5 inch plus devices (well, 4.8 is almost 5), the S3 and the Note 2.

Apple, in comparison, sold some 47.8 million iPhones in the same three months (Source) – it was a record quarter for Apple, but the market clearly figured out that Samsung had started to ‘dominate’ Apple in Smartphones. And it sounds true – you see a lot of these big phones these days.

What had changed?

Here is our theory: Apple has always been at the forefront of ‘inventing’ product categories. It carved out space for the iPhone in-between the Desktop PC and existing smartphones, (re)inventing a whole new product category. It then carved out space for the iPad in-between the Desktop PC and the iPhone, inventing a multi-billion dollar product category called the Tablet. And then, when it was time to carve out space in-between the Tablet and the smartphone, for some inexplicable reason, they paused.

Samsung saw the opportunity, made a solid product (Note 2) and made a new product category (Phablets).

And then, there is that Stylus. Steve Jobs had sent it to oblivion. Unfortunately, when Apple was not looking, the Stylus returned.

In other words, Apple ignored the screen-size signals from the market. When folks were asking ‘Hey, What’s That Big Phone?’ Apple should have listened.

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Meet The Fastest Growing Mobile Game Ever: Not Angry Birds

We spotted this stat today, that the recently released ‘Temple Run 2’ from the husband and wife team at Imangi studios has become the fastest growing mobile game of all time – with more than 50 million downloads in 13 days (Source) The existing record was of course held by Angry Birds Space – which took 35 days to hit the 50 million downloads milestone in April 2012.

How do we digest this stat? Turns out, we have digested it already

Why is this stat noteworthy? Try this: 50 Million downloads in 13 days works out to 45 downloads a second. Not many cakes are THAT hot.

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