Skype Appoints Tony Bates As New CEO

4th October 2010

Source: Official Skype Press Release

Head of Cisco’s Enterprise Business to Run Leading Global Internet Communications Company

The Board of Directors of Skype S.A., a global technology leader that enables real-time communications over the Internet, today announced that it has named Tony Bates, Senior Vice President of Cisco, as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Bates has over 20 years of leadership experience in the communications and Internet industries, most recently as General Manager of Cisco’s Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business Division. Mr. Bates was responsible for over $20 billion of annual revenue and managed over 12,500 employees worldwide. He was the driving force behind Cisco’s three key Enterprise architectures known as Borderless Networks, DataCenter and Collaboration. Reporting to Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, Mr. Bates was a member of the senior staff responsible for charting the company’s global strategy and served on the Cisco Development Council, the Video Council, and the Enterprise Business Council.

Mr. Bates, in addition to running Cisco’s Enterprise Division, has also served as General Manager of Cisco’s Service Provider Group, responsible for annual revenue of $10 billion. An expert on Internet technologies, Mr. Bates holds nine patents and has served on the boards of a range of technology companies including YouTube, the video sharing website; TokBox, a provider of online video conference services; BubbleMotion, a voice-based messaging and blogging service; and LoveFilm, an online video streaming and rental service

“Skype is not only a powerful global brand but also a global technology leader in Internet communications,” said Mr. Bates. “There are extraordinary opportunities ahead for Skype and I am eager to lead the company through this exciting juncture in its continuing transformation. I look forward to working with Skype’s management team and talented employees to engineer the next wave of game-changing products and services for our users.”

“We are thrilled to bring on Tony Bates as Skype’s new CEO,” said Miles Flint, Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. “His record of achievement and significant operational and management expertise, cultivated over a distinguished tenure at one of the world’s preeminent technology companies, presents a unique opportunity for Skype that we are enthusiastic to embrace.”

Egon Durban, Managing Director of Silver Lake, one of the company’s investors, said “Josh Silverman, our outgoing CEO, has been instrumental in maintaining Skype’s momentum and growth. Since 2007, Skype has more than doubled its connected user base and billing minutes, introduced key new products for desktop and mobile platforms, and initiated successful partnerships with companies ranging from Avaya to Verizon. Looking ahead, we are very pleased to appoint Tony Bates as Skype’s new CEO. He has tremendous management experience at a global public company and technology leader and is uniquely qualified to lead the company in its next phase of growth.”

“I am proud to have led Skype’s growth during this critical transition period,” said Mr. Silverman. “The company today has over 560 million registered users in nearly every country and continues to develop products and services our customers love to use. With a world-class communications industry veteran like Tony, Skype is well positioned to become the communications platform of choice for consumers and businesses around the world. I look forward to supporting Tony and the team in ensuring a smooth transition.”

Adrian Dillon, Skype’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, will serve as interim CEO until Mr. Bates joins the company at the end of October.


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HP Selects New CEO

2nd October 2010

Léo Apotheker, HPs new CEO

Léo Apotheker, HP's new CEO

Posted by Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large, Fortune.com

[excerpt]

HP’s board of directors could have taken the easy way. It could have named a CEO with a proven track record of growth or innovation. Experience that spanned the bulk of HP’s revenue base would have been a plus too. It could have promoted someone from within. It might have found a young, up-and-coming executive at a major competitor who was champing at the bit to be a CEO but was blocked by one of the old guys at the top. It could have found someone with a job.

It didn’t.

Instead, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) on Thursday named former SAP (SAP) executive Léo Apotheker its new president and CEO. Apotheker, 57, served for a short time as CEO and much longer in other top roles at SAP, a company that has had its clock cleaned by the leaders in business software, Oracle (ORCL) and IBM (IBM). He left involuntarily (choose your jargon) last year after spending more than two decades at SAP.

Read full post here.

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Former eBay Boss, Meg Whitman, Accused of Mistreating Nanny

30th September 2010

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AOL Planning to Buy TechCrunch Blog

28th September 2010


Official Announcement TechCrunchTV

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Google vs Facebook

21st September 2010

By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com

[excerpt]

Google has quietly been stocking up on tools it will need to challenge Facebook in the social networking game, and says it’s on the verge of launching a “social component” to a number of its core products.

Over the past month, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) has made five acquisitions in the field: SocialDeck, a mobile social gaming company;Angstro, a social networking search application; Like.com, a social fashion store; Jambool, a social gaming virtual currency; and Slide, a social game maker. It also has a large stake in gaming giant Zynga.

But before you start to arrange the puzzle pieces, analysts say don’t bother.

“Trying to predict how Google will put everything together using acquisitions is a fool’s game,” said Josh Bernoff, analyst at Forrester Research. “It’s highly unlikely that the pieces will emerge into some form.”

Google has a habit of making acquisitions to buy up talent, not products. Bernoff believes many of the recent deals were done to pick the brains of the companies’ engineers, who have experience with social networks.

So what’s all this for?

After months of secrecy, Google finally began shedding light on its plans at last week’s Zeitgeist conference in Arizona. Schmidt told reporters that Google would not be coming out with one new social network product. Instead, it plans to will unveil social networking tools that will be woven throughout its existing products and Web applications.

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Sococo® Debuts Team Space at DEMO Fall 2010

20th September 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ — DEMO CONFERENCE –Today at DEMO Fall 2010, Sococo® debuted Sococo Team Space, a group communication service for distributed teams.   Team Space is built on Sococo’s revolutionary communication platform.  Sococo provides always-on smart spaces that help people communicate more naturally and effectively.  Smart spaces automatically connect people with multi-channel communications and also enable them to visualize where they are and what’s going on around them.

Team Space is an always-on service that promotes more effective communication.  Team Space presents an intuitive visual layout that depicts an office floor plan with individual offices, conference rooms and common areas.   Visual cues allow you to see who’s in the office, who’s busy, who’s free and who’s meeting with whom.   A simple click allows you to enter any room and be instantly connected to all those within with voice, chat, and multi-screen sharing.  Since Team Space is always-on there are never any web meetings to schedule, access codes to distribute, or delays while waiting for attendees to locate codes and join your meeting.

“It is just like working in a real office where you simply enter a co-worker’s office to speak, share ideas and share screens. I can simply tell a colleague, ‘come into my office for a minute I want to go over a document with you’ and it works!,” said Tom Radian, CTO, SkillaDo.  ”Never in all my years as an R&D manager have I worked with such an intuitive and friendly system as Sococo Team Space.”

The Sococo Service

Sococo is a new mode of online communication that uses smart spaces to connect people using audio, video, data, and custom-defined communication channels based on their virtual location.  A single click allows you to enter a virtual location where you are instantly connected to everyone there with multiple communication channels, plus a visualization that shows all the people involved and provides cues as to what they are doing.

Sococo establishes peer-to-peer or cloud mediated connections between everyone within the same virtual space, monitors those connections for quality and performance, and determines the best path to achieve the optimal user experience.

“Sococo was founded on the idea that something fundamental was needed in online communication services,” said David Van Wie, CEO and Sococo founder.   “We believe that online communications can and should provide the same kind of visual cues and interactions people experience in everyday life.  People should be able to communicate naturally and easily.”

Availability

Sococo Team Space for Windows beta is available now.  Download Team Space for Windows at www.sococo.com

Sococo Team Space for Mac OS X is currently in alpha.   If interested in Team Space for Mac OS X, please contact Sococo at www.sococo.com/contact

About Sococo

Sococo was founded in 2007 to develop technology for the rapidly restructuring telecommunications industry.  All Sococo services are built on a patented, cloud-based platform for reliable and optimal interoperability.  The company is privately-held and headquartered in Mountain View, CA. For more information, visit www.sococo.com

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Scvngr: A Game Layer on Top of the World

20th September 2010

Original article by DAVID SEGAL, NY Times

[excerpt]

IMAGINE you are a venture capitalist. One day a man comes to you and says, “I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”

You don’t know what “the game layer” is, let alone whether it should be built atop the world. But he has a passionate speech about a business plan, conceived when he was a college freshman, that he says will change the planet — making it more entertaining, more engaging, and giving humans a new way to interact with businesses and one another.

If you give him $750,000, he says, you can have a stake in what he believes will be a $1-billion-a-year company.

Interested? Before you answer, consider that the man displays many of the symptoms of a person having what psychologists call a hypomanic episode. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual — the occupation’s bible of mental disorders — these symptoms include grandiosity, an elevated and expansive mood, racing thoughts and little need for sleep.

“Elevated” hardly describes this guy. To keep the pace of his thoughts and conversation at manageable levels, he runs on a track every morning until he literally collapses. He can work 96 hours in a row. He plans to live in his office, crashing in a sleeping bag. He describes anything that distracts him and his future colleagues, even for minutes, as “evil.”

He is 21 years old.

So, what do you give this guy — a big check or the phone number of a really good shrink? If he is Seth Priebatsch and you are Highland Capital Partners, a venture capital firm in Lexington, Mass., the answer is a big check.

But this thought exercise hints at a truth: a thin line separates the temperament of a promising entrepreneur from a person who could use, as they say in psychiatry, a little help. Academics and hiring consultants say that many successful entrepreneurs have qualities and quirks that, if poured into their psyches in greater ratios, would qualify as full-on mental illness.

Which is not to suggest that entrepreneurs like Seth Priebatsch (pronounced PREE-batch) are crazy. It would be more accurate to describe them as just crazy enough.

“It’s about degrees,” says John D. Gartner, a psychologist and author of “The Hypomanic Edge.” “If you’re manic, you think you’re Jesus. If you’re hypomanic, you think you are God’s gift to technology investing.”

The attributes that make great entrepreneurs, the experts say, are common in certain manias, though in milder forms and harnessed in ways that are hugely productive. Instead of recklessness, the entrepreneur loves risk. Instead of delusions, the entrepreneur imagines a product that sounds so compelling that it inspires people to bet their careers, or a lot of money, on something that doesn’t exist and may never sell.

So venture capitalists spend a lot of time plumbing the psyches of the people in whom they might invest. It’s not so much about separating the loonies from the slightly manic. It’s more about determining which hypomanics are too arrogant and obnoxious — traits common to the type — and which have some humanity and interpersonal skills, always helpful for recruiting talent and raising money.

Some V.C.’s have personality tests to help them weed out the former. Others emphasize their toleration of mild forms of mania, if only because starting a business is, on its face, a little nuts.

“You need to suspend disbelief to start a company, because so many people will tell you that what you’re doing can’t be done, and if it could be done, someone would have done it already,” says Paul Maeder, a general partner at Highland Capital. “There are six billion human beings on this planet, we’ve been around for hundreds of thousands of years, we’re a couple hundred years into the industrial revolution — and nobody has done what you want to do? It’s kind of crazy.”

ON a recent Saturday evening, Seth Priebatsch is sitting in his office/bedroom in the 26,000-square-foot space that houses Scvngr (pronounced “scavenger”), which he founded in early 2009. Dozens of toy race cars fill a bookshelf on one wall; the other is covered with lists and drawings. The sofa where he crashes in his sleeping bag lies between the two.

He will explain the genesis of Scvngr, and offer a sort of guided tour of his mind, while sitting on a stool in his bare feet, wearing jeans and a Princeton T-shirt. A pair of Oakley sunglasses are perched, as they nearly always are, atop his head — part talisman, part personal branding.

He is lean, smiley and partial to the word “awesome,” which he uses as a noun — as in “an extra dose of awesome.” He speaks quickly and with what sounds like a Canadian accent, which seems odd because he was raised in Boston.

He first pitched Scvngr as a freshman at Princeton, to a professor linked to an annual business plan contest open to undergraduates and graduates. “I told him I wanted to build the game layer on top of the world,” Mr. Priebatsch recalls. “And he didn’t say, ‘You’re insane.’ So I said, ‘And I want everyone in the world to help me build it.’”

Scvngr won first prize, which came with $5,000 and emboldened him to apply to a seed financing company, DreamIt Ventures, which gave him $35,000. The victory also caught the eye of a venture capitalist, Peter Bell of Highland Capital, who read about Mr. Priebatsch’s prize while surfing the Web one night. Mr. Bell popped off an e-mail.

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Steve Jobs and College Journalism Student Tangle Over Email

19th September 2010

Photo Courtesy of Ben Stanfield/Flickr

Photo Courtesy of Ben Stanfield/Flickr

By Adrian Chen, Gawker.com

(Read from the bottom up)

From: Steve Jobs
To: XXXX@my.liu.edu
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 18:27:36 -0700
Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs – Student Journalist Concerned about Apple’sMediaRelations Dept.

Please leave us alone.

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 16, 2010, at 5:32 PM, XXXX@my.liu.edu wrote:

> You’re absolutely right, and I do meet your criteria for being a customer who deserves a response:
>
> 1. I AM one of your 300 million users.
> 2. I DO have a problem; I need answers that only Apple Media Relations can answer.
>
> Now, can they kindly respond to my request (my polite and friendly voice can be heard in the first 5 or 10 messages in their inbox). Please, I am on deadline.
>
> I appreciate your help.
>
>
> Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
>
> ——-Original Message——-
> From: Steve Jobs
> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 17:10:12
> To: XXXX@my.liu.edu
> Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs – Student Journalist Concerned about Apple’s
> MediaRelations Dept.
>
> Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can’t respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry.
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Sep 16, 2010, at 4:37 PM, XXXX@my.liu.edu wrote:
>
>> Thank you for your reply. I never said that your goal should be to “help me get a good grade.” Rather, I politely asked why your media relations team does not respond to emails, which consequently, decreases my chances of getting a good grade. But, forget about my individual situation; what about common courtesy, in general —- if you get a message from a client or customer, as an employee, isn’t it your job to return the call? That’s what I always thought. But I guess that’s not one of your goals. Yes, you do have a creative approach, indeed.
>> Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
>>
>> ——-Original Message——-
>> From: Steve Jobs
>> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 16:19:13
>> To: XXXX@my.liu.edu
>> Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs – Student Journalist Concerned about Apple’s Media
>> Relations Dept.
>>
>> Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>> On Sep 16, 2010, at 3:22 PM, XXXX@my.liu.edu wrote:
>>
>>> Dear Mr. Jobs,
>>>
>>> As a college student, I can honestly say that Apple has treated me very well; my iPod is basically the lifeline that gets me through the day, and thanks to Apple’s Final Cut Pro, I aced last semester’s video editing project. I was planning to buy a new Apple computer to add to my list of Apple favorites.
>>>
>>> Because I have had such good experiences as a college student using Apple products, I was incredibly surprised to find Apple’s Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist.
>>>
>>> For my journalism course, I am writing an article about the implementation of an iPad program at my school, the CW Post Campus of Long Island University.
>>>
>>> The completion of this article
>>> is crucial to my grade in the class, and it may potentially get published in our university’s newspaper. I had 3 quick questions regarding iPads, and wanted to obtain answers from the most credible source: Apple’s Media Relations Department.
>>>
>>> I have called countless times throughout the week, leaving short, but detailed, messages which included my contact information and the date of my deadline. Today, I left my 6th message, which stressed the increasingly more urgent nature of the situation. It is now the end of the business day, and I have not received a call back. My deadline is tomorrow.
>>>
>>> Mr. Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company’s helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance.
>>>
>>> For colleges nationwide, Apple is at the forefront of improving the way we function in the academic environment, increasing the efficiency of conducting academic research, as well as sharing and communicating with our college communities.
>>>
>>> With such an emphasis on advancing our education system, why, then, has Apple’s Media Relations team ignored my needs as a student journalist who is just trying to get a good grade?
>>>
>>> In addition to the hypocrisy of ignoring student needs when they represent a company that does so much for our schools, the Media Relations reps are apparently, also failing to responsibly handle the inquiries of professional journalists on deadlines. Unfortunately, for a journalist in the professional world, lacking the answers they need on deadline day won’t just cost them a grade; it could cost them their job.
>>>
>>> Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
>>>
>>> Sincerely,
>>>
>>> Chelsea Kate Isaacs
>>> Senior
>>> CW Post – Long Island University
>>>
>>> Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Happy Making $36,000 A Year Working For Amazon

17th September 2010

by Henry Blodget in Investing, Tales of the Valley

[excerpt]

One of the most striking Internet success stories in recent years is Zappos, the $1+ billion e-commerce business which was bought last year by Amazon.

But, as is often the case, the Zappos empire was not created overnight. Ten years ago, the online retailer known for selling shoes was actually desperate for sales. It wasn’t until a young Tony Hsieh came aboard in 1999 — as a business consultant and investor — did that all begin to change.

Hsieh’s unorthodox approach to company culture turned Zappos not only into a very lucrative business, but one beloved by customers and employees alike. He was named CEO in 2000 and attributes Zappos’ success to sticking by the company’s core values, which were designed to make employees happy.

“Our number one priority at Zappos is company culture. Our belief is that if we get the culture right most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand for the company will happen naturally on its own,” says Hsieh who is also the author of a new book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose.”

Hsieh, 36, has stayed CEO of Zappos, despite making a salary that one would normally associate with an entry-level customer-service rep–$36,000 a year. Hsieh has been so successful as an entrepreneur that money no longer motivates him. What does, he says, is continuing to develop the company and culture that the Zappos team built over the past decade. And, so far, Amazon has allowed him to do that.

He must be on to something: Fortune magazine named Zappos #15 on its annual ranking of “Best Companies to Work For” at the beginning of the year.

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Fraudulent Deal on Groupon Exposed

16th September 2010

Techcrunch.com:

[excerpt]

A photography deal offered on Groupon in Atlanta yesterday turned messy when it was revealed that the photographer had promoted her work with stolen images and was far from equipped to carry out the terms of the Groupon.

Groupon user SP, who called attention to the fishiness of the Dana Dawes Photography deal in the first place, brought up the following interesting point in the discussion thread.

“Groupon – one major clue that the business is fraudulent is if they offer a deal like this, that cannot be physically fulfilled by a true professional photographer. I’ve seen these deals pop up countless times on groupon, and no one is verifying that these are legitimate businesses that can fulfill their promises. It is physically impossible for a pro photog full time to do 1,000 sessions in a year (and on location at that).”

Read full article.

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