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Working @ZonneDelen (WeShareSolar) / Investing / Networks / Economics / Innovation / Karma / pretends to be a Triathlete

The development of social networks

The development of social networks in Google terms. I just played a little around with Google Trends. In my eyes there are remarkable trend lines with the chosen networks, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Instagram and LinkedIn.

google trends - social media network trendline

google trends – social media network trendline 2012 2014

Facebook didn’t fit into the graph above because it ‘outshined’ all others, but also an interesting fact: It is down around 25% in search volume if compared with January 2013. I guess a large part can be explained due to the shift to mobile. A lot of Chrome users just type in Facebook instead of the complete URL address. But the other platforms don’t have this much of a drop (or better: rise ), Twitter has the same figure as Facebook by the way.

Google Trends - Facebook search terms trendline 2012 2014

Google Trends – Facebook search terms trendline 2012 2014

And at the same time Distimo delivers another report that shows how gigantic Facebook is. The four (4!) most downloaded free apps on Android are all property of Facebook (Facebook, Whatsapp, Facebook messenger and Instagram).

Some conclusions

  1. itself isn’t a populair as it used to be, but with Facebook unbundling strategy it owns social in every way possible.
  2. Like Google bought a gem with YouTube, Facebook found the gold with Instagram.
  3. Not really visible on the graph above but SnapChat made a hit with its new video and chat function. 
  4. Snapchat is the only (Western) social network that is independent. (Hello Alibaba billions from Yahoo! )

What do you see?

LinkedIn future

The future of LinkedIn

I used to hate the LinkedIn platform. More explained in this Linkedin blogpost. I’m still convinced of the business case of LinkedIn with three different revenue streams. So I did what I wrote before:

“Best thing to do is short Facebook and go long LinkedIn – be market neutral with these high levels of valuation.”

And yes that is still a position with red numbers.

Since then I have read more about LinkedIn, used it more. Even advertised on LInkedIn for some customers. And for the time being: This is a perfect business network. They still irritate me when using it. But it develops, and is getting better over time. Mobile works great. I love Slideshare. And at the same time I don’t see all my friends on the platform. That is a huge negative.

LinkedIn information

What I find really strong is that with founding LinkedIn all current steps where already mentioned by its founder. Reid Hoffman explains it perfectly in this blogpost and slideshare.

And now I just came across this video below from the current LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner. Explaining where Linkedin currently stands and how it sees the future. Or better, the next ten years.

The LinkedIn platform gains more and more ground to be a business content publisher, and is currently rolling out the option to have your personal blog on your profile. LinkedIn wants to make an economic graph of the world. It can do so if it continues to attract working professionals. “We simple need scale”. 

And I guess that is what is the biggest challenge for LinkedIn. Getting a better footprint in Asia. Besides India that is currently the second biggest country on the LinkedIn list.

So far it is fulfilling its mission: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. 


The absurt high levels of $240 per share were too much the last time I wrote about LinkedIn. Now at a price of $140,- it is still high but more reasonable. LinkedIn current value is 17 billion dollar. Around the price Facebook paid for WhatsApp, (although that price also came down with Facebook shares being down 20%). But LinkedIn also got more than 2 billion on cash reserves. 

So if I calculate with a enterprise value of 15 billion than each member is currently valued at 50 dollar (Facebook $110).  But also a market value of 10 times revenues. Far from cheap. But I see many more revenue streams from this business network. A B2B lead is simply far more valuable than all Facebook advertising could bring in imho. Facebook has a really big lock-in with, Instagram & WhatsApp. But a professional network takes longer to build up. And so there is also a lock-in. Up to you if the user life time value (LTV) is above $50. The Future will decide.

Disclaimer: Long Linkedin < short position Facebook. 

Clockwork billable hour

Let’s kill the billable hour

Let’s kill the billable hour. Love the thought. (Although I even brought it to the my current employer to have some form of measurement).

Time tracking is in my system now (took a while), but I hate to write down my hours into the billing system. There is a fundamental flaw in doing so. And this guy Jon Lax is explaining this perfectly, where it came from, what is wrong with it and not so much how it can be done.

Worth watching

My personal thoughts on this:

We can measure costs (the billable hour). The input part of the equation. But it is way more difficult to explain ‘value added’. This can be done with a different models:

  1. no cure no pay
  2. dependent on the sponsor to make the indication (pay what you want)
  3. fixed price.
  4. percentage of extra sales from base

The most important thing is: culture. If you manage on time it is the most important metric instead of quality and adding value.

(Video via Matthijs Roumen.)

Web-based business models

Online changes the game of doing business. Old models fail, new models rise.

This Slideshare from Eduardo Larrain is worth taking your time. It shows the impact of online with business models, erasing boundaries and going forward into businesses that we can expect. And it seems, there is much more volatility into these models.

From old business models (22 different ones explained) to even a bigger set of models all due to the fact that the marginal costs of digital is close to zero. From Michael Porter to the business model canvas of Twitter. All included.

Normally i want only new stuff here to ‘shine’ but this deck is so full of information. I had to back it up this and give it a platform.

Enjoy! – chart making made easy

We are visually minded. A picture says more than a thousand words. Or a chart. And because of that we have large stacks of data that we show in charts to comprehend the differences and growth.

To make a chart is actually really made simple. In a few steps you have your chart ready to publish online. If you have your data ready in an excel or CSV file you just can upload them to this online tool to create your graph.

Like they say on the website:

Datawrapper is an open source tool to enable the creation of basic, correct charts for the web. Anyone in need of a modern chart can use this tool.

Within a few steps you have your modern chart.

  1. You upload your data.
  2. Change the color scheme if you want, highlight the most important part.
  3. Tell you story within the graph
  4. Publish it into the format you want and you get your embed code to show in your content online. .

Below I made a chart of all the startups listed in Europe on as an example.

CEO impact

It will normally take three years for a CEO to see his or her hand of the decisions he/she made during their leadership. Not if you bring along a lot of expectations. It took Jobs a lot of time to repair his Apple company. He came back in 1996, but it was only visible in 1999 (during the internet bubble) that Apple stock went up. (This is also an argument that doesn’t work for those short term bonuses.)

And sometimes is it quickly visible that a CEO has a negative impact on the companie value.

apple graph

Almost three years after mister Jobs died, Apple announced again a new iPad and other products. TIm Cook is a long time CEO now. But the time Jobs ruled the company is just a bit longer than three years. It is the pure magic of the current Apple team, not any longer a flavour of Jobs. Is it accidental that the stock has peaked and is almost 30% down from it’s top on 700 dollar.

The magic is still there. But not on the highest level that used to be the case. While Apple and the valuation of the company gives no space for mistakes or a lower margin. The profit margin is huge right now. And difficult to keep this high for very long time in such a competitive space.


Shopping for clothes

I dont fancy shopping for clothes. (Yes women, some men have that). You have to go in and out of stores. That always seems to be too hot and with too much airconditioning. Always dress and undress to try all different kinds of cloths. Always having trouble with the right seizes. While we are all so different in posture and seizes we are divided in four ‘silos’ (S, M, L, XL). Which also often are different per brand.

In this world that is getting more and more personalized I don’t get what clothing companies do. Or don’t do. There should be a market between the tailor and the online clothing shop for personalized items. What I don’t get is why my body isn’t measured, it must be possible to do that automatically via pictures or a video. Or do it yourself. (or ar least that can’t be the barrier).

All clothing companies could do the work of a real tailor with all the technology we have in our possessions. We can make a 3d printed shoe Why can’t we order online all the cloths from H&M, Zara in our perfect size. That will exactly match our bodies. We (the customers) are still being put in four large containers of sizes (S, M, L, XL) while we all have different bodies and seizes.

I get that it is a miracle by itself that we can buy clothes for something like 20 euro. It is a real efficient value chain. But who is the first to make a difference? And besides being first, it is probably lowering the returns for online shopping dramatically too because no more wondering which size to choose.

Win-Win-Win situation. I don’t have to go to local stores for clothes. Lower return from online shopping. Better fitting clothes.

Who can tell me why it isn’t already in place?

The reputation economy is the foundation of the sharing economy

A good reputation takes long to build up. And it can be erased in a few moments, a few decisions and you can be all the way to the bottom (or even below)

Your history forms you. And internet remembers your history. Everything. No escape. There is a lot of commotion about one fundamental part of the sharing economy. You cannot decide what you give away of your privacy. It is all or nothing. Your behaviour is recorded online: all collected and used in the reputation economy.

On the bright side. We can now build up a network, a reputation that will solve a lot of trouble for the internet that is too big to be a real community. A movement that will make the middle man disappear. Who used to be necessary to make a deal. A community should not be too large. (different topic; will blog about it another time).

We believe in others online. We trust complete strangers online because they have already experienced the product/ shops/ items/ service before (if they don’t get paid to do it).  It is a way to persuade you to buy stuff when you cannot check it in a different way.

We can give reviews to everything. We did so for restaurants. For books. For apps. And now even for persons. I got a review when I enjoyed an airBnB spot. I gave a review to the driver from Uber. All personal reviews. Public feedback. All part of a bigger sum that gives a ‘metric’ of how good you are.

A reputation economy is needed for all of us to make a sharing economy happen. We exchange our lifes and privacy for cheaper alternatives (and will let the middle man vanish). Be aware.

Digital money

I didn’t use any cash during my Iceland trip. That is really really convenient during your travels. At the same time I really didn’t know how much I was spending. This is ofcourse always the luxery when being abroad in a country with a different currency. But now it is even more untouchable. No cash at hand, a foreing currency, an exchange ratio not totally clear. Only pay by plastic. Ingredients for trouble. A little shock for me when the credit card was charged. Not that bad. But more than I expected.

Can the future generations make a difference between 1 euro and 10 euro if all they know is this number on their mobile screen? That number which corresponds to their current savings (or better; loans). It doesn’t give any emotional reaction to spending, like it does with spending actual cash money. No attachment to the hard work that went into it, to buy the stuff.

Research (by Prelec and Simester) has shown that spending with your credit card doesn’t give the same emotional reaction as with cash. And people are even willing to offer higher prices due to the fact that the don’t feel the pain of spending. That’s why credit card company are so big. And a lot of people come into troubles.

But I guess we have a huge problem if this virtual number is all we ever are going see. How should coming generations coop with this? No emotions attached. We as humans are simple not able to give any emotion to a digital number.

That is a problem!

South Park episode And it’s gone! from floui on Vimeo.

Intention economy

We leave all kind of different trails online of our live. What websites we visit. Which Facebook pages we like. Clicks on emails we get. That is a online trail we are making without noticing.
Sometimes we have such a passion for things we like. We want to express it. We want to share it with the world. We make a trail on purpore. That is exactly what Amazon is after. For them that is really interesting information.

So they bought both GoodReads and Shelfari. Book / library apps where you can show your current list of books you have read. But not only that. also can also add your wishlist of ‘want to read’.

Offtopic: I had a discussion about the best online tool to show off your offline library in a digital world. I once made the mistake of taking the wrong tool. Both owned by amazon but I had to switch from Shelfari to GoodReads app. Better alignment with the Amazon database and a greater community. Although the desktop version is not a beautiful as the Shelfari website.

Amazon did buy these tools. And it got a reason to do so. This TechCrunch article of the takeover of GoodRead sums it al up

The company also shared an interesting stat, which might have sealed the deal for Amazon:
In the last 90 days, Goodreads members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads.
With over 16 million users? You do the math.

It is so much more easy to convince your customers what to buy if they already indicated what they want. Surprised that and Amazon both have a wish list for you?

Which other signals are there to pick up on? So obvious as sharing our next books to read? Some other items i can think about;

  • Which countries to travel?
  • Which movies to watch?

But probably a lot more.

Sometimes marketing and sales is really easy. Just ask the consumer what he/she wants to have. These are just obvious hits for these kind of companies to chase you on.
(And this kind of data is really valuable: could be a separate business model for startups)