For its Person of the Year Time magazine has selected you. It has done so in recognition of the phenomena that is Web 2.0 and in particular your "user-generated" content that populates Web 2.0 sites. That content is on auction sites (eg eBay), photo and video sharing sites (eg Flickr and YouTube), blogs (with comments), wikis (led by Wikipedia), contemporary directories, message boards or shareware (eg Technorati, Digg and Del.icio.us) and shopping sites that permit user-ratings (eg Amazon).
Those sites and other popular Websites make hay today from your content. User-contributed content dominates YouTube as well as eBay and MySpace (both of which reconfigure displayed data to localise based on your IP address). Yet, admit it, your uploaded photos, music or videos are not your own creations and hence in the full sense "user-generated". Rather, you often copy them. Nothing wrong with that if there is an applicable copyright licence, permission or statutory exception in place. User-uploaded yes, user-generated... only sometimes. So I'm thinking of taking YOUR Time title away!
Global Trends in Venture Capital 2006 Survey by Deloittle & Touche USA LLP makes interesting reading, especially the observed "fledgling" trend for US venture capital enterprises to look abroad, ie invest in non-US ventures.
That July 2006 report was sponsored by the US National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and other venture capital associations world-wide. There were 505 responses to the survey, with 45% of those from the US. The assets under management of the respondents ranged from less than US$100 million to greater than US$1 billion. Of the 505 responses 55% were based in the Americas, 24% in Europe, 17% in Asia Pacific and 4% in the Middle East.
Here's a concept from statistics to prompt thinking about your strategy in this time of extraordinary change. I just stumbled on the fact that The Long Tail is an illustration of Vilfredo Pareto's 80/20 principle. Pareto has the long beard (as pictured); Chris Anderson has the tail.
Here's what happened and why I believe the Pareto principle is useful for you to gain greater focus and invent your future during this time of turbulance and opportunity. The Pareto principle is useful for managing priorities in business and in one's personal life.
"What's he want for it?" asks Darryl in The Castle whenever he hears of someone selling odds and sods. Darryl is the "Aussie battler" father figure in this 1997 hit Australian comedy film. On hearing the numbers his stock response is: "Tell him he's dreaming."
Darryl is valuing odds and sods. To price or value a business the more useful question is "What's it worth?" It's a common question when someone wants to sell, buy, lease, license, borrow, lend, attract equity capital, partner, outsource or carry out numerous other legal transactions. There is rarely a stock answer.
The topic of valuation is taken up by two lawyers in our firm this month in practical articles in the Library section of this Website. The first article is by Daniel Dwyer and is titled 51 hints to achieve your premium business sale price.
International standardisation or at least harmonisation of law helps you go global with your intellectual property (IP).
One perspective on this is provided by an English invention - English common law. It has spread across the globe as a preferred legal system. With it intellectual property contracts have more and more adopted common law terms and references. U.S. contracting practices have played a central role here, eg in the preference for detailed provisions rather than a general statement of norms.
Achieving an optimum sale price for an enterprise isn't something that everyone thinks about when starting up their business. Like most things in life, it's far more effective if you prepare in advance.
Most facets of enterprise development are planned, whether it be a marketing plan, IT plan, overarching business plan or disaster management planning. Foreseeing the sale of your enterprise should be approached in a similar manner.
These hints provide you with some handy insight into the selling of an enterprise.
Codes of practice have been growing over many years in the Australian legal environment for business.
Though useful, they can be a problematic development in the context of legal tradition dominated as it is by two sources of law. These are of course common law (ie court decisions) and statutory law (eg Acts and regulations made by parliament).
These two great rivers of law now meet a flooded delta. The delta is flooded by numerous thin tributaries, legal and non-legal instruments bearing keywords in their titles such as code, policy, standard or even technical protocol. This post examines the flood.
As has often been observed since the early 1980s, computers and word processors have deepened the addiction of lawyers to text. Court decisions, contracts and legislation have all grown in their typical number of pages. Frankly, text is now so out of control in its sheer volume in law that business lawyers don't know business law. There's too much to read. Rivers of words issue from lawyers in numerous parliaments, courts, tribunals, and international bodies.
Senior business lawyers admit these thoughts to me in private, so I know I'm not alone, and the problem is real though it is the rare lawyer that writes about it.
What a business is worth is a financial, accounting, commercial or business question. It is not a legal question. Make a false, misleading or deceptive statement or move in reply to the question, and it may become a legal issue. It has recently become a legal issue for MySpace in the dispute over whether the valuation and sale price of US$580 million was in order.
This and the next post titled Business law: tomorrow are both experimental. Read them as works in progress. In 2007 our firm will implement various initiatives involving the use of IT to assist clients to use and comply with law. For example, we will offer legal templates and guides for sale online. For that purpose in our firm we are keen to better understand the impact of software, the Internet and Web 2.0 on law as well as the practice and use of law by clients.
While this post is largely theory, and a romp through Western and more particularly English legal history, I often find theory to be the first step towards achieving discovery of practical solutions.