Legoland and RFID

Here’s an interesting article on how Legoland Denmark is using RFID on wristbands to help parents keep track of their children. In the next few years companies will spend billions on RFID for supply chain management, potentially saving hundreds of billions of dollars in costs, according to the Yankee Group.

As passive RFID tags become ubiquitous, some contemplate the Big Brother scenarios and the continued erosion of privacy. But what positive benefits can we anticipate which may improve our quality of life and the efficiency of the marketplace?

I own several books on the history of the bar code. Can someone recommend a book for me on how RFID will impact business and life in the coming years?

United Online Acquires Classmates

United Online is paying $100 million in cash for Classmates, the leading service for re-connecting people to their high school friends (in a way, it’s a social networking site–it just doesn’t utilize the six degrees of separation theory the way the newer services do).

United’s market cap is in the $500 million range. It is apparently trying to purchase more subscription services. Earlier this year it purchased About Web Services, an Orem-based hosting company (formerly known as Freeservers). Both Classmates and About Web Services have huge numbers of users. The question is will United Online know how to run and grow these businesses, or will they fail to execute? Time will tell.

Google Passes Yahoo in Market Cap

I’ve been predicting recently that Google would pass Yahoo’s market cap by the end of this year. It happened today. Here’s a Reuter’s story. Microsoft is worth $300 billion. Google is worth $50 billion. Yahoo is worth $48 billion. It’s a very interesting race. And its great for consumers. Thanks Google for “not being evil” and for forcing other companies to play by your rules and provide more and more value to consumers.

Shopping.com IPO

Shopping.com has raised more than $124 million in its IPO, pricing shares at $18, after upping its range to $16-18. The Israel-based company is the 4th largest shopping destination online. It had $42 million in revenue and $3.8 million in net income during the first six months of 2004.

I read yesterday that all Internet IPOs this year are trading above their opening price. It’s definitely survival of the fittest.

Connect Magazine

Connect Magazine (which covers the Utah high tech scene) invited me to write a column every month for their excellent publication. My first article comes out next week. It’s about the importance of angel investors. Upcoming topics include: tools for 21st century entrepreneurs and search engine marketing. Subscribe to Connect.

Let me know what you would like addressed in future issues.

Utah 100–Fastest Growing Companies for 2004

Mountain West Venture Group honored the 100 fastest growing companies in Utah yesterday at the Grand America Hotel. Senator Bob Bennett gave a keynote speech about entrepreneurship and creating jobs. He complains that most senators are lawyers and don’t even understand something as straightforward to a small business owner as a K-1 form and the tax rates associated with partnerships and S-Corporations. As a former businessman, he has tried to raise their awareness of small business issues.

MyFamily.com, with more than $100 million in revenue last year, was noticeably absent from the top 100 list. I can only surmise that the company didn’t want to provide detailed financial information before its IPO. (This is just my personal conjecture.) It should be on the Inc 500 list which is just coming out,

UITA Hall of Fame

My favorite annual event in Utah is the UITA Hall of Fame dinner. Last night the latest inductee into the Utah Information Technology Associaton’s Hall of Fame was Kevin Rollins, CEO of Dell Computer. The evening was grand.

The UITA Hall of Fame now includes:

  • Alan Ashton, WordPerfect (1999)
  • David Evans, Pioneer in Computer Graphics

Skype: Increasing Returns

More than 28 million people have downloaded Skype, the free voice over IP service from the makers of KaZaA. I use it to talk with web developers and business partners. We haven’t yet used the free conference calling service (up to 5 people simultaneously). For that we use www.freeconferencecall.com. There is no added fee for this service–every participant just pays a normal long distance rate. This is a super convenient service.

What I’m excited about today, is SkypeOut. I paid 10 euros to get an account with SkypeOut which lets me call any phone in the world. For most countries my billing rate is .017 euros per minute or about 2.15 cents per minute. Today I called people in California and Canada at this rate. The voice quality was excellent.

I’m blogging to give Skype this advice: please allow me to import all the phone numbers in my Outlook file to Skype. I’m lazy. Often I use my cell phone (a Blackberry 7230 from RIM) to make phone calls because all my contacts are one click away. It’s almost instantaneous. I don’t like dialing 10 digits on a desktop phone. If Skype could give me one click access to all my contacts, my usage would skyrocket.

I still hope Google will acquire Skype, as I blogged months ago. I can’t imagine a more distruptive combination.

Ross Mayfield, CEO of SocialText was quoted in Business Week this week as saying that “the infrastructure costs [for a startup company] are a tenth of what they used to be.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Turning Comments Back On

A few months ago I had to turn off the comments on my blog because the comment counter from Radio Userland was slowing the site down too much.

Today I’ve turned the comments back on. Radio Userland CEO Scott Young says the speed issue has been resolved. This is Radio is good blogging software in case you want to publish your own blog on your own domain. It costs only $39.95. Their tech support has always been responsive to me. (Thanks, Lawrence!) In addition to comments, I’m going to be adding a Blog Roll soon.

I can’t wait to start reading your comments once again!