Google and History

I am very impressed with Google's recent launch of its News Archives Search. Basically, in partnership with major content owners, Google is indexing newspaper and magazine articles going back to the 18th century. I spent an hour doing various searches and found the content very interesting, although a lot of the historic newspaper content is full of typos and OCR errors, and much of the best content is available only for a fee. Over time, more and more good historical content will be free. The Time Magazine content is very useful.

Changes at Provo Labs: Returning to the Original Vision

A month or so ago I held a difficult meeting with all the employees at Provo Labs. I started the meeting by admitting that I had made some mistakes in the past six months. Specifically, our burn rate got too high as we hired too many people, particularly developers. Our sales and marketing investments weren't sufficient enough to cover our overhead. And more importantly, we weren't creating dedicated teams for each new company idea, and giving the team members equity and letting them take risks along with the investor (Provo Labs), risks such as lower-than market salary. Instead, we were paying full salaries, and not giving options out, and shifting people from project to project. We should always be in bootstrap mode and we should not try to do so many things at once.

Happenings

  • Yesterday was our best FundingUniverse.com board meeting ever, in the wake of another successful speed-pitching event. The team is energized and the company should be profitable soon (maybe October or November). Then, it will have an indefinite runway on which to launch new products and services for entrepreneurs and angel investors. Great job, team!
  • 10Speed Media, our video-based affiliate network led by CEO Erik Johnson (formerly with iBahn), rated very high at the speed-pitching event. Getting good feedback from attendees is a great motivator.