February 2007
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Circle of Experts

Brain Food Blog
Posts in General

Tools and resources from the Nitron Advisors team. We tend to blog about investing, leadership, management, career acceleration, personal productivity, securities research, and online networks.

February 14, 2007

Social Media attacking Big Media

Posted in General, Social Software
by David Teten @ 11:26 am —

Social media, user-generated content, digital egalitarianism … big media has a big problem

… The second tectonic shift that rocked the Internet in recent days came from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that allows visitors to create and edit roughly 1.5 million entries in over 35 languages. The site’s name stems from old school programmer Ward Cunningham’s invention of the first wiki, which originally drew its name from the Hawaiian word “wiki,” which means quick. In the case of Wikipedia, this refers to the site’s facilitation of quick collaboration between users in the creation of informational pages. On Monday, Wales unveiled a new, free-hosting service called OpenServing, a site that will offer free hosting and use of the powerful Wikia software to anyone interested in creating a community site. The kicker: Wales intends to make this all available while permitting users to keep 100 percent of any advertising revenue they earn on their site from ad networks such as Google Adsense.


February 3, 2007

Update on Jigsaw, marketplace for business contact information

Posted in General, Social Software, Career Acceleration
by David Teten @ 11:16 pm —

I enjoyed meeting with Jim Fowler yesterday, CEO of Jigsaw (our wiki profile). Jigsaw is a marketplace for business contact information. It’s very useful for salespeople, recruiters, researchers, jobseekers, and so on.

Some noteable data points:

+ We know from our (Nitron Advisors‘) own experience that the problem with most traditional list services is that their data is often out-of-date, whereas Jigsaw has attracted a community who are motivated to cleanse the data on their behalf. 80% of Jigsaw phone numbers are direct dial, in part because of their approach to gathering data.

+ Most Jigsaw revenues come from recruiters and financial advisors. 50% of revenue is from corporate clients, who find the data cleansing service that Jigsaw offers particularly valuable. All of Salesforce’s salesforce uses Jigsaw . Only a small percentage of corporate customers upload data, but Jim sees that percentage increasing over time.

+ 1/4 of revenue is from resellers/partners — you can see a list at .

+ He’s identified several competitors:, 7 Chinese competitors. Jim claims that he is the only player with significant traction.

+ As with all social networks, Jigsaw has some users who abuse the system. So like all data vendors, Jigsaw has started to insert dummy records to track abuse, resale, and so on of their data.

+ Jim claims that some corporate sales brokers have stopped selling databases with emails, because of their concern that their lists will end up on Jigsaw.

+ Although many people (Michael Arrington, Rafe Nadleman) are critical of Jigsaw on privacy grounds, to date only 200 people have asked to be removed from Jigsaw, and >2500 people have asked to be added to Jigsaw so they can proactively manage their data.

+ The database is used heavily; 70% of all contacts in the system are "bought" at least once a year.

+ Jim claims that the people who are really hurt by Jigsaw are CEOs like him and me, because it makes executive recruiters more efficient—so that they can steal our employees more readily. He says "As soon as we’re cash flow positive [this year], I’ve told all our employees that we’re giving free lunches every day. We have to do what Google does, because I know that so many people are working hard to recruit our employees."

February 1, 2007

What is your greatest weakness? 3 smart replies

Posted in General, Career Acceleration
by David Teten @ 3:55 pm —

Annie Fisher quotes Ben Dattner, who suggests:

1. Focus the discussion on how you’ve improved over time.

2. Talk about how the job you’re applying for will help you stretch and build your skills.

3. Describe a valuable piece of advice someone gave you, and how it has helped your career.


January 31, 2007

Ten Ways To Take Advantage of Web 2.0

Dion Hinchcliffe reports on “Ten Ways To Take Advantage of Web 2.0“.

One of the questions I get asked fairly frequently is how people can leverage Web 2.0 techniques in their applications and infrastructure today. Now that it’s getting more well known, more people seem to be actively interested in making immediate, practical use of Web 2.0 ideas.

On a related note, the new meta-search tool Zuula looks very useful. (via Shally)

January 24, 2007

Insider Guide to Resume Writing

Posted in General, Leadership and Management, Career Acceleration
by David Teten @ 9:50 am —

Via Barbara Safani:

Career Hub, a career advice blog I contribute to, recently launched their second free ebook, Insider’s Guide to Resume Writing. The free download is

January 23, 2007

Big Media Crush on Social Networking

Posted in General, Social Software, Public Markets Investing
by David Teten @ 10:12 am —

Big Media’s Crush on Social Networking:

Sony, for instance, paid $65 million for a video-sharing site called and started a nifty service through which you can load your favorite clip from one of its movies — say, Jack Nicholson barking, “You can’t handle the truth” at Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men” — onto your MySpace or Facebook page.

Over the last few weeks, other media companies have accelerated their efforts in social networking. For example, the Hearst Corporation on Jan. 8 bought a small company called And the Walt Disney Company, the CBS Corporation, Viacom and NBC have all been busy planning new social networking features for their various Web sites.

more at the NY Times

January 19, 2007

Sports and entrepreneurship

Posted in General, Personal Productivity, Leadership and Management, Career Acceleration
by David Teten @ 10:48 am —

“For CEOs and CEOs-to-be, sports may be a more effective training ground than any business school, according to both psychologists and entrepreneur athletes themselves.”

January 18, 2007

The U.S. government wants to subsidize your phone calls

Posted in General, Social Software, Personal Productivity
by David Teten @ 2:23 pm —

Thanks to some regulatory arbitrage, AllFreeCallswill let you make phone calls to many foreign countries for free. Dial 712-858-8094, and at the prompt dial 011, the country code you are calling, and the number you wish to call. Easy.

Some of the bloggers writing about this call this “free”, but that’s a bit misleading. Because AllFreeCalls is taking advantage of certain government subsidies, you as a taxpayer are really paying for this call.

January 11, 2007

Pros and cons of online networks

Posted in General, Social Software
by David Teten @ 10:12 am —

Via recruiting expert Shally Stackerl, the pros and cons of sites like LinkedIn, Spoke, and Plaxo .

January 3, 2007

E-commerce/Consumer Tech Dinners in Chicago & San Francisco

Posted in General, Events
by David Teten @ 6:51 pm —

I thought that some of our readers might be interested and qualified to attend one of our upcoming private hedge fund dinners.


Seeking Ecommerce/Consumer Tech Experts for Chicago and San Francisco Hedge Fund Dinners
January 2007


Nitron Advisors is organizing a series of dinners for e-commerce and consumer technology experts to talk with major hedge fund investors interested in this sector. These invitation-only events will be taking place in Chicago on January 16 and San Francisco on January 17. We will compensate you for flight expenses, and pay you an honorarium for joining us.

We’re looking for senior industry executives and other experts with the following backgrounds:

Consumer Technology

+ Personal computers (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, etc.)
+ Flash memory (SanDisk, Kingston, Corsair, etc.)
+ MP3 Players (Apple, Creative, Archos, etc.)
+ GPS Systems (Garmin, TomTom, etc.)
+ Mobile telephones (Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Blackberry, etc.)
+ Distributors (Ingram Micro, Arrow Electronics, Synnex Corp, Tech Data Corporation)

Ecommerce areas of interest:
+ Online specialty retail (eBay, Amazon, Blue Nile, Overstock, Audible)
+ Online auctions (power sellers on eBay, other auction sites)
+ Search engine space (Google, Yahoo, MSN)
+ Consumer generated media/free video hosting services (YouTube, MSN Video, Yahoo Video, Google Video)
+ Online advertising/marketing (ValueClick, 24/7 Real Media, aQuantive)
+ Lead generation players (Autobytel Inc, Move Inc, Bankrate, IAC InterActiveCorp, HouseValues, etc.)
+Online media (PRIMEDIA, New York Times/, etc.)

Qualifications: As an expert, you have at least four years senior experience in the eCommerce space or consumer tech space. You have a “big picture” perspective on different firms in the space.

If you are not already a member of our Circle of Experts, please visit and apply to be a member of the Nitron Advisors Circle of Experts. Please contact Mr. Jesse Mandell, 1-212-682-6455, JMandell(AT), with any questions. Please note that we must review your bio and talk with you before we can accept you for the dinner.