Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Google and Yelp Acquisition Talks

One of the key lessons we learned in our first strategy class was - always question an acquisition. Always question whether the objectives of the acquisition could be met simply with a contract, and whether the synergy (the most over-used buzzword in the history of business, and possibly
mankind) made any sense.With this perspective, I began to analyze the recent Google - Yelp acquisition talks. I feel that the synergies associated with Yelp as part of Google do make sense, and Google should acquire Yelp, if the price is right. What do you think?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Startups Evolve: Tagga

It is said that most startups change their basic idea and/or business model atleast three times before they are successful. I recently revisited the home page of a rather interesting company I discovered about a year ago: Tagga.

As this article on Techcrunch would tell you, Tagga initially started as a company offering free way for users to launch their own SMS campaign. Thus I could for example choose a keyword (lets say CHIPMUNK. I don't know why that was the first word that came to mind. But now that it did, let's just say CHIPMUNK). I could put up signs that say 'Text CHIPMUNK to 82442' anywhere. If you did text CHIPMUNK to 82422, you will get a text reply with whatever content I wanted to distribute to you. It could be a link. The catch was that the content would be atmost 80 characters long, and it would be followed by an 80 character advertisment.

The business model was: advertisers could buy keywords for the placing their 80 character ads. So lets say I really wanted to sell nuts, I might buy the keyword CHIPMUNK. (Do chipmunks eats nuts....Whatever). Or I might just buy ads via other methods, like geographical region. Like if I want to see coats, I would buy Chicago. It's cold here.

Back to the point. Now if you visit the Tagga homepage, it says that Tagga is now an Agency Platform. In the words of the website, it 'is the ultimate opt-in direct marketing platform that is 100% focused on the agency world.' There is one problem with that - I have no idea what it means. It seems like a whole lot of jargon to me. Like synergy.

To really understand what Tagga is doing, I need to click the features button. And then read what each feature is.

To sum up, this is what I think Tagga is doing now: take the original idea, add a bunch of features, but reposition it as a white label service to help agencies launch marketing campaigns. Interesting. But why, why is it making it so difficult for ordinary people like me to understand what they are doing? Why not give a short summary of what they are doing on the homepage, rather than just throwing around buzzwords?

That's it. I have rambled way too much. Time to call it a day

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Interesting Video on Socialnomics

I don't think that Social Media is the silver bullet, as this video seems to imply. However, it is still a force to recon with. I am particularly excited about it's potential for small to medium size businesses, who get to advertise for free.

There seems to be no better example of a small business using social media, than Kogi BBQ , the Mobile Barbeque business. The company operates a fleet of vans that drive around, and post the location where they would be stopping 45 minutes before they get there. When they arrive, there is already a line of people waiting to buy food from them. These are the kinds of ideas I look at, and say 'Brilliant!!'