Web Business

Raising the bar of web development

For anyone involved in web projects it's interesting to follow the development of services that are really raising the bar of what has been done before. I believe there are two interesting areas to follow right now; Web Office and Application Creation.

As a coincidence two different blogs today have put together overview of those.

Web Office
Those are the ones aiming to (in the long run) compete with Microsoft Office, for example Googles Docs & Spreadsheet and ZoHo. The Read and Write blog has a great overview in this post.

Application creation 
Not an application itself, rather a platform to build your own application without programming skills. Read more about it this post by the Techcrunch blog.

Google Apps is not about features

The 22th of february could be remembered as the G-day, the day Google released their Apps Premium service including already avaliable products. However, in this package they are free of ads, larger storage and tech support. See more coverage at TechCrunch or Cnet.

The most interesting point for me isn't a feature comparison with the Microsoft package (there is still a long way to go), which has been around since 1989, but more the fact that more and more business are moving to using the Internet as a platform for their business (and that Google starts charging for their services). Listen to a number of large business on their view of G-Apps.

One aspect often raised is if it's secure enough to have ones data on, for example, Googels servers. Find out more at those Zdnet blogs entries, the first  and the other.


Listen to your future customers/colleges

Are you wondering how your future customers (or colleges) are using new technology? Take a look at this video from a the Churchill Club event 'Next Generation Innovation' , run by Guy Kawasaki, interviewing youngsters about their use of mobiles, Internet and PC.









First of all, everyone in marketing should take notice (even though marketing won't go away, your next campaign may need to be different), but not to far away these young people will start looking for employers and a place to live. How do you attract them?

Source:  Drew Meyers blog

Don't understand the On Demand model?

Check out this video from the Salesforce "Future of Software" event in London on the 13th September. (There could be a need for a leaving contact information to see it.)


The event is two hours, but you're able to jump between the different parts.

Marc on the SaaS model:  fast forward to 64 minutes in to the presentation
Click on the Carbon Trust in the menu and wait to Marc is back. It's also possible to click in the timeline box to jump in the presentation.

A business case:    take a look at the Total Jobs presentation (by the way, this guy has brilliant presentation skills!)


Source: found the video at the "Where is the upside?" blog

Simplicity or Easier to use?

Found an interesting entry on the 37signals blog about simplicity.

"Imagine a world in which software companies simplified their programs every year by shipping with 10% fewer features at 10% higher cost due to the expense of simplification. For the consumer to get less and pay more seems to contradict sound economic principles…Yet in spite of the logic of demand, “simplicity sells.”

It's an interesting point, but I would go for a strategy to make the product 10% easier to use for every year. Not necessarily taking away functionality.

Salesforce sets a new standard in product rollout

It's common for business to talk about how they communicate with their users and listening to them, but the question is if anyone is doing it more then Salesforce.

With their upcoming Winter 07 release they have created a new channel, ideas.salesforce.com, where they "plan to release details of new features for you to view, vote and comment upon... our product managers will be on hand to read and respond to your comments, one-on-one".  (Read more about it at SalesforceWatch.)


How do you communicate with your clients?


Alma Media acquires Bovision.se

According to Dagens Industri (Swedens largest economical newspaper), the Finnish media corporation Alma Media has purchased the Swedish sites Bovision.se and Objektvision.se. (The news site What.se quotes unnamed sources that the price was between 20 to 30 million SEK.)

Bovision is a listing of residential houses with 130 000 visitors per week. The runner up on the Swedish market after Hemnet.se. Objektvision lists commercial properties for lease and has 8 000 visitors per week. The article states that the revenue was 17 million SEK (2,4 million USD).

The press release from Alma Media includes the statement "online internet sites for business and residential premises had a market size in Sweden of roughly EUR 150 million in 2005. Price levels of home-buying internet services are lower today in Sweden than in Finland and Norway".

Online listing for residential will be an interesting field to follow when Hemnet.se (owned by the brokers themselves through the brokerage organisations FMF and Mäklarsamfundet) surely will make the most of it to protect their position.



Property investment company purchases an online community

Sten Mörtstedt, CEO of CLS Holdings plc (a property investment company), places a bid to buy the rest of Lunarstorm for 170 million SEK (roughly 18,2 million EUR). His interested in the company started in 2001 when he invested 15 million SEK for 30% of the company.

The aim is to go internationally
After years of talk Lunarstorm started last autumn to expand by launching the service in UK. Read more here.  According to an article in Dagens Industri on Saturday "they will invest a few hundred million SEK the coming years to launch the service in Europe, US and China".

I believe the timing of the purchase has to do with the growing focus on similar services in the US. The biggest is MySpace. Bought by News Corp, the company run by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, nine months ago for $580m. The story told in CNN. Another one is FaceBook which is apparently on the market according to BusinessWeek. I bet the value of those companies is attracting the interest to grow something similar on this side of the pond.

Lunarstorm is Sweden's leading youth oriented community service with over 900 000 members logging in to their service every week. Roughly 80% of the youths between 12-17 years are using their service! The revenue was 71 million SEK last year with a profit of 14,9 million SEK.

Further reading see the article in the Herald Tribune (200511-28).
IDG wrote earlier this year a story about how they managed to start charging for their service. (Only in Swedish)

About communities
Last December BusinessWeek wrote an article on the culture of youth communities. More on the topic is found in the blog of Danah Boyd who recently had a speech about "Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace" .

More about Sten Mörtstedt and CLS
"Sten Mortstedt, 65, began his career 1962 with Svenska Handelsbanken (Stockholm). 1968 was appointed Managing Director of the Mortstedt family property company Citadellet AB, which he successfully floated on the Stock Exchange in Stockholm 1981. Since 1977 he has been involved in establishing and running property and other family interests in Europe and USA and is the Executive Chairman of CLS Holdings plc (established in 1987 - listed on the London Stock Exchange 1994).

CLS Holdings plc is a property investment company, listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1994. It has an equity of £426m and a property portfolio in London, France, Sweden and Germany valued at over £1bn. CLS has invested primarily in offices. It has established local management operating from offices in London, Paris and Stockholm. The company was founded by its current Chairman, Sten Mortstedt whose family holds a controlling stake in the company."  The description is  from GRI

What if the investment bankers have to change...

I don't know about you, but I've never really understood how an IPO that on the first day raises , for example, over 25% could be a successful one. For me, that's an underpriced stock in the IPO process. But hey, I'm not an economist. Maybe that's the same thing as offering a product at a 30% higher price and giving the difference in rebate...  ;-)

Anyway, talking about IPOs and using the Internet. Here is an article from CNET that I found interesting.

"Using a system known as a Dutch auction, Hambrecht collects bids from all interested investors, big and small, and groups them by how much each is willing to pay. Its bankers then count down from the top bid until they reach the highest price at which the selling company could sell all of the shares it wants to offer.  The company can choose that price or, for various reasons, a lower one. Hambrecht then sells at the chosen price all the shares that were bid at that price or higher.

In a typical first-time sale of stock, investment bankers meet with managers of mutual funds and hedge funds to gauge their interest in a company, then set a price that is slightly below what they estimate is the market value. That method, as much art as science, often excludes most of the individual investors who want to buy shares and occasionally sets off a frenzied first day of trading. "

The interesting part is that well-establied business like Investment bankers have to change their buesiness due to a more effecient processes using technology. I wonder what will be the next big step for the property industry?