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The Salesforce formula only works when your marketplace offers a clear, unobstructed glide path. When the market dictates that you navigate around “The Big Four” — Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple — in a commoditized market, you must adopt a radically different approach.

“It’s the end of the road for freemium cloud services” via VentureBeat

This analysis can be mapped to any industry where this a dominant set of companies. As Klink expands to work with strategic partners in the PBX space, I see a similar situation in the UCaaS (unified communication as a service) space as the author does with basic cloud storage. Instead of using a strictly freemium model, Klink is focused on providing clear, demonstrable value over a set of workflows that will make us both valuable to individual users and incredibly sticky within an organization.

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It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. It felt to me like a typewriter company running an ad talking about how computers were just a fad and might lose your information on a floppy disk.

How You Know You’ve Got the Right Startup Model?” via Mark Suster at Both Sides of the Table

Good read by Mark that hits on the struggles that disruptors face when up against large, entrenched encumbants.

Sometimes the battles are funny (the Public Storage commercial) and sometimes they’re scary (what Seattle did to Uber and other ride sharing companies), but regardless they help prove that you’re scaring the crap out of folks who are currently making the $$ in that industry.

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This part of the business — the lifestyle aspiration, further fueled by user content — is the next well to tap. As it becomes a challenge to differentiate at a hardware level, GoPro has an option not available to its competition: become a platform as well as a product.

GoPro’s IPO isn’t about selling cameras, it’s about creating a media empire” via Engadget

A great read on some of the history of GoPro and how it has morphed from a pure hardware shop to an end-to-end ‘lifestyle experience’ provider. Given how much better prepared they are for an IPO than a few recent big technology companies (read = they have revenue and a sustainable business model), I’m very interested to see how they do this year. 

Disclaimer: I do not own a GoPro camera. But I can’t stop watching that insane GoPro video of the Russian dudes climbing that crazy-tall tower in Shanghai. 

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“All the same, it’s the early customer wins that have helped with securing this new investment.”

Especially with enterprise-focused products, securing early wins is crucial to proving unique value to investors and being able to demonstrate ROI to new customers.

Still In Stealth, Origami Logic Raises $15M More To Help Marketers Tap The Big Data Mother Lode | TechCrunch

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Just don’t expect it to last forever. They’re not “building addicts” for nothing.

HBO Doesn’t Care If You Share Your HBO Go Account… For Now.” via TechCrunch

“Is there anything wrong, or evil, with this strategy? Not really. In fact, it’s pretty damned smart. It’s like an indefinitely long free trial in disguise. With HBO currently set-up to be sold only as a premium add-on to a cable bill that’s generally already pretty massive, convincing someone to get their their own account is a pretty huge hurdle. If the alternative is people pirating HBO’s shows, HBO might as well get those people comfortable with the convenience of going through the official channels.”

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To put that another way, a 10-month-old startup just purchased a 93-year-old business for $100 million.

10-Month-Old Startup Buys 93-Year-Old Business for $100 Million” via Mashable

I was literally about to sign up for Dollar Shave Club when I heard about Harry’s, then read this story today. I love the way they leveraged their initial product into being able to make this giant strategic investment.

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If this seems like an odd arena for T-Mobile to step into when it clearly has important things on the wireless side to tend to, you’re not alone. From the standpoint of building brand recognition with folks who are cost-sensitive, this certainly makes sense, and we’re sure a good number of people will actually take advantage of this. But how much does this distract away from T-Mobile’s objectives as a carrier? Only time can tell how this one will play out.

The Uncarrier wants to be the Unbank of prepaid debit cards” via TechCrunch

As a small startup we are constantly wrestling with “wow, that new direction looks like shiny, let’s go after it.” Yet focus and clarity is important for our products and ultimately for our customers. 

I’m curious how T-Mobile will fare as they start to act like a bank, taking on the likes of Simple and potentially distracting from their goals as a telco.