Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inside the Music Industry

Really enjoyed the 48 hours I spent at my first MIDEM.

It was fascinating to be inside the music industry for a few days, meet really interesting people and see how the landscape is changing.

I really learned a lot talking to smart people like Vince Bannon and Ted Cohen who have seen every shade of the industry in the last 20 years, Denzyl Feigelson who has helped Steve Jobs re-architect the industry with iTunes and Mat from Metric who is creating a new way for bands to get born and built in the digital age. I also met some really cool companies like Echonest, Topspin, etc

At Index, having invested in Listen.com (Rhapsody) and Last.fm (CBS), we continued to invest in music - focussing mainly on two themes around how fans experience and enjoy music:
  1. live: Songkick and Viagogo
  2. listening: Doubletwist, rjdjSonos and Soundcloud
People love music, they always have done and as the industry changes, driven by the web and new technologies - we continue to think its a really promising area to be in.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Marking the Day

So many lessons learned from the 8 year journey that ended up being called Lovefilm.

Today, the torch passed to Amazon - I know there's lots more of this story to tell.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project RFC $10m+

What is it?
A request for an open list by city or region (#citylist) of the tech startups in the last 10 years who are cracking the revenue code. 

We are looking for businesses with $10m+ revenue run-rate (RFC $10m+), the companies who may not all become members of the Internet Dow, but are certainly contenders for its Fortune 500.

This is not a traditional RFC - although the underpinnings of everyone of these businesses are highly technical and are being built with a healthy mixture of open-source and cloud. A big point of evolutions, is that in many of these businesses the key new muscles they are developing are increasingly design and commercial.

In case we hadn't noticed, business has changed - radically. In the last few years the Internet has created at very significant businesses of incredible scale and with remarkable growth rates -companies like Facebook, Groupon, Skype, Vente Privee and Zynga have gone from $0m to $1bn at mind-blowing speeds.

These are rare birds and they are the ones which people focus on. But there are already hundreds of other start-ups who have racked up very substantial revenues in the last 10 years and as Gilt, Groupon, Skye and Vente Privee increasingly show, many of these businesses are no longer in the Valley. 

So in the spirit of learning from more of the great businesses across the Internet that are not just creating buzz and great Alexa numbers, but great revenue numbers - here's let's try RFC $10m+. 

Hopefully this will help us to draw our some new strands of knowledge to supplement the amazing thinking being done around lean-startups and form some solid opinions on what makes great businesses, as well as great products.

How does it work?
Simple. The #citylists are not meant to be completely accurate or exhaustive - these are private companies, so how could they be.

Hopefully we can evolve decent coverage in some major tech hubs, so at least when you're travelling you have a good idea who you should try and visit :)

How can you help?
For now, Quora seems as good a place as any to keep the lists evolving.

Today I kicked off with #londonlist - and put in some markers for #paris, #berlin, #nordics, #israel and #nyc. Please help flesh them out - and share with your friends who can contribute.

This should be enough to get going with and hopefully spark a good discussion - not just about the companies themselves, but about the approaches they are taking to create great Internet businesses, not just buzz.

What about the Bay Area?
Go for it. But to be fair, we'd probably have to do #mtnview, #cupertino, #redwoodshores, #paloalto - #valley is too easy :)