How two best friends rehabilitated the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise, and what's coming next as the popularity of mixed martial arts expands globally:
"The UFC has border-hopped since 2007, first into Europe and Canada, then Australia, Brazil, Japan, China, and the Middle East. The next step is both simple and excessively difficult. Any international fan knows it: "We need a [local] hero," says Puerto Rican journalist Angel Cordero. He runs a site called The MMA Truth that caters to a Latino audience, and he is convinced his boxing-obsessed homeland will embrace MMA--but only when Puerto Ricans can root for one of their own.
"Brazil is the UFC's model country, a place with a tradition of martial arts and local heroes, none of them bigger than Anderson Silva, one of whose fights drew 32 million local viewers. The UFC has put on four live events in Brazil since 2011. It also went back to its American playbook--launching a Brazilian version of The Ultimate Fighter, which was a smash hit, generating the same level of social media buzz as Brazil's 2010 presidential elections. MMA is now challenging to be the No. 2 sport in this soccer-crazy country."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 19, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4613 words)
They were the vintage photo app that came before Instagram—but failure to take advantage of social, infighting among the leadership and indecision about their product caused the company to miss its opportunity:
"Fast Company reached out to a slew of top-tier VCs but was unable to find one who had met with or even looked at the company. Two of the VCs surmised the startup would have a very difficult time raising money after the Instagram acquisition. 'Another billion-dollar photo-sharing exit is hard to imagine. The category is over and done with, and I’d be surprised if they can even raise,' says one of the topflight VCs.
"The investor agrees that general market sentiment for social media investments is down because of Zynga’s and Facebook’s declining market caps. However, the VC disagrees with Buick’s argument that having revenue would hurt its chances to raise funding. 'The real problem is that Hipstamatic is perceived as a copycat that desires to be Instagram, and VCs don’t want to be in a me-too deal,' the investor says. 'Having revenue absolutely won’t hurt; if anything, it helps, though the idea and market size matter much more.'"
PUBLISHED: Oct. 11, 2012
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8142 words)
A startup keeps searching for its winning formula:
"While their neighbors toiled away, building unglamorous businesses, Justin.tv's March 19, 2007, launch became an immediate sensation.The San Francisco Chronicle did a front-page story
. Ann Curry, in an excruciating Today show interview
, lectured Kan. "Fame, I have to tell you, Justin, has a price," she said. But it was all fun, at first. Kan took the camera with him to the park, to business meetings, even to bars, where it made for awkward small talk. When one young woman took him back to her place one evening, he left the camera in the dark outside the bedroom; the gang back at Justin.tv headquarters overdubbed the video stream with audio from a porn movie. On his walk back to his apartment, Kan encountered a group of cheering viewers.
"'If this doesn't scare the shit out of TV networks, it's only because they don't understand it yet,' Graham told the San Francisco Chronicle
. On NPR's All Things Considered
, he declared: 'Their ultimate plan is to replace television.' It was fortunate for television, then, that Kan and his friends knew very little about running a business. 'We had one week's worth of a plan,' says Kan, laughing at what he describes as his youthful folly. 'Today, I have an understanding of the world, and of the entertainment and media industries, of how people consume content," he tells me. "But at the time, I had no idea.'"
PUBLISHED: June 15, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4599 words)
In the weeks after Color's belly flop last spring, friends and colleagues were concerned that Nguyen might be humiliated, or devastated, or at least very stressed out by the $41 million of venture money invested in his failed product. But Nguyen understands the arithmetic of Silicon Valley, and anyway he isn't one to reflect. "I never get emotional," says Nguyen, who hasn't spoken to his parents in six years. "I can have the biggest argument with someone, and five minutes later, I won't even remember that it happened." He's not even particularly attached to his name. In third grade, he had a crush on a classmate whose mother asked him his name. "I go, 'Vu.' She goes, 'Bill,' and I go, 'Aha!' And all my friends have called me Bill since then," recalls Nguyen. "My whole point was, I don't care what people call me. It's like, whatever's easier for people, I'm totally cool with it." He adds, "There is no Vietnamese person in the history of the world born with the name Bill. It's a total facade."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 19, 2011
LENGTH: 30 minutes (7603 words)
Crispin had done its own behavioral research, lurking in kitchens around the Boulder area. Staffers had watched suburban moms unpack their groceries and studied where kids looked for snacks when they got home from school. Kids seldom went to the refrigerator; instead, they went straight for the cupboards or the pantry. If they did go to the fridge, baby carrots were at least visible, out on a shelf. Full-size carrots, though, always went in the vegetable drawer. "The drawer of death," one kid called it. Adults weren't particularly fond of the vegetable drawer either. They tended to associate it with all the vegetables they buy and forget, and then discover weeks later, limp and leaking. A strategy began to emerge. Let regular carrots be the vegetable.
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2011
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2437 words)
You get the sense that under Larry Page's leadership, Google could try its hand at anything. More than anything else during my interviews with people who know Page, one comment stands out: "I don't care what you put in the article," says David Lawee, Google's head of acquisitions. "To me, this is the real story: Larry is a truly awesome inventor-entrepreneur. My aspiration for him is that he becomes one of the greatest inventors-entrepreneurs in history, in the realm of the Thomas Edisons of the world."
PUBLISHED: March 18, 2011
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5312 words)
Jef Raskin, my father, helped develop the Macintosh, and I was recently looking at some of his old documents and came across his February 16, 1981 memo detailing the genesis of the Macintosh. It was written in reaction to Steve Jobs taking over managing hardware development. Reading through it, I was struck by a number of the core principles Apple now holds that were set in play three years before the Macintosh was released. Much of this is particularly important in understanding Apple's culture and why we have the walled-garden experience of the iPhone, iPad, and the App Store.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 14, 2011
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3059 words)
We know what happens next: This hobby morphs into a successful business. But Boing Boing's version of that tale is a little different. Mark Frauenfelder and his partners -- Cory Doctorow, Xeni Jardin, and David Pescovitz -- didn't rake in investment capital, recruit a big staff and a hotshot CEO, or otherwise attempt to leverage themselves into a "real" media company. They didn't even rent an office. They continued to treat their site as a side project, even as it became a business with revenue comfortably in the seven figures. Basically, they declined to professionalize. You could say they refused to grow up.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 29, 2010
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3691 words)
In the ad business, the relatively good life of 2007 is as remote as the whiskey highs of 1962. "Here we go again," moans Andy Nibley, the former CEO of ad agency Marsteller who, over the past decade, has also been the CEO of the digital arms of both Reuters and Universal Music. "First the news business, then the music business, then advertising. Is there any industry I get involved in that doesn't get destroyed by digital technology?"
PUBLISHED: Nov. 17, 2010
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5701 words)