Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting funding does not mean your business (idea) is successful

Just read on twitter that someone sent congratulations to a startup that got 1.2 Mio USD funding. For this company it might me good, but what does this mean in general?
One reason for the financial and economic crisis is, that businesses were overfunded. Banks and VC are spending millions of dollars just to be the one who is in. That might be good for small startups and maybe the revenue comes, and if not, it was a minor risk.
But when it comes to 1.2 Million USD, or even more, like Twitter is getting again and again, it might be a good idea to just ask for the business plan. Its a miracle for me why twitter is getting VC money even if they say "we don't have any idea how to make money out of it."
Even if you have a create, grow and sell strategy, at the end ther must be some return on the investments. Fort a long time VC and banks were giving away money for everything. We know this already from the last internet bubble. It seems to happen again. Startups are not looking for a sustainable business plan but for funding. And investment companies looking for be the first to invest instead of making a long term investment.
Even Facebook isn't making profit, but it seems to generate some revenue through advertising. But advertising isn't everything.

One of the simple questions I learned when I was studying economics was "What is your product and how you think you can sell it?"
The important oart is selling. Most social networks are failing after a while because they are not products. There is no real benefit people would like to pay for. Flickr is giving you storage and is focussed on pictures. No disturbing poking. You can buy Gmail storage - its a real product, even if its virtual. LinkedIn is offering you premium services and contacts - something special.
But Facebook and Twitter isn't offering a particular service. Its jut a platform, a playground. Ads on twitter would be pretty easy, but the main reason why they don't have ads is: Just a few geeks are using twitter. It's totally overrated and overhyped. I like the service and the concept, but I also like podcasting and just a minority is using what media called once the Radio Killer.

I predict that in 2009 there will be a clearance of social networks and services without a product sense. There is just not enaough cash anymore for investing, and once you are running out of money you take a closer look on what you buy and invest and what the return is. Market share and page impressions are not important anymore. Value ist more important, I think.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boycott Banner at National Mosque

This picture was taken at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. It shows a banner calling for boycott of US-products like Coca Cola and Starbucks - because of their general support of Israel.
It's ok to accuse the US for the war in Gaza, even if it's in my opinion more complicated. What I have a problem with is the mix of religion and politics.

There is no other banner to see in KL, only at the National Mosque. and this is one reason why muslims are facing problems in the western world: because of the political islam, because some just don't seperate religion and politics.

The good news is that an american friend in KL told me that since Obama is president people are in general more friendly to americans.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What happend to Saigon Paragon? A victim of the economic crisis?

It was scheduled to open in Summer 2007, then in December, then January, now they removed the banner for the opening and put another banner on the building, saying office space is now available.

The project was supposed to be a mix of shopping and office space. The Paragon Saigon building, located on an area of 37,162 square metres, will comprise 10 upper storeys for offices, trade centres, a cinema and restaurant, and two underground floors for parking.

When I passed by today, it seems that nothing is going on inside. The building is finished, but since weeks there is no activity inside. No signs of shops moving in, no banner about what is planned to be inside.

Weeks before Lotte mart opened they announced what's going on in Ads and banners.

One of the investors is the Khaisilk Cooperation, well known for a lot of restaurants with nice design and - hmm, lets say very average food and service. The Thuy Luc Cooperation brought in the experience if building. May Saigon Paragon now face the economic crisis and the reality of retail: If you do the same as Parksons, there is no reason for customers to go - and no reason for shops to open.

Maybe they have the usual Tet delay, we will see what happens in the next weeks. The website ist totally outdated and gives informaton from 2005.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Teens in Saigon

Chao Vietnam wrote an interesting article about young people in Saigon or Vietnaam in general. Most interesting is that young couple want to live together before they get married, like a trial period. Not bad, I would say from my personal experience.

I want to point on this paragraph:
Students and workers in big cities, who come from the countryside, are the two groups reported to be most familiar with living together without marriage. The reason is that they live far from home and need someone to share their lives with, and more importantly, there is no control from their parent

Would not thought about workers, but yes, its kind of logic, they are far fro home and need a social life - what is hard under tehir living conditions.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Qing Bar is moving to Pasteur 110

One of the best bars in town, Qing in Dong Du, needs to move from the location just accross Sheraton. Florence just sent this email:
We would like to inform all our customers that "Qing Bar & Du Salon" in Dong Du Street was forced to close abruptly, we will re-open very soon after Tet Holidays at 110 Pasteur Street.
You might find another restaurant that will open in our old location looking just like us, but don't get fooled, they simply have no imagination. We love Vietnam, and see you all again soon. Happy Holidays.

It's now the third case I know (after Lions and Underground as far as I know are the other two) when foreigners started a restaurant or bar business, made it successful and well known and then the landlord or shareholder or whoever was involeved kicked the founder out.

The restaurant and hospitality business is not that easy as it lok like. And my experience is, if you just look for quick money, you better join the next casino tour.

I will go to the old Qing place, have a look what they are doing and complain, if it's a fake. They should know that they cannot fool people, if they do. Let's see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red Ants

Red Ants
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
seen near Can Tho

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Great T-Mobile UK flashmob spot

Electricty prices to rise in Vietnam

ChaoVietnam reports that eletricity prices are to rise up to 9 percent, if a request is approved by the government.

Hieu said that the Ministry of Finance’s viewpoint is that electricity prices need to be defined on the basis of market principles and the regulation of the state.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hoi An

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New portrait pictures

Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Check new portrait pictures out at my flickr page!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

OLPC downsizes half of staff

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project announced Wednesday that it plans to downsize half of its staff and reduce the salary of the remaining employees. OLPC will also halt its development of the open source Sugar environment and focus on building its next-generation hardware device. These plans are part of a major restructuring effort that has been necessitated by the financial downturn and the organization's dwindling resources.

Thats such a bad news, because this is one of the most underestimated projects ever. People always complained that children don't need a laptop, because they have no power and no internet in rural areas. Regarding the power its not really true, and the lack of internet doesn't matter. First, before there was internet we in the western world were pretty happy with computers, even if we were offline. Second, the laptop is a library of books. And that's the point: It brings knowledge in the rural areas.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A fireman hat on a Budhha statue

I just read this in twitter:
In the Palo Alto XXXX offices we have a huge happy Buddha with a fireman hat on. I don't know what to make of it, but it makes me smile!

So one of the worst things you can do in Buddhist countries is to touch people on their heads, especially children. But an absolut No No is to put a hat or anything else on a Buddha statue. The is an affront to all Buddhists. Its like to put a hat on a Jesus Christ statue.

It seems that still people think Buddha statues are for decoration, to give them an Asian ambience. Actually, its not - like the Jesus Christ figure. You may claim yourself an atheist, but even then, it's a matter of respect others religion.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rainbows and Conspiracy

Just in case: Rainbows are caused by light breaking trough aerosols of water. This effect is known in the sky as The Rainbow, but actually you can create a rainbow with every aerosol and light in the right angle. Its physics, not conspiracy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nightclub in Bangkok on fire on New Years Eve

We are looking for one of our friends who might went to this club. Lets hope she is fine.