How Microsoft can disrupt the tech industry again

By rethinking its acquisition strategy, the computer software and electronics company can be an innovator in growing sectors, such as cloud services, smart phones and teleconferencing

Microsoft’s stock has been stagnant as investors lose faith in the company’s plans for its future. After peaking at just under $60 a share in early 2000, Microsoft’s stock fell to about $22 later that year and has traded mostly between $25 and $40 a share in the 14 years since then. While revenue and earnings per share have more than tripled since then, the stock price has not followed suit. The question of why can be answered fairly simply: investors have lost faith in Microsoft’s future ability to control its core markets.  What Microsoft could do can be answered fairly simply: Take a page out of Facebook’s apparent strategy and buy best of breed next generation companies. Continue reading

Optimizing the Cost of Customer Acquisition: Modeling Metrics to Drive Startup Success

I admit it, I’m a weird guy. How many others have a PhD in financial modeling combined with an MBA in finance and accounting?  I’ve never put any of this on my business card (not even my CPA) because degrees are not necessarily the indicators of who will succeed in business. After all, the one thing Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, Ted Waitt and Larry Ellison have in common, besides 4 of the 5 being billionaires before turning 30, was they never graduated from college. Don’t get me wrong: I’m notadvocating dropping out of school. In fact, in this post, I will leverage my finance and modeling background to discuss further how to better predict the future success of companies. When we evaluate companies, we like to see that:

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Why Google should acquire Tesla

When Facebook acquired WhatsApp last week, it set itself apart from earlier generation technology leaders like Apple and Microsoft. Facebook has decided that it wants to own the social space now, as well as in the future, and is willing to pay an ostensibly high price to ensure owning rising players who may one day challenge them. By contrast, Apple and Microsoft believed they could catch up and surpass new entrants (and were both often, but not always, correct) and therefore rarely paid a premium for acquisitions. We will return to this theme in a future blog by speculating who Microsoft could buy to help ensure more control over its domain going forward.

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Countdown to Super Bowl XLVIII – Can Football Statistics Tell Us More?

I can’t help myself, I analyze everything: technology, exercise, electric cars, marketing of every ilk, airline disservice, and like many others, professional sports. This should be a really exciting Super Bowl – an irresistible force meets an immovable object! Given so much focus on the Super Bowl, this post won’t be about the next generation of technology but rather what I believe are suggested improvements in statistical measurement of a quarterback’s effectiveness. Since I asked several colleagues at Azure, including Dan Park (who helps edit every post), to offer opinions I will often say we throughout this writing.

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Welcome to SoundBytes II and Predictions for 2014

For many years, while on Wall Street, I published my newsletter SoundBytes. Although blogs did not formally exist, it was written like a blog post with lots of personal references and comments on society in addition to analysis of technology trends and stock opinions. Looking back, we had numerous calls that have proven prescient and a few (most of which I won’t mention) that were not as strong. A few examples of posts that appeared in the mid- to late-1990s, include:

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