Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best acquisition employee mail from CEO,woot

Today Amazon acquired woot, a online web startup that is famous for selling one item a day. We have all read/seen many acquisitions in the past. However what's cool about this one is the mail that the CEO sent to his employees. It’s funny, cool, satirical and very well written. I guarantee it will be worth your time reading this mail.

My favorites:

Several months ago, when we were all sitting on Jeff Bezos’s bumper drinking orange Mad Dog and trying not to be noticed, we heard a voice in the distance yelling “You kids better not scratch my Mercedes or I’m calling the cops!” We ran.

Amazon's hoping our nutty Woot steez continues to grow and develop (and perhaps even rubs off on them a little). They’re not looking to have their folks come in and run Woot unless we ask them to, which incidentally you can do by turning off the bathroom lights and saying the word “Kindle” three times; a helpful Amazon employee will appear in the mirror.

Date: Weds, 30 June 2010
From: Matt Rutledge (CEO –
To: All Woot Employees
Subject: Woot and Amazon

I know I say this every time I find a picture of an adorable kitten, but please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. Today is a big day in Woot history. This morning, I woke up to find Jeff Bezos the Mighty had seized our magic sword. Using the Arthurian model as a corporate structure was something our CFO had warned against from the very beginning, but now that’s water under the bridge. What is important is that our company is on the verge of becoming a part of the dynasty. And our plans for Grail.Woot are on indefinite hold.

Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say “Matt Rutledge revealed to be monstrous pseudo-human creation of Jeff Bezos.” You might even see this photo making the rounds. Rest assured that these rumors have nothing to do with our final decision. We think now is the right time to join with Amazon because, quite simply, every company that becomes a subsidiary gets two free downloads until the end of July, and we very much need that new thing with Trent Reznor’s wife on our iPods.

Other than that, we plan to continue to run Woot the way we have always run Woot – with a wall of ideas and a dartboard. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture. Nevertheless, don’t worry that our culture will suddenly take a leap forward and become cutting-edge. We’re still going to be the same old bottom-feeders our customers and readers have come to know and love, and each and every one of their pre-written insult macros will still be just as valid in a week, two weeks, or even next year. For Woot, our vision remains the same: somehow earning a living on snarky commentary and junk.

We are excited about doing this for all sorts of reasons. One, our business model is so vague that there’s no way Amazon can possibly change what it is we’re truly doing: preparing the way for the rise of the Lava Men in 2012. Also, our deal means that Jason Toon will finally be released from that Mexican jail owned by Zappos honcho Tony Hsieh. No, don’t lie, Tony, we’ve seen the paperwork. And we need a powerful ally in case Steve Jobs finally breaks down and comes after us for all our Apple jokes over the years. Don’t think of it as a buyout; think of it as NATO!
I will go through each of the above points in more detail later, but first, let me get to the top 5 burning questions that I’m guessing many of you will have.

Q: F1RST!!!!
A: Okay, that’s not a question, but it is a good place to mention that our forums will still be policed by a team of moderators, as before. And also, Woot’s previous and always-in-effect privacy policy will still be just as always-in-effect, so don’t worry, there are no plans to suddenly give up or merge your forum data.

Q: Is Snapster leaving?
A: Are you kidding? He’s out the door about ten seconds after that check clea- that is to say, Snapster will continue as CEO, just like before, and the rest of our staff’s not going anywhere either. Woot and all our various sites will continue to be an independently operated company full of horrible, useless products and an untalented jerkface writing staff, same as it ever was.

Q: Will the Woot culture change?
A: Amazon is interested in us because they recognize the value of our people, our brand, and our unique style of deep-tissue, toxin-releasing massage. And they don't want to start changing things now. Amazon's hoping our nutty Woot steez continues to grow and develop (and perhaps even rubs off on them a little). They’re not looking to have their folks come in and run Woot unless we ask them to, which incidentally you can do by turning off the bathroom lights and saying the word “Kindle” three times; a helpful Amazon employee will appear in the mirror. That said, Amazon clearly knows what they're doing in a lot of areas, so we’re geeked about the opportunities to tap into that knowledge and those resources, especially on the technology side. This is about making the Woot brand, culture, and business even stronger than it is today, and we expect that any changes will be for the better or we wouldn't bother with this endless paperwork.

Q: Where can I get one of those vuvuzelas?
A: Are you even paying attention?
Several months ago, when we were all sitting on Jeff Bezos’s bumper drinking orange Mad Dog and trying not to be noticed, we heard a voice in the distance yelling “You kids better not scratch my Mercedes or I’m calling the cops!” We ran. It was later that night when Amazon came by the house and said they liked our style and also wanted to get that money we owed them for messing up the chrome. We like to think that our relationship with Amazon will continue at this level for many, many, many years to come.

But we here at Woot are still a thoughtful company, so, at the end of the day, I watched the sunset, and its golden-hued glory made me think about two questions:

1) Is there really a universal deity?
2) Does such a thing preclude free will or are we humans in control of our own destiny?

After spending a lot of time falling asleep at the library while facing the philosophy books, I determined that the concept of destiny is a construct that allows man a gentle release from facing the terror of his existence, and that a Hyundai full of twenties would pretty much offer the same benefits. And so, I ultimately said YES!
This is definitely an emotional day for me. The feelings I’m experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about getting a check from my folks combined with nausea from a hellacious bender the night before. I remember fondly that time when an RA turned on the lights and yelled “WHO OWNS THESE PANTS?” Except this time, the pants are a company, and the RA is you, and the sixty five hours of community service is a deal that will ensure the experience can continue to grow for years and years and years, like a black mold behind the Gold Box. Join us, because together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Also, there will be six muffins waiting in the company break room, courtesy of the nice folks at Welcome to the family!
Matt Rutledge
CEO, Woot

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Google Voice for everyone

Finally Google opened up its sign-ups for Google Voice service to all USA residents. This should be good news to all the folks who were waiting for a Google Voice invite. So looks like the competition is heating up in this space. There are so many areas that Google Voice competes with other apps like Skype and Service Providers. I’m sure service providers will be looking at this news with caution. With the money and resource power, Google has the potential to enter Service provider arena and scare the hell out of incumbent providers. It might be a stretch for Google to truly compete with service providers considering the infrastructure advantage the latter has. However, they can tout themselves as a new type of service providers with major web presence. Anyway too early to predict the verdict. Don’t waste your time, go ahead and grab your Google Voice account here.

One of the important features that Google should think of adding is Number Portability. This feature will help consumers port their existing numbers to Google Voice.

What is Google Voice Video?

Interesting Modern Human communication picture that depicts Google Voice role:

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

IMS, is it just a Hype?

The hype surrounding the IMS (IP Multimedia subsystem) deployment is slowly fading away. In reality, IMS deployments are moving in snails pace. I have been hearing about IMS for more than a decade now with no sight of any concrete deployment from operators. There are very few operators around the globe who have deployed or promised to deploy IMS in their network. Some of the big operators in North America are focusing on LTE/WIMAX and there is no mention of IMS. According to TM forum’s yearbook , more than 100 operators acknowledge they will convert their network to IMS in the next five years. Alas I have been hearing this for a long time now.

Why do we need IMS? IMS was touted to be a service agnostic platform using which third-party applications can run on operator network. It was a bridge between web 2.0, messaging 2.0 and voice 2.0 and the Telco platform. Service creation and execution using IMS framework was supposed to seamless and easy. It had lot of promise from a platform perspective. Infact it was an answer from Telco to the growing popularity of Web 2.0. The layered architecture of IMS addressed all technical challenges that exist in today’s Legacy Circuit switched networks. IMS was originally designed for mobile but was extended to cover Wi-Fi and fixed line services as well. What was lacking with IMS was a good business case for Operators to justify the investment in the platform.

According to Ibrahim Gedeon, TELUS CTO, IMS was “a waste of seven years” by wireless industry that was trying to bring its voice service into the IP realm. One of the reports published late last year by Alan Quayle of Mind Commerce, IMS still remains niche. Even in the year 2014, only 32% will commence IMS deployment.

Here are some reasons I can think of why IMS is not getting its share of limelight:
• Lack of Compelling business case to justify the investment
• No IMS killer app to drive the requirement of IMS. Most of the promise by IMS can achieved without an IMS network.
• Lack of standards compliance including billing and Operational support system
• Service providers are still not convinced that implementation of IMS would translate into reducing costs and complexity.
• IMS brings in lot of promise and innovation. However service providers do not understand how to address and embrace innovation from a platform standpoint.
• Lack of understanding between IMS vendors and Service providers.

There is still some hope for IMS. Rich Communication Suite (RCS) another standard from GSMA aims to unify the communications experience by tying together presence, voice, chat and multimedia services over IMS. RCS holds a lot of promise, and we are already seeing operators (Orange, SFR etc) deploying RCS compliant handsets in the market. By 2011, there will be 7.3 million RCS subscribers mostly in Western Europe and Asia Pacific. If RCS does well, there will be strong push for IMS network.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

iPhone 4 Pre-Orders Unbelievable!

iPhone 4 pre-order sales yesterday were 10-times higher than the previous iPhone 3GS pre-order last year. A total of 600,000 pre-orders were processed yesterday. I think AT&T’s new data plan combined with awesome features of iPhone 4 has made consumers go crazy for iPhone 4. AT&T has officially suspending pre-ordering today. It had more than 13 million visitors to its website checking for upgrade eligibility. No wonder Nokia lowered its forecast for Q2. Sorry Nokia we understand your pain.

The significant amount of traffic to AT&T and Apple brought massive failure to both the systems.

Below is the statement released by Apple apologizing for the system failure:

CUPERTINO, Calif., June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Yesterday Apple and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of Apple’s new iPhone 4. It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions. Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Its location based services everywhere

Looks like this year is going to be hot for Location based services and apps. Earlier it used to be small startups working on Location based mobile apps. That’s no more the case. Lot of big companies are trying to solve the Location mystery with each coming up with their own niche. Twitter just announced their location based service called Places . Facebook has plans to launch its own location based service. What’s interesting about this service is that it complements some of the existing services like Foursquare, Gowalla etc. Twitter is getting into Location big time.They already have a partnership agreement with TomTom and Localeze. In addition, they acquired MixerLabs, Creator of GeoApi startup last year.

The new feature helps discover more places (Point of Interest) and tweets based on User location. Users will be able to select places from a list in their areas based on the tweet posted from twitter home page or mobile site. Soon the service will be extended to Mobile clients. The tweets are not only limited to twitter, users can also see Check-Ins from Foursquare and Gowalla. With the vast user base that twitter has, what I would love to see is an open database of Point Of Interest that is powered by both users and existing data.

Several other features of this launch include:

• Foursquare and Gowalla integration: Many Foursquare and Gowalla users publish check-ins to Twitter. Location is a key component of these Tweets, so we worked closely with both companies to associate a Twitter Place with Tweets generated by these services. This means that if you click on a Twitter Place, such as "Ritual Roasters," you will see standard Tweets and check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla.
• API: We are releasing API functionality that lets developers integrate Twitter Places into their applications.
• Support for more browsers: Now, you can add location to your Tweets from any browser—Safari and Internet Explorer, in addition to Chrome or Firefox.

Twitter plans to roll out this feature to users in 65 countries around the world. So have fun exploring new interesting places and tweets.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Verizon Launches Group Communication for Family,Friends and Business

Iam so thrilled to write about this news. Why? Because this news is very special to me and I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I have been blogging for couple of years now and this is the first time iam talking about my company ( Kodiak Networks) and the product, which I have been working on for many years.

Today Verizon Wireless announced Group Communications features, which is powered by Kodiak Networks, a leading provider of innovative mobile applications including Conferencing, Messaging, Presence and Contact Management, and Push to Talk (PTT).
The details of the product is in the press release. I have always shied away from writing about my company. This is a proud moment for our startup and I wanted to share this news with my readers of this blog. So if you are a Verizon subscriber, don’t miss the opportunity to try out one of the best and a unique Group Communication service in the market. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. Check out the Link for more information.

I will write a separate article on how Mobile Group Communication could become one of the Killer Mobile service. There is lot of potential in services like this. Remember what we saw in D8 conference where facebook revealed via Marks hoodie that they want to become the global platform for sharing data. What is often ignored is the vast Mobile Social Graph Data that operators own, and how that is far more valuable than the Social Networking Social Data Graph. So Kodiak is providing utilities to unravel the potential of Operators Social Data Graph and yes this is the beginning of a new era in Group communication and Sharing.

Please find the press release below:


BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Verizon Wireless is making it easier for customers to call, text or send voice messages to their friends, family and colleagues with an exclusive new product called Group Communication. Equally valuable for both customers and small businesses, Group Communication can help families plan where to meet for dinner, coaches schedule a baseball or soccer practice or business owners contact their employees quickly. Group Communication enables simple, collaborative calling without the hassle of multiple numbers or conference bridges.
“For years, wireless phones have helped people stay in touch wherever they are. Verizon Wireless is taking the next step by offering Group Communication, a service that lets people use one number to connect with all those people at the same time,” said John Stratton, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless. “Group Communication offers a new way to share information, make plans and run businesses more efficiently, all managed online in your Verizon Wireless account.”

Customers have two choices on how to set up Group Communication:
Family Group Contact provides a toll-free number – 888-VZ-GROUP (888-894-7687) – that automatically connects up to 20 members of an account with a call, text or voice message. Businesses that have more than 20 lines can select up to 20 account contacts and connect with them using the toll-free number. Members of a Family Group may include anyone on an account, plus one non-Verizon Wireless number or any wireline number not associated with that account. Family Group Contact is $4.99 per month per account, and once subscribed, any member of the group with a Verizon Wireless number has the ability to initiate communication with the others.
Group Contact allows a customer to create up to seven customized groups, each with up to 20 different wireline, wireless or international phone numbers. Group owners can initiate communication with a call, text or voice message by dialing a unique phone number assigned to the group when it is created. Group Contact is $6.99 per month per line and includes Quick Contact, which allows users to ring all members of a Quick Contact group simultaneously. When the first line answers, all others are disconnected, making Quick Contact perfect for those looking to connect with hard-to-reach individuals.

Customers can create and set up groups by logging into their accounts on either My Verizon or My Business. Managing groups, including adding or deleting members, involves just a few clicks, and changes take effect immediately.
Group Communication from Verizon Wireless is powered by technology from Kodiak Networks. For more information on Group Communication, go to, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store or call 1-800-2 JOIN IN.
Group Communication is not available in all areas and is subject to specific terms of use.

# # #

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving nearly 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 81,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Most popular apps on Smartphone

With thousands of apps listed in app stores of handset vendors, you may be wondering which are the most popular apps or the apps that are used everyday. According to Nielsen, some of the most popular Smartphone apps are Facebook, Google Maps, Pandora, weather channel, YouTube and ESPN. Iam not surprised by these apps making to the top list. I use most of these apps myself on iPhone. One of the apps that is missing in the list is twitter client. Games are the most downloaded apps on all platforms. We don’t need Nielsen data to know this one. It’s obvious. iPhone users download more apps than other Smartphone users.

Here are some other interesting facts:
• Games are the most downloaded – both free and paid
• Facebook, Google Maps and Weather Channel are the most popular apps across smartphones
o iPhones: Facebook (58%), iTunes (48%), Google Maps (47%)
o Android: Google Maps (67%), Facebook (50%), Weather Channel (38%)
o Blackberry: Facebook (51%), Google Maps(34%), Weather Channel (28%)
• Social Networking: Facebook clearly favorite app, but MySpace is hugely popular among teens; LinkedIn attracts adults 25-44
• News/weather: Weather Channel was used by 58%; age distribution across sites was similar, save for Time Mobile and Thomson Reuters
• Shopping: Amazon and eBay lead (57% and 41%)
• Search/Map: skew male, particularly Instamapper (80/20)
• Video/Movie: skewed towards males; Imeem and Moviefone show a higher proportion of young users
• Music: iTunes, Pandora, Sirius XM appeal more to males, while Yahoo Music almost evenly split

Iam sure you guys must be wondering why iPad apps details are missing. Maybe in future, Nielsen will come up with another category of apps analysis for tablets, and iam sure iPad will rule the list.

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