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Comment Re:would have been awesome had this happened -- (Score 4, Interesting) 56

would have been awesome had this happened a year or two ago when the company was on the upswing, not shortly-to-be-passé.

Part of the problem with tech industry is that company lifecycles are shortening even faster than product lifecycles.

If it takes two or three years between the decision to go public and the actual IPO (plus another 6-12 month lockout period afterwards), and a company can only exist for 5-10 years before it becomes obsolete, the time between the decision to exit and the actual exit takes up a huge portion of the company's arc.

The VCs who backed GRPN and ZNGA made bank. Almost nobody else did. Sometimes you get lucky, like GOOG and LNKD, who raised enough capital to wall themselves off from competition. Sometimes a company can re-invent itself, like AAPL, AMZN and NFLX. Sometimes, you can find a sucker willing to pay top dollar for a worthless asset - MySpace had a good exit and left someone else holding the bag.

But those are the rare successes. Most of the time, the founder rides the rocket all the way up and all the way down to the ground, and even he ends up getting a fraction of what could have been made if he'd only shopped the company out earlier.

It's incredibly difficult to build a sustainable business in this industry. If you catch the big industry cycles: mainframe to micro, micro to client-server, client-server to cloud (mainframe), you can do so. Get out of sync with the industry fads - whether you're 1-2 years early or 1-2 years late - and your company will not outlast the pendulum swing. The optimum strategy is to find a fad, slap something together for $X, and try your damndest to get acqui-hired for $2X in a 1-2 year timeframe. Lather, rinse, repeat. If it's so important to be a CEO, sell the damn company anyways, and use the money you made off the last one to start the next one.

Submission + - 2013 GCHQ Challenge: Can you find it? (

An anonymous reader writes: It's been a rough couple of months for surveillance agencies, but at least in the UK, not all the PR is bad. As a followup to 2011's Can you crack it? challenge, the latest GCHQ recruitment challenge features a new series of cryptographic puzzles. Can you find it? (And if you're in the UK and you find it, would you actually want it?)

Submission + - Britain to privatize Royal Mail (

Ellie K writes: After 500 years, Britain announced plans to fully privatize Royal Mail today. Shares of stock (common equity) will be offered to the public "in coming weeks", according to Reuters. 10% of shares will be given to current Royal Mail employees, Deal size is estimated at $US 3 to 4.7 billion. Goldman Sachs and UBS were chosen as lead advisers.

Submission + - Why Richard Stallman Should Be The Next Microsoft CEO 1

theodp writes: On Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg struck back at critics who have charged tech companies with doing too little to fight off NSA surveillance. While Yahoo, Facebook, and other tech firms are pushing for the right to be allowed to publish the number of requests they receive from the spy agency, none of the CEOs appear to be man-or-woman-enough to up the ante beyond a Mother-May-I protest. Well, Bunky, that's where the soon-to-be-Ballmer-less Microsoft — and Richard Stallman — come into the picture. Much like Ralph Nader was with the auto industry, Stallman has shown he's unlikely to ask for permission or forgiveness when it comes to matters of the software freedom and privacy heart, even if it's not in his financial best interest. So, why not make RMS iMicrosoft-CEO-for-a-Day, just long enough to spill the beans on the Fed snooping in his own indomitable way? The Microsoft Board could fire his butt immediately after the revelations, and Stephen Elop could take over the reins and not have to go through the charade of making a principled stand for Microsoft in the NSA mess. Aside from possible treason charges, it's win-win!

Submission + - Even in the 40s, FBI struggled to keep its watch list straight (

v3rgEz writes: The problems with various government watch lists, particularly the TSA's, are well known, but a new release of documents shows just how problematic large-scale government tracking can be: A recent FOIA request to the FBI for the files on late Irving Adler, activist, turned up plenty of reading material, but it was about the wrong Irving: An examination of documents showed that the files another Irving Adler, an Army veteran, found himself on the wrong end of intense questioning despite universal assertions that he was a "loyal and patriotic American."

The investigations hounded the second Irving for four years until the FBI realized it was watching the wrong man, and the boring Irving ultimately only cleared himself when it was shown he was serving abroad during the time the FBI thought he was in Long Island.

Surely these kinds of mistakes won't happen with modern databases.

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