Startups are getting smaller

Startups today are almost half the size than they were a decade ago. It seems that a lot of the collaborative tools that have emerged over the last year help productivity so you can do more work with less employees. And I don’t think its just true for startups, I know at work we’re doing a lot of work with just 3 people in the Digital Media department. Do you think this study accounts for the start ups and open source projects that pioneered the services that make this possible?

´╗┐Start-ups are now being launched with an average of 4.9 employees, down from 7.5 in the 1990s, according to a recent Kauffman Foundation study. In 2009, new independent businesses created a total of 2.3 million jobs, more than 700,000 fewer jobs than the annual average through 2008, the study found.

HT: With New Technology, Start-Ups Go Lean

Duh – cheaper to outsoure email services.

Will we see more organizations outsourcing email services? Having run my own personal mail server for a few years, I’d be quite wary of purchasing and operating your own mail servers. Yes, if you own your mail servers, you can make them as secure and redudant as you want if price is no limit. But there’s always a budget, and it will always not be enough to provide the uptime, redundancy, and backups that someone like Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft can provide. Plus, you can’t really put a price on being able to sleep at night, free of worries that your server will be hacked, relay spam, or hard drive will fail.

If you are a non-profit, and even if you are not, Non-Profit Tech Blog wrote a three part series on setting up your organization with Google Apps for your Domain.

Have you outsourced email servers? What led to that decision? Any positive/negative feedback about email hosting providers?

Report: Gmail about one-third as expensive as hosted e-mail

Despite the confusion, a lot of companies realize that e-mail has become expensive for two simple reasons: spam and malware. Nearly half of those surveyed were evaluating off-site solutions because e-mail costs had risen, while another 30 percent were performing the evaluation as part of an upgrade or service consolidation process. Fully 85 percent of these companies were leaning towards moving some of the services off-site.

Digital Rights Management is not about piracy

If you have a Tivo, iPod, or anything else that lets you view videos or listen to music on a digital player, you’ve run up against DRM.  You may not be aware of it but its there.  It’s what’s kept TivoToGo from working on non-windows PC’s until last month, when the encryption was finally cracked.  Its also what keeps you from taking the music you buy from the iTunes store and listening to it on anything but an ipod or in in the iTunes program.  Its generally a big pain in the ass for consumers.  But its there to protect the artists and producers from unscrupulous pirtaes, right?

Ken Fisher looks at the real point of Digital Rights Management technologies – and its all about protecting business models than fighting piracy. 

Like all lies, there comes a point when the gig is up; the ruse is busted. For the movie studios, it’s the moment they have to admit that it’s not the piracy that worries them, but business models which don’t squeeze every last cent out of customers.

The article was prompted by the Businesweek article, "Why Hollywood Snubbed Jobs at Macworld"

What does Hollywood want from Steve Jobs? For starters, more protection for their films. "His user rules just scare the heck out of us," one studio executive told me. Indeed, under Apple’s video iPod digital-rights-management scheme, folks can share their flicks with as many as three other iPod users.

How much email do you delete?

Wether your a hoarder or deleter, your inbox says a lot about you according to a study at the Center for Internet Behavior.  i’m a deleter, but its more because I get a lot of email that’s not worth keeping after I read them- messages from my server, mlsnet and dcunited offer.  If its from a friend or family member I don’t delete, unless its something about coordinating dinner tonight or meeting up over the weekend.  The conclusions from this study are amusing if anything, and have some funny anectdotes.

On the other hand,
if you obsessively clean your inbox every 10 minutes, you may be so
quick to move on that you miss opportunities and ignore nuances. Or
your compulsion for order may be sapping your energy from other
endeavors, such as your family.

 Umm, if you clean your inbox every ten minutes,  your family is suffering because you’re in front of the computer 24×7!!

A few months ago, Scott
Stratten was suffering from what he terms “inbox paralysis.” A
marketing consultant in Oakville, Ontario, he had 500 old messages in
his inbox, all needing responses. “I felt so guilty, I couldn’t even
bring myself to open my email,” he says.

In desperation, he
decided to delete all his messages. He then sent an email blast to 400
people on his contact list, telling them a lie. He made up a story that
his Internet service provider had informed him that some emails weren’t
getting through, and that was why friends and clients never heard back
from him. “People were very empathetic,” he says, “and it allowed me to
start fresh.”

Dude, hate to break to you but 490 of those messages were spam …  Anyone care to share tips for how they manage their email beyond deleting the fluff?  As usual, this story is being discussed on slashdot too.

 

TIVO, ReplayTV: Pay-per-view content will be restricted

From: MercuryNews.com | 09/09/2004 | TiVo, ReplayTV agree to limits. How many people order pay-per-view, especially for movies? The last time I ordered PPV, I can barely remember. I think it was a friendly between the USA and Chile back in 1999…

The new technology also will allow Hollywood movie studios and broadcasters to regulate how often movies purchased through pay-for-view services can be watched. Digital video recorders that recognize these new copy restrictions will begin appearing in the spring of 2005. But it could be years before entertainment companies begin to take advantage of the technology, according to ReplayTV President Bernie Sepaniak.

Soccer Robots Take Over the World

Salon writes abouts RocoCup Soccer, a robotics competition who’s aim is to field a team of robots that can beat the world cup champions. The bar is pretty high and I’m sure that’s going to spur progress tremendously. However, I don’t think the world’s elite players would ever set foot on a field against robots and risk any career threatening injury. Would you go up for a header if there’s a big piece of plastic or metal going for it too?

The goal is to achieve what Veloso calls "the essential loop: developing robots that function simultaneously with action (movement), cognition (thinking), perception (vision and awareness)." Veloso is particularly interested in multiplayer robotic systems: how robots work with one another, share information and prioritize tasks. Soccer’s reliance on teamwork serves as an excellent model.