Monday, October 25, 2004

Is Google just a bubble?

Some wonder at the growth of Google shares since their IPO. (Since the wondering, the stock continues to go up). And I too think this looks a lot like the old bubble.

However, the explanation of why Google is overvalued doesn't hold water.

... if you were to apply traditional metrics to the company, you'd find that Google's revenue would need to grow 30 percent a year for the next 15 years to justify its current valuation. And the chances of that happening do seem slim, particularly since Google is so dependent on advertising. ...

I actually like traditional metrics, but this analysis fails because it assumes Google's lines of business are static. While an old auto company may have a pretty static business, Google is a relatively young company and the web is evolving fast.

Google revenue is growing now at about 10% a year with essentially one (plus or minus) line of business. The question folks ought to be asking is to what extent the Google management team can leverage their assets to bring new businesses to market, with brand new streams of revenue. If they can, 30% growth is easy (though perhaps not year-over-year for the next 15 years). Investors need to evaluate whether the current team succeeded because they had one really good idea, or because they are good at choosing ideas and executing. If the team isn't up to picking the right next idea, the question of whether their current line of business can support even the current stock price (let alone further growth) is easily answered.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Now an award-winning homebrewer

After brewing beer in my kitchen for several years, I won my first homebrew competition yesterday in the 11th annual Brew-Ha-Ha at our friends Jack & Mo's.

The names brewers come up with for their beers are frequently a lot of fun. We had a real "elections" theme to the titles yesterday,  with Ballot Box Root Beer, Undecided Amber, and my own offering, False Victory.

As for the win, "Surprised" best conveys my feelings. Though perhaps it shouldn't, if one pays attention to recent political elections, where we've seen those staking out (or pretending to) the middle ground doing well. Just as in elections, my winning brew was somewhat lighter than my usual - a little less body, a little less hop. And that moderation seemed to work for many. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Criminalize acts, not means

I number of years ago I saw a bumper sticker that read "Register Mongols, not crossbows". The point being, if crossbows are illegal, only the Mongols will have crossbows.

Fast forward.

Today I read that the U.S. Justice Department seems to be modeling a war on file sharing after the war on drugs, and has released a set of recommendations re. copyright bills that would criminalize passive file sharing on peer-to-peer networks.

What these lobbyist-trough-lickers don't or won't get is that P-to-P file sharing is a technology. It may be used either for both legal and illegal acts. While VCRs and videocassettes were sometimes used for illegal piracy, they remain legal because recording for private home purposes is legal.  While guns are sometimes (even frequently) used for illegal acts, they remain legal because they are also used for legal acts. The vast majority of people break the law in cars every day, yet they too remain legal.

 P-to-P file sharing is used for any number of legal purposes as well, including legal distribution of copyrighted software or media by the owners or licensees of the copyright involved.

But as Lessig says in another context, Ashcroft doesn't get it.

[Comments from my previous blog]

1. a reader left...
Wednesday, 13 October 2004 12:37 pm
A lot of different discussions on copyright/filesharing/fair use are raging right now. To be honest: most of the traffic on P2P network is copyrighted material. We'll skip the copyright issue, that's another discussion altogether.

By banning the easiest way to share files there will be a massive move to other ways of 'sharing'. We've seen it happening with Napster. A lot of people want to 'share' files, and are willing to put in some effort to do so. Closing one road to their destination will only encourage them to find other ways.

The war on drugs has not been won, has it? The war on filesharing will probably end the same way.


2. glen martin left...
Wednesday, 13 October 2004 1:15 pm
Yes, a lot of copyrighted material is illegally shared over P-to-P networks. If it gets harder, the folks doing this sharing will go further underground. Read: "Speakeasy"s during Prohibition. A criminal class is created. The folks who suffer are the innocent bystanders and the legitimate users, not the illegitimate users.

Thanks for your comment.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Social cost of spam

Everyone complains about the direct costs of spam, like bandwidth, storage, lost time, etc.  Well, except the spammers themselves.

I haven't seen much on the social cost.

I believe it was a character in a Henlein book that complained "I wonder how much the accumulated idiots slow down society and social evolution".  How much does spam interfere with culture?

An example: There was a media report today of a museum's emails being blocked by aggressive spam filters. The museum has the unfortunate name of "Horniman Museum".

No doubt my blog will now be blocked for having mentioned that.

Spammers have been deliberately misspelling words to get around spam filters - we've all seen that. I get literally hundreds of spam a day, and devote a small amount of time to filtering and anotehr small amount of time to look into a few of the messages (purely to track the kinds of techniques their using - honest). I've been wryly amused at their perseverence and their creativy. But their idiocy is interfering with legitimate ad desireable cultural exchanges. It just isn't funny.

Not that I have a lot of patience for the filters, or filterers, either. Aggressive filters have problems with much simpler situations, like legitimate information on breast cancer, boys clubs, and so forth, that aggresive keyword matching may flag as too sensitive for broad public consumption.

[Comments from my previous blog]

1. a reader left...
Wednesday, 6 October 2004 12:17 pm
With respect to spam, i have to say to not noticing it as a problem anymore. I am using SpamAssassin with the Baynesian filter on and its working a treat. We have setup two folders in our IMAP server; _IsSpam and _IsNotSpam. When an email that comes in that has slipped through, we simply drag it to there so the filter can learn once every 2hrs what is a good/bad email.

Over a small period of time, you find your spam folder now catching more and more, and i can now proudly report that my 'Spam' folder catches around 350+ emails a day, with very little false +ve's. Those that are caught that shouldn't we simply drag out and put them in the '_IsNotSpam' folder. 

Having tried a lot of filter techniques, this is the only one that has worked every day.

2. glen martin left...
Wednesday, 6 October 2004 3:04 pm
I too use SpamAssassin, and it keeps spam down to a dull roar. And running SpamAssassin on my local server, I can check for false positives periodically.

But not everyone uses SpamAssassin. Some folks' email is filtered at the provider, eg, AOL. And even SpamAssassin can fall in the trap of "words spammers use", which can include some popular misspellings. Such as, I suppose, "Horniman."

3. a reader left...
Monday, 25 October 2004 3:44 pm
adult galleries
adult-galleries []

4. glen martin left...
Monday, 25 October 2004 4:01 pm
Oh dear, I'm hoping the above was a joke. How positively ironic.