The Jim Collins Routine and Facebook's New Valuation
BY Jason Del Rey
Facebook's $10 billion valuation. About a week after news surfaced that Facebook had reportedly turned down a $200 million investment, the social network went ahead and accepted an offer for the same amount of funding from a Russian investment firm, The New York Times reports. The main difference: this time, the investor, Digital Sky Technologies, didn't insist on a board seat. The investment gives Digital Sky a 1.96 percent stake, while valuing Facebook at $10 billion, down from the $15 billion valuation it landed when Microsoft paid $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in 2007. But Digital Sky's stake should grow a bit when it buys $100 million of stock from former and current Facebook employees in a separate transaction. It's not clear what, if anything, Facebook will do with the money, since CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company did not need it. Zuckerberg seemed to shoot down the idea that his company is looking to make a splash with acquisitions during a video interview with Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. Digital Sky founder and CEO Yuri Milner, "the first Russian to get an American MBA," according to Arrington, also is on the interview, though he seems less than enthused to be there. (Note: if you're more interested in the valuation of your business, look for our special valuation guide in our June issue.)
How Jim Collins Works. In our April cover story, business guru and "Good to Great" author Jim Collins told us how entrepreneurs can succeed in years to come. This weekend he told the New York Times how he does what he does. (Via Tim Ferriss.) Collins is methodical: He times the various components of his work day using a stop watch and keeps a spreadsheet tally of how much time he spends on creative pursuits. (His goal is 50 percent or more; right now he's at 53 percent.) The article also discusses how Collins researched his new book, "How the Mighty Fall" and how he hires researchers. (Hint: it helps to be both an Eagle Scout and a bohemian).
Tax breaks and grant money from unusual places. Cities like Kalamazoo and Toledo are offering incentives for high-tech startups to relocate just as venture capital pulls back in Silicon Valley and Boston, reports The Wall Street Journal. In the past 90 days, Kalamazoo has seen 50 or 60 startups willing to relocate there to secure funding and the number of deals a local privately-funded economic development group is considering has doubled. When Galway, Ireland-based Proxy Biomedical wanted to set up shop in the Eastern time zone, it ended up in Cleveland rather than Boston thanks to two grants, relocation assistance, and funding from the city. Indeed, venture investments in Central Ohio grew to $172 million in 2008. Still, when it comes to raising larger rounds of funding, it's debatable whether these second-tier cities can compete.
Summer reading for the entrepreneur. No need to suffer through that trashy romance novel. The New York Times offers up some summer reading suggestions for business owners who want to make the most of their down time. (Though it's probably best not to share comedian Jeff Foxworthy's book, "How to Really Stink at Work," with your employees.) For Inc.'s list of the 30 books that should be on every entrepreneur's bookshelf, click here.
A novel idea for retweets. David Sacks, the founder of Yammer (Twitter for business) and former COO of PayPal, thinks Twitter's best bet is to focus on honing features users have invented themselves, like retweeting (when a user reposts an interesting tweet). Twitter's early success was in adapting to support behavior, such as when users starting addressing each other by @username, Sacks explains on TechCrunch. Now with retweeting, instead of forcing users to copy and paste the message and the original author's username and then edit that down to 140 characters (which can be tricky), Sacks proposes adding a retweet option that would post a tweet exactly as you first saw it, (with the original author's picture and all), but on your feed. A tagline with the people who also retweeted it would follow. What do you think? Would this make Twitter more useful? Or does Sacks have too much time on his hands?
Making room for the little guys. Among the beneficiaries of Circuit City's recent liquidation are smaller, regional, electronics chains, according to a story in today's Wall Street Journal. Some are looking to move in on Circuit City's lost market share, while others are literally moving into the company's old digs. P.C. Richard, the privately-held Farmingdale, New York-based electronics chain, has recently acquired six former Circuit City sites in the New York City metro area. For Joel Spolsky's take on why Circuit City failed, read his column from our May issue.
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JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey