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I think that we last week saw a start of a new boom, A123 soured on the IPO, and many candidates are waiting in line. Here is piece on the issue from Reuters.

“SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A 50 percent leap in the shares of lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc (AONE.O) on their first day of trading looks likely to jumpstart the market for clean-tech share offerings.

The Watertown, Mass.-based A123 Systems is now worth over $1.9 billion, a striking valuation for a company that has yet to make a profit and still needs large-scale commercialization.

Industry executives and experts said A123’s success shows investors have an appetite for green technology companies that lose money, but have tremendous potential.

So the stock’s first day jump, which is the second-best performance for a debut stock in 2009, should encourage more venture capital-backed clean technology companies to go public, they added.

“This is an interesting time for the market because there are several (clean-tech) companies that have been growing very nicely,” said Faysal Sohail, managing director of venture fund CMEA Capital, which is an investor in A123.

Sohail declined to comment specifically on A123, but said the whole environment is creating opportunities for clean-tech companies and expects 2010 to be a busy year for green IPOs.

“They are real companies with substantial revenue and growing at a very fast clip,” he said.

CMEA Capital also backs companies such as Silicon Valley solar manufacturer Solyndra and biofuel company Codexis, which many see as likely candidates for the IPO market.

Other green companies deemed ripe for an IPO include smart grid network company Silver Spring Networks, electric carmaker Tesla Motors and solar thermal company BrightSource Energy.”

Read the full article here.

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Although a few days old, I found this article for todays post. It´s old news that Yahoo and Microsoft is partnering up – but what just hit me is that the forced antitrust review needed for the advertising deal might just be the precursor for a forthcoming merger.

Here is a Associated Press piece by way of The Eagle.

“WASHINGTON — Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. hope that by joining forces, they can tilt the balance of power in Internet search away from Google Inc. First, however, Yahoo and Microsoft have to convince regulators that their plan won’t hurt online advertisers and consumers.

As the U.S. Justice Department reviews the proposed partnership, approval figures hinge on this question: Will the online ad market be healthier if Google’s dominance is challenged by a single, more muscular rival instead of two scrawnier foes?

The first step toward getting an answer came this month when Microsoft and Yahoo filed paperwork with federal regulators to comply with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, an antitrust law governing mergers and alliances between competitors. The Justice Department has until early September to approve the agreement or — as is likely in this case — request additional information.

European regulators are also expected to review the deal. Microsoft and Yahoo are bracing for the probes to extend into early next year, and the outcome is far from certain.

Just nine months ago, Google abandoned its own proposed partnership with Yahoo to avoid a showdown with the government, which had concluded that Google was already too powerful in the lucrative market for selling ads alongside search results.

Google had hoped to extend its reach even further by selling ads next to some of Yahoo’s search results, and in the process, keep Yahoo out of Microsoft’s clutches. Microsoft aggressively lobbied against the partnership.

With the Google-Yahoo inquiry behind them, U.S. antitrust regulators are likely to enter this examination with a clearer definition of the Internet search landscape and a better understanding of how it affects the steadily growing online advertising market.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is an interesting post by Arhtur Laffer at Wall Street Journal.

“The unprecedented expansion of the money supply could make the ’70s look benign.

Rahm Emanuel was only giving voice to widespread political wisdom when he said that a crisis should never be “wasted.” Crises enable vastly accelerated political agendas and initiatives scarcely conceivable under calmer circumstances. So it goes now.

Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13% of GDP. That’s more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers’ expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health-care and insurance industries.

With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs — such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid — are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.”

The story concludes…

“Alas, I doubt very much that the Fed will do what is necessary to guard against future inflation and higher interest rates. If the Fed were to reduce the monetary base by $1 trillion, it would need to sell a net $1 trillion in bonds. This would put the Fed in direct competition with Treasury’s planned issuance of about $2 trillion worth of bonds over the coming 12 months. Failed auctions would become the norm and bond prices would tumble, reflecting a massive oversupply of government bonds.

In addition, a rapid contraction of the monetary base as I propose would cause a contraction in bank lending, or at best limited expansion. This is exactly what happened in 2000 and 2001 when the Fed contracted the monetary base the last time. The economy quickly dipped into recession. While the short-term pain of a deepened recession is quite sharp, the long-term consequences of double-digit inflation are devastating. For Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke it’s a Hobson’s choice. For me the issue is how to protect assets for my grandchildren.”

Read the full article here.

Others covering this story include: NCPA, Market Guardian, Bully Pulpit.

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Here is an analysis by John Mauldin at InvestorInsight. It was originally published as a special series at Stratfor.

John Mauldin is president of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Investment recommendations may change and readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. John Mauldin and/or the staff at Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC may or may not have investments in any funds cited above. Mauldin can be reached at 800-829-7273.

This information is not to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

“Dear Friends: One of the first things you learn about analyzing a company is how to dissect a balance sheet. What assets and liabilities can be deployed by a company to create equity over time? I’ve enclosed a fascinating variant on this process. Take a look at how STRATFOR has analyzed the “geographic balance sheets” of the US, Russia, China, and Europe to understand why different countries’ economies have suffered to varying degrees from the current economic crisis.

As investors, it’s precisely this type of outside-the-box thinking that can provide us profitable opportunities, and it’s precisely this type of outside-the-box thinking that makes STRATFOR such an important part of my investment decision making. The key to investment profits is thinking differently and thinking earlier than the next guy. STRATFOR’s work exemplifies both these traits.

I’ve arranged for a special deal on a STRATFOR Membership for my readers, which you can click here to take advantage of.  Many of you are invested in alternative strategies, but I want to make sure that you also employ alternative thinking strategies. So take a look at these different “country balance sheets” as you formulate your plans.
Your Mapping It Out Analyst, John Mauldin

The Geography of Recession

The global recession is the biggest development in the global system in the year to date. In the United States, it has become almost dogma that the recession is the worst since the Great Depression. But this is only one of a wealth of misperceptions about whom the downturn is hurting most, and why.As one can see in the chart, the U.S. recession at this point is only the worst since 1982, not the 1930s, and it pales in comparison to what is occurring in the rest of the world.

(Figures for China have not been included, in part because of the unreliability of Chinese statistics, but also because the country’s financial system is so radically different from the rest of the world as to make such comparisons misleading. For more, click here.)

But didn’t the recession begin in the United States? That it did, but the American system is far more stable, durable and flexible than most of the other global economies, in large part thanks to the country’s geography. To understand how place shapes economics, we need to take a giant step back from the gloom and doom of the current moment and examine the long-term picture of why different regions follow different economic paths.

The United States and the Free Market

The most important aspect of the United States is not simply its sheer size, but the size of its usable land. Russia and China may both be similar-sized in absolute terms, but the vast majority of Russian and Chinese land is useless for agriculture, habitation or development. In contrast, courtesy of the Midwest, the United States boasts the world’s largest contiguous mass of arable land — and that mass does not include the hardly inconsequential chunks of usable territory on both the West and East coasts. Second is the American maritime transport system. The Mississippi River, linked as it is to the Red, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. In the San Francisco Bay, Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound/New York Bay, the United States has three of the world’s largest and best natural harbors. The series of barrier islands a few miles off the shores of Texas and the East Coast form a water-based highway — an Intercoastal Waterway — that shields American coastal shipping from all but the worst that the elements can throw at ships and ports.

The real beauty is that the two overlap with near perfect symmetry. The Intercoastal Waterway and most of the bays link up with agricultural regions and their own local river systems (such as the series of rivers that descend from the Appalachians to the East Coast), while the Greater Mississippi river network is the circulatory system of the Midwest. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for ships to reach nearly any part of the Midwest from nearly any part of the Gulf or East coasts. The result is not just a massive ability to grow a massive amount of crops — and not just the ability to easily and cheaply move the crops to local, regional and global markets — but also the ability to use that same transport network for any other economic purpose without having to worry about food supplies.

The implications of such a confluence are deep and sustained. Where most countries need to scrape together capital to build roads and rail to establish the very foundation of an economy, transport capability, geography granted the United States a near-perfect system at no cost. That frees up U.S. capital for other pursuits and almost condemns the United States to be capital-rich. Any additional infrastructure the United States constructs is icing on the cake. (The cake itself is free — and, incidentally, the United States had so much free capital that it was able to go on to build one of the best road-and-rail networks anyway, resulting in even greater economic advantages over competitors.)

Third, geography has also ensured that the United States has very little local competition. To the north, Canada is both much colder and much more mountainous than the United States. Canada’s only navigable maritime network — the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway —is shared with the United States, and most of its usable land is hard by the American border. Often this makes it more economically advantageous for Canadian provinces to integrate with their neighbor to the south than with their co-nationals to the east and west.

Similarly, Mexico has only small chunks of land, separated by deserts and mountains, that are useful for much more than subsistence agriculture; most of Mexican territory is either too dry, too tropical or too mountainous. And Mexico completely lacks any meaningful river system for maritime transport. Add in a largely desert border, and Mexico as a country is not a meaningful threat to American security (which hardly means that there are not serious and ongoing concerns in the American-Mexican relationship).

With geography empowering the United States and hindering Canada and Mexico, the United States does not need to maintain a large standing military force to counter either. The Canadian border is almost completely unguarded, and the Mexican border is no more than a fence in most locations — a far cry from the sort of military standoffs that have marked more adversarial borders in human history. Not only are Canada and Mexico not major threats, but the U.S. transport network allows the United States the luxury of being able to quickly move a smaller force to deal with occasional problems rather than requiring it to station large static forces on its borders.Like the transport network, this also helps the U.S. focus its resources on other things.”

John F. Mauldin
johnmauldin@investorsinsight.com

Read more here.

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During the dot-com bust, as the online advertising market dried up and the Web companies that had been buying most of the ad space went bankrupt, the people who start and fund companies in Silicon Valley began questioning whether Web sites could survive on advertising alone.

That moment of doubt didn’t last. The ad market revived and free Web services blossomed. But now, as advertising shrinks once again, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are desperately seeking new sources of revenue.

Does this mean the advertising model is no longer a viable one for new Web start-ups?

Advertising requires an audience, and that takes a few years to build. Web start-ups struggle with the question of whether to sacrifice revenue for several years, build a huge audience and then sell them ads, as YouTube did, or find an alternative revenue stream that will bring in money from Day One.

The venture capitalists that back those start-ups have different philosophies, but as a group they have grown much more cautious about backing companies that have no immediate way to bring in some revenue.

Roger Lee, a general partner at Battery Ventures, said he looks for Web companies with multiple revenue streams. Even if some of a site’s services are free, most of the start-ups in his portfolio also have subscription products, premium services or an e-commerce element.

Read the full article here

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Here is an excellent article from Andrew at Mixergy.com

Guy Kawasaki, the investor, entrepreneur and best selling author, just wrote a new book called Reality Check. The book is a collection of practical ideas for building a successful business. With the book in mind, I asked him for a few reality checks for Mashable readers. Here are seven:

Reality Check #1: Do one thing well

If your startup tries to do too much, you’ll lose. Guy told me, “I meet companies every day who say, ‘well we’re software services, and we’re also consulting. And we are a social networking site, but we also do white labeling in case you want to use our technology to do your own social network.’ And you know what, it’s hard to do any one of those things, try doing four.”

Reality Check #2: Court your thunder lizards

Quit pretending that you’re smarter than your community. Find ways to act on the energy of your “thunder lizards,” Guy’s term for your most passionate community members. Guy does that at Alltop, his RSS aggregation site.

“There are some people who not only suggest topics for Alltop, they send us their OPML files with all the feeds that should be in those topics. All we had to do there is have an open mind to having other people contribute to the community and to the quality of Alltop. But many, many companies will refuse that help. They’ll say, ‘NO. We know better.’”

Reality Check #3: Be crappy

Stop working on making your product perfectly perfect before you launch it. “You need to ship something that’s truly different and valuable and all that, but version 1 doesn’t have to be perfect,” says Guy. “Version 1 of Alltop had only 12 topics. We didn’t exactly have critical mass. If we had waited till we had 500, we’d still be waiting today. Once you have an idea…you ship it and then you test as you go.”

Reality Check #4: Learn to steal

You don’t have to invent your best business ideas. Guy has said many times that he created Alltop by copying popurls, an aggregations site that focused on a narrow set of subjects.

“Popurls was sending Truemors [a site Guy launched previously] so much traffic. And so we looked at what the hell is this popurls thing sending us as much traffic as Google. And then I got to know the creator of popurls and I asked him if he was going to do anything besides tech and business. And he said, ‘no.’ So I said, alright, I’m going to do them all.”

Reality Check #5: Hire “blindly”

Without realizing it, employers bring biases into job interviews. To hire smarter, Guy suggests doing your interviews over the phone–without seeing applicants. ”When you do things in person,” he said, “because of the person’s physical nature–attractive/unattractive, sloppy/not sloppy, fashionable/not fashionable–you make these judgment and it changes the interview. Where if you didn’t see the person and didn’t know what he/she looked like or smelled like or dressed like, I think it’s a much more objective interview.”

Reality Check #6: Just build it already

This is a tough market for raising money. Before you waste your time trying to raise money, work on building your product. “I think now, you truly have to show up with a prototype and even better a working site,” he told me. “You can no longer say, ‘give me a few million bucks and trust me I’ll build it.’ Now you have to show up with something that’s done.” After doing that, you might find that you don’t even need investors’ money.

Reality Check #7: Be honest

How’s this for openness? I asked Guy about his crowning achievement as a venture capital investor. “I don’t have a crowning touch,” he told me. “I believe I am still not proven as a VC. … I haven’t picked a Google, Yahoo, Apple or Cisco. I want to, but I haven’t.”

Have you heard another VC admit that? I haven’t. But it’s the kind of openness that helped Guy’s readers trust his honesty.

Now it’s your turn to hit us with a reality check. What do you think startups need to know about building companies in this environment?

More on this article, visit Mashable here

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