Thursday, July 16, 2009

From The Sidelines: The Entrecard "Purchase"


Yeah, I know. I'm on sabbatical. But yesterday's Entrecard news pulled me off the sofa, with a few thoughts:

- who or what is Zip Runner, Inc [Entrecard's new "owner"; quotation marks to be explained momentarily] - This is, or was, nearly as big a mystery as why people really give a damn about the horse's- asses collective known as Big Brother. But, as usual, I digress. Kudos to "Turnip of Power" and Mama ASID of BadGals Radio fame [her anti-Entrecard blog is known as "It's EntrePod"] for the 411. Sort of. I mean, they presented everything that is known about ZR; the problem is, there's just not much to know. Based in Southern California, it appears to be little more than a front for venture capitalist Andrew Te. Through ZR, Te invested 112k in EC [a lot of two-letter names and abbreviations in that sentence; maybe I'm not as much off sabbatical as I thought...]. Given the current economic climate, Mr. Te [why do I picture him wrapped in chains, saying, "I pity the fool who don't pay up!"?] probably called in his investment. Which he had every right to do. Despite Graham's many attempts at making EC profitable [or at least break-even able], at the end of the day, he couldn't pay off his chop. While it may seem unusually kind for Te to allow Langdon's loss of the company to him to be called an "acquisition", it allows both of them to save face; entrepreneur Graham goes on to another project [that said, I didn't know the act of writing a blog made one an entrepreneur; maybe I'm doing better than I thought], investor Te can pretend he didn't sink 112k into the Blogosphere equivalent of the Titanic; big smiles for everybody!

- what happens to EC? - Damn good question. As "ToP" and Mama ASID point out, ZRInc has no obvious interests in development anywhere else in the Internet. It's unlikely Te has much interest in trying to solve EC's problems. He's trying to get his money back. Investors. at least the smart ones, try not to sink any more money into a losing investment. Te's goal, therefore, is probably to find another purchaser ASAP. Who'd buy? Google and Microsoft, the US and USSR of the ongoing Internet Cold War, are likely pigeons...sorry, players. Then again, $112,000 US is pizza money for these guys. EC is a proven social network. Either one could do worse than buying it and turning its promotional-developmental networks [the Internet's equivalent of the military-industrial complex] loose on it. And the buyer gets to thumb its nose at the other one, which both seem to just live for. As for other possible dance partners, your guess is as good as mine. After all, Te came out of nowhere. There may be others. Fast money takes it, I'm guessing. Will the real problem [finding a profit-making paradigm for EC] be addressed? I'd like to think so. But I was raised a Cynic, and I'm too old to give up the old-time religion now...

-whither Graham? - Short answer; who cares? That said, for all my on-line grumbling about the seemingly endless series of snafus that marked his operation of EC: 1], he had the cojones to go for it, and, 2], he didn't give up on it. Yeah, much of what he tried didn't work. But he tried. When one attempted "fix" failed, he went to another one. And another. And another...but at least he tried.
Now he has a blog, where, if I understand it right, Graham will regale us with stories of his entrepreneurial adventures. Could be interesting. After all, I live in western New York State. A whole cottage industry has grown up around the players of the Buffalo Bills teams of the early 1990's. They can tell marvelous stories about playing in four straight Super Bowls. Unfortunately [and you can't begin to understand how painfully sad the fact makes me], none of them can tell you what it's like to win one. Of course, knowing what not to do does save some preparation time.

Graham, good luck.
ECers, good luck.
Mr. Te, good luck.
And good luck to all of you...

-Mike Riley

2 comments:

RE Ausetkmt said...

Thanks for the link and the post relating to our story on entrecard.
hopefully you also saw the followups which now venture that actually what happened was that there was NO Take over. just a clever ruse' to distract the distraught of entrecard; long enough for gl to put a new face on the co; and creep away.

oh I have no doubt he had an angel, but angels learn who's devilish quickly.

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