MoneyCamp

Hey Toronto, Let’s do MoneyCamp.

We will get people together, to talk and we might even sing songs, most of all though, we will throw around ideas and show off the startups.

The money guys will say “Hey, neat things are happening right here in my city!”

The startup guys will say “Tell me about the right way to finance some of these things”

Harmoney!

I dropped David Crow an email about it yesterday. He says “When when when!”. I think some guys like Rick Segal might be interested too.

We might need more of a Hypercamp model, but let’s not worry about models yet.

DC 2.0

I was going to head to DC 2.0 while in DC doing client work. Stowe Boyd also promod it, and I like Stowe.

Then I saw that there was a Panel Session. Great, a bunch of people at a table trying to pretend they know something about where the web is going.

Then I noticed they want 50$. 50$ isn’t that much money, but what are you going to tell me that is going to be worth my 50$?

Lessons about building web apps

There are some simple truths in the world.

  Be good to eachother.
  Do for others as you would like done for you.
  Be Honest.
  Love your family.

There are more, and they aren’t hard to figure out. Most of the time we can look around us and see others who live by the same rules that we do. We like the rules, because we believe in what they mean. They aren’t rules we follow, they are a way of living that brings great reward.

Sure enough, there is always some idiot who has no idea what the hell all these rules mean. We each have our own ways of dealing with this kind of behavior, we ignore it, or smother it, or rebuke it.

Much in the same way, when you see a company that is being funded by Angels or VCs, and you know for a fact that it is doomed to fail, it’s like all the rules of a normal person are being ignored.

How did Gather.com raise 9 Million Dollars? Who wrote those cheques before doing even a little bit of homework? Why would public radio listeners trust some heavily funded machine in Boston to build a community. People who listen to Public Radio love public radio, and they are too smart to let someone else hijack what they love.

I can think of a local company back in Atlantic Canada, they raised 5 million by selling a silly little dream that nobody by the VCs believed in. I had to sit in a meeting and listen to one of those VCs both complain about his current return, and also tell me about this cool 5 Million he put out to company X.

I bet if I asked him to explain what the company was doing, he couldn’t give me the real answer.

Buying Apple

There seem to be two ways to look at Apple stock.

On first glance, it is a strong buy. It has grown at least 8x in the last 2 years. If I have put all of my investment money into Apple back when I first started buying Macs, I would be a very happy man. Instead, I have languished as a casual investor making OK returns, but I find it depressing that all that money can’t do something more (and it will, it’s going back where it belongs, in the business).

If you have been buying Apple products for the last 3-4 years, you know that they will keep surprising us. That is a good thing. Surprise and a great platform to announce that surprise from, along with millions of minions like me who tell their friends and family that they should “just get a Mac”.

Things are positive. Apple will only sell more iPods, perhaps double the number 2 years from now. The iTunes Music store, assuming the labels don’t kill it, will only sell more. In fact, if the labels do kill it, a huge amount of Indy music would find a home there.

Podcasting has almost guaranteed a strong future for Apple in the next 2 years. Using GarageBand you can now produce incredible and rich podcasts, you can even upload them to your .Mac account without knowing a thing about what is happening. That sure will change the Christmas update letter from Uncle Adam.

Video is going to be another hit. Apple is still figuring out what they will do in this space, but they already have the best home video editing software on the planet. With iMovie, my sister or mother can put together an incredible DVD of family video in an afternoon.

What’s not to like?

There are a few things that joe-blow investor should probably look out for.

The first problem is that Apple seems to be quickly becoming a darling stock. Big institutional dollars are flowing in, and that means that big institutional expectations are starting to put pressure on Apple activities. We are starting to see this already, after Macworld 2006, pundits on ROB and MSNBC were complaining that Apple didn’t make the move into home entertainment that they expected. Steve Jobs now comes under certain expectations, and if he doesn’t meet them or goes in another direction, the stock will get punished. If you are like me, these changes that institutional investors don’t like would be the same changes that make a world of sense to you. You might even buy in for more, while someone else with a big portfolio will decided to move some huge amount of $ out of Apple. We get caught in the crossfire and have our values hammered.

The other problem that I see is that Steve Jobs has cancer. I realize that he has beaten it, and it is even a form of cancer that has a high recovery rate, but it is still Cancer and Apple really is Steve Jobs. Nobody in the world deserves to have their illness under such scrutiny, but you need to consider that when buying.

In the short term, I will buy more Apple, but I will be out by Summer at the latest. Not because I don’t think it would make money in the next 12 months, but because I really don’t have the time to watch it all day. I am not a professional, I am not even at the amateur level yet.

There is really no reason to look to me for investment advice, go hire a professional.