Will Groupon Become Irrelevant?


Groupon is hoping for a $20 billion valuation in its coming IPO. Yes, the company is growing fast, but as I wrote last month that its business model is suspect. And now, in addition to Amazon-backed Living Social, a host of niche competitors are nibbling at Groupon’s heels. More significantly, both Google and Facebook are getting into the online couponing ...

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Creative Acquisitions


M&A Without Buying the Company by Mike Myatt Most people tend to look at acquisitions from a rather myopic and traditional M&A perspective: making a strategic or synergistic purchase of an operating entity on an accretive basis. However restricting your view of acquisitions to operating companies is like playing a football game with only one play in your playbook. The ...

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Borrowing isn't a Strategy


You may have read about the troubles Borders Group is having paying its bills. With Amazon pressing hard on one side and Barnes & Noble the other, Borders is facing the threat of buyout, bankruptcy, or even extinction if it can’t find a way to fix its balance sheet and shore up its revenue. Things don’t look too bright for ...

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Building the Innovation Business Case


One of the toughest aspects within Innovation is making the Business Case. Much of the information is imperfect, the returns are often fuzzy and unclear in the early stages and the doubters line up ready to block and deter new ideas from entering the commercialization process. Justifying new innovation to others can often be really hard. How can you reduce ...

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Walmart Disease


Summary: Many large, and leading, companies have not created much shareholder value the last decade A surprising number of very large companies have gone bankrupt (GM) or failed (Circuit City) Wal-Mart is a company that has generated no shareholder value The Wal-Mart disease is focusing on executing the business’s long-standing success formula better, faster and cheaper — even though it’s ...

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Why Innovation Matters Now


As the economic downturn settles in for its second year and promises to hang around like a slacker twenty-something on the couch, there is a growing divide between the innovation haves and have nots. Firms that were relatively innovative before the economic slowdown have for the most part sustained a high level of innovation investment. That’s not uniformly true, however. ...

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The Business Plan Fallacy


As I’m reviewing business plans from college grads I’m mentoring (as an alumnae mentor at Brown Univ ) and from Glengary , the VC firm I’m a partner in, this whole business plan process is getting to me. So much of what I see in biz plans is, pardon the phrase, BS. We all know none of us believe any ...

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Could a Reversal Disrupt Groupon?


Or, If Groupon Flipped Their Model, Could It Unleash the Power of Networks? by Venessa Miemis As I’ve been working on the supplemental infographic for the Future of Money project, I noticed that all of the interesting new sites and ideas for value exchange are essentially types of marketplaces. There are peer to peer marketplaces now for gifting, sharing, bartering, ...

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Innovation and the New Beancounters


A while ago I wrote a post on how standard methods of valuing business opportunities hindered innovation. Somewhat foolishly I called it “How Accountants Kill Innovation” and it received a lot of comment from our blog readers, which was mostly very positive. Deb Schofield pointed out the uses of alternative valuation methods in her work as a VC and Ralph ...

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How Accountants Kill Innovation


This isn’t going to be one of those rants against ‘beancounters’. We have actually collected and analyzed data which tells us that traditional accounting and valuation methods will damage innovation performance. To be fair to my accounting colleagues (some of my best friends are accountants) the main conclusion from our study is that we need a different type of accounting ...

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