Posts Tagged ‘Morgan Stanley’

Required Tech Reading: Mary Meeker’s 2009 Web 2.0 Presentation

October 22, 2009

On Oct. 20 Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker delivered her annual “Economy + Internet Trends” report. For techies, this is required reading, so I am posting an embed of the report on this blog.

Among the most important takeaways:
* The Tech Sector is a Growing Part of the Global Economy
* Ad Spending Should Grow in 2010
* Mobile Internet Usage Will be Bigger Than Most Think
* Apple Mobile Share Should Surprise on the Upside Near-Term
* Mobile Internet Outpaces Desktop Internet Adoption!
* Facebook is the Largest Share Gainer of Online Usage Over Past 3 Years

Mary Meeker’s Internet Presentation 2009

Why Now is the Best Time to Poach Talent

March 15, 2009

If imitation is the best form of flattery, I feel pretty good this morning.

The lead story on the New York Times Business section, “Secrets of the Talent Scouts,” picks up one big theme I highlighted three weeks ago in my online feature, “Startups in a Downturn,” which revealed the lessons of success from entrepreneurs and financiers who created great companies during past economic downturns.

Heck, the TImes even opened the story with the same guy I led with: venture capitalist Mike Moritz.

I want to return to this theme though because I still think a lot of people in business don’t realize the opportunity that exists now to poach world-class talent.

I’ll give you three examples I heard of just this week. I visited the offices of a Knewton, an online education startup in downtown NY. The CEO Jose Ferreira told me that the talent market is so rich right now that he is actually turning down Harvard grads who scored 1600 on their SATs. Peter Miron, the current chief technology officer of the company, was the former vp of product development of the troubled startup Vonage. He joined the company in May 2008 because he got sick of doing depositions for all of the company’s messy court battles.

Poaching opportunities also exist in big companies. Ferreira is in the market to hire an executive assistant. He said he is going to be able to hire the former EA of one of the top five executives at Morgan Stanley for less than half of what she was making at the bank. When Ferreira first heard people tell him that downturns were a great time to build your business, he sort of laughed. “Now I believe it,” he says.

Think of all the thousands of great people that have been laid off from Wall Street, various media giants such as Time Inc. and Conde Nast, and many other top companies. Even Goldman Sachs, the company that only hires A team players, laid off thousands of people. Where are all those genuises now? If you’re smart and opportunistic, you’ve already hired one of these folks in marketing, engineering, research, whatever.

If you have any open positions in your company, you should be digging through these resumes to find your next great stars. Or even if you don’t have any openings, you might want to make room for that special person who you’re going to need when the economy eventually picks up.

Why the Demise of Lehman Brothers (& Merrill Lynch) Is a Big Blow to the Tech Industry

September 15, 2008

This Friday, as I sat in my office on the 43rd floor of 1221 6th ave., just around the corner from the fancy new headquarters of Lehman Brothers, I was hit by a combination of shock and sadness.

I know some observers have been suggesting for several months that Lehman Brothers was in big trouble, and that CEO Richard Fuld has always been one step behind the curve of the unraveling credit crisis. But it’s just mind-blowing that the bank appears headed for oblivion.

And then, the unbelievable news came Sunday night that Bank of America reached a deal to buy Merrill Lynch for about $50 billion–about two-thirds of its value of one year ago, and half its all-time peak value of early 2007.

Lehman and Merrill survived the Great Depression and several world wars. But they could not survive the credit crunch of 2008. This is a historic, tragic and disturbing day, as former Deputy Treasury Sec. Roger Altman said on CNBC tonight.

The fall of Lehman and Merrill is horrible news for many reasons. First, losing two of the nation’s largest investment banks overnight is gigantic and historic blow to the U.S. financial industry that will undoubtedly reverberate for months if not years–even if bankers are already saying on CNBC that this is “good for the market.” Credit will tighten further.

If Lehman can fall, and Merrill can be bought for a song, who else could be next when fear and panic rule day? Insurance giant AIG looks like it could the next domino to fall. Where does this leave the two surviving banks–Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley?

Second, it’s awful news for the nearly 100,000 people who work for these two giants. It’s the worst-case scenario for Lehman’s 25,000 employees, many of whom had a lot of their net worth tied up in the company stock. Who knows how many of Merrill’s 60,000 employees will survive a merger with Bank of America. Third, the fall of these two American icons is an enormous loss for New York City, and the Big Apple’s reputation, wealth and tax base.

And finally, it’s a big blow to the U.S. technology industry, when you think about it. Besides being one of the oldest investment banks, Lehman was one of the most innovative banks of the last 150 years. Under chairman Robert Lehman in the 1950s and 1960s, it played a critical role in bankrolling many businesses in new industries, including high technology companies.

In 1960, Lehman underwrote a stock offering for American Research & Development, the first venture capital firm to sell stock on the public market (and the subject of my book Creative Capital).

Then, in perhaps the most important story I tell in my book, I show how Lehman Brothers had the courage and foresight in 1966 to take public a little technology company, Digital Equipment Corporation. That IPO, I argue, showed for the first time that people could make a lot of money by investing in and nurturing the growth of a tech startup. It was the first home run of the venture capital industry and the innovation-led economy of the U.S.

Since the 1960s, Lehman helped hundreds of other tech companies raise money. And its success has inspired other banks to follow suit.

Now, with three of Wall Street’s biggest banks either bankrupt or subsumed by a larger entity, that means there are three fewer outlets that can help tech companies raise capital. That means innovation and new business are going to take a hit.

The capital markets crisis in the U.S. tech industry just got a lot worse. And we probably haven’t seen the end of this horror show, based on the velocity of this weekend’s historic events. Fasten your seatbelts, people.