Green cars - top picks

Green cars are getting - well greener with the latest crop of electric and hybrid cars hitting the market with prices all the way up to a half of a million dollars!

Our top picks of the electric/ hybrid cars

image Most likely to impress: The Venturi Fetish wins this category. The fact that you were willing to drop $435k just to save the environment has to impress a few folks. So what if it sports less of a range and top speed than cars a tenth of its price? If you are worried about such mundane things, you might be looking at the wrong end of the spectrum!

 image Most likely to get rid of your date in a hurry: If you have an extra $108k, why not spend it on something really ugly - like the Commuter Cars Tango T600? With a face only a CEO could love (and a body to match!), this strange 3 wheel design electric could make a great getaway car with a top speed of 150 mph and the ability to squeeze between two traffic lanes!

 image The coolest: The most sexy car, by far, is still the Tesla roadster - although the car has had its share of growing pains recently. For those who have been salivating ever since they put down their $20,000 deposits on the car, we wish them the best and hope the wait is not too much longer.

 image Best "value": If you want the most range and top speed for the buck, and don’t particularly care that your car looks like a green bug flapping its wings, the Brazilian Obvio 828e is a good choice. Designed by the racing legend Anisio Campos, the all electric car will get you around town with a max range of 240 miles and top speed 120 mph for a price of $49k.

 image Funniest looking car: In this category, the Myers Motos NmG (No more Gas) rolls on its own. Reminiscent of the wiener mobile, this car makes up for its outlandish looks by not going very far (30 miles, tops)!

 

For a complete list of 27 electric car companies, see VentureBeat.



Private Equity - the year that was

It was a year of huge records for Private equity, that is if you sidestep over the pothole in the road called the credit crunch.

First the great news:

1. Deal volume reached a record $1.5 trillion in mid December of 2007, up from $1.4 trillion in the same time last year.

2. Money raised by Private equity funds was also at an all time high with $199.4 billion raised by the end of the third quarter, up from $154.1 billion raised in that time period in 2006. 3. Good to know that

3. 2007 saw some obscenely huge deals - such as the $38.9 billion dollar acquisition of Equity Office Properties trust by Blackstone.

Then the, well, not so great news:

image Deal volume, in dollars, was down in the second half of the year, although the number of deals did not lose too much ground (graph at left). Deals at below the 1 billion dollar level chugged on through the drought.

True, some funds went under but not too many people were mourning the loss. With the top deals getting overbid a lot, some were looking forward to the possibility of the market finally settling out.

Meanwhile people are bullish on the fact that 2008 will turn around and the PE market will gain back the lost ground. After all, they argue, the private equity firms are still sitting on large piles of cash, and they have to find someplace to put all of the money!



IncrediMail, Google, Adsense and Powerful Entities (Natural Monoplies)

ImageIncredibleMail is an e-mail client, which produces multimedia emails, screensavers and wall papers. I do remember giving it a try when it initially came out in 1999. It allowed for beautiful “stationary” in the emails, when the the stationary concept was somewhat new.

IncrediMail was in the news yesterday because Google disabled their Adsense account, and since adsense revenues are a significant portion of their total revenue, the market reacted negatively to the news and the stock dived by 41%.

It seems that Google didn’t like IncrediMail’s “opt-in” policy of how the search results were being served to the IncrediMail’s clients. In fact, I see that one of their products, Magnetic, claims “The product offering includes pages generating keyword searches, resulting in revenue for the company.” I can see how this might violate Google’s TOS. IncrediMail doesn’t know exactly why their account was disabled.

And when Google turns off the Adsense account, you not only not get any future revenue, but all the “earned” money gets frozen too, and you permanently lose it.

There is a whole mob complaining about why IncrediMail didn’t prepare for the loss of Google and that they shouldn’t have put all their eggs in the Google basket.

To me it seems that IncrediMail didn’t rely on just one source of revenue- they had three sources:(i) subscription service, (ii) licensing revenues and (iii) Adsense.

I think this is more of an issue with Google. It has become so much more powerful and so much ahead of it’s competitor, that one has no choice but to use them. Google has become defacto monopoly or natural monopoly.

I am not suggesting that Google unfairly cancelled IncrediMail’s account; IncrediMail probably pushed the envelope on serving search engine results without getting full consent of the consumer.

In the current state of Internet web 2.0 environment, one does not have any choice but to rely on Google. You can go with Yahoo or use some other widget, but the results won’t be as good as Google without spending incredible amount of time - so why bother? In fact, till recently, if you used Google Adsense, its TOS prohibited you from having any other ads that provide contextual ad content on the same page.

I agree with an unknown senior executive at Time Warner:

Sometimes I don’t know what to think of Google. We have the best relationship of anyone with Google. On the other hand, you always have to worry when someone gets so much more powerful than all the competition out there. This is why I come down to this: I hope the government starts understanding this power sooner rather than later.

GoogopolyI admit that I have multiple Google/Gmail account. I am sure it is against their TOS and I worry that one day I will turn on my laptop and try to check my mail, and I will get a message “your gmail account has been disabled”. I wouldn’t know for sure as to why it was disabled and I would have no place to turn to get my data. Google doesn’t tell you why it is punishing you - and that scares me!

The one company that I love the most is Google and one company that scares me the most is Google!

We all need to understand the power that Google has.



Black gold and Yellow gold hit highs

oil hits $100 a barrel gold reaches $900

He said it would happen - that the price of oil would hit $100 a barrel - and it has! Back in 2000 Michael Economides, author of "The Color of Oil", had predicted that oil would hit $100 a barrel - probably to great deal of good natured ribbing. The price of oil at the time was hovering around $30 and had not really gone too much above that mark in the previous decade, and even $50 was looking a bit far fetched.

It would have been a good time to buy into oil stocks as prices have risen higher year by year since 2002, to finally reach the $100 level in the first trading day of 2008.

Following a similar trend, gold has hit a record $900 per oz as of January 11th, 2008.

So what do you think the price of oil will be in 6 months? Is demand going to continue to outpace supply?

Take our poll (current poll is on the side bar; see here for past polls).

We will ask Michael Economides for his prediction for July 1st, 2008!



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