Google to miss Q4 earnings? — Notable analysis here by a Yahoo employee, Amr Awadallah, who we know from several meetings over the years, about why Google will miss earnings expectations. Google recently increased the font size of the right search ads. According to Amr:

We call this type of change an “accelerator change” which is usually done to try and catch up with revenue projections, its another signal that Google’s Q4 quarter is a bit in trouble. Note that they launched this change after the peek of xmas shopping. (Via)


Local NASA outpost to become more like Silicon Valley start-up? — Signaling a changing of the guard at the embattled NASA/Ames Research Center, Director Scott Hubbard announced his resignation last week. Here’s Merc story about reasons why.

The Mashup controversy — The housing Web site, Trulia, which is a mashup of Google Maps with real estate listings and which we mentioned earlier as having a nice feel, has raised $5.7 million, led by Accel Partners.

However, Ning, another site we’ve written about that provides tools to people who want to make their own Web sites and choose their own mashups, has come under scathing critique from Michael Arrington, who suggests the company’s days may be over — it hasn’t…

communicated well enough, and hasn’t simplified its service enough for non-developers, he says. Lively comments on his post. However, the company, run by chief executive Gina Bianchini, in association with Marc Andreessen, scrambled into damage-control mode over the weekend, releasing some features it may have been planning to release later (Update: Gina, in comments below, challenges us on our “scrambled” reference, so you should read for yourselves what happened by going to Ning’s blog, etc), and it may be succeeding in addressing the criticism. In fact, there are even people asking Arrington if he is going to issue a retraction. He’s thinking about it.

Andreessen’s other company — Jeff Nolan points us to the latest company where Andreessen has become active (Update: Again, Gina corrects us on this, saying Andreessen is merely an “advisor”), Workday. It has the hallmarks of a Web 2.0 company, he writes, and it is being run by former PeopleSoft chief executive Dave Duffield. PeopleSoft was based in Pleasanton, on the eastern fringe of the Bay Area. It seems Duffield is receding even further back out — this time Workday has an office in northeastern Walnut Creek, but appears based in Nevada. So if Larry Ellison and Oracle prevailed in buying PeopleSoft, its longtime software nemesis, Duffield isn’t fading entirely into the golf course horizons. In fact, he’s not really going anywhere, if his company’s ambitious mission statement lives up to its promise (via):

Workday will provide a revolutionary application platform and the next generation of business applications to drive your enterprise’s performance. Our applications will be dramatically easy to use, be responsive to your organization’s changing needs and will significantly lower your total cost of ownership

SpikeSource grabs more cash — Speaking of lowering the cost of software, and of fabled Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, SpikeSource, the company that works to help integrate all the low-cost open source software out there to make it easier to use, has raised $15 million of a $20 million second round of funding, according to a regulatory filing. Duff Ackerman & Goodrich was joined on the deal by return backers Fidelity Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, according to PE Week, which first reported the filing this morning. SpikeSource is run by Kim Polese, who we profiled here.

Venture capital investments stay steady — Small dip in Silicon Valley investments last quarter, but it doesn’t mean much if you read the tea-leaves. Here’s our Mercury News story in today’s paper.

Latest on the Google-Fed standoff on privacy — Here’s our Mercury News story yesterday (free registration) on developments.

Bartz steps down, leaving few highly visible women in Silicon Valley — The chairwoman and chief executive of Autodesk, Carol A. Bartz, stepped down a few days ago and was succeeded by the chief operating officer, Carl Bass.

Ms. Bartz, 57, held the job 14 years and is recognized as one of the most powerful women in American business…..Ms. Bartz said she was stepping down to spend more time on her personal life. Her executive chairwoman duties will occupy about half her time, she said.

So who else is out there? Meg Whitman, Heidi Roizen, um…..

Stanford’s endowment keeps climbing — The WSJ has a good story today about how Stanford University’s endowment, boosted by deep ties to Silicon Valley, “vaulted past those of Princeton University and the University of Texas system last year, as fat investment gains at the nation’s richest colleges far outstripped what they received in gifts from alumni and other donors.”

Though Stanford’s endowment ranked No. 3 — after Harvard and Yale — the Palo Alto, Calif., school had the fastest-growing investment pool among the nation’s 10 wealthiest universities. Its endowment rose 23%, including donations and after spending on programs, to $12.2 billion in the year ended Aug. 31, according to an annual survey to be released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

We noted in October how Stanford is now getting more donations than Harvard University. Just a matter of time before West finally eclipses East.

Correction on the Bill Burnham entry — We’re now officially eating our hat on our post about possible “other reasons” for why venture capitalists Bill Burham split from three partners at Celsius Capital. In that post, we suggested his blogging activities may have gotten him in trouble. We’ve since talked with several people, including people who have no ties with Burnham but who had talked with him over the past several months enough to know that the real reason Burnham split was because of his desire to focus on Silicon Valley. It is tough for first-time venture capital funds — those out on the road raising money for the first time — to raise money for a “cross-geography” fund. Big investors want new VC firms to focus either on China or the U.S., but not both. Here are Burnham’s own words on the matter. We also talked with Carlos Bhola, Burnham’s former partner at Celsius, who is in Shanghai: “His blogging had absolutely no relationship with his departure from the fund,” he told us.

Stardust has Bay Area interestHere’s the Merc story about how a half-dozen Bay Area labs are examining the exotic haul of NASA-delivered spacedust.

Trouble for Thomas Weisel — We reported earlier there was trouble with San Francisco investment bank Thomas Weisel’s plans for an IPO. This is the latest (sub required):

Thomas Weisel Partners, a securities firm trying to sell shares in an initial public offering, underestimated its loss for the first three quarters of last year, putting the stock sale in jeopardy. The eight-year-old firm, based in San Francisco, said yesterday that its loss in the first nine months of 2005 was $14.2 million, 8 percent more than it reported a month ago in initial public offering documents filed with regulators.

Why should Silicon Valley pay? — BellSouth and other telecom companies are trying to get some Silicon Valley Internet companies to pay up for using so much bandwidth, but Google is, well, giving BellSouth the finger(s). (Om has more)

Posit Science wants to make your brain better — Here’s the latest Silicon Valley company wanting to help you age more gracefully, by having you practice mental gymnastics. The San Francisco company, which recently raised $16.8 million in a second round of funding, is developing software products meant “to exercise the minds of the elderly and middle-aged, and abate cognitive decline.” VentureWire has the story (sub required).

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