Blizzard's Diablo 3: A Lesson in Customer Satisfaction Reviews

Now more than ever, corporations must be focused on delivering value to their customer, or the feedback will be immediate. Diablo 3 was in development for a decade, yet Blizzard and parent company Activision seemed to have paid little heed to their legions of loyal Starcraft customers who bemoaned the loss of critical features such as LAN play in last year's release of Starcraft 2. Diablo 3 did little to address the most significant shortcomings identified by Blizzard fans. I discussed a few of these issues as potential pitfalls in one my postings last week.

Judging from the feedback across the internet on the product's opening day, it seems that Activision/Blizzard chose a risky strategy by trying to control the customer and further monetize player activity by forcing them to log into the proprietary Battle.net. That strategy may have backfired, judging by this snapshot of first day purchasers at Amazon.com. I don't think I have ever seen such a polarized set of customers on a product. It's like looking at poll results for the upcoming presidental election.

Facebook Valuation Pre-IPO: My Estimate

The wait is almost over: the biggest technology Initial Public Offering (IPO) in years is coming next Friday. We will all be able to own Facebook shares when the stock is introduced with the FB ticker symbol. The price per share of the stock will most likely start at the height of its ipo range, at $35. The question is: will it be worth it?

Before we begin, let me clearly state that my analysis here is just for fun: I am NOT a financial advisor, and you should do your own analysis and get professional advice before making any investment decisions. For all I know, Greece could default on its debts causing the world economy to collapse, and we could be trading chickens and pigs for currency tomorrow.

If you want to skip my analysis and just get my predicted FB value per share (and miss all the fun!), just scroll down to the end of the posting.


Tesla Model S at Newport Fashion Island

Fashion Island is a premier retail mall located in the hills above Newport Beach. Known for high-end stores catering to wealthy locals, it is not surprising to see cars with six-figure pricetags displayed in some of the outdoor open areas. What is surprising is the very flashy Tesla indoor showroom occupying a prime corner location, displaying their incredible Roadster and the intriguing Model S. The Tesla staff was very knowledgeable, and graciously allowed me to take photos for this post.

Tesla Fashion Island, Newport Beach, California USA
Tesla Fashion Island, Newport Beach, California USA

Walter Isaacson Discusses Steve Jobs at Caltech

Speaking to a packed Beckman Auditorium last Wednesday, Caltech professor Jed Buchwald hosted a discussion with Walter Isaacson, historian and author of the widely read Steve Jobs biography which distilled over forty interviews with Jobs over the course of his last two years. Many luminaries were present, including university president Jean-Lou Chameau. Here are some tidbits of the evening.

When he worked at Atari as a teenager, Jobs was known as a drug-using hippie with a "prickly" personality who did not take showers. And Jobs had a stare, which he would use to make a point: unblinking, uncomfortable, intimidating. When Apple began, Jobs did not grant stock options to Apple employee #5. Such a consistency of character could not be endearing.

Walter Isaacson Steve Jobs