For Apple It’s Almost Like 2008 All Over Again

Apple’s stock is way down and investors wonder what its next big product will be and how the company can navigate an increasingly competitive landscape without its fearless leader, Steve Jobs. That characterizes today and also 2008.Often people seem to view Apple’s stellar run up in its company market cap and stock price over the past decade as one long event. But the company saw its stock drop by more than 50% the year after the iPhone launched, starting 6 months after its debut.

Obviously the company recovered. Can it today?

I took a look at Apple then and now in a piece for PandoDaily. I’m not sure whether this time will be different. No doubt the Apple fan boys will roll the dice with the company. I’m not convinced that’s where the smart money is—but I’ve been wrong before so we’ll see.

Why Tesla is like Amazon and Elon Musk is like Jeff Bezos

For Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk it must feel like sweet vindication. Less than two months after Mitt Romney called Tesla a “loser” in the first presidential debate, the Tesla Model S was named car of the year by both Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine, beating out vehicular stalwarts like BMW and Ferrari. Lost in the hubbub, as Jason Calacanis points out in his latest post for PandoDaily, is Musk’s audacious plan to populate the country with a network of supercharger stations to provide the juice to run these Teslas.

What he’s really up to is creating an entire ecosystem around the Tesla. In other words, he’s a lot like Jeff Bezos.

Click here to read more on Pandodaily.

Pivot Power

Startups pivot. So do mature companies. Musicians pivot. There’s even an analysis of all the different kinds of pivots a company cant undergo. Now people running for president pivot—like Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. And let’s not forget Pivot Power, a kind of surge protector. Times reporter Quentin Hardy suggested, “In honor of Silicon Valley’s favorite buzzword, the Obituaries section of the paper will be renamed ‘Pivots.'”

Pivot pivot pivot. It is perhaps the most overused word in the English language today. I’m partly to blame, with my Fast Company series “The Pivot.” But enough is enough. It’s almost time to retire the word pivot—just as soon as my Fast Company series ends. Then I promise to pivot—to something else.

Entrepreneurs Should Stay In School

Recently I posted a column on PandoDaily that urged entrepreneurs to stay in school. It led to a spirited debate on Twitter. Jason Calacanis, for one, disagreed, and said that young entrepreneurs should pay HIM to learn at his feet. As he tweeted: “Seriously @Penenberg someone send me their kid at 18 and I will work them to death for $10k a year.”

No doubt he would. One thing I’ve always admired about Jason is his work ethic and his take-no-prisoners approach to life and business.

At any rate, Jason claimed the debt of an NYU student would be between $100K to $200K, but this is not true. Average college debt is $27K, not $100K. The average earnings difference between college grads versus high school grads is $21K. So within 18 months the difference in earnings between a college grad versus someone with only a high school diploma would equal the school debt undertaken.

It’s true that college debt is staggering, but compared to the alternative—not getting a college degree—it’s a good deal.

Would you tell someone who wanted to be an actor or musician to drop out of school. Perhaps, if she’s really, really good. But perhaps not if the person isn’t in that top 5%. And if you are a coder the same rules don’t apply, since there is a severe shortage of people with your skills. But for everyone else, shouldn’t you use the same metrics for entrepreneurs?

Viral Loop

Adam’s new book, Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves, tells the stories behind many of the iconic companies of our time, including Netscape, eBay, PayPal, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter. They all harnessed the power of viral loops to grow at incredible speed and achieve billion-dollar valuations in record time. Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do, wrote: “Penenberg discovers the perpetual motion machine for business and marketing… Buy this book. Catch a virus. Make a fortune.”

Go to viralloop.com to find out more about Viral Loop, the Facebook application, iPhone app and read interviews with the founders of viral loop companies.