Lala founder forgets to lay off 20 percentSerial entrepreneur Bill Nguyen just relaunched Lala's music service in the middle of layoff mania. The new version — high audio quality, no DRM — is pretty good. But I have to ask: Why bother, Bill? This is Lala's fourth or fifth attempt at a business model. Nguyen could get funding for another boring enterprise wireless startup like Onebox or Seven tomorrow. Those things make money.I think I've outed Bill Nguyen's secret: In a Valley full of people who want to be Steve Jobs, he wants to be David Geffen — the maverick behind the scenes in the music business. Stoking the starmaker machinery behind the popular song! Too bad the truth is more like that other Joni Mitchell line: "I deal in dreamers, and telephone screamers." UPDATE: Bill replied after I hit Publish too soon. I'll just paste it in:
Hi Paul, You're not going to believe this but I just saw Leslie. I'll try to find a photo to send over in 20 minutes if you didn't get one. I definitely go to work to return capital but much of the decision for lala is the amazing economic challenge. It's great fun to wake up everyday with a team that includes Geoff Ralston (former Chiief Product Officer of Yahoo, Anselm-Baird Smith, creator of first java server and contributor on HTTP 1.1, and Billy Alvarado who ran all of engineering at SEVEN.) We get to take on a challenge in an industry that's over hyped but lacking in revenue. So instead of following everyone into the advertising model, we went our own way to build the best app we could void of any advertising and driven by commerce. The result is an amazing new product, $20M in the bank, and opportunities we could not have imagined as competitors fold under the weight of the market. It's the best time ever to building. And yes, it definitely helps that we play with music :-) Bill Nguyen co-founder, lala.com