Facebook goes free-to-air!

“We want to make Facebook into something of an operating system so you can run full applications,” Zuckerberg told me, saying it would be analogous to the platform that Microsoft Windows provides for developers. Outsiders can now develop Internet services on Facebook’s infrastructure, he explains, that will have full access to all its members. Just as it is when someone writes a program for Windows, programmers won’t need any permission from Facebook or any special business relationship with the company.

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Contrarian thinkers….

Contrarian insight: The real money’s in the shovels, not the gold.

Legacy: The first publicist of the California Gold Rush bought every shovel in San Francisco before he ran through the street shouting, “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” Cisco Systems has become a $32B company using a similar strategy, selling the routers and switches that form the backbone of the Internet

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VCs back in the reckoning

The venture capital sector is finally bouncing back from its post-bubble blues, although it’s still a long way from the euphoria of the late 1990s. Blockbuster deals — like YouTube’s recent sale to Google for $1.65 billion and Skype’s sale last year to eBay for $2.6 billion — are giving venture investors new confidence in their ability to cash out, said a group of venture capitalists who spoke on a panel at the 2007 Wharton Economic Summit. In addition, new sectors like “clean tech,” an umbrella term for environmentally friendly technologies, and trends like the aging of populations in the developed world are creating promising investment opportunities.

More at Knowledge@Wharton