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John Gapper

The 46 per cent first-day pop in Dunkin’ Donuts shares in its initial public offering in New York made the company look like an internet wonder. It has also brought back memories of the disastrous Krispy Kreme IPO in 2000.

Krispy Kreme, for those who do not recall, was a high-flying stock in the early 2000s before accounting difficulties and mismanagement brought the shares crashing down again. At the time, it was hailed as a solid alternative to internet stocks.

This, for example, was Andy Serwer’s conclusion in Fortune in 2003:

Unless the fat police run riot across this land, Krispy Kreme is here to stay. It isn’t some fly-by-night dot-com. There’s 66 years of history here. It’s a product that people not only love but understand. (Quick, what does InfoSpace do?) The world is always filled with unknowns, never more so than right now. With all that’s wrong out there, sometimes it’s easy to lose focus on the big picture. So take a second and ask yourself: Is the American dream still alive? Is Krispy Kreme for real? Don’t bet against it.

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Andrew Hill

Three things irritate me about Biz Stone’s announcement that he will step back from running Twitter.

1) He doesn’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s”. (Too much time reading his followers’ tweets, I suspect).

2) He talks about his stint at Twitter in grandiose terms that imply he has been there a lifetime, describing how his work there has “spanned more than half a decade”.

3) His Twitter project isn’t complete yet. Read more

John Gapper

I am in Paris with a group of leaders of internet and technology companies, all of whom have been asking the same question: What am I doing here? Read more

John Gapper

It feels as if Wall Street is moving westward, and that US investors, having been caught up in the mortgage boom, have instead turned their attention to the opportunities on the west coast.

The National Venture Capital Association has unveiled figures showing that the industry had its best start to the year in terms of fund-raising since 2001, raising about $7.1bn in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Matthew Garrahan writes in the FT about the keiretsu-like Raine merchant bank, which is raising $500m from a range of Illuminati from Silicon Valley and Hollywood including Eric Schmidt of Google and Sean Parker of Facebook etc. Read more

John Gapper

Twitter’s fifth birthday today comes as  AT&T’s announces it wants to buy T-Mobile USA for $39bn to form the largest US mobile provider.  The two events are more than a coincidence.

AT&T produced some slides for its announcement showing the rapid growth in mobile data use – 8,000 per cent over four years according to its calculations – and is justifying the acquisition partly by warning of spectrum exhaustion.

Twitter, meanwhile, is the first big social media company to be conceived with mobile in mind. It’s 140-character limit for messages was based on the original 160-character limit for phone text messages. Read more

John Gapper

Mary Meeker, the “queen of the net” and the best-known investment bank analyst in the technology and media world, has picked an interesting moment to become a venture capitalist.

Ms Meeker, who survived the bursting of the 1990s dotcom bubble without getting caught up in the research scandal of the time, has become a venerable figure in the tech world. She is capitalising on that by leaving Morgan Stanley to join Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner.

Chris Dixon, an angel investor, tweeted in response that “Wall Street sell-side research is dead”, and it never regained its influence after the dotcom meltdown. A few analysts have made their name since – in particular Meredith Whitney – but most of the action has been on the buy-side. Read more

John Gapper

Yuri Milner, the Russian internet investor, has become one of the most intriguing figures in the industry by acquiring a near-10 per cent stake in Facebook, and by floating Mail.ru, his Russian internet company in London.

Mr Milner, whom I saw in action at the Monaco Media Forum, also has the element of mystery. Few people outside Russia paid attention to him until his Digital Sky Technologies acquired its Facebook stake in May 2009. Read more

John Gapper

To his credit, Mark Zuckerberg has responded to the outcry over privacy, including my column on the subject, by making significant changes to Facebook’s privacy policies.

The most welcome aspects of the changes, discussed by him on the Facebook blog, are that it will be far simpler for a user to control how information is shared, and these choices will apply to future Facebook services.

Facebook has also pulled back from its sleight of hand in making six types of data into “publicly available information” by reducing these to four, including taking users’ friends list out of the category. Read more