Running the Numbers on a Business [link roundup]

Wohoo! This is the last day of my four-week experiment to blog 5 days a week. I’ll have a recap up sometime next week on how it went. Feels good to be done!

When I was a senior in college, I thought I might try my hand at management consulting – you get to travel around the world and work with smart people to help businesses solve tough challenges, (at least that’s what the brochure said), sounds like a great gig right?

Top tier consulting firms have a particular way of interviewing called The Case Interview which asked you to make estimations and solve hypothetical business problems by talking outloud and running some numbers. Unfortunately I picked a bad time as the Great Recession hit that fall and very few firms were hiring.

So alas, it never came to be. But I always stayed interested in studying businesses by their numbers. So I decided to have this week’s link roundup focus on economic breakdowns various startups and entrepreneurial endeavors.

The Economics of Dropbox:This article does a detailed cost/revenue estimate of Dropbox, a very successful file-syncing/backup service. I think the numbers are a lowball because Paul Graham, who provided seed funding to Dropbox via ycombinator, has said the company is worth way more than $200 million.

Another company that operates on a freemium model is Evernote and their CEO has been surprisingly open with their numbers. They are able to provide the service for free to millions of users with less than 50k paid users (as of Jan 2010). Also see the discussion on Hacker News.

This is a two-part series by the awesome Jonathan Wegener on the economics of working for yourself. Starting your own thing can be pretty scary, so Jonathan recommends you think about doing things that can earn you $100-200 a day (which works out to $36.5k-73k a year working 7 days a week).

A TC Teardown: What Makes Groupon Tick?. As just about everyone knows, Groupon is the fastest growing company in the world. But how much money is it really making? If you’ve ever wondered what goes behind the scenes of *the* daily deals site, check out this comprehensively detailed post on TechCrunch.

The Business of Street Art: This is a post I did a while back that did a back of the envelope calculation on how much money street artists (the ones that use spray cans to make crazy 3-D paintings) could make doing their thing.

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and talent expert. He is CEO of a performance hiring platform called Headlight, a Fast Company contributor, and an advocate for Asian American men. Follow him on Twitter at @jasonshen and subscribe to his private newsletter.

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  1. Thanks for these links! I find these far more interesting than the cases i got during case interviews. ;)

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