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September 17, 2007 / Toby Dayton

Monster Founder Jeff Taylor Struggling With Eons

Last week, Eons, a social networking site for baby boomers, laid off 24 of its workers (a third of its staff). The site also announced that it was drastically scaling back its professional editorial content in favor off user-generated content, and eliminating sections and features such as travel and obituaries. The company has raised at least $32 million in venture funding.

Despite having raised a decent amount of capital over the years and having tracked start-up funding across all sorts of verticals, it still baffles me to see what types of businesses get funded. Like the famous Dilbert Mission Statement machine (I think that’s where it came from), it’s as if some VCs just spin a ‘buzz-word’ financing wheel a few times, pick a random selection from the handful of categories, and invest ridiculous amounts of money in the resulting business model. It seems to not matter in the least how incongruous or absurd the resulting mix of elements might be.

Along those lines, the buzz-word financing wheels I envision would be used to complete the following sentence:

a (spin wheel 1) company that leverages (spin wheel 2) to target (spin wheel 3).

Wheel 1                            Wheel 2                                Wheel 3

Social Networking         Podcasts & Blogs                 Baby Boomers

Portal                               Video                                     Cat Owners

Mobile Services             User-generated Content     Gen X Video Gamers

Online Community        Widgets                                 Passive Job Seekers

Most of the combinations from the above-mentioned lists are actual companies that have received venture funding in the past few years. And of course, some will be successful. But they’ll be successful not because of the supposedly innate appeal of the combination of elements listed above like some venture firms believe, but because of the unique value proposition those founders bring to a sufficiently large market that is in serious need of a meaningful solution to a legitimate problem.

If you have any suggestions on how to expand the list above, or venture-backed companies that you think are worthy of ridicule, please send me an email or post a comment.

[tags]Monster, Jeff Taylor, Social Networking, Baby Boomers, Eons, Venture-Backed Companies, Ridiculous Business Models, Buzz-Word Financings[/tags]