Archives: May 2008

Showcase your Climbing Conquest via Climbclips

climbclips.jpgIf you are a climber, whether you love conquering walls, mountains or steep ridges and cliffs, wouldn’t it be great if you can share video clips of your quests to everyone? Yeah, we know there’s YouTube, but its already got a gazillion of videos in its database and there’s no guarantee that your climbing video would be noticed by anyone. So, why not use a specific video uploading site made specifically to feature climbers and their climbing conquest? Try Climbclips.

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Blogging Still Provides a Competitive Advantage

For the past few days I was in Chicago to attend the Tech Cocktail Conference. Congratulations to Frank Gruber and Eric Olson as the event was extremely successful and appeared to go off without a hitch. One of the afternoon panels was on raising venture capital and included an awesome lineup including Brad Feld, Eric Olson, Kirk Wolfe, Rob Schultz, Matthew McCall and Bruce Barron. I had the opportunity to ask the last audience question for the panel. I asked them if they blog and why they do or don’t.

It actually ended up being split about 50/50. The reason I asked was that one of the venture capitalists (VCs) had said toward the beginning of the panel that Brad Feld and Fred Wilson tend to end up getting the best deals because they are industry leaders. While I agree that most knowledgeable entrepreneurs will seek funding from these two, I also think that they will seek funding elsewhere.

In my opinion, one of the most important competitive advantages that Brad Feld and Fred Wilson have are their blogs. They are transparent in turn making them more trustworthy. In his blog post today Fred Wilson states, “If you want to be a top tier venture investor, you must be recognized as one of the experts in the field you invest in.” How do you become recognized as one of the experts?

According to Fred, “The way you do that is you work for at least ten years in the industry, getting operating experience, building a killer rolodex, and learning how the business works from the inside.” The way that you share your experience with others is by blogging. As you blog during the years that you gain experience, others also see this, learn from your expertise and eventually seek your expertise.

The key to blogging is the same as the key to working out: you must be persistent. You must also be consistent with your writing. Do this and you will suddenly be on the road toward becoming an industry leader. The amazing part is even with this knowledge, most people won’t do it. Just like everything else in life, they have excuses.

While boiling down the source of an individual’s lack of leadership to the lack of a blog is unfair, I frequently think that blogging could be one of the simplest solutions.

Twitter Faces Social Graph Scaling Problems

There has been a bunch of drama in the blogosphere surrounding a recent blog post by Alex Payne, a developer at Twitter. It was Alex’s response to a bunch of feedback that they’ve received since the increase in service outages on the site. The center of the discussion revolved around the following statement which VentureBeat translated as Robert Scoble being the source of the problem:

The events that hit our system the hardest are generally when “popular” users – that is, users with large numbers of followers and people they’re following – perform a number of actions in rapid succession. This usually results in a number of big queries that pile up in our database(s). Not running scripts to follow thousands of users at a time would be a help, but that’s behavior we have to limit on our side.

Scoble took offense the reference and posted his own furious response on FriendFeed as though it was a personal attack on him. Ultimately this is just some noisy blogger drama but there is an important issue here surrounding scaling social websites. Facebook is forced to limit friends to 5000 people due to technical issues.

While Mike Arrington suggested that the friend limit may soon be raised, there is nothing else to suggest that the friend limit will be increased. It appears that FriendFeed and MySpace are among the few companies that have solved the problem of scaling the social graph. While Robert Scoble can frequently be the source of scaling issues due to his ability to incite mass dialogue, it’s also a great problem to have a great way to resolve bottle-necks.

While Twitter continues to face serious problems, it’s good that it is happening early on with the early-adopters and not late in the game when it could cost them their user base.

Local Politics and Social Media

I have been receiving a ton of messages regarding my past few posts on social media and politics. One observant reader over at Makemebe.com, Henri, noted that I was only talking about politics on a large scale. Henri is right and the reason behind it is that national and local politics are two very different monsters.

Ask any person who is running for President and they can tell you at least two of the candidates. Ask that same person who is running for Representative from their district and I am certain you will get a blank stare. Take it to the next level; city counselor, school board, magistrate, or any of the host of other local elections and people become interested again.

Reps and Senators are another ball game, dm me if you would like a post about that, but local politics is a great venue for social media to make a real difference. Unlike national politics local elections and government have direct contact, almost daily, with the people they serve.

With the run about most people have in their daily lives today they do not have time to be overly active in local politics, here is where social media can make a difference. Imagine a city a counselor’s meeting being streamed over Ustream.tv with an active chat forum being monitored during the meeting.

Citizens could voice their opinion and present questions to their representatives while at home or at the office. Citizens would be in ‘virtual attendance’ to meetings that would affect their lives. I am not suggesting that people could vote online but at least they could get their voice heard. After a period of time many of those virtual attendees might start to physically attend local meetings, therefore becoming more involved.

Local politicians could also hold virtual conferences with their constituents. Local ‘town hall’ style events that would let people hear directly from leaders. Utilizing tools like twitter and directly converse with a massive amount of private citizens. Upload these meetings to video hosting service and send out an RSS or email letting your citizens know the meeting is now online.

I certainly think local politicians can still use tools like Utterz and podcasts to create interest in campaigns and issues, but local politics allows a greater connection with citizens. By that same nature the social media that politicians use can be more direct forms of communication. The social media options they choose shouldn’t be static or just a post; they should offer their constituents an active voice and a chance to debate online.

Local politicians should also utilize message boards and forums as much as possible. Again, since time is often a key reason local citizens don’t get involved in local politics well monitored forums give a citizen an opportunity to enter a debate without facing time constraints.

Remember the key to getting people involved in local politics is to defeat the two main hindrances of lack of time and lack of information. Properly using social media combats both of these enemies and allows citizens to engage their government on the citizen’s terms, which is the best way I think.

Do any of you out there agree with me? I find the topic of politics and social media incredibly interesting but I must admit I have never worked directly in politics, only indirectly through a PR capacity. I would love to hear from some of my fellow District Dwellers on this topic. Send me a DM or comment here with some of your thoughts.

RIAA Drops AllOfMP3.Com Suit

And it’s finally over. After AllOfMP3.Com officially shut down last year (and even though the owner was acquitted of any wrongdoing in a Russian trial), the RIAA has finally dropped the suit officially, saying that they were in effect victorious.

Unfortunately, as AppScout notes, “that still leaves a host of Russian music sites that say they’re willing to pay royalties to the artists under Russian law, but whose fees place them substantially under the rates charged by American and European vendors of downloadable music.

“Case in point? AllTunes.com, which sells tracks for just 15 cents apiece, or MP3Sparks, which suspiciously emerged just as AllofMP3.com was shutting down. The latter site advertises Madonna’s latest, Hard Candy, for 18 cents per track or $2.34 for the album (in 192-Kbit/s quality, unprotected.)” In other words, prepare for the onslaught of clone sites, Kazaa-style.

ComScore Buys M:Metrics

Here’s a genuine surprise: ComScore, Inc. has acquired M:Metrics, Inc., a leader in mobile measurement, for $44.3 million, according to MediaPost:

“The acquisition makes comScore the immediate leader in measuring the emerging and strategically important mobile Internet market and adds to comScore’s leading position in measuring PC-based Internet usage, according to the company.”

This pits ComScore against Nielsen Mobile, another benchmark mobile tracking firm. The acquisition will give ComScore access to a number of tools, such as MobiLens, a syndicated monthly online survey, MeterDirect, an on-device meter that passively measures the mobile Internet behavior and media consumption of more than 4,000 existing Smartphone panelists, and M:Ad, a mobile advertising tracking service, according to the report.

In-Fusio Gets Smart

get smart.jpgIn-Fusio has secured the rights to develop a mobile game based on the upcoming Warner Bros. flick Get Smart, Games on Deck reports. In the game, players become CONTROL agents Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 to do battle with the KAOS crime syndicate.

Players will need to solve puzzles and take part in combat in the mission-based game. They should also be prepared for a good amount of trademark Get Smart humor.

The mobile content provider will also offer movie-related mobile goodies including wallpapers, voicetones and the theme song.

The movie opens on June 20; the game will follow shortly.

Motorola’s Market Share in Freefall

MOTO_Z9.jpgSo it was with the 1990′s StarTAC, so it is with the RAZR. With a greater than 50 percent slide since its 2006 level of market share, Motorola is on track to fall to the back of the five-player pack this year as its first-quarter phone sales fell to 29.9 million units, Fortune reports.

Motorola’s phone business “has tumbled since the RAZR phone fell out of fashion in 2006,” the report said—which is essentially exactly what happened with the StarTAC years ago. “The company plans to spin off the money-losing business to shareholders sometime next year. And it’s little wonder why. The former top phone maker has seen Nokia and Samsung take the No.1 and No.2 spots in the industry. And Motorola’s time as No.3 seems limited—LG is hot on its heels with 8% of the market, up from 6.2% in the year-ago period.”

The fact remains that Motorola needs more than one striking design every few years to be a contender. Motorola’s various recently-introduced handsets “were not competitive enough to maintain its place in the market,” says Gartner’s Carolina Milanesi in the report.

Is Steve Jobs Hiding Millions of 3G iPhones?

Forbes is reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has managed to sneak “millions of units of a mysterious new product – almost certainly the new iPhone – in key markets since March.” Whether or not this highly protected new product is indeed the next-gen iPhone is unknown, as is pretty much everything else about the much-anticipated device.

The article goes on to detail a number of “clues” that led to the assumption that millions of the new iPhones are secreted away in preparation for the official announcement, which many expect to come from Jobs at the Apple developer conference on June 9.

Read the full text of “The New iPhone Is Already Here” and let us know if you agree.

Mobile Entertainment Market Still Growing

The U.S. market for ad-funded mobile entertainment will grow to $336 million by 2013, according to a new forecast reported by MediaPost—and it will also expand the overall mobile media market by 4.6%.

The report said that the study by the Mobile Entertainment Forum predicts that brand-subsidized content will account for the majority of revenue at almost $263 million, while the balance will come from upselling premium content.

“Mobile video and TV are expected to represent 41.4% of ad-funded revenues within five years, followed by music at 34.5% and gaming at 24.1%,” the article said.