Friday, November 30, 2007
Voices of the Brands
One thing straight up, I need to apologise to some people about my last post I didn't realise that this was only the second event they had ever held.
This month i got to see David Polichock from Brand Experience Lab talk, i'd met David before when he got me a television interview for a client of mine doing some work in Second Life so I was already in awe of this guy but tonight he blew the room away.
The topic was Ideas for 2008, in 5 minutes he gave as many potential predictions (more opportunities to be seized upon by people in the audience but you get the point) as the other 4 speakers.
But the one i want to cover is his concept about "Voices of Brands". David's coverage was far more extensive than I could cover here but the basic concept is this.....that in a marketing world where people are being blasted by ad execs trying to meet "frequency and coverage" quotas that the only way to cut through the hubris is by giving your "Brand a Voice".
A voice that stands for something and stands out in the crowd.
It's not just a tagline or recognisable marketing logo but something that creates a groundswell of goodwill eg the Dove - Real Beauty campaign
The customer interactions gained through real dialog is worth far more than any 'old school' marketing budget can ever afford to "buy" you.
P.S. I just stumbled across this video online while searching for something else and thought it definitely belonged here.
BTW Mad Men rocks - check out my post here http://deancollinsblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/madmen-season-finale.html
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I've seen 'fun' applications written before to make use of these before (check out
But when I came across this post today I know I was onto a major winner - this is the coolest use of an accelerometer in a mobile handset I've ever seen.
"UK researchers have developed software that represents a handset's battery life by using a phone's speaker and vibrator to make a device feel and sound like it contains liquid. You give it a shake to find out how much is left. The same technique can be used to represent new messages by simulating balls rattling around inside a box. It runs on recent Nokias with accelerometers; video from the researchers explains it well."
I love the last idea about checking battery life by swooshing audio - this one is the best. Hit me back with some ideas of how you would like to see them used in your life.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Stanley Tools 'Academy' Award Winning Website
Stanley launched a line of tools called FuBar. If you've seen "Saving Private Ryan," then you know what the acronym stands for. If you don't know what FUBAR stands for, then come out from under that rock you've been living under and Google it! The company launched a Web site where four construction workers use a FuBar tool to demolish almost anything that stands in their way, from a toilet bowl, sink, armoire and piano. Each worker wears a helmet cam, so if you want to get a closer look at the destruction, you can watch the mayhem via helmet cam. Be sure to click on the bunny icon to see what happens when FuBar and bunny meet (don't worry -- it is not an ending like "Fatal Attraction"). The site also houses a TV spot featuring construction men playing an adult version of hit the piñata. Mullen created the site and TV spot and mediaHUB handled the media buy.
Guys this is the location of the best 'Mens Advertisement' I've seen this year
It's fantastic, it's art, it's so well thought out and created this is going to be huge. If you're a male and you are in the target audience of someone who knows what end of a hammer to hold you are going to love this.
Forward this post to all of your friends now they are going to love you for it. Judges we have a winner.
...."yes but what is the government going to do for these poor people who have been tricked into committing to mortgages they cant afford"...."they are now going to lose their homes".
hmmm where do I get started apart from....unless the docs were forged by the mortgage broker you committed to those repayments. The USA has had less than a 2% rise from the very low point - how could they not budget for more less than a 2% rise?
and...well it's not your homes...until you pay for it - until then it belongs to the bank.
I just don't get why/how people think that lying through their teeth to overstate their income and assets in the hope that capital growth was going to make them rich (uhm it doesn't unless you are buying more than 1 - it's just going to make your next purchase more expensive).
The amount that people are paying for their housing in NY (and in Sydney) as a percentage of their disposable income is higher than ever.
I wish people would realise that every few thousand you 'outbid' the person standing next to you is a holiday you cant afford (you are working to experience life right...not just working to get through life right?)
And every .25% percentage increase is a new wardrobe of clothing you now dont get to buy each year.
Let you in on a secret people
...You dont need to live right next to your office - commuting is good for your wallet.
...You dont need that 3rd bathroom
...and those of you addicted to outdoing your next door macmansion - they have no taste either.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Freddie Mercury Anniversary Tribute
Wow you forget how amazing a singer this guy/band was.
There's 5 in the series if you want to watch them all using this link or just watch the first one which I embedded below.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Power to the people
Whilst I'm not a Ron Paul fan and I dont care enough to call Ron Paul a flake, I wanted to post this video as the penultimate example of how humanity as we know it can now access "power levelling" tools freely and easily.
......and this guy has amazing humour to boot.
Be thankful for the technology at your fingertips during this year's thanksgiving people.....you are more powerful now than you ever knew you were before.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
So we've been invited to a thanksgiving with some American friends and thought we'd pick up a couple of nice bottles of wine, thinking I'd have to head downtown jumped onto google this afternoon as haven't needed to buy any since we moved here last month (wow 6 weeks already).
Came across a wine shop called Harlem Vintage
Best part about it is that it's only 3 blocks from our place.
View Larger Map
Talk about area gentrification - really good selection, pretty much the second best place I've found in NY for variety (having said that at 500-750 labels it would be considered small in Australia), but here's the kicker....really really reasonable prices, at least 30-40% cheaper than my old place on 74th & 2nd on the UES.
I wouldn't call it boutique as they didn't really have high end labels but if you live locally you should check it out. If you live on the west side....probably worth the trip up for a mixed case or two........if you are coming from the UES - lol, you can afford not to bother making the effort :)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Google QR Codes
Came across this today (interesting none of the google reps at Mobile Barcamp NYC 2 last week talked about it at all).
Will this finally be the turning point for QR code adoption in the USA?
Interesting sidenote - I never heard back from any of the 3 advertising agencies who talked to me at MobileCamp about coming in to run the 4 hour QR code workshop……..I kind of get the feeling the problem is with the interactive agencies ....not the technology.
And for any agencies reading this post "will you be reading this and in 2 years be wondering…why didn’t I implement this to my clients at the time".
Go download this message.....you'll know what to do once you read it.
For more information on Google QR codes check out www.Cognation.net/QR
Monday, November 19, 2007
Serverless Internet Companies
The question he doesn't ask however is "Why Amazon"?
There are a ton of other colo, server rental, virtual computing....etc etc providers out there - what is the magic sauce that Amazon EC2 and S3 hit on that is drawing all the flies to the honey?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
BarCamp Mobile NYC2
So MobileCamp NYC2 was held last Saturday in lower Manhattan with at least 200 people in attendance or about double last years event.
I wanted to hold off for a few days before blogging about it to collect my thoughts. I hope I don't offend anyone with my comments below but I've come away from this event with some very strong opinions that I'm sure not everyone will agree with but I'm happy to 'bet' money on these conclusions.
If you've been reading my blog for a while then you'll know that I've worked commercially on a number of different mobile projects and posted about my own personal interest in the mobile space regularly (search mobile posts) so i think I've got a fairly good grasp on whats going on.
I also think that I tend to concentrate on the more commercial aspects of startups and technology so I might be coming at problems from a different way.
So I've broken down my comments about the event into 3 parts;
So firstly the good news, Developer Enthusiasm for mobile computing and the positive value it can deliver to our daily lives through persistent full time communication/computing applications is really high. It's one of the things that sets the USA apart from other countries I've lived in (it's also something I'm going to blog about later this week - check out my post on the US dollar/exchange rate in a few days).
It's also amazing the physical output a single lone developer can deliver on as well. For example Peter Nofelt and his Mogoso Mobile Search application. This kid has a day job full time working in the financial space and no budget but is delivering better mobile search results than Yahoo etc because he has a real eye for perspective and for whats really important in a successful mobile application.
It never ceases to amaze me when I go to a barcamp or similar the amazing ideas and concepts individual developers come up with.
If you run a non IT business and want to find ways for IT to help your business, ignore your tech department and go and hang out at your local BarCamp for a weekend, you'll find 10 different ways you can take advantage of changes and help your business out.
Ok now for the not so good news;
- Carriers. There were more than a few carriers at the event, from the "trying to be progressive" Orange to the ....ex data service product manager from Nextel now off running a new startup so secretive that she got up to talk for 30 minutes but couldn't tell us anything about her new company AirArts .
Mary raised the point that new applications don't always deliver the end user customer numbers that they are often predicted to deliver...and the example she used was at CTIA last year everyone was all hyped up on Mobile TV being the guiding light and yet just 12 months later everyone is wondering what happened.
That if your application cant survive on 20% revenue (eg after the carrier takes their 50% and then the aggregator takes their 30%) then maybe your product wasn't meant to survive in the first place as it's not commercial enough.
What can I say but I was depressed after the session that Mary ran, the summary of her position on why mobile carriers aren't moving as efficiently as I want is that ...they want to bill you for services but they just don't want you to use much in the way of data.
(Now for those of you who haven't been to a barcamp please understand it is a very 2 way 'discussion'. You are meant to be honest and contribute freely to the point that one of the 'rules' of barcamp is that if you dont feel you are contributing to the discussion then the rule of two feet apply and you are meant to get up and walk out of the room).
Ok well my response to this one was easy, and I think might have shocked some first time attendees but afterwards a few people came up and said I was right on the money with "......carrier marketing/product development teams blow chunks".
My response to Mobile TV was, Yes Mobile TV is available on my handset (HTC 8525) but do you think I received a single email, letter, viral video or other informational contact from Cingular that it was available?
That's a pretty piss poor sales endeavour for a technology that probably had more than several million dollars invested in the upfront technical implementation.
And just to make sure I wasn't the only one who didn't receive something from the sales team at Cingular I asked the other 50 people in the room....1 guy said he saw something once - so 49 to 1 for no sales calls. Probably why you are on target for your 2% adoption rate.
Now for the next point about revenue share.
Everyone marvels at Doccomo i-mode and says that it's purely a Japanese 'phenomenon' with the successful adoption of broadband mobile data and a full and exciting ecosystem of content providers and application developers.
The reason Doccomo is highly successful and the USA carriers are crying poor is because Doccomo isn't greedy and they made a smart commercial decision that all content providers/application developers get to keep 90% of all billing revenue (and I mean all, regardless of how big or small you are).
Yep you read that right, USA you keep 20-30% - Japan you keep 90%. And yet they wonder why the USA lags in mobile application and mobile content development.
When I was consulting to Traction Platform last year helping them expand into the USA I met with some people from Verizon and they asked...how come Australia is smaller and so far ahead in SMS marketing, my reply was well you make it so difficult and expensive to implement in the USA what do you expect. Their answer was well we need to cover costs, not understanding the laws of supply and demand lower barriers to entry and there will be more users to cover the costs....It's not rocket science I swear.
Ok Finally to 2D codes.
So this was the area of MobileCampNYC2 that I was most interested in participating in. last year it was SMS marketing and talking about the Traction Platform but this year it was the area I wanted to see most what was going on.
Some interesting sessions mainly from individuals but check out people like Brian House at http://www.knifeandfork.org/ who had 2 amazing projects (and makes a living from artistic commissions and commercial consulting).
Pretty much what I did see confirmed my understanding that 2d codes are a fractured market with many different open source and private versions.
QR codes as you already know is the leading open standard. Denso who developed the technology were smart in the in the 80's they released all rights to the technology and allowed anyone to adopt this technology without patents or licensing. (in fact check out smart companies like http://www.winksite.com/ that incorporate automatic encoding into their application).
It was good to understand why the various closed/private 2d code companies felt their way was better, mainly around size of the output code (check out www.cognation.net/contact as an example QR code with a very big vcf file) and the ability to operate with older mobile camera lens .
Totally understandable however the rep from Nextcode decided to push the limits...a lot, and basically said that QR codes would never work and that the only way for widespread adoption was to for everyone to come together and agree on a standard and that the sooner everyone gave up on QR codes the better.
His comments around the reason QR codes wouldn't succeed was there needed to be a central 'clearing house'. That Nextcode was the technology to move forward with and that without this revenue stream any 2d code was doomed to fail.
Unfortunately this is where I decided to poke the bear.
As some of you know I have a long history with the Asterisk open source technology.
One of the reasons this now fantastic software is one of the most widely adopted pieces of open source software is good stewardship. Digium whilst a commercial company has been masterfully guided through it's embryonic years by Mark Spencer and now during it's growth years by Danny Windham.
The reason Asterisk has bloomed when a number of similar closed and open source technologies have failed is that from the very beginning Mark Spencer stated Digium was NOT required in order to implement Asterisk.
Yes they made money if you purchased their cards but if you used a competitors card like Sangnoma then it would work just as well. (in fact probably less than half of the 60,000 Asterisk pabx's globally use Digium cards.
By giving up this 'choke point' Digium is now responsible for a far bigger pie.
I also provided the example of Salesforce.com and the statements made by Mark Benioff and the Sforce ecosystem 2 years ago where no one believe he/Salesforce was going to be just one small partner and that it was open for everyone to participate.
I'm not sure if Nextcode felt I was taking the mickey out of him and antagonising him or being serious, he suggested we take this offline but I didn't hear back from him...(offer is still there)...so I assume they are off to file another patent and spend more money suing other closed/private 2d bar code companies like ScanBuy (who were in the session but kept a low profile in the back).
My take on it is this, yes the older camera phones don't have the resolution required but wait 6-12 months. With an average replacement rate of handsets in the USA of 18 months, 80% of the market will have 2mb+ camera phones by the mid/end of 2008.
There was also a lengthy discussion about advertising agencies and QR marketing campaigns and ondeck readers versus post installation adoption rates but that is a discussion for another time - I'm always happy to come in and run 4 hour workshops for advertising agencies to understand why you don't need to wait.
Finally a quick thank you for the organisers Indira, Ritwik, Andy, Alexis, David, Jose etc. Without you their would be no meeting of the minds and exchanges of ideas so to you my biggest thanks.
Looking forward to peoples comments, I'm sure there will be more than a few for this post.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Disney going to Japan
Disney to enter Japanese mobile-phone marketWalt Disney Co. is teaming up with Softbank Corp. to develop wireless handsets and content to make inroads in Japan's mobile market. Under the agreement, Disney will supply animated content and mobile-phone design, while SoftBank will oversee billing and after-sales services. CNET/Reuters (11/11) , The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (11/12)
Interesting that they are making this move after closing down their USA MVNO though lack of sales/traction in the kids/tweens market.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Not Quite Art
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Also it's a lengthy video at 55mins but a great video to get a good grounding in what this means is here;
I've got to say I was very surprised with what i saw. Originally I thought Open Social was just a "me too" reaction to the popularity of Facebook.
What I've seen so far is that Open Social is instead an agreed upon set of API's that allow you to "transfer data" from multiple sites using a set of defined rules. For my non technical friends think along the terms of a group of companies agreeing to what HTML should look like.
So what this means is that as a developer I could write an application that shows my photos on the Google Orkut site but this would then be easily importable into MySpace.
What this means as a user is lets say I post a music widget to MySpace I can also let my friends add it to their Orkut page.
Developers should be able to build a widget that runs the same on all Open Social compliant sites.... :) - yeh maybe. this is supposedly the way it's meant to work, we'll see how it operates in real life.
I've said this in another post but I think it deserves commenting on again - I was very surprised to see Salesforce.com as a member of Open Social, I'm very excited about this and cant wait to see what this means in the long run.
Monday, November 05, 2007
$3 a gallon for petrol in the USA ....big deal
You guys have no idea about the real price of gas that's why you are still cruising around in hulk-mobiles and wonder why the rest of the worlds are driving around in gas efficient sedans.
For simple maths here's some figures
1Gallon = 3.8 liters
$US1 = $A 0.90
So the comparative rate in Australia that the USA currently buys their gas at is 0.87c per liter.
Lol - the actual current average for petrol in Sydney is $1.30 per liter. if you were to convert that to USA dollars and gallons it would be equal to $US3.95 a gallon (and this number is being helped substantially by the much higher than normal $A it should be closer to $4.15+ per gallon if the Aussie dollar is taken at a 12month rate).
Like I said....you guys have it pretty good stop your crying.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
New York City marathon
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I still call Australia home
A friend of mine back in Australia just sent me this clip.
If the whole NY Tech community decided to move to Sydney I’d move back but for the moment just have to tough it out here with all the cool innovators but I can still miss home once in a while.
btw if you look at the last seen in that video of a pointy looking suspension bridge over the water, that’s the Anzac Bridge in Sydney between Pyrmont and Balmain and pretty much the view from my apartment window when I lived Glebe…..it was a tough place to work from sometimes when it was a sunny day and the boats were out on the bay :)
Friday, November 02, 2007
How much advertisers pay for your attention in NYC
Hmmm I have to believe that these figures are way off base, probably what was quoted over the phone as a rough estimate prior to discounts, deductions or just plain negotiations but still an interesting video with some good comparison costs at the end.
DARPA Urban Challenge
In the early days robotic cars were terrible, they held these things in the middle of the desert and cars would just suddenly lose 'direction' and drive off until someone flicked the 'master kill switch' or similar.
Over the past few years these things are getting better and better, basically to the point that they were driving almost at human speeds. I saw a documentary on the processing power of one of last years cars and it's astounding how remarkable these cars are.
The eventual winner last year drove 120kilometers and finished the entire course without incident.......which is why this year DARPA decided to shake it up again.
This year the terrain is "Urban".
So they've taken the cars out of the desert and put them into a regular road/building setting and this Saturday is the event.
Cant wait to see the outcome.
There are a ton of press outlets covering the event but one of the best you might like to check out is http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34594/123
BTW there is a worlds first video here; http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34618/113
First robotic driven car ever to hit a human :)
Ahh in 20 years from now we'll all look back and think this was cute.
History of Religion
If you like this you might want to check out a post from earlier in the year that shows the history of the Middle East (wow what a mess no wonder people cant agree on who owns what).
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Advertisement free tv? Well what's it worth to you?
I think I've got an idea that I've been tossing around for a few months that covers all 3.
It started when I was watching the premier episode of Burn Notice earlier this year (yeh I know it's trashy but Fiona his girlfriend is way hot in a "I can handle myself kind of way") so you've probably watched it at some time too :)
The premier episode was sponsored by DirectTV (a satellite tv provider in the USA). It's not a new concept, basically they get some consumer orientated company to sponsor the premier and it's shown in its entirety without advertisements.
The sponsor gets mentioned at the start and finish of the show and pretty much by name for the week before hand each time the premier is mentioned in the 30 second show advertisements.
You've all seen something similar before, but for some reason it got me thinking.
How much did it it cost DirectTV to sponsor Burn Notice for an "Advertisement Free" premier. And what is my time worth to me?
So the question is this;
"What tv do you watch that you would prefer as an advertisement free show and what is that worth to you?"
So here is where the technology part comes in. When watching cable TV everything that you are watching except live TV is pretty much cached into the broadcasters servers.
In addition in the past broadcast headends were limited in the number of individual streams of "on demand" content they could offer. eg not everyone could go and watch on demand content at once. Though this has changed or is pretty close the timeline that 100% of set top boxes can be watching on demand content.
(oh and if you think that cable companies ears won't prick up when they realise this concept would drive up on-demand usage and further increasing their rivalry over satellite tv, then they do).
- how can tv networks capitalise on this?
So I'm watching an episode of House (best show on tv at the moment even if the original ducklings have moved on). And I really like House the opening scenes look great I'm enthralled and happy to settle in and watch for the next 60 minutes (well 45 minutes of content and 15 minutes of advertisements) and then just when it was getting to the good bits the first advertisement comes on ....
- and I think my time is worth more than this....
so I push the magic button on my remote and the set top box gives me a figure (I'm expecting around about 45c - I'll explain the number later) and I click yes.
The commercial stops, it returns to the House episode and I continue watching, for the next 40 minutes of uninterrupted tv content and love every ad free minute. happy with my interaction with House, happy with my interaction with Time Warner and to be honest not even noticing that I just spent 45c.
- So what just happened?
- By pushing the magic button on my remote it told the set top box that I was moving from broadcast to streaming at that point in time.
- The set top box told the billing platform to add 45c to my monthly bill.
- The content servers in the headend then cut out the pre-programmed commercials, delivering only the House video content uninterrupted until the end of the show.
- At the end of the show the set top box went back to broadcast and returned me to "normal running time", this is important - I cant just watch 3 shows back to back without breaks otherwise the headends would overload and I would cause a rip in the fabric of the time space continuum.
Now I could have just have just hit pause on my DVR, gotten up, walked away for 20 mins, read a book, walked the dog, written a blog post - whatever.
But that's not the way human interactions work. Spontaneous, continuous, one-off content purchases work through the novelty of their immediacy.
That's why it's worth 45c and that's what will make Time Warner more profitable.
- So how did I come up with the figure of 45c
Easy, It's my estimation of three times how much each advertisement earns Time Warner for each subscriber to watch 15 minutes of advertisements.
With each 30 second spot being purchased for X number of dollars and X number of viewers expected to be watching any given show the broadcasters and advertisers can pretty much come up with an expected number of viewers and what the cost per viewer is going to be.
Or in my example I figure it costs the advertiser 1c to reach each viewer for their 30 second spot.
Now this figure is going to vary based on any number of external factors - how's a show rating, what's it up against, how cold/warm is it outside, who's doing well in the world series etc etc. but it's realistic to come up with a fairly accurate number.
Now I'm sure cable companies are going to get greedy, fat and lazy and try and round this figure up to a $1 per show kind of system but that's not what i-Mediacy is about (yeh I know the term is a little web 2.0 but you get the point), it's about replacing the advertisements not implementing PPV for every show - we're bored with ipod purchases, on demand purchases, dvd to own purchases. This is about recognising my time is valuable and allowing me the choice to 'outbid' the advertisers for my time.
- Why multiple of "three" and what benefits are there for advertisers?
So the first outcry from the 'marketers' is this would be terrible, we rely on a certain number of 30 second spots to be available in order to get our message out there. (in fact certain times eg. presidential season, the available slots often tighten and pricing goes up-or goes down in non ratings season).
So here's why the advertisers are going to like the idea. When I select buy, the amount I as the viewer pays is three times what the consumer company paid for the slot, yes they don't get to advertise their product but not only doesn't it cost them nothing to advertise they actually get a rebate equal to the amount of twice what they would have otherwise spent.
So get this, I could spend $200k on a weeks advertising and actually make money back on my investment (eg for the 100,000 people that chose not to watch my commercial i made back twice the amount of money they would have cost me).
- That's the beauty of the novel concept, not only are the advertisement free viewers getting to watch content for a small - unnoticeable in the grand scheme of things fee happy.
- And the advertisers are happy because in certain instances they actually get a refund from the cable networks on the money they might have spent with them.
- The cable networks are happiest of all.
- They get the original 15c cut that the commercial was going to bring in as revenue.
- With diminished spot numbers natural market forces will increase the average spend per 30 spot.
- BUT most importantly with the consumer vendors knowing that there is the strong possibility that their advertisements will be usurped will have a natural tendency to overbid on their 30 second spots. eg trying to outbid the consumer. In doing so the profit point percentages for the cable operators increases substantially.
This increase per 30second spot must be reflected as a multiple in what people pay to watch advertisement free. If the figure is a flat rate they will feel ripped off.
Times have changed, you need to make your content viewing consumers feel valuable - there are too many alternatives out there (and getting more enticing by the day).
By opening the kimono and showing them exactly what you make by them participating and watching your vendors commercials they will feel inclusive and more valued. You may even find some brand loyalty at what a great job the cable company is actually doing.
Well there it is. As far as I can tell from my research it's a novel idea. i-Mediacy is there as a concept and I'd really like to hear your thoughts.
P.S. I've also got another idea about how consumers can make money watching those ads with that magic button....but that's for another time and another venue.