Saturday, August 4, 2012

Google Fiber, Why It's So Awesome!

  This is one of the projects at Google that I am super excited about.  It's one of those initiatives that I believe can not only change the way people use the internet, but also change the way traditional companies do business.  It will push people to do better, faster.  I really think this has the potential to impact the world in much the same way that search had.  Why?  A few simple reasons:

Lightning Speed
Google Fiber will be delivering 1Gb upload and download speeds.  This means everything instantly becomes faster.  It means you can download pretty much anything, in seconds.  It means you can play literally any game without any lag.  It means you can stream movies and content immediately.  It means you can record multiple television shows at once.  It means better viewing through less compression.  It means storing everything you own in the cloud and accessing it easily.  Everything you now do on the internet will become instantly faster.  No lag.  Less downtime.  Period.

  • You get a DVR with 2Tb of storage
  • You get a nice new flashy Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet
Most Importantly, the Shackles of Content Providers are Broken
You are no longer are at the whim of the giant, entrenched data providers who purposefully lock down, limit, and unreasonably "protect" their pipes.  You no longer are forced to abide by unfair practices or pay unfair fees for services, just because they want to or need to meet quarterly growth targets.  You now have a choice.  The choice to be free.  These companies will be forced to change the way they do business.  To compete fairly and openly. 

I don't know about you, but when I was a Comcast subscriber, my search pages were always hijacked by their crappy search experience.  I was sick of them forcing me to download applications that sat on my desktop, monitoring my every move.  Or maybe it was their unfair pricing tactics, their crappy customer service, or the fact that I had to bundle Nickelodeon for kids when I haven't watched that channel in 30 years.  The list just goes on and on.  I'm ready for a change.  I detailed my last fiasco here.
To be fair, it's not just Comcast.  It's almost every other ISP out there sucks just as much. 

The Future With Google Fiber
In the future, I envision a 24/7 connection to the home with instant access anywhere on the planet.  Sure this opens up some big old security holes.  But it's also another business opportunity.  Forget a document at home?  No worries.  Forget to turn off some lights.  No worries.  Forget to check what you needed at home from the grocery store?  Check.  The power of this service really comes in passing large amounts of data back and forth between the home.    This creates the ability for applications ever increasing in size.

Imagine medical applications you could use at home - with all of the processing and hardware in the cloud?  Or any scientific tool really.  Anything encapsulated in data can now be available on a Google Fiber endpoint.

Just think about how much time would be saved?  Even if the time saved is minor per person, imagine the overall time save on a global scale!

Now let's be conservative.  There are ~6,000,000 broadband internet subscriptions in the world today.  Say each of these connections saves about 1 minute / week per connection (in aggregate, because multiple people use a connection).  And these all turned into 100Gb tubes.  I still think this is conservative.  But down the road it's feasible to save hundreds of thousands of people days / year.  Even millions.

52 * 6,000,000 = 312,000,000 minutes per year
312,000,000 = 5,120,000 hours / year
That's about 213,333 days we save.  That's not bad Google.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Logo Web Design: 99design vs Choosa vs Crowdspring Review. Is Crowdsourcing / Spec Bad for Designers - Should They Really Hate It? Nope.

I'm in the process of submitting a project on 99designs for web design.  As I was researching which design site to use out of the abundance of sites: 99designs, crowdspring, Choosa, 12designer, 48hourslogo, Astada, Brandsupply, Creads, DesignContest, DesignCrowd, DesignOnClick, Graphiste, Hatchwise, LogoDesignGuru, Wilogo, Mycroburst, LogoTournament, and others, I came across a number of articles discussing how these sites are bad for designers.  How they're cheapening the design process and forcing designers to provide their skills, in many cases for free.

The argument goes like this... as a designer you submit a design for a project.  The project submitter likes your design as he likes others and asks for revisions.  This leads the designer to think they have  a good shot at winning.  They continue submitting revisions until the end and find themselves on the losing end of the contest.  Thus... work for free.

I can disagree more.  And there are several reasons:

Practice makes perfect: As a fledgling designer, there's nothing better than honing your skills with real practice.  These sites are the perfect opportunity to improve skills, using real world feedback.  Listening to your client is priority one on any job.  Regardless of outcome, you'll learn these skills which can payoff on future endeavors.

This happens in all industries: Ever hear of that manufacturing outsourcing problems the US constantly complains about?  This is one and the same.  Jobs are getting outsourced to cheaper and more efficient places.  It's the natural progression of industry and it's something we should embrace not hinder.  It will only make people word harder to become better.

Global Opportunity: These websites are giving opportunities to people who wouldn't otherwise have it.  People from all over the world can now compete with hometown designers.  Best designer wins.

If you're that good... then you shouldn't have a problem finding work that compensates well.  Having spent the better half of 12 years in the Bay Area, there was always a shortage of good designers and this gives entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity to find designers.

Corollaries: There are already corollaries across the internet.  And people aren't complaining about that.  Look at oDesk, elance, or  Any complains about these guys destroying industry?

People need to stop complaining about things being unfair.  Tis' life.  This is a free market.  Time to play.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Advertising and The Facebook Business Model

It's time to start writing again.  Since I turned down my startup several years ago, I've largely ignored tech blogs and the startup space, as I was plain worn out.  I spent time diving back into a corporate job.  I tried half a year at Symantec.  But going from startup to an archaic technology company more interested in resting on its laurels, just wasn't for me.  I've since found the perfect place.

Since I now work in the online ad space, I thought I'd share something I've been telling people for a few years now.  Something that finally seems all that more logical to those observing the industry.

Advertising based on profiles or online self selected interests or other user generated data - just doesn't work.  Things like remarketing, contextual, or search advertising do.

There's one simple reason with search ads.  It's intent.  Contextual - though not as powerful as search, casts a wider net.  It's all over the place.  Remarketing.  Obvious.

Think about Facebook.  When you're on it, do you even notice the ads?  Are you on Facebook with the intent to buy? 

The only way I've ever though FB would be able to make money is to either:
A) Create an AdSense style platform and augment contextual WITH their profile data
B) Sell their data on a DMP or Data Exchange

Since they likely won't do B), their only option is A).  Little hints like the deal with Zynga and the launch of their exchange, which was far from an exchange, may show their intent.

As usual - I remain bearish on Facebook.  100B?  Really?  It's even way overvalued today at $65B.  I'd say a more appropriate valuation would be about half that.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tweeter - What's up with dat Anyway? Tweet tweet

Tweeter. I joined a ways back. It was the cool thing to do in tech nerd circles everywhere. I used it maybe half a dozen times - maybe more. A few people followed me, not sure why. I didn't have anything useful to say. Then it started going mainstream. All the news outlets and celebrities had a Tweeter account. And I was like, what the hell for? Who would follow CNN? What does that even do for you? Just check out their homepage or use an RSS reader. They publish their important stuff anyway. But at the end of every damn marketing message, you now see, "Follow us on Tweeter". Um. Why again? No, I'm serious. Why would I follow your company unless I'm so devoted that I hang on every breath some company breathes. I just checked out United Airlines, my least favorite airline in the entire universe. And here is one of their recent tweets that provides endless value to every consumer:

"Arrive at the airport at least 60 min in advance for domestic flts or 2 hrs for intl or large airports. #UAL12daysoftravel"

Really? Thanks.

Then the Iran reform movement/crackdown gained steam. And Tweeter was supposedly what allowed information to get out. OK. I'll say that it helped with that. It gave an audience to the little people. And it's fairly difficult to clamp down on that. Unless you shut off the Tweeter stream. And I'm still not sure why Ama-whatever-his-name-is-dina-jad didn't just shutoff the internet machine?

I'm revisiting my discontent with Tweeter because of their recent $3.7B valuation. They're going to have to figure out how to monetize the heck outta their site. Please tell me how that's going to work without pissing off their users?

Then I read a sweet little article today, which got me fired up about where Tweeter is headed. And now I feel whole again.

"Because Twitter is, more and more, becoming a gaming platform -- for various games of wit. So up-from-nowhere hashtag trends that inspire a global call-and-response are now, increasingly, crowding out real trends tied to breaking news (celebrity or otherwise)." (here)

I'm rooting for you guys you little up-form-nowhere hashtag writers.

Comcast redeemed themselves but Rebates Don't

This is a short story, but one I felt obliged to write. I used Tweeter, my derogatory name for a service I still don't fashion, to write an update about Comcast screwing people over by making it nearly impossible to get deals they openly advertise. Well, I was contacted by a Comcast rep who worked tirelessly to get the deal for me. So with that, I was content. But what still chapped me, was the fact that this rep couldn't even find the deal in the system and took several weeks of back and forth phone calls and emails to finally get the deal in place. And for the record, it was a modified deal with shorter terms. But the effort was certainly appreciated.

So what's up companies offering deals and then making it impossible to find? I'll tell you what's up with that. It's an insincere form of customer appreciation. If they were really looking to offer their customers a deal - they'd do it outright. And it wouldn't be a shit show trying to get the deal in place. I guess the closest corollary is the rebate model, where companies know that rebate redemption rates are extremely low. For low ticket items, they can hover in the single digits, while moving upwards to around 50% for higher priced items (here).

It makes me wonder how this electronic rebate processing stuff works. I guess just bumping up rebate redemption rates. So I'm sure their actuaries take care of all of that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Will the Latest WikiLeaks Leak Go Too Far? Yes. It's Careless.

When WikiLeaks first appeared, I was a fan of their mission, "in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations."

Of course, exposing oppressive regimes is wonderful. And even exposing non-oppressive regimes, like the United States, when they step far outside their bounds is fair game too. But recently it seems WikiLeaks is making it their mission to damage the United States, and consequently, other non-oppressive governments, in any way it can. And for what?

This next batch of documents is intended to expose the US's line of communication between it's own embassies and it's allies. It is revealing how deals are done and how world leaders interact behind the scenes, and what they think about currently sensitive political issues, such as Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and North Korea. It's pretty damn revealing.

What's the point of this exposure? How is this tied to the mission of WikiLeaks? This just seems like Julian Assange's massive ego at work. What could possibly become of this besides making people more suspect of the US or forcing governments to rethink how they conduct business with each other and how they approach oppressive regimes - which seems counter to WikiLeaks mission now doesn't it?

The only result of this dump is to

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Motorcycles with Loud Engines Should be Banned From this Earth!

It was a cool Halloween night last night and I felt like sleeping with the windows open, letting the breeze blow through the apartment. Seemed innocent enough, until my sleep was shattered early this morning. It was such a loud jarring noise that I sat up in bed wondering what the hell was going on? Apparently 20-30 obnoxiously loud motorcycles had owners who thought it would be a good idea to ride through a residential neighborhood early this morning. And ride they did. Either they rode around the block six or seven times or there were packs of more motorcyclists with the same idea.

What the f^&k is with those things and why are they legal? Why do they need to make those engines so damn loud. What the hell is the point? I can't imagine the utility of those things besides to annoy every damn person who's nearby.

I mean seriously - a super loud, gurgling... oh man, another few just rode by. The windows are shut now. I gotta get the hell outta my neighborhood today. F those things.