Monday, November 24, 2008
Here's one reason it probably would not happen:
"Twitter pays for users' messages to be sent to cellphones. If Facebook were to offer the service to its 120 million members, that could be quite an SMS bill for the social net to deal with" (Source)
We need a new mobile alert solution. SMS is not it.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This weekend we attended mobileCampNYC3. A bit of a drive from Boston but boy was it worth it. about 200 peeps showed up. Mind u, these are peeps with real life, jobs and plenty of stuff to do in the w/e. Still they were there. Great to see Dave Harper (taking QR codes the next step), Raul from QTrax, Keith from PadPaw and many other great peeps.
for the most part, geeks are geeks. stick together and feed each other with ideas. So the outstanding session which made my day was by Mike Young and Ted Roden from "The New York Times Company" (what a name eh?).
Simply put, they presented NYT mobile strategy, composed of mobile web pages rendered in 5 different formats, mobile resident application strategy and mobile alerts. It was fascinating to finally listen to someone "from the outside" lay out how they see mobile. For example, I asked about their alerts. They totally see mobile, and alerts specifically, as a valuable service to keep subs happy and grab new ones, despite the cost, which they agree, is high. (BTW, they use mBlox).
Their conversion from a link inside an SMS 'Alert' to a mobile page view is above 40% !!!
In a few months they achieved a couple hundred mobile subs and millions of impressions a month. Not bad.
I'm still waiting to get the ppt from Mike and learn more from it.
Then they presented SHIFD. Shift content between your PC and your device. Read something on your PC, mark where you left off, continue reading on the subway. Not only is it a cool idea, they get to work on it in the NYT lab!
Alexander Besher also brought some 'outsider' spirit to the game. He's an author and he discovered Dave Harpers' QR linking technology, using it in his book "Mangaman". Interesting again.
Perhaps the other session to mention was the moaning in the US about SMS costs and who controls the market as a result (being, the operators, not the services or the marketers). We were examining new methods to deliver SMS-like alert experience without having the operators in the middle of it (cost & control). One idea is to be embedded inside an application. Perhaps unrealistic if you want to have your own (distribution, development,...) but what if you used Facebook alerts for that?? Right, not everyone has Facebook on their phone, but most of those who have mobile internet phones are anyway in the teens or are geeks, and they'd have Facebook installed?. Similarly, a comment was made by Nick Clarey (brilliant brit from Airsource) about using RIM's Blackberry messaging technology (mind you that presents a slight reach problem, now that RIM aren't even 1st in US shipments). It completely works around the carriers and operated by RIM. The interesting comment was: "if the operators can control SMS, could they not have the same control over application messages or RIM's solution?".
I suppose the answer is 'Yes they could'. But there you really go into a power game. No one would shut down RIM, as no one would shut down Facebook. But they could twist Facebook to better control services using their messages to connect to their audience.
Anyway, great day in the big apple. Boston should have one of those too!
Friday, November 14, 2008
The lessons I learned during those times are invaluable. Here are some of them:
- In conflict, remember the other side is shouting/screaming/beating or hurt, because they care. If they didn't care they wouldn't be doing it. If they didn't care, or you made them stop caring, you loose.
- Conflicts usually rise from simple misinterpretation of messages. Sometimes from conflict of interest, but that's not the general case as those could be worked out. If one side interprets a message wrongly, the breakage depends on the follow up action. The best way to deal with it is to come there and then and simply ask: "what do you mean by..."?. the very worst way is to go away upset and 'store' it. Because it will burst in unproportional dimensions and usually based on subjective memory that twists the original message. Nobody remembers and so it's just a bad feeling all around. Misunderstandings should be resolved immediately, I think.
- Cultural and language barriers are real, especially when comes to local slang or abbreviated messages. Without mutual understanding that the barriers exist and need to be worked out, one can guarantee conflicts will rise from misinterpretation of messages. Those barriers need to be acknowledged and sensitively handled to make it work.
- Email is the worst communication medium on this planet. The worst. Few sentences misunderstood without immediate ability to feedback or query as to the meaning easily lead to a lot of frustration and conflict. Emails and documents should be used for directions, descriptions, manuals. Not for human communications.
- Human communication should be done talking f2f. That's the best way to struggle, conflict and resolve challenges. That's why I strongly believe in building mutual appreciation and respect and basis for healthy work relations rather than authority-driven relationships. That's why relationships need to be personal, because the other side needs to know you care and motivated to their success as much as yours. Phone is no substitute. If you have to get on a jet, car or bike, do that. The price of not doing will turn much higher.
- Focus on what you're trying to solve. If this is a partnership, friendship or whatever, if you busy yourself with the irrelevant details, you will convey the wrong messages. For example, if you are hurt, try to analyze what is it, what caused it, and try to resolve it with yourself or the other side. Throwing irrelevant accusations will only make it worse.
- And last, remember why you started this relationship. There was a honeymoon at the beginning. Remember the time when both sides were happy. Remember the time when both sides could see and make the best of one another. Don't focus on the lows of the other side, everyone has those. Try to remember what you liked and see if you can make that happen again. It's about being better people and helping others being better by seeing the better in them.
This is dedicated to them. I pray time will heal this. I have a lot of interest in it. But it sure is tough seeing it from here.
I saw a movie called 'Feast of Love'. Beautiful movie, if you like slow movies about real life. I don't think it ever made it. I highly recommend it.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
MMarketer this morning has the story about Sprint's "New" 2D barcode tech from Scanbuy.
I think this story is interesting and can draw some conclusions because of the following 4 reasons:
- If you recall, Sprint announced their 2D code tech about a year or so ago on their website...
- Mobile 2D code scanning tech has been around, so it seems, forever. Early adopters of the tech as well, including mobile web and awerness. In other countries Mobile code scanning has flourished way back and they are now into next generations of the tech. Yet here, Sprint are the first (I think) the carrier to announce it, at the end of 2008.
- Despite talks in the past that indicated CTIA was making hard efforts to align all carriers, “Sprint is the first and only U.S. carrier to offer direct access to ScanLife from Scanbuy,” said Emmy Anderson, spokeswoman for Sprint. That, to me, means this environment will have a hard time to survive. With exceptions, brands will be hesitant to put codes on their print ads until more carriers have this working.
- And even then, there's no mention of Sprint preloading the app. I'm not sure how many people will end up downloading it themselves. I mean, if you compare this announcement to the TV commercials that show TMO's G1 scanning codes, who do you think the public is going to be aware of?
- Scanbuy landed $9m series B back in '06. Back then it seemed attached to the Sprint announcement. Timing is everything and whoever gets it right is king. Boy time does fly, doesn't it?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The following Verizon brief, then, seems only natural. Not that I'm a big Android or T-Mobile fan but I truly think you should highlight your advantages, not play your opponent's downsides. Following that thought, it would be only natural to see Verizon disabling Blackberry Storm's WiFi feature. I could only wish subscribers would start opening their eyes and give power to those who really care about them.
Read my lips: Verizon's 3-cents SMS story is not over.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Whenever a US operator talks about being "Open", or the need to be more "Open", I think of a bank vault, tightly shut. I think of Harry Houdini strapped real tight.
I'm sure many of you have been following the fiasco around Verizon's raise of 3 cents per MT SMS. Today they pulled it back, after the industry stood on its back feet. (BTW- do you think it's gone? I don't!)
When I read Mobile Marketers summary of this chapter and the commentary from SumoText's CEO, I can't help but feel sorry for all of us trying to sensibly operate in the US. I feel sorry because what we're after is not going to come through evolution, we need it to come from a larger force, through revolution. someone has to change the rules of the game.
The point is that, if you want a successful mobile ecosystem you have to make it look inviting to people from the outside, who have deep pockets. and like it or not, those people are uninterested in reading 77-pager documents from each carrier about how to apply for a shortcode program. They are simply not interested, as much as mobile might look attractive. And so the real mission is to make mobile look like other models that they know, like the web, but with far better conversion rates, targeting and measurement, at a comparable cost.
Deals will not get signed if the other side is anxious about a 3rd party in this ecosystem that feels they can raise their hands and force a major change just like that, whatever they like because they control the underlying infrastructure. Millions of dollars will go to IVR technology companies (no offense) because they are rely only on voice channels that can't be touched. Imagine Comcast told Unilever that every time one of their brands show an ad over Comcast network, they need to pay $0.03? that's unacceptable and unheard of.
As long as these are the rule of the game, no serious advertiser will look at the US mobile ecosystem as a strategic investment. I was hoping Nokia would have changed that, they didn't. Then came Apple and married themselves to AT&T. and then came "Open" Google and married themselves with T-Mobile.
I am really fed up with people using the word "open" for nothing.
This morning Mobile Marketer has this post on "Ensure SMS messages comply with carrier rules".
Let me share a few quotes:
"Ensuring your SMS messages are compliant with carrier rules is not as straightforward as you would think.
The level of inconsistency and mixed interpretation is mainly due to a lack of oversight and standardization in the industry...carriers have attempted to protect themselves, which is ultimately positive for consumers, but a pain for marketers"
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Textually posted this post titled "Mobile Music Business Sluggish?".
Firstly I'd say, although the title is a legitimate question, it proposes something that clearly ignores the reality of making business in mobile media in the US. Not to mention suggesting that the mobile music as a whole is sluggish based on US survey results...c'mon
Here's a couple of pearls from it:
"...only five percent of U.S. mobile subscribers side load tunes from their computer while less than half of that, two percent, download tracks over the air, despite the emergence of online stores from Nokia, Jamba and MusicStation..."
Why is anyone surprised that in the US, consumers aren't aware or interested in getting multimedia on their phones? that direct-to-consumer initiatives are well behind those in EU, for example (despite large marketing budgets and fantastic technologies) ? have you NOT been reading about Verizon 3 cents-per SMS cost rise stunt just a few days ago (as example)? There's a reason why even established, strong D2C players had not penetrated the US market, and we all know what that reason is.
which leads to the next quote:
"about 66 percent of respondents to a recent survey said nothing would motivate them to listen to music on a mobile."
Oh sure. Spending another $100 or more on a music player when your phone could do the same or better job playing music makes a lot of sense when you're 22 and barely paying your rent.
No. There's a reason for this survey result and it has to do with consumer awareness and expectations.
In a recent local focus group I ran, 6 out of 8 22-year old interviewees did not know they could put music on their phone and listen to it as they please, or faced infinite trouble doing it. They said: "I DIDN'T KNOW I COULD DO THAT" or "I couldn't do it"
It's incredibly difficult for D2C players to raise consumer awareness and expectations, and that's no coincidence. Second, even if the consumer knew how to load music to their phone, they would usually be blocked from doing it, unless they have 5-inch thick geek glasses to figure it out.
Close with this related comment from a different post:
"Whilst MNOs such as Vodafone carry on pushing further into mobile advertising, several major advertising agencies continue to express the significant disconnect between their wish to involve the mobile channel as part of an overall campaign and the technological hurdles involved."
Need I say more?
Sunday, October 12, 2008
"...(traditional music revenue channels plummet) This raises the question of whether artists are smarter to give away their recordings, and focus on more lucrative areas of the value chain. Instead of charging 99-cents for an MP3, why not charge $9 for a t-shirt, and $29 for a concert ticket from a stronger flow of fans?"
"Of course, from the non-diversified label perspective, the recording is an all-important component of the business model."
"... (new ways to approach music and music-related "products") Those are ingredients for a deeper, more engaged connection with fans, a critical aspect of successful marketing strategies. Some artists like Radiohead enjoy massively-connected fan relationships, while others are just starting the process. Either way, panelists agreed that artists carrying a strong connection with their fans gain more in the marketplace."
That's exactly what Adva Mobile is all about.
Text McAlister to 70734 and try it yourself.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
As soon as I launched the application I managed to login...yay! few minutes of contacts sync etc., I was a happy bunny. Sometime later, it wanted to download a new version, fair enough. download, install reboot, all's fine.
re launch the application, need to login again...ok, and I get this error message: "You're logged in on a different phone"...WHAT?? I don't have a different phone!
So I wait a few minutes and try again. logged in ok, and contacts resync, ok...now I tried calling a Skype contact. Healthy dial tone...two tones sounds and the Skype operator goes: "Could not connect your call, please try again later"...
So I try dialing through Skype out to another number, thinking "I AM WILLING TO PAY"...same error message. and so on and so on. Couldn't do anything with it.
I did get a spam chat request though from someone offering me a glipmse of her private parts.
whatever this app is called, Skype or iSkoot, it's off my phone for good.
I'm shopping for cheap international call mobile solutions, open for recommendations!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Adva Mobile now has a MySpace page. Feel free to connect to us, and if you're a band, why don't you try our free mobile marketing service...we'll set you up in seconds.
We're looking for Facebook developers to develop a kick-ass Feacebook presence...drop me a line if interested!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
They'll be providing unique mobile experience to their fans, with Adva Mobile:
Send to your phone, OR text McAlister to 70734
Send to your phone, OR text mybandLagoon to 70734
stay tuned for Saturday HearNowLive show!!!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It's becoming a habbit to quote Marc Cohen, who voices the 2 key points from this interesting research by Harris Interactive:
- Cellphones are an ideal device for ad-supported music
- Teens and tweens are the ideal target market for ad-supported music
- 6/10 teens will provide personal details
Yes yes yes and yes. He's correct. I just hope more people will realize that, soon.
Successes (in my mind):
- FlyScreen: Perhaps because I'm a bit close to them, this week's announcement of an available download (beta, I think) of FlyScreen to Symbian 3rd Ed. phones. This is a young, ambitious Israeli startup. If they play their cards right, they'll go far
- FlixWagon: As much as I'd like to think of them and Qik as simply good timing (I don't want to underplay the technology, but in truth, they grabbed the uplink streaming API of 3G, adding storage and smarts, and added big time marketing on it), they seem to be shooting up. I am still questioning the consumer adoption, but perhaps there is something there. they're now talking white labeled service for operators...$$$
- Blackberry: there's talks about the Bold device being expensive, not measurable to iPhone, being forced by AT&T, or the new flip Pearl. I think BBs kick ass, the new flip is a good move, and I bet it's going to be very popular especially with young female workers who will find the form factor appropriate
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
They got the formula right...music, free, for the crowds, that should work. maybe.
The service (read more on their site, but if you're lazy, here's what I got:) you upload your own tune, cut it to be a ringback length, and select who hears which tunes. (Future feature, community-style transactions (I guess) to share & recommend tunes). You get a number from them and whoever calls that number will hear a 5-10 sec audio ad, and then (and only then) the call will be forwarded to your phone and it will start ringing.
So a couple of thought (Otherwise why would I make this post?).
Here's the stuff I applaud Brring on:
- Pretty bold: moving in on the operators (and vendors) ringback market, which although been stable or declining, is a pretty chunky market in a D2C move
- Formula's right: Free, D2C, social for the crowds. It's all there. I can see kids rushing to it
- Bring a friend and get paid feature: sure, even better. Free is not enough anymore (I see that too in Adva) in audience acquisition. So something for "bring your friend" will ignite a bigger fire
- Not married to the carriers: I suppose they found a way to work around the carriers with this "Brring number" they use. Either way, not marrying the carriers is a smart move
- Maybe most important, the content licensing bit. I've not read through the complete T&C, but briefly it looks like they hand the responsability for content to the fans. That's not gonna fly. If that's the strategy, they better get a good lawyers
- You force someone who calls you (on this new number that you need to publish) to listen to the ad before your phone begins to ring. That goes right up the advertising tolerance discussion. hmmm...unsure about that. Good news (I think), you can turn the ads off for selected people (or can you? unsure)
Good luck guys!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Here's their shoutout, sorry it's a bit blurry:
We're on tonight with OldJack, Gardner and Michael Bernier at FestEvolve. Thanks to HearNowLive, we'll be next week at Copperfields and the following week at Church.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I'm a sinner in attaching emotions to my professional achievements, and in the entrepreneurship space (maybe in all), it's a risky business. So I will take quotes that put things in perspective in a heartbeat:
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends” (via IMDB)
That line came from the fictional food critic character, Anton Ego, played by Peter O’Toole.
"It’s a great quote and something that all of us in the startup world should remember."
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
And we gained a LOT of knowledge about how to work with the bands, promote the keyword/shortcode to the fans, and much more. It's not to say though that we're clever now about it: we've got lots more learning and homework to do.
Still, between Aug 16th with McAlister Drive and Aug 23rd with the 5-bands HearNowLive Hard Rock Cafe show, over 10% of the fans engaged at the venue with our service, got to the mobile web pages, some downloaded content and browsed more than one page. more fans visited the site after the gig. We're making some progress on promotions etc.
Again, disclaimer language here, but I think this is great news. It is a first evidence that there that relationship between the artists and fans at and after the gig, and that advertisers are interested in that exposure. I'm really happy with it, for this initial stage (we're shooting for higher numbers, but that would come with many more features).
We're going to be hopefully back on stage with the bands this Friday at the Church Boston. And I'm looking for bands to try this out, if you like, write us.
For your enjoyment, here's McAlister Drive's Shoutout:
I'll get back to work now!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Due to lack of time, I'll reblog some of the key points from Lirix CEO (and add):
- Youth Still Aren't Paying For Music...
- Youth Discover New Music Through Social Media
- Artwork is important
- Concerts Are Cool, When They're Cheap
- Music Isn't Mobile...Yet
- But understand this, they love music. They consume more music than previous generations.
- The takeaway is that these young people have grown up in a generation where recorded music is traded, downloaded, and consumed with very little monetary exchange...
Young people today may not be exchanging much of their money for recorded music but they are giving their time.This is exactly what Adva Mobile is all about: Figure out this ecosystem where:
- There is plenty of creativity (artists)
- There is plenty of demand (fans)
- Traditional revenue channels need to be replaced
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
It's going to be great fun, I'll be there and be happy to meet you!
Michael Bernier & THE UPRISING:
DAGGER OR A DRAM:
Kings of Crisis:
The Gardner Shakedown:
Friday, August 15, 2008
I'm pretty hyped about this. During the last few months we've been working at Adva Mobile on an exciting new mobile marketing service for emerging artists and advertisers.
A word of background:
Adva Mobile creates highly targeted mobile inventory for advertisers by enabling mobile campaign services for "starving" and passionate artists, who are interested in creating, and growing mobile "mobs" of fan-followers. We will provide the artist with a complete mobile campaign service.
The service is free to the fan, free to the artist.
We've been listening to the advertisers, the artists, the fans and the investment community. They've all been saying: "GET OUT THERE!".
And that's exactly what we're up to.
On Saturday, Christoph Krey, who is an unbelievably talented person and musician, and the leader of a band called McAlister Drive, will perform at Boston's Hard Rock Cafe. During a breather, he's going to shout out:
"If you like my music, you can have it on your phone, right now, FREE. Grab it, set it as your Ringtone, do with it whatever you like. Come back to my gigs for more, bring your friends with you.
Text McAlister to 70734"
Christoph is a typical artist who understands the critical role fans play in his art. He loves his art and if he could, one day he'd like to make this his "day job". What he also knows is that his fans are mobile savvy, they love him and his music, and would like to listen to it continuously on their music phones.
He gets it, and not only that, he knows his mainstream content is available for his fans on MySpace, for example. So he knew that they'd love a new piece straight from the studio, exclusively available for mobile.
Christoph will also have something from his fans from our friends at Nimbit. I've seen it today, it is really cool.
Tomorrow night is a 5 months dream come true. Lots of work and effort has been put into this, and we're going to watch the results closely.
I'd like to give credit to Adva Mobile team, and also to the incredible help and promptness of Noushad and Kang from Textopoly who are facilitating the mobile messaging piece.
If you're outside the US, cross your fingers for us. if you're in the US, text McAlister to 70734.
Are you still waiting?!
Catching up on some reading, I read this morning Paul Graham's must-read article on fund raising. He really nails it and pours the much-needed cold water on the entrepreneur's head. He deals well with the emotional side of it by presenting the numbers and strategies to deal with the downfalls.
If I read it right, entrepreneurs shouldn't assume funding will become available: they have 1 in 500 chances of getting funded. (BTW, I think I heard some statistics that post funding, 1 of 8 startups will live to "expectations"). And yes I do agree that there's a bit of herd mentality as far as the way the investment community acts (if you've been rejected by one, you have a good chance by being rejected by the other, cause a- naturally, they talk and b- your morale deteriorates with every rejection). That one, effectively, is yet another unfair advantage to the investment community: entrepreneurs, specifically first timers or younger ones (which the investment community naturally likes), are suspicious of one another. The innovation that's happening today is far more market and idea driven then IP or technology driven. So the entrepreneurs are less likely to collaborate at these early stages. And frankly, TheFunded may have been a nice little stunt, but I just can't see how other entrepreneurs on there would reveal the kind of sensitive and relevant information that'd be useful to me.
Maybe another peel of the onion, let's see:
- "Taking care of business"/"Being independent": bootstrapping isn't the strategy; Consulting is bad. (at least according to one VC who commented: "We try to avoid companies that got bootstrapped with consulting. It creates very bad behaviors/instincts that are hard to erase from a company’s culture." I must assume that they're not the only ones to think that)
- Keep expectations low, Don't take rejection personally, stay optimistic: So that's one of those correct, accurate, useful points to make, that probably distinguish outstanding entrepreneurs from others, and present a contradiction in themselves
- Keep Working: I really liked that one. There's a natural tendency to bring the "mob" to the meeting, and then the question is: does everyone need to be in every meeting? How does this affect your productivity and momentum?
- VC are well upstream, deep pockets, 1 of 2-3 thousend chance in getting funded etc. You need to be well established with product, revenues and very happy large set of customers
- Angels and their groups moved well upstream, too. This may be specific to this market, but they now seem to be after plays that have product, customers and revenues ("we usually come in to accelerate market and team growth, we don't like to invest in development, for example, because we can't contribute to it with our expertise"). "We don't really do seed". A side comment, the groups I've been dealing with like to see themselves as successful entrepreneurs themselves, execution guys. "Talk to us in operational terms". I think they LOVE to give advice on your product and some of them would just LOVE to see your MySql records, but would simply like to avoid the risk and hassle of the development stage
- Moving on...Friends & Family? sure..maybe. I've heard someone say: "would you take your mom's savings if you knew this wasn't enough and couldn't guarantee a follow up?"
Specifically, I find that investors and others see the mobile channel as highly unique and lucrative, however when it comes to figures or investment attractiveness, they attach web equivalents as far as ease of market entry, profitability and other measures. Perhaps because they are protecting their interests, perhaps because they have no experience to suggest otherwise, or perhaps they are well outside the demographics of users who will easily distinguish between mobile and web.
I wonder if the investment community is comfortable with that view. They probably are: there are so many of us and so few of them. must be very flattering.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I thought of a good name for this post, because it just so happens I just read a few blogs talking about the Twitter SMS mess. Frankly, I feel sorry for Tweeter: not that they couldn't handle it better, it's just that I did the math a couple weeks ago:
Each MT SMS is between $0.04-$0.01 for high volumes. Add $1K-$2K "connectivity" and add the fun $500-$1,000/month for shortcodes.
Set your revenue at $5 CPM, maybe $0.1 CPC, and you'll get a nice little equation that in a visit depth of 2 (mobile) pages/visit, you may be loosing $0.03 per message.
So I'm sure there's plenty of ways for a web+mobile service to leverage web advertising or sales, however the above equation makes it tough for emerging mobile startups to enter this market, which is good if you're in, bad if you're not.
That's the startup side. what's the operator side? Operators are making $ every time an SMS is being sent by the subscriber, or to the subscriber, from the subscriber. Typically operators would charge subscribers $0.10 - $0.25 per SMS if you don't have it in your plan, or $5-$10 for a package of 200 messages. As mentioned above, operators also make money when a service sends an SMS to the subscriber (MT).
So let's see...the service pays the operator while really the service is a revenue generator for the operator.
To some degree I agree with people saying "kill the SMS" as the 160-chars economics make no sense compared to data plans that will be introduced to the sea of iPhone and Blackberries and the likes.
Give us Email-like economics (and richness) and the immediacy nature of SMS, please.
The good news for now, if you get to the messaging volume that Twitter generates, some operators will pay you to be in business. Until then, sweet dreams...
(Lirix CEO Blogs:) "The piece contains some good information regarding CPM rates at the online ad-supported music services. The author points out the dilemma well known to those in the field - that these rates are quite low.
Ad-supported music will not escape the low ceiling of online display advertising CPMs until it moves from streaming to downloaded tracks."
Beyond this must-read article, what I found interesting are the numbers. imeem CPM=$4? wow, not bad. I'm hearing not to bet on $5 on mobile CPM, knowing location, age and possibly gender.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
There's something weird about preparing to hear the answer you don't want to hear. I'm not sure you can ever really be prepared for it, and stay optimistic in the process.
Anyway, the second half went downhill. I didn't get quite the response I wanted to hear. Got me stressed. I then interpreted messages to be personal messages and in return hurt someone who is very dear to me.
Life in a startup is a roller coaster (or maybe New England weather). Perseverance, keep motivated and patience are the game. I hope I'll learn to see it through.
Here's some good reading on the team process that was new to me...
(3G) UK : T-Mobile announced an expansion of its BlackBerry smartphone portfolio with the launch of the BlackBerry Bold smartphone from Research In Motion (RIM), which will be available in shops and online from September 2008.
The BlackBerry Bold features a premium design and unprecedented performance to increase the ability of T-Mobile customers to work effectively whilst away from the office. As the first BlackBerry smartphone available from T-Mobile to support 3G (HSDPA) networks, the BlackBerry Bold allows business users to download email attachments, stream video or render web pages more quickly than ever before. T-Mobile's 3G network coverage is among the best in the UK and will provide almost complete population coverage by 2009 as a result of the innovative 3G radio access network sharing agreement with 3 UK
For additional high-speed network coverage, the BlackBerry Bold smartphone supports the 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi® standards. It is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to support tri-band HSDPA high-speed networks around the world, including the Far East.
With this powerful new smartphone, users can talk on the phone while sending and receiving email or accessing the web, and the BlackBerry Bold also allows users to download Word, Excel or PowerPoint email attachments and edit them directly on the handset with the preinstalled DataViz® Documents to Go® software suite “ a great advantage for those working on the go. The BlackBerry Bold also comes with a 2 megapixel camera that supports video capture and a media player for taking entertainment on the go. It includes 1 GB of on-board storage memory, as well as a microSD/SDHC memory card slot for additional storage of music, video, pictures and office documents*.
The BlackBerry Bold will be available to all T-Mobile Business 1-Plan customers. The Business 1-Plan tariff enables companies to reap more value from their mobile communications investment by building a truly flexible allowance of voice, data, texts and international calls “ removing the complexity of surrounding costs by providing one simple plan tailored to meet the user's mobile communication needs.
Business 1-Plan includes calls from the UK to Europe and North America as T-Mobile recognises that many business transactions are no longer confined to the UK.
Oliver Chivers, Head of Business Marketing, T-Mobile UK, said: As greater number of businesses recognise the benefits of mobile working, demand for mobile broadband connectivity speeds is escalating rapidly. T-Mobile customers using the BlackBerry Bold smartphone will have access to one of the most innovative mobile business devices on the market supported by a network that independent tests reveal delivers a superior mobile broadband experience. For the business world, this translates into opportunities to extend the boundaries of productivity and efficiency."
The BlackBerry Bold also features integrated GPS with support for location based applications and services such as satellite navigation with local search capabilities, a valuable tool for remote and mobile workers traveling to a meeting at a new venue or for locating the nearest petrol station. It also features Bluetooth® 2.0, with support for hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals
Adding to its wealth of functionality, the BlackBerry Bold provides access to email (including attachment viewing), text and instant messaging, organiser, web and other mobile applications. Chivers adds: We already know that business users are incrediblyenamoured with the capabilities of their BlackBerry smartphones. The BlackBerry Bold from T-Mobile offers all the features they expect, as well as a range of advanced functionality that enhance its business benefits. We are sure it will prove a popular choice with both SME and enterprise customers
Congrats to the RIM & Marvel team!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
What's the difference in business models?
In the former, the operator is the customer. They buy/license the content, the technology, and they make the relationship with the vendor work forever, if possible. They are responsible when their revenues drop because people would rather go P2P+Sideload. The operator has an upfront cost (which they would clearly like to avoid) and higher share of the recurring revenues. The vendor may get something upfront, but (specifically in the music busienss) very little in the long run on recurring revenues share.
That business model is not aligned with the win-win strategy which motivates both the operator and vendor to create a healthy long-term service to the fan that would create a solid recurring revenue channel.
The latter, the vendor has the responsibility to create a successful product (they claim they know what they're doing right?) and launch it to their audience. The operator offers access to their subs and exposure on marketing slots, in return to a no-upfront fees and lower share on the recurring revenues.
No upfront fees, a universal (perhaps white-labeled) product that allows the vendor to launch in multiple context in an economic fashion, and high motivation to create a long term sticky service.
Vodafone UK got it a while back, and now TMO US is announcing something similar.
The real open network.
If anyone could enlighten me....
(Added:) I usually look for pictures to make my posts just a bit more fun. couldn't find one I liked so went and watched the video. Apologies to Sting's fans, I am one too. But this made me sick. Talk about advertising intrusiveness.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Please help us shape the service by participating in a 10-question survey (or click here: http://www.tinyurl.com/artsurvey). We will draw a $25 iTunes card for those who leave us their email at the end.
If you're not a performing artist, that's OK, you're still human (in our view). You probably have a kid, nephew, neighbor's kid or someone else you know who is a music artist. Have a think, we're sure you'll come up with one (or ten!).
If you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm a big fan of Mark Doerschlag and his unbelievable useful professional scene networking and event guide named Mark's Guide.
For someone who is constantly snowed under and doesn't have time to search for relevant events, and more specifically, is in need for networking in new fields (recently, mobile advertising), Mark's Guide has been the perfect tool for me. It's in my reader, I check it twice a week, add to my calendar with his great calendaring system and much more.
Mark's Guide has done well in the local Boston scene, but now it seems that Mark is taking it to the next level, and rightfully, getting the appropriate recognition for it. He's now launched in NY, Chicago, Philly, Washington (I bet Silicon Vally's next). He's also been interviewed in the BBJ (see the picture).
I couldn't be happier for Mark: he's really been chippin' away for a while and now seeing success. I'm sure there's much more behind the corner for him.
And I'm so lucky to be his friend!
Monday, June 23, 2008
Good article covering the London Calling music conference on Thursday. lots of people debating how fans value music and the implications on the music industry, including the mobile world.
Some very relevant comments like:
- if giving music away in bundled services—such as Nokia’s Comes With Music--led to its further commoditization, ironically stoking the consumer view that music was something to be had for “free”
- Scott Lyons, director of Motorola’s Ecosystem Market Development team: How do you deal with creating this expectation for free music after the 18 months is up?
- Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher: there would be a backlash with Nokia’s Comes With Music service, as consumers would not entirely understand why they didn’t own the music though they had bought the handset
- Orange’s Head of Music Richard Wheeler: music is being paid for on mobile, but by a higher end demographic. The challenge for operators is reaching the younger, low-spending, usually pay-as-you go customers, who don’t typically pay for music off mobile if they can help it
Highly useful set of notes. Anyone using their eyes can see the elephant in the room: your target audience are exactly those younger, less likely to pay fans. They will not pay for music generally (outside the POS, which BTW, the operator own and can leverage), but at the same time they define themselves by music. They are very sensitive to the "ownership" of music, regardless how they got it.
IMO music, specifically mobile, needs to go D2C, ad supported. It's our job to deliver a service to the advertisers who are looking for healthy user profiles, and pass that revenue to the artists. They are the fuel of this whole thing.
Interested in your thoughts.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The cynics would talk to the mechanics of it (sure, pulling out your purchasing history or birth date is a mechanic matter of a database query), however, when I opened Facebook earlier I had a moment of "STOP! Reality check" (in this case, a very pleasant one).
Thank you Facebook (and my friends), you made my day.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The first is an excellent piece on mobile internet by Jason Grigsby:
"I would summarize my presentation this way:
1. The Mobile Web is coming and it is going to be huge.
2. Yes, we've heard this all before, but this time it is true. Look at the numbers.
3. I understand why people are skeptics, but if you were to look at the data from gopher and try to extrapolate the growth of the web before the introduction of mosaic, you would never guess the growth that was to happen. The iPhone is the Mosaic of the Mobile Web. The numbers we're seeing with the iPhone are nothing like what we saw previously.
4. Web Developers have a long ways to go to be prepared for building for the Mobile Web. We've got to learn new constraints and relearn some things--like web site optimization--which we've gotten lazy about.
5. Unfortunately, there is little consistency or data about mobile browsers--particularly factors for optimization--so we have been conducting tests on mobile browsers.
6. Here are the results of our tests and our recommendations based on these results.
The Web Visions conference organizers are supposed to be posting a podcast of the presentations sometime soon. As soon as they do, I'll hook it up to the slides.
For those who are purely interested in where mobile is headed, I recommend my other slideshow as well which I recorded audio for:
For more on web site optimization, here is another presentation and resources:
Here's the second:
And here you can go through the whole pres. it's well worth it.
The second piece I think is groundbreaking: There's been a lot of discussion on the role of proper mobile internet traffic measurement and reporting in the healthy growing of the ecosystem, specifically how it would help marketers understand the effectiveness of mobile advertising and leverage it.
So today Venture Beat reports that M:Metrics is about to be sold for $50-$80M. That's a very healthy sign, I hope, and an indicators of the ones to follow. Everyone should measure what's happening on their sites, especially on mobile sites, so that the ecosystem can grow and expand. It's also another healthy indicator for the mobile internet as a whole. Like Jason said: I understand why people would be skeptic, but mobile internet is coming, and it's going to be huge.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I remember times when products came with the accessories required for them to function. Sure, there are always upgrades, accessories you never need etc., however I clearly recall buying PCs with power cords and ethernet cards, printers with power and USB cords and the required cartridges.
I just got a new Lexmark printer from Circuit City for my kid who has started showing interest in the computer. Open box, install, everything's great. Oops...where the heck did I put the USB cable? quick look at the box: USB cable not included. Nice. Went to the basement and like a good geek found one. keep going, I say. This printer has a color and Black cartridges. Found and installed the color one, no sweat. Where the black? Deja vu. not included. NICE. We'll buy one when we get to the store tomorrow. In the mean time, let's print something. DOH! can't print unless both cartridges are present. GRRRRR.
Drive to Circuit City next day. Turns out they have an exclusive on these cartridges, at $20 each. And they're out of stock. Sure, you can drive to New Hampshire to get one now, or you can wait a WEEK for your new printer to work.
Is it me or somebody lost it in their greed?! Can you imaging the salesman telling you: "Oh, your new car does not include wheels. they are ours exclusively and we're out of stock. You can get them in 10 business days".
Disclaimer: just checked a few other printer vendors. this seems to be a norm with others too. Another blessed industry move...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Adva Mobile is a stealth mode startup in the mobile marketing space. Our mission is to enable entertainment artists to promote their art to their fans in new exciting ways and receiving marketers' attention while doing that.
We are currently seeking a technology lead who will help us build this product by defining scalable and flexible architecture, planning and executing it. This person needs to have high level of understanding and knowledge of recent server side and mobile web technologies. This person needs to be comfortable coding as well as managing internal and outsourced resources. This person will participate in the selection and integration with vendors. This person also needs to be comfortable in a startup environment.
This is a great opportunity for the experienced technical team lead who might be seeking new entrepreneurial opportunities.
· Experienced building and executing server, mobile web and multimedia architectures
· Knowledge of mobile multimedia delivery technologies
· Knowledge of latest web 2.0 development technologies
· Comfortable developing and managing internal and external resources
· High comfort level operating in a young startup
Please contact jobs@AdvaMobile.com if interested.
Please no recruiters or other third parties.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I've been spending some time recently reading about music "state-of-the-nation", sorry if none of this is news to you.
So as I was having lots of fun at MIDEM in January, hearing a lot about services that recognize and legalize P2P music sharing, I was thinking of those services that have users upload music and share it. I was wondering how does that not clash with the content owners need for revenues: their hook so obviously giving something minimal, limited, as the hook to get you to buy the real thing. usually that hook would be called "preview". the 30-seconds version of the real thing, and a link to a music store.
So in telling the users they can upload and share the music, the name of the game is to remove liability by telling them what content they should not upload...Not sure ho many users read that piece.
So it was interesting to read about WMG suing imeem (I know, water under the bridge), how they settled, and an interesting comment:
"Good news for imeem..but the damage seems to have been done. Most popular songs on there are only in "preview" mode now, which only plays 30 seconds of each song rather than the whole clip..that was the single appeal of the site: full on demand music."
Very true, I think.
Friday, April 11, 2008
A new survey shows that 61% of US teens download music illegally. Not a big surprise, frankly. Ask any teen around you whether they pay for music... the answer is no.
The survey noted an overall "discretionary recession" in teen spending, finding a 15% year-over-year decline in spending among young men, and an 11% decline among young women.
This is the dynamics that will make operators focus on networks as the revenues from mobile content require skills, and budget, that brands, advertisers and content owners have, not necessarily operators.
Another interesting comment was: "Six percent of students indicated they own an iPhone -- double the market share found in a fall 2007 survey -- and 9% expect to buy an iPhone in the next six months."
The iPhone UI really does make a difference to the teens. I believe iPhone and the likes will bring teens to use their phones as their music device. This is a huge opportunity for the direct to consumer content business.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
It's enough to read the comments on this post to understand the level of these discussions are the US.
Why does I-Nigma and their users get it, and we can't get a solution in the US? Why do US companies invest in existing technologies that don't require new ecosystems (evolution vs. revolution)?
Because technologists are making the decisions in the US. And they don't understand that the mobile market needs to be owned by marketing focused people. They need to stop thinking about technology, symbology and patents, and start thinking like Google would think of it. How would ad agencies deal with it.
To read now how barcodes failed at a very-visible Mobile Discovery trial, who did not setup the required arrangements with the operators beforehand, didn't setup the expectations correctly, and then used a topless woman for the promotion...well...what can I say?
End with a very old joke:
The Polish invented the toilet seat. The Americans swept the world with their design, based on the Polish one and adding a hole in the middle.
Good innovation can happen in the US, but the UK folks will succeed with it.
Congrats to Andy Letting, a friend who is moving into the right space in the right time.
Because that's how technology moves forward. If customers were buying existing technology there wouldn't be any innovation. This is why you want to keep your sales guys somewhat aware of what the product can (or rather, can't) do, but they and the market are the ones who will pull you forward.
The thing is, sometimes you cheat. You know the product can't deliver to the spec. Do BMW's really make it to the top speed? who knows? whose going to test it? The wisdom is not to get caught, at least not big time.
Because when someone calls the bluff, it can become painful. And I think that's what's lined up for operators with their data network. They were betting on lack of applications that will drive the data network. And they were right for the longest while.
Now, when video is hitting the mobile space, uplink and downlink, it is becoming difficult, and frightening.
So when I read this article about "Researcher warns on flat-rate plans’ effect on carriers", and I read "ABI is also worried that unlimited plans may encourage an increase in unsolicited text messages, instant messaging and picture mail usage.", I think, no, they've got the wrong end of the stick. This is the time to crack the champaign. Because for the longest time mobile geeks complained about people "not getting" picture messaging, Mobile IM, Mobile video etc. "usage/adoption is low" you could hear everywhere.
Well if now people get it, then there could not be better news! That is a good problem to have like my friend Jack always tells me. The operators need to figure out how to keep up the technology and harvest the revenues: making their network perform, and cutting rev share deals with content owners and advertisers.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Focusing on network operations and letting brands promote content D2C for rev share is not common amongst many operators yet.
Mighty Nokia having to walk the line carefully and explain the benefits to all shareholders is just an example for how young the D2C ecosystem is, and that no one is immune from playing ball with the operators, who will not be forced into it.
The good news, Nokia is the kind of player who can plow the way for all those of who will follow.