Monthly Archives: December 2008

Grateful Dead (People) – Pay for Ringtones, Forever!

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There were several human-interest stories in the mobile world last week.  The one that has to jump to the top of the list was reported by  Diane Mapes of MSNBC.  It seems that a new trend is for people to be buried with their cell phone, iPod and other tech gadgets. 

The article points out that this practice is as old as the ancient Pharaohs bringing their booty to the great beyond.   Some relatives have even gone as far as to continue to pay the phone bills of the deceased.  N0  “dead ringers” for this gang.  This got me thinking,

What a great idea for the ringtone subscription business!!  Sell a monthly subscription of $9.99 for a phone that is six feet under.  Talk about “Life” time value of a subscriber!

So, I just could not resist cranking up some “Grateful Dead” and producing the industries first top ten ringtones for or dearly departed’s phones.  With a little tongue in cheek , here we “go”.

Number 10:

“Casey Jones” By the Grateful Dead

There are several potential ringtone’s from this one song, here is the best:

Trouble ahead, lady in red,
Take my advice you’d be better off dead.
Switchman’s sleeping, train hundred and two is
On the wrong track and headed for you.

Number 9:

“Hello, Goodbye” By the Beatles

“You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello”

Number 8:

“Kiss me through the Phone” by Soulja Boy

Girl you know I miss you
I just wanna kiss you
But I can’t right now so baby kiss me thru the phone
(kiss me thru the phone)
See you later on..
Kiss me thru the phone
(kiss me thru the phone)
See you when I get home

She call my phone like
(da da dadadada da da dadadada da da..)
We on the phone like
(da da dadadada da da dadadada da da..)
We taking pics like
(da da dadadada da da dadadada da da..)
She dial my number like
(da da dadadada da da dadadada da da..)

Six seven eight triple nine eight two one two
(678) 999-8212

Number 7:

“Yesterday”  By The Beatles

Yesterday,
All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Number 6:

Break on Through to the Other Side” by the Doors

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side, yeah

Number 5:

“No Air” – By Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown

[Jordin]
If I should die before I wake
It’s cause you took my breath away
Losing you is like living in a world with no air, oh

[Chris]
I’m here alone, didn’t wanna leave
My heart won’t move, it’s incomplete
Wish there was a way that I can make you understand

Number 4:

Viva La Vida – By ColdPlay

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
“Now the old king is dead! Long live the king

Number 3:

“Only the Good Die Young”   by Billy Joel

They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t
I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the Sinners are much more fun…

you know that only the good die young
oh woah baby
i tell ya
only the good die young,

Number 2:

“Stairway to Heaven” –  by Led Zepplin

(Ringtone is the song Intro)

And my top ringtone for calling departed loved ones is…..

“Help!”  -by  The Beatles

Many possibilities for ringtone hooks in this song!

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

While this was just for “phun”  – don’t be surprised if you see a list like this marketed on the Internet by some ringtone company!

If you want to add to this list – just add them to my comment section

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Filed under Apple, Content, Hip Hop, Hip Pop, mobile, Music, Pop Music, Ringtones, wireless

Facebook, Itouch and Calamari- Perfect Together

What does Facebook, Itouch and Calamari have in common?  The answer is Greek Gods!

mlw_0001_0004_0_img0209 This evening I helped one of my daughter’s with her homework.  The assignment was to take pictures of religious icons and places within our town.  She had two denominations to photograph, Jewish (which is a low degree of difficulty for us!) and ancient Greek.

In case you have not noticed, there are few believers in Zeus in suburban New Jersey— or are there?

New Jersey is also the world capital of the…. you guessed it…. The Greek Diner.  No Greek diner worth its Gyros would be caught dead without appropriate statuary of the Gods.   We took a quick trip to the Livingston Diner for our assignment.  Since I felt it was just slightly awkward to run into a diner full of patrons take pictures of the scattered statues and leave. We decided it would be best to have a dad/daughter dinner.  Thus, with the help of Apollo we had some “quality time” between taking pictures and munching on fried calamari.

Since Facebook time is favorite topic in our house I asked her what she liked and disliked about the world’s number one social network.   When we got home I asked the same questions of the other children.  The answers were fairly consistent.
So, to the executives of Facebook – here is some free market research for you.

Safety First

Cyber safety has been taught at home and in the school since they first started using a computer.  They insist on using social networks and messaging only with people they know.  The protections built into Facebook gives a sense of safety, security and control to the Tween/Teen group.

Games – Not so much

Facebook games got three thumbs down.  Any activity that was not messaging, status updating or picture uploading rated very low with the Spencer gang.   I would conclude that there is a huge opportunity for Facebook to expand into the collaborative gaming market.  The problem is wading through the noise and junk applications.
A missing element in Facebook:

Better personalization.   They all expressed desire to have Facebook “skins” and create a more personalized page environment for their friends.   I would call this Facebook meets MySpace.

Communication is the key:6a00c225279d8e604a00fa968086520003-500pi

I was actually surprised to learn that all three of my children have virtually stopped using email!  Their main messaging mechanism is Facebook messages and Facebook instant messaging.  I asked them why? They told me everyone that wants to message  them is on Facebook and it is easier to remember a friend’s name, than their email address.  One daughter and son admitted to using email when they want to be more “official”, such as emailing a teacher.

Since getting hooked on Facebook they have stopped using AIM for instant messaging.

My son told me simply – “Everyone I know is always on Facebook, even during school” Even during school!?  It seems the wireless use of Facebook in a mobile environment is creating an always-connected social network.  The other school mechanism is WIFI.  Thanks to the Apple Itouch, the school WIFI network is serving as the Facebook network.  Facebook statuses now change, class to class.

Do your own personal research and let me know what you find out!

facebook

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Filed under Apple, facebook, Internet Safety, mobile, smart phone, social networking, wifi, wireless

Miracle at the Meadowlands, Seen with my Eyes – Confirmed via Mobile

ny-jets-logo-2For me, Sunday at the Meadowlands usually means a Jets game. This past Sunday “Gang Green”, as they are affectionately known, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
With just two minutes left in the game, Buffalo was leading by 3 points.  At this point they inexplicitly called a pass play that resulted in a sack, and fumble, with an eventual lucky bounce into the cement-like hands of Jets Lineman Shaun Ellis.  To copy a quote from “Analyze This”, Sean Ellis is so large he creates his own gravitational field, which is the only explanation for the ball finding his hands and him rumbling 9 yards into the end zone. The Jets held on to win 31-27.

The fans started a cheer of “Holy Sh**, Holy Sh**”    We just could not believe that a miracle would happen for our team.   By now you might be asking yourself, “so, what’s the wireless angle on aimg00202ll this?”

My wireless football experience began with the tailgate ritual.  I cooked steak and shrimp and had to send an MMS of this delicacy to a friend of mine who is a Buffalo Bills fan.  In complete disclosure, this friend is also a Boston Red Sox fan, so being a Bills fan is the least of his offenses.  I exchanged several SMS messages with him while engaged in the macho tradition of cooking in a frozen, dusty parking lot with 75,000 other men and about 20 women.

Inside the stadium my wireless game experience continued with two shortcode invitations from the Jets.  The first is a shortcode to send a message if I feel there is a problem with my seat of my section.  Just text your section and seat to “NJSEA” and what the problem is and, in theory, something will happen other than getting sent an offer to subscribe to ringtones.  This service is provided by a company called Guestassist.  I did send a text during the game.  I mentioned that from my seat I had determined that the Jets defense was not pass rushing enough and should start to blitz more.  Maybe this text message got through to the Jets coaching staff and resulted in the sack and fumble that won the game?

Another texting offer was to subscribe to “Jets News“.  I send the keyword “Go Green” to the shortcode and got a response that included an advertisement for AllState insurance.  Besides the advertisement, I got no other alerts or news during the most exciting game in recent Jet memory.  This service gets flagged for “Why bother?”

I had previously subscribed to the ESPN sports alert service for the Jets (and the Rangers, btw).  This service sends me an alert every time there is a change of score in a game.   The alerts are timely, usually arriving a minute after the score.  I needed this service, because after Shaun Ellis scored I was still in disbelief until my ESPN SMS confirmed the event.

Uploaded to my Facebook

Uploaded to my Facebook

Arriving concurrently with my ESPN confirmation,, I got an email that my wife sent to me via her I-Touch.  She was at my son’s Lacrosse game and the facility has free Wi-Fi, and televisions that were tuned to the game.  This was my second confirmation that this play that I had witnessed with my eyes, had indeed occurred and that the Jets had taken the lead.  I now, thanks to mobile technology, could stop pinching myself.

Once the event was independently confirmed by mobile sources, I sent the Buffalo Bills fans another MMS picture with the fans going crazy, along with some gloating comment.  I would only have done this after dual independent confirmation, via mobile of the play.  After all, I am a Jets fan, and seeing the miracle happen in person is a necessary, but not sufficient criteria for actually believing that it happened!

Lastly, I have become a big fan of the Facebook application for my Blackberry.  I took several pictures during the game and with one click, posted them directly to my Facebook page via my Blackberry.  This capability opens up the realm of “Face-casting” a sporting event.

Seeing a miracle happen at a Jets Game is good, getting it really confirmed by wireless- Priceless!

Miracle at the Meadowlands

Miracle at the Meadowlands

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Filed under advertising, Apple, blackberry, Christmas, facebook, iphone, mobile, mobile advertising, Rangers, Santa Claus, social networking, wifi, wireless

Yes Virginia, Santa does TXT!

santa-text1

When I was leading Upoc we would create “Themed” social networking groups around different holidays.  We had particularly interesting groups, and results around Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, New Year’s, Hanukah, Kwanza, MLK’s Birthday and Halloween.  The most interesting, and memorable group was the Christmas group of 2007.

Each social network had a particular question that the members were asked to answer and comment upon.  For Thanksgiving the question was simply, “What are you giving thanks for this year?”  For Christmas it was, “What do you want from Santa this year?”

These social networks were created from the existing Upoc community.  We used our in-house tools to invite members to join.  When a network reached a critical mass of between 500-1000 members, we had a vibrant group.  Since I enjoyed the social networking, group psychology, and the pure fun of these networks, I was often the group moderator and owner.   The majority of the messaging within the group was done via SMS text messaging.  It was not unusual for one of these group to generate millions of messages during its life.

So you probably guessed by now.  I was “Santa”.  I would watch the group discuss their  various needs and wants, and then once or twice a day, as “Santa”, I would interject some pithy (hopefully) comment.  My username was “Santa”.  As Santa I would also boot from the group anyone who wanted nothing more than carnal contact with Santa!

This pattern continued for about a week, when a particularly classic desire bubbled up from a member.  She was a single Mom, with another baby on the way.  She lived in a very rural section of a Southern State.  To protect her identity I will call her “Virginia”.   Either Virginia thought she was text messaging with the real Santa, or she was really good at role-playing.

She texted Santa and said she “really believed in Santa”.  We had several text conversations about her living situation and she would ask about the reindeer.

After communicating with Virginia for two days I decided it was time for Santa to practice some real  holiday spirit . I messaged her that if she really believed ielf_poster1n Santa, then she would get a call from one of Santa’s helpers, “Charlie the Elf”.

In terms of full disclosure,  “Charlie” worked in our customer service department and was eager to play the role of an Elf.  Charlie called Virginia and got her address.  She was a little curious why Santa did not already have her address since he visits every house on Christmas Eve, but we and she let that one slide.

Once we had her address, I went to the web page of the real Santa helpers – Toy’s R Us.  I purchased various items to brighten her holiday- some toys, books, and baby clothing.  These items were shipped directly to her home.

After I made the order I checked out her home on Google Maps.  Using the Satellite view I discovered that the address was in fact a trailer on a secondary dirt road, connecting to the main dirt road, that connected with what may have been a paved road about 5 miles away.

toysrus-logo-high2Santa sent a message to Virginia to tell her that her package was on the way and that it would come from Toys R Us.  She messaged back asking why Santa needed to use Toys R Us.  I thought about sending an explanation about outsourcing and the global flat economy, but instead just told her that Santa needs a little help in reaching the most rural areas.ups-logo

As Santa, I used another of Santa’s helpers – UPS- to track the package.  When the UPS service send me a message that the package had been delivered, I texted Virginia to ask her about her gifts.   She got back to me and messaged that there was no package by her door.   I went back to the UPS web page and it informed me that the package had been left behind the carport.  Santa then messaged Virginia to look behind the carport.  She messaged back in a couple of minutes, totally amazed that I was able to tell her exactly where to look.

If she did not believe in Santa as a magical figure before that, with the help of text messaging, Charlie the Elf, Google, Toys R Us and UPS, she was clearly a believer now!

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Filed under advertising, blackberry, CEO, Christmas, Google, hockey, location based services, mobile, new media, politics, Santa Claus, social networking, wireless

Traditional Media Goes to School on New Media

The traditional content companies (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, etc) have used the research, development and “trial and error” investments of many new media, web and mobile oriented companies to learn what networks4works in digital content, commerce and advertising.   They have transitioned from fighting the term “new media”, to adapting it, and in many cases becoming dominate players.

I was a witness to the first stages of this schooling in the early days of the dot.com explosion.

jay

Jay Chiat

In April of 2000, I had just joined the quintessential Silicon Alley content company, ScreamingMedia. Our well-funded company, had h the superstar and Ad icon Jay Chiat as Chairmen and a hard driving entrepreneur founder, Al Ellman.    Jay Chiat was famous for such ads as the 1984 Apple Superbowl commecial and the still-going  Energizer bunny.  

The company  hosted  its own new media content conference at the Chelsea Piers.   This was called the “Malcontent” conference.   The conference was organized to be a debate of new (web oriented) vs. old (TV, Radio, Newspaper) media.

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ScreamingMedia Founder, Al Ellman

We had luminaries from both sides of the assumed divide, including Dan Rather.   As a new executive at ScreamingMedia, I gave the case for mobile and its role in this new media landscape.   The one thing I was sure of, any media or content on a phone would have to be “new media”.

The value of ScreamingMedia was grounded in content syndication.   At the timeit  was technically and legally difficult to syndicate content on the Web.   ScreamingMedia (aka Pinnacor) was eventually acquired for about $150M.

Of course, this was pre-RSS days.  By today’s standards the media giant of syndication would certainly look old.

The debate (new vs. traditional) lasted well beyond this 3-hour event.  The crash of the dot.com industry in 2000-2001 took this off the techno blogs and webmags for a while, only to emerge again and again throughout the last 8 years.

Initially “new media” – which is loosely defined as anything related to the Internet started to make inroads against old media in digital ad spending.  Viewership, commerce and piracy flourished in Internet land.  My observation was the traditional media sources were slow and ineffectual in their digital  efforts.  

This had had the appearance of the classic innovators dilemma.  Traditional media profited from their “traditional” revenue sources.  Any admission that the model was changing threatened the status quo, or more likely the careers of those who made their fortunes in the pre-Internet era.

For the media giants, innovation was largely a content and storyline effort. Distribution was the means to theater tickets (movies), CD sales (music), and Ad dollars (TV and radio).  Innovation in distribution was in cable television, DVDs, and some simple web sites. The new media models were the domain of those who wished to destroy this traditional model.

Over the past couple of years I have met with many in the media industry on this topic.  I have to admit trad1that I have been perplexed that it took them so long to come around and really capitalize on the new distribution models.  My advice back then, and now, is that the big media companies still have the best, most wanted content.

The strategies and techniques that were pioneered by the new media innovators, such as ScreamingMedia have been adapted and extended by the general media industry.

With all due respect to a dancing baby on YouTube, a Tina Fey SNL skit on Sarah Palin will get more viewers, on the NBC website, then watched the actual Katie Couric interview.

All the TV networks have embraced online video of their shows, big time.  The online video versions of their lineups are ad supported and provide a much better experience than the pirated versions that float around the Web.  By embracing the model, they do it better than the previous amateur attempts by others.

So now what was “old” is “new”, and what was “new media”, is just another distribution channel for creative content, most of which comes from the media giants, with a secondary node to the entire world of user generated content.

We have now come full circle.  Good media companies observed what worked in the digital domain.  They capitalized on the considerable investment made in companies that originally were designed to compete with them.  In today’s market some of the most compelling digital content and applications are coming from the “traditional” media outlets.

Good Content is Good Content- From the days when the distribution model was cave drawings, to biblical stories, to the art and literature of the Renaissance, Shakespeare, Novels, Radio, TV, Movies, Internet and yes, mobile.

screamingmediavig

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Filed under advertising, CEO, Content, location based services, media, mobile, new media, syndication

The Technological Political Battlefield of 2012

 

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As I read Jose Antonio Vargas‘ report in the Washington Post   titled “Republicans Seek to Fix Short-Sightedness” on my Blackberry, I realized that this story is an excellent bookend to my previous blog about the Obama Internet machine.

In his well thought out piece he links the Republican election disaster to their lack of technological savvy.  My favorite quote in his article is:

“The Republicans are the party of talk radio, the Democrats are the party of the Internet”

A great observation was that the with the 1990’s technology of talk radio you can broadcast your message and influence the masses. With the Internet you can also influence the masses, with the significant benefit of developing mailing lists and raising money, directly.

This technological campaigning and fund raising changes in 2008 are as significant as Kennedy’s grasp of the use of Television in the 1960 campaign.

Before we once again get consumed with the 2012 Presidential election,we should ask , what will be the technological strategies and tactics of the next cycle?

Here are some of my top three predictions for the technological battlefield for 2012.

(as dangerous as it is to make predictions 4 years in advance!)

Social Networking will be big in the next election cycle
This election saw the beginnings of using social networks such as facebook®, MySpace® and Linkedin® as linkedin4organizing and fundraising tools.   Volunteer recruitment will be a social networking exercise, by 2012 these networks, and probably new ones, will be mature and even more mainstream.  The party that masters social networking will have an advantage.  A key aspect of mastering social networking will be the durability of the networks.  We already can see how the Democrats are continuing to use their social networks post election.  Starting the next election cycle with social networks measured in the 10’s of millions will be a significant asset.

Mobile equals Internet

The advances in mobile devices will largely erase the difference between Internet and mobile campaign efforts.  Direct fundraising via the mobile device will be commonplace.  The mobile will be more prominent in real time organization.  In 2004, the product of my former company (Upoc) was used by protesters in New York to direct real-time rallies during the Republican Convention.  The party that is mobile savvy will have a real-time advantage in 2012.

Management of Viral Videos matters
youtube_logoDuring this last cycle both parties were injured by popular viral videos. Examples of these videos include Obama’s Pastor – Reverend Wright, the Palin/Couric Interview and the more watched Tina Fey parodies.  The news cycle for politics is 24/7, with every moment forever archived on sites such as YouTube.  This election cycle witnessed the first “made for YouTube” videos by the Obama campaign.  The next election cycle will use YouTube as a major battleground.

Please share with me your views of important technology trends for future elections.  It will be interesting to bring this post out of the archives in 2012 and determine how well we did with the predictions.

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Filed under Election, location based services, mobile, obama, politics, social networking, wireless

Twilight, Tweens and Tech

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Being the father of two “Tween” daughters, I am being consumed by my daughters’ interest in the movie “Twilight”. If you do not have daughters in this age range, then you should  skip the next couple of paragraphs.

I went with my wife and a mini-van full of eager 6th grade girls to see this soon to be available via DVD movie.

The movie is a love story between a loner teen girl and her super hero vampire boyfriend. The sub-plot of their physical contact being lustful, forbidden and potentially lethal, is about as obvious as a sledge hammer. My daughter and her friends were of course, thrilled by this cinematic “masterpiece”.

And, just In case you didn’t get your fill from this first Twilight movie, there are three more books in the series by Stephanie Meyer.

The actor that gets the “tween” blood boiling is Robert Pattinson.  He was Harry Potter’s rival, then friend, Cedric Diggory- right before he got killed in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Now for the tech and wireless angle:

One of the cultural tipping points in mobile and social networking that I like to observe is its use in movies and television. I am not referring to the over obvious product placement or the dedicated plot lines (i.e. “You’ve Got Mail”). What is really interesting to observe is its full integration into the life style of the actors.

For this latest movie outing:

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This movie outing was negotiated, arranged, planned, and then re-arranged, all on facebook® between my daughter and her friends. They chatted for at least 3 hours to figure out what to do for this two hour movie. Once we picked them up, the cellphones were whipped out and the texting began.

Who, may you ask were they texting to?

The answer – each other.

Why?

Because they wanted to talk about things that Mom and Dad should not hear.

The largest facebook group (with over 110K members) on the Twilight book series is named:

“Because I read Twilight I have unrealistic expectations in Men”

It’s tough enough being a middle school or Jr High boy – now they are being compared to blood sucking killing machines from medieval times, and coming up second best!

In a movie like this, I try to amuse myself, and stay awake, by observing the technology that is being portrayed as “just everyday stuff” used by the actors , and then the technology that is an obvious product placement.

The only really obvious movie product placement was the Hollywood ubiquitous Apple Laptop.

Another necessary tech item in this movie was Google –

Where else would a teen girl go to figure out that her boyfriend was a Vampire?

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The female lead only uses a mobile phone to communicate with her Mom. Her Dad has an emotional breakthrough with his daughter when she utters the memorable line “Dad, you mean you actually use text messaging?”

This scene was preceded by the Dad cleaning and loading his shotgun as he met his daughter’s boyfriend for the first time.

Now that’s Tech!

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Filed under Apple, facebook, Google, Harry Potter, mobile, movies, reviews, Robert Pattinson, social networking, Twilight, Vampire, wireless