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Disclaimer: I am a NY Giants football fan but as an international tech blogger, I have put aside any bias to compose this post and report facts accurately.
The New York Jets came close to making it to the Super Bowl today. Moments ago they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers — the Steelers will now play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. The real question is how did they get so close but lose the big one? The answer is simple… (I didn’t even need to ask on Quora!) they didn’t have enough social media.
Late last year I came up with a formula that I have been using to determine which team will win a particular game. I’d like to share the formula for the first time with you tonight. This formula took hundreds of hours of research and an international team of experts to compile the research. To make sure any device bias was removed, half the team used Android tablets and the other half used Windows Phones. We had to figure out which networks mattered, how they mattered, why they mattered.
The end result is the following formula:
W = fβ + my_ / cos(tm * alexa) * √ff – (tW² * Q) – YT/vid + LS½GR
Below is a graph of the W values for each of the 3 playoff games that the Jets participated in. As you can see, in games 1 and 2, they were able to keep a good level of W while in game 3, their W score dropped to a negative number which had our entire team concerned that the Jets would lose.
The U.S. Postal Service posted a $8.5 billion dollar loss for the fiscal year 2010 which ended last September. There’s talk about eliminating mail delivery on Saturday (a move I support even if the economy was stronger). Post offices are closing all the time. This post isn’t about the quality of the workers we interact with when we buy stamps, mail packages or deal with our mail carriers or station agents. This post is about how, with very little effort, the U.S. Postal Service can create a new revenue stream which could be significant if executed properly.
I’ve had a Post Office Box since I was a teenager. I’ve had boxes in the largest post offices in the world and also at some of the smallest while I was an undergrad. The biggest issue with a post office box is knowing when you have mail to be collected. If you have a post office box, how many times have you walked, drove, traveled to the post office only to find an empty box. What if there was a way to know you had mail to be collected each day before you made the trip to the post office. How much fuel (and time) could we collectively save if we never traveled to the post office when we knew there was nothing waiting for us in our post office boxes?
I’d like to see the U.S. Postal Service offer a paid option for post office box holders to allow us to receive an email or text/sms message when we new mail has been delivered for that day. I’ve recently learned that the UPS Store offers this service for their box holders for $10/month. Whenever you receive a package or letter, the UPS Store sends an email to let you know something has been received. Their emails include tracking numbers and some other details where applicable. I am not even suggesting that the U.S. Postal Service offer something as detailed as the UPS Store.
My column on InformationWeek this week asks the following question, “Will 2010 Mean The End Of The Full RSS Feed?”
Here’s a snippet from the column, “Over the past few months I’ve noticed more media sites (e.g. blogs, news sites, etc.) moving to partial RSS feeds. The New York Times only offers partial RSS feeds. InformationWeek runs partial RSS feeds. However most blogs are still offering full RSS feeds.
As Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and other social services have grown, so has the ability for these services to send good quality, monetizable traffic to media sites. Users who complained for years that they would only read content in a full RSS feed are clicking links inside social streams like never before. Many media sites post all of their links inside their social media streams. And once a user reaches the media site, they are more likely to interact with the site which drives even more pageviews and in turn, revenue.”
Former RSS user Robert Scoble is now sharing links via Twitter (and therefore Friendfeed). Users are clicking on his shared links and the users are taken to the respective full, rich, advertising-heavy media sites.
Naturally readers will make a lot of noise if their favorite blog removes full feeds. From our research in the CenterNetworks Labs, we’ve determined that the typical “noise” period on the Internet lasts two weeks. After that readers will be clicking links in partial feeds and will read the content on the full, chock full of ads media site. Typically one of the arguments related to partial feeds is around mobile reading. With the new crop of mobile devices including the Droid, iPhone 3Gs and the new Google Nexus One, mobile browsing is much smoother than how mobile browsers displayed content years ago.
One of the main reasons I see the feed switch coming this year is because in-feed advertising has basically been non-existant. The nice revenue stream that the old pre-Google Feedburner was providing is gone. Media sites will need to replace that source of income somehow.
Over the next week I am planning to take a deeper look at how one of the popular content scraper media sites uses partial RSS feeds for maximum revenue benefit.
Please have no fear…full RSS feeds will still be available — to receive them you will pay $1/feed.
Last night a special meeting was held to begin discussions on how to shape the future of the NY Tech Meetup. Thanks to Scott and Dawn for organizing the evening and for the very tasty pizza and drinks. I will have a full recap of my thoughts and ideas for moving forward this week. I’ve received a bunch of emails asking about the video so I will post the video now. It’s 1 hour in length and covers the review and discussion of ideas. If you prefer text, all of the notes are listed on the Meetup site.
The NYSIA monthly meeting for September consisted of a boot camp for startups. I was able to capture each of the segments on video and this session discussed tips for a technology plan for a new business. Topics include: SaaS as a business model, the realization that you may need to do things again in the beginning to find the perfect model, the importance of staying focused, and a number of pitfalls to avoid. The pitfalls slide is a must-read for any new startup (about 13 minutes in). The pitfalls include: not documenting your work, doing it the second/third time before finishing the first time, staying away from consultants, deadend architecture and finding the right balance of equity for employees. Also discussed is management and when/how to split out all of the tasks when you are a founder.
I’d suggest hitting the “fullscreen” button to view the slides clearly.
Back in the early '90s, as companies developed their office-like software, once their app became popular and successful, the next revision of Microsoft Office would include those features. So what happened to those companies? They closed. This happened numerous times (and still happens today). In a lot of discussions round the office, most felt that this is how Microsoft innovated. They either bought other companies or just "borrowed" their ideas and put them into Office.
Last year, as I walked around the Search Engine Strategies expo in NYC, I noted to my friends that the majority of these companies are built upon someone else's APIs and technology. Most of them are built using something from Google. And while Google allows such great access to their products and services today, what happens in the future when Google needs to increase their shareholder return? Perhaps they begin to charge for usage. Now I know you are all shaking your head that I am completely wrong. Print this out, tuck it away for 24 months and take it out and let's see.
Today, Mozilla Labs has announced that they are adding social networking features to the Firefox browser. TechCrunch notes, "This is not good news for the privately-backed social browser Flock (also built on Mozilla), which is yet to release a 1.0 version of its browser. Many of the proposed features and some of the mockups created by Mike Beltzner (see above) suggest a significant overlap in the two products."
And while I have no idea just how hard this will hit Flock, it certainly can't be good news overall. There are some hard-core Flock'rs and they might/should be able to carry through. What it means is that Flock will need to innovate even more to stay competitive. In addition, they will have to sell their product harder because now some may just default to this new Firefox social media edition.
As you design your startup idea, this is something to take into consideration. When you build your product and use another company's technology as the base, this can and likely will happen. Now in my Microsoft example above, Microsoft just added the features into Office which is a bit different than the Flock example. The difference is that when you build upon another's platform, you run the risk of having the same product. And when this happens, the main company will always win out.
And if you do build/leverage another company's technology solely, be forewarned. Terms of the contract may change at any point and could ultimately affect your ability to succeed in the long-term.
So here is my advice. Build your own app. Leverage other technology where it makes sense but don't put all your eggs in someone else's basket. And if you do, understand that your position can change in an instant.
Deloitte has released their predictions for 2007. They include: expanding social networks which will create a greater need for security and copyright protection technologies, while user-generated content from blogs, amateur filmmakers and others will both complement and threaten traditional media outlets.
There are 3 reports, technology, telecommunications and media. I will only focus on technology and media. Nothing shocking in the reports but well worth the read — they provide PDFs of the report for offline reading. Here is an overview of the reports:
Social Networking Evolves — Social networks will continue to expand, creating a need for identification improvements, the ability to remove copyrighted material quickly, and making downloads as instantaneous as possible. Tech Goes Green — Portable power needs will explode, with solutions including power-scavenging technologies that draw energy from around them — from body heat, ambient light, vibrations or movement — to provide supplementary battery charge. Biometrics on the Cusp — With security continuing to be a concern, the use of biometric data (iris, fingerprint and palm geometry) for access control is on the rise. Digital Storage Expansion Driven by Laws — Digital storage needs will be impacted by companies' legal obligations to keep years and petabytes worth of data, with costs passed onto the user.
Read the full technology predictions
Consumer as Media Mogul — User-generated content is increasing. Blogs, amateur filmmakers and others are creating content that complements — or perhaps threatens — traditional media outlets. Smart media companies will serve up user-generated content as a powerful promotional vehicle and use it as an effective medium for scouting talent. It's a New Media World After All — New media metrics are taking over, with old media metrics becoming a thing of the past. Development of comparable statistics will emerge, enabling companies, their customers and their investors to more accurately gauge performance. DVD vs. VOD: No Clear Winner in Sight — Simultaneous availability of movies on DVD and VOD will make them closer competitors.
Read the full media predictions