Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm movin' out

Hey everyone-

I want you to know that I'm going to phase out of this blog now.

The focus is now on enabling video content owners help themselves, rather than helping video content owners directly.

We're just not in a position to be doing that right now, although we're working closely with some folks who are about to do exactly that...helping short film-makers distribute and monetize their content on the web. I can't talk about details quite yet, but I'll be sure to keep you posted.

My new blog is over at: http://blog.marcellus.tv.
The RSS feed for it is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/marcellusweblog.

Hope to see you on the other side!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The iPhone Commercial

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Golden silence

It's been a silent month or so for me.

And I'm going to be awfully quiet for another few weeks, actually, while we work on getting Marcellus live.

We might actually end up with a different blog that'll feed content into this one, but who knows...I'll keep you guys posted.

In the meantime, thank you for the music.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bye Bye Bill

Just wanted to say "bye bye" to Bill Gates.

An undeniable force behind the evolution of personal computing, Bill Gates is now going to focus exclusively on his charitable foundation- a somewhat strange transition for a man who was considered a mean, unforgiving ruthless business machine by many.

At any rate, best wishes to Bill in his new expeditions, and if his past is anything to go by, he is about to make a big difference to humanity.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Go in peace, George Carlin

Here's to the man who provided inspirational cynicism, wit and guffaws to a lot of us for a very long time.






Go in peace, George.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sooo...where are we?

Hello,

As I've mentioned before, we had a terrific beta period, with some awesome results.

We've also received a tremendous amount of feedback for WeareIndia.TV, a lot of which we will include when we get out of beta. The last month has been hectic, to say the least, in terms of all the capabilities we've been adding to the platform.

So here's the low-down:

- WeareIndia.TV will be back online on Nov. 14, 2008.

- New features include:

  • Publishing management: content owners will be able to upload videos directly, view statistics, revenue reports, et al.)
  • Community features : the WAI community will allow users to create their own profile pages, create their online portfolio, upload music/photo samples, submit screenplays, find talent, and a lot else)
  • Channel WAI on Facebook: a 24/7 video channel on Facebook, bringing the most popular videos on WeareIndia.TV, to the Facebook platform, opening up a range of distribution possibilities.
  • A new player: it's going to look beautiful, work flawlessly(just like our old one), and have a number of in-built features that will definitely interest you.
Thank you all for your support so far. It's turning out to be one helluva ride, so until we're ready to rock and roll next time around, do check back in with us on here, and we'll keep telling you stories of shoes and ships and sealing wax. ;)

-preetam

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Think Different"

Apple's "Think Different commercial".

Goes like this:
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
Are the ones who do.



Monday, June 9, 2008

(cross-post) How to pick up a VC

Courtesy Guy Kawasaki and Sun Microsystems:

Many entrepreneurs ask me what is the best way to open a pitch to potential investors. I'll answer that question at the end of this posting, but first let me tell you the ten worst opening lines that you can use:

  1. You say: "I'm bright and ambitious." Investor thinks: "That's a relief because I usually invest in stupid and lazy people."
  2. You say: "I'm a blue sky thinker." Investor thinks: "You have no business model, and you don't know how to ship."
  3. You say: "I don't know much about your firm, but I thought I'd contact you anyway." Investor thinks: "You're a lazy idiot--why are you wasting my time?"
  4. You say: "I love to think of new ways to solve problems." Investor thinks: "Is this a high-school science fair?"
  5. You say: "I have lots of great ideas, but I have trouble figuring out which one to try. Let me tell you about a couple." Investor thinks: "I want to know which idea you're going to kill yourself trying to make successful, not which ideas have crossed your idle mind."
  6. You say: "I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur." Investor thinks: "I've always wanted to be a professional golfer. So what if you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?"
  7. You say: "I'm sure you are aware of the growing need for security. Web 2.0, Open Source, whatever." Investor thinks: "If you're sure I'm aware, why are you telling me you're sure I'm aware."
  8. You say: "If you sign an NDA, I'll tell you my idea." Investor thinks: "You are clueless. How can you not know that venture capitalists don't sign NDAs?"
  9. You say: "The last time I contacted you, I..." Investor thinks: "I'm going to fire my secretary for putting this clown on my calendar again."
  10. You say: "My goal is to build a world-class company." Investor thinks: "How about you ship and sell the first copy before we talk about world-class anything?"

Now you know what not to say. Here's what you should say:

"This is what my company does..."

It's that simple. What you're trying to do is get potential investors to fantasize about how your product or service will make a boatload of money. They can't fantasize if they don't know what you do. And they don't want to be your friend, mother, or psychiatrist until they understand what you do, so cut the crap and explain what you do.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

2.0

I could write a long post about this.

But brevity doesn't top my short list of talents.
So please go take a look at Umair Haque's post: "Obama and the Rise of Asymmetrical Competition"

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blah blah blah

No, seriously...blahoo, blahsoft, blahoogle..it's all happening.

For shits and giggles...

Find out how much your blog is worth. (Look to the right).

Disclaimers:
1) No f-ing idea what the algorithm/logic is, so please don't ask.
2) No, this blog isn't for sale(not unless you do a 10x or something on the asking rate)
3) Asking rate > look to the right.

Enjoy. Grab it for your own blog, yeah?

YouTube announces video annotations

Reported first on NewTeeVee, and more details about it here.
I'm not 200% convinced of the way they've gone about implementing it, but it's a start.

If you are a theorist interest in learning more about such deep, dark plots by GooTube, go ahead and download Marc Davis and Ryan Shaw's paper titled "Towards Emergent Representations for Video"

Enjoy. Annotate.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tata Comm goes live with CDN (powered by BitGravity)

ContentSutra just reported this.

I think this is hot, hot news. India is demanding more online video, and that is a VERY good thing for India and for online video.

Stay tuned for more on this.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is it all just a little bit of history repeating?

Does anyone remember the time streaming media was really hot a decade ago? Pretty much around the dot-com bust?

There were some interesting things going on back then(EyeWonder, DestinyMedia doing player-less streaming), Microsoft's Web TV (ahem..), and streaming media was touted being the next hot spot to be in.
Of course, that didn't happen.
Infrastructure(hosting and delivery) was expensive, the market wasn't well defined, and coupled with the dot-com situation, the streaming media proposition became unattractive.

YouTube changed that. Fast forward four years from the bust, and it seemed like the whole world wanted to publish video on the Internet. In 2007, the bandwidth consumed by YouTube alone equalled the total amount of bandwidth consumed on the Internet in 2000. Apples and oranges..maybe, but significant, nonetheless.

Then the "democracy" thing happened: MyTube, YourTube, OurTube, HerTube, HisTube, WeTube, ThisTube, ThatTube, TheTube, ATube, TheirTube....everybody wanted to participate in online video. It was a large enough opportunity, and a number of worthy video sharing websites cropped up.
"Internet TV" was everywhere. White-labels got into the action, with Brightcove, Move Networks, Maven, and FeedRoom(to name a few) starting to serve content studios and corporate publishers looking to go online with their video. Internet TV needed to get turned on, and content publishers needed to turn on their Internet TV channels.

And they did. A few twists and turns aside, a noticeable percentage of media publishers are now serving their content on the Internet, in the dream of enhancing brand value, generating a new source of revenue, and most importantly- reach more people.

I daresay they have realized their dreams. Brands are even being created now because of Internet video(a la LonelyGirl15), new revenue streams are opening up(more so for niche sites like GlamMedia), and 79 million users watched videos on YouTube in Jan 2008 alone.

----

Good news all around, right?

Wrong.

Internet video is a shaky area to be in. Because the business of Internet video is unsteady. In the most simplistic of analogies, the site with the largest volume of video content on the Internet, and the highest number of eyeballs on the Internet, is unable to turn profitable.
Into its fifth year now, and charging upwards of $100K/day for an ad on its homepage, YouTube exemplifies everything that is wrong with online video: there is no business model.

The business of Internet video is not quite the same as the business of the Internet. Delivering a quality Internet video service is a lot more intensive than delivering a good web service (a la Twitter, Disqus...)
The challenges are a-plenty:
- technological barriers (transcoding, content management)
- user experience issues (keeping users engaged, encouraging social distribution)
- infrastructure (storage, content delivery)
- monetization (ads? PPV? premium? fremium? subscriptions?)
- rights management(protection, regulation, revenue distribution, visibility)

These are all critical issues that come back to haunt content owners, one way or another. The sharpest ones of the lot end up building some of these components, sourcing the others from vendors, and piecing it all together in building up their online video platforms. Others do a half-ass job, building up a business strategy around their technical limitations. Yet others push too hard on a few aspects of their platform, in order to compensate for the deficiencies.
And of course, some are still waiting to get on the Internet video bandwagon.

Is it any wonder that online video is now being classified as a not-so-opportune market, yet again? No one's created a highly profitable online video venture yet. Not YouTube in the online publishing world, not Brightcove in the enabling world(granted, they arrived only two years ago..), and certainly not Revver in the social distribution world(Revver's as dead as.....dead).

So...? Is it all just a little bit of history repeating?


Monday, May 26, 2008

I am the producer, the transaction, and the customer....

Seems like that's the mantra at Microsoft Corp. now with the announcement that they will pay users to use Live Search.

This has "yuck" written all over it.

At its best, it's an experiment in futility.
At its worst, it's a self-inflicted public embarrassment.

I wonder who authorized this...

The Bootstrappers' Guide to Strapping Up

Okay, if you're anything like us(small company, self-funded from concept to execution to first customer), then you will probably find these little tidbits useful. We found(and still find) them to work great, and they really help us simplify our life....perhaps you'll find them useful.

1) Managing your projects/tasks and collaborating effectively: We try to use free software as much as possible, but 37 Signal's BaseCamp is very worth the $24/month. They also have a free version that gets you up and running quite easy, but when things get serious $24/month is peanuts.

2) CRM system: try SugarCRM. It's an open source CRM system, and is a free download from their website. Just copy the package over to your server and run the install script. Then on, it's a powerful customer relationship management tool. Try it to believe it.

3) Web site analytics: We've trying many stats programs, but the one we love most(it's easy to set up, reliable, with excellent visibility) is Google Analytics. Do yourself a favor and get it set up.

4) Site e-mail: We like separating out our E-Mail from our web services...can't have them running on the same server. So, instead of paying for a separate e-mail hosting service, we went with Google Apps. for Enterprises. We've had it for a year now, we can sync up with our e-mail clients, access e-mail on the web and on our mobile/Blackberry devices. Like everything Google, it's simplicity personified, and once you have it, there's no turning back. (note: we run the free account and we're doing just fine...).

5) PHP: I really don't know why people bother with .NET anymore. Anything .NET/MS SQL can do, PHP/MySQL can do much better. And a lot cheaper. And doesn't matter what they tell you, LAMP(Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) is one of the most secure and stable environments you could ever pull off.
The alternative is Windows-IIS-ASP-MS SQL......for a company that can't even get a client OS working right, I'm not sure the server OS is too reliable. ;)

6) Speaking of MySQL, here's the best database admin. software you could ever get into place: phpMyAdmin.

7) You need to do those conference calls, without using the 3-way calling service on your phone. We just started using FreeConference.com and are kicking ourselves for not doing this before.

8) Oh...if you run blogs and other services that have RSS feeds going, then you definitely need to be on FeedBurner. Manage all your feeds from one location, and a LOT more.

That's my list so far- I'll add on if I can think of more. Until then, good luck!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I rest my case...

This was waiting to happen- you could see it all over.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Riff is on a warpath...

.. because these guys just stole the name he was going to give his first-born.

At any rate, check out RiffLet.com
It's a great service that we've been talking about for many, many years here at Marcellus.

Congratulations to the RiffLet team...wish you luck in your venture(assuming Riff doesn't sue you first).

Open Letter to Steve Ballmer

Just jacked this from Riff's blog.....an open letter to Ballmer.

--

Dear Steve,

I am sure I caught you at a bad time… you must be on the phone with Carl, while you are texting Bill with "WTF dude?!?! Why are you selling?" But when you can please pay close attention to what I say, because I say it with love (I was the one that bought the only copy of Bad Boy Ballmer sold) and respect (I am the guy that sent you the uRock email). I believe that you've got it all wrong. You are fighting a battle that you don't need to fight, and you are losing a war that you need to win. You've been playing a lot of golf with the President? Oh wait, the President is not golfing any more… for respect! Hmmm, maybe I need to send him a letter too. But let's focus on you and MSFT for now:

I loved it when you took over from Bill. Always thought of you as the consumer guy… always believed that you will understand the edge a lot better than Bill did. Bill was the core strategy guy, so much so that MSFT's internal org structure was hub n spokes… and we all know he was super successful doing it his way. So when Billy said he was leaving MSFT to change the world (irony: Bill Gates is doing philanthropy like he did technology… from the core… Bill the edge needs you!!)handing over the company to his best bud – I got all excited.

And MSFT did undergo a transformation under you. Splitting the company up into 7 semi autonomous divisions was a bright idea! Microsoft.com got a make-over and started offering longer trials, with a focus on problem solving and customer service. Change was coming… but no it was Vista that came. Now don't get me wrong… it is a pretty okay OS… umm well correction it is a pretty OS. I used it for a while and then upgraded to XP. And boy you guys did a good job with XP!

I know you already know that the client-server model is becoming increasingly redundant, and with that MSFT is becoming irrelevant. Google is breathing down your neck and you sure must be feeling like throwing something right about now. But relax. You and MSFT do try and solve problems… but the way you them is wrong. And that is what makes the difference between profitability and sustainability. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Open Windows up. No, no. Put that chair down and hear me out. I heard about you calling Linux communism (that comment must not have resonated quite the way you wanted in China). But that is the future dude… open platforms that networks will morph to best suit their needs and pump the value at the edge to the core. It is a different world now. It requires a different approach.


  • Move from semi-autonomous divisions to independent divisions. Make your 7 divisions completely independent of each other. The cancer that is growing in the desktop systems should not spread to the Xbox… I love the Xbox. Do it before you get "sovietized."


  • Get Umair Haque on the MSFT Board. He can be a little sensitive at times… but I am sure you understand.


  • Promote the product strategist for Sharepoint. I think Sharepoint rocks!


  • Buy Facebook before you buy Yahoo. And open Facebook up. If Mark is open to it, have him talk to the dude responsible for Sharepoint. You will find that they have a lot in common… and will learn from each other.


  • If you do end up owning Yahoo, don't assimilate them. Learn, adopt, change and become more like them. Yahoo does a lot of things right… and human resources is one of them.


  • Drop the People Ready campaign… people are ready. Knowledge workers are not a new phenomenon; they existed when Bill was drafting the first copy of Business at the Speed of Thought. How does People Enabled sound? =)


  • Silverlight is hotm but it is a little dense for people like me. You better start talking about the problem it solves, rather than the value it creates.


  • .NET – how about .NOT?!?! Please abandon.


Ok that is all for now. I should publish this before Vista conks out on me… j/k. Oh by the way – I love Office 2007!

Riff

PS: My Xbox 360 has the red ring of death? Who do I call?


Our new player

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Noisy News

So Umair went after Scoble a couple of days ago. I didn't quite get Umair's point either, but OK...whatever.

Scoble's post was interesting, in that it seemed....uh...sketchily superficial.

"I’ve been studying noise and news now for quite a while. I’ve been wondering why sites like Google News and TechMeme have no, or little, noise?....So, how come services like Twitter and FriendFeed have so much noise?"
>> Dr. Scoble, Twitter and Friendfeed are personal services, while Google News and TechMeme are aggregation services.

"The news is in the noise. Which is why Twitter is crack for newsmakers."
>> Dr. Scoble, WHAT are you smoking? Please share.

---

Here are some definitions.

noise

Pronunciation:
\ˈniz\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English, from Anglo-French, disturbance, noise, from Latin nausea nausea
Date:
13th century
1: loud, confused, or senseless shouting or outcry
2 a
: sound; especially : one that lacks agreeable musical quality or is noticeably unpleasant b: any sound that is undesired or interferes with one's hearing of something c: an unwanted signal or a disturbance (as static or a variation of voltage) in an electronic device or instrument (as radio or television); broadly : a disturbance interfering with the operation of a usually mechanical device or system d: electromagnetic radiation (as light or radio waves) that is composed of several frequencies and that involves random changes in frequency or amplitude e: irrelevant or meaningless data or output occurring along with desired information
3
: common talk : rumor; especially : slander
4
: something that attracts attention noise in the world — Brendan Gill>
5
: something spoken or uttered
6: a style of rock music that is loud, often discordant, and usually uses electronic noise (as feedback)

sig·nal
Pronunciation:
\ˈsig-nəl\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English, from Medieval Latin signale, from Late Latin, neuter of signalis of a sign, from Latin signum
Date:
14th century
1: sign, indication
2 a: an act, event, or watchword that has been agreed on as the occasion of concerted action b: something that incites to action
3
: something (as a sound, gesture, or object) that conveys notice or warning
4 a
: an object used to transmit or convey information beyond the range of human voice b: the sound or image conveyed in telegraphy, telephony, radio, radar, or television c: a detectable physical quantity or impulse (as a voltage, current, or magnetic field strength) by which messages or information can be transmitted


news
Pronunciation:
\ˈnüz, ˈnyüz\
Function:
noun plural but singular in construction
Usage:
often attributive
Date:
15th century
1 a: a report of recent events b: previously unknown information news for you> c: something having a specified influence or effect news for lawns and gardens — Garrison Keillor> news>
2 a
: material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast b: matter that is newsworthy


---

So why does Google News have no noise?

Monday, May 19, 2008

It was a friendly disruption...

"Economics of the Television Industry"

Browsing through my archives, I found this reconstructed image from 2004(I reconstructed from a book).

It's an overview of the Television Industry's value chain.

I see a few things in here that simply cannot work anymore. And a few things that still hold significance.

Will try and get into this next week.....depending on how the week at marcellus goes....

BTW_ This is a touch weird...Read it when you can.

"Ok, Ok, Fine. Ask me nice like that..no problem...."

I mean, Yahoo is still a publicly traded business after all, so this is a good sign...some deal-making going on between MSFT and YHOO.
A potentially sweet deal....huge cash payment + reciprocal rev share for ad inventory and publisher network sharing. Maybe like the Google-Yahoo eyewash.

Someone overheard Yang asking the other day: " Tell me the truth, Ballmer.....are you after my body, or is it my personality that you crave at $33 per share?"

I suppose Ballmer just responded..... :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

'because everybody's somebodys fool....

A little bit of T-history.


Did anyone notice this?

AOL is beginning to draft out a number of specialty web sites, aimed to address the fact that Internet audiences are getting increasingly fragmented.

For what it's worth, thought this was an interesting announcement.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Connecting tractors, software and film festivals

Parmesh has an excellent post up on the Mahindra Universe blog.

He briefly touches upon “soft power”, but goes on to pose (and answer) a question that I’ve always had about Mahindra….

Now, on the face of it, why does a company that so far has only been selling tractors and software in the US need to support a film festival on an east coast city, where it has no real presence?

It’s one of the nicest manifestations of globalization. And in my book, this beats YouTube.in.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Will you play with us?

We are about to announce one of the hottest plays that the social web has ever seen.

Tying in different ecosystems of the social web, we're trying to create a bridge between content, context, and community in ways that's never been done before.

We've solved most of the major hurdles. Just a few odds and ends remain, and they'll be taken care of in two shakes of a lambs tail.

Stay tuned.

Oh and by the by, this play(mate) has a name.

We're going to call her mia.


Friday, May 2, 2008

WeareIndia.TV: Enough beta-ing around the bush

We had everything we could ask for, and a lot more, from our very short 30-day beta.

I wish I could tell you the exact numbers, but I can't- so in the meanwhile, here are some indicators:

- the average time spent on the site was about 3.5 times as much as the average user spends on YouTube.
- the click-through-rate for advertisements(overlay and banners) was about 7 times the industry norm.
- almost half our traffic came from referring sites, social networks, and the like.


We are now closing out the site for a couple of weeks, to add in enhancements, make some changes, add some new content, and get it ready for a full-blown launch. If you had thoughts/ideas you didn't get a chance to voice already, please free to send us an e-mail(beta@weareindia.tv) and let us know.

To be notified of our official launch, please head on to www.weareindia.tv and subscribe to blog updates via e-mail. We promise not to spam you, and we promise to notify you the instant we're ready to rock and roll.

In the meantime, THANK YOU for a fantastic beta. We are amazed at the response, by your support, and grateful to be here.

With love,
The WeareIndia.TV Team.
(Rifaquat, Harshal, Shashank, Bobby, Monty, Manoj and Preetam)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Taking the disqusion forward

We now have a new commenting system on our blog. It's called Disqus and it has to be among my top 3 tech services of all time. These days, I can't even remember what the other two are.

Anyway, check it out. We use it extensively on WeareIndia as well...for example on the video page, and it rocks.

It's going to replace our blogger commenting system here on.

Freeware- A tale of Maya and the evil CEO




Visually stunning and action packed, Freeware is a 3-D, CG-animated thrill ride through a futuristic world. This sci-fi short follows three cyborgs on a daring race to rescue Maia, an assistant at a powerful IT company, from the grips of its evil CEO.

(All due disclaimers regarding "Evil", "CEO" and "Cyborgs") :)

Too many social networks................

Urgh- was at a bloggers' meet on Sunday(check it out here) and this one guy got on my nerves(and I think I have company).

I called him Twitty Bird(sorry Tweety...!), because he follows a few thousand folks on Twitter. And he also is on Facebook, Orkut, MySpace, and I shudder to think where else.
Now, he seemed like a guy who was out to sell his goods, and so I suppose I see why he'd be on so many networks. So that's fine.

But it occurred to me that there are way too many social networks out there. Waaaaaaaaaaaay tooooooooooooooooo maaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyy. And it's really irritating because you never really know which one's hot and which one isn't, until you either find half your high school on one, or hear that AOL paid $850 MM for another.

So I was thinking, maybe there should be a directory of social networks somewhere. You know...something like:
Find your old friends from school - Facebook
Develop your professional network- LinkedIn
Keep up with your friends' activities on the web- Friendfeed
There could even be more than one in each category, maybe letting users vote for the best ones, sortable by popular features.

When it comes to the social net, there are deep divides between adoption and participation, participation and meaningful interaction, interaction and personal/social utility. Just because you signed up for LinkedIn doesn't mean you'll get a job, and just because you have a lot of friends on Facebook doesn't mean you create meaningful value for the Facebook network. And most importantly, just because a lot of folks hang out on Orkut doesn't mean you need to, as well.

So I'd like to see someone come up with an online version of "Social Networks for Dummies"- an outline of most social networks out there, how to tell what might be useful for you, techniques for sociably deriving benefit from each type of network, and other fun things that might solve the adoption > participation problem.

Just a fleeting thought.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The .TV bust- Follow up thought

Riff says:

Online video watching keeps climbing, but there isn't a proportional rise in revenues. So you now have the eyeballs, and apparently eyeballs = money does not really cut it

Stating that coherent business models for online video have not yet emerged is simplifying it... but I believe it is a lot deeper:
We have not been able to fully tap the depth (and breadth) of interaction that the web brings to video. Each time a user interacts with the content he/she adds a certain, extremely tangible value to that content.

It is that value that has not been leveraged to its full potential.

--------

Succinctly put.

Assimilated:
- The mad rush for eyeballs is stupid. Visibility does not imply Revenue.
- Coherent biz models are useless in a disruptive world. What worked yesterday will probably not work tomorrow.
- Edge interaction, more often than not, is hotter than hot, in a lot of good ways. Which all brings us back to Umair Haque, Bubble Generation, and how to change the world by living on the edge.

--------

Enough about the bust. We'll talk about the boom very soon.


The .TV bust

Could it be....could it just be, that for the second time in less than a decade, we are going to see the decline of streaming media as a business?

I need to put together my thoughts on this, but I was talking about this with a friend today, and it's very possible that 2008 will see an implosion in online video.

- YouTube still isn't profitable.
- Brightcove hasn't democratized anything, really, besides offering a lot of infrastructure-as-a-service, at the cost of gold.
- Move Networks claims to solve the buffering problem(isn't that easily done with a Java script selector that selects the appropriate stream based on your bandwidth?).
Feedroom, Maven, Veoh, Grouper, Blinkx, KickApps, thePlatform, etc. etc....there's a huge list.

So a lot of money went into all this. I think Brightcove and Move stole the show on money raised with about $150mm between both of them. Add $1.6B that went into Google-YouTube. Add $5mm on average for another 50-odd Internet video companies.
Adds up to around $2 billion dollars.

That's what's been pumped into online video so far.
And about 3-odd years have gone by since YouTube became a noun and a verb. And a synonym.

Is the business of online video a myth? Or are we doing something very fundamentally wrong?

I'd say it's probably the latter, and I'm going to spend some time mulling this through.

But I do know this- in any other Internet business, if you had as much activity(500K user accounts, 100 million videos viewed a day), if your site consumed as much bandwidth in a year as the entire Internet did 7 years ago, and if your revenues were still "immaterial", then there'd be lots more introspection going on.
And these wouldn't be very pleasant introspective sessions, I'm sure.

[ to be continued...]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yahoo! about to release free analytics suite

Talk about things being long-due!
Or maybe it's never too late.

On a related note, I know the Yahoo! board had a secret meeting last Friday to discuss "things". It's almost Friday, and there's a hush all around.

I wonder what's up.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's inconvenient. But it's the truth.

Al Gore speaks at TED last month, presenting evidence "that the pace of climate change may be even worse than scientists were recently predicting.."


Saturday, April 12, 2008

"The Medium is the Massage"

I am not sure I can say this any differently, or any better, so I'll just quote Marshall McLuhan:

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. The alphabet, for instance, is a technology that is absorbed by the very young child in a completely unconscious manner, by osmosis so to speak.
Words and the meaning of words predispose the child to think and act automatically in certain ways.

The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment.
Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement.

It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media.

The older training of observation has become quite irrelevant in this new time, because it is based on psychological responses and concepts conditioned by the former technology- mechanization. "

..more of this to follow post assimilation.

WeareIndia.TV: Engagement numbers from 11 days in a very private Beta

Hello.

We just collected stats from our Beta launch, and as always, for shits 'n giggles, decided to do a little study of where we stand after 11 days of pseudo-action, as juxtaposed with other proud members who co-exist in our ecosystem, despite them being playmates of a slightly varied nature.

The prizes, of course, are the same- eyeballs, attention, and revenue- not necessarily in that order.


This is too early to start making determinations, so we won't.

But there you have it..the numbers from our first 11 days of beta launch:
- average time spent on WeareIndia.TV was a whopping 9 minutes, 10 seconds
- average page views/user on WeareIndia.TV was 4.62

On May 1, we launch playlists. Oh, and we get out of private beta as well.
10 days from then, we'll release another version of these numbers.

You will be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One a day..

Yahoo just announced an interesting tie-up with Major League Baseball "Advanced Media".
On a separate note, its largest shareholder (Capital World Investors) just doubled its stake in Yahoo.

One a day...is it enough to keep the buyers at bay?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The MicroHoo funky chicken dance

The Microsoft-Yahoo dance continues.

Yahoo! will be testing out a partnership w/ Google to display advertisements from Google's AdSense program, on searches made at Yahoo.com(US version only).

Microsoft was quick to retort, that such a move would further consolidate Google's position in the online advertisement marketplace- a statement that was backed up by US Senator Herb Kohl

---

Yahoo does not want to be bought, and definitely not in this hostile takeover. It would be a shame to see it go thus, and they're doing everything they can to stall. To their credit, they're doing quite a bit. They acquired an analytics firm earlier today, signed on a promising big-name partnership exploration(the biggest name these days, if you will...), and are, after a very long time, showing a hunger(fear?) that can probably get them out of this jam.

---

Microsoft has a point, but it's somewhat moot, because for every little thing Yahoo pulls off, it is able to convince its shareholders that Microsoft needs to name a better price, to compensate for the growth potential being created. So if I were Yahoo, I'd be pulling off a lot of things, every day, through the end of the month, and just before the Microsoft deadline, present my shareholders with a case that outlines a going-it-alone strategy.

---

From a shareholder standpoint, a huge price for Yahoo is not something that Microsoft shareholders want to bear, short term. There are estimates pointing to the downturn in MSFT stock that would happen if Microsoft were to go up even by $3/share. Moreover, it's not like the Yahoo stock acquired in the process would pay off their losses. And finally, the long-term benefits of the MSFT-YHOO merger are in the loooooooonnnnggg term- not something that shareholders(particularly the large institutional ones that hold shares in both MSFT and YHOO) want to wait out for.

---

All the same, Yahoo is either playing with a great hand(and they either get a huge payout from MSFT, or they get MSFT to walk away), or they're fighting to death(and we see the boring proxy battle).
The "worsening economic conditions" would make it harder for Microsoft to go very high...or so I think.

These next 3 weeks should be very interesting.

Does anyone *actually* know when the two weeks of AdSense testing for Yahoo begins?? What happens if the AdSense tests are in progress, and uncle Ballmer's deadline expires? Does he extend it to watch the next step for Yahoo + Google? Does he start the proxy battle knowing that he might lose(shareholders might love the 16% savings/16% revenue increase from a Yahoo-Google partnership..).

Good stuff...

Our publishers can now be syndicated

Good news: We just added RSS feeds for each publisher.
It's accessible via the "Subscribe via RSS" button, on each publishers channel page.
So head on over to the site, click through to your favorite publishers channel page, click on the "Subscribe via RSS" button, and be notified whenever there is a new video added to the channel!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Here's another prediction...

Microsoft is making a mess of the Yahoo acquisition.

I see the substance coming from Yahoo, and bully-ish(but empty)threats from Microsoft.

Here's what we know is going to happen:
- either Microsoft will make the most expensive mistake in the history of the company, or,
- take one of the biggest stock plunges it's ever taken.

I put my money(and prayers) on the big downwards plunge. It would be a perfect complement to the Bear Stearns implosion. It needs to happen. Because you can't EVER buy strategy. You develop it.

Microsoft, the maker of personal computing software for over two decades, cannot hope to turn into an Internet advertising business in 3 months. There is such a thing as inertia. And it cannot be stopped with hysteria.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fred Wilsons thoughts on Online Video

There is a huge discussion going on at Fred Wilson's blog, about why online video is a tough, tough game right now.

There's actually a lot said in the comments themselves, so take away from it what you can.

Friday, April 4, 2008

It can be tamed!

For those of you using the Google Custom Search engine to search your site, you might run into the problem of not seeing any search results show up. I believe this happens if you're using the iFrame approach.

Please don't ask me why, but to get the results to show up, all you need to do is add the following line of code to your search form:

    <input type="hidden" name="cof" value="FORID:11" />

And that's it. Your search results should show up promptly thereafter.

Strange are the ways of 'good'.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Haquespertise

Dear Umair,

Thank you for bringing to us a vision of a discontinuous future.

Yes, there is much debate about how valid your thoughts are, and if they are actually relevant. The good news, to me, is that there's a debate.
I enjoy all sides of a conversation, and I sense that you do too.

I flunked economics in high school(repeatedly), but you made economics very exciting(and relevant) for me. I think The Economics of New Media is gold, and the Strategy/Economics of Peer Production is like warm apple pie. I find nothing in them that's hard to understand, and your masterful approach at articulating the economics of new media makes you a fucking genius, in my eyes.

Before I ran into BubbleGen, I was at the Center for New Media, and at the Arts, Technology and Culture colloquium at Berkeley. We did a lot of work looking at how new forms of communication are reshaping our lives, and changing our culture of interaction. I spent all of 3 years working for some brilliant minds- folks who were exploring the depth and breadth of pervasive media.

As a media architect, I was lucky enough to have been able to touch upon a number of these projects, in many different roles. You know...a lot of the people I worked with, they were "out there" as well. They were doing things that took matters beyond the usual realm of conversation. One of the first things I worked on was the Oxygen Flute- an installation where we fitted plants with CO2 sensors, connected the sensors to a PC+ speakers, monitored the varying CO2 vs O2 levels in the room as people walked in 'n out, and played back a flute-ish musical note for each (+/-) variation in gaseous levels in the room.

It was "out there". But as I learned many projects later, Greg(my favorite boss of all-time BTW) was bridging a gap between environment and perception........using a medium that is new, reactive, accurate within reason, and ubiquitous. It was a state of mind that I had never imagined before, and while it was "out there" for me at one point of time, I was "in it" before I knew it. It's just how you choose to attune your mindset...your point of view.

I look at your work from a similar perspective. In talking so much about the edge, you have to be a little "out there", else you couldn't be saying what you're saying. Moreover, as I've whined on my blog(and yours) quite often- people are so used to talking about issues that are core, that they find it hard to grasp the concept of a decentralized, fragmented edge.

Now that you've just sounded the trumpet, it might be useful for you to drill very deep into the core, and work your way outwards to the edge. And yes, this would HAVE TO BE a collaborative effort within your blog community. No way you're going to pull this off on your own.

I have a little Chevron process [which probably needs to be modified...I flunked business classes too... ] that outlines different considerations for a company in business.


Recently, you've generated a fair bit of discussion on the issues of distribution and branding. And over the last year, I've seen BubbleGen touch upon each of the other points, in varying degrees.
If you were to talk about each of these issues, in the context of each industry that need re-shaping, then you're probably talking about a Haquepedia. If you're into that, then be my guest.

I'd say, aim small...miss small. Some of your readers just pointed out that one of the loveliest things about BubbleGen is that it raises questions, and if you're listening closely enough, you can contextualize the answers to your own industry/profession/game. Other readers have pointed out that it'd be nice if you could jump in from time to time in the comments(a little more often than you do), and help tweak 'em to suit the overall objective.
Haquespertise is the way to go. Critically analyze the reason for being, the constraints for growth, and charting a sustainable path to the future.

1) First, I would take an honest look at each of the above, and put them into the context of how the definitions of each have changed.

For example:
- Understanding oligarchic approaches vis-a-vis the above process, using case studies, drawing parallels, and what have you. Why is a company established in 1952 not the same as a company established in 2003?
- What were our big problems in 1952? In 1972? In 2002? And what do we expect our problems to be in 2020?
- Should marketing text books get thrown out the door? We learned of the 4 Ps, and now there are many more than 4. Isn't it dangerous to teach MBA students stuff that's at least irrelevant/incomplete by 3-5 years?

the list goes on.....

2) Next, I'd be thinking about re-shaping the above processes so they're more elastic than they currently are. One of the fundamental barriers to growth/evolution, is the unwillingness of the system to change. It's convenient for us to blame "the system" as being this high 'n mighty being that controls how we operate, but the reality is that it's our system, and we build it how we want to build it.
So instead of going for the Constitution+Amendment approach(please refer Article 2.1.3.4.1.2-Section 4.1.2.3.1-Clause Eleventy Nine), I think we need to give some thought to Structure 2.0. How do you build a structure that's elastic enough to account for next-gen problems(visible and perceived) in the above 10-fold context?

3) This is the part that I'm fuzzy on. I think we all are. What is this discontinuous future that we're after? It can't be perfect, so what deficiencies can we expect then? What will be our inefficiencies? And unless we're going to build us a perfect world, who will suffer? Or at least, who's not going to win? What will change? What will remain incomplete, but be better than before?

-----------

That's my long answer to "what would help the most". If we're talking about big changes, then we need to be thorough in our goal-seek, candid in our introspection, realistic about the outcomes, agile in our approach, and incredibly collaborative in our method.

I don't think Web 2.0 means anything. It's just a step forward. There will be a Web 78.0, assuming the inconvenient truths don't hit us first. Yes, 2.0 is a giant leap for man-kind, but it's just a milestone, and I think we should be thinking strategy in terms of vision, not milestones.

It's ridiculously easy.


Unboxed. Wildfired.

Gigya + Unbox integration complete. Time taken: 4 minutes + CSS editing time(5 minutes, if you must know).

The outcome is that anyone who wants to take this widget and share it on their blog, social net profile, etc., now can.

Just get to our Login page, and check out the buttons right under the Amazon Unbox widget.


With a single click, you can now take this widget, and post it on any of these web sites. And if you're web savvy, just grab the code("Or Copy Code"), and post it wherever you like.

We're going to switch the listings on the Unbox widget from time to time.

Currently, it's set to show you videos in reverse release date order(oldest first).
Why? For shits and giggles, of course!

Enjoy!

Unboxed!

We just added in the Amazon Unbox Video widget on our login page.

Seeing as we don't have all the interesting logged in features available yet, we thought it might be nice to offset the gloom caused by "Uh..sorryyyy....login is restricted....".



The good news is that you can preview the videos, rent them for as low as 99 cents, buy them for downloading, or buy the DVDs, all via this little widget.

We're trying to complement this with Gigya, so more on that as soon as we figure it out!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Countdown to launch: 5......4......3......2......

If you didn't catch this already...

Hello! Welcome to the Beta launch of WeareIndia.TV

What you can expect. This will be an entertainment destination, but you won’t find your usual flavor of Bollywood or Hollywood entertainment. You will see films made by hard-working, self-motivated, extremely talented, and enthusiastic film-makers.

What you should know. We will be adding in a lot more content over the next 45 days. This is a platform for non-mainstream film. Most of it from India, some of it from elsewhere. We have received a near-overwhelming response; and the only times we’ve turned someone down is because the content seemed more amateurish, than professionally produced. Not anyone can upload on here, so we’re having to work very hard to manage the content screening and ingestion process.

What we believe. Is it really fair to brand this content ‘non-mainstream’? Probably not. If we have learned anything from the spate of video sharing web sites out there, including YouTube, it is this: non-mainstream is niche. Niche is appealing. Appeal is personal. And on the Internet, if you can make things personal for each member of your audience, you’re one jump ahead of the bread line.

Feedback. Please tell us what you like about the site(and the content), send us feedback(beta@weareindia.tv) and help us get this ready for the world outside. You might(and in a strange way, we hope you do) see bugs. Pretty please, with sugar on top, tell us about them, before you tell others about the site. Seriously, this is for-your-eyes-only thus far.

Finally. We’re not too hot about rolling out features without user feedback. Web 2.0 sites are in a perpetual state of beta, so we will gradually add in a foray of exciting features to enhance the WeareIndia.TV experience. What you will see on here is about 40% of our planned feature set for the next 3 months.
The site will be live as soon as we figure out this ONE bug that is totally getting on all our nerves. We expect this to happen at some point today(our chief technology officer just passed out from fatigue after 28 hours on the trot, so I’m waiting for him to be awake enough to grab a few more cans of Red Bull, before we get cracking again).


The fine print:

- WeareIndia.TV is targeted at users with a high speed broadband connection. Ahem…real broadband = 500 kbps upwards. So if you’re in India, then complaints about accessibility ought to go to the DoT, not to us.

- There’s a neat bookmarking tool on the site right now. It lets you bookmark the site on any of your favorite tagging/bookmarking sites. Or you could just CTRL+D it.

- We’re not particularly IE-friendly. We deal with browsers from a very technical point of view, and to put it real polite: IE sucks. But it’s a free world, so use the browser you prefer. If you ask us, we recommend Firefox.

- Finally, like all good netizens, we have a blog. It lives on Blogger (http://weareindia.blogspot.com). If you happen to find interest in what we say on there, then we’ve left an email subscription option for you on WeareIndia.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New business models in online communities

Just ran into this presentation on RW-Web. A must-read for anyone doing anything with communities.

___


From: plus8star, 3 weeks ago




Our presentation at Media'08 event in Sydney in March 2008.
A world premiere comparing Facebook with Cyworld, Mixi and QQ.
Result: Facebook is #4.


Countdown to launch: 6......

Hi.

Often, you question your reason for being. Not only is it natural, but it's also very healthy.
It helps you stay focused, it helps you re-calibrate yourself, and it helps you understand where you stand in the context of today.

However, every once in a while, when you question yourself, you get some outright brilliant answers. It happens very rarely, but it's what you live for. These brilliant answers are what make you who you are. It's why you roll the way you do.

WeareIndia.TV is a labor of love for a great many of us. We're doing this because we can. We're doing this because it needs to be done. We're doing this because it makes sense. And we're doing this because no one else can get it right.

Film-making is an art form that has long been gulped down by mainstream cinema. What used to be a medium for individual expression, has turned into a medium for mass entertainment. And while we're just as much a part of the masses as we are individuals, mass-culture has taken precedence over individual personality.

And that is unfair. It's unfair to expression, it's unfair to freedom, it's unfair to individuals, and if you think about it, it's unfair to the masses.

So, in a very small way, we've embarked upon setting this record straight.

As I look through the quality of films that are showing up at our doorstep, and the passion driving each film-maker behind them, I know that we're on the right path. Each one of these films entertains, without fail. Or, teaches me something I didn't know. Or, shows me something I haven't seen.

The response has been overwhelming, and this was the answer we were looking for. It's what we live for. It's what makes us who we are, and it's why we roll the way we do.

We are honored, humbled, and grateful to be a part of all this. That we're doing this as a business is why we believe this will be a success. This isn't a non-profit movement that relies on generosity. This is a for-profit initiative that solves problems.

A big thank you to BlackBook Productions, Hypnautyx, Influx Dzine, Nalandaway, Breakthrough, GrayMatter Films, BrokenMirror, HereandNow365, SolutionSet, iDes and many others for being the friends that you are. Believe you me, this was not happening without you.

We're going to accelerate our launch proceedings now, seeing as we are 2 days away from launch(or are we?!).

On behalf of the team @ Marcellus, I invite all of you to head on over to WeareIndia.TV

Best wishes,
Manoj, Rifaquat, Shashank, Bobby, Harshal and Preetam.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A tribute to John Lennon

Before I get to the Lennon part:

I've been meaning to say thank you to Jeff Lanctot and his team @ Avenue A for the wonderful report they released recently on the 2008 Digital Media Outlook.

I figured re-distribution might be a good(albeit selfish) step to acknowledgment, so here's a graph that summarized where ad dollars are, and where they're going.



Points to be noted:

1) Portal advertising, which grew 100% between 2005-2006, grew only by 7% between 2006-2007. Ouch.
2) Vertical advertising, which grew 15% between 2005-2006, grew a good 42% between 2006-2007.

What does that mean?
1) Fragmentation happened very quickly. Almost too quick for most portals/destinations to react. People found relevance elsewhere, and just..sort of..left.
I don't read Yahoo! news anymore. I get on iGoogle, read my personalized news across all topics, and then head on to wherever my news appetite for the day seems to get satiated best(via Google, of course).


2) As fragmented markets take shape and coagulate, the resulting verticals/niches present highly target-able audiences for advertisers.
I follow headlines, not newspapers or brands. If I see a news item that's appealing, then that's where I go.
Advertisers want to be where I go, because that's their biggest clue to knowing what's appealing to me.

-----

It's all very beautiful. We're seeing the dots getting connected all over again. The world hasn't grown. We're all just getting a little closer to each other. Without suffocating each other.

This is a new world...a new dimension if you will.

Time means nothing, perspective means everything, context is infinite, connectivity tends towards perfection, a space has no definition...only opportunity, collaboration is survival, open is naked is beautiful, persona is situational...not representative, everything adds up, and spam is about to die.

John Lennon is missing out.

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.....

The story of the week comes from a chance encounter I had with a product director for MSN Video, at Microsoft.
As it turned out, she was a panelist at one of the sessions, and of course, not a lot of what she said made sense.

I went up to her after the session was over(mostly because I didn't remember what she said, and I know she used the word 'community' somewhere in her annoying monologue..) and asked her:
"Ma'am, what is Microsoft's plan for edge distribution? I mean, as we're reading these days, distribution trumps destination, and it sounds like you guys are still stuck on creating a portal/destination."

Her response:
"Well, we have the MSN Messenger community, the largest online community in the world, with over 400 million users. So you can take MSN Videos and post it into your MSN messenger window...it's great! We've launched in the US and it will come to India very soon."

You know me.
I gave her the warmest smile, shook her hand, thanked her for her time, and left.

(Update: Fake Steve has an interesting perspective on Microsoft Surface Computing strategy- a must read)
------------------

The online media space, especially when it comes to Internet video, is undergoing many fundamental transformations.

One of these transformations is that contrary to earlier models where context was associated with content, we're now in a world where content needs to follow context.

Because context is everywhere. Discussions, communities, social context and personal relevance is all at the edge, and if you're building up a centralized platform, thinking you're going to draw audiences, you're wrong. Way wrong.

Rather, you need to think about the edge network as a multitude of cities....a collection of ecosystems with varied needs, motivations and behavioral patterns.
"Contextual relevance" means different things to different ecosystems.

Reality check. As a content owner looking to solve the distribution puzzle on the Internet:

1) You can spend your marketing and advertising dollars in understanding, profiling, targeting, and reaching out to a few million fragmented markets.
And hope that these millions of audience segments will show up at your destination to see what you have to offer them.

I can't think of a more inefficient way to spend money.

OR,

2) You can spend your technology and R&D dollars in making your content so incredibly elastic, that it can be made to fit within virtually any context across the edge. In a nutshell, you enable your consumers to become distributors.

And if you can enable viral distribution, without having to actually stimulate it, you've already won.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

FICCI-Frames: Live coverage

(As you may have noticed, we never returned from tea...technical delays and I promise to plan better next time around).

---Break for tea. Resume at 12.30pm----

OPENING SESSION: 9:30am - 12:10 pm

Amit Khanna, Chairman, Reliance Entertainment

"9 years ago, when Frames was first held, Internet was merely a medium. Today, it is an economy."
"Today, everything is entertainment - News, Crime, Wars, Sports, Education, everything!"
"HUman mind moves in arithmetic progression. Technology grows in Geometric progression"
"MOre than arithmetic, Culture is going to be the global forces of the coming century. Fortunately for India, we already are a powerhouse in this force."

"I believe people in the future will agree to receive services in exchange for their attention. Monetizing that attention is the future of business.

"Internet is a copy machine. It is an invitation for people to take the easy routes. But people will slowly learn that when you start riding a tiger, unless you learn how to ride the tiger, you'll get eaten up."

"Mindshare grabbing is the way to grabbing a share of the wallet."

Top entertainment trends for the coming decade:

1. New digital technologies reshaping logistics of entertainment. Traditional media will have to adapt to new technologies to remain competitive.
2. Convergence of Internet with other media will pave the future of the industry
3. On demand interactive content will become the standard.
4. Movie theatres will get introduced to satellite download of movies.
5. More powerful, smarter multimedia devices to experience the new era of entertainment content.
6. Digital TV to provide realitme participation with celebrities.
7. Convergence of entertainment and education
8. Producers of any form of art will have to adapt new technologies.


HE Viviane Reding, Commissioner, Information, Society & Media, European Commission

"Culturally, Europe and India are very similar. Indian constitution recognizes 22 offical languages. EU recognizes 22 offical languages. India is a republic for 60 years, Europe is a confedration for 50 years, and more so.. However, we are a Continent of 500 million and you are a nation of more than double!"

"Censorship is the bane of good films everywhere in the world"

"We want our film makers to learn in your schools and your film makers to learn in our schools"

"Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden - leaders in Broadband penetration, higher than US. "

"Europe has the Highest mobile penetration in the world. India to become the Mobile contintent of the world. Why not bring the 2 together and mutually benefit?"



HE Dominique Dreyer, Ambassador of Switzerland to India

"Switzerland owes a lot to Mr. Yash Chopra for putting our geography onto the world map through his movies. Hopefully sometime soon, someone in the Swiss Govt. will decide to name one of our mountains after Mr. Chopra!"

Asha Swarup, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India

"Financial SOPs had been requested - Finance Ministry has obliged with certain measures in Union Budget 08."
"Don't create an inspector Raj"
"Indian entertainment industry poised to grow faster than the Indian economy"
"Parallel release on multiple platforms only solution to piracy"

Stewart Beck, Asst. Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada.
"India invested $5 billion in Canada in 2007"

Amit Mitra adds:
"In 2007, India invested more in UK than UK did into India.
India invested $10.6 billion into the US while USA invested $856 million into India"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In a world of good and evil....

...sociable people always win me over. Over and over again.

Social Design Best Practices from Google.

Joost gets a boost. Akimbo remains a bimbo.

Yes, it's official: Joost is now going to move out-of-the-box in an effort to catchup with the Internet age.
(Tivo/SlingMedia, for the umpteenth time, please take note..).

Clear sign that their old strategy for providing the P2P living room experience has failed.
But I also think this new move is hot. Sizzling hot.

How? I see two potential next steps for the Joost platform:

1) Browser-based video delivery(....next step, multi-platform/multi-device support)
2) P2p delivery architecture(....next step, P2P Torrential CDN-as-a-Service)

And ubiquitous access + distributed delivery => mass appeal + democratized production(++ cheaper content distribution)
Weren't people looking for the next pioneer in Internet video/the YouTube killer? Well, here it is, taking birth.....

_________________

Oh and you know who's NOT the pioneer it claims to be?
It's these homies out of San Mateo, California...


I'm going to have a button on WeareIndia.TV that says:
As much as we'd like to, we're UNABLE to keep up with the nuances of IE 5.5+. So pretty please, with sugar on top, download Firefox.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Countdown to launch: 7......

We just integrated our Amazon web store this afternoon.


To keep things simple(and relevant), we've included only a few product categories. I'm sure we'll add to this list over time, but for now....just a few specific categories.

Integration was quite seamless. In fact, the entire purchase process is quite seamless.


I think we're going to do some more exploration into this WAI-AWS relationship. There seems to be a lot of opportunity for deeper level integration and audience fulfillment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

full figure bra stores in arizona

I am so not joking: this ad just showed up next to a dynamic content page on the WeareIndia dev. site.

This was a page filled with a lot of movie trailers, and none of the videos had any meta information, except for "Alexander", starring Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, and Angelina Jolie.

Anal as I am about these things, I did a full search on the page for anything that might have caused Google to contextualize the ad thus.

No mention of a "bra", "arizona", "figure"...etc...anywhere across the page.

This is silly. Maybe Shopzilla pre-seeded their search w/ the phrase.
I think I'll just ban them, for screwing with my contextualization efforts.

Heh. :)

First advertiser to be banned from WeareIndia.TV: Shopzilla, a seller of full-figured brassieres in Arizona.

Countdown to launch: 8......

This post is dedicated to the commenting feature that saved the day for us: Disqus.

We were struggling to get our commenting working just right, and even then, we hadn't implemented a third of the capabilities we wanted to.
And then just like that, I see an e-mail from Disqus- a service I'd signed up for a long time ago, but never used.

Here's what it looks like on the site:




That's not all, of course. There is a gang-load of features that you can check out here.

I strongly recommend Disqus to anyone doing anything on the web that involves comments.
It's easily my favorite widget of all time.

And yes, given the timing, I think this qualifies as serendipity.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

MSFTRADAMUS

I'm really bored with all this talk of Yahoo.

I think it's clear by now that Yahoo! has *some* value, and the debate is on about the mutually agreeable quantification of that value...for all parties in this orgy(Yang, Yahoo! Board, Yahoo! Shareholders, Ballmer, Microsoft, yada yada..). And such a debate could be endless.

So I thought I should shut up and draw a few boxes, connect them with arrows, and see what happens.

Here's what happened:



This is quite a soup Microsoft has gotten itself into.

- Will Yahoo! add value to Microsoft? Yes.
- Can Microsoft capitalize and grow that value? No.
- Where does that value go in a merger? To offset the declining value of Microsoft.
- Is a Yahoo! acquisition enough to repair existing Microsoft damage? No.
- Can Microsoft afford more such acquisitions? Probably not.
- Is MicroHoo just a way to extend the Microsoft life line? You bet. $45 billion?!! They're GASPING for air..!!
- What Ballmer is probably thinking: Dude, where's my car?
- What Yang's thinking: King Kong ain't got shit on me.
- And Schmidt's kickin' it with the Page twins, wondering: THESE are the pirates of Silicon Valley???!!