Late Night Fail: Leno back to 11:30?

8 01 2010

TMZ (via New York Magazine) is reporting that Leno is returning to his old time slot at 11:30 pm.

It’s an unmitigated disaster- the loss of continuity will surely hurt the New-Old Tonight Show if this indeed the case, which it may well not be.  Executives say changes are on the way, but nothing of this change TMZ is reporting as confirmed.

New school has not been working in late-night with Conan O’Brien off of Leno’s numbers and Jimmy Fallon off of Conan’s, both of which I find much funnier than celebrities driving through an obstacle course on Leno.

Back to playing my social games, watching online video, and pecking away on my iPhone.

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Get Rich Slow, Now

10 04 2009

Great article in Time Magazine, Get Rich Slow, about the rise of the small startup that can cost nearly nothing and grow into something very valuable.  Paul Graham, Jason Calacanis, and many others have been preaching the rise of the zero-cost startup.

Not only is this my life right now, but it’s the basic basis of most every big Internet success in the 2.0 era: Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, on and on.

I’m surprised I’d never heard the term “ramen profitability” before, but I love it!

If you’re unemployed, get something going now.  Time is your most valuable asset.  If you’re gainfully employed, do something on the side – costs you no more than a hobby, and I think it’s more fun (and creates more value for the world) than most hobbies.  If you don’t, someone else will.  Simple enough.

(via 37Signals)





Hometown Paper Goes Down… To Online

16 03 2009

Seattle P-I goes online only (from Mashable’s Adam Ostrow) today, and the largest daily paper to go online only according the seattlepi.com homepage.

My first wage job was as a Seattle Times paperboy.  Bonus: online newspapers don’t get wet, don’t need to get plastic bagged, and don’t get chewed up by the dog.





Kindle App Brings Primetime eBooks to iPhone

5 03 2009

I got the Kindle iPhone application this morning.  It’s basic seeming, which can be a good thing and it nicely gets the job done.  I was reading the first chapter (free sample) of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers within minutes.  You have to download eBooks from Safari – seems fine to me until closer integration for purchasing in the app becomes available.

Something is a little obnoxious about reading on the tiny iPhone screen.  Really all I need right now is more reason to stare at the damn thing more often.

In San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle is facing what looks like impending doom.  It’s just a matter of time before the paper portion goes down.  Mayor Gavin Newsom was on Real Time with Bill Maher, proclaiming that bloggers aren’t real journalists (or something to that effect) and that real news will suffer because if newspapers shut down.  Mayor Newson thinks that the Chronicle will probably find some way to rearrange its business.

A rant on why this is a little off would be a whole thing itself.  Writing is writing is writing, and there’s no reason why “real” journalism can’t exist on the web just as easily as on paper – is that not simple enough?  A workable business model is a different story – that’s the piece that’s being worked through.

Marc Andreessen thinks the New York Times needs to kill the paper portion now, as (paraphrase) acute pain is better than years of chronic pain.  Yet he admits that he owns something like 6,000 CDs – quite the counter-argument to the death of media.

Just because a book or newspaper “feels better” doesn’t really mean anything, nor does the fact that staring at a screen so much seems just wrong.  Everyone can have their preferences.  It does not mean that the newspaper, books or CD will go on.  Technology changes things, and hopefully and generally for the better.  Amazon does print books on demand, as do a number of start-ups.  If I want a book to read on the beach, I’ll buy it – plain and simple.  Wasting a tree everytime I want to read the latest marketing guru no latter seems sane though.

My point being – don’t confuse a gut reaction with what way of doing things is really better.  Then, you too can be a futurist and see why paper isn’t dead – it’s just a mostly unnecessary remnant of media delivery.

Mashable gets the credit for breaking this, for me at least.





Staples 2.0: When Online Resembles Offline

5 12 2008

Sarah Tavel of Bessemer Partners has a great post about The Staples 2.0 effect, how large e-commerce retailers are leading to the closure of mom-and-pop stores.  I highly recommend it.

The conclusion that e-commerce will come to more closely resemble physical retail in the long run always struck me as a largely underrepresented one. The seismic drop in consumer spending seems to be the catalyst to put this reality front and center.

The post got me thinking. Search Engine Ranking is the key ingredient here.

Many direct comparisons can be made between online retail and physical retail: branding, repeat customers, customer acquisition cost, economies of scale, etc. Many insurmountable benefits to scale.

With Search Ranking, it’s as if once you’ve “earned” your spot, you’ve not only got a flagship store in Times Square, but also in London Square, Union Square, Mall of America, and so on… for FREE. The land grab for this space spawned Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and on.

The existence of Search Ranking, based on popularity (links), makes it even more insurmountable to dethrone a market leader. It’s not the only benefit to scale, but my gut says that it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back for new entrants.

Some of the thinking is very obvious. Commodities will be bought from the low-cost producer. Long tail wise, there can be a healthy long tail serving infinite small-scale interests given removal of geographical barriers. Today’s basically zero cost of real estate means these niches have a lot of room to thrive.

Hence an Etsy, Zazzle or such can thrive as well.

You’ll basically see large e-commerce retailers, with niche retailers competing on a specific niche service, which sure looks a lot like physical retail.

There’s still of lot of room to grow and create value to build a brand and your base of loyal users/customers/followers: aggregation, customization, community, socialization.

It’s just unoriginality that will go unrewarded… it’s no different on the Wild Wild Web.

(via GigaOM)





Why Americans Should Be More Thankful Than Ever

26 11 2008

I’ve resisted writing much about the economy, but since it’s a rainy day in San Francisco as people start taking off for the long weekend, here it goes…

Last night, I watched Magic Johnson, Steve Wynn and Eric Schmidt on Larry King Live.

It was a surprisingly thoughtful (not that I didn’t expect it but sometimes these interviews are broken records) treatise of what’s ailing now and what to do next. They identified their focus now:

  • People
  • Innovation

Again, it’s called adding value- and these are the key ingredients.

They identified top priorities in getting the economy moving again:

  • Unfreezing credit markets, in a direct fashion
  • Infrastructure Investment. Green technology, physical infrastructure- roads, transportation, etc.

I would also add Leveling The Playing Field to the list, such as Net Neutrality. Steve Wynn mentioned that government is good as some things, such as regulation, and bad at others. I agree wholeheartedly, set the right regulations and rules in place (which is a fluid process) then get out of the way. I believe fundamentally the new administration agrees, no matter what the rhetoric being thrown out there may say.

Steve Wynn also suggested it’s a good time to save money and hunker down a bit. Eric Schmidt continued to focus on the Google mantra of creating innovations and value-adds that people delight in.

All three men were remarkably optimistic. Granted, I would find it hard not to be optimistic but you also have to remember all three are self-made men.

Sage advice is not to ignore the realities of today. I hold that this is healthy for America.

Americans should be more thankful than ever because this is the richest country in the world, by far. Americans should be thankful because we’re free. We can have an open debate about free market capitalism, dangers of greed, and how to best cure the spreading divide between rich and poor without harming the very economic system that got us to where we are today.  Be thankful because amidst the chaos, we live in a place that allows us to strive for a better tomorrow.

Have a wonderful and joy-filled Thanksgiving!





Live Poker for iPhone: Time Wasters Are Rising!

13 11 2008

Zynga’s Live Poker for the iPhone (via TechCrunch and Mashable). Texas Hold ‘Em for Facebook is my original Facebook application time waster; the application for iPhone seems even better. Of note is that it’s also the first iPhone app to use Facebook Connect.

Jason Calacanis also mentioned a category of startups that provide free, lasting entertainment that will do very well in this prolonged recession. Live Poker and Zynga will certainly fall into that category.

Jason also mentions that the days of $3,000 bottle service in New York and Los Angeles are gone, not only for financial reasons but because you look like a jackass doing it. As such, the entirety of high-end nightlife predicated largely on real estate windfalls and a strong(er) economy is a particularly hard trodden space.

There’s a very special category of entertainment that will also do especially well today, and that’s social entertainment with lasting entertainment value. These I think will do well even if there’s a high price attached to them. Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Wii Sports are three easy examples. They’d do well anyway because they’re fun as hell – they’ll do better as people look to stay home but still want the fun company of others.

The days of excess are gone, boys and girls.