Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Ad-proaching a Singularity

This weekend, stuck in the land of dial-up, I paged through a print motorcycle magazine and compared the articles against the advertisments. All the ads were for gear, motorcycle shops, or vehicles to haul your motorcycles. Essentially, indistinguishable from the articles themselves. You can do the same with any reasonably niche dead tree publication.

The closer a publication moves to the right of the sketch above (going more niche) the more ads = information. The further to the left (going more general) the more ads are a distraction.

You’re already familiar with the Long Tail, so you already know this.


“Only 0.04% of those people who got the ads on their screens bothered to click on them. [Luke Mitchell] had expected at least 1% to respond.” -Catherine Holahan, BusinessWeek

“[Facebook is] advancing narcissism — which isn’t really making advertising any better — people will enhance their profiles to get better treatment from advertisers.” – Ester Dyson

“Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted advertising is just information.” – Dave Winer

What’s the Opposite of an Edge Case?

Stowe Boyd and Eric Rice have been taking about the problems of 37Signal’s Basecamp.

I find Stowe’s the most interesting (verses Eric’s ‘nobody uses it anymore’). Stowe says Basecamp is great for small businesses, but it breaks down when small businesses collaborate – there’s no out-of-the-box way to connect accounts on a per-project basis.

“if I am working with four companies who each have a Basecamp instance, I wind up with four account/login/password combinations, and worst of all, no unified dashboard view to consolidate all my Basecamp information” – Stowe Boyd

Thankfully Jason Fried replied and talked about the value of different customers.

“Most people are not like you…. most people don’t have the problems that techies do”

As a quick aside, I think Fried misses the point of the problem by classifying it as “single sign-on” (a “techie” term if there ever was one).

Here’s the question. Do you build and revise a product for:

  1. Most people that use a product just a little bit.
  2. Few people completely immersed in the world you’ve built for them.

I opt for #2, they’re the passionate ones.

In the end, Fried’s right – Basecamp’s API is open and we can rebuild it to the way we work.

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Northern Exposure Series 3 Disc 4 – The Ones We’ve Waited For

According to Netflix, this particular disc of Northern Ex has been sitting our our shelf for a month.

We’re a couple episodes into it, and it’s the best disc yet. Between the cow piano-flinging and mid-life crises, this is the series at it’s best.

Videos Tab in TiVo Desktop – Video Blogs Now Playing – Nearly.

There’s an Easter Egg in the version 1.9.3 of the TiVo Desktop software for Mac. Flipping the right switch in the Preference Pane’s preference shows a new ‘Videos’ tab.

Restarting the server and scrolling to the bottom of ‘Now Playing’ shows my MacBook.

I’m very pleased they put my videos in ‘Now Playing’ (even at the bottom), rather than buried within the clumsily labeled ‘Music, Photos, Products, & More’ where they put the rest of my stuff. I’m glad we’re that much closer to the TiVo future I mentioned a while back.

On the downside, the TiVo still only understands MPEG-2 files. Not very popular round the videoblog-o-sphere. So, there’s a conversion step needed (Tivoizer to the rescue). Bah.

Though baby steps are baby steps.

If It Weren’t For The Customers

“I believe media companies are afraid of interacting with their audiences, because they (mistakenly) believe that their audiences are made up of people just like them — resentful, mean spirited, backbiting, hostile egomaniacs with inferiority complexes who, if given the opportunity, will spout their opinions without regard or respect for anyone but themselves.” – Terry Heaton

I’m continually surprised when I encounter the Us-v-Them attitude Terry describes. I spent so much of my day building partnerships with clients, customers, and collaborations that I forget it’s still out there.

Friday, 26 May 2006

The Final 7 from the SXSW 2006 Showcasing Artists

Finally got through all the Showcasing Artists from this year’s SXSW. Found 39 songs
Which means there’s 7 you don’t know about yet….

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Why the Democrats Lose

Over the past 17 days I’ve received 19 calls from this same unknown number. No message, no nothing. Some where in there, I found out it was the DNC calling (presumably for money) and well, I don’t have time for that right now. They just kept calling, and calling, and I just kept hitting ‘Ignore’. Leave a message, seriously.

Tonight, call number 20, I had a single moment to hear their spiel.

Uninspiring. Some vague statement about needing to train people, some script-read bit about taking back something from Bush, and how they need 80 gazillion dollars to make it worth their while. And the ask;

“Can we count on you to make a symbolic contribution of $110?”

“Symbolic” contribution?

Are they asking for actual, real money?

Baffled, I asked why they called me 20 times and couldn’t leave a message.

She apologized and said the call center had so many calls to make that nobody had time to leave a message.

Wrong answer.

There are so many things wrong with this story. So many. At least 20.

If the DNC is going to win, they need to be aggressive, passionate, straight-forward, engaging, and focused. Not annoying, aimless, vague, and apologetic.

Have we learned nothing?

The Most Annoying Spam Form Yet – Fake Forum Registration

Someone’s been hitting the Garrick Van Buren .com Forums with a spam robot. The robot seems to be registering as a forum member with the spammer’s target url as the username and a fake email address.

I know this because the registration confirmation email bounces back with these crazy long member names like:


Not sure how to prevent this and it’s happening so infrequently I’m still slightly amused.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006