Friday, 28 July 2006

Why I’m Rarely Sad When Coffee Shops Close

On my daily walk this evening, I noticed a coffee shop here in St. Anthony Village was no longer. Based on the emptiness on the other side of the windows, it’s been a while since they left. While it’s always sad to see small, local, non-franchise, non-chain, coffee shops close – it’s also sad to see places with bad coffee and uncomfortable vibes stay open.

I remember a small local shop back in Evanston that always felt uncomfortable, had bad coffee, and finally used a Starbucks opening a couple blocks away as their excuse for closing. When in fact, any competition would have overtaken them.

On a related note, Marysburg Books and Coffee, in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, where I recorded many of the First Crack Podcasts is also no longer. It appears they’ve succumbed to the new Dunn Bros across the street and the fantastically renovated Moose and Sadie’s.

Mostly unrelated, I received a brand new shipment of Indian Monsooned from Sweet Marias last week (can’t believe it’s been a week already). Just the smell of the raw, green beans, has powered me through this week. Can’t wait till I get a chance to roast them. It’s been so hot these past few days, I fear if I take them outside, they’ll roast on their own.

Lastly, the Giz Wiz Biz featured the Capresso CofeeTEAM Therm a couple days back (behold, the power of podcasting) which you can thank for inspiring this post.

Here’s the write-up from last December WCCO did on the issue. As much as I dislike Caribou’s coffee, I can’t see them setting out to kill “the dream”.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

Storm Relief

I’m a big fan of storms. Everything falls away with a severe storm, summer or winter. Storms simplify.

Since I haven’t directly experienced anything more severe than a mild tornado, maybe I’m talking about midwestern storms here – crazy lightening, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, a couple feet of snow, nasty winds, things safely enjoyed in basements or hallways.

Storms where the only damage is washing away the banality of the day.

Like Jeremy Messersmith’s Snow Day.

Nielsen Analytics’ Economics of Podcasting

Earlier this year, Nielsen Analytics surveyed a bunch of people in Las Vegas and found 102 people that described themselves as ‘regular podcast listeners’.

Thankfully, those 102 (77 men / 35 women) represented.

Some interesting bits

  • 61 people (50 men / 11 women) said they “always fast forward” advertisements
  • The survey found that the average length of the podcasts being listened to was 44 minutes. (Dave, isn’t that how long your walk is?)
  • The cumulative total of all monthly downloads for a given podcast series can hit 2 million. (No mention of how many were failed or actually listened to.)
  • Training, education, and other business-to-business oriented podcasts make more sense than entertainment podcasts.

Nielsen’s entire report is $1200 (I’d like to link it, but I can’t find a url that works). Now that’s how to make money podcasting.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Even Free Registration Has a Cost

Yesterday, I did a good amount of thinking about the registration model of the T-minus aggregator project. At this point, I’m confident that a good portion of the service will be free and without registration.

This was confirmed when I went to check out the Technorati redesign this morning and neither the site nor my browser remembered my name/pass combo. Looking in Keychain Access – I had 3 records for the site. Huh, which one works?

There are a few bits in the T-minus project where some having some identification or authentication makes more sense than not – but as a whole, requiring a name/password combo doesn’t make any sense.

Update: Steven from Panic agrees registration isn’t always a necessity to communicate value.

Growing a Business – Today, 20 Years Later

I completely disconnected from phone, computer, internet, for a day and a half this weekend. Much of that time was spent reading Paul Hawken’s ‘Growing a Business’.

On my way through the book, I had to keep checking and double checking the publication date (1987). Growing a Business reads like Cluetrain Manifesto (2001) – commerce is better when it’s done at a personal level, etc.

T-68 and Counting

I made enough progress on the core functionality this weekend, that I can actually start thinking about how to implement the interesting bits.

Friday, 21 July 2006

T-71 and Counting

Lots of progress the last two days. The absolute core functionality is in – enough to move forward to the interesting bits.

Yes, it’s a feed aggregator, River of News-style.