The Vicar - “The Girl with The Sunshine” - Songbook #1. So intense, I had to listen 4 times in a row*. Lewis Taylor on vocals, Chas Dickie (Van Der Graf Generator) on cello, Cathy Stevens (Penguin Cafe Orchestra) on viola. It is lovely to hear Mr. Taylor’s voice is still in champion shape.
“Three years ago the influence of links was still significant, two years ago we noticed a significant reduction and last year it became clear that links for commercial queries had dropped out of the top ten most important factors. This change is a natural continuation of that trend … We haven’t seen any meaningful signals for ranking from social links. So, our new algorithm will omit those too.”—
It feels as if the axiom that every successful strategy (in this case, SEO around links) eventually eats itself holds true. This begs a few questions. Are Google and Bing far behind? How does a search engine that ignores links perform? Finally, once all the SEO madness wanes due to algorithmic obsolescence, would links again become a strong signal, thus creating a cyclic pattern with ever decreasing half-lifes of link utility?
As I mentioned in my note turned in when this paper was intended to be submitted, I have been very busy starting a company from the website I showed you in class. I am taking trips up to New York more than twice a week; sleeping…
I can say “I remember when” a young, bright-eyed hungry Rutgers hacker sat next to me at bit.ly. This is a great story by a guy who, being a consummate hackathon insider, improved the experience for everyone. Quality stuff folks.
"According to Zhang, the 30% sales increase for lower-selling albums can be explained by the fact that DRM-free music makes it easier for consumers to share files and discover new music. The finding that removing DRM from top-selling albums has no effect on sales makes sense in this regard, since the discovery element is less important for well promoted musicians."
“As much as we all love turntable.fm, we have decided to shut it down to fully concentrate on the Live experience.”—
Turntable.fm on killing the flagship product to focus on their Live product. Despite how awesome Live is, I for one am sad to see this happen. Their last day is December 2nd. Too soon?
The fact is, Apple, Google, Amazon or Microsoft should reintroduce this idea at scale, with the wallet to weather licensing and marketing for the long haul. There is a lot of untapped win here that only liquidity can unlock.
How we combine synchronous and asynchronous events in music, video, gaming and interactive entertainment will define the next generation of integrated marketing, where the product and marketing are indistinguishable from each other.
Loosely speaking I’ve seen negative sentiments like
"This means Facebook is in trouble"
"I knew it, we are in a bubble"
"The Snapchat founders are nuts"
I don’t think it’s any of those things.
Consider Facebook’s stock is pretty high right now. They are flush with cash, profitable and can easily afford $3B for a leader in this new emerging market. And kudos to Zuck and co for taking bold moves. Their purchase of Instagram was extremely smart. This was a sensible offer, not one from desperation.
It is reasonable to assume that the Snapchat founders have already taken out millions of dollars in secondary sales of their stock. They are not risking losing it all, instead they are going for it.
Snapchat’s future is up to them. They have to do a lot of things right. But they have an opportunity to build a big, important company.
There’s always been contrarian value. The questions being, how much capacity is there for contrarian value and when does the contrarian view become the prevailing one. In our world of Facebook and Twitter, the prevailing values are persistent identity and permanent discoverable content respectively. SnapChat defies at least the latter of these.
Indulge me for a a brief moment. The world needs SnapChat right now, though maybe less as a product, but more as an ideal. Their founders are on a journey, a Hero’s Journey, where we are witnessing the narrative unfold. How many founders have succumbed to monetary temptation, cutting their roundtrip journey short, fading into the deep recesses of some whale’s balance sheet?
In a world of disposable heroes, is Zuckerberg still a champion to a 13 or 14 y/o dreamer?
The monomyth of startups requires that a few go all the way, plunge the depths, stare death in the face, survive with new insight and be reborn in a world that has new possibilities and live to tell the tale. In this framework, you aren’t a hero if you haven’t completed the journey, but everyone isn’t meant to be a hero. Everyone can’t be irrational until their actions becomes the new normal by virtue of success. In many ways, it is better that SnapChat fail huge and keep the dream alive for the next brave souls answering the call to adventure. I believe we’re far from seeing how treacherous their journey will become**.
The Roots - “Distortion To Static” - Do You Want More?!!!??! I had to drop a gem from the Malik B days who, in my opinion at that time, was a better emcee than Black Thought. 20 years of history has proven me quite wrong.
“If I see another Edison light bulb or indie, vintage-furnished Ace-style hotel open up, or one more white, bearded, tattooed, apron-clad, work-booted hipster standing behind the counter of a shop selling pork bellies, small-batch gin, organic barber shop products or old-school, authentic, artisanal, heritage, sustainable, distressed-looking anything, I swear I will throw up. Breaking news, kids: This is not the Pacific Northwest! It’s a trend and it’s getting old. Fast. I get it that Brooklyn the location still offers affordable space where young people can hole up to make art, music, film, or innovative food and it still has great texture and cultural mixes. But to me, Brooklyn the brand is becoming a monochromatic cartoon of itself.”—"F*ck Brooklyn" - Kim Hastreiter goes in on BK.
Video Ads: We're Doing It Wrong (or Why Vine Matters)
I had the most incredible experience working with the SMOSH team this past year while at Alloy Digital (now merged with Break to become Defy Media). Learning from and helping the #1 most subscribed channel on YouTube create, distribute, and monetize original content has been invaluable and I’ll miss working with them.
However, whenever I thought about video ads on web and mobile, I’ve always had the sinking suspicion that something just wasn’t right. For the longest time, I couldn’t put my finger on why ads were so acceptable on television yet so invasive on the web/mobile. Was it the form factor, where the medium overshadows the message? Was the ad content just substandard? Was it technological, where the latency, frequency or focus degraded the experience? Hmmmm.
Ideal length of each online ad unit: 2.3% * 4 minutes = 0.092 minutes * 60 sec/min = 5.52 seconds
Actual length of each online ad unit: 15-30 seconds.
Now the problem is beginning to make sense. Online video ads are 3-6X longer than they should be relative to the content. Assuming relativity holds, the ideal ad length for online video is around 6 seconds, or the length of a Vine. And you wondered why Twitter picked 6 seconds for Vines, well, this may explain why. Will Vines become the hottest native ad package in 2014?
Expanding on this, we can also understand why YouTube allows most pre-roll ads to be skipped after 5 seconds given the average length of their content. It just makes sense!
To complete the thought experiment, let’s see how long our 30 second online ad would be if on television if we keep things relative: .5min/4min * 22 min = 2.75 minutes.