Grow Your Graph

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m working on this, and so my post is one of what will hopefully be at least two posts.  I came back from the Polaris Digital Summit on social media where for two days we talked about all things social (and, as an aside, how to reinflate a collapsed lung).  

A new, albeit self-evident, principle seemed to emerge.  Sort of a corrollary to the peter principle (wikipedia article is actually pretty good on this one) and the dilbert principle (again, wikipedia nice job), with a little Metcalfe’s law thrown in for good measure.   The Peter Principle concerns being promoted until you find yourself in a job for which your competence wanes.  You get promoted until you are out over your skis, and then, there you stay, having risen to your level of incompetence.   (Dilbert on the other hand speaks to being promoted because as a managerial shmo,  the promotion prevents you from messing up something important.)  Metcalfe’s Law speaks to the power of the network.

In the world of social media, I see a principle is gaining steam.  I use twitter now for the most part to see what my friends, or people who I want to be my friends, are reading.  Occasionally it’s nice to hear that so and so re-discovered that vacations are fun, beer is served in bars, and there is a lot of snow on your block, etc., but for me, twitter tells me what I think I need to know about articles/stories that matter in tech.  I don’t only rely on twitter.  I read a few papers, some key magazines, and, for the most part, subscribe to a lot of blogs.  Blogs my friends read.  Blogs that TechCrunch likes.  Blogs that VC’s follow, etc.   The NYT or the WSJ, or MIT Tech Review, or Laptop, or whatever, are no longer the definitive sources on the technology business info I need or want.  To be frank (hah…), in some cases I’m not sure what the hell it is I do want or need.  I just know a vast array of knowledge is out there, it’s cruising by in real-time, and I do not have time to read a fraction of it.  Me journalism, semantic web, real-time tweets, on and on. 

The social graph is taking over.  And so, I got to thinking.  We are becoming people who are only as smart as the persons with whom we are connected.  (I should give a nod to Bob Metcalfe here.  My social graph becomes exceedingly more dense, complex, and informative with each new node/friend I add.)  

The principle we are all observing goes something like this:

Your level of knowledge rises as your time and contacts increase.  You are as smart as your friend group.  The larger the group, the smarter you can become. 

There is more to this.  Something about truth exists.  I’m sure if your friends or the people with whom you are connected all grew up in caves, then while you’ll know a lot about bats, the world of news, finance, art, and sports will escape you.  Stereotypes rise and fall, rumors are spread and squashed, all through the lens of your social graph camera.   We all need to learn a thing or two.  Serendipitous discoveries will become fewer and fewer, unless you spread your wings. 

Grow your graph.


Broadcast Television Goes Cable…Will this last?

•January 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Consumers are not forever going to put up with the Time Warner-type cable bill increases each time a Fox/HGTV/FoodNetwork/Oprah demands an extra $0.25 per subscriber fee or the full page “air my dirty laundry” ads that each side takes out in the New York Times (are people even reading papers anymore…another issue) to obscure the issue.  At some point consumers are just going to throw up their hands, tear up their $125 cable bills, put on an eye patch and go rogue. (Silver lining — content providers will then create their own bundles to offer to consumers, bringing us full circle back to the place we want/need to be.) 
You might even see this on the Internet.  Today the Murdoch’s are taking their ad-supported networks and demanding fees.  Tomorrow, the [insert website mogul] will take their ad-supported websites and demand fees from ISPs.  Today it’s about content.  Tomorrow it will be about search, discovery, and utility. 

Next up … real time web.




•December 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Be the captain.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

•November 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I love stuffing almost as much as I love pie.  Two years ago, I ate an entire pecan pie, a feat I would have repeated last year were it not for my speaking engagement in London about technology and the Internet.  (Hats off to University of Greenwich students…)

This year I am stateside, and this year I am eating pie.  And stuffing.  My glycemic numbers are off the charts, my energy is boundless and my dreams, very weird.   In terms of digital media, I’m looking to stuff myself on blogs and tech news too (pause … i need to end this metaphor…).  A few bits:

1. StatsMonkey.  AP, are you reading??  This technology is good.  Bloomberg, your earnings reports will be pretty darn easy to compile.  Check out the article — “a twist on broadcast journalism and sports writing,” and watch the last thirty seconds of the video.  (The video mostly covers News at Seven product, but wait until you get to the StatsMonkey.  Gold.)

3.  Facecall.  I like this app, just found it, although i know it’s been out there for a bit.

3.  Augmented Reality.  Lately I’ve been working on what will 2014 look like.   How will our phones work, what will our cable company look like, where will we spend our money. Virtual goods. check. More mobile, yes, and casual games in particular. Television widgets, huge.  Location based services and augmented reality — big.

4. Boxee on TV.  Most of the Internet ported to our TV’s is grainy, and you have to be part mad scientist to hook up all the wires anyway.  Yes, this will change.  And, no the cable companies will not go away.  And maybe even broadcast television will become cable-lite (consider charging re-transmission fees to the Boxees…); soon enough we’ll all be watching HDTV through our IPTV,  and 3D through our cable sans glasses.    Boxee unveils the next step in a few days…(thanks Fred Wilson for the tipoff).

That’s all for now.  Back to the pie, and coffee.

Over the Top to Grandmother’s (and everyone else’s) House We Go

•November 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s Sunday, and potentially one of the last fall days in New York’s fall.  And what to think about before heading out on my bike for a coffee?  TV! Let me pause for a moment and observe.  Pause and Observe.  Distribution of “television” is the golden egg for most cable content providers and most cable companies.  It’s a mighty big egg.   And the best distribution medium is the Internet.  For years, we’ve heard about over-the-top distribution, or distribution outside of one’s cable.

The Internet should be the most profitable business model on the face of the earth.” (Mark Pincus’ observation, check out his blog for other tidbits.)

Skype, at $2.75b and a ton of users, delivers ‘content’ already through the Internet.  A lot of it.   And to a computer, the difference between a live audio stream (or audio-video if your camera is on) and a live game, for example, is …nothing (although admittedly a bandwidth hurdle exists, i.e., not the quantity of bandwidth, but rather who pays for it and organizes it sufficiently to accommodate live streaming of that magnitude).  Google, which has called itself a media company now for a couple of years (since at least the purchase of DoubleClick) generates over $22b in revenue (97% of it from search!…yes Eric, that indeed is a good trick) and is digitizing books at the rate I eat m&m’s.  One goal of the books project is to unlock vast swaths of information.  To a computer, the difference between text content and video content is, bandwidth aside, nothing.  Cisco has spent nearly $6b in the last two months alone on video networking equipment.  And companies like, and Scoble’s uber tweet/super tweet observations (which Tech Crunch led me to) are going to make video tagging a whole lot easier, and therefore a whole lot more searchable, organizable and distributable.

I see,,,, (or tv through the widget gallery) and much more .tv’s coming to a, well, TV, near you … soon.  And it will not be about just the content. will not necessarily distribute TrueBlood.  Instead, these technology media companies (side:  there must be a word or phrase for “Google as media company,” besides “new media” or “non-traditional affiliate”, etc.) will help us search for the shows we want, for the snippets of the shows we want, for the content we create.  They will help us hear, see, read, debate and create content, some of which will be of incredible quality and some will be so-so, and most will come outside of your cable, over the top so-to-speak.

My one other tea leaves observation:  cable companies are going to help us get there.   And now, for that coffee.

What’s App-ening?

•October 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I thought it was funny at first. Anyway, each weekend, or at least on some weekends, i’ll post cool apps i’ve discovered and like. For today, my goto app, is Red Laser. A friend told me about it, and now i’m walking through grocery stores zapping bar codes like a bug machine at a picnic. You should get it. (I also like superglued.) Look at that – two app suggestions, one post. Money.

Hello world!

•October 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

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