Change Your E-Mail
February 9, 2009, 11:25
Filed under: Web Trends

A group of people with my last name have confused with a member of their family, so I’ve been receiving ridiculous forwards and chain-mails from these people for months now. I have politely asked them to remove me from their mailing list, but that concept seems too difficult for them.

Their response:  Isn’t it easier to just change your e-mail?

This is the 21st century. Asking me to change my e-mail is like asking me to change the color of my car, stop wearing high heels, or to cut my hair a different way. My e-mail account is how most poeple know to contact me. Most importantly, because I was on the gmail beta I actually secured the e-mail which is coveted (my name is fairly common). I would only change my e-mail if someone paid me MAD money to change it.

WTF was this man thinking?


Pandora—Very Cool
December 5, 2008, 11:25
Filed under: Web Trends | Tags: ,

I’ve been a fan of Pandora for years now.  To be honest, I worry that they have no sustainable way of generating revenue.  The service is free, so they have no real revenue stream outside of marketing.  Since the purpose of this site is to provide background music, it is unlikely that users will click on the ads since they aren’t really paying attention ot the site.

Then I looked up and saw the coolest online ad next to my Pandora radio.  It was an image of different flavored chapstick, each dressed in an outfit. Each Chapstick had a different Pandora radio. I chose “Chapstick Cherry,” which plays top hits.  The radio is REALLY good. In fact, I’m reaching into my pencil bag and pulling out my Cherry Chaptstick as we speak. The ad worked.


Hierarchy of Ideas
May 27, 2008, 11:25
Filed under: Web Trends | Tags: ,

I recently heard that one of my high school friends quit his job up north to move back home and launch a start-up. I won’t even bother adding the site link here, because I have nothing good to say about the startup, and I don’t want to be mean:

  • Its success hinges upon the favor of a very small niche. A dorky niche.
  • The site does not provide a necessary service
  • The site does not provide access to necessary products

The very best ideas in the world of technology are those that fulfill a need people were previously unaware of. Just to list a few examples: Google (research anything in seconds), Orbitz (plan trips fast, cut out the middle man), Ebay (online auction), Amazon (online store), Skype (talk on the phone, for free, anywhere o earth),  Facebook (a platform with dozens of options used to connect with friends—pictures or chat or messages or pokes or just stalk people without becoming their friends).

People lived without any of these services or products in the 1980s, but probably cannot imagine life without them now that they’ve had a taste of them.

Good Ideas leverage the very best ideas out there, offering a service or product that enhances an already something that already has a high number of users. Take Kayak, for example, which is a search engine of search engines for all travel related sites. Picasa, a free and more simple version of kodak gallery. Take any of the facebook applications. I would even bucket into this category, because the site leverages great ideas (youtube videos, song clips, etc) into one easy to access bundle. Good ideas. Not the best ideas because they did not revolutionize anything or create a giant market to make mounds of money off of, but decent ideas that generate profit and are useful to those souls that choose to use that site.

Blah Ideas, like the one my friend is launching, do nothing. They add no value. They attract only a sliver of the population and do little to change their lives.  The money being invested into this startup could probably earn a higher return in a 9 month CD at a bank. In other words, there is no economic or social reason why anyone should develop Blah Ideas, yet people do…..

Web Strategy
May 8, 2008, 11:25
Filed under: Web Trends | Tags:

Well, well, well….A friend just sent me a link to Jeremiah Owyang’s page.  This is a job I would be seriously interested in. He seems like the expert on Web/New Media Strategy.

Lucky guy!! I bet he wakes up happy to go to work every day. That’s my dream.

Facebook Age Differentiation

I have two sisters, and one of them just entered the teen years. She has over 100 friends on Facebook, tags every single picture of her that anyone posts online, and accepts nearly every Facebook application invite that comes her way. In fact, she even runs with the mini-competitions (i.e. draw something with this application and win a free movie ticket). She is a Facebook junky.

Then there is me. I refuse to mount a super wall and get seriously peeved whenever someone sends me those mindless e-poker chips. I hate application invites and even reject the ones that were literally created by my software developer friends. Lets rip a term from Time Magazine and call this Facebook Fatigue.

Same platform, two very different user profiles. I would hope that Facebook maximizes its revenue streams by differentiating between these two different profiles. In reality, I don’t know the first thing about Facebook’s revenue strategy. I do know that a lot of people spend a lot of time developing Facebook applications with the hope of turning a few users on to a new product or service.

For example, a friend of mine developed an application that asks the user to flip through a few pictures of key tourist landmarks (i.e. Taj Majal, Eiffel Tower, etc) to see if they can identify the location. It’s a stupid game but the application prominently displays the banner for the student travel agency that sponsored the application.

If you take the first few paragraphs from this post you would know that people like me (young professionals with disposable income) don’t like applications and don’t like games. On the other hand, my little sister would be a sucker for the application but has no disposable income and is therefore an unsuitable target for the application.

Facebook Age Differentiation—I think it determines the difference between a successful application (i.e. one that generates sales for the underlying company) and an annoying invite.