Is Your Next Book An App?

I’ve been saying for a few years now that the real definition of Web 2.0 is “your content on your customer’s terms.” Everything really comes down to that as far as I’m concerned.

Techcrunch recently published a piece that says that authors need to publish their “next book” as an App (instead of an iBook). Great read – do it now.

While I like the concept, I’m not sure if that’s the direction. Perhaps the article should have asked if your next book should also be released as an App.

Yes, our content on your customer’s terms means a book isn’t enough.

But just an app isn’t enough either.

Your stuff needs to be available on a dead tree edition, an instant streaming edition, a phone edition, a pad edition, a plastic disk edition, an audio edition, a video edition, etc.

If you’ve watched the whole Vook thing, you might be thinking it’s the future. I’m calling it a gimmick. Show me any real content ONLY available on the VOOK format and I’ll change my mind.

So, content creators, I’m gonna suggest this simple fact: your future requires that you create your content on as many formats and platforms as possible.

Your thoughts?

Weekend Roundup: What Happened To Monday?

Yes, missed blog and Podcasts this week. Too into the Operation iPad Project. Back to normal next week, but here are some links to keep you warm and informed:

  • Songs Of Love is a great organization that puts some new media creators in a position of great service. Read what Geoff Smith is doing with them.
  • Jim Louderback wrote a piece called I support Web TV and I vote that is a must read.
  • Podcast Secret’s Student and cool guy Fred Castaneda has an episode of (one of his) most excellent podcasts about the iPad as a business tool.

Have a great weekend. My youngest turns 7 this weekend.

Tech Scales And You Don’t

I know it’s pretty and fancy and sexy and very Web 2.0 to make your self available to anyone at any time and any place in the spirit of the whole thing.

Problem … it don’t scale. It never did. It never will. Don’t do this to your business. Don’t do this to yourself.

It’s a great idea – but great ideas that don’t scale aren’t really worth that much. The best of intentions implausible do more damage than good.

They’re actually kinda of dangerous.

Insert Congress passing the Health Care Bill joke here.

I’ve shuddered at gurus who proudly announce to the world that they’re 100% approachable.

It doesn’t scale.

You just can’t return all those emails, Tweets, Blog comments, DMs, phone calls, etc.

I applaud the recent Blog posting by Chris Brogan for admitting this fact. Read it, accept it, and applaud it. I actually respect Chris now more than I ever did.

Here’s what I want to suggest. I know it sounds great to be everything to everyone on account of our iPhones but … here’s the approach we all should embrace:

Let’s use tech to be considerably more approachable than ever. Let’s do what we can but … let’s be realistic and speak of that realism.

Sound fair?

By the way, I’m betting my career on the idea that they’ll respect you for it more than they ever did when you made those promises you simply couldn’t keep.

And I’m betting that Chris just extended his career considerably by doing the right thing too.

What say you?

What I Learned From The Traffic Geyser Event

I’m at the airport about to head home from the Traffic Geyser event. Mike and Rocket put on an amazing show and it was a thrill to both be part of it, and to be a part of the audience. I took home as many notes as I did leads.

The “big” lesson was simple. There is still so much room in this space for people to do amazingly well. When we watched the fireman who closed the deal on a Flip Camera and a white wall (and possibly, the worst sound ever), we all realized that there is plenty of room for all of us.

Plenty of profitable room.

And as smart as it was to have been part of the audience, I want to extend the invitation to you as well.

The commercial Internet is still a kid, barely a teenager. You can be part of her future.

Find a market that can be served online.

Reach that market online through whatever medium they wish to be reached by.

Serve that market online.

Repeat.

Have a great week.

Five Essential Elements To Every Online Strategy

Online is “different” in a Web 2.0 world. A few years ago, we’d speak of necessities in terms of technologies and tools.

It’s time to kill that approach. It’s now all about these elements – the tech simply doesn’t matter.

I’m going to suggest that everyone looking to market and publish online needs stop thinking about WordPress and Facebook and YouTube and Podcasting and the like – but think FIRST about these 5 elements and how they can use whatever technology they want to make sure they’ve leveraged these issues. It’s a subtle difference but can have a powerful impact on your place in this space:

Syndication. The Internet is now received on your audience’s terms. This is powered by syndication. Yes, RSS is part of this, but it is by no means the only (or most important) tech behind this element. I’d drop RSS in a minute for the syndicated social stream made possible by Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

I can hear the geeks screaming now (I hear them because I am one), “but RSS powers all that stuff.” First of all, it doesn’t anymore and secondly, it doesn’t “matter” at all. It ain’t RSS that lets my audience watch my latest YouTube Video on their way home from work (after being notified that it’s live) and I’d bet you 90% of my audience who reads via RSS doesn’t even know that she’s the tech behind the scenes.

In short, 1) If EVERYTHING YOU PRODUCE ain’t syndicated, you are wasting your time. 2) If you think it’s about RSS, you’ve missed the point.

Interactivity. You must allow your audience to interact with your content much the same way that television must broadcast in color. It is simply expected and you basically look silly if you don’t provide it. There are tools that make it more robust and there are dozens of strategies on what to do with the interactivity but you must have it, period.

By the way, please comment below on what you think of this idea.

Microbursting. As I type this Blog post, I have to face two simple facts. The first one is that some of my audience will never read this blog by default (regardless of bookmarking or syndication). They need a reason to do so. These are people who make decisions based on the microburst. Microbursts (today) include Twitter, Facebook updates, status alerts, etc. But, and make sure you get this, whereas the tech might change tomorrow, the need to microburst ain’t going away. You need a microburst strategy more than you need a Twitter client.

When I publish this post, I will microburst everywhere that makes sense that this article is live, and I’ll see as many readers from the microburst as from anything else. This is, of course, automated – but that is another Blog post all together.

Multimedia. The second fact I must face is that the written word of a Blog like this only hits a certain segment of my audience. Like some respond to the microburst, some respond to audio and visual media. This isn’t me reading this Blog post into a slideshow and posting at YouTube, this is me asking myself how I can reach and audience best reached through audio and video (text ain’t enough).

Destination Strategies. You gotta go where people are. As cool as it is to think that everyone wants to visit our Websites and Blogs on a regular basis, we need to identify where they are and be there too. As I write this, a destination strategy demands a Facebook Fan Page and a YouTube User Page (even if you have no videos) but this could change at any point. In short, know where your audience is, and be there too.

One of the most freeing effects of this approach is that it moves content producers from having to master a tech to having to master communicating with their audience. Imagine how much better things will get for all of us once we’ve all made that move.

Zune HD

So, the Zune HD has been out for a few days now. I’ve had mine for a bit longer, but wasn’t able to activate it for use until Tuesday morning like everyone else. So, what do I think?

The Good

  • Form factor and feel are awesome. This device feels much “bigger” than it really is. Finally a “pocket” device that I can put in my pocket without fear of smashing.
  • Interface is gorgeous. Yes, the iPod has been outclassed (in interface at least). There is a lot of stuff that pops up as you use it that you weren’t looking for. Pure eye candy here.
  • Zune Pass is the future of media delivery. I’ve read a lot of complaints about how there is no hard drive version of this thing. Those people are missing the point. The power of the Zune Experience is your music in ‘the cloud.’ I’ll be writing a lot more on this soon, I just still have to get my mind wrapped around it. I will say this though, it is the future of content delivery and you can look at it today. Amazing.
  • Microsoft finally got their act together. Microsoft is finally utilizing their ecosystem in producing a full media story and they’re gonna sell a lot more and get a lot more respect that way.
  • Zune.net is the best media site online today. This will probably never get picked up by the “it’s cool to bash Microsoft” press but the media player interface inside of Zune.net is world class. The Podcast Directory now let’s you play both audio and video content right in the site and those with Zune Passes (still got mine, still love it) can stream whatever they want to any device with Silverlight Installed. Yes, I’m streaming music on my Mac as I write this.
  • The Zune HD Browser is a rock solid fast Mobile Web browser. This will excite some and frustrate others. Read the linked article at ZuneLuv.com for more on that topic.
  • No Flash in the browser was a big missed opportunity. I know it wouldn’t have been easy or cheap, but the processor can handle it and you could have made that browser amazing as a result.

The Bad

  • The App Store is obviously a last minute (and very weak) addition. I applaud Microsoft for doing it, and can’t wait for the coming Twitter and Facebook clients but apps on media players are a standard now and to not give it more attention is a big miss. This will get better over time and Microsoft has shown they’re fine with updating these devices with the latest and greatest but it’s more silly than it is anything at this point. The “Shell Game … Of The Future” is more the makings of a bad Letterman sketch than it is something to show off your premiere device with. The good apps are the ones we had last time.
  • Zune.net and the Zune Software aren’t fully ready for prime time. This will improve quickly too but when you compare the speed and flash and just dang coolness and compare it to the software, it’s a serious disconnect.
  • No Podcasts in the device Marketplace. Since we’re not talking carrier fees holding this back, Microsoft should have made that experience as cool. Feels like a budget cut issue personally.

The Verdict

This is the best possible (and coolest) music device I could possibly recommend. Since Zune has traditionally been “about the music” I think they did an amazing job here.

The “world of entertainment in the palm of your hand” element has great potential, and I can see where they are going, they just haven’t gotten there (completely) yet. Since video doesn’t totally sync up yet with the Xbox infrastructure and since the apps aren’t there to make this more than a music player with a few side apps, … I can’t give my thumbs up here yet.

So, as a music player – simply the best.

As a portable entertainment device – close.

Your thoughts?

ISYOT Effect – Who Else Wants This?

I love the ISYOT effect.

Forget being at the top of the results, BE THE RESULTS.

Would love your comments below:

Free Live Webinar On Audio CD Production

Thursday, February 19, at 6p Pacific / 9p Eastern, I’ll be hosting a live free Webinar with Mike Stewart on the topic of “How To Make An Audio CD.”

We’ll cover the basics and a few advanced topics as well. We’ll talk royalty-free music, working with Kunaki.com and Premiumcast.com for the printing and sales.

And we’ll answer questions – as many as you can send our way.

No charge, just register here.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who Knows You …

If you’re reading via RSS, you’ll probably have to click over to view this clip. The News Organization who provided the clip has one of those “old world” views on everything and wants to serve the content from their machines.

No problem, embedded below …

Just attempting to prove, it’s not what you know, it’s who knows you …

That and OTF video rendering.

Microsoft Actually Did Something Downright Revolutionary With The Zune Today

Boy that should get some attention …

I typically place the day to day stuff about the Zune over at ZuneLuv.com but today’s news deserves comment here as well (don’t worry, we wrote about this over there too).

As reported at Cnet and explained at the Zune Insider, Microsoft added something very cool to the Zune Pass program. The short explanation is this:

The Zune Pass music subscription program doesn’t leave you empty after each month of use. Now each month in the program includes 10 tracks that you get to own at the end of each month. Cancel, and the tracks are still yours. You can even burn them to CD if you want.

This changes everything, and then some.

First of all, the Zune Pass subscription program now can stay true to it’s claim of being a “music discovery” engine. Someone could spend a year in the engine, spend the money one might associate with 12 CDs and walk out with the ‘experience’ of having tried thousands of tracks – and still having 12 CDs worth of music in the end for their efforts.

It is truly the best of both worlds.

Secondly, the Zune (and Zune Pass) suddenly became a really good deal for music lovers. Instead of being the industry’s “solution to that pesky portable media player problem,” the Zune can now become part of the solution – in a way that’s “good” for both the industry and the end-user.

I’ve been a Zune Pass subscriber since the Zune came out. Microsoft has never paid a dime of my subscription fees yet I’ve loved the chance at listening to what I want, when I want it. Personally, the $15 a month seemed like a good deal. The ability to end each month with 10 tracks that are mine is but icing on the cake for me, but will cause a lot of people to finally give that cake a second look (and bite).

I’ve said in the past that Apple would have to respond to the music subscription options offered by Zune. Now they have no choice at all – and will be playing also-ran to Microsoft’s revolutionary first move in this space.

Smart move Redmond.

It’s been a long time since I’ve said that.

It feels good, don’t it?