The Global Paradox And Main Street Marketing Machines

One of the most important books for my business and professional career was/is The Global Paradox. Although written when the Internet was becoming a reality, very very little of it had to do with that specific tech. The book was all about the logical implications of where things are going.

And, it was as obvious to me back then as it is now: Things are changing and we better go where things are going.

What is the “Global Paradox?” … The Bigger the World Economy, the More Powerful It’s Smallest Players right down to the individual.

I can’t but help but think of YouTube, founded by 3 early PayPal employees and bought by Google for $1.65 BILLION. This isn’t just a story of three small players with a big payoff, it’s a story of EVERY MAJOR MEDIA DISTRIBUTION COMPANY having a plan (public or private and internal or external) to deal with PayPal.

I can’t but help think of Steve Jobs who made computers fun, phones not suck and the “netbook” pointless. His company is now worth more than Microsoft. One man’s vision is now part of EVERY CONVERSATION where tech, marketing, or packaging is involved.

I can’t but help think of Facebook … The world built the World Wide Web for about 15 years (as a massive project of awesome) and them suddenly, nobody makes a serious move on thing without first considering the impact of TWENTY SIX YEAR OLD’S Website that he built while at school.

I could go on and on with this list. Heck, I’m sure you could to. Actually, why don’t you put your favorites in the comments below?

And, finally, I write this from a hotel room in San Diego in the middle of the launch for Main Street Marketing Machines. Mike and the team have suggested, simply, that their tech is better than anything else for the marketing of Main Street businesses online and, gosh darn it, I believe that they’re right. The customers (most of them a single person) are launching businesses that not only have the Yellow Pages companies shaking in their boots but they’re also actually helping the Main Street Businesses get found online.

The Global Paradox is a reality. I’m thrilled to be part of it.

Note: I will keep this article up in my blog forever but I need to point out most of you who read this will read it after Main Street Marketing Machines closes for purchase. If it’s still up when you read this, consider it a warning. If it’s down … sorry to say, but I told you so.

Dead In 2010

I tweeted last week that “Acer Chairman says iPad impact not serious … then offers Easter Bunny job as Chief Strategy Director.” Apologies to the Easter Bunny in suggesting he’d take such a demotion but, … let’s face it, with the iPad, the Netbook is dead in 2010.

Today I sit in front of my new MacBook Air typing this in – and I realized something. She’s got no CD/DVD drive, no drives at all. The spinning disk is dead in 2010.

With announcements of “App Store” for Windows, Mac, Windows Phone 7 and more, I felt a bit sad as I put my iLife 11 DVD in my iMac (the Air came with it preloaded (w a USB Restore Key). I’ll never do that again. Shrinkwrap software distribution is dead in 2010.

This morning I sat on the exercise bike and chose from more shows than I could possibly want on my iPad through Hulu Plus and Netflix (delivered over ATT 3G none the less). I love the new show “The Good Guys” but couldn’t even tell you what night it is on (and I remain a TV junkie). Sure, I canceled Cable TV in 2007 but the family simply doesn’t miss it anymore. Yes, Comcast delivers the Webernet to my home but I got Clear and Verizon as options too. No, everybody doesn’t have as many choices, but we do have choices. The Cable Company as monopoly is dead in 2010.

Cali Lewis is at Revision3 and even Adam Curry has taken a “soft exit” from the company formally known as Podshow. Mevio, the company who first sold Podcasters of the dream of quitting the day job, is dead in 2010.

What else is dead in 2010?

What are you going to change in 2011 as a result?

Xbox 360 With Zune HD Integration (Fall Update Preview) – Fascinating Implications – Is This The Box I’m Looking For?

The TV on the Internet world has had a bunch of interesting announcements this week. We now know Apple TV is running IOS on the inside (TV Apps anyone?) and Hulu+ is coming to the Roku box. When will we get that ultimate box?

Does Microsoft have a chance with all in this?

Let’s cover the big issues (in my mind at least): Price, Netflix integration, Hulu+ integration, Movies to purchase/rent, Television to purchase/rent:

Roku: $69 and up – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes (Amazon) / Television yes (Amazon)
Apple TV: $99 – Netflix yes / Hulu no / Movies yes / Television limited
Xbox: $199 and up – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes / Television yes
Boxee Box: $249 – Netflix yes / Hulu yes / Movies yes / Television yes (free/paid)

We just don’t know enough about Google TV (yet) to include here.

Microsoft sent an Xbox with the Fall Update Preview Beta. Very nice integration. Haven’t been able to talk about it until today. BTW, here are Engadget’s thoughts.

Yes, Roku is cheaper but she doesn’t let me play Gears of War – nuff said.

I think Microsoft has something very cool here – but I’d love your thoughts. I got everything I want on this device (minus iPhone integration, of course) and don’t know or see how Apple can deliver on their Apple TV platform (or at least what we know of it today). Boxee is more expensive and does a lot less. Yes, I have some free Internet TV viewing options but there are ways to get that on the Xbox as well.

Embedded below is a video walkthrough of the Zune stuff on the new Xbox Fall Update Preview. More on that over at ZuneLuv.com.

The 21st Century In 20th Century Terms

I’ve recently been a bit obsessed by the book Socialnomics (affiliate link). Lynn Terry introduced it to me last time we recorded Internet Marketing This Week and, wow, very very cool stuff. I can’t recommend it enough. I’m changing some things around here based on the simple truths contained within – and I’ll be you do the same if you pick it up. P.s., there is something very right about reading this one on your Kindle.

(BTW – @Equalman (the author) has agreed to come on a taping of the show soon and I promise to update you when he does.)

One of the big themes in the book is the fact that social media is changing “the way we live and do business.

Paul, that’s a bit extreme

If Twitter and Facebook were just some program, I’d agree. They’re not programs, they’re, for lack of a better term, operating systems, that let us do things we were never able to do before. It’s not what Twitter or Facebook does – it’s what we do with Twitter or Facebook that really matter.

Let’s look at some examples of this in history … the Web changed the very way we consumed content on the computer (it was never about the browser), email changed the way we communicated with each other (it was never about Outlook or Eudora), the cell phone changed the way people got a hold of us (it was never about the device that made it possible), and the list goes on (feel free to add some examples below) …

The last time I flew cross-country I was watching CNN on the plane for the 4 hours I was in the air. The big story of the moment was that Twitter was down. Yup, we’re at war, the economy is in some very sticky places, banks are failing and the big story of the day was … Twitter was down.

The skeptic watching the story would note that Twitter isn’t even in the top ten websites (at the time I write this, Alexa rates her at number 15).

It’s not about the site. It’s never been about the site.

Twitter “happens” via web, via sms, via desktop, via cell phone, via assistant, via email, via gaming console and more. Twitter is more than just a program. Her being down was at least as newsworthy as anything else CNN had to offer.

When I made my Facebook changes earlier this year, I never thought I’d enjoy the results the way I have been. What I thought was just a simple house-cleaning project has let me communicate better not just with my audience, but with my friends and family as well. How do I use Facebook? I Facebook via web, via sms, via desktop, via cell phone, via assistant, via email, via gaming console and more. Facebook is more than just a program – it’s a communications platform for me.

The people who “get” Twitter and Facebook are the ones who realize they are “more than just a program.”

This, of course, made me wonder if there are other examples of terms limiting the impact of the technologies we’re embracing like crazy. I came up with a few …

Podcasting is so much more than a program made by Apple – but to this day, my Mom still thinks she can’t consume Podcasts because her and Dad don’t have an Apple.

8 out of every 9 people who read www.PaulColligan.com content don’t read it at www.PaulColligan.com – yet most people think of a Blog as a really easy means to put content online – not an engine to syndicate your content to an exponentially bigger audience. I’ve got EXACTLY the platform I want in my Blog – it hasn’t never been about not having to do HTML.

Despite the reality that the iPhone is an amazing device, it has changed the cell phone and applications industry forever and that will impact the future of content delivery 100 fold compared to how it has changed the device we use to talk to Mom on.

Coming a little closer to home, I’m about ready to strangle the next person who limits our Premiumcast engine to be nothing more than “a way to charge for Podcasts” or says “video is better than audio” without examining audience and delivery.

I think this issue is a simple one: we’re trying to come to terms with the 21st century in terms we coined when gas passing a buck a gallon was “too much” and the Russians were the bad guys secretly hoping to kill us all. It’s akin to trying to describe the Star Wars films in Egyptian hieroglyphics or attempting to mime the social ramifications of Paris Hilton.

We need to start developing 21st century terms for these important issues.

Any idea how to start?

Or am I nuts?

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?

Impressed With Windows 7

I grabbed a $300 netbook from Costco the other day and put Windows 7 “Starter Edition” on it.  For those of you not familiar with it – it’s a stripped down version of Windows that they’ll start selling with Netbooks very soon – something to counterbalance all those Netbooks sold with Linux installed.

This thing is fast.  With all the lame fancy graphics tricks stripped from the OS, we have a really clean and zippy option for Netbooks. 

Guys, this is solid, reliable, attractive and robust – all the things we want from Windows.

And, as a bonus, I’m writing this piece on Windows Live Writer.  I’ve heard about this for awhile as well and, well, it too impresses me.

Combine this with the promise of the Zune HD and, well, am I excited about Microsoft again?

New iPods Coming?

AppleInsider tells us that a new iPod lineup is coming very soon – 9/9/9 to be exact. Rumors they’re also “confirming” include some “social networking” features being built inside of iTunes 9.

Weren’t we “laughing” at Microsoft’s attempt to make the Zune social a few years back?

It all makes sense though – the camera and video features in the iPhone 3GS’s are screaming for an iPod Touch version (at the very least). I’m still amazed at ’em and haven’t pulled out my Flip HD since I got the new phone.

And, let’s face it, music and Podcasting is very social – despite how cool it is to laugh at Microsoft.

But speaking of Zune, although Microsoft won’t confirm anything officially at this point, Amazon is pointing to a September 15 release date for the Zune HD product – one week after Apple’s announcements.

Is this a pre-emptive strike from 1 Infinite Loop?

Actually, don’t care, … the cooler and cooler they make our devices, the better and better we are as consumers.

Regardless, I truly doubt the new iPods will have an HDMI out option.

Thoughts?

WWDC 2009 Comments – Paul’s New Media Spin

As always, I geeked out and monitored the livebloggers during the WWDC event. Here are my comments accordingly (for the record, I monitored Geekbrief’s live stream, Engadget, TUAW, and Gizmodo):

  • Zune HD Jokes – haven’t heard yet, but you know they’re coming …
  • New Macbooks and pricing – all nice – but nothing revolutionary.
  • Snow Leopard – nice – but nothing revolutionary (don’t worry, I’ll be upgrading).
  • Quicktime – mixed emotions here. Sometimes I think they need to work on making Flash better – we just aren’t seeing the Quicktime streaming adoption I know Apple wanted. Some standards have just won …
  • Cali’s Occasional “Drops” – It takes a TON of power to livestream video – as cool as it is, I still don’t know if it is scalable yet. And, one day the cool folk at Ustream.tv (and the others) are gonna look at their bandwidth bill and, … yeah.
  • iPhone 3.0 – The stuff that’s been reported on in the past – I won’t comment on here.
  • Rental and downloading of iTunes video content – very cool, Bout time.
  • Tethering – other countries get it – AT&T staying true to form.
  • Video streaming – cool, on a geeky level – but see note on streaming above.
  • In App Purchasing – this one is so huge. Examining the implications of this in Premiumcast something fierce. I know it has been brought up in the past – but killer.
  • Push Notification – How cool would it be to be able to push updates that a new episode of a Podcast is live?
  • So far – not so exciting. Give us something.
  • iPhone 3GS – speed, 3 megapixel camera, nice pics in low light, video (30 fps vga), voice commands, good pricing. Release 6/19.

Nice – but nothing making me run to the store. Video is great – but we’re in an HD world now …

Other thoughts? Comments?

Does Microsoft’s (And Everyone Else’s) Future Media Integration Plans Kill The Indie Producer? Is Felicia Day A Star Or What?

Today as I sat through an amazing presentation by Microsoft that included Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Steven Spielberg and Felicia Day (you can read the details of the Xbox/Zune E3 announcements here), I had to ask myself a single question:

Where is the indie producer in this?

As I look at Hulu’s attempt to kill Boxee earlier this week, I had to ask myself a single question:

Where is the indie producer in this?

As the products for media consumption get “cooler and cooler” (take a look at the Project Natal video – amazing stuff), I can’t but help wonder if it is going to get harder and harder to get yourself inside of the interface.

Last week brought us a few glimpses of the Zune HD interface – and it looks like Podcasting is still in there. There are rumors of Podcasting in iPhone 3.0 allowing video downloads over the air. YouTube remains open for the indie – but that is about it.

How can I (you) get my (your) content into these channels? Should I be trying? If I can’t get in, …

BTW, was thrilled to see Felcia Day on stage – even more so than the Fab 2 (and a director I really haven’t cared for since Close Encounters). She should remind us all that there is room for us in this game if we play our cards right.

Thoughts?

Zune HD – Details Emerge From Microsoft – And They Might Have Got It Right In Version 3

ZuneHD.com has official details from Microsoft about their Zune HD product. We’re guessing Microsoft got tired of all the rumors.

Looks very cool – and looks like a key player – or at least potentially so.

I’m heading out to S3 next week and will be at the Xbox Press Event where they will demonstrate the new interface (got a pass to the press event). I hope to get to play with the device as well.

Could Microsoft have actually got this right in version 3?

Visit Zune HD for more coverage. As the details come in, they’ll track them all there.