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.

Verizon iPhone Details

Like most good geeks this morning, I read the liveblogs regarding the Verizon announcements. At the top of the list was Engadget’s live reporting (they always do a killer job) and Techcrunch as they, like me are always interested in the business side of it all. Of course, if that’s the focus, I guess we should point all the Wall Street Journal piece as well.

Long and short of it all. iPhone launches February 10 for Verizon at pretty much the same pricing and features as the iPhone on AT&T has right now. Same phone as AT&T too, just a special antenna for their network.

I say pretty much because it’s got something very cool that AT&T doesn’t have, and something very silly that AT&T is glad she doesn’t have: On the upside of things, you’ve got a “personal hotspot” option that will let you make your Verizon iPhone into, yup, a personal hotspot. Very cool – Internet tethering on steroids. On the downside of the things, the Verizon iPhone uses CDMA technology which, among other things, means you can’t do data and voice at the same time.

Yup, do something with data, phone rings, data stops on the new device. How very AT&T of Verizon. Sure technically, it’s a limitation of CDMA technology but it just smacks of AT&T’s initial launch of the iPhone on the Edge Network.

The iPhone 5 is going to come out this year and Verizon is selling a phone that can’t do voice and data at the same time. Sure, insert the AT&T still hasn’t figured out how to do voice joke here but, let’s be honest, it’s not the coup we were looking for.

So, should an existing customer upgrade? TNW says no.

I’m curious what you think …

iOS4 (iPhone OS 4) Thoughts

I have to admit the following – I spent the morning putting off the errands I needed to run because I knew the IOS update was coming. Yes, I’m that kinda geek. P.s., running errands with Pandora streaming in the background the whole time – priceless.

So, the new version of the iPhone OS is live. ARS has a great comprehensive review and RWW has a great piece on what runs on the different phones.

As fate would have it, I spent a great deal of time playing with this bad boy while in line at the AT&T store (on a billing matter). Kind of surreal, the whole process. Favorite moment was organizing my apps into folders while overhearing the AT&T sales dude explain that the new phones had “some folder thing in them.” … But I digress.

Here are the big deals for me.

Multitasking. Yes, I understand that this is only as good as the apps that support it, but even as a simple task switcher, this is really nice and elegant. As mentioned, running errands with Pandora streaming in the background is fun but the speed at which I now go back and forth between programs is awesome. And, there are a few more apps that I think make much more sense with this option. A world where Evernote, Simplenote and Skype are all there for me and are all running is an awesome world indeed. If/when 1Password is running, boooyaaahhh!

Folders. I have lots of apps. If you’ve read things this far, you do too. It’s nice to have them in folders that make sense. Minor in the functionality sense but pretty major for me in focus and organization.

Mail. Running a few different accounts through the same interface is extremely powerful. I probably will be redoing my mail strategy based on what I have now at my fingertips. Of course, it really becomes cool when my iPad is at IOS4, but that’s another post all together.

GPS in Multitasking. I don’t use GPS much on the iPhone because the single tasking stuff was just plain annoying. Folks would always call at the key times I needed to make the right turn at the right place. I can’t tell you that this changes much as I don’t know for sure, but I see that phone give me directions a lot more now …

Do you have it yet? What do you think?

The Problem With iBooks – The Platform Is Very Limited

The last 10 or so books I’ve read have all been on my Kindle. Not only are we a 2-Kindle family but I can show you that I’ve actually saved money on these devices. Every time I pick up a business book that retails at least fifteen bucks more for the dead tree edition, I realize this isn’t just a convenience issue, it’s a monetary one. And, yes, I make use of the iPhone app as well – but it is hardly the experience I want or need. And, friends, don’t knock e-ink until you’ve read a few books on it.

Side note: on my desk are a few books that only come in print and I can’t, for the moment, pull myself to even crack open.

So, Apple comes out with the iPad and the very cool looking iBooks option. We hear stories of magazines jumping on board quickly and we have something very interesting here. Embedded below is a YouTube Playlist:

At the point I wrote this, the best facts I could find about the iBooks included 1 simple fact that needs to be examined. Again, at the time of writing (3/1/2010), here’s what we know: iBooks only works on the iPad. Kindle products work on the iPad, the iPhone, PCs (Macs coming soon), and Blackberries. In short, my options are to read my stuff on every screen I own, or only one of the screens I own. I can also publish TODAY to the Kindle Network – but that’s another post all together. Obviously there are no details on that, but I don’t see it coming any time soon.

Now if I buy music through iTunes, I can play it on anything (including that Zune). If I buy a television show or movie, I can play it on any of my registered devices in the house (including my iPad).

So, yes, this is a revision 1 release – actually a pre revision 1 release but, right now, iBooks do nothing for me.

So, I ask this question, is the concept of iBooks doing anything for you? Is this something independent content developers should be considering? I guess I don’t get what they’re bringing to the table yet that, simply, isn’t provided much better on the Kindle.

Apple’s “Latest Creation” Event (the iPad) – My New Media Perspective

Thanks to Leo Laporte’s Phone, and Gdgt’s live photostream, we got an almost live look at the launch of the (surprised?) iPad. Other great pieces include Wired telling us it’s more about content, Cali Live, and TechCrunch’s live stream.

My thoughts:

The iPad name. Branding is a tough thing, but if anyone can pull it off, Apple can. Lots of folk can have slates or tablets. Only one company can have an iPad. Now they can (and will) charge more.

Mentioning YouTube but not Hulu, etc. I predict here that as this effectively has the ability to kill the purchase of content for the television, … I predict Hulu will try to ban (or severely restrict) the playing of Hulu content on the device. There will be hacks, don’t get me wrong, but, .. yeah, Hulu ain’t gonna like this at all.

Regular mentioning of Podcasts on this bad boy. Nice, but I believe this is more of a positioning statement than anything else. It might be me, but it sounds like Steve is telling some “big media” types that we can do fine without them. And, actually, I agree.

No Flash? That’s what Engadget is telling us. Answers the Boxee/Hulu question – and forces us to download content for the iPad. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

The iPad Econony.” Steve started the event with thoughts on how Apple is the “biggest” mobile device company on the planet. There is an iPhone economy (and nothing even comes close). I think they’re going for the same thing here. Hubris or brilliance … we’ll see.

Ability to use existing iPhone apps. Obvious, but extremely powerful. There are a couple of iPhone apps that I would use a lot more if I had more space (OmniFocus, Mail, Calendar, InstataPaper, Evernote, etc.) iPhone changed the way we used phones. Mix that power, already built in, with Steve’s comment that netbooks are lousy and we have an interesting new space.

Microphone jack. New media creation device.

The MLB.tv Demo. Yes, MLB has been leading the pack on this one, but those who own there media can all learn from this model of making sure their media is available on every device. An app for your show for the iPad is a LOT MORE (impressive and important) THAN AN RSS FEED.

iPad v Kindle (iBooks). Part of Kindle’s charm for me is the epaper bit (and the eyestrain that it doesn’t cause). I like where Apple is going, but I’m not sure how buying an iBook, only available on my iPad, is better than buying a Kindle book, which I can read on the Kindle, iPhone and iPad. Pricing will be a big issue here. Of course, you can buy MP3s on Amazon that work great on the iPhone – and we know where their positioning is.

iWork for iPad. Don’t underestimate brilliance of this one. If we can get an Office Suite with battery life for less than an Office Suite with laptops (with less battery life), we have a winner in the Enterprise? Remember, the promise is 10 HOURS of batter power. And at $9.99 each, yes, they’re making an Enterprise play …

$30 for unlimited 3G. No contract. But … AT&T. No commitment. But … AT&T. Remember too, this is a GSM chip so you won’t able able to move this over to Verizon without buying a new iPad. Hmmmmmm.

Price. Starting at $499 for 16 gig. $129 more for the 3G options. Most expensive 64gig and 3G – $829.

No camera. Nothing about USB. Not everything you need … but very nice.

125,000 million accounts and credit card numbers. This is a major audience ready to buy your stuff. Will you make it available to them?

Summary: So, she’s gorgeous and (relatively) cheap and a game changer. She doesn’t have the stuff we need to entirely bring her into the world we know (Flash, Camera, etc.). She is also very obviously a v1 product but color me impressed. The enterprise play and the cheaper access option (and the Apple halo effect) mean that it’s going to get a lot of play, quickly. She won’t be the streaming cable cutter like some buzz, but very impressive none the less.

We have what it takes to establish a 3rd category of products … We think we’ve done it.” (Steve Jobs)

Did they?

My 2010 New Media Predictions

Beware a prognosticator who isn’t honest about past prognostication. How did I do with my 2009 predictions? I’m calling 4 out of 5.

    2009 Prediction #1 – Now that iPod finally has a competitor in the Zune, you’ll see advances this year in new media aggregation that can only come from stiff competition. Was wrong there, but I’d like to say this … iPod doesn’t yet have a competitor in the Zune. Technically, it’s a great device with a great infrastructure, but until Microsoft figures out the marketing and positioning, it’s is going to remain a great device that nobody knows about. And, until everyone “knows” about it, this prediction can’t come to pass.

    2009 Prediction #2 – The meme that “nobody will pay for content” will quietly die. Check. We’ve got multiple 6-figure Podcasts in Premiumcast.com. Hulu is trying the trial balloon of charging for content. Apple ads monthly subscriptions to the iPhone App Infrastructure. Is the concept “dead” yet – not quite – but she’s on life support.

    2009 Prediction #3 – “Cable cutting” will become cool. The New York Times is reporting on it. The Boxee Box is coming (quicker than I thought it would). As per my last post, YouTube wants to bring television to your television. Roku has an $80 option. Nuff said.

    2009 Prediction #4 – The general public will stop treating microblogging (Twitter) as a 24×7 chat room and find some very strong business uses for it. The biggest pleasant surprises of the year for me have included the incredible CoTweet.com web client and the book Socialnomics (Erik Qualman, author of the book, joined us on the most recent episode of Internet Marketing This Week). CoTweet is a management system for Twitter that makes her a darn effective crm system and Socialnomics will prove to you that this is all much more than what “the kids” are doing.

    2009 Prediction # 5- There will be no real competitor to the iPhone in 2009. Nuff said.

So, now, predictions for 2010 …

    There will be no real competitor to the iPhone in 2010. There are a number of reasons for this. The 2 biggest are the fact that Apple will make some big announcements next year (including iPhone on other networks and the tablet). These moves will get the press that any iPhone “competitor” can only dream of. The issue is that no phone company yet “gets” what makes the iPhone great. How stupid is AT&T to let this slip away from them?

    “App Stores” will become the goto model for everyone. App Stores are easy, sexy, and considered by many to be a “proven” model because of the success of the iPhone. The “proven” part is examined in a later prediction. All the phones are doing it, and we’ll be seeing it inside of other systems – ebook readers, OSs, cable systems, any connected device.

    We’ll see some desperate last gasps for relevancy from the cable companies. They are scared to death because the only thing that people really want from them – they no longer have a monopoly on. They will, out of fear, try to create monopolies – because this is all they know. It won’t work. It’s gonna be ugly. This one might take longer than 2010 – but we’ll see the rumblings of it this year. NBComcast anyone?

    Hulu 1/1/2010 will be dramatically different than Hulu 12/31/2010. And by dramatically different I mean way less free stuff (or way more commercials). I’ve said from day one that she ain’t sustainable and the “big media” companies aren’t going to stand for it much longer.

    The “App Economy” and easy distribution and product creation models will flood the economy with a bunch of great stuff at prices that can’t sustain businesses. It’s gonna be messy. I’m not looking forward to this one at all – but it is inevitable. The app economy has created a world where 99 cents is standard and anything over that is eyed with suspicion. Not good. The press continues to propagate the meme. Also not good. This can only bring more crap barely worth 99 cents and tech and content companies selling at a reduced rate hoping to make up for it in volume. Niche is not a volume game. It’s going to be ugly. Please don’t fall victim to this one – people will pay well for the right content, services, and software.

So, I leave the comments open hoping to hear/read what you think. #5 is the one that I think will impact us the most – but all are important issues.

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?