Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

iPod Nano vs. McDonalds

Tue, 09/20/2005 - 19:46 -- rprice

This topic was broight to my mind by Paul Colligan and Alex Mandossian of Marketing Online Live, two guys that have a Podcast related to their Marketing Online magazine.

iPods aside, ask anyone in the business or marketing world, 'What business is McDonald's in?', and they will reply, 'Real Estate'. Most people will say, 'I thought they sold hamburgers and plastic toys and... fruit.' Oh no, my unknowing friend, think about it:

  • Franchise owners will buy more land than they need, and sell the remainder to other businesses like mini malls. The street corner grows up around the McDonald's
  • McDonald's owns more land than Disney. For kids from Florida, that means something.
  • Much like a realtor will sign up with a national firm like Watson, an entrepeneur will spend millions of dollars just for the right to use the name of McDonald's.

All that other stuff is mostly there to intice you, the consumer, to want to go to the real-estate and spend your money, and come back to it many times, because you trust the product. You can get the product anywhere—a hamburger, a spongebob toy, a playground, and a clean place to sit. You want the product, but you are investing your time in that piece of real estate.

Now, let's take the iPod. What are Apple and Steve Jobs really selling here? Music? Digital freedom? Podcasts? Photos? No way. If you haven't noticed, when you buy a new iPod, it is empty. You have to buy the content, or rip it yourself. Without good content, your iPod is worth nothing. However, you paid $300, bitch. Why?

You're buying a brand. A brand that is so damn exiting that HP didn't even bother to make their own, they freakin' re-sell Apple's! The thing doesn't even play video! WHY? Because they have got your loyalty. They are McDonald's. Not only do they control your real-estate and your brand loyalty, they also control the means of distrobution.

The smartest thing they ever did was give me something for free. Every week, the iTunes music store gives away two or more songs. In order to download these songs, I have to sit my butt in the seat, open their application, go to their music store (which I can only open from their application), and download the free songs. Now, I don't exactly have to walk in the front door, because I can link to it directly from outside the application, but I am already there. They've got me. And you know what? The songs you buy on iTunes can only be played on an iPod. That means you need to visit their real-estate to use their product.

The same can be said of McDonald's. The only place to get a happy meal is underneath the Golden Arches.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. There is a handy comment form below.

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I made it to the Digg Homepage

Sun, 09/18/2005 - 19:09 -- rprice

Digg.com, for those of you who don’t know, is a social technology news website where users digg (vote) stories to promote them to the homepage. I believe 75 diggs will earn you coveted homepage status. Just for fun, go there and read 3 or 4 stories. Some are really geeky or funny, others are real news.

One bottleneck to the process is that people tend to post things over and over and over and… ad nauseum. To solve this problem, the submission get matched agianst other similar posts and there is a search box so you can try to weed out your news before you post and get angry comments. The seceond one is posting stale news from days, weeks, months, or even years past, although it did re-unite me with my favorite car commercial (Honda).

My story:

Google Founders Buy a 767 Jumbo Jet

Apparently, a 767 is not a Jumbo Jet. Oh well. At the time of this post, I was up to 1073 diggs, and my user name now has a little (1) next to it. Hooray-a for me!

My Digg Profile

Here you can check out the stories I have been digging recently. You could also see if I have any more stories on the homepage. I doubt it will ever happen again, but we’ll see.

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Google AdSense for RSS and Atom Feeds

Sun, 09/18/2005 - 12:33 -- rprice

I read this news just a few days ago, and it seems like old news, but it is a viable topic for discussion. Google is obviously big daddy here, but other companies have been putting ads in feeds for quite some time now. Should feeds contain advertising? Is it profitable? Viable? Who benfits?

Posted from eWeek.com (May 17, 2005):

By moving its sponsored listings into feeds, Google wants to remove a common fear among some publishers that they will lose advertising revenue as readers subscribe to feeds rather than reading content on Web sites, said Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for AdSense.

Over the past few years, everyone has come to expect seeing Google text ads hovering at the top or sides of almost every web page. The idea of contextual advertising is certainly not old, but new form of content delivery are now appearing, and new advertising models are needed as the Web evolves.

Scott Johnson of Feedster mentioned in a July 4th interview with InfoTalk that his RSS search engine would be incorporating ads into feeds. One of the best parts is that their brand of feed-vertising will scrape content from the entire archive of a feed, as opposed to just what is being displayed (i.e. tha last 10 posts). This allows them to give you truly targeted advertising, instead of just grabbing keywords.

The Feedster interview took place at the Gnomedex conference, shortly after Microsoft announced IE7 would have support for RSS, additionaly announcing RSS support would be built in to the Vista kernel and each user's profile. For advertisers, that is a fairly large announcement, considering Windows users will have such integral support to viewing feeds, and therefore being exposed to feed-based advertising at every turn.

The place I see this sort of advertising having the greatest effect is in a vertical search or regional search type application, such as my brother's Cable Ridge, where he wants to promote events specifically in South Florida. Placing ads in his RSS feeds for local businesses and services would really target the specific customer base that business is chasing after, therefore maximizing the effectiveness of their ads. On the other hand, of the millions of people subscribed to Slashdot or del.icio.us may be getting ads they don't neccesarily care about. I guess it is better than plain old contextual AdWords, though.

Keep watching your favorite feeds over the next few months. We'll talk about this more after it becomes common practice.

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InfoTalk Podcast is my #1

Sun, 09/18/2005 - 11:56 -- rprice

John Furrier of PodTech.net is a computer science guy from back in the 80's, and while he doesn't think of himself as special, he really is. His incredibly popular batch of InfoTalk Podcasts consists of short 15-minute segments, each one covering a different topic somehow related to current and future trends in the internet, or Web 2.0 as John calls it. Guests have included Adam Curry, one of the people known as 'Podfather', employees of Microsoft, WordPress developers, lawyers, marketers, computer scientists, you name it, he's got it.

While the show is very informative, the delivery can be confusint. He tries to break the segments up into more than 20 different 'shows', and segments within these shows have an insane amount of overlap. Subscribing to even two of the shows produces 10 or 15 duplicate downloads. My personal recomendation is the Silicon Valley Podcast.

Hard drive space aside, the guest speakers are great. John takes it much more like an interview with the guest as the star and himself as a humble facilitator. He obviously knows his stuff, and does great preparation beforehand. Each interview may cover a number of topics such as Podcasting, Blogging, Search Engines, Operating Systems and Open Source issues in the technology side. He also takes time to ask about Venture Capital, Entrepenurship and Marketing, even legal issues. For a young aspiring mind like myself, the views and news presented give me a great idea of the state of the industry, and what the big boys are up to. More than once a guest has presented and idea I would like to incorporate in to my Web business, or that I think is just darn cool.

The point is, if you are interested in the slightly more business-y side of the Web, where the future of content delivery is headed, or tips about how to make a million ducks, check out PodTech.net and the InfoTalk Podcasts.

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Google Blog Search brings the Blogoshpere to the World

Wed, 09/14/2005 - 21:09 -- rprice
On September 14th, Google launched blogsearch.google.com, a service that searches only results within Web logs, commonly known as blogs. Blogs are just one of the new amateur publishing techniques that have been born in the second decade of the World Wide Web. Blogs allow their owners to write down their thoughts on current events, share their poetry with others, or simply record what is going on in their life at the moment. Blogging also comes with the ability for readers of a blog to post a response to posts, making each article like a miniature bulletin board. One of the most convenient features of blogs are feeds which allow anyone to see the latest information on a blog without having to visit the web page itself.

It is primarily through these feeds that Google Blog Search discovers most of the articles in the known world of blogging, nicknamed the Blogoshpere. Feeds in XML-based formats such as RSS and Atom allow for aggregation services like Ping-O-Matic, as well as home-based feed readers like Firefox Live Bookmarks to be notified whenever a new post is published. Blog readers are then free to read a summary of the post straight from the feed, or follow a URL directly to the blog to read the post from its original source. Google Blog Search paruses millions of feeds every day to allow users of the service to search the world of blogging from a well-known source: Google.

Even though Google does offer its own blogging service through the infinitely popular Blogger, results are not restricted in any way, as long as the posts are broadcast with feeds, Google may be able to find it.

Because Google is so well-known—arguably the most successful search engine of all time—I suspect people will only catch on to reading famous blogs in an even bigger way from now on.

Posted from WashingtonPost.com (September 14, 2005):

Google could do for blogs what Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes is doing for podcasts... those who are still learning to navigate the Web, [will likely] turn to Google or Yahoo or one of the other search engine sites that have become household names.

I'll admit that while I had heard the word "Podcast" used several times last year, I barely knew what it meant until it was offered as a part of iTunes. Now you couldn't keep me from subscribing to at least one new Podcast every week, just to see what is being offered. With tens of thousands of choices amongst Podcast and even more Blogs, the possibilities are limitless.

That's why blog search is so important. How would the Harry Potter fans find each other? Or the readers of Popular Science? Sure, there are forums, but forums are not for everyone. I myself find it difficult to keep up with even a few forum threads. More often than not, I keep a mental list of good forums in my Bookmarks, and rely on Google Search to bring me the rest of the relevant forum posts I need. After finding a needed tip or script, I might not return to that forum again. HOWEVER, if I were to go searching for news on a story of interest, say... Google Blog Search, and found a well-written, informative, maybe witty blog offering, I might just add that to my RSS reader and come back next time I see something interesting in the title.

By the way, if you want to subscribe to my blog, and you use the Firefox browser, click that little orange icon in the bottom right of your window.
Firefox Live Bookmark Icon That's how live bookmarking is done.

Just for example, the search does work. Type in a search for 'Ryan Price', and at least for right now you get a link to several posts containing the words 'Ryan' and/or 'Price', as well as a link to a related blog. The blog happens to belong to my Alberta, Canada counterpart, who also happens to be a web designer.

Now, go and check it out: Google Blog Search.

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Blu-ray DVD shall overcome

Tue, 09/13/2005 - 23:37 -- rprice
Posted from BusinessWeek online (September 14, 2005):

In late August, Toshiba admitted that talks to unify next-gen DVD formats had ceased. "It is regrettable but unavoidable that two formats will remain (on the market),"

I never had much faith in that unification.

Shortly thereafter, the news spread that Toshiba was pushing back its HD DVD launch into 2006 -- the Japanese firm had planned to introduce the first HD DVD players during the fourth quarter of this year. The delay was all that skeptics needed in order to pronounce HD DVD dead, and it apparently was the perfect ammo for Sony to use against the rival format.

I think these quotes really sum up the whole story quite nicely, but here is the low-down:
Sony and Toshiba are starting one of these classic ‘Beta vs. VHS’ battles over the next generation DVD platform. Sony’s Blu-ray is the Beta, with larger storage capacity, but it happens to be more expensive for manufacturers. Toshiba’s selling point is that companies won’t have to re-tool their factories because HD DVD uses the same type of laser as conventional DVD writers.

I am actually pretty shocked that neither company is trying to release anything for 4th Quarter and the holiday shopping kick. That would really solidify what Steve Jobs said in January about 2005 being “The year of HD”. We already have HDTV broadcasts, new video codecs like H.264, HD PVRs, HD pro-sumer and consumer-level video cameras, not to mention these HDTV sets everyone has been buying for the last umpteen years, waiting patiently to see the pores on Bon Jovi’s face in stunning detail.

As far as I can tell, this year is going to go down as “The year HD almost broke into the mainstream”. The same could be said of Toshiba and HD DVD.

Everyone remembers the beginning of the current video game console cycle, and how many people bought a PlayStation 2 because it doubled as a DVD player, and a few people bought it as a cheap and trusted alternative to the overpriced DVD players for sale at the time. With PlayStation 3 set to release during 2nd Quarter of next year, by the time it’s trendy to get a High-Def DVD player, the PS3 will be on the shelves and the Sony fanboys will be rushing out to get one.

According to a claim by Bejamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:
Posted from HomeMediaRetailing.com online (September 6, 2005):

“I think in 12 months it’s all going to be clear: the combination of Blu-ray and PlayStation 3 machines is going to overwhelm any HD DVD presence and all studios will have to support Blu-ray,” said Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Welcome to Beer Blog

Fri, 09/09/2005 - 18:36 -- rprice

Welcome welcome welcome to the world of BEER! Beer Blog is a place to discuss and learn about beers both good and bad from around the world. If you are a friend of hops and barley, you have come to the right address!

My friends and I are part of a local beer enthusiast’s club, and we have this blog to share our beer experiences with you.

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I am a Polyliason

Tue, 06/24/2003 - 08:00 -- rprice


You are 39% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.


You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!


You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

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New Content

Sun, 04/27/2003 - 08:00 -- rprice

Hey all, I know it's been a while, but just some updates:

* I am dating a girl named Erin from Gainesville (she's Mady's friend and an APO brother).
* I am starting my own business called Mortar Interactive. We will do web design and internet software. I am going this week to open the bank account. I'll post once I have the site up!
* I am going to Sweden this summer with the Marching Knights for the Tatoo Festival in Eskjo.
* My summer started on Friday - hooray!

If you want more info than this, there are many ways of contacting me buried in this site. Drop me a line!

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Yet another quote

Wed, 02/05/2003 - 07:00 -- rprice

All I need is "Hi , honey! How was your day?"
(with tongue)
Thanks Steph.
(meaning Steph said this)

Although I don't have cool posting service, feel free to respond to these postings via email or AIM (kerm52), and I just might post your response and make it look all pretty.
Later!

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