Saturday, October 29, 2005

The world of Venture Capital ...

Well, I have been taking casual glances at VCs again after more than a year of completely ignoring them. Doing some pretty extensive research the last week or so, I found a cool site called Ventureblogs, where many links to the industry's most vocal VCs can be found (heavyweights like Mark Cuban, David Sifry, etc...). I have read over quite a few of them, and let me state outright some of these guys just don't get much of anything. I'm not gonna call any guys out, but it's painfully clear that Web Bubble 1.0, and the new coming-to-a-town-near-you Web Bubble 2.0 are the direct result of these slick and sly masters of money manipulation and outright hob-dob crookery. Just big words coming out of my mouth? Maybe, but check them out yourself.

I *did* enjoy reading the insights of folks like Steve Hall, Roger McNamee, and Jeff Clavier among others ... they seemed to know what they were talking about (at least not talking out of their asses) and had a good sense of humor about the industry. I'm sure there are many more out there worth reading, if you know of them, please let me know.

Having said all this - I do understand that these guys demand (and deserve) a ROI for their investments -- generally in the form of a M&A (merger & aquisition), or a a full-blown IPO. Therefore, this means generally they do not need to really get the "technology" for technology's sake, but only that they can see a clear path to ROI. However, what's difficult to deal with sometimes is explaining the hidden human-technology interaction factor (or, in short, the "WOW" factor) that, much of the time, many of them do not get because they themselves do NOT use technology outside of email or a mobile phone.

I've heard lots of negative things about our technologies in the past, be it our older IM technologies we brought to the mobile world, or with our current Jellingspot Data Server. Maybe it's just me, but I remember one clear example that proves this point in someways -- SMS. Back in 1999 when I moved to Europe, SMS was starting to move, but was by far not crazy like it is today. I would make the main argument about bring additional SMS services to customers to drive new business models and new ecosystems, but marketing managers and financial gurus at the carriers would shoot me down and say, "SMS isn't that big, it's too difficult to use for most, and people can just use voice." A few years later, SMS is a super billion dollar industry, and most carriers are pushing it hard. It seems tech people are always ahead of the people who just look at the bottom-line (they don't seem to see anything else around them). I've heard the same arguments against Jellingspot at times from VCs, but that defiant rejection is slowly turning as more and more location-marketing/POS systems hit the market and people are actually using them (not to mention some of my competitors have pulled off funding).

Which brings me back (getting off topic a bit) to the VCs -- yes, I'm looking again, so if you know any bright folks out there who are into the VC business, I'm more than willing to throw down with them verbally to discuss Jellingspot if they have an interest in this very promising market. However, I will still continue to avoid VCs who generally, with their first question, ask, "What is the projected ROI?" You're already showing yourself to be an ass, so it's best you don't waste my time (or yours).

Monday, October 24, 2005

Flash Lite: Revisited

Well, I have been reading all about Flash Lite again lately. My main motivation for doing so is because my good friend (and marketing genius) just landed a primo job at Smashing Ideas, a Seattle-based interactive marketing agency, that among many things, is focusing on bringing interactive Flash Lite content to mobile phones for their customers. I believe he might be working on this in the near future, and as he's familar with Jellingspot, I now seem to have additional motivation to bring a Flash Lite service to Jellingspot.

Now, blogger Bryan Rieger (who appears to be moving his blog again) has been discussing Flash Lite for a while, since he and his wife are Flash developers. To make a long story short, bringing cool Flash Lite content to mobile phones with Jellingspot seems to be something down the immediate road we'll think about. Instead of using our static banner rotation service Adpusher (see demo) on Jellingspot, we'll create some "Flash" service where multi-media Flash banners will be viewed. Won't be that difficult of a service to create, so maybe we'll start on it in the next month or so. The problem is just finding Flash enabled phones ... it's just not a standard run-time environment yet like Java on phones. I guess it's coming, it's only a matter of time.

We'll see how it goes -- currently improving the UI on Jellingspot, which of course, you can download and use for free right now.

[ Technorati Tags: Jellingspot Advertising Flash Lite
Marketing mobile ]

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Fear of Technology ...

There is an interesting (ok, not really ... ) article today on CNN's website that tries to give some kinda of "Technology for Dummies" overview of how technology, wireless in particular, has "changed" and/or will continue to change society. Without being a complete twit, I am always amazed how sensationalist American "main stream" media outlets tend to be in regard to EVERYTHING, but even technology? Being a stalwart American living in Europe, I can't help but gag everytime I read something from American "main stream" (read, idiotic and generally misinformed ... among other things) media ...

Europe has been much more wireless than the USA for at LEAST the last 5 years, and I just don't see people addicted to the internet (minus freaks like me, that I digress) ... "shooting up" on every corner wherever a Wi-Fi hotspot can be found. Currently, I have a PDA with Wi-Fi and a mobile phone with a GPRS connection, which means I can get pretty fast to very fast i-net access almost anywhere in the Czech Republic ... I tend to check my email if I'm out for more than a few hours and I'm standing around waiting for a Tram or something, but I just don't see it. The problem isn't really technology, the problem is a sedentary life-style. Americans are just fat slobs who generally just sit around around watching TV (if you think it's just the USA, however, think again .. most W. Europeans are even bigger, so don't believe the hype) ... at least in the CZ, people are out always playing football (Soccer), or something ... they just don't watch TV like Americans.

Of course, I won't get into the details of why I think Amiks watch so much and are lazy (overworked, under "vacationed", and over consumed???) ... but these articles from outlets like CNN just tend to reinforce the idea that Americans really DON'T know anything, since they never pay attention to anything beyond themselves.

Now, don't get me wrong ... Technology DOES have a sort of crippling effect ... if you want to read how Technology has changed the human soul, check out Ernst Juenger's Storm of Steel ... I won't spoil the book. But, think of it this way ... today, some over-weight slob jamming away to 50-Cent can be eating away on a Subway sandwich in some control room 500 miles away and completly BLOW to smithereens a group of ancient Arthurian knights on horse back (if they existed), whose every ounce and fiber of existence was to be honorable and chivalrous. I think that makes my point ... obviously, we all know which side you'd WANT to be on in your sub-conscious, but let's be serious -- nobody wants to take a 500lb. laser guided bomb for the team.

Anyway, I'm a bit off topic now -- but, I think you get my point -- technology has its goods and bads, but in the case of this article, it's nothing but fish-wrap (in regards to the scare mongering).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Apple's New Video IPod

Yawn ....

Apple released, finally after everybody else on the planet, a video playing version of its popular IPod PAP ... now it's entering PMP (no, not pimp ... Personal Media Player ... even if Apple is denying it) status .... as I posted eariler, it's almost laughable how Apple gets big headlines for releasing new toys that other people have been making for a while. What I *do* like is that Apple has forged a few deals to bring TV shows to the IPod's screen, allowing you to purchase for $1.99 TV show episodes... that's actually kinda cool, I guess if you think people watching idiotic TV shows on the run cool (minus the Simpsons of course) ... but, as I noted, others have been doing it for a while, and doing it in a much cooler fashion using TiVo.

Of course, Apple's IPod is pretty slick in terms of size (but then, again, only a 2.5" inch screen, so what should you expect?) ... not to mention, Apple's probably illegal deal with Samsung has given them a slight advantage in getting new memory goodies (hence smaller devices) ... putting them (seemingly, innocent until proven guilty!) into the same bowl as Microsoft, who Apple fanatics like to bash as a bully .... whatever the case, if anybody can help mobile video get popular, it's gonna be Apple.

Way to go guys ...

[ Technorati Tags: Apple IPod Mobil Video
Tivo mp3s ]

Sunday, October 09, 2005

6th Sense

Well, 6th Sense Communications has decided to jump into the location-based "personal networking" market, going toe-to-toe with the likes of Nokia Sensor and Mobiluck. If you don't quite remember, let me refresh your memory ... "personal networking" is where you generally search for and then, once found, interact with other people in your immediate area, generally via Bluetooth wireless technology on your mobile device, to send messages, pictures, etc... basically, taking the art of flirting to the mobile-tech level.

However, whereas Mobiluck is free to use (once you purchase the software), it's my understanding from the quick blub about 6th Sense on Windows For Devices, that you can get the software for free, but you must pay for data services to use it (ie... you are making server requests via the carrier). In other words, what seems to happen in their own words is this (from Windows For Devices):

"6th Sense says its approach differs architecturally from similar applications such as Nokia's Sensor and MobiLuck, in that it is client/server-based rather than peer-to-peer. By having much of the processing done on a remote server, the client application can be made smaller and simpler. Additionally, new features can be added on the server, without having to upgrade the client. Also, security is improved because no user data is exchanged over Bluetooth, the company adds."

The article goes on to say:

"On the other hand, one disadvantage of the client/server approach used by 6th Sense is that communications between the server and the mobile phones running the 6th Sense app incur over-the-air data transfer charges."

If you're still not following, basically, this is what happens:

You sign up for an account online ... and you store all of your information there. Then, you fire up your client application you have on your phone ... which I'm guessing (I will download it and play with it later) has some kinda unique ID for your profile in it or something ... then, when you search your location with the client (using Bluetooth technology), it can find other profiles .. and if you want information about that profile, you have to fire up your 3G/GPRS connection to get it (this is where you run up data charges).

I won't pass judgement on this take just yet (gotta try it first), but it's an interesting way to do what can be doing with simple P-2-P applications. I can see the good and bad (as the article indicates, too, above) pretty quick ... interesting to say the least. I suggest you all download it and let me know ... I'll do the same.

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth Mobiluck Nokia Sensor
6th Sense Social Networking ]