August 29, 2007
Warp Speed Internet, But Not For the US
See the WaPost story here: Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future By Blaine Harden.
I've talked about this before.. years ago.. that we were falling behind here in the US and it would affect our ability to innovate. Well, it's now years later, our regulators and telco's have failed us, and we are way way way behind.
TOKYO -- Americans invented the Internet, but the Japanese are running away with it.
Broadband service here is eight to 30 times as fast as in the United States -- and considerably cheaper. Japan has the world's fastest Internet connections, delivering more data at a lower cost than anywhere else, recent studies show.
In a Tokyo demonstration using ultra-high-speed broadband, a life-size, high-definition image of a distant colleague is projected onto a screen. In a Tokyo demonstration using ultra-high-speed broadband, a life-size, high-definition image of a distant colleague is projected onto a screen.
Accelerating broadband speed in this country -- as well as in South Korea and much of Europe -- is pushing open doors to Internet innovation that are likely to remain closed for years to come in much of the United States.(emphasis mine)
The speed advantage allows the Japanese to watch broadcast-quality, full-screen television over the Internet, an experience that mocks the grainy, wallet-size images Americans endure.
Ultra-high-speed applications are being rolled out for low-cost, high-definition teleconferencing, for telemedicine -- which allows urban doctors to diagnose diseases from a distance -- and for advanced telecommuting to help Japan meet its goal of doubling the number of people who work from home by 2010.
The regulators and Congress gave American telcos $200 billion dollars to rewire for fiber. They didn't do it. They pocketed the money. And now we are in really big trouble.
August 07, 2007
Legacy Media Gloats About Fake Steve Jobs Outing
There's been a lot of gloating over the outing of the author of the blog, Fake Steve Jobs (see article below this link for gloating), which has been written by Dan Lyons, a Senior Editor of Forbes and where Brad Stone of the New York Times broke the story yesterday.
The interesting thing to me is that legacy media in NYC thinks that they are so clever for finding Lyons, or at least Lyons and his friends think this, when lots of bloggers on the west coast have spent months speculating and looking for FSJ. They even have pointed out how geeky the new media people are because they were doing things like checking the headers of email from FSJ, which appeared to point to a Boston location but that was all they got.
Brad Stone figured it out because he looked through Manhattan back channels to find a book agent was shopping a book proposal from FSJ (a few months ago, the book is due in October), and because the agent was telling publishers that the writer was a "the anonymous author was a published novelist and writer for a major business magazine," he could compare the FSJ writings with Lyons blog and figured it out.
Well, the point is that if you are part of legacy media, and more specifically, are in Manhattan, you probably have access through your network to other media entities in Manhattan. (Note that Brad Stone doesn't live in Manhattan, but as a member of the Times, I'd consider that very strong "local" access.) Of course if you get a clue through people you know that tell you about the FJS publishing package and mysterious writer status, you figure it out this way. No bloggers out in the hinterlands have that sort of access to be able to put this together.
It reveals both positives and negatives about legacy media, that bloggers have know for a long time and that legacy media has tried to sweep under the rug now and then. Bloggers over the past few years have pulled back the curtain on legacy media, and legacy media is now better for those conversations. But it's hard to break any story like this without both online and off-line access. You need both, and so it's not so much that Brad Stone of the NYTimes did the breaking, but rather Brad Stone, person with access
Manhattanite and local connections to the publishing industry who broke the story. Could have been anyone with friends in publishing who figured it out.
But to say that it's "ironic" that a legacy media journalist was the FSJ and legacy media broke it may be true, but it's gloating at the same time. And it's that gloating attitude that got legacy media into trouble in the first place, and made the public so angry with them, after things like Jason Blair and Stephen Glass. So it may be a small victory, but often what legacy media doesn't understand is that there isn't a battle. Many conferences over the past few years have devolved into an either or battle where public demonstrations of these attitudes come out. But both sides need each other and if one went away, the other would be in deep trouble, at this point.
Bloggers drive a lot of traffic back to legacy media, as they discuss news print stories, and journalists get a lot of stories out of blogs (I first noticed this five or six years ago when my intellectual property stories started to get lifted a couple days after I published them.. by.. the New York Times. They added to them, but they took the arguments, the phrases, and never said a word about where it came from. I noticed this same thing with other IP bloggers like Law Meme and Copyfight as well.) News reporters report and bloggers opine. Bloggers opine and poke and reporters go looking for more.
We also need reporters who have access, not so much of the example above, but with access to important things, in order to get good information out. This is critical for the democracy and the reason reporters are given special dispensation in the Constitution. But reporters also need not abuse that power through gloating or arrogance.
This isn't about getting over on new media by the legacy guys. Many legacy guys have become new media guys.. Lyons and Stone each have blogs and write on the daily. The much more interesting story is how legacy media is using new media tools, changing their habits (like writing anonymous parody blogs !!!) and how everyone is interacting on and off-line to get better knowledge as well as entertainment. I have to admit, I have loved reading FSJ the past year. It's been totally entertaining.
Check this out: Fake Brad has come on the scene. Maybe a little less than FSJ-clever, but it is amusing. And ironically, it's amusing partly because it makes fun of legacy media arrogance. And as Geek.com notes, FSJ and FB may be the start of a whole new genre.
Consumer Comes Up Again: We Need A Better Name
Pete Blackshaw, CMO of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, made a group on Facebook called "Consumer Generated Media." I posted to the group's wall the first post below, objecting to the use of the word Consumer. He replied and I replied. In the meantime, Ted Tagami saw
my first post the consumer generated media group and made "People Generated Media" into a new group and so far, 70 people have joined.
I think we really need to put our heads together to come up with a term that isn't consumer, prosumer, amateur, maybe even user (even though I like being one), to describe the production of media by anyone. Maybe it's producer but it doesn't feel specific enough to the idea that it's not professional. Don't know. But it's comes up again and again, and I think it needs to be solved.
Mary Hodder (Berkeley) wrote
at 11:35am on August 6th, 2007
Why do you use the word "consumer" for this group?
Why not "user generated media" instead?
Consumer sounds like we are baby birds, where you poor undistinguished junk down our throats, and in exchange, we poop cash.
I'm a user, a producer, a thinker, and I when I make media, I'm conversing with it. I'm a customer of some companies, but I'm not a consumer, mindlessly taking anything any legacy media company will scoop down my gullet, sending them money in exchange.
I think you should seriously reconsider the use of this term, here and elsewhere. It's demeaning and intentionally used to condescend to those of us who create media non-professionally.
Respected blogger and Web 2.0 innovator Mary Hodder left a thoughtful message on my wall questioning my use of the term "consumer" versus other terms, and I thought I'd post both my response and her original post below (sic, it's above to keep it in chron order). It's a good, and important, conversation, and I welcome any thoughts.
Great, thoughtful note – as always! Every once and a while I get taken to task by someone for using this term. Four years ago I was at a “future of media” conference at MIT and I was practically thrown out of the room for using the term.
Still, I’m quite passionate about the word consumer -- have been since I was kid soaking in lessons from a cost conscious, value-seeking, injustice-fighting mother of seven kids. My favorite show while growing up was “Fight Back,” hosted by consumer advocate David Horowitz. I’ve always read “Consumer Reports.” When I started PlanetFeedback, a consumer feedback portal, my tag line was “Viva consumer.” (We even had a “Consumer Manifesto.") While some may see it as demeaning, I see it as empowering.
That not to suggest the other terms – citizen, user, people, we, participants – don’t work as well, and I certainly use them here and there. We should all be sensitive to context. And I don’t deny for a second there’s a broader conversation going on that transcends so many of the issues and themes I write about in the marketing zone.
But at the same time, I really don’t want to confuse folks about my core focus and intent via my blog, this Facegroup page, my ClickZ article, or even in my present work. My target audience is marketers and the business community, and the word “consumer” is deeply woven into the fabric of their everyday vernacular…at least for now. I’ve sought to use language they can understand and relate to, and I know it’s working on many levels.
I also wonder whether against the backdrop of escalated skepticism and consumer distrust toward marketers, we may need to overcompensate on using more explicit labels and transparency tags to achieve clearer understanding in the marketplace. With all the co-mingling, mashing, remixing, reshuffling, co-creation, and occasional co-optation between seller and buyer (or, in the case of PR, messenger and recipient) such clarity of language may the world seems less fuzzy. Consumer may border on the conservative, but it does drive clarity.
Let me also confess that aside from my mother’s influence I also have a strong P&G bias. The word “consumer” is like religion at P&G, and I’ve carried that religion with me in all my pursuits. I am proud to say I am a “Consumer focused marketer,” and when I say it, folks generally understand what I mean. When I applied to P&G out of business school, I sought their deep expertise in “consumer understanding” and figuring out “unmet consumer needs.”
The same logic applies to why I focus on the term “media” versus content. I settled on the term “media” out of my ups and downs of trying to sell the vision and idea of listening to companies. No one really understood what I was talking about until I started to emphasize the word "media." My goal has been to convince marketers that both positive and negative word of mouth was having a big impact on their brands. But while everyone intuitively got the concept of word of mouth, it always carried a connotation of being touchy-feeling, ephemeral, fleeting, and non-quantifiable. One, it suddenly occurred to me that the term “media” was perfect. CGM, while not like a impression you just buy, nevertheless acts like “media.” It leaves a digital trail, and those comments impact the awareness, trial, and purchase behavior of other consumers.
Anyway, happy to continue the conversation. It’s a good one, and I wouldn’t rule out my evolving on the topic over time.
I wonder what William Safire would have to say?
You replied to Pete's post 3 hours ago
I appreciate your answer, and the passion and connection you feel to the word, consumer.
I think my objection partly comes from the variable ways I see people using the word at events, conferences, online etc. I was at a conference of mostly PBS people at Channel 13 in NYC a year ago. There were older, very established people in the room who objected to my use of "user" onstage while I talked, who insisted on consumer. I asked why, and one man very gruffly replied that the people didn't know how to make good media, only the professionals did. He was very condescending toward people who unprofessionally made media, and said they were simply consumers. That's it.
I've seen people as recently as the Web 2.0 Expo use the term onstage presenting technologies. I've continuously seen it in print used to separate the people who consume the media from those who produce it.
The interesting thing for me about social media is that it's not just about media, as in, a single discrete piece of media produced, and then another, and then another. In the other world, these might have been newspaper articles, that people would read. In the new world, these could be newspaper articles, blog post reactions, videos made by anyone, etc. But between these discrete chunks of media is an implicit, socially derived media that we can trace or understand, follow and engage with as dribbles of more media.
Almost everyone at some point in their online lives probably makes some sort of social media, even in the rating, recommending, tagging, posting, linking, emailing, editing, discussing, IMing, of discrete pieces of media (most often delineated by a single URL to each piece, but also sending the media removed from any URL.. either way, the chunking and adding happen.)
Whether they make the chunks is another story. Only a small portion of the total edits Wikipedia, creates a video, writes a blog post, records sound, or whatever. Any many are very bad at it. But that's okay. Some will learn and get good and may go on to work professionally. Some will get good and add to their professional lives with their media creations.
But using the word consumer, with so many from legacy media having so much trouble with the notion that anyone can publish now, and with so many more who don't subscribe to "consumer" doing publishing, makes the word really difficult to parse for a common meaning for all of us.
The guy at PBS was very clear in his use of this word. He uses it intentionally, because it is condescending.
I would like to see us work here, if this is the right place, to come up with better terms. Some object to user because of drug use connotations (though from what I can see, we are all pretty addicted to information and the internet, so i don't think we are that far off there). Some object to prosumer because it's clumsy and does really get at what we want.
I think we are looking for a word that we all haven't thought of yet. I've talked a lot about with with super-word-smith Doc Searls over the past 4 years. And we are stumped.
But still, I think we need to find the words to describe more accurately what is going on, and distinguish it with the old sort of consumer. Yes, consumer rights, consumer reports, consumer advocacy are good, but they wouldn't need to so much if so much of what being a consumer meant to companies and marketers was about dumping products down consumer's throats so they could poop cash.
The internet gives us a way around this mode of interaction, and I think we need to name for it.
August 06, 2007
So, I've been tagged with a sort of chain mail for random facts about me from Kermit.
Here are some non-technology facts about me:
1. I like orange. I really like orange. I have an orange handbag, orange Tod flip flops, orange suede Taryn Rose clogs, an orange Treo, and orange macbook pro cover, and an orange necklace. But it has to be the right color of tangerine. Or it's no good.
2. I like Italy. Especially Florence and Siena. But also Elba and the left coast.
3. I make a Cassoulet every winter that takes three days to complete. And then I hold a large dinner with close friends and family to celebrate eating 7 kinds of meat with perfect little white delicious beans. That doesn't include the time before I start the Cassoulet when I make stock.
4. I make stock out of everything. Most everything in my kitchen has three stages: roasting, cooking or raw, then leftovers to be eaten later, then the last stage is either stock pot or compost. Maybe trash. But I don't generate much trash. I recycle a lot, but i usually buy raw ingredients. So there just isn't much trash.
5. In my freezer right now, there is the following: stocks -- duck, chicken, lamb, beef, goose, pork, shrimp, fish, vegetable, mushroom; lemoncello I made myself; breads from the Cheese Board; pork tamales and pork enchilada I made two months ago from pomegranate roasted tri tip; roasted poblano sauce; raw walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, pecans; organic unsalted butter brought to me from Paris recently; wild mushroom ragu.
6. I only really have time to cook on Saturday nights or Sunday, with a startup. But I still do it pretty regularly.
7. I had to give up coffee, but recently, after a year of no coffee (my last was an espresso with ice cream - Affagato - in London last September) I recently had a capuccino. Fantastic. And my stomach didn't hurt either. So.. maybe I can have one, once in a great while, now.
Now. Regarding the people I'm supposed to forward this challenge to? Well, I can't think of anyone who needs it. So I'm holding off for now.