Friday, August 31, 2007

Seth Godin on Audiobooks

Audio books

There are only three kinds of people in the world:

  • Those that like audio books
  • Those that don't
  • (and by far the largest) those that have never tried one

The reason for the market failure is historic. Audio books traditionally generate very little revenue to the author. She gets a royalty on a royalty on a small sales base. Not worth the time to promote. Add to that the huge hassle of keeping a large number of titles in stock at a retailer and throw in the high price required by producing many CDs or cassette tapes per title, and you see the problem.

Here's the thing, though: In my experience, audio book listeners are ten times more likely to drop me email or talk about what they heard than book readers. Part of it is the entertaining nature of the presentation, I think (I probably talk better than I write) and part of it is the nature of the experience--it's going into a different part of your brain.

Anyway, digital media, as in so many other areas, changes everything. First, authors are getting smarter about what rights they preserve. Second, digital media has no inventory problem. The Long Tail rules. If you've got an MP3 player, you probably have an iPod, which probably means you have access to the iTunes store. There's a ton of audiobooks there. And (among others) which pioneered the field, has a huge catalog.

You can even set your iPod to speed up the spaces between the words so you can hear the whole thing faster.

The biggest problem that I see is that the prices are still way too high (because of the legacy of the 6 CD set). An audiobook should cost $3 or $4, imho.

Nine of my books are now available as audio books. You can find them all here.

original post is here

how not to die

excellent essay of Paul Graham from Y-combinator

few quotes:

.......If you can just avoid dying, you get rich. That sounds like a joke, but it's actually a pretty good description of what happens in a typical startup......

........If so many startups get demoralized and fail when merely by hanging on they could get rich, you have to assume that running a startup can be demoralizing. .......I bet even Google had moments where things seemed hopeless.....

......... Another feeling that seems alarming but is in fact normal in a startup is the feeling that what you're doing isn't working. ......
Startups almost never get it right the first time......

.......As long as you've made something that a few users are ecstatic about, you're on the right track...... So when you release something and it seems like no one cares, look more closely. ......

......The number one thing not to do is other things.........

......founders are more motivated by the fear of looking bad than by the hope of getting millions of dollars. So if you want to get millions of dollars, put yourself in a position where failure will be public and humiliating.......

enjoy reading the full essay here. A VERY good one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

a new word to learn: Bacn

now i know what all those 350 unread emails in my inbox are....
"bacn" is the sizzling new term for "email you want, but not right now." Considered a step above spam, but below personal communications, bacn refers to notification emails from sites like Facebook and MySpace and LinkedIn that let you know someone wants to be your friend (or prove it with winky comments).
A byproduct of Web 2.0, bacn also encompasses all those email newsletters you signed up for and really, truly mean to read sometime, as well as bill payment notifications, Google alerts, etc. Basically, bacn is clutter, but not trash.

How to keep the lid on a good idea

a different point on the subject which is I am sharing a bit more than this one

By Kevin Allison
Published: August 29 2007 03:00 | Last updated: August 29 2007 03:00

For the entrepreneur, balancing the need to protect a business idea and the need to share it with potential investors and partners can be tricky.

That is especially so in Silicon Valley where thousands of would-be technology moguls are racing to create the next big thing, and where good ideas, sometimes based on merely a few fleeting bits of software code, have a way of spreading around.

"My advice to early entrepreneurs is be careful," says Jerry Kennelly, co-founder and chief executive of Riverbed, a networking equipment maker. "Don't disclose more than you have to."

read the full article

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Russian mobile content market to grow 20% in 2007

The Russian mobile content market is set to expand by 20 percent in 2007 to $420 million, up from $350 million in 2006 according to Dmitry Smirnov, Head of the Mobile Service Department of the inv*stm*nt Holding Finam. However, this is lower than other estimates reports CNews, noting that iKS-Consulting puts the internet mobile content revenue in Russia at $408 million last year, and expects it to grow 21 percent to about $494 million this year. There's also a wide-held belief that the introduction of 3G into Russia will not result in the same levels of growth of mobile content as in other least, not straight away.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Adobe Launches "Moviestar" Version of Flash Player - HD Television Quality for Web Video

Written by Richard MacManus / August 20, 2007 /

Adobe today announced the latest version of its near ubiquitous Web video software, Adobe Flash Player 9. It's codenamed Moviestar, because it includes H.264 standard video support – the same standard deployed in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition video players. In other words, the quality of video has been substantially improved from the previous version of Flash Player 9. Also added to the mix is High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support and "hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback".
Adobe claims that these advancements will extend their leadership position in web video "by enabling the delivery of HD television quality and premium audio content".


Saturday, August 25, 2007

why excersise is good for you

We all know that exercise is good for us, and the New York Times reports that exercise can make your brain process information faster and more efficiently:
Scientists have been finding more evidence that the human brain is not only capable of renewing itself but that exercise speeds the process. "We've always known that our brains control our behavior," Gage says, "but not that our behavior could control and change the structure of our brains."
through LifeHacker

Recipe for a startup

Trevor Blackwell presents the following recipe for a startup:
"Watch people who have money to spend, see what they're wasting their time on, cook up a solution, and try selling it to them. It's surprising how small a problem can be and still provide a profitable market for a solution."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Web 2.0 in 2 sentences

from AdMBlob.... a great summary! :)

Q: please desribe web 2.0 to me in 2 sentences or less.

A: you make all the content. they keep all the revenue.

Three Strategies for Thriving on the Decentralized Web


Think web services, not websites. Most innovation online today is created by an army of talented, independent web developers. Sites such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook are turning themselves into platforms that can run these applications, almost like Windows did on the desktop. This has spawned hundreds of miniature online applications.

To thrive, marketers need to think about how to create similar mini experiences via web services that plug into these sites yet are consistent with the brand.

Connect people. The web is transforming into a medium where the greatest value is created when people connect via platforms of participation around a common goal -- to make money, be entertained or informed, to create, etc.

To thrive, brands need to identify these motivations and participate in these new micro-content platforms in a way that helps consumers meet their goals. For example, the Los Angeles Fire Department recognized that consumers actively use Twitter when disaster strikes. It has opened a channel on the site to provide updates at

Make everything portable. The next version of the Macintosh operating system, due out in October, has a small feature called Web Clip that turns any part of a site into a widget that lives on the consumer's desktop. This is a big sign of things to come.

In the very near future portals including iGoogle, My Yahoo and Netvibes as well as social networks will be able to easily inhale the smallest pieces of content from across the web. Don't wait. Start now to make everything on your website embeddable. Traffic is becoming something that happens elsewhere, not just on your site.

Monday, August 20, 2007

On Secrets

Opinion of Start Up Blog which I am not necessarily sharing but respecting (AP)

I used to think that it's better to keep your business idea a secret. Then I read that "secrets kill you". I read it in the Bootstrappers Bible by Seth Godin. It's very true. You can get a copy here.

Firstly – no one is going to steal your idea. The idea is the easy bit. The execution is the hard part. Truth be told it is more likely that someone else will start doing what you are if they don't know it's already being done.

Proof – how many times have you had a great new business idea only to find out it has already been done. Then you simply move on.

By keeping it a secret – it not only chips away at your confidence, you remove the potential for your circle to help you nurture it and bring it to life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Social Networking To Dominate UGC On Mobiles: Report

According to a new report from Juniper Research, user-generated content is predicted to have explosive growth in the mobile space in the coming years generating revenues of over $5.7 billion in 2012 from $572 million this year. Within that, social networking sites will account for 50% of the total by the end of the forecast period. The report has some other noteworthy stats on current usage, which were compiled through interviews with "some of the leading organizations in the growing mobile user-generated content industry":

--Currently there are around 14 million people using social networks (the number will grow to 600 million by 2012).

--Downloads from these sites are pretty low right now—around 200 million this year (the claim is they will grow to over 9 billion in the next five years).

--Mobile dating and other chatroom services make up the bulk of social media services at 57 percent, but it will fall to 21 percent by 2012.

--Off-portal social networking brands will most likely run on ad-supported models rather than charges. (Several social networks currently charge for mobile usage, including MySpace, SeeMeTV's Moko site in the U.K., and Kwick! in Germany, although these are usually served via exclusive arrangements with operators, who organise the billing.)

The most comprehensive MBA cheat-sheet

This site is a collection of the management methods and tools - great stuff who is either in the MBA class or out of school long enough to forget all them already :)
Others will get bored immediately after taking a first look on this page ......

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Weapon Of Choice

one of my favorite actors Christopher Walken in a music video of Fatboy Slim.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Golden Rule

Remember the Golden Rule:

"He who has the gold rules."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

interesting facts on productivity, creativity, longevity and IQ

few notes from Dean Simonton's research paper Age and Outstanding Achievement: What Do We Know After a Century of Research?
Thanks to pmarca blog.

A small percentage of the workers in any given domain is responsible for the bulk of the work. Generally, the top 10% of the most prolific elite can be credited with around 50% of all contributions, whereas the bottom 50% of the least productive workers can claim only 15% of the total work, and the most productive contributor is usually about 100 times more prolific than the least.

Creativity is a probabilistic consequence of productivity, a relationship that holds both within and across careers. Within single careers, the count of major works per age period will be a positive function of total works generated each period, yielding a quality ratio that exhibits no systematic developmental trends. And across careers, those individual creators who are the most productive will also tend, on the average, to be the most creative: Individual variation in quantity is positively associated with variation in quality.

If one plots creative output as a function of age, productivity tends to rise fairly rapidly to a definite peak and thereafter decline gradually until output is about half the rate at the peak..... The location of the peak, as well as the magnitude of the postpeak decline, tends to vary depending on the domain of creative achievement. At one extreme, some fields are characterized by relatively early peaks, usually around the early 30s or even late 20s in chronological units, with somewhat steep descents thereafter, so that the output rate becomes less than one-quarter the maximum. This age-wise pattern apparently holds for such endeavors as lyric poetry, pure mathematics, and theoretical physics... The typical trends in other endeavors may display a leisurely rise to a comparatively late peak, in the late 40s or even 50s chronologically, with a minimal if not largely absent drop-off afterward. This more elongated curve holds for such domains as novel writing, history, philosophy, medicine, and general scholarship.

Even if a minimal level of intelligence is requisite for achievement, beyond a threshold of around IQ 120 (the actual amount varying across fields), intellectual prowess becomes largely irrelevant in predicting individual differences in creativity.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

10 best presentations - the Reader's Choice by KnowHR Blog

Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh in 1984. Back then, Steve dressed like Tucker Carlson circa 2006, but black tee shirts and jeans or double-breasted jacket and bow tie, this Macintosh unveiling rocked the house. Steve has perfected the sense of theater, and none is better than this one. Check out how he pulls the 3.5-inch floppy from his jacket pocket. Flair, baby.

Dick Hardt's Identity 2.0 presentation at OSCON 2005. Hardt's preparation and energy sets the standard for presentation quality. He uses hundreds of slides in this 20-minute, high buzz work. Heck, I didn't even care about virtual identity and still watched this one five or six times. It has a chance of becoming my presentation Dirty Dancing (which I've seen 100 times), where "nobody puts baby in the corner."

Guy Kawasaki's Art of the Start speech at TiECon 2006. In the 40-minute presentation (PDF of slides here), Kawasaki talks about innovation and business evangelism. When he talks about "Make Mantra" it's well worth listening to. The beauty of his speech is that he uses a Top 10 approach and is unafraid to speak plainly and with great humor (which is sadly lost in public speaking).

Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech in 1963. Who can argue that Dr. King's speech in Washington on August 28, 1963 was anything but brilliant and changed the trajectory of America? But the rheotrical beauty of this speech is also unparalleled. At a time when our language has been reduced to the common, it's essential to look upon the preparation and thought that Dr. King used for this monumetal speech.

Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture talk at the 2002 Open Source Conference. The master of the simple slides shows us how it's done. And since, as he says, this is his 100th time for this talk, he has this bad boy down solid. Even though this talk is from 2002, his slide presentation style is still as fresh today as Axe Body Spray.

Malcolm Gladwell's Blink presentation at SXSW 2005 . I've seen Gladwell talk a couple of times in person, and he's brilliant. He talks fast and he makes points by telling stories. He doesn't lecture, he paints a picture. All this from one of the foremost thinkers of our age. Gladwell makes the points, "We can do more with less. And there are real dangers in giving people too much information." Hey, that reminds me, Where are his slides? Oh, he's presenting without slides. How about that?

Tom Peters presents A Ham Sandwich in 1990. Okay, this isn't a Peters presentation, but the guy has so much passion that he can make a ham sandwich sound compelling. I saw him a few times in the late 80s during the height of the Thriving on Chaos days, and that was some rallying cry. In the link here, Peters outlines what makes a great presentation. No one can leave a Tom Peters presentation saying they weren't energized and entertained.

Seth Godin talks about Marketing at Google in 2006. "Technology doesn't win, but it sure gives you a chance at marketing." Godin knows the story, lived it, and tells it. He also uses slides to his advantage to persuade his audience that he's right. Check out the slide he calls "No one cares about you." Is there anything wrong with getting people to laugh and think at the same time?

Andy Kaufman sings along to Mighty Mouse on SNL in 1975. Mies van der Rohe would have been proud, because Kaufman showed the essence of "less is more" in this Saturday Night Live skit. I'm not suggesting that your presentations should be filled renditions of superhero songs, but negative space is important, and this presentation was both ahead of its time and pointed in its simplicity.

Rupert Everett sings I Say a Little Prayer for You in MBFW in 1997 . Okay, this is just one of our favorites and isn't exactly a "presentation." In fact, it's from a movie - My Best Friend's Wedding. But isn't a lot of what we do a "presentation" designed to persuade people to believe our story? The beauty of this one is the lead-in and then the music. Oh, the power of music. And if you haven't seen this movie, the last scene is just fantastic.

UPDATE: The readers have spoken! And in addition to KnowHR's Top 10 Best Presentations Ever, we now have Top 10 Best Presentations - The Reader's Choice. Click on over and have a look at 10 more great presentations.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Understanding Why Your VC is Acting Crazy....

This small post from VentureHacks blog may answer the question why In-Fusio had some "issues" with their investors earlier this year.

In Understanding Why Your VC Is Acting Crazy, Bill Burnham, a former Partner at Mobius Venture Capital and Softbank Capital Partners, describes why investors don't always do the right thing for your business:

"One thing that many entrepreneurs don't fully appreciate is just how much the financial and organizational dynamics within a VC fund can affect how a VC behaves on their board. Over the years I have heard many stories from entrepreneurs expressing various degrees of frustration and mystification over a position taken by their VCs, usually with regards to an upcoming financing or an M&A transaction. For example, in some cases a VC that has been very supportive about patiently growing a business all of a sudden becomes obsessed with selling the company or in others a VC that has been aggressively pushing the company to grow quickly all of sudden becomes extremely cost focused and lobbies hard to cut the burn rate despite the fact that this will kill growth. After witnessing such abrupt changes in attitude and direction, many entrepreneurs are left scratching their heads wondering "What the hell is going on with my VC and why are they acting so crazy?"

"The answer to this question can often be found by simply getting a better understanding of the current financial and organizational dynamics within a VC's fund, as these issues can have a profound impact on how a VC and/or their fund approaches a specific investment."

Guy Kawasaki: Good code takes time

One great engineer can do more than ten mediocre ones especially when starting a project. But great engineers still need time: whenever we've thought our talent, sprinkled with the fairy dust of some new engineering paradigm, would free us from having to schedule time for design and testing, we've paid for it. To make something elegant takes time, and the cult of speed sometimes works against that.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Glenn Kelman of Redfin on startups

Glenn Kelman writes:

In the early days, start-ups focus on how great it’s going to be when they succeed; but the moment they do, they start talking about how great it was before they did.

Whenever I get this way, I remember the Venerable Bede’s complaint that his eighth century contemporaries had lost the fervor of seventh century monks. Even in the darkest of the Dark Ages, people were nostalgic for...the Dark Ages.

Start-ups are like medieval monasteries: always convinced that paradise is just ahead or that things only recently got worse. If you can begin to enjoy the process of building a start-up rather than the outcome, you'll be a better leader.