The slow, painful death of Sony Corporation
In a weird sort of convergence, lots of what I have read in the last few days has been about former consumer electronics superstar Sony Electronics. Capping it off, I was in the local CompUSA this morning buying some new gizmos and had a chat with one of their sales managers about the much lauded Sony Playstation 3. His comments were not good.
I asked how they were selling and he said "terribly. We have six just sitting on the shelves", a stark contrast to the crushing first-day demand that the PS3 saw on release. The problem? Games. It's the NeXT Computer problem all over again: it's the software, stupid. It doesn't really matter that the PS3 is an extraordinarily powerful IBM Cell-processor, Blu-ray enabled computer, if there aren't cool games for the device, no-one's going to buy it.
"How about the Nintendo Wii?" I asked. "Oh man, we can't keep them in stock. I could sell 100 of 'em this morning if we could just get enough!" So, while the Nintendo might be less technologically capable, it's a splendid example of how Nintendo nonetheless knows that the software's critical, and the Wii [pronounced "wee"] has lots of great games, hence its great sales.
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My first week with a Blackberry Pearl
It's really Matt's fault: we went out for dinner at the Blog Business Summit and he let me play with his Blackberry Pearl phone. Having a Motorola RAZR v3c and thinking it was cool, I was spontaneously overtaken with a burst of gadget envy and suddenly felt my phone was passé and too old-tech for me.
I've now spent far too many hours in the last few days playing with the phone, configuring it, configuring additional services, getting new applications, admiring its extraordinary engineering and design, and seeing just how many shortcomings and faults it -- and the entire smartphone industry -- still have. Let me list just a few...
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Skype still stinks in my experience...
Just got off the, um, headset from a conference call that we enabled via the popular Skype service, and I have to say that the voice quality just stunk. It was worse than bad cellphone coverage in an noisy room, and both of us had high-speed connections and good audio equipment.
I have watched Skype evolve over the last few years, and was impressed by the eBay acquisition, figuring that the injection of funds would allow the Skype team to take the application to the next level. Skype 2.0 is a definite step forward in product capabilities. But...
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Erasing blogs does not "break the Web", Robert!
I've written before about how I believe that blogs are nothing particularly special in the online world and that fundamentally a weblog is just a collection of Web pages, with no special requirements or rules. Having said that, I will hasten to add that there are certainly best practices in the blogging world, but at its core, a weblog tool like WordPress is a slick content management tool.
Given that, what's to be made of Robert Scoble's complaint about IBM wiping a few weblogs out of its system? Robert says: "Blogs should never be erased -- for any reason. That breaks the Web. A kitten was just killed and IBM did it. Put the blogs back."
I'll ignore the kitten reference since that's just hyperbole and I've been known to turn a colorful phrase or two myself, but does removing a blog entry or deleting an entire blog truly "break the Web"?
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The Importance of Good Blog Entry Titles
Here's a topic that you may immediately shrug off as being unimportant to your online writing efforts: article and page titles. Give me five minutes, though, and I'll show you why not paying close attention to this can be a terrible mistake that can not only affect what percentage of your subscribers actually read your content, but also how it has a direct relationship to whether search engines can accurately identify the subject of your material and drive traffic to your site in the first place.
MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND TITLES
In the newspaper world, titles are considered so important that there's often a "title editor", someone whose only job is to come up with concise, pithy, interesting and enticing headlines for stories. Of course, you usually only notice this when they're too alliterative (e.g.. "Two Tiny Tots Testing Telephone Technology Turns Tragic") or they're actually not correctly matched to the story (a story on celebrity weddings entitled "Brad and Jen Bail On Nuptials" when the piece is about more than just those two celebs).
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Cool films coming in 2007, and some clunkers
Okay, it's probably easy to sit here and take potshots at multi-million-dollar studio productions, but that's okay, I'll do it anyway. :-) Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star has an amusing article about the movie sequels coming out this year and some of 'em might just be good, while others are going to leave a stench in the theater.
My completely biased, unabashed selection of which is which follows...
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Why I don't think that blogger ethics are important
A few days ago I posted a controversial article about Microsoft and Acer, through Edelman PR, distributing Ferrari laptops pre-loaded with Windows Vista to the blogosphere. I expected some controversy so the response didn't surprise me too much. Except that I fear I didn't explain one of my main points sufficiently well.
In my article, I stated rather bluntly that regarding the distribution of the laptops to bloggers, there was no ethical issue associated with a vendor giving product to thought and opinion leaders in a marketplace.
Since it's been debated by quite a few bloggers, both in my comments and on other weblogs [including Mark Fox, Microsoft Weblog and Deliciously Geeky], let me spend a few minutes clarifying my thinking...
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The Best Internet Marketing Deal of 2007 is Happening Today!
2006 was an interesting year for me as I moved from academic and business conferences into the often more questionable world of Internet Marketing. There are lots of sharp people who are helping others learn how to use legit tools to earn a credible living, but there are also plenty of shysters, people who doubtless sold used cars before they got into the Internet and will be filming infomercials from rented boats with rented bikini-clad babes after their particular Internet hype fails to materialize.
Nonetheless, it's been instrumental in my evolution from thinking about my online efforts as a "cost center" into a "profit center", so even if I've met some dubious folk, I am quite thankful to have also met a lot of really great people.
If you've been paying attention to my speaking gigs, I spoke at five Internet Marketing events in 2006, from the World Internet Summit in Las Vegas to the Focus 4 the Future event in Dallas. The best event? The System in Chicago, the only event where I'm planning on speaking again in 2007.
But it's not because I'm bailing on Internet Marketing. Quite the opposite: through the efforts of my good friends and colleagues Andy Jenkins and Brad Fallon, I'm now a faculty member of their extraordinary StomperNet. And that's what I want to highlight, because the StomperNet program has been closed to new people for months and will remain a closed group, except for today, 4 January 2007.
Let me tell you who is involved, what we're doing, and why StomperNet is unquestionably the best long-term Internet Marketing investment you can make to fulfill your resolution of 'make more money, become your own boss, wrest control of your destiny'!
Before I do that, go right now and get more info on StomperNet!
Now, let me explain what we're doing with StomperNet, so you don't think I've just fallen off my rocker...
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Vista laptops for bloggers furor misses the real story
I've been reading the classic blogger tempest in a teapot about Microsoft's PR agency of record, Edelman, sending out about 90 fancy Ferrari laptops preloaded with Windows Vista to high-profile bloggers and have been amazed that even the most visible of bloggers have missed the real story, the significance of the effort.
From What PC, InformationWeek and PC World to individual bloggers like Om Malik, Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble, etc etc. just about everyone seems to feel that the issue here is ethics, but it's not.
Let me be direct: There is no ethical issue associated with a vendor giving product to thought and opinion leaders in a marketplace.
In fact, the ethical firestorm is trivially solved by something we've all talked about before, the idea of a blogger disclosure best practices agreement that we subscribe to collectively. [see my earlier articles pay me to blog and Edelman screws up, for example] If I had received a laptop, all I have to do is say "hey, got a laptop and here's what I found..."
But, as I said, that's not the story. The real story on this laptop giveaway is what it tells us about Microsoft Vista itself...
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Do Classic Movies Need to be Censored? AMC versus TCM
This won't be news to anyone who knows me: I'm a big fan of movies, particularly older movies, and watch at least a movie or two every day. As I type this, for example, I'm watching a 1957 classic sci-fi film called The 27th Day, recorded off Turner Classic Movies.
In the universe of old movies, there are two cable / satellite channels that cover this genre, TCM, from the Turner network, and American Movie Classics, owned by Rainbow Media (who also owns Women's Entertainment and the Independent Film Channel). But there's a big difference between the two: TCM shows films unedited, uncensored and without advertisements, and AMC has been slowly degrading into a tedious network channel, complete with edited content, bleeped-out obscenities, and advertising interjected into the programs.
And that's just what bugs me the most about AMC, their decision to ruin the movies that they ostensibly "love"...
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