Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Spero Ventures. Early LinkedIn, Twitter. These are my thoughts on tech, brand, marketing and community.

The Evolution of WebTV and Online Video

Over the past few days, I’ve read news articles that time and again point to the inevitable evolution of online video. What started as a news ripple with the YouTube acquisition is slowly turning into a definite sign of the deluge.

Here are 2 WebTV ventures that may provide a tantalizing glimpse into the future:

1. Venice WebTV — from the makers of Kazaa & Skype! (website)

We have all heard of major TV channels NBC, ABC, etc…but have you thought of how the landscape may be for Web TV a few years from now. I’ve always maintained that web video shows like Rev3, ScobleShow will catapult their producers Digg, Podtech, etc… into major webTV channel status. We already saw that with Digg launching Rev3 recently.

Further proof of this evolution was provided by Skype co-founder Janus Friis when he recently announced the launch of his web TV service.

The project, code-named Venice, will bring quality TV programs for free to consumers who have a broadband Internet connection

Hmm…Interesting. He goes on to then say that:

This is a system where people with professional content can put it out (on the Internet). And that can be anybody

Differentiators: Please note the use of the word “quality” followed by the use of the word “anybody“. I conclude that he means anybody who can produce quality content can publish it on the Venice Project and that’d be a major differentiator from YouTube.

Who are the “anybodies“?

For starters I believe this is a golden opportunity for the likes of Scoble (ScobleShow), Kevin Rose (DiggNation), Ze Frank (the show), etc… to parlay the success of their pioneering video shows into further syndication across some of these newer WebTV services.

Another interesting factor that caught my attention was that as the focus shifts from YouTube quality to ScobleShow quality, the barriers to entry are considerably increased thereby putting the brakes on just about “anybody” creating content. Check out this recent Scoble post where he calculates the high-cost of creating video content and you’ll see what a barrier to entry that could be for wannabe amateur videocasters.

(News Source: Yahoo! News, BusinessWeek)

2. BrightCove – YouTube for Professionals (website)

With YouTube taking the extreme step of removing all of Comedy Central’s videos from their server (why would I step into YouTube if I can’t watch Jon Stewart clips!), I was wondering where to turn to, until I heard of BrightCove’s plans.

USA Today proclaims that:

Brightcove will try to take Internet TV into the media mainstream Monday by unveiling a suite of services to help consumers find what they want — while easing the way for content providers to create slick-looking videos and generate revenue from them

Differentiators: quality/slick-looking, focus on search, links to “cable channels Bravo, Discovery, AMC, Oxygen and TV Land; music companies Sony BMG and Warner Music; information providers Newsweek, The New York Times, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal; and brand marketers Kohler and”.(Nice!) More important differences lie in the fact that their business model further relies on the $ triumvirate of ad sales, syndication, and retail.

As you can see, the renewed focus is on high-quality and hopefully higher-$-returns. It’s definitely interesting to see the landscape of WebTV evolve before our eyes.

(News Sources: TechMeme, CNET, USA Today & TechCrunch)

Since on this site, my focus is on corporate marketing, tomorrow day-after tomorrow, I’ll talk about (i) how corporate marketers can leverage these newer content dissemination channels, (ii) simple steps to create corporate content (podcasts/videocasts) and (iii) ways to syndicate that content across appropriate web channels to better reach your target audiences.

Stay tuned for more.

Filed under: Uncategorized

3D Corporate Blogging – Marketing, PR, Advertising

How has blogging shaped the evolution of the four branches of communication between a company and its stakeholders? A question that bedevils all of marketers and, but one that our friend Eric Kintz has bravely put forth to leaders in the different areas of corporate communication – Marketing, PR, Advertising, Creative and Research.

Here’s my take on three interesting perspectives that I could glean from the conversation:

1. Marketing

David Churbuck is Vice President, Global Web Marketing at Lenovo.
David’s personal blog: Churbuck

In terms of functionality, the primary differentiation between a blog and a standard site is the ability for the audience to comment and engage.

That’s so accurate in that David has echoed a sentiment voiced by Scoble recently in the Ze Frank-Rocketboom smackdown, regarding vlog download numbers. Scoble says:

There’s another stat out there called “engagement.” No one is measuring it that I know of. What do I mean?
So, why should engagement matter to an advertiser? Well, as an advertiser I want to talk to an audience who’ll actually DO something. Yeah, I’m hoping to get a sale.

How could we measure audience engagement?

Measuring audience engagement is definitely going to be the Holy Grail for us marketers and I know that already Charlene Li from Forrester research could help. Scoble suggests that Steve Gillmor’s Gesture Lab may also help crack the mystery of engagement numbers for blogs and vlogs. Who do you think will enable better stats on blogging and blog adoption?

2. Advertising

Will Waugh is Senior Director, Communications – ANA.
Will’s blog: ANA Marketing Maestros

More and more advertisers (B2B and B2C) see the blogosphere as a must in their integrated plans. The utilization of blogs is critical, particularly in a growing world where social currency is more and more important.

I couldn’t agree more with Will. Personally, I believe blogs are probably the most important brand-building tool there is out there today. Why? Because, as Jennifer Rice says:

…customers are our best sales force… when they’re rallied together into a community, their individual powers are combined into a brand-building force to be reckoned with.

Here’s an example of how Saturn built their brand around community (via Jennifer’s blog). Case study.

3. PR

Dan Greenfield – Vice President of Corporate Communications, EarthLink
Dan’s Blog
: Bernaisesource

Blogging is everything that PR isn’t supposed to be.

I couldn’t agree more with Dan. If by definition, PR is “the art and science of managing communication between an organization and its key publics to build, manage and sustain its positive image” blogging turns it on its head and could very well be called “the art of truly communicating with an organization’s key publics“, which in itself could translate to a positive image!

Dan also brings up a great point that traditional PR is one-way (Us to you) while blogging is about two-way communication (us to you and you to us). However, I agree that blogging isn’t going to replace PR, rather is going to help redefine the way companies communicate with customers; rather than just talk, now they can choose to listen. What would you rather do if you want to build a relationship?

This is definitely a conversation that we marketers should revisit regularly to define the State of the Marketing Blogosphere. Kudos to Eric for bringing together such a conversation.

Filed under: Business Blogging, Miscellaneous

Help me pick a camera…Leica vs. Canon

Taking a cue from my buddy Jeremiah, who used his blog to get recommendations both for his camera and for relevant podcasts for his upcoming trip, I thought I’ll try out something similar, since I’m in the middle of purchasing a digital camera.

Before I continue, let me take this opportunity to wish Jeremiah the very best on his “Return to Roots” trip to his hometown.

Bon Voyage to Jeremiah and Shirley!

Back to the camera hunt: The last camera I purchased, the Kodak V570, based on an Esquire recommendation didn’t quite match my expectations, so I decided to fall back on suggestions from the community.

Given below is a short list of my criteria. Feel free to share your experiences of purchasing a digital camera, dos, donts, etc…

My criteria:
1. Price range: $300 – $600 (decided to re-think the higher-end since it makes more sense to pay $300 more to get a DSLR)
2. Usage: Should be compact (not necessarily, ultra-compact), need to carry it around events, parties, just about anywhere I am with friends and company
3. Picture Quality: 7 – 10 mega pixels will work for me!
4. Anti-shake: many of these ultra-compact cameras have a propensity to take blurry, red-eye, shaky images (esp. low-light pics) and I’d definitely love to avoid that
5. SD Card acceptability: one of the reasons I dropped the Sony Cybershot was because it didn’t accept SD Cards. I have a 2Gb SD card and I don’t intend purchasing any more memory cards.

As of now, I’m trying to choose between the Canon Powershot G7 and the Leica D-Lux 3.

from l-r: Canon Powershot G7 & Leica D-Lux 3 (Awesome!)

Let me know if you’ve had a bad experience with either of the above cameras or if you have any further suggestions. Thanks!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Google Marketing Search – Zeitgeist!


1. Marketing Zeitgeist:

Early last morning, Google released a new search-engine tool…well, here’s what they say it is:

Google Custom Search Engine or Google Coop a simple and straightforward product to use and understand. In a matter of minutes you can create a search engine that reflects your knowledge and interests; looks and feels like your own. You can even invite your friends and trusted community members to add to and help build your search engine.

I know what you’re thinking!

What if? We created a tool that could scour specific marketing weblogs and provided search results that would naturally be much more relevant for marketers such as ourselves.

What if? We chose 20 35 of our favorite oft-visited marketing weblogs…Let’s add

(i) the biggies — Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Tom Peters and Church of the Customer

(ii) the blogs from our very own marketing community — we’ve got Mack, Ann, CK, David, Eric, Karl, Mike. Of course, I’ve added Jeremiah‘s blog as well.

(iii) how about some… Coolzor, Tara, Jaffe, Brand Autopsy, Raj Setty, etc…

(iv) I just added another 15 cool marketing blogs to the search engine: Paul, Andy, Kim, Francois, Susan, Mike, Ozgur, Tricia, etc…

Wouldn’t this search engine reflect the Marketing Zeitgeist of tomorrow, because it’s scouring the minds of today’s thought leaders? Yes, it would. And here it is.

2. Search Me Now:

Without further ado, I give you The “Marketing Search Engine” that I created by adding the 20 35 marketing weblogs I mentioned above. Search here.

Example: Here’s a comparison of search results based on (a) traditional Google search and (b) the newly created custom-made Marketing Search Engine.

a. Traditional Google search for “web 2.0”
# of results: 205 million
Top results: o’reilly, wikipedia, digital web magazine, web 2.0 work group, etc…

b. Custom-Made “Marketing Search” for “web 2.0”
# of results: 100
Top results: iMedia, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Eric Kintz, etc…

Note: If you’ve some problems adding new sites to your custom-made search engine, it may be due to Firefox 2. I re-tried adding some troublesome weblogs/websites via IE and it worked.

3. Call to Action:

Feel free to create your own custom-made marketing search engines that would focus on niche marketing categories such as web 2.0 or marketing communications or customer references and be sure to share it with the community.

I’d also encourage all of you to contribute to this newly created marketing search engine by adding marketing blogs that you enjoy reading. Click here.

Quick Update: Raj Setty has a post on Google Custom Search Engine here.

Filed under: Uncategorized

4 Marketing Blogs I Missed

Every once in a while, I try to take stock of my current blog repository or RSS aggregator that helps me track the latest-and-greatest marketing blogs that are mushrooming across the blogosphere. Mack has a serialized post on some of the blogs that catch his eye in a post called Viral Community News that I always look forward to. Definitely helped expand my sources of reading marketing content.

Anyways, it’s been a while since I tracked the recent ones and I noticed that I’ve missed a few entertaining blogs. I feel the following are definitely worth adding to my Wizz RSS Reader (a great Firefox 2 extension) and thought I’ll share them with you — here are 4 new marketing blogs that I wish I’d started reading earlier :

#1: Media Guerrilla — A blog dedicated to tech PR, new media and marketing
Authored and published by Mike Manuel since 2005, Media Guerrilla was twice voted “Best PR Blog” by Marketing Sherpa and the Business Blog Awards. Recently, Mike began co-organizing “Third Thursday“, a regular industry meet up for Bay Area PR and marketing professionals interested in social media.

For those of you in the Bay Area and interested in attending, please check out the meetup site here. Now, that is definitely interesting and something I should check out. I wonder if Jeremiah attends these events. Speaking of Jeremiah, check out some of his recent coverage of social media events, here and here.

#2: Adverblog —  Online since May 2003, “Adverblog is a daily destination for anyone with a passion for advertising and new media marketing”. Originally started by Martina Zavagno, “working during the day, and blogging at night”, it has since then expanded to include many well-known bloggers from across Europe, as Martina has slowed down her participation. Listed below are contributors:

#3: Online Marketing Blog — Posts by Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, “an agency that integrates natural search optimization with social media marketing and new media public relations to help clients increase sales and brand visibility online”.

The site is a comprehensive repository of info and tidbits on latest news, events, links, and useful how-to’s on online marketing, new media, pr, etc…

#4: Marketing begins at Home — Started by David Parmet, a public relations professional who’s been at this (meaning PR) since the early 1990s, this blog may be of some interest for the PR readers. Case in Point: this recent post on the Edelman brouhahah that reminded me of some of my Smackdown posts.

David has an agency background and his work with English Cut (one of his clients) was featured in Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.

Some of you may have noticed the reduced number of posts on this blog for sometime. Well, I wasn’t feeling too well last week but plans are to return to happy times with regular posts on the blog from Mon – Thur and again once during the weekend. I’ll try to stick to the schedule. I look forward to your participation.

Happy Reading!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Why is Corporate Blogging Important?

Looks like this is CK‘s week. She’s got her first blog post up on MarketingProfs, and has succeeded in hitting all the right notes! First off, Congratulations to CK for putting together a timely, well thought out, and extremely articulate post on where exactly companies are stumbling while trying to emulate the Scobles and Rubels.

The discussion she’s initiated has gotten a bevy of responses from corporate marketers who believe there’s far more to it than meets the eye. As I noted on one of my earlier posts, most well-intentioned corporate blogs die a sudden death (28% of US corporate blogs started over the past year are defunct right now) and companies STILL do not get corporate blogging as evinced by the recent Wal-Mart blogging debacle.

Here are CK’s 5 rules for Corporate Blogging that I’m sure we all agree with: Connect, Share, Be Honest, Make Friends, Be Honest (meaning apologize when wrong).

I’d just like to add my favorite 3 caveats to the practice of Corporate Blogging:

(i) Blog Responsibly

I believe the onus of preventing a blog from being attacked by frivolous lawsuits lies solely with the blogger. Brad K. opines:

Essentially, until you can keep lawyers, litigious competitors and fanatic activists from using blogged information, you haven’t gotten close to explaining why blogging is a good idea for all businesses.

Each blogger has a responsibility to blog accurately and without violating the non-confidentiality agreements that he/she is a part of, because you are answerable both to the organization that you work for, as well as to the prospect or customer who reads your blog. Here is what Jonathan Schwartz – who is trying to effect changes that will allow corporations to announce quarterly performance, or disclose a material transaction via blogs – has to say on the topic of responsible blogging:

And I’m used to holding my tongue on issues that’d be deemed material to Sun’s financial performance. Like a pending acquisition or big sale, or data related to how our quarter’s going. In a public company, there are very strict laws surrounding how information’s disclosed.

Here’s a potential solution for corporate blogs. Have a “Blogging Policy” that is to be widely distributed throughout the organization. Ensure that you have an honest conversation and regular meetings with all company bloggers, apprising them of the pitfalls of frivolous blogging. The fear of lawsuits alone is NOT sufficient reason for corporations to not blog since if you do not then your competitors or prospects or disgruntled customers WILL blog about you.

(ii) Let’s talk ROI

As for the larger question: “Why is blogging a good idea for all businesses?”, I know this is a complicated question, one that Scoble & Shel have attempted to answer many times in the past, and I’m going to repeat what they said — that blogging is as important as talking to you customers, receiving feedback from them, incorporating their suggestions to new products, etc… and makes it incredibly easy to facilitate that exchange and archive the thoughts. Lewis Green says:

Based on my experience, I wonder if corporate blogging can ever achieve the kind of authentic passion and openness that would engage employees and customers.

I, personally, do NOT know of any other communication tool that engenders the kind of “authentic passion and openness that engage employees and customers” more than a BLOG. Now having worked in the corporate side of things, I agree that WE DO need to create tools that measure the ROI of blogging and researchers like Charlene Li of Forrester are currently working on such a solution, as we blog.

(iii) Intangible Asset

Do not ask what blogging can do for you; but ask what you can do with blogging. The fact that there are very few blogs out there, represents an enormous opportunity for a company to position themself as a thought-leader in their respective field.

Examples: (i) Edelman PR is now considered an expert in the field of corporate blogging, so when a prospective corporation is scouting for PR talent who do you think they’ll first turn to. Now this could lead to a $ million deal but unfortunately blogging will not get its due since the credit would go to the sales team that closed the deal. (ii) If I were thinking of data storage systems, I’d definitely turn to my friend and blog evangelist Jeremiah (from HDS) with my questions and I know I’ll have an answer rightaway.

From a business development perspective, I can tell you that blogging is one of the best sources to evangelize and thereby generate warm leads. Moreover, blogging will speak to your core target audience or prospective customer base more effectively since the readers of blogs are already actively researching for information (Pull vs. Push)

In my opinion, the benefits offered by corporate blogging far outweigh the pitfalls that is common with any ascendant technology or tool.

Companies like Adobe, Dell, and Wal-Mart are getting into the blogosphere because its imperative for their competitive advantage. CK’s post is a reminder for corporate marketers to do things right and to also blog for the right purposes. Blogging is inescapable for corporations and with a renewed focus on figuring out the ROI of blogging, corporate marketers can soon start blogging without fear and with a reason.

I’d really love to hear what bloggers like Debbie Weil (Author of the Corporate Blogging Book) and my good friend Easton Ellsworth have to think of the issues raised by CK’s post.

Filed under: Business Blogging

Eventopedia – Oct 06

The past few weeks has seen my attending quite a few events that I should have blogged about and didn’t. So, I decided to create a small post that chronicles some of the recent events I attended and share some of my interactions with a broad range of marketers in the Bay Area. Here are 4 events you may find interesting:

1. Bloggers on Sake

seated from l – r: i, CK and fellow Benihanans

Yes! I finally got to meet the one-and-only Christina Kerley a.k.a CK (blog), whose marketing blog we all tremendously enjoy reading. Here are a few things I learnt about CK: consummate marketer (Duh!), passionate marketing advocate for her clients, a “whirlwind of ideas”, one of the most entertaining marketers to hang out with (here’s her take).

She shared with me some of the truly exciting projects she is involved in. Her many travels across the country is going to shortly bring her face-to-face with our marketing community — Mack, Paul, and David. I look forward to meeting with CK yet again when she visits San Francisco, a month from now, and I bet Karl will be joining us then?

2. Are you LinkedIn?

From l – r: Robert, Konstantin and i
Pic Source: Michelle Hoover

As some of you already know, I’m on the board of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Marketing Association (SVAMA). We put together some really informative marketing events every month and my goal is to establish a rapport with the academic marketing institutions in the Bay Area (think Santa Clara University, Stanford, etc…).

I was recently invited to an absorbing marketing event hosted by Santa Clara University (MBA Marketing Network), featuring Konstantin Guericke (Co-Founder of LinkedIn). Of course, Konstantin had tons of insightful commentary on the burgeoning social media phenomenon. It definitely was a great opportunity for the business school students to learn more about successful social collaboration ventures. Congratulations to the MBA students who put together a great show!

Also, a shout-out to my good friend Robert Jacobs (see pic above) who puts together some of the cool marketing events for the SVAMA.

3. Back to Basics – a SVAMA event

Pic Source: Michelle Hoover

Speaking of Robert and the great panel discussions he puts together, reminds me of the most recent SVAMA event that we organized at SAP. It was centered on “Innovations in Market Research” featuring speakers from IBM, IDC, and Universal Responses. I wasn’t a panelist but definitely enjoyed trying out for the part (see pic above)!

Kent Yunk — Sr. Go To Market Manager, IBM SWG
Pic Source: Michelle Hoover

I had a chance to chat with Kent Yunk, IBM’s Senior Go To Market Manager, who shared with me some of his ideas, predictions and reservations about this whole social media juggernaut characterized by corporate podcasts, blogs, and RSS feeds. Fortune 500 corporations are slowly-but-surely jumping onto the bandwagon and I believe this will inevitably lead to the tipping point when it comes to user-adoption.

4. oDesk meets Lunch 2.0!

From l – r: Jeremiah and Puneet Gupta
Pic Source: Jeremiah Owyang

Jeremiah and I, recently attended Lunch 2.0 hosted by oDesk (blog), a popular startup that intends to shake up the outsourcing scenario. While there, I had a chance to talk to another good friend, Dave McClure along with his fellow oDesk’ers Sawan Deshpande and Ed Schaffer. I think Jeremiah gave a very timely, accurate assessment of what oDesk is, and you can check that out here.

Also, in related news, Congratulations to Jeremiah for being inducted into the Lunch 2.0’s Hall-Of-Fame. I was mighty impressed with the huge success he generated when he hosted Lunch 2.0 at HDS. He has now been invited to be a part of the Lunch 2.0 team involved more extensively as organizer, blogger and coordinator. Way to go, buddy!

Filed under: Uncategorized

We 3 Kings and $1.65B

The guys in the picture above are Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, who have just been inducted into the millionaires’ hall-of-fame, pursuant to their business YouTube being purchased by Google for (hold your breath) $1.65 billion. Wow! For a company that was started after a party, it sure has generated a lot of moolah for a great idea, and is definitely worth it IF YouTube is the future of TV.

Here’s what some really smart people have to say about all this hoopla!

1. Doc Searls: What would YouTube have been worth to Google if the user-generated stuff wasn’t there? (via James Robertson)

2. Brian White: Will Google act like Apple regarding YouTube copyright issues?

3. Washington Post: Here’s what the owners think?

4. Boston Globe: Is this the future of media?

5. Poynter Online: So Google IS really Evil?

Personally, I am not surprised by the acquisition but rather by the cost of acquisition ($1.65 billion!). To put things in perspective, the world’s highest earning celebrity last year was Spielberg who made only $343 million.

The Third Wheel?: Jawed Karim (co-founder YouTube)
Pic Source: New York Times (article)

For a company founded a year and a half ago, staffed by 67 employees, here’s the $$$ breakdown: Sequoia Capital with 30% stake gets around $480 million while founders Steve, Chad and Jawed get anywhere between $100 – $200 million each. Welcome to Silicon Valley’s Hall-of-Fame!

So is this the beginning of a new bubble or is bubble 2.0 ready to burst?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Top 10 Thought Leaders’ Blogs

This is version 2.0 of my Top 10 CEO Blogs post. While creating this, I decided to remedy the twin problems of nomenclature and improper ranking that I faced with the previous listing. So I’ve changed the name to Top 10 Thought Leaders’ Blogs and have also decided to rank them all via Technorati. What resulted was an aggregation of the most popular and influential thought leaders’ blogs in the blogosphere.

* Source: CEO Blogs List | New PR Wiki
* Ranked with Technorati rankings
* Total of 150 blogs from USA
* Number of Inactive CEO blogs: 28%

Here are the Top 10 Thought Leaders’ blogs:

#10: Craig Newmark | Founder, (blog)

Trivia: Newmark is a vocal advocate of keeping the Internet free. He has donated $10,000 to a non-profit group, NewAssignment.Net, which plans to combine the work of amateurs and professionals to produce investigative stories on the Internet.

#9: Richard Edelman | President, Edelman PR (blog)

Trivia: Richard won the Silver Anvil, the highest award in the public relations industry, in 1981. He was named ‘Best Manager of the Year’ by Inside PR magazine in 1995. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum.

#8: Adam Kalsey | former CTO, Pheedo (blog)

Trivia: As CTO/Founder of Pheedo, software for managing and tracking advertising campaigns in blogs and RSS feeds, Kalsey was responsible for all product development from engineering, to product management, to operations.

#7: Jeff Clavier | Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC (blog)

Trivia: Jeff has spent over sixteen years in the software market, as an entrepreneur, a senior executive and a venture capitalist. Born in France, in the great city of Tours (in the Loire Valley, he relocated to Palo Alto in 2000.

#6: Bob Lutz | Vice Chairman, GM (blog)

Trivia: A former aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, Lutz authored the management and leadership book, Guts, which the dust jacket describes as “a maverick’s primer on the business philosophy that revolutionized Chrysler”.

#5: Brad Feld | Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital (blog)

Trivia: Brad loves to read, is an avid marathoner, believes computers are his friend, is happily married to an amazing person, and has two gigantic golden retrievers (Denali and Kenai).

#4: Jonathan Schwartz | President and CEO, Sun Microsystems (blog)

Trivia: He spent freshman year of college at Carnegie Mellon University and then transferred to Wesleyan University, where he studied Economics and Mathematics. Schwartz started his career in at McKinsey & Company in New York City.

#3: David Sifry | Founder and CEO of Technorati (blog)

Trivia: Sifry previously cofounded Sputnik, a wifi gateway company, and Linuxcare. He has been a founding member of the board Linux International, and a technical advisor to the National Cybercrime Training Partnership for law enforcement.

#2: Mark Cuban | Chairman of HDNet (blog)

Trivia: While in school, Mark held a variety of jobs, including bartending, giving disco dancing lessons, and party promotion. Cuban’s first step in the business world was as a salesman. Cuban is an outspoken admirer of objectivist philosophy and author/philosophist Ayn Rand.

#1: Jeff Jarvis | President and Creative Director of (blog)

Trivia: He is the former television critic for TV Guide and People magazine, creator of Entertainment Weekly, Sunday editor and associate publisher of the New York Daily News, and a columnist on the San Francisco Examiner.

(Trivia Source: Wikipedia and respective blogs)

Filed under: Business Blogging, Miscellaneous

Pod of Contention

As an add-on to the previous post, I thought I should raise what has become a bone of contention among early podcasters regarding the “ideal” podcast. I truly believe that the next stage in the evolution of “multi-mediacasts” (audiocasts a.k.a podcasts and videocasts) is here. I also would like to stir a discussion on what we as marketers believe are important barriers to adoption of podcasts from a corporate perspective and how we could overcome it.

Let’s start with the length of podcasts – one of the seemingly obvious barriers to podcast adoption. It all started with a simple frustration aired by Phil Sim, Managing Director of MediaConnect Worldwide and MediaConnect Australia. (Check out Phil’s blog here).

There’s a lot of things I can do in an hour. Maybe, I’ve just got a short attention span but listening to an unedited dialogue for sixty minutes is not one of those I’m going to make a habit. When podcasters start respecting my time and edit out the crap to fit it into my 15 to 20 min lunch break, well then I just may start having more respect for their podcasts.

Leo LaPorte, the host of TWiT gave the closing keynote at Podcast Academy, and referred to some recent surveys that supported the long-is-better theory:

TWiT is 120 minutes. Over 20,000 listeners in a poll said they wanted the longer format. TWiT’s audience wants it to be more technical, not less technical. Treat your audience right—they’re intelligence. Super-serve the niche. That’s critical in narrowcast media.

Let me preface the rest of the post by saying that I believe the LONG podcast format will rule when iTv takes over. However, under present listening/streaming conditions, listening to a 2 hour long podcast for the common user may not work out. I’d agree with Leo that for technophile early-adopters, 2 hours may not seem long, but if podcasting is to grow into mainstream media, the content consumption channel has to evolve. Until then, the only way to stir adoption is through one of two methods:

a. Create brief snippets of podcasts (max: 10 – 15 minutes in length) for ease-of-hear

b. Provide a way for users to search for info within multi-media content

I’m glad to announce, Option b is here. There are increasingly new ways to help search and find specific info within multi-media content. I’d presume that this would be the “Holy Grail” for Google — given their preeminence in the search industry. But, looks like there are a few other companies that are establishing themselves as pioneers in this space…

Possible Solutions:
Now there are possible solutions to the above-mentioned LONG podcast scenario and rather than re-phrase what I read on TechCrunch, let me instead offer links to web 2.0 multimedia search-and-tag offerings that range from “The Google of Podcasting” to “the for Video content”?

1. Video-Tagging: Provides an overview of all the cool new services that enable easier search of multimedia content.

2. Podcast tracking: Want to track-and-monitor the stats for your new podcast service. Check out Ripple from RadioTail. Here’s a techcrunch writeup on the service.

3. Podcasting’s Google: Want to search within audio files? Pluggd is an interesting new service that allows you to search for specific keywords within multimedia files thereby allowing you to skip portions that don’t interest you.

4. Podzinger: The precursor to Pluggd, this service offers an alternative to audio-video search and seems to have evolved into a much more user-friendly & effective search tool.

Filed under: Uncategorized