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As we wrap up 2007 there have been some potentially wide ranging events, and what should be some lasting lessons. For the next several weeks I’ll explore these two or three at a time, and for this week I’d like to pick some of the biggest.
Google is trending to be a company with power that eclipses Microsoft, IBM and AT&T combined and, partially anticipating a Microsoft Evil Empire-like set of problems, they have taken on Big Oil with their aggressive alternative energy strategy. This movement could have global implications for them and for us.
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Finally, one of the big battles this year was the one between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Over the Black Friday weekend, the total number of HD-DVD players purchased so far reached 750,000 players. There are a number of lessons on why Blu-Ray has become the albatross around Sony’s neck and I’d like to close this week making sure you don’t make similar mistakes.
Google: Learning from Microsoft’s Mistakes
Google may turn out to be the exception for at least one big problem: image. Whether it was Standard Oil, AT&T, IBM, or Microsoft, when a company gets large it both gets an image problem and grows a tendency to misuse its power, exacerbating this problem. With all of the companies, short of Microsoft (which really still doesn’t seem to even comprehend they have a problem) this repeating issue has cost them billions to correct in image recovery.
The risk is going to war with the Oil Cartels and these guys don’t have much of a sense of humor. Still, Google has been defined by big bets that have paid off for them successfully and this may very well do that.
The lesson here is that image is important. How you are perceived can drive you in, or out, of a market and moving on image problems early and aggressively can have massive monetary and competitive benefits. I’m just pleased that Google has apparently learned from one of Microsoft’s mistakes and doesn’t feel the need to repeat it. I also really like the idea of someone standing up and doing something material about our addiction to Oil. So their action certainly resonates with me.
Fake Steve Jobs – Real Silicon Valley
One of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time is Dan Lyons’ Fake Steve Jobs book. Many of us in the valley were followers of the Fake Steve Jobs blog and a number of us, including me, were thought to be the author. I’m not that good. In the Blog, Dan captured the spirit of Steve Jobs and by reading the Blog it was almost like you were reading Steve Jobs’ mind. Others have tried this, but the only one that has consistently been believable, funny, and thought provoking is The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.
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The book is a masterpiece of insight. Dan has taken many of the reported behaviors of a lot of executives in technology and woven them into a parody of Steve Jobs, Apple, the Silicon Valley, and the Technology market in general. If, in reading this book, you doubt what he is talking about is possible you clearly don’t follow technology closely. For instance there was a tech CEO a few years ago who used to like to hire Pizza Delivery boys and chase them with his restored Sherman Tank (which eventually crashed against a very large tree), he also used to dress up as a nun and go bar hopping in some of the seedier parts of the city. And this is only one of the untold stories in technology.
Good parody is both humorous and gives you an enlightened perspective into events, and people that you otherwise wouldn’t have. This book, to my eye, is good parody. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have more money then you could ever think of spending this is a good way to see how the other half lives, and why the grass can be anything but green on the other side of the fence.
I’ve known a lot of very wealthy people in my career as an analyst, and have seen some die early before experiencing some of the best parts of life or really enjoying their wealth. I’ve observed massive pettiness and downright childish meanness in their behaviors, and realized that far too many think of themselves very poorly and live in constant fear. Granted you don’t have to end up this way but far too often fast wealth results in really nasty behavior and, after reading this book, you’ll look at a lot of these wealthy self-absorbed CEOs differently.
If the cost of wealth is the destruction of your life and those close to you, the lesson buried in this book is that that this cost is too high. As is working closely with people like this, something that many more of us should constantly remember.
How Blu-Ray Committed Suicide or the Tech Version of the Naked Emperor
On paper Blu-Ray was a failure on day one. Unfortunately the details of this paper weren’t apparent to those of us following technology until after the offering had launched. Blu-Ray is the cause of low attach rates between HD TVs and HD movie players. It has dropped Sony from uncatchable first place in console gaming to a distant 3rd, and it has almost assured that when the market does move to HD media it won’t benefit Japan or optical drive manufacturers but someone else.
Had the industry supporters of this – particularly the now fired head of Sony’s Playstation Group – known this they would have run, literally, screaming from this technology.
This is the Emperor Has No Clothes problem that seems to plague companies of all sizes. Someone who should have raised their hands and said, Hey, maybe we should spend our billions on something that could actually result in comparable revenue like maybe fixing the digital delivery of HD content problem, or the mobility problem (putting movies on portable players), or even expending the gaming segment which is what Nintendo did with a fraction of the cash.
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But no, some powerful executive at Sony (and if there was any one company that should have known better it’s Sony, which remakes this same mistake several times every decade) pushed through an initiative that trashed their strongest asset, the Play Station. Now Sony is stuck. The effort is a hole that takes critical resources and they can’t even walk away from it without doing even more damage to critical parts of the company.
To be clear, all Sony has accomplished with a massive waste of resources is assuring that HD optical penetration in the market is about 1/20th of potential. And the collateral damage to Sony will go down in the history books. It’s the business equivalent of the Iraq war.
The lesson here really is that folks need to do their homework, and I mean builders not buyers (though it can apply to both), and think about the big picture before making big bets. We started out with Google being repetitively very smart as a young company and ended with Sony being repetitively stupid, suggesting that age does not always make for good decisions, analysis does. Google appears to be doing good analysis with respect to most things (though there are exceptions even there) and Sony is the walking example of what not to do.
Remember to Think
In this piece we talked about Google learning from Microsoft’s mistakes and Sony not even learning from their own. We also pointed to the Options book by Dan Lyons as a great way to learn about some of the movers and shakers in technology and suggest that reading this book would be vastly more fun and less painful than experiencing some of this stuff first hand.
While I too have made some incredibly stupid mistakes in my life, I try very hard not to make the same mistake twice, and to learn from others because I feel no compelling need to experience pain (though there have been times I’ve wondered about this last point).
As we move towards the end of 2007 take a moment to reflect and evaluate the paths you are on. Even the best make avoidable mistakes by not thinking enough.
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Why Steve Jobs’ Cup of Coffee Would Go for Much More Than Tim Cook’s
If you’re thirsty, you can grab a cup of Joe with Apple CEO Tim Cook and talk to him about, well, just about anything.Right now, Cook is auctioning off the amount of time it takes to sip a cup of coffee to one lucky (and rich) fan. As of this writing, the bid stands at $190,000, even though its estimated value is $50,000. And since there are nearly three weeks left to bid, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if that figure runs much, much higher.
But as I look at the bids rising and people lining up for the opportunity to talk to Cook, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Steve Jobs were alive and offering the same deal for charity. And if I’m right, there’s a good chance that the cup of coffee Steve Jobs would be talking over would cost a bit more than Cook’s.
[aquote]Tim Cook isn’t the most dynamic person in the world.[/aquote]
Let’s face it – Tim Cook isn’t the most dynamic person in the world. He’s undoubtedly one of the most successful people in the technology industry and if anything, he knows how to run a truly massive company. But Cook is not Steve Jobs. More importantly, Cook hasn’t elevated himself to the level of Superman within the technology industry.
The issue for Tim Cook is that he’s viewed by some as simply riding the wave that Steve Jobs created. And with reports that Jobs himself left a roadmap of products for Apple before he died, there are some who believe that Cook is only doing what he was told to do a couple of years ago. In other words, he doesn’t get much respect, even though he truly deserves it.
Steve Jobs, meanwhile, had God-like status among technology enthusiasts. When he walked on stage, it didn’t take long for the standing ovation to commence and tech lovers around the world to start to drool. And when he started speaking, Jobs had the unique ability to captivate an audience and make them truly believe that whatever it was that he pulled out of his pocket was special.
[aquote]Steve Jobs, meanwhile, had God-like status among technology enthusiasts.[/aquote]
More importantly, Jobs was highly respected among businesspeople – the most likely group to win the Tim Cook bid. Jobs was able to turn around a dying company and turn it into the world’s largest. Tim Cook hasn’t achieved that just yet. And among executives, he’s not at the same level as his predecessor.
So, I ask you: how much would a cup of coffee with Steve Jobs actually cost? If I were a betting man, I’d say that it would hit $500,000 or more. Sure, it’s high, but we’re talking about the one man in the history of the technology industry that was able to turn the head of nearly everyone around the world. And some people would have given much more than a bundle of cash to sit next to him at a table.
Of course, this is not to say that Tim Cook is not worth having a discussion with or doing a good thing by offering his time. But let’s face it: Tim Cook isn’t Steve Jobs. And despite his best efforts, he never will be.
There has been a great deal of discussion about SEO and call tracking lately. Several local marketers have written articles decrying call tracking, saying that it hurts SEO. Other local marketing experts have written rebuttals, stating clearly that call tracking does not hurt SEO when it is deployed correctly.
Our goal is this article to summarize a few of the arguments.
What is Call Tracking?
Call tracking is a way for online marketers to track which sources, campaigns, and keywords generate phone calls. Hundreds of thousands of marketers across the U.S. and Canada use call tracking to close the loop on their marketing ROI calculations. Some of the biggest companies in the world use call tracking to measure the effectiveness of their PPC campaigns, SEO efforts, and retargeting. These companies value call data significantly. They spend a lot of money on it.
Marketing agencies also use call tracking. They use it as a way to prove their worth to their clients. It is especially popular among agencies that do PPC and SEO work.
Call tracking is, right now, a $1B industry. It is mainstream.
What is the Truth?
Call tracking, when used correctly does not hurt SEO. That’s the truth. Even most ardent call tracking opponents admit that.
The correct way to use call tracking is to use call tracking DNI. This doesn’t hurt SEO. We’ll discuss more about this later in the article.
The problem is that the call tracking industry has traditionally done a very poor job of educating marketers about what correct use of call tracking actually is.
Why Do Some Say Call Tracking Hurts SEO?
Because of NAP.
Google makes it very clear that Name Address and Phone number (NAP) have to be consistent across all online directories. Having different phone numbers in a ton of different places confuses Google’s algorithms and will hurt your SEO. This is why a few local marketers have written articles criticizing call tracking.
They’re right about one thing. Call tracking numbers should not be used in various directory listings across the web. That will hurt your SEO. This is common knowledge (or should be).
However, far too often articles attacking call tracking will lump all uses of call tracking (on-site Dynamic Number Insertion, primarily) together with the erroneous use of call tracking in directories.
And, admittedly, some call tracking companies have not operated with care in this area. They have placed call tracking numbers all over directories without worrying about the consequences for their clients. This is bad business and bad for the industry.
Experts That Warn of Call Tracking Admit It Doesn’t Hurt SEO if Used Correctly
Adam Steele is one of the foremost local marketing experts on the web. He is the Founder of Nightlite Media, a Vancouver-based SEO firm. He wrote an article recently that discussed call tracking and SEO in great detail, this was after the barrage of call tracking and SEO articles on both sides of the debate.
“The solution [to call tracking and SEO] is quite well documented.
As long as precaution is made to make certain your tracking number doesn’t get scraped by Google, or some other authority, tracking numbers are totally fine.
Historically, and I think this is where a lot of this anger from marketers [about call tracking] stems from, companies in the call tracking industry…have abused these numbers without any regard for NAP or the SMB.
Call tracking companies need to educate. Tracking numbers are awesome. I use them all the time, especially in local lead gen. Naturally it is an incredible way to measure my campaign results.”
Other widely known agencies and experts confirm that call tracking doesn’t hurt SEO and recommend that businesses use it.
He says that marketers can use call tracking on their website. They would “…have more control and might see some interesting value to using call tracking numbers.”
He later says he has participated in discussions with other SEO experts and “…confirms that this [using call tracking DNI] is acceptable.”
Entire state marketing associations, and other respected groups, confirm and endorse that call tracking is fine when if it is used correctly.
The list of sources confirming that call tracking does not hurt SEO when used correctly is too long to include here. Suffice it to say that call tracking is mainstream and when deployed correctly; it DOES NOT hurt SEO.
Ways to Correctly Use Call Tracking
One of the best articles regarding how to correctly use call tracking was written recently by the Minnesota Search Association. I STRONGLY recommend that you read this article. They lay out 5 specific ways to ensure that call tracking does not harm your SEO. At the risk of being repetitive, I won’t go into the details and methods they discuss. But I will mention one more method that ensures call tracking is safe, Dynamic Number Insertion.
The bottom line is this: local marketers and call tracking companies need to deal with this nuanced issue in a nuanced way. If a call tracking company says that call tracking numbers NEVER hurt SEO, they are wrong. If a local marketer says that call tracking numbers ALWAYS or even MOSTLY hurt SEO, they are wrong.
Using call tracking numbers on directories is bad. Using call tracking DNI on your site is good.
Featured Image: Deposit Photos
Metaverse architect: These professionals will design and plan the layout and functionality of the metaverse, taking into account factors such as user experience, scalability, and security.
Metaverse developer: Similar to software developers, these individuals will create and maintain the underlying code and systems that power the metaverse.
Metaverse designer: These professionals will be responsible for creating the look and feel of the metaverse, including everything from the appearance of virtual spaces to the avatars that users will use to represent themselves.
Metaverse content creator: This could include a wide range of roles, such as 3D modelers, animators, and writers, who will create the various forms of media and experiences that will be available within the metaverse.
Metaverse community manager: These individuals will be responsible for managing and moderating online communities within the metaverse, ensuring that they are welcoming and safe for all users.
Metaverse customer support: As with any online platform, there will be a need for customer support personnel to help users with issues and answer their questions.
Metaverse entrepreneurs: The metaverse will provide a new platform for entrepreneurs to start businesses and offer services. These could include everything from virtual clothing stores to virtual event spaces.
But there’ll also be a great array of traditional roles that will migrate to the metaverse opening up incredible opportunities without the restraint of the physical world. Imagine a virtual reality-based ecosystem that includes job roles such as:
Metaverse therapist: As the metaverse becomes more realistic and immersive, it is possible that it could be used as a tool for therapy and rehabilitation. VR therapists would work with clients in virtual environments to help them overcome various mental and physical challenges that they’re dealing with in the real world.
Metaverse event planner: The metaverse could provide a new platform for hosting events, such as concerts, conferences, or trade shows. metaverse event planners would be responsible for organizing and coordinating these events, including booking venues, arranging logistics, and promoting the event.
Metaverse personal trainer: It may be possible for people to work with metaverse personal trainers to get in shape, either by participating in metaverse workouts or by using it to visualize and practice proper form for various exercises.
Metaverse language tutor: The metaverse could provide a new platform for language education, allowing people to immerse themselves in virtual environments where they can practice their language skills with native speakers. These language tutors would be responsible for designing and leading these language learning experiences as you might expect a traditional teacher to do so.
Metaverse interior designer: People may be able to use metaverse to design and visualize the interior of their homes or offices, and metaverse interior designers could help them to do so. These professionals would be responsible for creating 3D models of the spaces and assisting with the selection of furniture and other elements. These same individuals could help design interiors for buildings within the metaverse itself working with graphic and 3D designers.Key Takeaways
We’re some distance from metaverse jobs replacing traditional jobs, and the physical world isn’t going anywhere, but it’s exciting to think about what roles might exist related to the metaverse by 2030. That’s only 7 years away. Add 5 more years to that and we’re at the same point in time that “I, Robot” was set… let that sink in.
More and more roles will begin to appear related to the creation of the metaverse. These will appear first before traditional roles within the metaverse grow in popularity.
This will all happen faster than we can anticipate, with mass adoption happening faster than traditional uptake of new technologies.
Read more about Metaverse
Investors are showing a huge demand for popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and much more available in the cryptocurrency market. They are depositing a lot of cryptocurrencies to earn profit in the nearby future despite being a highly volatile market. But, have you ever wondered what happens to cryptocurrency post-death of its owner? How is the digital survival process in the cryptocurrency market? Let’s explore what happens to the life of cryptocurrencies after their owner’s death. The cryptocurrency market is well-known for implementing blockchain technology for securing digital wallets from cyberattacks. Thus, digital wallets do not contain any beneficiary name for cybersecurity purposes. But, the owner possesses a private key with a unique password to grant access to a crypto wallet or digital wallet. The problem is that the owner cannot share this password with anybody else. Then, the digital survival for that cryptocurrency in the digital wallet will not continue to work and will be lost forever. The status of a cryptocurrency post-death depends on a person who holds the keys to maintain custody over a password of 64 digits to get access to the digital wallet. A third-party crypto exchange or a hybrid or both is there to avoid losing all cryptocurrencies on a third-party exchange as a long-term solution. They hold the right to freeze the cryptocurrencies in the digital wallet or get attacked by cyberattackers.
Investors are showing a huge demand for popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and much more available in the cryptocurrency market. They are depositing a lot of cryptocurrencies to earn profit in the nearby future despite being a highly volatile market. But, have you ever wondered what happens to cryptocurrency post-death of its owner? How is the digital survival process in the cryptocurrency market? Let’s explore what happens to the life of cryptocurrencies after their owner’s death. The cryptocurrency market is well-known for implementing blockchain technology for securing digital wallets from cyberattacks. Thus, digital wallets do not contain any beneficiary name for cybersecurity purposes. But, the owner possesses a private key with a unique password to grant access to a crypto wallet or digital wallet. The problem is that the owner cannot share this password with anybody else. Then, the digital survival for that cryptocurrency in the digital wallet will not continue to work and will be lost forever. The status of a cryptocurrency post-death depends on a person who holds the keys to maintain custody over a password of 64 digits to get access to the digital wallet. A third-party crypto exchange or a hybrid or both is there to avoid losing all cryptocurrencies on a third-party exchange as a long-term solution. They hold the right to freeze the cryptocurrencies in the digital wallet or get attacked by cyberattackers. One of the top ways for the digital survival of cryptocurrency post-death of an owner is to give a copy of the private key by writing it down or store it on a flash drive with the utmost trust. Another useful way is to keep cryptocurrencies in a will beforehand. Otherwise, estate lawyers name it as probate by truck where the heirs may declare that the owner wanted them to have the contents of a digital wallet. Heirs or relatives or friends cannot call a bank to check if there is any cryptocurrency digital wallet.
Time To Buy a Blu-Ray
Consider this my official holiday gift guide column. I’m not going to do a round-up of all my favorite gift ideas. I’m not going to recommend which phone you should buy, which laptop, which Lexus, or whatever. There are plenty of great gift guides to tell you all that (and I’ve even worked on some of those, myself). I’m not even going to recommend a specific product. I’m just going to tell you to buy a Blu-Ray player. I don’t really know which one to buy, and I don’t even have one myself. But it’s become the number one item on my list, and it should be for you, too.[Image credit: Bill S]
A Blu-Ray player will make everyone happy. Everybody likes movies or TV shows, sold by the season. Personally, I think we’re in a golden age of television. Though there is plenty of garbage on the tube every night, the good shows are more thoughtful, complex and interesting than ever before. They have huge budgets behind them, talented actors, and clever writing. Of course, I’ll bet critics say this every few years about their current wave of programming, but then won’t it be fun to have something to look back on later? To pop in a copy of “Lost” and tell your kids how cool it was, even though it hardly stands up better than the old episodes of “The Prisoner” (which is pretty good, actually)?
Does it sound like I’m shilling for the Blu-Ray industry? I swear I’m not. Like I said, I don’t even have a Blu-Ray player myself, but I’m going to get one soon, for good reason.
You might have heard that Blu-Ray is already a dying technology. After all, you can watch streaming movies, in HD, from Netflix. You can download HD movies from iTunes or other online services. You can rent movies on your Xbox console. So why on earth should you buy a Blu-Ray player?
Because the technology behind digital media is not there yet. It’s getting close, but there is still a long way to go. First of all, storage has never been cheaper, and storage capacities for digital players is rising exponentially, even as costs are dropping. But there still isn’t enough storage to hold all of your movies.
A Blu-Ray movie, which is to say a high-definition, 1080p movie with 5.1-channel (or better) surround sound and all the bells and whistles, takes up between 10GB and 15GB of space, approximately. I have a laptop computer with a 320GB hard disk drive. Many laptops are crammed with 500GB or more, and it isn’t unusual to find a desktop in the 2TB range. So, that should be enough storage space, right?
Not really, especially not if you’re a movie collector. Even if you could download movies at this quality level, you would quickly fill up a hard drive. Throw in the photos, the music, the home movies, the applications and documents that we all keep on our computers, and you aren’t left with enough space to hold more than a handful of high quality films. Want to keep an entire TV series at hand? Think again.
You could always buy an external drive, but those can be a hassle, especially if you want to watch movies while traveling. Portable drives spin at a lower RPM, and they usually aren’t meant to handle the heavy load of constant media streaming. In fact, the biggest problem with all hard disk drives is that they are almost guaranteed to go down at some point. Hard drives are like tires. They wear out over time. If you’ve ever had a drive crash irreparably, and I’m assuming most of you have, you know what I mean. So, are you going to keep a backup of all your saved digital movies? You’ll need another external drive just to make sure your films are safe for as long as you want them. And even then, drives always die, eventually.
Netflix and other streaming services are great, and great value, but even with today’s faster networks, the streaming services are too heavy for the bandwidth load. Some cable and Internet providers are starting to push back, and there’s no telling which way the net neutrality wind will blow. It could shift with every incoming administration. Even at today’s data rates, you can’t be sure you’ll get the best, HD quality content, and even if you do, it won’t live up to the quality of a Blu-Ray disc. It won’t even come close.
I still have the first DVD I ever purchased. It was The Matrix. I watch it from time to time. Sure, physical media can get scratched or cracked, but with just a modicum of care, they can last for decades. My copy of The Matrix has outlasted 4 different hard disk drives. I used to have a backup of the movie on my computer, but the hard drive went down, and when I went to restore the drive from a backup, that backup was corrupted (damn you, Time Machine!). Now I use 3 separate drives to backup my work computer, but I don’t bother keeping my digital media files stored on all three. They would simply take up too much space.
One strange phenomenon of digital media? Nobody wants to sell it cheap, at least not yet. Books, music, movies, these all cost about the same for digital versions as they do for a real physical copy. The most you’ll pay for a physical copy of Iron Man 2 on Blu-Ray is about $20, for an edition without all the collectible tchotchkes. That’s the same price you’ll pay to download an HD copy from iTunes, except that the Blu-Ray is higher quality picture and sound. Like I said, on your laptop screen, or on your iPad, you won’t notice the difference. But if you care about quality and you own some nice home theater equipment, you’ll see a difference.
But, by all means, go buy a Blu-Ray player. Remember what it was like when you have a treasure trove of high quality films and TV shows at your disposal. Future proof your collection against dying hard drives, and save some money on cheaper films while you’re at it. Now is the best time to buy, and the future is still a long ways off.
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