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Running Naked: Mark Cuban Just “Pulled Down the Shorts” of CDNs Everywhere January 28, 2009

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
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Mark Cuban just ran up behind the CDNs and pulled down their ‘shorts’ exposing a BIG problem. Video on the internet is far from democratized it’s a dictatorship.   For once we are not talking about the cable companies or service providers (although they have issues).

The Maverick strikes again.  Where Mark does not talk about in his post is the need for a viable P2P platform now!  The P4P standard group offers hope, but their motto is “No We Can’t”.

We need legit P2P standards now for a viable platform for online live and ondemand video.

The post is worth reading but here is my favorite part ..

Lets say you have your “Worlds Greatest Concert” that you are sure can draw 500k simultaneous streams (on demand or live) . Also planning to stream a large event, lets say the first broadcast of Dark Knight 2, which the producers will stream live at the same time, and oh my goodness, the remaining Beatles decide to have their final reunion with a single live concert at the exact same time. 3 Mega events, each with an expected draw of 500k simultaneous users. Who has the greatest opportunity and the most leverage ?

Thats easy. Its the CDNs. You have so few choices of vendors that the CDNs can charge whatever they want to handle the event. And thats for one single event. You dont want to know about costs for 24×7 streaming for viewership levels of even small cable networks.

The internet is not an open video platform. Video distribution of any scale places you  at the mercy of just a very few CDNs.  You literally have to compete for timeslots for very large events.  If you want an interesting excercise, call up a CDN and ask them how much it would cost to support an audience that is never smaller than 10k simultaneous viewers for a 1mbs stream, 24 hours a day, for 365 consecutive days. Then call up one of the satellite providers and ask how much they would charge you to deliver to 100pct of their customers, and then call up a cable company and ask the same question.  Total up the cable and satellite numbers and compare them to the internet costs. You may be surprised to see which is cheaper.

If you have dreams of competing with traditional TV network viewing numbers using the internet, dream on.  You cant afford it. You have been sucker punched  by the Great Internet Lie.

Infrastructure 2.0: The Modernization of the Datacenter – Doug Gourlay of Cisco January 28, 2009

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I cornered Doug Gourlay Senior Director of Product Marketing of Cisco’s Datacenter Business Unit, at the Infrastructure 2.0 event to answer my question about what he means when he says “The Modernization of the Datacenter”.

Question (John Furrier): What do you say to all the skeptics who say that you’re promoting the modernization of the datacenter because you’re in that business and that it really isn’t a problem? Is this just virtualization or is there another issue?

Answer (Doug Gourlay): It’s absolutely a systems approach. There are multiple factors. Lets take Moore’s law for instance which has proven true over the past 30 years. In datacenters you want it to last at least 10 -15 yrs. With 750x processor improvements under Moore’s law in the last 12 years yet cooling efficiencies has only grown 64x for IT assets – that is an 11 or 12x disparity. That’s why you see datacenters with racks designed to cool 4000 to 6000 watts. If I took a set of blades today I would need to cool it with only 30,000 watts. The reality is that we can draw more power then we can efficiently cool today. You either run out of space so — we made denser equipment; you ran out of cooling capacity — you bought more crack units; you ran out of power and the power company will NOT give you more. So when we talk about a modernization were talking about the underlying physical facilities that we built are being obsoleted almost every 5 yrs.

Question (John Furrier): It’s not just a Cisco issue it’s more of an environmental issue around the datacenter themselves ..the raw infrastructure the physical plant or whatever to equipment.

Answer (Doug Gourlay): That’s the biggest compelling event. how do i enable the IT infrastructure to make that facility infrastructure last longer.

To View the Entire Infrastructure 2.0 video feed click here (sorry registration required).

Web 2.0 Art By Sean Tiner – Pretty Cool Stuff January 7, 2009

Posted by John in social media.
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Sean Tiner recently created this portrait of me.

furrier20art

It’s part of Faces, an ongoing social media art series that he started at the beginning of 2008. To launch the art series, Tiner first created 50 portraits of friends from Facebook and posted the artwork on the social networking site. He theorized that by posting the portraits and tagging his Facebook friends in the portraits, it would help to create awareness and interest in his artwork. Following the first 50 portraits, Tiner started created portraits of people that he found interesting, including Seth Godin, Darren Rose, and Chris Brogan.

I’m honored that Tiner has included me in his portrait series and look forward to seeing more of the series as it unfolds. To view more of his series check out his blog or view his eBook (I’m on page #57).

Memo to Intel: Do Users Know Who You Are? Intel’s New Intel Inside Has To Be HD May 27, 2008

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I was browsing the web today and found this interview that I did with Sean Maloney at Intel. It got me thinking. Intel needs a new intel inside consumer branding theme. I found it for them. It’s HiDef – HD. Sean Maloney gets it. He’s old school Intel, but he understands what new users are looking for.

In the old days the CPU powered software. Today it’s a entire new paradigm -rich media and broadband. It’s the ‘new software equivalent for processors and subsystems”. The Intel Inside brand is getting stale. Intel Inside clicked for consumers back in the 90s, but I think that Intel is confusing to a new breed of consumers now. The new net users don’t have that historical connection that guys like me have with Intel. Intel needs to connect with those new users while keeping it’s image up with the existing users.

Answer: HiDef – HD. HD touches all consumers both online and offline. Intel needs to own image in the mind of the consumer. I would argue that HD is yet to be owned from brand association perspective by any one vendor. HD is everywhere but yet unbranded.

More importantly HD requires a boatload of processing power and storage (and cloud computing – I won’t get started how cloud computing is threating the PC which should have Intel worried as well). Great processing and system software, Intel’s technology stronghold, enables a great user experience from online to the living room. Intel needs to leverage that in a clear message to consumers.

Companies like nVidia are competing directly with Intel on CPUs. With nVidia dominating the graphics market for years they have a chance to make a run at Intel. Will nVidia and others possibly steal away the Intel franchise?

Here is the interview with Sean Maloney that I did. Sean gets it. He thinks big and Intel needs a new Intel Inside theme. It has to be HD.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/01/PID_001714/Podtech_sean_maloney_intel.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/1787/notebooks-in-the-daytime-tvs-at-night-for-now&totalTime=240000&breadcrumb=75bdacf7cfaf4024a548de23cbc978b0]

Podcast: Search 2.0 – From Search to Discover by Yezdi Lashkari May 1, 2008

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Yezdi Lashkari outlines the origins and limitations of collaborative filtering, the importance of Web 2.0, and how the commoditization of certain specific web technologies will benefit both consumers and businesses alike. He addresses the importance of blending algorithms to effectively harness collective user behavior, and the wisdom of crowds.

Yezdi Lashkari was a co-founder of Firefly Networks (acquired by Microsoft), a pioneering company in the area of collaborative filtering and personalization.  Lashkari recently left Microsoft, where he played a number of senior product leadership roles, the last being a special assignment sponsored directly by CEO Steven Ballmer, focused on researching large scale network-centric computing infrastructures for thousands of hosts.  This work is now driving one of the technical pillars of the post-Vista Windows release.  Lashkari holds numerous patents in collaborative filtering, data protection and user profiling technologies.  He received his M.S. from the MIT Media Laboratory and has three computer science degrees covering research areas ranging from artificial intelligence, databases, to collaborative filtering and personalization.

Enjoy the podcast sponsored by Aggregate Knowledge – Leader in Web 2.0 Discovery Technology

Yezdi and I talk about the big trend in Search or Search 2.0 – and it has nothing to do with search as we know it today.

The full transcript from the Interview is here.

BusinessWeek Covers the RealTime Layoff February 14, 2008

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Businessweek’s Moira Herbst and Catherine Holahan captured the story on the Yahoo layoffs.  I think that Twittering and Blogging this massive layoff will go down as one of those inflection points in our new global digital real time always on social bla bla bla ..<add buzzword here>.

Here is what BW mentions about me at the end..“But the exchanges of laid-off Yahoo workers isn’t all about commiseration; it’s also about finding leads. John Furrier writes in response to a story on TechCrunch that he’s hiring: “Bummer about Yahoo. I hope they can pull together and survive. Open call for Yahoo entrepreneurs who know social networks and social graph technology: I’m looking for product managers and engineers for my new social advertising startup. For info go to furrier.org—information on the startup is buried in the blog.”

To clarify:  “Information is buried in my blog”-  means that information about what I’m working on is weaved in and out of series of posts.  Many have figured out what I’m working on and  have contacted me.  I guess it’s a social media form of lead generation for finding like minds to collaborate with.

Tech Stocks STX: CEO Bill Watkins – He Gets No Respect January 23, 2008

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Bill Watkins has Seagate pumping but he gets no respect from Wall Street.  Cnet’s Charles Cooper has a very good interview and story with and about Bill Wakins, the CEO of Seagate.

I’ve been doing an earnings podcast with Bill for most of the last 6 qtrs and have watched how he’s managed to keep Seagate focused.  He’s navigated Seagate through price wars, product changes, big acquisitions, and now a sagging Dow.  He’s like Rodney Dangerfield of tech stocks – “he gets no respect”. 

Here are some of the earnings podcasts that I’ve done with Bill Watkins.  The best part of web 2.0 media is the historical record or archive.  Lets take a listen to Bill over the past two years.

Here is the CEO Bill Watkins – story since 2006.  On the record with me on his company and his performance.   With Seagate generating over $700 million in cash, over $500 million in free cash, no inventories, and double-digit growth, what will it take for Wall Street to wake up.  Bill keep on podcasting. 

Earnings Q1 2008 – Brian Dexheimer, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer sat in for Bill Watkins

Earnings FY 2007  & Q4 2007 – July 2007

Earnings Q3 2007 – April 2007

 Earnings Q2 2007 – January 2007

Earnings Q1 2007 – October 2006

Earnings FY 2006 – August 2006

June 2006 Bill Watkins

Facebook Beacon: Kara is the Pot Calling the Kettle January 14, 2008

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In the 60 minutes interveiw of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg (which I thought was a puff piece) Kara Swisher is highlighted as the expert in Facebook.  Kara deserves to be on there because she has been following Facebook hard for a while.  I like Kara and read her blog.  Kara is a pro journalist, but I fell off my chair at the end of the interview on her comment on Facebook’s beacon product.  I have to call foul on this one Kara. 

Kara: I respectfully disagree with you.  First, I think that you’re wrong on your take on beacon.  You said Facebook was wrong for doing it and not explaining it.  Then you go on to basically question their judgement.  I disagree with you.  Beacon is a good thing for Facebook and for users.  I think that Facebook rolled it out the wrong way, but it was a good move for Facebook.  It’s a competitive advantage weapon for Facebook and a possible innovation lever for their user experience (and for future monetization).   Secondly, you have a relationship Google and know that Google practices the same techniques as Beacon (can we talk about gmail, data centers and toolbar among other similar data driven innovations).  By your logic Google is wrong and has bad judgement.   Competing on the value of data extraction is precisely what Google built their brand on and it is what drives their ad monetization business. 

Both Google and Facebook derive their products core value propositions from the aggregation and knowledge about data and data relationships. 

Here is the 60 minutes interview. Note: Bill Gates was 17 when he started Microsoft.

Two Parts: 

Part I

Part II

Storage Business: Record Everything for Seagate – Is it Breakout Time for the Stock? October 16, 2007

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The storage business is red hot.  Why?  We all need more storage.  Seagate puts out their earnings and yesterday I sat down with Seagates Chief Sales and Marketing executive, Brian Dexheimer, to preview today’s Q1 earnings result.   Sales are soaring.   Here is Seagate’s press release. 

Update: Eric Savitz reports that Bill Watkins says that he has sold out Q4 and can’t deliver on all the orders.   Bill in his own style says to Eric “I have tons of orders I can’t fill.”

The results were awesome for Seagate.  Record everything…shipments, revenue, net income, industry shipments, new products,..etc.  The stock has been hovering and seeing a resistance at and around $28 per share for two years.  Will it break through and go higher and higher?  We shall see.  The disk drive business is changing and so is Seagate. 

Highlights from my video podcast with Brian Dexheimer:

  1. 132 million units a record for the industry
  2. shipments represent 36% of the entire industry shipments
  3. margin expansion 25 points
  4. $3.3 billion in revenue
  5. 60 cents EPS (non gaap); started at 44 cents at the beginning of the qtr
  6. pricing dynamics – best conditions in all of the past 4 quarters
  7. demand was strong
  8. strongest trend in the overall growth is in the high capacity area
  9. hottest area is the digital home

Seagate is seeing the results of the Maxtor acquistion in terms of leverage and scale in the gross margin expansion  –  operational efficiency.   Solid state disk drives will be upcoming on the horizion.  Branded products up and the upcoming qtr looks strong.  New security solutions are doing well with the demand for secure data.  Average sale for the consumer side is over 350 GB. 

Seagate has a strong presence in the consumer, enterprise, and the emerging web 2.0 service provider area.  The web 2.0 service provider area includes Google, Facebook, Myspace, and many new niche applications such as surveilllance among others.

Seagate has a secret weapon.  Green Disk Drives.  Green drives are a major growth area.  On the clients side the hybrid is looking good – combing flash and rotating storage to reduce the power budget of the PC which frees up battery life and screen life..  On the enterprise side there is a tremendous shift toward small form factor devices.  These devices are consuming 35% less power and 40% of all their shipments came in the area of the new form factor. 

The industry is still cyclical, but the cycle has dampened – lower lows and higher highs.  This is due to the consolidation in competition and in the supply chain components available (motor, heads, media, etc).  This leads to efficiencies and scale that gives Seagate more margin room.  Also it gives Seagate stabilized component prices, fewer competitors, and allows them to gain more scale and more efficient business models from the stability in competition and critical component prices.  The storage business is turning into a major growth sector. 

Price wars?  There is a change in behavior in pricing from competitors. 

What’s different?  Seagate has multiple business growth areas.  Single biggest trend is in the digital home – 70-80% growth and it’s early.  Storage deployment in the home is a nice growth area to compliment their traditional enterprise area.  Add the consumer electronic market and Seagate is now twice as big.  Seagate will approach $13 billion this year.

Seagate is breaking out and breaking records.

Here is the video of my exclusive interview with Brian DexHeimer

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/10/PID_012840/Podtech_Seagate_1st_QTR_Earnings.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/4386/exclusive-earnings-interview-with-seagates-brian-dexheimer&totalTime=823000&breadcrumb=e2273540616a4c0f86d3f16fa2313203]

On the strength of 47 million disk drive shipments, the Scotts Valley, Calif., company reported revenue of $3.29 billion, vs. $2.79 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected revenue of $3.22 billion.

Seagate reported GAAP net income of $355 million, or 64 cents per diluted share. Excluding charges associated with the company’s acquisitions of Maxtor and EVault, Seagate earned $385 million, or 69 cents a share. Analysts predicted earnings of 64 cents a share.

“The first fiscal quarter has historically been a strong one for Seagate, and this year, we benefited from unit demand greater than expected,” CEO Bill Watkins said in a company statement. “We believe we are well positioned to continue driving year-over-year revenue growth, and these record quarterly results demonstrate the effectiveness of Seagate’s business model.”

In other tech stocks Intel’s Q3 profit surges 43% .  IBM profit is up. Yahoo is slightly down but beat the streets estimates.

Video Ads are Here to Stay – What will they look like? October 9, 2007

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Blodget has a post on video advertising.  I’ve been working hard to get my advertising vision at PodTech to embrace this trend.  What is video advertising?  Short form youtube videos?  Infomercials?  Entertainment?  All of the above?

A new report by research-boutique Off The Record suggests that, after a couple of years of dabbling, big advertisers are now taking online video advertising seriously.  This is good news for traditional TV networks–Disney, Viacom (VIAB), News Corp (NWS)–and it’s good news for Google.  The report was based on 10 interviews with ad-agency execs conducted from Sept 21-Oct 4.

Key points:

  • Video ads growing faster than ad execs expected.
  • Video ads still account for only a tiny percentage of overall web ads but are expected to be the fastest growing category for the foreseeable future.
  • Auto and entertainment categories strongest, with good growth in consumer products, technology, and fast food.

For more check out Henry’s post.

Data as a Service (DAS) – Facebook Business Opportunities – It’s about the ‘data effects’ October 9, 2007

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One theme coming out of the conference here is the value in the platform – the data and the ‘data effects’.  More importantly the Internet Operating System (IOS).  Tim O’Reilly pointed this out today at the Social Graph Conference.  Here is a great post from Stu Phillips about Data as a service – eg facebook and other social networks.  Stu ironically was the key player behind Cisco’s IOS.  As we all know Cisco had one of the most sustainable and nested advantages in their routers.  I think Stu has a great perspective in looking at the role of the Internet as an operating system.  Add higher level stack abstractions and you have Cisco’s IOS + Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 = Modern Web. 

If you’re an entrepreneur who is interested in building a business as part of the Internet Operating System you need to meet with Stu who is helping fund and advise startups.

Stu points out the following:  “Facebook could find some interesting ways of monetizing that database – not only does it have a detailed set of relationship data, it also has a rich transaction stream – every time you add a friend, change your profile, interact with an application… Facebook generates a transaction. Mining both the database and the log of transactions could provide very valuable data. “

Stu is highlighting an article from Fred VogelStein at Wired.  Fred penned an article about Facebook for the La Times.

Here is a link to my data on Facebook. 

Official Definition of Facebooks Social Graph – Dave Morin from Facebook – Graphing Social Patterns – Day 2 October 9, 2007

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Dave Morin works on the Facebook platform team to bring out the platform – developers.facebook.com.  He is talking about Facebook, the Social Graph, and the Facebook Platform. 

Facebook is a technology company and a social utility.   Facebook is growing at 225k users per day and doubling every six months.  The new users are coming from people over the age of 25.  Mostly users outside the US (uk and canada dominate the international distribution).  Over 50% of users return each day.   60 billion pages every day.

The official definition:  Social Graph is the network of connections that exist through which people communicate and share information.  Applications like photos and events are examples that leverage the social graph.  Dave highlights that the Events App (written by Mark Zuckerberg in 8 hours one night) on Facebook is dwarfing evite because of the social graph and the network effects. 

Facebook will be open for developers and users.  I wonder what this means.???  Facebook is a young company and I think that they will do the right thing in making it ‘really open’.  As Tim O’Reilly says whoever makes the developer money will win the platform war.  Right now Tim says that Facebook is a subsystem of the Internet platform.  If they make the right moves on the developer front they can win the platform war.

New features will harness the fact that Facebook is moving toward a metric of engagement.   New opportunities?  Three things important to Facebook:  managing the growth, get to engagement apps and metrics, and monetization on these new social patterns.

Dave says that Facebook has 90,000 developers and growing.  Facebook is excited and humbled by the outpouring of support from developers.  Another interesting stat – 80% of users have adopted at least one application. 

Live Blogging from Graphing Social Patterns October 8, 2007

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Sitting in the row of press next to Nick (allfacebook.com) and Brian SolisDave McClure is putting on a great event with top silicon valley press and developers.  The “Don” of blogging – Dan Farber is blogging and leading the charge on techmeme.  Tom Foremski has some earlier posts. 

What is the social graph?  Everyone wants to know.  It’s really not fully defined but in general I think that it’s a movement that will have legs.  Why?  Because we are all connected and fully networked.  I expect to see some interesting new approaches to content, collaboration, and advertising – maybe we should call it the social semantic web.   Some think that Social Graph is based in hype.

Right now Danny Sullivan, the authority on search,  is taking about search engines and how it relates to the social revolution that we know of as social networks and media.  

web 1.0  search success:  “off the page” metrics – clickthrus, anchor text, actual text, and link relationships.   Problem: spamming and manipulation of text and links.

Evolution:  vertial search and personalized and social search.   Changes will be gradual and won’t be noticed by most users.  How does this happen?  Data used by Google.  Yes Google is monitoring your web history.  Tagging.  Will this be enough?  Search will be going through major transformation in the next few years. 

What about Facebook?  Social graph and social network data…watching what others are doing… reshape results and actions based upon what friends are doing.   To me is facebook about watching what people are doing rather than something of value?  Is there a collaboration app waiting to be born … uhmm..

Is facebook for real Danny asks..he points the crowd to this picture…

 facebook2.jpg

New trend in facebook ..Friend pollution – “true friends”?  are your friends effecting the search engines?  He says that facebook doesn’t have a facebook friendly search technology.  I agree with Danny.  I think that Facebook search is terrible. 

Question from crowd:  what does he think of Mahalo?  Danny doesn’t see Mahalo as social search because it is done by editors not a community.  Hmm I think that Jason is doing both not just editors.  Jason Calacannis is this true? 

Search is an on demand activity based upon what a user knows what they want.  Different from discovery..getting something that you would like that you don’t know you want… Digg, aggregated news, content that is aggregated knowledge of what your friends watch.

I tried to ask a question but they ran out of time.  So I’ll ask it here…

Danny:  web 1.0 search was based upon open data (crawling pages) and multiple companies were created to address search (altavista, excite, yahoo, etc).. Will Facebook be monolithic search or will it open up its data?  If so what is the best way for facebook to enable entrepreneurs to create new search applications?

Update: Danny answered via the comments..Thanks Danny

Danny Sullivan’s response:  “I suspect Facebook will not open up its social data, so the best way to enable entrepreneurs will probably remain though application development — that you could develop an app to call on Google, Yahoo, Microsoft or Ask search results and somehow store activity on them by those sharing through some type of search app.”

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