IBM Validates Podcasts for Consumers

Big Blue is podcasting story on CNET.  I was also interviewed for WSJ this morning.  This is a huge coup for podcasting.  Last months 2 million download PodTech month was amazing validation that the demand is there.  In no time at all consumers will be demanding content be served in their format.   Two weeks ago I interviewed Ben Edwards and Christopher Barger for an exclusive podcast where they in their own words talk about the possibilities for podcasting. 

This is a great example of IBM doing what they do best – set the pace for others to follow. 

Steve Forbes Responds to PodTech Re: Podcast and Cover Story

Monday I posted an podcast with Steve Forbes in his first ever podcast.  Forbes cover story had a negative blog response from many prominent bloggers. Shel Israel sent an open letter to the author of the post Daniel Lyons. However some think that bloggers are being “played?.

Today Steve Forbes sent me the following email to respond to my original email.  The thread is posted below.

Dear John:

            The point of the story is that any technology can be used positively or negatively – from pamphlets and newspapers to radio, TV, cable and the Net

— mediums have changed, have made communications easier, more accessible. Blogging is a blessing, but one like anything can be used and misused.Sincerely,


—–Original Message—–
From: John Furrier []
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005 5:23 PM
To: Forbes, Steve
Subject: our podcast last week

I wanted to touch base with you regarding our podcast from last week.  I am planning on posting it Monday morning but I saw today that the blog community has reacted negatively to the cover story from Forbes calling bloggers a “lynch mob?.  In our podcast you talked very proactively about the benefits of technology and social media.  I feel that this is a conflict with the reporting from Daniel Lyons.

I wanted to get you the opportunity to make a comment that I could post on my podcasting site.  You can just email me or call at 650-xxx-xxxx

Thank you for your time last week for your first podcast.  The content and message was great.Best Regards,

John Furrier

Another PodTech Exclusive: Memeorandum Inventor – Gabe Rivera

PodTech Exclusive:  Gabe Rivera’s First Podcast – Download and/or listen at

For the Podcast go to —

Guest:  Gabe Rivera, Founder and Inventor of Memeorandum

Host:  John Furrier, Founder & CEO,

Full Transcript:
John Furrier:    We’re here at the PodTech studio in Palo Alto and a special guest just rolled in.  Gabe Rivera the inventor of memeorandum – a kick ass site.  You showed it to Scoble and you even hid it from me at barcamp.  Recently Dave Winer said that memeorandum is changing the web.  How did it all start?

Gabe Rivera:  Almost two years ago when I noticed that a lot of bloggers had a lot of spin and interpretation of what was in the news.  My first concept was a list of the most blogged about news stories to give some samples of what bloggers are saying.  Implemented in Jan 2004 but in the process came to get a new sense of what’s going on.  The bloggers themselves are making the news.  I got a flatter view of where the influence was and where the scoops were.  I started a redesign right after I launched it and then relaunched it a few weeks ago.

John Furrier:   It’s an automated system that goes out to the blogosphere and just tracks who’s reporting.  Not that every blogger is a reporter but bloggers are producers.  Memeorandum is like an automated “New York Times? for the Web.  It’s all relevant.  How did you get the relevance?

Gabe Rivera:   It’s mostly link based.  Bloggers link to what they find relevant.  They won’t link to what isn’t relevant because it will spam up their own blogs.   The way things work lend themselves to a link based method.  I’m please with it but am always tweaking it.  I need to stay on top of it.  There are strange looking patterns that may make it less relevant.  Need to stay on top of it.

John Furrier:    This past month PodTech had the exclusive launch of the Yahoo Podcast launch and announcement.  We appeared on the top with the biggest font on Memeorandum.  Do you adjust the font size based upon linkage?  Is it time based?  How do the stories fall on and off?

Gabe Rivera:   Placement and font size are tied to some kind of relevance measure.  Links contribute to it but time also degrades the relevance.  Just like in a newspaper bigger font is a bigger story and is good for visualization and I do that on my site.  The thing about your post (PodTech’s Exclusive on Yahoo podcast launch) getting up there to the top of the page getting the biggest headline –  I’m thrilled about this because if you read tech blogs you get a feel to where news start where the ideas start – the definitive piece on a story is available.  Very often and increasingly it’s on a blog.  Where most people are getting their news now they don’t highlight blog entries.  They may highlight at the bottom “this story was originated on so and so blog? . I think that its great where I can provide something where the source or definitive take is highlighted.

John Furrier:    I always felt that when I started PodTech that podcasting was really a PA system to bloggers and intercom system for bloggers – example “ attention bloggers this is now happening? – to call attention to the community with credibility.  Your product is an amazing innovation to make it simple to read and provide bloggers and podcasters a great place to provide and share what we believe is information – infotalk, a original story, scoop, report, or analysis.

Gabe Rivera:    I have to say that I don’t have everything in place to make it do what it should do for podcasting.  Part of the relevance picks up on what kind of text that you have and podcast posts don’t get the kind of links that text posts do.  In your case we’ll work on it together.

John Furrier:    Media is an interesting angle. Everyone has this debate – text, audio, and video.  Audio doesn’t replace text.  Text is the best form to comprehend stuff, audio is great on the go and mobile, and video great for visual but they are all integrated.  People miss that point.  We are working on some stuff at PodTech where I’d love to talk to you about it.  What you have is great now.  You’re awesome and I love the site.  Any final comments to the audience about your site and you’re view on where you want to take it?

Gabe Rivera:   If you haven’t seen it checked it out yet – check it out.   One way that you should look at this different to the NY Times or Cnet news is that – it’s open to you!  If you have something to say on a story and if you’re a blogger may get a link with ease, but if you don’t show your work to someone else and get them to link to you and you may find that you’ll be added in minutes.

John Furrier:     This is a profound product – memeorandum with Gabe Rivera the inventor open to everyone.  Blog and start podcasting.  If you want to podcast PodTech will host for you if you want to do that.  It’s what it is all about – communicating and sharing. 

Gabe- thanks for the podcast.

Gabe Rivera:   Your welcome

PodTech Milestone: Passed the 2 million downloads mark site and InfoTalk program just achieved a milestone in its’ short history. In the fifth month of operation we passed the 2 million download mark  I am very pleased with the response from the audience and it highlights the original goal of PodTech – focus on getting great content from “Fresh Voices” – Thanks to all the guests, listeners, and friends.  More great stuff on deck.

– John Furrier, Founder and CEO, PodTech.Network Inc.

IBM Puts out Podcasting Guidelines

Corante has a great post from IBM execs on their employee podcasting guidelines.  I recently visited the IBM corporate podcasting team in Armonk HQ and podcasted their vision and philosophy.  I like their seven commandments of podcasting.

Go to to hear the IBM podcasts.  I have another podcast with David Cohn an IBM Researcher coming up soon.  I did a podcast with David at Vortex in SF last week.

WSJ Reports: Entrepreneurs Don’t Need VCs



Many Internet Start-Ups Are Telling
Venture Capitalists: ‘We Don’t Need You’ – Says Rebecca Buckman of the Wall Street Journal.


Internet start-ups and venture capitalists are back in vogue in Silicon Valley. But now the two don’t necessarily go together., the premier Podcasting network, is growing rapidly and doing well on less than $20,000 of the founders money.

Consider Flickr, the innovative online-photo service launched by a small Canadian company early last year. Like many Web start-ups today, it was built on a dime: Husband-and-wife founders Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake used cheap software to construct the Flickr site, eschewing pricey computers. Some gear, such as computer storage, was “about 100 times cheaper” than it would have been even five years ago, says Mr. Butterfield. It cost only about $200,000 to pay salaries and get the site up and running, he says. 

By last year, several top venture-capital firms were clamoring to invest in Flickr through its parent company, Ludicorp Research & Development Ltd. In December, Mr. Butterfield had a funding offer from Accel Partners of Palo Alto, Calif. But the entrepreneur decided instead to sell to Internet giant Yahoo Inc. for what people familiar with the matter say was about $25 million, significantly higher than the value Accel had put on the company and Accel’s proposed investment.

“It was a very complicated decision,” Mr. Butterfield says. But since Flickr already had a large user base and plenty of buzz, selling to Yahoo with its “hundreds of millions of customers” seemed like a better plan.

It’s a scenario playing out all over Silicon Valley — and one with potentially big ramifications for venture capitalists. A new generation of Internet companies — many offering online photo and blogging services or downloadable software for businesses — have been built for a fraction of the cost just a few years ago. That’s mainly due to the increasing popularity of cheap “open source” software and programming tools, as well as dramatic cost reductions in computer memory, storage and Internet bandwidth.

And all this is happening at a very inconvenient time for the venture-capital industry: It raised more money in the first three quarters of this year than it did in 2004 — and needs places to park it.

Many Internet companies attending a Web-business conference here earlier this month described venture money as “almost superfluous,” says Jason Pressman, a principal at Shasta Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif. Venture capitalists generally say their money and expertise are still needed to build large-scale businesses, and they don’t mind investing a little bit less in companies that have built businesses on the cheap but still want some venture money.

But some entrepreneurs believe the balance of power in Silicon Valley is shifting for at least a subset of Internet-focused start-ups. “There is magic in independence,” says Chris MacAskill, co-founder of online-photo site Smugmug Inc., which has no venture funding — and, according to Mr. MacAskill, doesn’t want any.

Start-ups also are becoming easier to build without venture cash because entrepreneurs can now outsource programming chores to cheap, offshore engineers. Brad Silverberg, a partner with Seattle-area venture-capital firm Ignition Partners, says his son recently introduced him to a classmate from the University of Southern California who had built a sophisticated Web-storage company, called Inc. “It’s two kids, and [some] development was outsourced to some Russian guys they met on the Internet,” says Mr. Silverberg.

Some entrepreneurs can now get their start-ups off the ground for less than one-10th of what it used to cost. Former Excite Inc. President Joe Kraus, for example, has publicly talked about how he started his new Web-media company, JotSpot Inc., for about $100,000 two years ago. That’s far less than the $3 million it cost to launch Excite in the 1990s. “The cost of getting out to market [today] is so low,” and “that spells a different time for venture capitalists,” he says.

Besides Flickr, companies that decided to forego venture money include Weblogs Inc., a blogging company bought by Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit earlier this month, and Android Inc., a wireless firm snapped up by Google Inc. earlier this year.

Shasta’s Mr. Pressman says a two-tiered start-up market is now developing, with some Web companies focused on long-term expansion with venture money and others looking to a quick sale — for perhaps $20 million to $50 million — to big Internet brands like Yahoo, Google, AOL, or Microsoft Corp.’s MSN service. Indeed, many of the modest Web start-ups operating today offer products and services that seem more like Web-site features than standalone businesses.

For many companies, “that’s sort of their plan — get acquired for a decent amount of money,” says Evan Williams, who founded, a Web site he sold to Google in early 2003 for an undisclosed sum. Mr. Williams didn’t take any venture money to build But he received an undisclosed amount from Charles River Partners for his new venture, a San Francisco podcasting company called Odeo Inc. With Odeo, “we thought we had the opportunity to do something more substantial,” and that required venture capital, he says.

As for Flickr, Peter Fenton, a partner at Accel Partners, maintains it could have been a “breakout” company that fundamentally changed the way people view and share photos on the Internet. “I really wish we had made the investment,” he says.

The Web2.0 is the new incubation and development platform.  We will see a huge productivity boom from software developers.  – John Furrier