Is LinkedIn a Better Utility than Facebook? For Professionals “Advantage LinkedIn”

I wrote a post over the weekend about how Facebook is becoming cluttered while the new LinkedIn is clean.  Today WebWorkerDaily has a post on the new LinkedIn.  Love the last line in the post “As long as LinkedIn never offers anything with the word “poke” or “wall,” maybe they’re on to something after all.”

I have been doing a lot of research on social networks and will be posting results soon.  One thing that I noticed in social networks, media, and groups is that that the most successful social media advertising or information connects virtual activities to the real world.  Recently my LinkedIn experience has been blowing away the utility value of Facebook.  It feels like a chore for me to work Facebook in order to connect to my real world relationships and activities.  At first Facebook worked great then it became littered with notice – very dirty communications.  Bottom line: it effected my productivity both on a personal and business level.

I have neighbors who work for Facebook and know a bunch of people over there so I hope this post can be taken as being constructive.  If Facebook founders want to be the best social utility on the planet then it has to be 1) simple, 2) elegant, and 3) easy to use.

For professionals I have to say ‘Advantage LinkedIn”

Memo to Facebook: You’re Dirty; Clean Your Act Up

Disclosure: I’m a fan of Facebook.

Facebook is getting dirty. I’m pounding out more rejections for unwanted stuff and unwanted clutter – Facebook is dirty. Others are feeling tired of Facebook.

Facebook is so cluttered that it feels dirty. Meanwhile the new LinkedIn is clean. It reminded me of how Google had the clean design in 1998 and all the other search engines went down the cluttered portal route.

Facebook clean your act up and be a utility not a pain in the butt.

TED Anti-Web 2.0: TED is Irrelevant

Businessweek has a great post on TED. All this TED stuff makes me think that TED is irrelevant in today’s world. Their elite model doesn’t work with the web 2.0 movement.  Closed events are so passe.

I’m one of those guys who used to go to all the elite conferences. I don’t get invitations to Foo Camp, TED, or anything – do I care. No. It’s not that I can’t contribute and grok at an intellectual, technical, policy, or society level – I can. It’s their core values and their principle that convince me that TED is irrelevant. 10 years ago I would have disagreed. However, in today’s highly connected web closed doesn’t work. Instead, ideas thrive – they “have legs” and they run far when open. These same ideas die if closed.

The Internet kills the elite conference model. The conference business models are changing. Closed conferences don’t work. The fact is TED doesn’t interest me. Sorry TED guys you just have to convince me that you’re relevant.

Twitter is the Ultimate SmartMob – The Money is in the Collaboration

It’s no surprise that Howard Rheingold loves and is addicted to Twitter.  I have been at the center of social networking and social media from day one and have seen tools come and go.  Twitter is the real deal. 

Many people don’t get it and will never get it.  Where’s the business model – they cry.  Many see Twitter as a geek utility – a low cost to run utility.   It is clearly a solid communication utility. 

Where’s the Beef people ask?   Two Areas: 

1)  Communication and Coordination:    At PodTech we did many social media experiments and one of them was implementing Twitter mobs to drive brand awareness – we used as a communication tool to create an engaged “smart mob”.  Did it work.  It sure did. 

2)  Smart Collaboration:   Another area that Twitter rules is what I call the “smart collaborative mob”.   This is the Web 2.0 “holy grail”.   

Let me give some examples:  I have been personally using it this way for sometime in vetting out my next venture.  Also, more publically take a look at Seesmic and Loic Lemur.  He is actively using Twitter as a collaboration tool to build his business – I love that about Seesmic.  Just this weekend Loic Lemur was going through 900 feature ideas from the community – talk about smart mobbing for collaboration.  It’s open source entrepreneurship – high quality, efficient and low cost.

Twitter is one major component for Social Media but it can’t be used unless it has a community.  

Where’s the big business model in Twitter? 

Answer:  “Smart Collaboration”

Who owns it:?  Everyone

Who makes money:?  Everyone and Twitter

TechCrunch Effect Heading to the Deadpool? Update: Apparently Not

UPDATE: As of 11:20 am Feb 21 Umair pulled down the post claiming it was harmful to Techcrunch. Note: the post only had 8 comments before Umair offlined it.

My post (below) was in response to that post. My original post below was a supportive post for Techcrunch. Now my orginal post is out of context because there is no original post to reference it.

I find that pulling down posts is bad form especially if the posts are written as editorial content. Techcrunch and other blogs write controversial posts that generate sometimes harsh conversations.


Below is my original post in response to the now pulled down post.

I saw the post today by Umair on the Techcrunch effect. Being a participant with Mike and Keith Teare at the formation of Techcrunch and watching him grow, I have to say that I think the Techcrunch effect is do to Mike’s work ethic and drive. As long as Mike stays around they will be relevant. On the community issie I think that as sites get larger they do get diluted on the community side, but Techcrunch has commenters who are pretty rabid.

What people don’t realize is that Techcrunch isn’t just Mike anymore. It’s a management team and staff that executes Mike’s vision. He’s outgrown the one man band blog to a fully branded publisher. This is a major accomplishment for Mike and his team.

Personally I don’t think that he can scale the way he’s organized but his site combined with events is a profitable model. I think that he’s nailed the events and Techcrunch meetup events. Those events throw off a ton of cash flow. What the Techcrunch growth story beyond that ..is anyones guess. However, it doesn’t matter he is profitable and unless something wild happens Techcrunch won’t be out of business anytime soon. (side note: PodTech is approaching breakeven as well). Being profitable is a good thing and allows companies to control their own destiny.

Overall, I think that Mike’s growth strategy is in alignment with how he has financed Techcrunch – organically self funded. If Mike changes his strategy from financing growth through internal cash flow to external equity capital, then he would have to rethink how he organizes his business.

One thing that I’d like to see is Mike publish his traffic numbers. That would silence the critics.

Google Video AdSense Review: A Mistep – No Innovation

Google announced AdSense for video today. Google prides themselves on innovation. I love Google and have many friends over there (here comes the but), but their approach to video Adsense just isn’t there. IMHO.  Here is a link to Google’s blog on the topic.

Everyone knows that Adsense has been a poorly performing product for ‘long tail’ and ‘torso content’ publishers. Adsense works great for Google, but Adsense isn’t working well for many publishers. However, it’s the only game in town. Google’s new AdSense is interesting, but I feel like Simon from American Idol. This wasn’t Google’s best performance. I’m not blown away by this.

Why?

User experience: The user experience for net video advertisement has to be good. Adding a 30 sec ad is a total distraction. Why would I want to watch a 30 sec ad from HP when I skip over these ads using Tivo. Give me something from HP that is compelling then I’m interested. The 30 sec ad user experience is poor.

Micronetworks need Microcontent: Microcontent is the only advertising solution that works in the ‘long tail’ and ‘torso’. In microcontent networks the ‘content’ is the ‘ad’. This is why cpm based video and cpc text ads don’t work in social networks. Micronetworks or social networks thrive on delivering value to users and the generic (somewhat) targed ads don’t deliver that value.

Monetization conflict with Editorial Content: Relevance is the problem here. Are advertisers getting the best bang for their buck – maybe its good for Crest toothpaste but not for the ‘holy grail’ which is targeted conversion. Publishers have targeted high value audiences and their audiences are looking for value not generic content ads. Many publishers don’t want to dilute their audiences with distracting ads. Publishers want a solution that delivers value to their ‘microaudiences’ and they are looking for a solution that pays them accordingly.

The paradigm of search and discovery *and* related ad techniques that orginated from search are changing. Google’s solution is an extension of their existing franchise in Adsense and doesn’t pass the innovation test.

Google will certainly make money because the big advertisers and their agencies are scrambling to move ad dollars from TV to the web. At best this solution from Google is a short term solution. It really isn’t a strong solution for advertisers and users.

Google: no offense but I think that you need to go back to the drawing board. Think different and build a product that is good for users, advertisers, and publishers.

Oh, How Easy To Forget…And How Quickly Priorities Can Change

By Anton Wahlman

Times go by, and even within a generation, people forget major events.

16 years ago, Yugoslavia was in the middle of a civil war that broke up the country into at least a half dozen countries.

26 years ago, the United Kingdom declared war on Argentina and sent the Royal Navy to war over The Falkland Islands.

36 years ago, Arab terrorists took the Israeli Olympic delegation at Munich hostage and proceeded to murder all of them. A year later, all of the countries surrounding Israel including Egypt and Syria, proceeded to attempt the invasion of Israel.

46 years ago, the US failed its attempted invasion of Cuba at The Bay of Pigs, which was followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis when the world came minutes away from total war.

56 years ago, the US and the UN were fighting a Chinese-assisted invasion by North Korea of South Korea, and General MacArthur threatened to drop a nuke on the enemy, at which point President Eisenhower fired him.

66 years ago, the US had just declared war on Germany, Japan and Italy, and proceeded to go all the way to victory after 450,000 Americans fell.

76 years ago, Adolf Hitler was leading the election campaign for the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (Nationalsocialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or NSDAP), in which he won and became head of the government. The only major world leader who protested and warned that this was bringing destruction to the world was Winston Churchill, an obscure right-wing back-bencher.

86 years ago, the US was experiencing unprecedented economic growth, but the German government thought it was harmless to increase the money supply, so it started printing money, which generated hyperinflation, followed by a depression and 40% unemployment.

96 years ago, the US government was debating 3 new policies that were implemented the following year: (a) prohibition of pot/drugs, (b) introducing the income tax, which previously had not existed and (c) requiring the use of passports for international travel.

Sen. John McCain’s very vigorous mom Roberta was born 96 years ago, when drugs were legal, there was zero income tax and passports didn’t exist.

Many Americans have conveniently forgotten these historical events. What’s more surprising is that some Americans now also see September 11, 2001 – only little over 6 years ago – as a fading memory.

In this context, you may have missed it in all the coverage of Super Tuesday, but Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell gave his annual national security threat assessment to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.

For anyone who still doubts that the United States and our allies are in a fight for our existence, Director McConnell’s testimony should put those doubts to rest.

Here’s part of what he said:

“Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S.: the identification, training, and positioning of operatives for an attack in the Homeland. While increased security measures at home and abroad have caused al Qaeda to view the West, especially the U.S., as a harder target, we have seen an influx of new Western recruits into the tribal areas since mid-2006. We assess that al Qaeda’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets designed to produce mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the population.

We judge use of a conventional explosive to be the most probable al Qaeda attack scenario because the group is proficient with conventional small arms and improvised explosive devices and is innovative in creating capabilities and overcoming security obstacles. That said, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are attempting to acquire chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and materials (CBRN). We assess al Qaeda will continue to try to acquire and employ these weapons and materials — some chemical and radiological materials and crude weapons designs are easily accessible, in our judgment.”

What priorities will change after the next terrorist attack? Who will be blamed for failing to stop it? Will we blame our unguarded borders against Mexico and Canada? Will we blame the lack of biometric IDs? Will we blame the insufficient ability to wiretap suspected terrorists? Will there be calls to do what we did with the Japanese during World War 2? (internment camps)

I don’t know what will be the precise dynamics in the media spin, but what I do know is that the political debate will shift dramatically at that point, and instantaneously, suddenly reminding us of 9/11 and various other turning points in history. We will be “shocked” to find out that we had become complacent and hadn’t urgently addressed so many “obvious” holes in our security, such as our unguarded borders and lack of terrorist tracking.

Finding The Next Google – We’re Getting Close

Everyone has been looking for the next Google — well at least here in Silicon Valley.  When I saw this article the first word that came to my mind was “validation”.  I’ve often been called crazy for saying that the next Google will come from media not technology.  It’s becoming clearer that this is happening.  Advertising dollars move based upon who can understand user behavior.  Google did it with web pages in Web 1.0, but now in Web 2.0 it might be a media company like NBC Universal. 

Media Content networks (TV networks, corporate networks, studio networks, event networks, etc) will be a viable business model.  It is known that venture capitalists here in Silicon Valley reject the notion that content is a viable business model.  However, this NY Times article by Matt Richtel validates the idea of Microcontent as a business model.  My original intention with PodTech was to create a content platform business.  I did not have the opportunity to finish what I started (My VCs removed me from employment at PodTech last summer – PodTech is now focused on breakeven cash flow positive and is very close to achieving that goal).   

At Adtech in NY it was clear to NBC’s Beth Comstock that the big networks, studios, and advertisers were formulating their plans around emerging Internet content business models.  NBC Universal is clearly focusing on this now.   Hey Beth, NBC could be the Google of the media business if you move fast.

It is my opinion that Microcontent is the best online advertising business model – why?  It’s the contextual keyword for the media business.  What Adwords and Adsense is for Google – Microcontent is to media networks.  Microcontent targets the audience, and provides the best opportunity to deliver the smartest marketing information from both behavioral and contextual advertising.  If you add in the ‘flat’ global Internet then you have the ability to sell global, regional and local ads.  This is huge.  It is the future of online advertising, because now video ads once only made for broadcast TV can viably move to the web at scale. 

How fast will this happen?  It is hard to tell, but I’m watching HD as the key variable for this timetable.  Specifically, the timetable is highly correlatated to the speed at which Intel, AMD, Adobe, and Microsoft move to achieve the computing and web display technologies such as flash players, widgets, xbox,…etc.  (The other variable that I’m watching is too crazy to talk about in public at this time but it has to do with video).

This is opportunistic news for web 2.0 content folks and emerging indie networks.  Tip of the hat to Matt Richel of the NY Times for getting IMHO one of the biggest “little” stories coming of CES.  

LiveBlogging CES – A New Year, A New Blog – Self Financing My New Business

As some of you are aware of, I am working on a new startup around online advertisting for social media. The product won’t be ready for sometime.   In the meantime I will be consulting on social media and blogging full time to self-finance the startup.  My New Years resolutions are:  1) blog full time to finance the new venture and create podcasts to supplement the blog – Furrier.org, 2)  share sponsorships with other bloggers, 3) spend time with my family, and 4) live a healthy, reduced stress life. 

This blog Furrier.org will post stories on breaking news, trends, and in depth analysis.  I will be covering the business of technology from here in Silicon Valley.  I will start by LiveBlogging CES this year for my new blog Furrier.org.

I remember two years ago when it was just me and engadget covering keynotes and floor activity.  How far things have come.  Here is a picture from January 2006 CES of me interviewing Morgan Freeman.

  john-at-ces.jpg

Morgan asked me if I thought I was a “real reporter”.  I asked him if he was really “God”.  We both had a good laugh.

I really missed the boat at PodTech by not incorporating a direct blogging strategy to our audio/video media work back in 2005.  I think that PodTech could have been a bigger player (like Engadget and Weblogs Inc.) if we blogged.  In starting my own site Furrier.org I’ll be blogging hard and adding audio/video interviews to supplement the blog stories.

You will see me all week at CES in and around the PodTech / Seagate BlogHaus at the Bellagio.  As the co-creator of the BlogHaus I am excited to see it become such a force in the CES community.  It shows that the community of blogging and video press are productive and credible in reporting news and events.  At CES the BlogHaus is the “new” press community resource.  It’s the uploading station for CES for video production.  It is the place “to be” to share your views and news around CES.  You’ll see Todd Cochrane of GeekNews Central, who last year pumped out tons of videos – Andru Edwards too. 

BlogHaus is the new standard for social media at events.  See you at CES.

I’m looking forward to connecting and interviewing all the storymakers and trendsetters.

Disclosure:  Note regarding the PodTech Network:

All opinions are my own and as of Oct 15 I am no longer employed at PodTech Network – the company that I founded.  I am not involved in the current strategy and day to day management of PodTech and as a stockholder of PodTech I am biased toward their success.