Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rabble at SXSW

I am going to be at SXSW doing a panel called Content Distribution: The Mobile Web. I just confirmed yesterday so I am not sure who else is doing this with me but Marc Brown from Buzznet, a very cool guy also based in So Cal, is moderating. Come by and check it out. I am planning on hanging in Austin from Sunday through Tuesday night and will be doing a podcast session with Ewan Spence, one of my brethren from AMP. For the record, Ewan Rulez. And he is also the guy behind All About Symbian. And I am not saying that because he wears a mean kilt. If you are in Tex Ass and want to hang out or grab a beer or whatever, drop me a line. And I swear no more posts today.

C-List Blogger Part 2

Dave Blood who works with me saw my post earlier today and laughed his ass off. And then he sent me this link to a cartoon about C-List Bloggers. Nice. I need to send something out to Scoble. "Hey we do this cool mobile social networking thing called Rabble. Can you link to me?" Very Beavis and Butthead.

The Web 2.0 Graphic

Stabillo Boss has been accumulating the graphics of the various Web 2.0 companies and it has become a picture circulating the web with much fanfare. We didn't get into the first one, but the second one which you can find here has the little Rabble guy peeking out on the right hand side of the image. Think Kilroy was here. Are we a Web 2.0 company? I didn't think so but I guess the API thing kind of applies.

Google Pages = MySpace Slayer?

I have to admit, when I first saw the Google Pages rollout, I thought, "Wow, Geocities. Nice. Haha." I read a couple of articles wondering why they didn't make this part of Blogger or why would they try to make Geocites again.

I also thought for a second that when Google base rolled out, that I didn't see a need for having a web database set up. Or at least it wasn't obvious to me. Then it transformed into a Ebay/Craigslist assault. Nice Kung Fu. Your technique is very impressive.

So today in a meeting with John Hardin, we chatted about it for a second or two and he said something to the effect of, "Well there is no reason it couldn't be a first step in a strategy to create a MySpace competitor." Aha. Maybe.

A lot of the press I have seen has said that it is far inferior to Blogger and why do we need to reinvent Geocities, etc. etc. And frankly I agree. That is until I look at it in terms of what people are doing with MySpace. They aren't blogging. They are creating, their space, and customizing it and adding a ton of shit to it. And then we roll out video, cough cough, google video. And we wrap in cough cough Blogger. And we wrap in Orkut, well maybe not orkut because Eu não falo o português. But you get my point. Call me paranoid or weird, but when John said this today I thought it was pure genius. It's hard to say, but I'd love to hear other's take on this.

Rise of a C-list Blogger

I had two incidents over the last several days where I am now fairly certain that I have graduated to the ranks of the C-List blogger.

Winer posted about Blogging for Newbies. As I am a Blogger user going on close to two years I guess I won't take too much offense to that. We do also use Movable Type and Word Press in the office on occasion. I would have to say though that Blogger continues to get richer and richer. I had a conversation going online on this post with Scott Rafer and I wanted to make sure that no Viagra, Fantasy Football, Home Re-fi, Cialis, or any other nonsense found it's way into the discussion.

In order to do this I had to enable comment moderation. I was hoping that it would allow me to go back and clean up some of my more popular posts like this one, that are littered with blog spam. No dice. But I do get to see all the comments going forward. Nice. Or not actually. By this morning I was up to 100 or so comment spams. Ouch. That sucks. Why me?

At the same time, I received an email from a company. They said that they had read my blog and wanted to send me a product to evaluate it over a period of time because of my writing about wireless and media. Wow. Really? I am flattered. Hmmm. Wait a second, is this why I get all the spam now? At any rate I am excited about getting the new wireless toy sometime in the next couple of weeks. If any other consumer devices or services want to send some technology love my way feel free to do so. Sony? Samsung? Anyone? Bring it on.

So it appears dear reader, I am no longer an F-list blogger I may have graduated to the D, or heaven forbid C-list from here on out. Be afraid.

Rabble College Press

We have been getting some good press coverage with colleges. Here are some articles:

Oklahoma State
James Madison

Sony Blogger Phone

It appears that Sony and Google are entring deal where all Sony phones will enable publication to Blogger. Sweet.

Monday, February 27, 2006

My Weekend Digest

I was home alone this weekend with 2/3 of the triplets. I had a pile of work and emails to get through which just didn't seem to happen, although I did manage to get to the Lakers game last night in some amazing seats right behind Jack Nicholson. Seriously, like two rows right behind Jack. Brian Grazer was cross court, Penny Marshall off to the left. Pretty funny. Don't ask what I did with the kids. Shhh.

I read a lot over the weekend when the kids were asleep and there was a ton of stuff I want to blog about later this week. It was a really interesting weekend of reading though which seems kind of unusual to me, but maybe I just don't notice. So for my quick roundup:

Podcast hotel went down in Seattle. A lot of friends and acquaintances were there like Chris, CC, IODA, and Eric. Bummed I missed it as I am trying to get to most of the podcasting events. This one wasn't working for me.

Mashup Camp was last week. I have to remember to comment on the notes from the Wiki regarding mashups and mobility. I thought there were some interesting observations on WAP vs. Thick Client.

Dana Boyd refutes John Dvorak's assertion that researchers aren't studying youth culture. Other than Dana, I haven't seen much else trickle out to the rest of the world, but keep up the good work Dana!

Russ had a hilarious piece on the problems with Web 2.0 companies (Yes I hate 2.0 nomenclature even though I am guilty of perpetuating it) in that they really, really should have a business model.

Russ also beat everyone I know to the punch in unveiling that Myspace rolled out mobile alerts over the weekend. As we are more of a mobile pure play, with bi-directional support as a compliment, I don't have much to say other than the longer they focus on mobile to web and not mobile to mobile, the better for Rabble.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Via Moconews. Rafat pointed to an article in the Register reviewing the Yahoo! Go service. The title of this post came from the last paragraph in the article and it had me laughing. It was mentioned in the punchline about the fear the carriers have to have for the Internet cartel. The body of the article was really something that is a ongoing discussion in mobile. Mobile isn't the internet on your phone. That's not to say that there aren't really cool things you can do with mobile, but when you want to do the really cool things on the internets, there is this really cool thing called the PC.

So aside from the review, which is really funny in my opinion and certainly worth a read, the question remains, what is the right feature set for mobile? What things can take advantage of the communications capabilities, the fact that it's always with you, the fact that kids live on their phones?

I am not entirely sure what the right combination is, but I know that it needs to be something that is slimmed down, useful, and meets or solves some compelling need for mobile users. Although you could score this as one against the AmaGoohooBay guys, there still remains that for now Yahoo is the most mobile trafficed site, and there is no question that the big guys have a lot of time and energy to figure out what right is. If they can figure out that it may divorce them slightly from their existing business models, then things will get interesting.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free Falling

It's 3:36 AM West Coast time. This isn't a bad time if you are on the east coast or in Europe. Problem is, I am not. The reality is, I am an insomniac. I don't remember how or why, it's just one of those things that creaped into my head sometime in my 20s. Some nights I just get up. When I was younger I would rummage through the fridge for a beer or a glass of wine or something to put me to sleep. That never really helped much. I'd find that the next day I would be groggy and spent most of the night fretting about being awake and thinking about how tired I would be the next day. Now, I just get up and work. Stressing doesn't help. The reality is, tomorrow night I will sleep in a deep coma. I can cope with that.

I wasn't sure what it was that was keeping me awake at 1:35 AM or so. It could have been my oldest son Tate who was sleeping in my bed last night, kicking me in the head and ribs. Prolly not. I find a way to get through that many nights. Rather I think it is flying. Around 2:30 or so I realized that I haven't flown since early January and a common theme in my insomnia is traveling. I am not sure if it is the excitement of being on the road (yuk) or my innate fear of flying. I don't recall how that started but as I have spent more and more time traveling back and forth across the continent, an irrational fear of flying has been one of the things I pack in my backpack for each trip. Laptop? Check. Business cards? Check. Presentation? Check. White knuckle fear of turbulence? Check.

I stopped traveling pretty much in the last several months of the year. Not because I wanted to or because it was an option. It was mostly because we hit one of those early milestones you hit in a startup. We had ramped up. The time between June of last year when we launched on Verizon to August when we raised money, to October when we were trying to go from a handful of people to an actual team had finally set in. It was time to put the pieces together.

The good news is we have. I think about the team we have in place and I am blown away. We are set to do much damage. The combination of internet and wireless talent we have assembled is impressive. Already in the last several weeks the output has been awesome. And so now it is time to get on the road again. Not the same platinum level of flying from last year, but certainly a good dose of the right meetings to make sure we move the needle faster than everyone else. The dirty secret in all of this is execution is key. All things being equal, getting things done quickly tends to give you an advantage. I think that this is something at the core of what we are and what we have become. Something about only the paranoid survive. I like that.

Ok. So this has run it's course. I think I can steal away a cat nap before I hit the airport. Yawn. More later. I am brining he camera. I like how San Francisco looks through the lens of a camera.

Monday, February 20, 2006

LBS and Zipcodes

When I was in my early 20s I spent a chunk of time as a studio dispatcher managing a fleet of cars running all over Los Angeles. I have to admit that trying to keep track of 40 cars running all over town with film, scripts, checks, and assorted envelopes was a hell of a mental exercise that helped me to hone my juggling skills and to focus my ADD in a positive way.

One of the by products of that is that I know every zip code on Los Angeles. By heart. I also know the address of any studio related business in Los Angeles. Cold. I was having dinner the other night with a friend who's wife worked for McCann Ericson in Los Angeles. 6100 Wilshire. Los Angeles 90036. I had to stop myself from saying that. I do that lot. I am not that good with New York, but I usually stay in 10019. Mid Town, West 50s. Sigh.

As LBS becomes a technical reality, apart from the privacy issues, I have to wonder what coordinates will mean to people. For example. Let's say for arguments sake that I am driving around Bird Rock or Pacific Beach in San Diego. 92169. It seems like a pretty big area that is encompassed by coordinates such as 32.79682, -117.25575 or 32.80830, -117.259114 or 32.798493, -117.246784. But the thing I have to ask myself is how do these finer slices of data help me? Especially in a place like Southern California where we drive.

Rather than the data being important in and of itself, I think that the relative measures of my specific location to things or people around me will be what's valuable. I don't know what this new world will look like, but it will certainly be interesting.

Danah Boyd on Myspace

Danah Boyd has a fascinating piece that is a high level overview of her research on Myspace going back to 2003. The most interesting take away for me was the idea that Myspace has become a virtual public place for kids to hang out primarily as other options become less and less available to this generation. Some of this seems pretty obvious but I think the conclusions on why MySpace and not Friendster as being driven by the differences between 20 somethings and teens was insightful and in general if this is a space you are interested in it is a must read.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Enter the Giant

Been a busy week for me so it's been a bit light on the blogging side. Of course the big news yesterday was that MySpace is launching with Helio when they debut sometime later this year. The announcement following repeated announcements of the impending launch of MySpace wasn't necessarily a surprise. To me it is certainly reinforced by what I wrote here in terms of what the impact will be. Debi did a pretty comprehensive write up here that fleshes things out a bit. Most of all though I thought what Russ wrote here, although saying he doesn't see it, shows that he understands it.

To me, it is good that there will be a lot of interest in this space. We are excited about what we have done so far, launched on Verizon, launched on Cingular, and are headed down the path to international distribution and the next generation of Rabble. It will certainly be an interesting year ahead.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mobile 2.0: The Revolution will not be televised

Over the last several days I have been thinking a lot about the disconnect between thinkers in Silicon Valley and the youth market. While saying that there is a disconnect is a broad generalization, I certainly feel that it is the primary thought process among those who are designing and developing services for the marketplace as it relates to the web. This post I wrote the other day was picked up on Digg by a guy in Europe who posed the question regarding the relevance of A-list bloggers.

I personally don’t have an opinion on whether A-list bloggers matter or not but one comment to the Digg post on this page struck a chord with me. The response to the question about why there has been no mention of RSS support by Mysapce was that the reason nobody covered it or that nobody frankly cared was that MySpace was full of the “omglolkewl” crowd. I loved the comment but it also started my mind thinking about how transformative wireless will be/is and how the general ignoring of the youth market as trivial will be the Achilles heel of a lot of the companies that are focused on mobile.

Kids live on their phone. The Myspace kids and the Xanga kids and the Live Journal kids. They have grown the ringtone market place to the point that it is saving the record companies from years of declining CD sales and P2P networks. These kids use SMS messaging all the time. These kids don’t own smart phones. They don’t own Symbian series 60 phones. These kids don’t want the web on their phone. They have the web on their computer. They do other stuff on the phone. Kewl stuff. ROFLMAO stuff.

These kids have taken a geeky technology called IRC and turned it into something cool ala AIM, Y! Messenger, etc. Not that they invented it mind you, but they helped to drive adoption. They helped to drive the user base of sites like those mentioned above into the 10s of millions, not millions. There is a whole generation that is alive today that knows that their phone isn’t just for making calls. It is an advanced communication device that does a bunch of things, even if it is just a cheap phone.

When I think about all the web 2.0 companies and all the brilliant people who have created all the amazing things that I have been using in the last couple of years like RSS, Blogger, Podcasting, etc. I know that these people, like me are in their 30s and 40s for the most part. We grew up with the first PCs or had access to mainframes and really wanted to push the envelope at the time where the envelope was small. I recall fondly how I screwed with a guy in my Fortran class who was an ass by sending him messages over the PDP1145 without him knowing what was going on. I loved that shit. It made sense to me.

Most people my age don’t use their phones they way kids do today. They don’t really feel comfortable typing messages on their phones. They don’t really understand why people would buy ringtones (personalization, which by the way is a big part of the success of Myspace). They want to put their Yahoo on their phone. The problem is that my phone isn’t a Series 60 phone. Or frankly, I don’t want to do CERTAIN things on my phone when I have a much better tool called a laptop. The problem with my laptop though is that I can’t take it to The Mars Volta concert. I can’t send a picture of it to my friends RIGHT now while it is happening.

My general point though, getting back to what struck me, is that I don’t see much discussion on the fact that the first generation of people who are walking around with mobile connected camcorders are in our midst. They are using a technology that many of us assume to be mere pre-cursors to a wireless handheld computer when in fact it is something else different. The use cases are being created today by people who live in that medium much the same way many of us were tinkering around with assembly language programming of the Z80 and the 6502.

Which leads me to the conclusion that somewhere in the back of a classroom somewhere some kids are hacking their BREW or J2ME phones and trying to figure out what is really cool and what really matters to impress and share with their friends. With all due respect to Gil Scot-Heron I would offer that the Mobile 2.0 Revolution will not be televised. Or rather…

The Mobile 2.0 Revolution will not be syndicated via RSS. You won’t be able to download an OPML file of all the things you read or listen to as a podcast. You won’t be able to download all your settings and stuff. Because the revolution will not be syndicated.

The Mobile 2.0 Revolution will not be syndicated. It will not be brought to you by AdWords from Google, or Ad sense. It will not be presented in a dazzling array of Flickr photo streams. It will not be reported on by the Daily Source Code or The Gilmor gang or any other podcast on iTunes. The revolution will not be syndicated.

There will be no discussion of text messages of ASL? KEWL, LMAO, LOL, LMAO or ROFLMAO. There will be no commentary on Emo trends in music or the rise of Neo-Progressive rock bands and the return of Led Zeppelin. There will be no discussions of pre-paid phones, or Ying Yang twins ringtones. The revolution will not be syndicated.

There will be no highlights of Myspace Widgets, of goofy emoticons, of kids texting on their phones, day after day after day. Long after the discussions of Ajax and Flash Light and Windows mobile have died down there will still be tens of millions of people trying to find a away to get these damn communications devices to do more than they were meant to do. The revolution will not be syndicated.

Ok. So I may not be a poet. I think that the point of all of this is truly that there is something really big going on with kids and with phones and with communications and the creation of content and podcasting and videoblogging etc. But where it takes off, is with this generation that is more a content creator than a consumer. A generation that is more interested in seeing a funny flash show on ebaums world than on MTV. Ignoring that those who will decide which technologies are truly useful are large in number, long on time and short on attention will be a mistake. They are right in front if us but not many of us are watching.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

MySpace has 2 1/2 times the traffic of Google

Maybe the shear size of what is going on with the youth market will start to get peoples attention. It certainly has at Business Week.

Walking Triplets

originally uploaded by brikmaster.
Having infant triplets is a fascinating experience. Probably the most fascinating thing is watching the many and varied paths of development that each of them take. Unlike normal people who have to wonder if their kids are keeping up with the neighbors, we get to see if they are keeping up with each other.

So it was with great enjoyment coupled with fear of the coming months of head injuries, that yesterday we watched the runt of the group be the first one to really move into the walking world. Late in the afternoon after an ambitious expedition tide pooling, Brit let go of the couch and stumbled forward with fits and starts and took around 9 steps before succumbing to the floor. He repeated this several times to our great applause and delight. Welcome to the world of the bi-ped Brit.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Rabble WAP Portal

Yesterday we rolled out the Rabble WAP portal at wap.rabble.com/index.wml or link that we plan to use for some off deck GSM distribution in the future. There are some fun goodies there right now to play with.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Peter Raises a Good Point. Ping Servers and Technorati

Peter followed up on my post and highlighted something that I didn't think of, the impact on the ping servers when all the Myspace users pages start slamming the blogosphere. That would be huge! Hey Sifry, when are you going to add Myspace to Technorati?

The Blogger Intelligentsia Ignores the Youth Market

I was talking to Peter today about some cool marketing stuff he is working on. The topic of influencers came up and I told him that I am not interested in the blogging intelligentsia or the web 2.0 crowd in general as I feel that many (not all) of them ignore the youth market. I told him that case in point to me was that Dave Winer, the inventor of RSS, ignored the rollout of MySpace's implementation of RSS and Podcasting. I told Peter that it was funny to me that this post I wrote is the number one search result for Google for the words Myspace and Podcasting and that the "blogosphere" said nothing about the fact that 45 million people now see RSS and podcasting on their number one addiction. Hey Dave, What's the deal? THIS IS HUGE. This is way more important than the gazzillion web 2.0 companies that rollout RSS and other stuff that have ZERO customers.

By the way, Peter pointed out that he actually picked up on the RSS piece in this post before I saw the podcasting thing.

Rabble T-Shirts

originally uploaded by brikmaster.
Want one? Send me an email to derrick@intercastingcorp.com

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Comments are Fixed

For no apparent reason. Glad thats over. ;-)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Amazing Community Blog

Denise posted a comment a couple of days ago on my blog post about communities. I saw that I had one comment but couldn't retrieve it. When Sander told me my comments were down I investigated and saw Denise's comment. She turned me on to the Full Circle Online Interaction Blog by Nancy White. This is both an AMAZING blog on community as well as a great storehouse of links. I haven't had a chance to dig in deep but the first article was a reference to a previous post about community archetypes. This was totally what I was looking for. Now I need to dig in and see if there is any god stuff about nascent mobile based communities. ;-)

Comments are Broken

Ok, Sander just told me this morning that my comments were broken when he was giving me some juicy info in response to a post. So to be clear, I am not getting rid of comments as I don't really have that many. I will send an email to Blogger support to fix it because I missed a really important comment from a couple of days ago.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rabble on Eventful

Continuing our marriage of mobile and the web, we rolled out the first half of our integration with Eventful today. Rabble users can now send the events they create on Rabble to Eventful using a combination of ours and their EVDB APIs. The next stage will involve allowing Rabble users to subscribe to various events through Eventful and lot other Rabble users see those events as a part of their channel.

30 Boxes

I set up my 30 Boxes account this morning and was really excited to see what all the fuss was about. I have been on the eternal quest to set up a group calendaring function that will allow us to manage stuff going on in the business. At MP3.com we used something called Ctime that was really useful and had both Web and standalone clients. It's funny how their is such a big gap in group calendaring.

30 Boxes is really cool. I especially like that I can aggregate a bunch of stuff like my Flickr photos and do lots of the social stuff found on many sites today. There are plenty of good writeups on the strengths and weakness seen so far but I though that I would go on record with a couple of requests (like I matter).

My most important need was to be able to publish my existing calendar out to an open calendar. This would mean that 30 Boxes could subscribe to the RSS feed of the ical file generated from our internal web calendar. For whatever reason it wont do that. I am thinking that is a problem with https. Not sure but a guess.

The second thing I wanted was to subscribe to my Basecamp files. Again no dice and probably for the same https reason.

I am going to play with Sunbird and see if I can get Sunbird to subscribe to 30 Boxes and then publish back to 30 Boxes from Sunbird which I have been unable to do so far.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Brokeback to the Future

For the record I think that Brokeback Mountain will win Best Picture and Best Director. I thought it was a great, although depressing film that was extremely well done. I hope Heath Ledger wins Best Actor but it seems that Phillip Seymor Hoffman will get it for Capote, which was a movie I liked but thought that the role for Ledger was more difficult. What do I know.

Today Sean was in the office playing a clip of Brokeback to the Future on Youtube that juxtaposes Brokeback Mountain and Back to the Future. This is the funniest mashup I have ever seen.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

IODA Promonet

Several months back I was told about IODA Promonet. Come to think of it, it must have been around September or so. I actually met with Kevin Arnold and Marisol Segal and some of the others at IODA through an introduction from Adam Rugel.

I had heard great things about Kevin from others like Steve Grady and was looking forward to the meeting. At the time they spoke about Promonet, which was the resource they were compiling through their relationships as an indie aggregator/distributor. The concept of Promonet, to provide pre-cleared content to podcasters, was awesome. How they planned on doing it was something that wasn't obvious to me.

Fast forward for a couple of months. Sometime in December I get an invitation to use Promonet. At the time we are knee deep in the holidays with kids etc. and preparing for our Cingular rollout of Rabble. I make a note and a follow up reminder to log in to the service to check it out when I get a chance. I of course don't do it for weeks on end. People start telling me about how amazing it is. I start hearing and seeing listings of amazing bands in podcasts. I scratch my head. How?

Tonight I logged into Promonet. WOW!!!

They have put together and amazing service with amazing content. I am a little short on time so I will neither go through the list of all the most unbelievable tracks and bands that are cleared, nor will I be able to do a podcast tonight, but God help me. You can count on one in the very near future. If you are a podcaster, get thee to Promonet.

Russ Gives Some Rabble Love

Russ Beattie wrote a post a couple of days ago talking about must have apps for the Razr. We got a nice plug as a cutting edge mobile social networking application. What wasn't said explicitly was that Rabble is on Cingular now.