Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mobile Executive Blog

Andy Nulman, President and co-founder at Airborne Entertainment caught the blogging bug and his blog can be found here. Add it to your blogroll.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Virtualness - CC Chapman

I have been thinking about this post for some time. I knew I wanted to write about people transacting business in place removed environments and I kept wondering how to describe that. I kept circling around the word Virtualness as a way to describe what seems like a new way of doing things that I haven't heard described elsewhere. Before sitting down to do this post I did a quick Google search and there are apparently 23,000 references to this word. I imagine it really means what it means to me as well.

So virtualness, where to begin. My father in law, who lives in North Dakota has been trying to get me to set up home videoconferencing on my PC for something like 3 years. Knowing the state of PC based over IP video, I punted. That was until this year when we set up video for two remote guys we work with. I became very impressed with the setup using a Mac and iChat or Skype. I posted about this previously although I am not going to go back and find the link.

We set the machines up a couple of weeks ago and have started having regular video calls. To me it wasn't earth shattering but there were some subtle things I hadn't considered. My daughter would sometimes clam up on the phone when talking to her grandparents because she was shy. On the phone, this was lost to them. On the video camera this is adorable and it really transcends the communication experience by allowing them to share a moment that would otherwise be missed or taken out of context. I thought that this is a powerful change in the way we communicate. In fact at work, it's as if our remote people are in the office. We can wheel around the workstation with a monitor on the face of one of the guys. Its kind of freaky but it certainly works. My son initially asked me where his grandparents were. I told him that they are still in North Dakota. He didn't seem convinced.

Back in 2002 when I was running Vivendi's Internet music group, I originally had 4 offices from the various companies. We consolidated into two locations and I think we did a decent job of running a distributed office for a while. Ultimately though, we had to put some people on the ground from the other places to make it really work. I realized then that it was very difficult to run a distributed enterprise and that it required a lot of physical presence. These examples above have made me reconsider that belief and I have now crossed over to the other side and I think that with the right infrastructure you can really effectively run things in a distributed fashion.

The more I thought about this concept, the more I thought about CC Chapman. I met CC in the fall of 2004. The two of us were early music podcasters who came together when we formed AMP. With the setup of AMP we started using Skype for conference calls and a variety of shared tools. Before I journeyed into a year long hiatus with podcasting, I had established a strong friendship with people like Chris Macdonald from Indie Feed, Jason Evangelho from Insomnia Radio and Matt Galligan. I also kept in touch with CC when he went off to work with Podshow. Based on the initial interaction with CC I ended up meeting with him in Boston when I was traveling and got to see him at the first PME.

I ended up getting busy with the company and CC was busy with his job and podcasting. I hadn't paid attention but he started doing shows beyond music that were focused on marketing. Sometime a couple of months ago he sent me an email that said that he had quit his job at Babson college and was working fulltime with a new marketing company called Crayon. I thought this was great but what I hadn't realized was that this new company was comprised of a couple of guys located around the globe. To conduct business and to have company interactions, the principals work inside Second Life.

I had spent a lot of time on Second Life after SXSW. Eric Rice had gotten me intrigued after I said I didn't get it. I spent some initial time back then and hadn't really looked at it recently as I didn't have the time. During the holiday break I was thinking about CC and I fired up my account. I had accumulated a lot of Second Life money so I bought some land, set up a home, and purchased some art. As I traveled around Second Life I still came away with the feeling that it is still too geeky and too porny for most people. With the exception of what Eric is doing with his Slackstreet Island I still didn't see it.

Recently I was hanging out at the Crayonville office in essence stalking CC to say hello. I didn't track him down but I did run into a bunch of people hanging around the Crayon office chatting about marketing podcasts and new media marketing. It was pretty impressive. A good handful of those people were big CC groupies. I laughed my ass off. Not that it isn't warranted because I think that CC is a smart guy and doing a lot of things right, but because none of these people knew CC, or rather none of them have ever met CC. They knew him through the media he created. By his own hands.

Now I know that fame doesn't require a personal connection and I also know that I can be a fan of someone like Jon Kraukauer (who really turned me off when I saw him live on TV) or an athlete like Peyton Manning but a lot of these people are built up by the mechanism of marketing or the mechanics of fame. And here I was in a virtual world chatting with a bunch of people who I don't know and we all know this virtual person named CC that everyone is a fan of. To me it is a personal testament to the power of an individual taking control of the tools around them and building a following through whatever connections are available to them be it a podcast, a blog or an imaginary avatar in a virtual world selling eyeballs to big brands. It really is impressive and I am very glad that along the way I have come to know CC although not as closely as I would like.

I wish him and his friends much success as they proceed with their company. I think they are definitely doing some pioneering work that today is not broadly understood but in the future will be a common way of transacting business. I think that we will all find that the world continues to shrink and that there are aspects of ourselves that will increasingly become organized around ideas or concepts using tools that today we can hardly imagine. We will bring together people and ideas by the means of our virtualness or our virtualability. It should be a big adventure.

Corporate Branding

When we started Intercasting, one of the core concepts that we embraced was populist media. When we started work on corporate identity and branding we wanted something sort of nationalistic and iconic. Ultimately a lot of the look and feel came out as what I would call friendly nationalistic.

I was in a meeting today and when I returned to the office one of the guys had posted this image on my door. I think it is awesome and I wanted to share.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PSP 3.0 Upgrade

David just alerted me that the PSP 3.0 firmware just came out. I upgraded but haven't played with it yet but it is a major update. Here is a piece with lots of details. The official Sony doesn't have an updated feature list but the big thing is hard core linkage to the PS3. Think playing PS1 games on the PSP via the PS3. Very cool.

Rabble 2.0

Launching a mobile application isn't as simple as turning on a website. You have to roll things out handset by handset. So we are currently in the process of doing that. In conjunction with that we just rolled out the new website which you can see at There will be more soon but at the very least those of you who have never seen Rabble can get a sense from the flash demo we have on the website.


All I can say is thanks for all the kind wishes and words around my birthday. It was a special weekend for me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Derrick 4.0

So tomorrow I turn 40. Today it doesn't seem like a big deal. A couple of months ago though 40 got into my head. I spent a bit of time thinking about my accomplishments or lack thereof. I also spent a lot of time thinking about my family and my health. I found it to be an interesting period of self reflection and pausing. All in all I think it was a good thing and I think having gone through that time period makes the actual date something that isn't necessarily all that remarkable relative to the years of things that have transpired in your life.

Derrick 2.0 was a time that was kind of wild and a lot of fun. I spent most of that decade working for studios, learning how to manage people, and starting on the journey of life with my wife Jessica. Derrick 2.0 was a total blast. I had an earring. I liked to hike a ton. I listened to loud aggressive music. I was clearly doing as much as possible to not grow up but also was trying to savor the flavor of life which is your 20s.

Derrick 3.0 was about growth. Big time growth. As much as the first 20 years of my life seemed to pass in a blip, the last 10 years feel like 25, and I think that is a good thing. My personal life has been blessed with a wonderful relationship with my wife that has stood the test of time. And I am not talking like 2-5 years time, I am talking 10+ years of time. I have been blessed with a gigantic family of four healthy kids. I have been given the opportunity to grow professionally in so many ways. I have worked in a startup, created a startup, been an officer of a public company, helped to sell that company to a media giant, and have been able to work in a field of business that I find rewarding, dynamic and challenging. Not many people have the opportunity to say that. I have loved Derrick 3.0. In some ways I am going to miss it a ton. Besides the family and professional aspects the friendships I have grown have been just amazing and something I treasure deeply.

So tomorrow I start Derrick 4.0. It may not have the rounded edges, the glossy look, the soft colors, or the mirror reflection of Derrick 3.0, but I have a sense that as fondly as I looked back on my 20s while in my 30s, I am certain I will also reflect on the 30s with a greater sense of understanding, compassion, and a desire to better myself and those around me. And I know at this point that in general those reassuring words of others who have crossed over to the other side of 40 must surely be true and that other than some aches and pains, the 40s are also a lot of fun.

Birthday presents

So tomorrow is my birthday. More on that later. What to get for my birthday as this is a special birthday? It seemed like destiny to me that the launch of the Playstation 3 on my birthday was an omen that I should get one. What a slick device! Unfortunately Tate has shown an acute interest in video games to the point that my outright purchasing one is verboten. Maybe Sony could send me one to test out? That would be hard to pass up...

So, since a new gaming machine in a house of four kids is out of the question I am putting my order in this morning for this other Sony product, the P990. I can't wait.

Mylo Review Part 2

It's been several weeks now that I have had the Mylo and I have a few things to add.

First, the new firmware upgrade that installs the Tmobile Hotspot support is great. When you get near a Tmobile Hot Spot and the Wi-Fi is on, the device logs you in quickly with no username or password. I was using my cell phone at the Starbucks near Sand Hill Road and the reception was terrible. I grabbed the Mylo and called out to the person I was talking to and it was crystal clear.

There are two things on the Mylo that didn't jump out at me at first that I think are worth noting. First, the Wi-Fi sucks an unbelievable amount of juice. It's almost like you can watch the battery drain while Wi-Fi is on. That has to get fixed. I doubt that I could leave a fully charged device on Wifi on all day.

The other item is media handling. I am pretty bummed that the only way to get content to the device is through the USB port and the PC software. I assumed that I could take MP4 video on my Sony Camcorder and pop it into the Mylo and play it back. Nope. It has to go through some strange conversion. Download an MP3? Nope. The PSP came up with improved support over time. I hope that this is on the roadmap. There may be a reason why they set it up this way but it only seems like a barrier to me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I received an email from one of the people involved in aniBOOM the other day. They are creating an aggregation site around animation that is user generated content/user created media/ whatever you want to call it. Stuff that people like us make. But it's animation. And they are going to pay some people money in a competition which I assume is a content acquisition play. I am not sure where this fits into the massive world of Googtubeevvermixatomfilms, but you get the idea. Although they don't have 100 million videos of half naked co-eds, the quality of what I checked out was really good.

It looks like a lot of fun and I have to recommend that you go and check out Urbunnies. It is very Ren and Stimpy. If celebrity bashing is more your style check out See Paris Die.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mylo Firmware 1.200 Available

I just upgraded my Mylo to the new firmware that was released yesterday. The improvements appear to be minor with the exception of the Tmobile Hotspot support. I will get to try that out today and will do an updated review of the device.

Weddings and Sand Hill Shuffle

Late last week a chunk of my family headed down to Cabo San Lucas to participate in Shawn and Natasha's wedding. It was a great time and a well needed break. There are some photos that I took pre-wedding down here on my blog.

Yesterday and today are a full day of doing the Sand Hill shuffle. More later.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A new nephew

Although my brother in law Alex was devastated by the crushing defeat of the Republicans in the election yesterday, him and his wife welcomed into this world their first child a boy that was born weighing 7 lbs 11 oz and 20 inches. Pictured here. Name unknown. Developing...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Moderate Party

I was in San Francisco and Silicon Valley yesterday. Today I am in Los Angeles. I wanted to make sure I voted before I got on the road so I hit the polling spot early. I don't remember if I ever talked about my early experiences with politics but this morning Jessica suggested that we take our son Tate with us to the polling location. Since I was in a rush I wasn't able to go with but I think she is going to take him.

I was introduced to politics at a very early age by my "grapes of wrath" great grandparents. They had grown up around Hanford, California. My great grandmother Henrietta Castillo was born in the US but her family had come over from Mexico just a couple of years before she was born. She spent most of her life in the central valley of California and in San Bernardino.

They were very poor and growing up I spent a ton of time with them. Without a doubt they were the people I most identified with in terms of family. They thought Republicans were evil and said as much. They loved FDR. I would sit with them at a very early age and watch the news and especially watch the election returns. Their influence set me on a course that was left of center.

Over the years I have done campaign work for candidates as well as some party organizing work. Most of that work has been with either moderate left of center candidates but occasionally very left wing causes that were focused on the environment which is a big issue to me.

I generally refrain from discussing politics these days as I find myself disgusted by the lack of civility and the lack of a desire by either side of actually doing something meaningful that normal middle of the road Americans want. I find myself torn between my sense of civic responsibility to try to make this a better place for my children and the desire to tune out these annoying politicians. It is sad to me that I have come to this place.

I hope that sometime in the near future somebody sets on a course to set up The Moderate Party. The Moderate Party would be a party that balances personal liberty, financial responsibility, and a concern for the welfare of future generations. I think that there are a large number of us in the Western and Mountain states that fit that description. Unfortunately there aren't many political parties that embrace those values. When someone starts up that party I'd love to help out. Until then I won't hold my breath and I will hope that the vast middle of the American population decides that their personal annoyance with politicians is something that they can overcome and they will place votes to elect people who fit that mold. One can hope...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Music Stuff

Been a busy week. Rather than talk about tech today I thought I would say a bit about whats in my car/ipod/laptop. First if you get a chance go check out this Music Map application from Dimvision that you can find here. I know there are others out there but this one is pretty hot and I think it integrates with Amazon APIs. I used it to pick up some new tunes. So what's in my audio playback device du jour?

Yerba Buena - Love this. Mexi pop-rock meets electronica. I can't get enough of this. Definitely a bit more down home than say Ozomatli but if you have latin rhythms in your body do check this out.

Nortec Collective - Tim turned me onto this and the Music Map thing recommended this based on my interest in Yerba Buena. More electronic and less Mexi-pop.

Mastodon - Wow. Gus told me to run out and get this and CMJ had a really nice write up so I picked it up. I can't say that this is the next Metallica from a style perspective but these guys rock very hard and sound really good.

The Mars Volta - The new one isn't as good as the last one but it is worth a pickup nonetheless.