Politics vs Performance

July 20, 2008

Simple-idea-funder Y Combinator attempts to help bored, vested Google programmers by providing a list of startup ideas they’d like to fund.

Many of them are far out.  #5 is a joke; the protective wall is much too thick to do anything serious.

However, some real insight does show up in #14:

The most important of all is the defining flaw of large organizations: you can’t tell who the most productive people are. A small company is measured directly by the market. But once an organization gets big enough that people on in the interior are protected from market forces, politics starts to rule, instead of performance.  

Your Online Marketing Sucks

March 12, 2008

Once in a while, I see some less than awesome online marketing, and I’m just concerned that someone is getting paid to produce this crap.

So your client comes to you and says, I need a blog.  Always willing to please, you setup another random blog on Google’s Blogspot and tell them to write a 10,000 word intro post.  You don’t bother to think about integrated a blog into your website as a content management tool to make sure the website remains relevant and you’re not directing traffic away from your cause.  Brilliant.

wasted text

Since you’re on a roll and your client can’t stop typing, you put a rambling note about your blog in your email newsletter.  That extra bit of wasted text really doesn’t do much to sell the blog, but it sure fills that prime, above the fold, email marketing real estate with something.  It’s definitely something.

Further on down the email newsletter, the client wants to plug every service they have available, because everyone is still reading on their 6th scroll of the page. 

So we plug a job board.  Most of the jobs are a little stale, but who cares, it’s content, and content is king on the internets.  Of course, as you work diligently for your client, you check, double check, and re-check the links in the email newsletter so you get the maximum impact.

check the url

Oops, you didn’t check that last link.  Unless that band is called Talent Engine, you’ve got the wrong website. 

Of course, it really just points out that not only did you not check the links on this client’s email, but you didn’t setup your server for www to work on that subdomain.  Is that three stikes yet?


Google’s 20% Incomplete Products

March 11, 2008

Google has always flaunted it’s 20% time idea, where engineers are encouraged to take some random ideas and come up with products any decent product marketing company would have already had on the roadmap.  Of course, maybe they like it that way, so until GOOG hits $200 they can continue to do that kind of thing.

The problem is that with that 20%, a lot of Google products could really be useful, such as:

– Google Reader:  The links in the start page work, so after you read the teaser, the link clicks through to the same page.  This was probably a 20% time project enhancement that ran out of time.

– Gmail: Great, you made it easy to manage multiple accounts, except when I send an email with on of them, it says send “on behalf of” my google account which I prefer to keep private.  Maybe Google could use some of that 20% time and realize that’s likely a fixable issue.

–  Google Search: Believe it or not, the answer to every question is not a blog.  Since you can’t tell an engineer what to do with their 20% time, let’s hope it comes to them in a vision.

You’re right, Google’s 20% time isn’t causing 80% of the problems.

Carson Daly Daily Comedy

December 2, 2007

After seeing what The Smoking Gun picked up from Carson Daily, begging anyone he knows to call in to his voicemail and leave a joke, my day in the spotlight can’t be far away.

I think it’s just Carson’s way of saying, yes I know you’d be great as a writer on my show but I can’t cross the writers strike picket line, so go ahead and call me with all your amazing joketastic talents.

Open Letter to Carson Daly

November 3, 2007

Last Call with Carson Daly
c/o NBC Studios (stage 9)
3000 W Alameda Ave
Burbank, CA 

Dear Carson,

With the impending writers strike, I’m posting an open letter to offer my services as an almost-professional comedic writer in your time of need.

Luckily, I’ve seen your show and I know that you’re not losing much if the writers strike on Monday.  Double lucky, I know I can maintain the average comedic level of your show.  Triple lucky, I know the viewers don’t expect much and nothing else will be new on TV.

The best part for you is that I’m willing to work for free because I need to prove myself before Kimmel will hire me.


ps.  Look for the internet to gain a lot of popularity if this writers strike lasts for more than a few days.  Why? 

– Because TV ratings will go down even further (and this time the people may not come back – the fall lineup is terrible)

– Because all the new content generation will be done on the web for a while

– Because some enterprising young comedian will take the place of the reruns of all the late night shows with their own daily comedy show (is funnyordie.com impacted by the writers strike?)

– Because it provides an opportunity for video, podcasts, and other produced compilations from online companies to make a bigger splash and fill the pipeline for TV shows that still decide to report business and entertainment news.

Update: Techcrunch paraphrases Tony’s post 3 days later, and lights up 100% algorithm Techmeme.  I can’t figure out if the writers strike or blogs are a bigger joke.

Google Price Fixing with Ad Quality

October 24, 2007

When you own 50% of any market, especially one that supplies mostly small and medium businesses, you’ve got a great opportunity to take pricing.

Take pricing?  Yep, just raise the minimum CPC on those PPC ads, and you can add millions to the bottom line.  How?  Something Google is calling Ad Quality, and because they are taking pricing, they need a new tool to show people their ads now have poor Ad Quality.

But Google does no evil, they save puppies, and don’t flaunt their private jets or exclusive Federal runways. 

Great, here’s a real life example that can only be explained by Google taking pricing:

* Created a new ad in Adwords for a very specific keyword and landing page
(both requirements for good Ad Quality)

* The keyword ran for a total of zero impressions
(Google must already know the keyword with existing data or it’s an Ad Quality issue)

* Traffic Estimate tool says that Google doesn’t have enough data on the keyword
(Ok, so it has to be an Ad Quality issue since it didn’t have any impressions)

* The brand new Ad Quality (price fixing) tool shows that the Ad Quality is ok
(Now I don’t get it, it’s neither data or Ad Quality, seems like you want me to spend more money without giving an actual reason other than you run the ad network)

The best part about this whole pricing scam is that Google, because they’re not evil, gives you the chance to buy your way out of the problem.  It says, just increase your bid, then your ad quality won’t matter as much.  I finally found a need for Yahoo.