Archive for January, 2007

Global Warming, Lohan, or Boras?

January 17, 2007

There are only 3 reasons it could be so cold in Southern California:

  1. Bush got tired of people complaining about Global Warming.
  2. Lohan said she’d go to rehab when something froze over.
  3. Scott Boras does a fair deal.

Anyway, if you ever wanted to make a family tree, see Geni.com.  Started by David Sacks of Paypal and indie movie fame, it’s a good start using proven internet product development rules.

Rules?  Yes, there are rules to product development (aka features) at internet companies.  If you’re from the brick and mortar world, these won’t make sense, but then again you’re probably not internet product development.

  1. Launch a product with less than 5 useful features (optional: label it “beta”).
  2. See how people use it and ask for feedback.
  3. Add the most requested or needed feature each week.

There’s no reason to do 10 months of development on every feature you can dream up, only to have to develop more features the user wants, be upstaged by a competitor, miss the bubble 2.0 funding craze, and/or not collect any ad revenue for the 8 months you’ve had a working version with 5 features.

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iPhone is renamed iPimp

January 10, 2007

Apple Computer introduced a concept cellular device today called the iPhone

You can’t buy it, but Apple’s market cap increased $6.1 billion.  That’s some fancy marketing, and some excellent pimping of the biggest players in the mobile internet space.

Here are the highlights:

  • Yahoo! – Nothing like offering Free IMAP Yahoo! Mail to a relatively small group of customers, when you’d overtake Gmail as the best webmail service if you made it available to everyone.  That’s Yahoo product strategy at it’s finest.
  • Cingular – Apple trades early (they’ll need more market share than 1 mobile company can provide) carrier exclusivity for “Visual Voicemail” with Cingular.   They probably can’t even use it for their more profitable BlackJack device, not to mention they’ve now shown every cell phone maker there will be a new area of negotiations next time around – carrier features specific to the phone.

 

You other brothers can’t deny the trends

January 4, 2007

Google finally stopped the bleeding and did something right today.

No, you still can’t search Google Reader, but over on the Google Reader Blog they rolled out a MyBlogLogDigg style web 2.0 trend page.  This sounds like one of those Google 20% projects that makes the company what it is today.

It’s also nice to see an interesting title on a Google blog post, with the subtle reference to the great British royal, Sir-Mix-a-Lot.

It’s interesting to see the trends/metrics/analytics of how you consume feeds in a reader, versus what you percieve about your own habits.  For instance, I would have bet my page rank that I’ve read more posts from Techcrunch than anyone else, but the “Reading trends” proves me wrong:

Of course it’s also a great reminder that marketing, especially online marketing, is less about colors and more about data.  However, data often needs a better medium, and so graphs and charts can tell far better stories.  For instance, see the relationship to blog posts and actors who played James Bond, and start to think of how you could market the entire franchise now that you understand the content, timeline, and volume on 1 fancy graph.

Google Checkout will go offline

January 1, 2007

Despite the recent problems Google has had with their site, this post is not predicting the demise of Google Checkout.  Instead, it’s an educated guess that Google Checkout will overtake eBay’s Paypal in number of transactions this year and become the de facto standard for online retailers.

Of course, Google Checkout needs to add 1 feature to actually make that happen – an offline merchant terminal running the Checkout API.  What?  A small credit card scanner with a small screen and a couple of buttons, which interacts with Google’s Checkout service through the API.  Google Checkout will then be able to process offline transactions.

But why?  Because Paypal already owns the online transaction market, but that’s not where the majority of all transactions are located.  Instead, Google needs to realize that there is an underserved offline retail sector that needs a way to process transactions.  If you told the local retailer that for the next year, they wouldn’t have to pay credit card transaction fees and an easy way to do it, Google would have a line out the door.

The real benefit would be the further acquisition of the SMB, which Google already started on this year with the partnership with Intuit.  Google gets more data on offline transactions, finds more businesses for local search, and most importantly, the ability to sell more Google Adwords. 

If Google paid a referral fee, I’m sure there’d be a mashup of the API and some cheap hardware already. 

UPDATE: Google Checkout is getting punchy, blatantly trying to buy new users with a $10 offer on the usually minimalist home page.  Several other sources are predicting more Google Checkout related developments in the near future.