Tunes | New Section Added

July 24th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve been playing around with a few tumblelog-like site features.

One is a snapshot of what I’m listening to these days on

Yes, I’ve used Pandora and Spotify (and, but I continue to return to my old favorite.

A Return to RSS

July 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Call me a luddite, but I’m rediscovering RSS.

The rise of Google+ has caused me to reconsider my social network use and information needs. And, strangely enough, the losers are the Big 3 social networks themselves.

I used to be a heavy RSS user. Then, at some point, I began to rely more on Twitter for social curation and news feeds and stopped reading RSS. But I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated by Twitter’s signal to noise ratio. In my case, the worsening feed hasn’t been caused by a bigger list of sources; rather, it’s been caused by my sources tweeting more and more about less interesting things (check-ins, link bait, off-topic RTs, Instagram, and so on). Unfortunately, this loss of fidelity hasn’t been offset by an increase in serendipity.

Enter Google+.

Google+ exacerbates the fidelity problem by focusing on threaded conversations and commentary, often by people I don’t know. Although Google+’s topical organization is helpful for creating conversations, the noise within these threads is exceedingly high and will only get worse as more people join the network. “Engagement” appears to be trumping “relevancy” and serendipity is low. This has long been a problem on discussion boards and doesn’t appear to be solved on Google+.

I’m still using Twitter for real-time updates and chat, Google+ for occasional threaded topical conversations, and Facebook for friend network posts. But I’m spending more time as a consumer with raw signal and, by and large, that seems to be long-form articles or micro-blog posts distributed via RSS.

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Update (July 23, 2011)

Robert Scoble has posted a Google+ thread about the noise issue, which serves to illustrate the problem beautifully.

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Update (July 24, 2011)

One unexpected benefit of my return to RSS is the fact that I can enjoy the writing of certain authors without suffering from the terrible website designs of their employers.

POTD | Paul Ford’s Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?

July 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Do social networks mark the end to endings?

Paul Ford argues in this week’s New York magazine that the Facebook wall (and by extension, the Twitter stream and Google+ conversation) are bringing an end to drama, narrative, and literary closure: “The tide brings in status updates; the tide takes them out.”

This is definitely a central design (or failing) of today’s social networks. However, it’s not necessarily a preference of broader society or the always-connected consumer. People crave entertainment, and entertainment comes from drama. Curation of social feeds, algorithmic or otherwise, will increasingly need to extend beyond the basic filtering of LOLcats and checkins. Ultimately, social applications will provide consumers with context and weave together coherent stories using social feeds and content snippets and traditional dramatic devices, like beginnings and endings.

POTD | Nova Spivack’s Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Essays

July 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Today’s Post of the Day comes from web thinker Nova Spivack.

He wrote five essays about Twitter, Facebook and Google+ available here and, if nothing else, deserves a shout out for blogging dedication. All are worth reading, and do a good job of comparing and contrasting the three social networks. I agree that Twitter’s real strength lies as a messaging platform, Facebook’s strength lies as a general friend network, and Google+’s strength appears to lie largely as a discussion platform. As such, Google+ appears to pose the greatest potential threat to microblogs (e.g., Posterous and Tumblr) and the discussion functions of traditional blogs (e.g., Disqus) and a significant threat to specialized knowledge networks (such as Quora or StackExchange).

My favorite post of the group discusses the need for Twitter to adjust its API strategy in this new world order and return to its messaging roots.  Twitter recently has been losing support within its developer base and its recent moves towards becoming a media destination will increasingly bring it into conflict with Google and established content portals. That may prove to be a big problem for the company in the long run.

POTD | Post of the Day

July 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s a lot of bad connected device analysis out there.

As more folks jump on Twitter and Google+ and on the microblogging platforms and get interested in emerging areas like social TV and second screen applications, I’m seeing a lot more longer-form content get published and posted on the social networks.

Unfortunately, a lot of this content isn’t very good and, in some cases, it’s flat out wrong or misleading. Since I read much it anyways as part of my daily routine, and a number of my twitter followers have told me that they appreciate curation in these areas, I’m going to attempt to highlight the better articles and posts. I’ll do this a couple of times a week, if not daily.

Most of these posts will be culled from the sources collected on the right sidebar. If you notice anyone missing who you think I should be following, please ping me.

The Future of My Smartphone

July 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve been thinking about getting rid of my smartphone.

Apparently, so has Brad Feld, albeit for different reasons.

I love the notion of a smart phone, the sleek next-generation designs, and plethora of cool new apps. But the reality for many is that using a small screen for most computing tasks is a serious compromise. And the reality for me is that I rarely use the phone for traditional calls and, if I do, it’s almost always hands-free in a car.

So, I’m carrying a phone less and less and a 3G tablet or ultralight more and more. And I’ve been considering moving to an ultra small phone that basically only provides voice service.

The only times this is really a compromise for me is for social events, where it’s inconvenient to have a tablet and and can be nice to have access to certain apps, and for taking family photos.

Granted, this isn’t normal behavior. But as more people get connected tablets and ultralights and move away from traditional voice services, it could become more typical.

Who’s Gouging Whom? Netflix, Hollywood and Consumers

July 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Netflix is gouging their dvd-by-mail customers.

Or so say the company’s critics after Netflix announced pricing changes for their streaming and mail-based video services on Tuesday. Todd Spangler at Multichannel News has an overview of the announcement and publicly-stated rationale for the move, and Ryan Lawler at GigaOm has a good summary of the consumer reaction.

Why would Netflix would make this move and create the predictable amount of consumer outrage? Moreover, why would it announce that it’s separating the DVD-by-mail business into a separate organization under new leadership? According to Spangler, at least one analyst suggested that this move was driven by a desire by Netflix to “[kill] off the DVD business as fast as possible.” That seems to run counter to Netflix’s public statement that “DVDs by mail is a long-term business for us.”

The reality is that the world is changing for both Netflix and Hollywood. Netflix is facing new competition on the streaming front from Amazon, Hulu, Google and Apple (plus other smaller players) and is moving to secure rights for more recent content while expanding into international markets. Every streaming subscriber it adds gives it more leverage in content acquisition negotiations. Hollywood is trying to preserve its existing distribution channels, exert tight control over new ones to prevent cannibalization, and increase content licensing revenues. There’s little incentive to move forward aggressively as long as the legacy theatrical and packaged media businesses remain stable and the studios appear to be enjoying playing multiple content suitors off against each other. Maybe even gouging content suitors at times.

Yet, there are signs that these legacy businesses may be dying faster than Hollywood publicly admits and new studio-driven formats (such as Blu-Ray Disc or Ultraviolet download sales) are clearly not gaining sufficient traction to fill the gap. Netflix may have an opportunity to capitalize on this vulnerability.

Thus, Netflix, through its new pricing, encourages its customers to move entirely to streaming (which is more profitable and strategically valuable) or continue to use DVD-by-mail (with expanded profits that fund new streaming content acquisition). That seems bold, but pretty smart in the long run.

Burdseed 2.0

July 13th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

This is Burdseed 2.0.

Burdseed 1.0 was my tumblog, which I’ve abandoned in favor of this longer, more flexible, more lasting format. I plan to continue to use Twitter and Google+ for news and business conversations and will continue to use Facebook for family, friend, and classmate stuff. But I’m moving away from Posterous and Tumblr. Consider them a casualty of the rise of Google+.

As a result of business and family commitments, it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and written in longer form. Now that my current startup project has emerged out of stealth mode, I hope to write one or two posts a week on a number of topics that seem a bit underserved in the blogosphere, interest me, or relate to my current professional activities.

Mostly that will mean riffing about things that are happening in the areas of social TV, smart TV, digital media, and the connected home. Plus, strategy, business building, and change issues related to these areas and observations about products, deals, and M&A.