Hot Off The Press: Google Acquires JotSpot

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HOLY COW!!! I didn’t see this one coming…You can read about the announcement on the Google blog (“Spot On”), JotSpot blog (“We’re
Googlers now
”), and read additional commentary on TechCrunch.

As excited as I am about this, I can't help but think that the contraction of the two company names may bring about an unfortunate new
name (G-SP*T, anyone?).

Anyway, getting my mind out of the gutter, I think it all started a few months back
(in May 2006), when rumors were going around that
Yahoo was going to acquire JotSpot. At the time, I was working with some of the
JotSpot guys and got inside info that it was not the case.

Today however, I got an email from someone close to
the JotSpot group, that simply read: “Check out www.JotSpot.com”.
I was wondering if they had re-designed their website, launched Jot 3.0, or what
!?! But lo and behold, this is what greeted me…


 
I’m
sure I’ll have more to report soon…so watch this space!!!

QOTW: Tim Street (FrenchMaidTV.com) on Viral Video

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Hellooo…I’m finally back from all my biz trips and,
though I still have out-of-town visitors around, it’s good to be back blogging
again (finally).

I can’t believe it’s the end of OCT already and over
a month since Podcast Academy 4 and the 2006 Podcast Expo. I’ve been
meaning to comment on both events for a while now, but since I’ve been so busy
lately, here are a few links to several write-ups by some other folks who
attended the events as well…

- The Otter
Group blog
has three short posts on the Expo (see 1, 2, 3)
- The
Trend Junkie
—by my pal Greg Cangialosi—also has a recap of both PA4 and PME
- For a comprehensive review, check out Phil Windley's Technometria blog.
- And of course, there’s always more stuff over at Technorati.

Anyway, as promised a few posts back, here are some
take-away points from the
Podcast Academy 4 talk by Tim Street (Executive Producer,
FrenchMaidTV.com) on
Viral Video—The Secret To Spreading Your Content
, which I’ve also decided to make
this weeks QOTW. You can also listen to a VERY raw recording of Tim’s directly
below (or here), which I recorded live at the event.


NOTE: As you can imagine from the title/speaker, there were
plenty of videos that were played during the talk. Tim announces most of the
titles before/after the video, so you can probably search for them on YouTube
(or similar), if you’re interested in watching them.


So, here is Tim’s answer to
the question of…What makes a video
viral?

- It’s
easy to share—it’s OK to share and it’s not too explicit.
- It takes
a risk and is willing to bad-mouth or embarrass the subject of the video.
- It has a
natural problem involved that the audience can solve.
- Most of
all, it’s emotionally engaging.

Make your
video emotionally engaging and you will make your video viral…

People do
want to be engaged—they want to have some fun while they’re surfing the net.
And what it boils down to is making things emotional.


Tim then went on to expound on the various emotions
(also see the bottom table here) which you
can use to engage your audience. I’ve highlighted the primary emotions in CAPS,
the secondary emotions in Title Caps, and the suggested focus in red and bold.

1. LOVE: Affection, Lust, Longing

2. JOY: Cheerfulness,
Zest, Contentment,
Pride, Optimism, Enthrallment, Relief

3. SURPRISE

4. ANGER: Irritation,
Exasperation, Rage,
Disgust, Envy, Torment

5. SADNESS*:
Suffering, Sadness, Disappointment, Shame, Neglect, Sympathy

(NOTE:
Sadness is a place where you can really play, but you
have to be careful, because you can offend a lot of people)

6. FEAR: Horror, Nervousness

And so for this week’s QOTW, here’s what Tim
Street
had to say about “What does it mean to really engage your audience?

If you can
create a piece of video that [evokes] one emotion, you’re doing a good job.
If you can
create two, you’re doing and awesome job.
And if you
can move three emotions in a piece of video, you’re a friggin’ genius!

Use your
emotions to engage…Empower and unite your viewers by building a bond with your
brand, host, characters, storylines, products, services, and causes that they
admire. Find out what people care about.


And IMHO folks, that’s what really makes video viral.

Anyway, while I was listening to this talk, I was
reminded of Kathy Sierra’s post entitled “Make it Memorable” (which
is definitely worth reading!), which I think captures the essence of what Tim
is trying to say. In fact, her whole site—Creating Passionate Users—is all about
how to engage the audience, so I thought it would be a great way to end this post
off with Kathy’s graph for audience engagement…



Time is (not) on my side…

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Sorry for the lack of
updates in the last week or so. I am currently attending a medical conference
till 10/26 and spent the last week preparing for it. I also had a couple of out
of town guests (again) visit last week, which made it even more difficult to
get any blogs posted, etc.

I’ll try to get something
up real soon—I’ve got a few in the works, so stay tuned!

Shwen

Office 2.0 Conference: Reports and Links

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The Office
2.0 conference
has just ended (OCT 10-12) and, though I was not able
to attend, I’ve seen and heard a lot of good things about the event. So, here
are a few links to related resources…

Firstly, Kathleen Gilroy—on the Otter Blog—points to IT
Redux
, where Ismael Ghalimi (Office 2.0 Conference Organizer) nicely
sums up what he learned at Office 2.0
and provides this useful definition for what it is:


Office 2.0: Office productivity environment
enabled by online services used through a Web browser. By storing data online
and relying on applications provided as Web services, it fosters collaboration
and extends mobility, while promoting a user-centric model that fuels
innovation and increases productivity.


Ismael’s comments on “Who
is it for
”, “What’s working”, and “Where
do I get it
” are really informative, but more importantly, check out
his Office 2.0 Setup, which describes
the apps that he uses (based on frequency) as well as alternative solutions. For
a comprehensive list of apps, check out his Office 2.0 database.

CNET
also had some coverage of the conference, such as Rafe Needleman’s “top picks”
of new products, including brief comments on Wufoo (I’ve tried this and like it as
well
), Smartsheet, Trovix, FreshBooks,
and more. Needleman also discusses where we stand with Office 2.0 and
some concerns with using web-based apps—which he called Office 2.slow (quote: “It's all good, baby…If you have a lot of time to wait for
your apps and data to come over the network
”).

Dan Farber (ZD Net) also covered some nice topics from some of the talks/panels,
including a VC’s view of Office 2.0 and a brief comment on “when Office 2.0 doesn’t work” (quote: “A good example of when Office 2.0 doesn't work is during
demos at the Office 2.0 conference. Presenters were hampered by a slow
network–not the best way to sell the virtues of cloud computing
”).
Additionally, Faber offers his opinions on Microsoft vs. Office 2.0 on his Dan & David Show (podcast),
which includes quotes from Steve Ballmer’s talk at the Gartner
Symposium
as well.

For me, though, the Business
Two Zero
blog probably has the best, most in-depth conference report
(see Parts 1, 2, 3, and “Office 2.0 Blitz Demos),
including a great write-up on Andrew McAfee’s keynote speech—here’s
an excerpt from the blog post:


He explained that the
biggest opportunity for companies is to find a way to tap in to the knowledge
and human capital in their organisation, and that is exactly what these kinds
of tools could be addressing. 

However, one of the key
barriers is that CIOs are threatened by the rise in this kind of social
software approach.  The tools threaten their fiefdom, so although they are
cheap, quick and easy to sue, they might shrink their empire, so they typically
raise security as an issue.  Organisations needs some form of stealth
strategy to aid adoption in spite of many CIOs.


Well, now that the
conference is over, there are some brief reflections on the event by people
like Rod Boothby and Stowe Boyd. They both seem to
agree that the hallway chatter and various events are what really made the
event special. In fact, Boyd goes so far as to say:


Death To All Panel
Sessions — panel sessions are widely known to be the least favorite format
from the viewpoint of attendees. The format is simple for organizers, but
unless serious, active moderation goes on panel sessions are flabby.
Recommendation: Drop all panel sessions
.

So, if you want to hear brief intros to the talks/panels at
the conference, definitely check out the Office
2.0 PodcastJam
, which I will slowly make my way through over the
next few days/weeks. You can also find more Office 2.0 related links here.


In the Wake of GooTube

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In the wake of the recent GooTube
deal
, there have been lots of ramblings—both positive
and negative—going on about it in the blogosphere and media. So if you can’t
get over it yet, or just haven’t got enough of it, here are some reactions, thoughts,
and comments on the matter…

Firstly, there were plenty
of different reactions, including YouTube’s co-founders, Chen and Hurley, who
published this shiny, happy, video (I guess
you’d sound like you were high as well if you just got $1.65B of Google’s
money):

And here are some other
reactions:


Jeff PulverYouTube comes from a place where it knows about community;
how to build community, and how to enable end-users within its community to
share videos and common experiences. I wonder how much of this “community
experience” will transfer over to the culture within Google.

John BattelleI am mixed on this. I
think it's wise to frame this as “the companies will stay separate”
kind of acquisition, even if in the end that's not the intent. But this marks
Google's first significant “out of brand” acquisition, the company's
first true brand-management challenge. I'm not counting Blogger in here
because, well, it wasn't this big.

Steve Bryant (eWeek)
Not that Google is
beholden to reveal its plans on a conference call. But when you justify your
company's largest purchase ever with 1) “It was a good cultural fit,”
and 2) We have “20-30 ideas,” and then don't reveal how you came to
the $1.6 billion valuation, it leaves some questions unanswered.

Om Malik
Winners:

1.       Sequoia Capital, which invested about $11.5 million4
in two rounds and owned 30% of the company, which translates to about $495
million. via who else, Dr. Kedrosky5.

2.       Steve, Chad, and Jawed -
the three co-founders of You Tube, who must be walking away with at least $200
million each. They own close to 50% of the company

3.       Facebook, because now we
can expect a knee jerk reaction from someone, probably Yahoo.

4.       Ferrari dealerships, cat
litter companies and of course, the real estate brokers.

5.       Litigation lawyers

6.       Michael Arrington

7.       MC Hammer, who visited
both Google and YouTube last year. Or as he sings – Can’t touch this!

Losers:

1.       Yahoo, which is now going
to make a move, well that is a move.

2.       Mark Cuban

3.       Me

4.       Google, because I think
this is Compaq-DEC, Skype-eBay kind of a deal for them in the long run


However, now that the
reality of the deal has finally sunk in, we’re seeing a change in the tone of
conversations. Firstly, there are the “where’s the web (2.0) going
type of questions, like Don Dodge’s and Robert Scoble’sIs Facebook
Worth more than YouTube
”, as well as interesting analyses on trends and
bubbles (see “No Bublble 2.0 Yet”), like
this table of significant acquisitions since 2003:

However, it appears that
the conversations have now turned slightly uglier, as YouTubers start to ponder on the implications
and others have started discussing the possibility of lawsuits and DRM. And of course, no sooner had
these nasty words been uttered, than we are hearing rumblings of “SueTube”, as Time Warner plans to “…pursue its copyright complaints against the video sharing
site YouTube.com
” (see comments by Don Dodge).

In the end, after all that’s
been said and done, I think Steve Rubel has the right idea
about the whole thing (unless you’re a Google/YouTube competitor, of course).
Here’s what he says…


Google finally bought
YouTube. Maybe now we can all stop focusing on minutia M&A stuff and focus
on bigger, meatier issues like where social media is all going and what it
means. I am reluctant to even link to this because it's been written about to
death. It's a deal. Now it's done. Woo hoo. Good for Google. Good for YouTube.
Great for social media. Even better for the blogopshere because we won't be
talking about this much longer.

And on that note, that’s
probably the last you’ll hear from me on this topic folks…That is, unless
something really significant happens in this space some time down the road, of
course…


CNETs Worst Tech of Q3-2006

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While I usually discuss
matters of emerging technologies and trends, I thought it might be amusing and
intriguing to take a break from the “what’s cool and great” and instead look
at “what sucks and doesn’t work”.

So, here’s CNETs top 10
list of The Worst Technologies in Q3 2006:


10: Worst
hoax:
    
- Firefox zero-day flaw

09: Worst
product name and packaging:

    
- PumpOne PumpedForLife

08: Worst
way to get a free Dolce & Gabbana dongle:

    
- Buy the Dolce & Gabbana Razr for $400

07: Worst game:
     – World War II Combat: Iwo Jima

06: Worst
cause of CNET-wide paranoia:

     – HP pretexting scandal

05: Worst
upgrade:

     – iTunes 7

04: Most
frustrating pair of headphones:

     – Sennheiser OMX 52 Street

03: Worst
explanation of the Internet:

     – Senator Ted Stevens

02: Worst
thinking outside the box:

     – Amazon Unbox

And finally…

01: Worst way
to re-create the pyrotechnical magic of a Kiss show in your lap:

     – Sony laptop batteries

 

Get the whole story here.

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