Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
ABC Fired Stossel?Opinion Editorial by John Stossel - Dec 10, 200985 ratings from readersWhile clearing up some of the misinformation surrounding his recent career change, this veteran reporter also aims to clear up the misinformation about capitalism in his new career - with a nod to Rand.
People keep forwarding me emails and blog posts saying ABC fired me. Internet forums claim I was fired because I aired a story about the downside of government-controlled health care. This is silly. It's not even logical. No one can broadcast anything on "20/20" without ABC's approval.
The truth is that my departure from ABC was by mutual consent.
I left to go to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network because I want more time to report on free markets and economic liberty, the kind of reporting I do in this column. With two 24-hour news channels, Fox has more room for that.
Today, finally, my new Fox Business show begins! It will air every Thursday at 8 p.m. (and will repeat Fridays at 10 p.m. — opposite "20/20" — heh, heh, heh).
My first show will be on the "climate crisis." Or it might be on Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." I've prepared both shows because I can't decide which I should do.
What do you think?
I'm partial to an "Atlas" show because I reread the novel recently and was stunned. It was as if Rand had seen the future. Writing half a century ago, she predicted today's explosion of big government in shockingly accurate detail.
The "Preservation of Livelihood Law." The "Equalization of Opportunity Law." The "Steel Unification Plan."
Don't these sound like laws passed by the current Congress?
All were creations of Rand's villain, Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat who regulates business and eventually drives the productive people out of business. Who is today's Wesley Mouch? Barney Frank? Chris Dodd. Tim Geithner? I'll ask my TV audience to vote.
"Atlas" is still a big bestseller today. This year, it reached as high as NO. 15 on Amazon's bestseller list. Pretty amazing.
Clearly there's some magic in "Atlas Shrugged." The Library of Congress once asked readers which books made the biggest difference in their lives. "Atlas" came in second, after the Bible.
Yet elites and the MSM hate Ayn Rand. When "Atlas" first came out, The New York Times wrote that "the book is written out of hate."
Maybe that's why no "Atlas" movie has been made. Angelina Jolie once wanted to play heroine Dagny Taggart, but it never happened. Rand's books still sell millions of copies, yet college "women's studies" courses rarely mention her. One professor says her department head asked, "Why would you study that fascist?"
Why such antipathy?
Rand celebrates business and free markets. The elites don't like business. In every newsroom where I've worked, and at my college,Princeton, capitalism was derided as selfishness.
And lately, as a failure. On one website, someone wrote: "You'd think it was a joke, when the global economy was collapsing because of greed, that anyone might turn seriously to the purple prose of crypto-fascist (!) Ayn Rand and think it was the answer to anything."
Well, I, for one, think her prose answers much.
The embrace of freer markets has lifted more people out of the misery of poverty than any other system -- ever. The World Bank says that in just the last 30 years, half a billion people who once lived on less than $1.25 a day have moved out of poverty.
But now, Wesley Mouch — I mean, Congress and the bureaucrats — tell us they are going to "fix" capitalism, as if their previous "fixes" didn't hamstring the free market and create the problems they propose to solve.
Who are they kidding? Rand had it right. She learned it the hard way in Soviet Russia. What makes a country work is leaving people free — free to take risks, to invent things — and to keep the rewards of their work.
Critics say Ayn Rand promotes selfishness. I call it "enlightened self interest." When free people act in their own self-interest, society prospers.
So there's my first show, maybe.
On second thought, with Barack Obama heading to Copenhagen promising America will cut its greenhouse gasses by 83 percent (not 82, not 84 — exactly 83), I may do my first show on global warming.
I'll decide soon — when I begin my new career.
John Stossel hosts the TV show "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He is the author of Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media (January 2005) as well as Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel — Why Everything You Know Is Wrong (May 2007), which is now available in paperback.» 26 Letters to the Editor so far: View Letters
I'm not sure about the move to Fox, but I often enjoy hearing John Stossel's perspective. Hopefully he'll add a little more balance to their "Fair & Balanced" reporting. I too have mentioned to friends that Ayn Rand predicted the future when it comes to the current state of economic affairs in the world. But I was saying that before Obama was elected, when it was the Republicans handing out money like candy on halloween and pushing agendas that did make sense in a "Free" market. It's easy to put the blame on the Democrats, but lets not forget all those Republicans who played their part. They're all hoping for the same thing... that they'll be dead before it all falls apart.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Some insight from a few Canadian Indies who aren't The Arcade Fire, MSTRKRFT or Metric.
So If Obama Increases the troop count in Afghanistan (again), does he get to keep the Nobel Peace Prize?
Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple."
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
November 10, 2009 ∞
Why Retweet works the way it does274874658019133568
- Posted at 6:29 PMThis week on Twitter, we're rolling a feature we've been working on for a while out to a lot more users. (If you don't have it yet, you will soon.) That feature is our native version of Retweet, which Biz posted about on the Twitter blog a couple months ago.
I'm making this post because I know the design of this feature will be somewhat controversial. People understandably have expectations of how the retweet function should work. And I want to show some of the thinking that's gone into it. I've been a big proponent of this particular design internally at Twitter, because, while it won't serve every use case, I think it offers something new and powerful.
As you know, retweeting is a very cool thing that emerged organically from Twitter users as a way of passing on interesting bits of information. Third party developers who make Twitter clients embraced it and added retweet functionality to their apps without us at Twitter doing anything at all with the feature. This isn't the first time this has happened, and this kind of emergent behavior is one of the best things about our ecosystem of users and developers.
People have long asked when we're going to build a RT button on twitter.com. While it would have been pretty trivial to do the way some clients have, the reason it's taken a while is because we wanted to do something a little more fundamental that we thought would add a lot more value.While retweets as they work today are great, they have some drawbacks. Notably:
Attribution confusion. With regular tweets, you have a user picture, a username, and the tweet text. They all have a particular relation to each other. We call this, the "anatomy of a tweet."
With what I'll call organic RTs, you have the same elements, but they have a different relation to each other. Most notably, the text of the tweet is not written by the person whose picture you're seeing, nor the username that's at the beginning—except for when the retweeter annotates the tweet, so they have written part of it. (And sometimes that's at the beginning, sometimes the end.) Even once you get used to the common syntax (and there's not just one), there's extra mental parsing to associating the text with the right username and not the picture.
I believe this is a bigger issue for the readability of tweets than is obvious. I also often receive @replies from people who clearly think I said the thing that I just retweeted.
Mangled and messy. The attribution is confusing in the best case. But it's worse because different clients treat RTs differently, and if someone retweets a retweet it gets messy fast. Because organically retweeted tweets can be edited, even if the original author is properly understood as the author, it's not necessarily for what they really said. Inaccurate attribution is possible in any medium. But in Twitter, because of the character limit, it's often necessary. People shorten and edit retweeted tweets to make them fit along with the extra metadata. Even when for legit purposes, that can be misleading and unfair to the author. Worse, RTs can actually be easily faked, which has become a form of spam, wherein well-known people are shown to be promoting something they never twittered about.
Redundancy. If five people you follow retweet the same thing, you get five copies, which can be useful but is a lot of noise. This comes up even more in search. Popular users can get retweeted enough to saturate a search query. Coincidentally, as I'm writing this I came across this:
Noisiness. Let's face it: Some people over-retweet. You may be interested in what they personally say, but you don't need to know about every link and charity cause they pull their RT-happy trigger finger on. The only choice you have today is deciding if the benefit of getting their occasional gems is worth the cost of their retweetarrhea.
Untrackable. Retweets potentially reveal very interesting data. After all, if something's worth repeating out to all your followers, that's a signal that it's more interesting than something that's not (over-retweeters aside). If something retweeted by a bunch of people, relative to how many are following the original author, that's valuable data that may help people discover interesting news more quickly. Third-party developers have recognized this and built sites to try and track this information. But it's fundamentally hard because the data isn't structured.
This last point is not obvious but is particularly important for fulfilling Twitter's goal of helping you discover the information that matters most to you as quickly as possible. Part of the beauty of Twitter is that you can follow your friends, organizations, public figures, or strangers you find interesting. But no matter how carefully you've groomed your following list, out of the millions of tweets written today, are you seeing the absolute most relevant ones to you? Or are you getting some good stuff, some stuff you don't care about, and likely missing a whole lot of other killer tweetage you don't even know is there?
I would argue it's the latter. The perfect Twitter would show you only the stuff you care about—relevant, timely, local, funny, whatever you're most interested in—even if you don't follow the person who wrote it. And, of course, it would give you ultimate, fine-grained control in how to do so. We want to give you more ways to help the good stuff bubble to the top.
Toward that end, we've designed Retweets in a way that helps people get more good stuff, while solving some of the other problems described above.
In an announcement a few weeks ago to get developers building new RT functionality into their clients, we released some preliminary mockups showing how the new Retweet functionality might work on twitter.com. (I've read a couple times today that we're apparently keeping this feature only for twitter.com, which is exactly wrong. Most of the clients are working on incorporating it presently.)
The design is simple: There's a retweet link by each tweet and, with two clicks, it will be sent on to your followers. This takes care of the mangled and messy problem because no one gets an opportunity to edit the tweet (more on that below). The meta data (about who tweeted and who retweeted) is not in the tweet text itself, so they never have to be edited for length. Because they're built natively into the system, they're trackable. And because they're trackable, we can take care of the redundancy problem: You will only get the first copy of something retweeted multiple times by people you follow.
It will be very quick and easy to retweet, you'll never have to edit the text, and you also won't have to worry if your followers have already seen something, so this should encourage retweeting more and more useful stuff flowing farther.
The noisiness problem is taken care of by a new setting that will allow you to turn on and off retweets on a per-user basis. That is, if you only want to see someone's personally authored tweets, you can shut off just their retweets altogether but still follow them.
The attribution problem: In order to get rid of the attribution confusion, in your timeline we show the avatar and username of the original author of the tweet—with the person who retweeted it (whom you actually follow) in the metadata underneath. The decision is that this:
...is a better presentation than this:
No fault of @AleciaHuck's but the first is simply easier to read, and it gives proper credit to @badbanana. Even if you know @AleciaHuck, there's no benefit to having her picture in there.
The drawback is that it may be a little surprising (unpleasant even, for some) to discover avatars of people they don't follow in their timeline. I ask those people to keep in mind the following: You're already reading the content from these people via organic retweets. This is just giving you more context. My experience is that you get used to this pretty quickly, and it's a welcome way to mix things up. If you find someone constantly throwing people in there you don't like, as mentioned before, you can turn off Retweets from them (while still following their non-retweets). And if you really don't like it, and you only want to see what people you follow wrote themselves, you can turn off Retweets for everyone you follow (individually). Organic RTs do not offer nearly this flexibility.
The other thing some people will not like is that, unlike organic RTs, there's no way to annotate or leave your own comment when you retweet something with the new system. Some people annotate with every retweet, some don't do it at all. But it's definitely useful in certain scenarios. We left it out of this first version mostly for simplicity. It's especially tricky when you consider transports like SMS where adding a lot of structure or additional content is hard. But we have some ideas there, and it's possible we'll build that in at a later date. (This point should not be missed.)
What about those cases where you really want to add a comment when RTing something? Keep in mind, there's nothing stopping you from simply quoting another tweet if that's what you want to do. Also, old-school retweets are still allowed, as well. We had to prioritize some use cases over others in this release. But just as Twitter didn't have this functionality at all before, people can still work around and do whatever they want. This just gives another option.
The larger point, though, is that this feature should make Twitter a more powerful system for helping people find out what's happening now that they care about.
To give you a better sense of what we're trying to accomplish, check out this guest post on Techcrunch from back in May by David Sacks, CEO of Geni and Yammer and former COO of PayPal: The Awesome Potential of Retweet. In it, he lays out much of what I do above—describing the drawbacks of how RTs work today and proposing a native solution that's pretty much identical to what we've come up with. (Believe it or not, we had this design before he wrote that—not that we would have minded stealing the idea from him.)
I'm excited to see what our users and developers do with it and teach us about Retweet, so we can improve it more.
I'm curious to see how this plays out.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Maserati and !!! Drummer Passes Away
by Staff | 11.09.2009Gerhardt "Jerry" Fuchs, the 34 year-old drummer for indie bands Maserati and !!!, passed away early Sunday morning, due to a tragic elevator accident. The drummer was attending a Williamsburg, NY benefit, when he and another elevator passenger's elevator car halted and he attempted to jump to the next floor. Fuchs' most recent work with Georgia-based psychedelic instrumental ensemble Maserati included a split LP, with Zombi released in early 2009, and rarities collection Passages out later this year. He'll be greatly missed.
That's a shame. I'm glad I had a chance to see them on before he was gone!
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
From newly-discovered deep sea crustaceans to rodent-resembling primates, nature has brought us some outright weird-looking creatures. Check out these animals that just seem out-of-this world and vote for the one you think is the weirdest of them all!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
While preparing playlists for my wedding reception brunch thing tomorrow morning I stumbled upon this gem. I debated wether or not to add it to the mix but then on her drive home from dinner tonight Kristen heard the original and was inspired, thus it's made the cut. It should go well with the cover of "Bust A Move" that Kristen's brother does. No Joke.The scoop on this cover is that The Rosebuds did it just for fun and used it to promote a few tour dates. And It's just another reason why Kristen and I love them so much. Most bands have a sense of humor, but few show it. I love a band that can write dark moody songs and cut loose and smile from time to time. Just as long as it's not all the time. Joe
Saturday, October 17, 2009
While preparing playlists for my wedding reception brunch thing tomorrow morning I stumbled upon this gem. I debated wether or not to add it to the mix but then on her drive home from dinner tonight Kristen heard the original and was inspired, thus it's made the cut. It should go well with the cover of "Bust A Move" that Kristen's brother does. No Joke.The scoop on this cover is that The Rosebuds did it just for fun and used it to promote a few tour dates. And It's just another reason why Kristen and love them so much. Most bands have a sense of humor, but few show it. I love a band that can write dark moody songs and cut loose and smile from time to time. Just as long as it's not all the time. Joe
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
David Spark (@dspark) is the founder of Spark Media Solutions, specialists in building industry voice through storytelling and social media. He blogs at Spark Minute and is a regular on Cranky Geeks and ABC Radio.
For many, creating a podcast is something that’s done solely out of passion. But even among those who do it strictly for the love of podcasting, after awhile, once you’ve built up an audience, there comes a time when you think to yourself, “I can’t keep doing this for free.”
Such was the case with many of the people I interviewed in my 15-part series, “Making Money from Podcasting.” From a $50 donation to cover an afternoon of babysitting to a six figure sponsorship, the people I spoke to have been making anywhere from pocket change to lucrative careers from podcasting.
What follows is a compendium of nine proven money-making techniques for podcasters. All are successful to varying degrees and some podcasters use a combination of methods. This summary provides an explanation of all the techniques, and tips from the podcasters who have pulled them off. For more tips, advice, and to hear the full money making podcast story, make sure to read and listen to each the interviews linked throughout this article.
1. Got audience? We’ll get you sponsors
Podcast networks such as Mevio, Podtrac, and Wizzard Media welcome any podcaster that has an audience, because that means they can sell advertising against it. The networks collect shows, categorize them, and sell advertising on a CPM (cost per thousand) or CPA (cost per action) basis. Adam Curry, former MTV VJ, podcasting pioneer, and President of Mevio (interview), is looking for podcast producers that know their audience and can motivate them. Using either their show programming or social media, podcast producers promote show-specific coupon codes for their sponsors. Every time one is used, the podcaster gets paid. Of their network of 15,000 podcasters, Curry said he has three podcasters that will make between $500,000 to $1,000,000 this year.
Kevin Kastner of Alaska HDTV used to be a Mevio customer but left because he was unsatisfied with what he was being offered (he wasn’t willing to make a CPA deal) and the opaqueness of the deals. He had no idea how much Mevio was selling his show to advertisers. Curry said he splits all revenue 50/50 with podcasters.
2. Get your own sponsors
Kastner left Mevio (interview) because he believed he and his partner could land their own sponsors and make more money. They did, and in doing so increased revenue 200 to 300 percent, said Kastner. But he admits it has come at a serious cost: his workload has increased more than ten-fold.
Wizzard Media offers a hybrid advertising solution for podcasters that want to make more money by landing their own sponsors, yet still need the crutch of an ad network to fill out any unsold inventory. Royce Hildreth, co-producer of Pregtastic, the podcast by and for pregnant women, uses this Wizzard Media hybrid solution. For podcasters that get their own sponsors, Wizzard Media will insert the ads for a flat fee, explained Rob Walch, Wizzard’s VP of Podcaster Relations (interview) and host of the Today in iPhone podcast.
3. Be like public TV, beg for donations
Pregtastic’s Hildreth (interview) admits that the hybrid sponsorship alone isn’t cutting it, so he’s put up a begware button and instructed podcast hosts to say that the show costs a donation. He and his co-producing wife aren’t making a lot of money from donations, however. It’s usually enough to hire a babysitter for when they have to go to the studio to record another episode.
4. Give some away free, charge for the rest
This technique comes in multiple variations. One of the innovators of this technique is Don McAllister, host of ScreenCastsOnline (interview), a weekly video podcast of “how to” Mac software tutorials. McAllister gives away every other episode and makes viewers pay for the rest ($57 for the first six months) which includes additional bonus content and hi-res videos.
The formula has become his livelihood for the past three years, and it’s been copied successfully (with McAllister’s blessing) by Israel Hyman host of Izzy Video (interview) and producer of Rolling R’s and Paperclipping.
When Hyman and McAllister first produced their podcasts they were completely free. It wasn’t until after a few years and some success that they started charging for some of their shows. Ken Ray, host of Mac OS Ken (interview), a daily podcast about Apple news, didn’t want to start charging for his free podcasts, so he created another show, “Day 6,” which can only be accessed through a paid subscription. Ray said the “Day 6″ show is designed to pay for his daily show.
Apple doesn’t allow podcasters to charge for podcasts within iTunes, so if you want to create a paid podcast, you need to use a service such as Premiumcast.com which allows you to create personalized RSS feeds, explained CEO Paul Colligan (interview). Personalized RSS feeds allow for complete control over the podcaster/subscriber relationship, allowing you to serve different content (e.g., PDFs, video, or audio) and time the distribution, plus turn off a feed if someone stops paying.
5. Partial show free, full show paid
One of my favorite podcasts, Never Not Funny, is hosted by a great comedian I knew in Chicago, Jimmy Pardo. The show is 90 minutes long, but only the first 20 minutes is available for free. If you want the rest of the show, you need to become a paid subscriber ($19.99 for a season of 26 episodes in audio, $24.99 for the season in video). Like McAllister, Hyman, and Ray, the Never Not Funny podcast didn’t begin with a paid model. Pardo and his co-host and producer Matt Belknap (interview) created 100 shows for free first, and then switched to the partial show free, full show paid model. It’s paid off. Belknap estimates that 35 percent of their total listeners are paid subscribers.
6. Build your own media network of programming and sell advertising against it
Launching a radio or television network has enormous overhead. A podcast network doesn’t. Personal Life Media is an online network of blogs and podcasts that address personal life issues such as career, love, health, and finance, explained CEO Susan Bratton (interview). Unlike podcast networks such as Mevio and Wizzard Media which are just collecting a mishmash of programming, Personal Life Media behaves like a radio network that controls its programming and its overall brand. With her lineup of forty programs, Bratton can sell advertising packages by specific category that get from 100,000 to 250,000 downloads per month.
Unlike Bratton’s Personal Life Media, ESPN didn’t have to start from scratch when creating its podcast network, ESPN Podcenter; they already had a brand and a radio station. When they first began podcasting five years ago, they repurposed some radio content for the web, but soon learned that it was more effective to create original podcast programming. Now with a lineup of more than 100 podcasts, ESPN sells integrated sponsor packages across multiple media that can include advertiser images that appear on the show’s icon within iTunes’ podcast directory, said Marc Horine, VP of Digital Media at ESPN (interview).
7. Build your brand to sell your services
Marketing and digital technology coach John Jantsch is the host of the “Duct Tape Marketing” podcast (interview) which is also the name of his book and his consultancy. In his early days of podcasting, when he was a complete unknown, Jantsch would request interviews from well known social media types like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin. Having them on his podcast raised his profile. Since, his consulting business has increased 500 percent and is now landing him six-figure sponsorships repeatedly, said Jantsch.
Mike Auzenne, co-host of the Manager Tools podcast (interview), doesn’t charge for his podcast or take any sponsorship money. He just focuses on delivering great advice and actionable tips to be a better manager. The four-year podcast trust building exercise is working. All of Manager Tools’ clients come from hearing him on the podcast first, and as a result business has increased ten-fold, said Auzenne.
8. Sell an iPhone app along with your podcast
Elsie Escobar is the host of the podcast Elsie’s Yoga Class Live and Unplugged (interview) which is simply an audio recording of her yoga classes. Though the podcast is distributed completely for free, she’s just starting to make money with a $3.99 iPhone application. The application, developed by Wizzard Media and available to any podcaster on a revenue share basis, lets Escobar and anyone else offer value add content for their podcast. Escobar uses it to add PDFs of routine sequences and quick access to 70 of her past yoga classes. It’s an ideal platform to be on since Wizzard Media’s podcast metrics show that 85 percent of people download podcasts through iTunes. Combine that with the 50 million iPhones and iPod Touches sold and you’ve got yourself a strong podcasting platform, said Wizzard Media’s Rob Walch.
9. Integrate sponsorship with the show’s editorial
Digital audio book seller Audible is a regular sponsor of many different podcasts. It is natural for them to advertise on podcasts, since their product is usually consumed in the same place: iPods. It was even more appropriate for them to advertise via sponsored editorial placements on Slate’s Culture Gabfest, a group discussion podcast of the week’s arts and entertainment happenings, explained Andy Bowers (interview), Slate’s podcast and video producer. The Culture Gabfest’s hosts were already consumers of Audible’s product and were eager to recommend books or take recommendations from listeners. Book recommendations fit in naturally with the show’s editorial and it also has increased engagement as they continue to track their success through a show-specific promotion code.
This is just a brief summary of all the different ways one can make money from podcasting. For “how to” tips and expert advice on how to make these techniques actually work, make sure you read and listen to the interviews, linked all throughout this article.
More business resources from Mashable:
- 5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
- 4 Ways Social Media is Changing Business
- 6 Must-Follow Steps for Selling in Any Economy
- 5 Easy Social Media Wins for Your Small Business
- HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags for Business
These are all great tips and, depending upon the type of podcast your doing, combing a few of them can obviously yield very positive results. For most though, building your brand through your podcast that lead to other sources of revenue is the best, most unobtrusive way to go. What are your thoughts?
"OSLO -- President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation."
Didn't see hat one coming did ya!
Ok so now he has he worlds attention... again. So what's he gonna do with all that love?
I've got a few ideas...
Wednesday, October 07, 2009