Category Archives: Trends

Football Field

Yesterday, we bore witness to one of the greatest sporting events in the history of the modern age. A clash of titans, as it were…the New York Giants slugged it out against the New England Patriots and emerged to come out victorious in what is now being called the most-watched television program in US history and also the highest-rated Super Bowl in 26 years! Congratulations to the New York Giants!

But while we remember the game, let’s not forget all the other news that are happening around the Internet simultaneously as the big game. Not only was this the first time the Super Bowl was livestreamed on the Internet to mobile and tablet devices (leading to more viewership, I’m sure), there seemed to be a greater play on social media by not only the NFL and the NBC Network, but also advertisers too. Twitter reported today that the service set a record for the most tweets sent per second (TPS): 12,233 tweets! That’s an amazing amount since in 2008 during the Super Bowl, it was 27 TPS, and in 2011, it was 4,064 TPS. Of course, this massive record of tweets per second occurred during the last three minutes which is when Twitter says an average of 10,000 TPS were sent. But what does this all translate into? Well during the Super Bowl, there were 13.7 million related tweets sent out during the five hour game. These numbers are absolutely staggering!

And what about the other part of the game? The so-called “Brand Bowl”? Well some of them did very well in terms of the conversation, but it’s a bit of a mixed reaction. First, let’s see which of the brands succeeded in getting the most comments:
Super Bowl commercials via AdAge In Advertising Age this morning, Bluefin Labs analyzed data of all the television commercials to see which one of them earned a spot in the top 10 highest rated spots with the most response. It should be noted that Bluefin only reviewed content pushed on two major networks: Twitter and Facebook. I wonder how these would be changed with Google+ or on social sporting networks like on OnShare?

Regardless, each ad was tracked for 45-minutes after it began to air and what’s surprising is that one of the first commercials to air during the game was the David Beckham H&M underwear commercial and received 108,914 comments – a sign that the first is the best? Either that, or sex sells…

Not surprising, Chrysler’s hit ad featuring Dirty Harry himself, actor/director Clint Eastwood in “It’s Halftime in America” was a rousing success with over 95,000 comments and came in second. It was definitely one of the big winners of the evening and people are STILL talking about it today! But nowhere on this list was the GoDaddy commercial – perhaps a sign that after years of the racy ads, the public is getting tired about ripping on them and decided there’s much more worthy commercials to talk about?

Perhaps the biggest stumble in the “Brand Bowl” this year was the use of the hashtag in commercials. In light of the McDonald’s hashtag debacle, it might not have seemed good to throw out a hashtag unless you were 100% sure that your commercial would ellicit the response you were hoping for. Some had a pretty good chance at positive reactions, like the Audi vampire commercial (#solongvampires) and the Bud Light Platinum (#MakeItPlatinum), but then there were others like GE’s commercial with the hashtag #whatworks — a friend of mine said that he would tweet out “#whatworks not this commercial”. Hashtags were genuinely a gamble for advertisers in an attempt to get into the social scene.

But did advertisers really embrace the role of social media this Super Bowl? According to the Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang and Brian Solis, maybe not and they’ve discovered five interesting trends out of the 87 advertisements:

  • Brands heavily invested in promoting their traditional websites
  • Many did not promote a call-to-action
  • Only a sixth of ads explicitly promoted social media
  • Hashtag marketing emerged to stimulate continual engagement
  • Cutting edge marketers teased with new marketing tactics, including Shazam

So while I think that the hashtag attempt on commercials was a fumble, it’s a trend of the Super Bowl nevertheless. But is anyone still surprised at any of these trends? The website is here to stay and advertisers will continue to push people to them just like they asked them to call their 800 numbers for several decades. There are a few risky marketers who will ask people to tweet at them using the hashtag, but if anything, the Super Bowl is showing us that advertisers are starting to be a slightly bit more innovative in how they reach people, especially on television. Just take a look at this breakdown from the Altimeter Group:

Altimeter Group Super Bowl online destinations

Maybe the 32% of brands during the Super Bowl were airing ads more as brand promotion, but the question is why aren’t you giving your customers something more to take away from it? Even those commercials that asked viewers to use Shazam were giving them a song that would forever be associated with their commercial (lasting branding) and also invited them to rate their commercial (feedback), but by not doing anything like that leaves much to be desired.

So I leave you with this fascinating tip from the Altimeter Group report: promoting traditional websites still king with brands while social integration is “nascent”. Yes, that’s right…brands seem to be gun-shy at using social media to help converse with their customers and the viewers. If anything, the most successful commercials from last night will become viral and people will be talking about it. But will the brands actually be listening?

Photo Credit: Football field by Juggernautco/Flickr

Funeral of Kevin Cunnigham

Are you on Facebook? What about Google+? Twitter? MySpace? Have you ever thought what happens to all the data that you put in there? Take your Facebook account, for example…you have so much useful information that you’d like to export and place into another place, but unfortunately you can’t. Robert Scoble tried that once and Facebook booted him off their network. The data that you enter into these social networks, while it’s your information, is being treated as if it was proprietary for the network. There’s no sharing allowed. And no matter how much you might think that the adage “sharing means caring” might apply here, think again…the web is the wild wild West and its every social network for themselves.

Just read this latest post from Mr. Scoble as he comments that the common web is dead (or at least it’s too late to save). In 2008, he tried to export his Facebook information so he could apply it elsewhere, but Facebook wants to protect it and boots him off.  It seems that what you put into making your profile relevant is what you can’t get back. This was further reinforced, according to Scoble, on Friday’s episode of the Gillmore Gang where he once again rehashed his Facebook exile:

Facebook should be allowed to be a data roach motel: data can come in, but damn you Scoble if you want to take that data back out.

At this point, the open web is dead – Scoble has given up and feels that the struggle for data rights (my terminology), akin to basic human rights, is over  – the social networks have won. But is it? The data portability world still has its heroes, like Dave Winer, John Battelle, and Chris Saad. These three are not giving up on promoting the open web and fighting the good fight, but do most of us honestly care what happens to our data? Four years ago, John Battelle predicted the data constrictions we’re seeing now: “The web as we know it is rather like our polar ice caps: under severe, long-term attack by forces of our own creation.” We created this technology and now it’s evolved into a point that, over time, has slowly eroded away our feelings about data portability.

In today’s New York Times, Lori Andrews wrote an opinion article about how Facebook is making their money off of  our backs. In this article, Ms. Andrews states that unlike other big-ticket corporations, Facebook (estimated to be worth at least $75 billion), doesn’t have an inventory of widgets or gadgets, cars or phones.  Rather, the inventory consists of personal data. If you look at Facebook’s S-1 filing and also what I wrote about this when news first came that they would go public, most of Facebook’s revenue will come from advertising. And it’s no surprise that in order for advertisers to get more bang for their buck, Facebook allows them to target to us by key words or details that are associated with your profile or social graph (almost like a Klout perk, except being advertised to isn’t a perk). Whether it’s your relationship status, location, activities, favorite books, employment, etc., advertisers can have their pick of the litter of the entire 845 million users. This tactic has been especially beneficial for Facebook having made over $3.2 billion in advertising revenue last year and making up 85% of the total revenue. So it makes perfect sense for Facebook to want to protect the data that you put into it. No network wants to allow you to share your data you willingly give it because they want to protect its cash cow! Sure you get some minimal benefit by connecting with your friends and family, but for social networks, your data is virtual gold and worth more than anything else.

And while Ms. Andrews states her arguments about Facebook, the same can be said for Google+, MySpace (they’re still around), Twitter, and startups too…your data is invaluable to them and the only way they’ll probably give it up is if their service gets shuttered.

So is there any point in trying to resurrect the Open Web? Technically it’s not dead (yet), but there are certain steps that may be applicable to stem the damage and make things accessible. Echo’s Chris Saad penned a post in response to Mr. Scoble’s in which he agrees that the Open Web is in real danger, but also points to a bigger problem: we’ve lost sight of the things that matter. You can read his entire post here, but I wanted to highlight a few things that Mr. Saad says in his post that he believes would revitalize the open web:

Add to the web’s DNA
According to Chris, almost every startup he sees is focusing on building an “app” and calling it a “platform”, but they wind up being nothing more than “proprietary, incremental and niche attempts at making a quick buck.” The thought is that companies should think deeper and more long-term. He asks companies what are they doing to change the fabric of the web’s DNA forever? Are you being a true game-changer by contributing to the “essence of the Internet” like other technologies like TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, JS, etc have done?

Don’t just iterate, innovate
Of course, someone has to build Apps. We can’t all be working at the infrastructure layer. But too many of the Apps we chose to build (or champion) are incremental. As startup founders, investors, and influencers, it’s so easy to understand something that can be described as the ‘Flipboard of Monkeys’ instead of thinking really hard about how a completely new idea might fit into the future. Sure there are plenty of good business and marketing reasons why you shouldn’t stray too far from the beaten path, broadening it one incremental feature at a time, but the core essence of what you’re working on can’t be yet another turn of a very tired wheel. If you’re shouting ‘Me too’ then you’re probably not thinking big enough.

B2C, not Ego2C
Silicon valley is clearly a B2C town. We all love the sexy new app that our mother might eventually understand. Something we can get millions of users to use so we can show them lots of ads. Besides the fact that I think we should focus a little more on B2B, the problem is we’re not really a B2C town at all. We’re actually more focused on what I will call Ego2c. That is, we pick our favorite apps based on how famous the founding team is OR how easily we can use the app to build yet another niche audience for ourselves (and brands/marketers). It would be a tragedy if the social web revolution boils down to new methods of PR and marketing. But that’s what we seem to be obsessed with. As soon as any app from a famous founder gets released we give it tones of buzz while plenty of more deserving projects get barley a squeak. If the app gets a little traction (typically the ones that have Ego mechanics baked in) you see a million posts about how marketers can exploit it. Inevitably the app developers start to focus on how to ‘increase social coefficients’ instead of how to help human beings make a connection or find utility in their lives.

“Users don’t care”
Speaking more specifically about the Open vs. Closed debate, too often we hear the criticism ”Users don’t care about open”. This is absolutely true and the reason why most open efforts fail. Users don’t care about open. They care about utility and choice. This is why the only way to continue propagating the open web is to work with BUSINESS. B2C. Startups, Media Brands, The bigco Tech companies. They care about open because the proprietary winners are becoming more prominent and successful and that usually means there are at least one or more other startup/company out there who needs a competitive advantage. They need to team up and build, deploy and popularize the open alternative.  This is why Chris believes that open will win.

There are more interesting points that Mr. Saad makes in his post and you can read it all here.

But suffice it to say, there is a small war being waged on the Internet over proprietary sites and the Open Web. The average consumer probably doesn’t consider this in their factor as much, but whether or not it’s a consideration, the lesson here is that the data you put in, while it’s your personal information, no longer belongs to you. Be careful with it.

Photo Credit: Burns Library / Flickr


Today, President Obama helped score big points for Google+ with a Hangout interview. While most interviews with the president usually rely on a medium like a major network or a press conference, it seems Obama has decided to take his message straight to the people by having select questions being asked to him. So far, in watching this interview, there are questions about jobs, the economy, small businesses, and much more. Google is moderating this and they have a few people already lined up to question the leader of the United States. Even questions submitted to the White House from YouTube are being showcased here – I just saw one of an Occupy Portland protester ask about why she can’t get a job for five years.

While these great Hangouts aren’t anything new for Google+, this is the first time ever that a sitting president has had direct and unfettered lines of communication with the working man and woman in the country — Google+ is calling it the “first-ever completely virtual interview from the White House“. This isn’t a debate and people are free to interject and interrupt the president (as one did early on) and have a true conversation. Of course Google+ hangouts are subjected to the 10 person limit and with Obama taking up one space (naturally), it only leaves nine spots for people to ask questions. According to MSNBC, according to a Google spokeswoman, all questions being asked were “submitted and ranked by the YouTube community and selected by Google.” Looks like the WhiteHouse didn’t vet these people and the ones that had the highest growth probably got the prized spots in this Hangout.  This ain’t one of your normal press conference, folks!

To watch the Google+ hangout and hear the President’s response, click here.

Photo Credit: The White House via Edjane Obama


Last week one of‘ long-term media partners and friends, Liana Burtsava of Trendy Lime, was a partner at the Startup Week Vienna that welcomed 100 investors, 70 speakers, and over 1,000 guests to beautiful Vienna, the city known as the bridge between Eastern and Central Europe. Thanks to Liana, we are connected to blogger Vukasin Stojekov of and the unfolding of startup events in Europe.


Contributed by Vukašin Stojkov of of Serbia:

Morten Lund, investor and entrepreneur from Copenhagen, Denmark

A plethora of keynotes, presentations, panels and workshops participated in last weeks event in Vienna. Oliver Holle and Erik Bovee of Speedinvest held fantastic informational presentations. I have heard a fair share of VC presentations, but these guys really killed it. Not only did you learn a lot, you could enjoy it too due to their great presentation style. The Startup Week Viena is a must for early stage startups, and I hope to hear them in the future, ideally when they come to Belgrade. One of the best motivational keynotes was given by Pascal Finette on Wednesday, when he compared startups to running a marathon and shared his lessons with entrepreneurs in the audience.

TechCrunch day was awesome. A small part was due to Mike Butcher being on the stage where he is a Superstar. He is awesome presenting himself, moderating a panel, having a fireside chat or even presenting an awards ceremony.

A great piece of motivation and inspiration came on Thursday with Facebook’s Christian Hernandez highlighting Serbia’s Nordeus as his favorite European success story. This was an illustration of how close Nordeus and Facebook are which I believe many in this region take as a signal that one can indeed make it BIG on a global scale no matter where one comes from. Our last day on Friday, we had a chance to hear Doug Richard’s amazing story about his biggest mistake and I can not wait to hear from him again.

Mike Butcher of TechCrunch, soaked with champagne by the winners of the Start up competition, MySugr

The Networking was the best part of Startup Week for me. My biggest impression from this event was a who’s who in the CEE startup scene which was a significant upgrade from the traditional circuit of conferences I have attended in the past. I had the chance of meeting and talking with amazing people from Germany, Austria, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia. You name it, they were there. It was a great experience at what is poised to become one the central European startup events. This year’s edition was just a sign of things to come.

More photos from the conference found on Facebook. (photo credit Luis Kentzler)




It’s an exciting week, it’s the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City! In addition, it’s my first trip to New York City and I’m enjoying experiencing the local tech scene.

Since arriving, I’ve had the pleasure of learning quiet a bit about what the city is doing on both the social and technology front. Coming from San Francisco, a huge technology hub, it’s easy to assume that the rest of the tech world is very similar. In Silicon Valley, there are new start-ups launched everyday and an amazing amount of entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers and more to support a robust technology atmosphere.

This morning, I sat in on a presentation by Seth Pinsky, President of New York City Economic Development Corporation, as he outlined the key efforts New York City is working on to keep key technology talent in the city as well as attract entrepreneurs and engineers away from the better known technology hubs like Silicon Valley. From incubators that provide low rent office space to city-funded angel investors to local training programs and competitions, NYC is committed to moving the tech start-up talent to the East Coast.

One part of this effort is geared specifically at education institutions to attract and foster science and engineering talent in New York City. The program, dubbed Applied Sciences NYC, is even asking institutions to submit and RFP (request for proposal) and the city will provide property to build on and develop from the ground up. So far, more than 25 top tier institutions have submitted proposals.

As the session closed, I asked what I think is a key question: can this model be applied beyond New York and the technology sector. Seth very much believed that it can and should although his focus in 100 percent NYC right now.

What do you think? Is NYC in a good position to attract the talent they need? To learn more about Applied Sciences NYC, click here.