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Skype Pre-IPO Report Card

March 7, 2011

It was back in 2007 when my fellow bloggers and journalists told me that Skype was a dog, had no future, couldn’t make money and wasn’t going anywhere. I begged to differ – the way I saw it the company simply didn’t execute on its potential. I quickly jotted down 11 ideas the company should pursue and in my post I even offered myself to Meg Whitman as a consultant to help implement my ideas.

Fast forward a few years and Meg is gone, and the company was sold and is now implementing the ideas – slowly but surely but many have been implanted in the last week which is why this analysis makes sense to present today.

Salesforce.com Cloudforce 2011 Live Blog

March 3, 2011



I am in New York today at the Salesforce.com Cloudforce 2011 event and it kicked off with a conversation with a user from SunTrust Financial and Forrester Research - so far the event is heavily Twitter, social and smart device focused.




Kelly Services is using Chatter for about 9,000 people to help with information sharing and discovery of other related people in the organization - and using it to discover talent and engage with customers.



Demos of Chatter:




Cloud needs principles, not standards. Companies are using social networks as a sales/marketing tool.

Audience enjoying a presentation on the growth of social networks and mobile devices - China, Facebook and Twitter prominently featured. What, no Charlie Sheen??

Mark Benioff takes the stage - says 5,000 people registered for the event. 3,000 people showed up and 6,000 are watching remotely - 43 demo stations, lots of partners etc.




Talk of how fast the company is growing - massive cash and $1.8B run rate.

2,000 PCs at Salesforce.com are the equivalent of 200-300,000 computers that customers would need.


























iPad 2, What You Need to Know

March 2, 2011

Apple has done it again with the iPad 2 - it has a dual-core A5 chip which is up to nine-times faster as well as two cameras for FaceTime communications and a self-cleaning cover which comes in a plethora of colors and magnetically attaches to the device which still boasts  battery life of 10 hours. As usual with Apple, they think things through far better than other companies and their new cover also folds in a number of ways allowing it to double as a stand in both landscape and portrait modes.

The screen improves as well with LED-backlighting which is common on higher-end televisions. There is also a three-axis gyroscope which works in conjunction with the accelerometer and compass to give the software infinite information about what is happening with the device. Expect iPad gaming to get even better.

There is also video mirroring allowing you to easily connect your iPad to a TV - even if you don't have an Apple TV - you just plug in a digital AV connector sold separately and you are good to go.

Moreover there is new movie editing and music software which makes it that much difficult for other tablet makers using Android to catch up with Apple's decade-long multimedia advantage.

The iPad 2 is available on March 11 and starts at $499 - existing models will drop in price by $100 for now.

Carrie Schmelkin has more on this thinner, lighter iPad on TMCnet.









Yes, Most Tablets Will Still Fail

March 1, 2011

Two years ago I warned readers that most tablets will fail and since that time we have been waiting for all the tablets to come out so we can determine who the winners and losers will be. Obviously Apple and Android-based devices look safest at this point but likewise we can feel fairly confident in products from RIM based on the company's history.

I just came across an article on TMC's InfoTech Spotlight site where Doug Mohney explains fairly convincingly why this is the case and moreover how the idea of an $800 tablet selling in massive quantities is unlikely based on simple supply and demand analysis coupled with the simple fact that people who wanted a tablet already went out and purchased an iPad.

Is Facebook Becoming the Internet?

March 1, 2011

In the past, I have discussed the concept of splinternet (a term Forrester researchers say I may have invented) - where the Internet splinters into app stores and websites such as Facebook - a world where developers have to constantly spend their time optimizing their content for platform after platform.

For example to be a successful developer today you have to build an iPhone app as well as one for Android and Blackberry. Then perhaps a PC app, a Mac app, a web version, a Facebook app and perhaps a version for gaming consoles such as Xbox and you should consider building a widget for a number of the TV manufacturers out there.

But as Facebook has grown in power and influence, it is becoming a more important slice of the pie and as such developers are looking to it as a platform to start developing on first. Certainly Zynga - the company behind Facebook games such as FarmVille and CityVille being worth about $10B hasn't put a dent in this idea.

But it isn't just the developers moving to Facebook, one newspaper, Rockville Central has decided to move all of its content to the social networking site and it will cease putting fresh content on its own site entirely.

Erik Ledbetter a Facebook user was a bit concerned about the move mentioning he uses facebook but doesn't like to have a news source intertwined with his friend updates because his mental space is now being intruded upon. This is an interesting point because I have a mix of friends, relatives and business contacts on the social networking site and I generally post mostly work-related content - meaning my non-work connections have to deal with the same issue each day.







Socializing Search

February 25, 2011

In the last few weeks there have been a higher than usual amount of articles on search quality where mainstream media sources have shined a bright light on companies who are achieving high levels of search rank using methods which could be questionable. A small eyeglass manufacturer for example actually provided poor customer service seemingly on purpose so the company could benefit from a higher perceived search rank as a result of negative comments from customers.

In another case, J.C. Penny was using an outside SEO company to place links on low quality pages all over the web and when the New York Times wrote an article about it, Google scrambled to penalize the company's results. Then Overstock made headlines when it was learned it offered discounts to colleges while encouraging them to post links back to the company.

The point here is fairly obvious...



Meetings, Earnings Calls and E-Mail

February 23, 2011

Its been perhaps one of my most productive days - I eliminated 1,500 emails - about 800 of which were in the "important - save for later" bucket meaning they either got zapped or required some action. Generally the latter. I also had a chance to have a zillion meetings and listen to part of a media company conference call - I won't say which one but to me the amount of information a public company shares has always been fascinating from a competitive intelligence perspective.

One thing I found interesting on one of the recent calls I've sat on is how a media company touts an increase in social media sharing as if it is unique to them and isn't taking place across the web.

For the latest news check out the video below from Tammy Wolf in the TMC Newsroom which discusses the new BMW i series of products and Chinese social media company IPO Renren.com.







Building Communities Online: Boost Sales, Search and Social Initiatives

February 22, 2011

Over the past decade, hundreds of companies have benefitted from TMC’s Community program, attracting a laser-targeted group of potential customers who are looking to learn about a specific topic area. TMC populates these communities with thousands of articles per quarter – which in turn attracts millions of interested viewers a year to our sponsors.

Sponsors can then offer these viewers more information about themselves – offer them coupons, a chance to visit them at a trade show or road show or whatever else they are looking to communicate to this group.

The most common question I am asked lately is how to build online communities and moreover companies in many new industries ask constantly about how TMC can help build these content-generated microsites for them.

Apple Subscription Controversy & WeatherBug for Android Honeycomb

February 22, 2011

Lady GaGa's Born This Way Breaks iTunes Record

February 18, 2011

Not only did the queen of tweets, Lady Gaga break the record for most Twitter followers, she has now broken the record for fastest-selling single ever on the Apple iTunes Store with her new song Born This Way.

Recently on Sirius/XM radio she said if there was a movie about her life she would want to be played by Marisa Tomei as when she gets upset her friends tell her that her "New York" accent comes out.

What is perhaps most amazing about Lady Gaga is that many call her the new Madonna - some say it in a derogatory fashion, personally I think she has mimicked the performer and one-upped her nicely. And when Madonna began to rise in popularity it was MTV which helped her take her outrageous outfits to the masses quickly through interviews and 24x7 videos. BTW - for all the youts reading this, there was a time when MTV played just music and you didn't even associate the word Guido with the station.

But Lady GaGa has skipped past MTV, and uses YouTube where she has had over a billion views, Twitter where she has 8.2M+ followers and iTunes to reach the masses. Not that MTV has lost its importance - its just the new wave of social and tech mediums are being used to propel this artist's career even faster than Madonna's.

YouTube, social and iTunes haven't killed the video star but they certainly seem to have more reach and importance.







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