Posts from April 2007

An Apple Store In My Backyard!

I found this on outside.in this morning.


Confirming AppleInsider‘s preliminary investigations, a New York Post journalist has found that Apple will indeed rent out a high-profile space at 401 W. 14th Street, a recently upscaled building at the heart of the Meatpacking district.

Here’s a rendering of the store. Wow.

Applestoremeatpacking0704271small

Right Idea

Back in December 2005, I wrote a post about turning online advertising into a real market. That very day I got an email from Michael Walrath, founder and CEO of Right Media, explaining that his company was doing exactly what I suggested should happen. That was the first time I had heard of Right Media and I invited Michael to an event we were planning that month on transparency in online advertising.

Sadly for me, Michael had already done his venture deal with Chris Moore of Redpoint, who had found Right Media through their investment in MySpace. Talk about "follow the money".

Well most people who follow the online advertising business know by now that Right Media was purchased by Yahoo! late last week for $680 million. But that’s for the 80% that Yahoo! didn’t own, so the total valuation was more like $850 million.

Those are big numbers but maybe not so big when looked at through the lens of Doubleclick’s sale to Google for $3.1bn. Clearly the online ad market is hot, particularly the "display" side of the business. Both Right Media and Doubleclick are in the "infrastructure" part of the business. Doubleclick leads the market in ad serving, the most basic online ad function. And Right Media leads the market in the exchange side of the business, bring buyers and sellers together and providing transparency to everyone involved.

I think there is a lot more that can and will be done around exchanges. To date, Right Media has operated at the low end (remnant inventory) of the market. That’s because the low end of the market benefits most from the efficiencies that come from an exchange. But over time I believe the entire online ad market will become exchange driven and everyone will benefit from that.

So I don’t think these transactions mark the mature/consolidation phase at all. I think there’s tremendous opportunity ahead in online advertising. But entrepreneurs and investors should learn the lessons of Doubleclick and Right Media. Build a dominant position in a valuable sector of the business and you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

I’d also like to congratulate Michael and his team at Right Media and Chris Moore and his partners at Redpoint for a great win. Well done.

Neighbor Radio

I’ve never found a better use of social networking than last.fm’s neighbor radio. Here’s how it works.

You join last.fm, download software that reports up to the last.fm servers every song you listen to. last.fm takes that information and finds out who your musical neighbors are.

And with that information they create a radio station just for you that is like having your musical neighbors DJing for you. When I don’t know what to listen to, I listen to neighbor radio. Here’s my neighbor radio, maybe you’ll like it. If you want your own, join last.fm.

Widgets Suck

That’s the number one search term on my search widget right now. It proves the large of small numbers.

I can block any search term from showing up on the widget.

But I am not going to do that.

If you really think that widgets suck, keep typing it in.

Why 15 Million Is A Big Number

I’ve been reading the chatter about the blog world capping out at 15 million active blogs. It seems that the growth of blogging has stalled. Well I am not sure that’s true if you count twittering, facebooking, flickring, yelping, and the like as blogging. I do.

But even so, when looked at in the context of the 10 to 1 rule, 15 million is a huge number.

The 10 to 1 rule says that in social media, for every 10 readers you need one content creator. So 15 million bloggers will serve 150 million blog readers. That’s a ton of blog readers.

cNet suggests that the blogging bubble has burst. I don’t think it’s a bubble. I think its a revolution. We are taking over the media, slowly but surely. And this revolution isn’t going to burst. It may morph as new tools emerge that allow people to express themselves publicly.

I think the more interesting number would be the percentage of internet audience time that is spent on social media. I am sure it’s still growing (maybe exponentially) and traditional media (including cnet) is declining.

New Search Widget

When I started this blog, one of the first widgets (I didn’t even think to call them that at the time) I looked for was a "search this blog" widget. I’ve had it on the upper left sidebar from the early days of this blog.

I first went with Google, then tried switching to Yahoo! which was a disaster, switched back to Google, and now I am trying Lijit which gives Google results but also gives a few other tabs like search my content (blog, delicious, flickr, youtube, and a bunch more), my network (my blogroll and people I link to), and the web at large.

It also provides a tag cloud of popular searches which I like. Give it a try and let me know what you think. It’s on the upper left sidebar, just below the fold.

The Field Of Dreams Nightmare (continued)

I left a couple important points out of my post this morning.

1) There is a group that has been formed to fight for Pier 40. It’s called Friends of Pier 40 and you can learn more about them here.

2) If you care about this issue, please come to the public hearing on Thursday, May 3rd at 7PM  at P.S. 41 which is at 116 West 11th Street.

The Field Of Dreams Nightmare

Dsc00325

Back in the spring of 2005 I wrote a post about an amazing thing, brand new baseball and soccer fields popping up on the west side of manhattan in the middle of Pier 40. As I said in that post:

I am not sure who to thank for this gift from the urban planning
gods but it was just great to walk onto these fields and watch the kids
play ball today.

These indeed are the field of dreams. Beautiful green fields that our kids can play on almost year round, when there isn’t snow on them. And fields are a precious thing in New York City, a place where land values are so high that anything that can have a building on it does.

And for reasons related to money, business, development, and politics, these fields are going to go away if we don’t do anything to stop it. My community, Greenwich Village, is in a near riot over this. I’ve seen a bunch of controversy in the village over the years; the renovation of Washington Square Park, the development of the meat market and the far west village, the never ending takeover of the village by NYU, etc, but I think this one just might be bigger.

Because everyone who has kids (and most who don’t) can agree on this one. We need ballfields for kids and these are amazing fields. Sheltered by the wind and cold by the structure of Pier 40, they are large and open and airy. You can’t believe the amount of action these fields get. On a weekend day, there will be several games going on at the same time on these fields from dawn to dusk.

The Hudson River Park Trust (an amazing organization by all accounts) is seeking to redevelop Pier 40 as part of the fantastic park they are building along the Hudson River from Battery Park to the Upper West Side. Apparently Pier 40 has structural issues and needs to be renovated. But the City, State, and Trust don’t have the money to do that. So they’ve put out an RFP so that developers can come in with plans to fix it up. And of course, the developers need commercial vehicles so that they can pay for all of this. The RFP and the two proposals that have been made are up on the web.

Pier_40
The proposal that seems to have won the day is from Related Companies, a large developer that wants to turn Pier 40 into a huge entertainment complex that some have dubbed a downtown Lincoln Center and others have dubbed "Vegas On The Hudson". Their plan is to fill the Pier with entertainment and dining and to leave two small soccer fields on the roof.

There are so many problems with this plan I don’t know where to start. But first and foremost, losing all the baseball fields and getting two small soccer fields on the roof where we used to freeze watching our kids play soccer just isn’t a great choice. You really have to see the current fields to understand how painful this loss would be.

But we’d lose the fields entirely during the redevelopment process which is going to take years. And the whole idea of turning what is currently an essential community resource into a entertainment hub just seems so wrong. Have the people behind this idea ever been to the village? It’s an entertainment hub already.

We don’t need more theaters in the village. We don’t need more restaurants in the village. We don’t need more development in the village. We need ballfields for our kids. And we are going to lose them.

A nightmare for our field of dreams.