Posts from March 2005

Podcasting (continued)

I’ve added another podcast to the Podcasts I Listen To list on the left hand column of this blog.

After writing the Exploding Radio post from yesterday, I went searching for music podcasts from FM radio stations.  To be honest, there isn’t much out there yet.

Thanks to a link from a reader, I did find a bunch of podcasts from KCRW in Santa Monica, California.

The one I liked best is for a program called The Music Exchange.  It’s a ten minute show that’s played once a week on Tuesdays at 11:05am PST.  Here’s how its described on KCRW’s website.

Leading British radio DJ Steve Lamacq and KCRW’s Nic Harcourt chat and play each other’s music discovery of the week.

It’s a great way to find new british bands.  And its short and fun to listen to.

Here’s the link to the podcast.

#VC & Technology

Apple Becomes a "They" Company

There is this concept of "we companies" and "they companies". I don’t know where it comes from.  If you do, I’d love to know.

Anyway, "We" companies are built by and for a community of users. Everything (including profits) flows from this core value of serving the users.  We companies and their profitability are incredibly sustainable.

"They" companies are traditional companies that seek to optimize profitability at the expense of everything else. These businsses are not sustainable and they tend to overreach and ultimately end up in a long and steady decline.

Microsoft is the poster child for a "they" company.

Craigs List is the poster child for a "we" company.

Apple used to be a "we" company.  I love Apple as I’ve blogged about many times.  I still do.  But Apple is not a "we" company any more.

Apple survived the WinTel dominance in the PC business by becoming a "we" company.  It focused on its base of devoted users and gave them better and better products.  It created a community of users who are incredibly passionate about the company’s products. It became the anti-Microsoft.  And it has benefited greatly from that market position in recent years.

But in the past couple months, Apple has made some very "they" company decisions.  Here are a couple notable ones.

– Apple is suing bloggers who are "outing" the confidential product plans and release dates for new Apple products.  Clearly Apple has the legal right to go after these bloggers who are getting their information from sources inside the company who have almost certainly violated confidentiality agreements.  But this makes no sense to me.  Apple’s most passionate users have always engaged in speculation about new products.  It’s part of the culture of the Apple user base.  It’s been going on for years.  To crack down on it now, and particularly on bloggers who are part of its community, is a really bad idea. They’ll win the battle and lose the war with this one.

– Apple is trying to charge iPod accesory manufacturers a 10% tax in exchange for a "Made for iPod" logo on their product. Probably the coolest thing about iPod is that it’s become a platform, a standard, around which a whole industry is blooming.  Instead of letting that entrepreneurial energy flow back to iPod, Apple wants cash. My gut tells me its a bad business strategy because it will cause the makers of these accesories to desire to work with Apple’s competitors in an attempt to reduce the amount of market dominance that Apple has in the portable music player market.  And its a very "they" company move on top of that.

Its an incredible temptation when you are managing a company that’s hitting on all cylinders to overreach, to push for more, more, more.  But its the wrong temptation.  Unfortunately, Apple is making that mistake.  There’s time to recognize it and change.  But somehow, I doubt they will.

#VC & Technology

Stand Up And Cheer

Ed Sim has a really good post on what to do when your competitor is acquired.  If you run a company and are facing this issue, you really should go read Ed’s post.

But I have some shorter and simpler advice. 

Stand Up and Cheer.  Loudly.

Because the vicious competitor you’ve been facing off with in the market will be no more.  They’ll be subsumed into some corporate culture.  Their driven entrepreneurial leadership will be counting the days until they are free to leave to start another company and thinking about how to intelligently invest the millions they just made.  And the best employees will have their resumes on the street, possibly for you to hire.  And their customers will be looking around to see if they should be moving on too.

Trust me on this one.  I’ve seen this movie about fifty times.  It almost always ends happily.

#VC & Technology

Exploding Radio (continued)

Competition is great, isnt it?

I just read yesterday’s WSJ piece on radio.

Here are some quotes from leading radio execs:

"The industry did not invest in its future," says
Joel Hollander, Infinity’s chief executive since January. "If we had
invested three to five years ago, people would be thinking differently
about satellite" and other competitors.

"The Internet and iPod are not challenges —
they are business options for us," says Mr. Hogan of Clear Channel,
which pipes more than 200 of its stations over the Internet and plans
to start allowing listeners to download programs to their iPods, a hot
trend known as podcasting.


Those are the words of executives who get it, realize that they need to move now, and are embracing the new technologies to transform their businesses.  And that’s a big change from where the radio execs have been over the past five years.

Last July, I wrote a long post on radio called "Radio in 2010" where I laid out what I’d do if I was running a radio business.  Looks like the guys who are in fact running radio businesses have the same game plan now.  That’s great.

The reason I am so sure that the iPod isn’t going to kill radio is the same reason I love podcasting.  The iPod is great but I often have no idea what to play.  I want someone to program my iPod.  Podcasters do that.  Radio programmers – good old fashioned radio programmers – which is what we are headed back to now that there is real competition, do that better than anyone.

#VC & Technology

Who Owns The Culture?

I posted several weeks ago about this event at the New York Public Library on April 7th called "Who Owns The Culture", hosted by Steven Johnson, and featuring Larry Lessig and Jeff Tweedy.

Tickets went on sale on Thursday morning and I was at a board meeting.

By the time I had gotten back to my office shortly after noon, the event was sold out.

In that original post, I said, "I’ll be there unless all of you beat me to the tickets!"

I guess I won’t be there unless someone can find me a couple tickets.

It’s too bad because it looks like a really interesting conversation about a great topic.

#VC & Technology

My 50 Favorite Albums (continued)

My friend Mark Leavitt has been urging me to include the great film soundtrack to The Talking Head’s Stop Making Sense in my Top 50.  That was a great concert film, possibly the second best concert film after The Last Waltz, which is in my Top 50.  The start to Stop Making Sense is simply brilliant theater and I never tire of seeing it.

But when it comes to the Talking Heads, there are a bunch of studio albums to consider.  The debut record, 77, is fantastic. Remain In Light and Speaking In Tongues are also truly great records.  And the rest of their records aren’t too shabby either.

Speaking_in_tonguesMy pesonal favorite by a long shot is Speaking In Tongues

It reminds me of the time when the Gotham Gal and I moved to New York City in the summer of 1983. 

This was the soundtrack of our first real home and David Byrne’s best song of all time, This Must Be The Place, was the theme song for that apartment.

So tonight David Byrne makes to top 50.

#My Music

Trackbacking

OK. I’ve got a confession to make.

I’ve been blogging for 18 months and I’ve never done a trackback.

Until today.

After some prodding from my friend Tom Evslin and some eating some crow served up by Charlie, I decided to figure out how to do it.

I wanted to ping Martin back with my prior post and that provided the impetus.

It turns out to be pretty easy.  I just had to customize the TypePad posting display.

So watch out everyone, you’ll start getting pings from me!  Please forgive me if I spam a few.  It happens to me all the time and I know its a common problem with trackbacking.

I also took the opportunity to add Excerpt and Keywords windows to my posting display.  I’ve been adding keywords.  I have no idea what that does but tagging is cool and I figured I’d start doing it.  if anyone knows what value Excerpts and Keywords create for me, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

#VC & Technology