Posts from September 2005

eBay and Skype (continued)

Tom Evslin says in his most recent post on eBay/Skype (which he said in an earlier post was a huge overpay) that Skype and all other "VOIP telcos" will not "make any money directly by being a phone company."

I think that is true.  VOIP feels like IM to me.  A great way to communicate, but impossible to charge for.

But my guess is that AOL, Yahoo, and MSN are making money on IM with targeted advertising today.

And pay per call promises to make that business (once VOIP is in the mix) much more lucrative.

The big question is when Skype opens up.

I want to be able to Skype anyone on AIM, Yahoo, or MSN.  But currently Skype doesn’t allow it.

Tom thinks eBay will make that happen much sooner than Skype would have as a standalone company.

If so, that will be an important result of this deal.

Once all the VOIP services interconnect, we’ll be Skyping each other all the time, the way our kids text each other all the time on their phones.

And that will be surely be a monetizable business.

#VC & Technology

MP3 of the Week

I really wanted to put this song on this week’s Positively 10th Street podcast, but we just had too much Rhett Miller on our brain last night.

So I am going to make it my MP3 of the Week instead.

The biggest discovery of the year for The Gotham Gal and me is M. Ward.

His new record Transistor Radio is great.

But his record from 2003, Transfiguration of Vincent, has been getting even more airplay in our house recently.

It is a hauntingly beautiful record with amazing songs on it.

After listening to this record over twenty times, I want to know who Vincent O’Brien is!

In any case, here is Vincent, the second song on the record. 

It’s my MP3 of the Week

He only sings when he’s sad, and he’s sad all the time, so he sings the whole night through

Yeah he sings in the day time too.

#My Music

My Next PDA/Phone?

Treo_700w_1I have been using a Treo 650 and I like it but I don’t love it.

I loved my Blackberry which I left after a seven year relationship.

I like the camera on the Treo and I like the bluetooth.

But the GoodLink integration is clunky and the Palm software is just so so.

So the opportunity to get a Windows Treo excites me.

Engadget has a good post up about the 700w that Palm is going to announce tomorrow.

I suspect the Exchange server integration will be seamless and should be a lot better than GoodLink.

And the camera seems a lot better too.

I’d love to know if Palm is going to make an unlocked GSM version of the 700w.

If anyone has heard about that, please let me know in the comments.

#VC & Technology

Positively 10th Street

Our new weekly podcast is up.

The Gotham Gal and I were supposed to do this one from Austin, TX at the Austin City Limits music festival.

We didn’t go because of Rita, which turned out to be not much of an issue for Austin, but we did go out east to Long Island instead and had a nice weekend just the Gotham Gal and me.

The kids didn’t participate in this podcast because they weren’t planning to do one this week with us in Austin and had no songs lined up.  They’ll be back next week with some new music hopefully.

This podcast was heavily influenced by the Rhett Miller show we saw at Stephen Talkhouse last night and has three songs on it that came out of that show.

We also talked a bit about movies (don’t go see Constant Gardener) and emerging artists.

Here’s the song list:

Joanne’s Song – Question – Old 97’s
Joanne’s Song – Can’t Help Falling In Love – The Eels
Fred’s Song – Cash Machine – Hard-Fi
Fred’s Song – Blankest Year – Nada Surf
Closing Song – Hover – Rhett Miller

Listen Live Here.

To listen in iTunes or on your iPod, get iTunes version 5, then select Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast, and then enter this into the box:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/Positively10thStreet

#My Music

Rhett Miller

Rhett_millerWho would you get if you crossed Jonathan Richman with Ryan Adams?

Ben Lee?

Ben Kweller?

Possibly, but I think the closest answer is Rhett Miller

The Gotham Gal and I saw him do a solo acoustic show at The Stephen Talkhouse last night and he was simply amazing.

He played a few songs off his 2002 solo record, The Instigator.

But it seemed like most of the songs were from his upcoming solo record, The Believer, which is slated to be out in February 2006.

He has a frenetic energy that combines with wonderful songs to create a really excellent package.

The highlights were a great cover of Ziggy Stardust and a love song he dedicated to two of his friends who are getting married next weekend – Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.

#My Music

Exploding Radio (continued)

Mark Ramsey wrote an excellent post about the challenges of rolling out HD Radio.

I don’t take offense to any of what Mark wrote and if its a call to action, then its a good one.

But with all the hand wringing about the "death of radio" and the issues with converting an entire industry to digital, I think people are missing a fundamental point.

Radio needs to convert its spectrum to digital so it can offer digital services over the air.

There are many other ways for radio to go digital, including podcasting, streaming, and possibly wifi and wimax.

Radio needs to do those things too.

But the radio industry owns spectrum, and many of its leading brands are tied into that spectrum.  And it can broadcast over that spectrum very cost effectively.

So it needs to get that part of its business digital.

And the industry will get it done because the executives at the largest station groups are strongly committed to making it happen. 

It won’t be easy for all the reasons Mark points out and more, but its going to happen, and once it does, Radio will be better off because of it.

#VC & Technology

Lloyd's Challenge

There’s a good piece in today’s NY Times about Lloyd Braun’s efforts to create compelling programming at Yahoo.

Early in the article there is description of Lloyd’s mantras:

"more immersive," "more engaging," and most of all, more "original programming"

My initial reaction was, "that’s not going to work".  Original programming isn’t really what the Internet is all about.

But as I read on, I learned that Lloyd’s job is to:

invent a medium that unites the
showmanship of television with the interactivity of the Internet. Find
a way to combine the best of Hollywood’s talent with the voice of the
masses

That’s more like it.  The voice of the masses is what the Internet is all about.

I’d urge anyone interested in this stuff to go read the article because its quite interesting.

Lloyd’s challenge, and the challenge of anyone coming from the traditional content world, is to forget what they learned about original programming.  That’s not where its at on the Internet.

The challenge is all about how to take the work of the masses and assemble it into compelling content.  The company that figures that out will do very well.

A good first step is "Blog for Hope," a series of celebrity blogs about coping with cancer that Lloyd’s group is launching this fall.

I’d love to see more stuff like that.

#VC & Technology