Thursday, November 08, 2012
Saturday, March 03, 2012
By Kevin McFall
During a recent flight, I had a momentary epiphany involving the virtues of the traditional book versus the e-book. The point during boarding had arrived in which the announcements by flight attendants were being made regarding what devices would need to be turned to the off position to prepare for the flight once the doors were closed.
The woman across the aisle from me held her hard-bound 350 page or so book in her lap, while the gentleman in front of me grunted as the announcement would affect his ability to continue to enjoy reading the New York Times Best-Seller on his Kindle Touch. The gentleman was reminded to power off his device as the flight attendant returned down the aisle to scan for scofflaws. He gruffly closed the leather cover protecting the unit before shoving the device into the seat pocket in front of him.
Observing these events, prompted me to think about the many instances in which an E-book is ideal, but not a real book, and vice-versa. Hence the origin of this post about what will inevitably be a mute point in the years to come, but until such a time provides for a relevant conversation in the valley of the gadgeteer.
Top 5 Advantages of the E-Book
1. Size and Weight. Easy to store.
2. Can host more than one book, magazine or other periodical at a time
3. Bookmarks never fall out
4. Books are portable and can be read across multiple devices
5. Cool factor is really high
Top 5 Advantages of the Traditional Book
1. Never runs out of battery power
2. No on/off switch allowing you to keep reading on the plane
3. Won’t break if you drop it
4. Easy to get through security
5. Can be made into an elaborate work of art
What other advantages can you think of for E-books versus traditional books? Do you own a dedicated E-reader or do you leverage your other multi-functional devices such as smart phones, tablets, or notebook computers to read?
Friday, April 01, 2011
No, this post is not about you and a friend getting on the guest list of the hottest new nightspot in town, it is actually about the latest new feature from the ever experimental Google. Billed as a social interaction and recommendation feature +1, recommendation buttons are intended to be a way for someone to note an item as worthy of attention. The goal today is to enhance the search experience on Google by showing recommendations from friends in your social graph and possibly to extend that same courtesy to the rest of the world.
Its important to clarify that this is not social search. Social Search enhances your search results by including links or updates posted from connections within your social sphere. With the +1 button, you’re getting trusted recommendations from your friends rather than Google pulling in updates it believes to be relevant. This is a subtle difference, worth noting.
Yes, you’re already thinking this is just like a Facebook ‘Like’ button or the Twitter ‘Tweet’ button, and you’re right, except the roll out is limited to just Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) today. However, in the not too distant future, Google has its sights set on a broader roll out to enable any digital publisher to include a +1 button alongside their content.
Why is this even important to digital media publishers, you ask? The +1 feature becomes another key metric by which you will be able to measure and demonstrate the reach, engagement, and impact of your content. It doesn’t hurt that it is integrated with all of the capabilities of the worldwide leader in search. The one caveat important to note is that Google has not yet made +1 available for everyone. They currently require a user interested in this feature to jump through a couple of hoops.
The first is that you must set up a Google Profile, which is someone logical, because from your profile, Google can begin to attach your recommendations to your social graph. Once you have a Google profile in place, by jumping over one last hurdle of navigating to the Google Experimental site and ‘opting-in’ to the +1 experiment, you become a participant in what could become one of Google’s most interesting social experiments to date.
Watch the official Google +1 video (below) and let us know if you’re ready to get +1’d. Bada boom, bada bing!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Edited by Kevin McFall
This discussion started off with a simple prediction: Apple’s iPad2 will beat the Cisco Cius and the RIM Playbook. The Media Mafia threw in its support of the Motorola Xoom as a best in class device. When we got down to debating the ‘why’ of the matter, we came to the realization that a pending battle on the tablet front was about to take place and the Media Mafia was not about to be content to simply take a view from the sidelines. So, we invited special guest contributor J. Philip Rice to provide his enthusiastic, and thorough view point on which device(s) he expects will emerge from this hardware battle royale.
From my perspective, Motorola’s Xoom will sell to the Droid fan base, similar to how the iPad is selling to iPhone/iPod fanatics. The Cisco Cius is directed at OEM's, otherwise you would already see (although maybe one is coming?) a Linksys version sold into the retail channel. To date, Cisco doesn't have a retail buzz product to compliment Cius, but we will wait and see as the early birds, also known as those with first mover advantage always get the worm.
On the other hand, the Research In Motiion (RIM) Playbook is a total uphill climb. I see it reaching a V2 iteration and then dying off. RIM is quickly facing the same future as Palm as others duplicate their value proposition. It will definitely be a tough road for them going forward. Without BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), the middleware software package that is part of the BlackBerry wireless platform, they would be in trouble.
I have also seen the prototype HP/Win7 tablet (no longer available). It always boils down to the same issues of trying to run Windows with your finger or pen/stylus. HP-Palm WebOS is a fantastic smartphone/tab OS and the new HP tab based on it will be good, but the market will be so crowded soon to the point of saturation. HTC, the maker of the Sprint EVO, just released the Flyer tab, but it appears to be a toss together until they can put a real Android 3 tab together.
Motorola’s Xoom has HTC beat in this category, however, don't discount HTC just yet, they have some good product dev people working there. The next question is whether or not Nokia will make a Windows Mobile7 based tab? If they do, it will be a total wildcard and probably another year before we see it. The prediction is that we would probably see a Nokia MeeGo tab first. Apple who fired the opening salvo selling 14.5 million iPads in 2010 made the world go nuts.
- The operating system iOS4 is more enterprise friendly with multi-tasking, consolidated mail capabilities and more. Android hasn’t taken off in the corporate world, which could make it a liability to the device manufacturers choosing this O/S. RIM’s Playbook however, could also suffer as connecting a new OS to the corporate enterprise is something infrastructure managers do with great caution.
- The iPad 2 will have two cameras, offering the ability for users to snap photos and engage in video conferencing. For corporate users, video conferencing is extremely important, which is why both the Cisco Cius and the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook will offer that functionality. Considering the iPad 2 likely will, as well, Cisco and RIM won’t have a competitive advantage over Apple.
- Size matters and the 9.7” screen on the iPad leads the way over the 7” displays, although Xoom is weighing in at 10.1” screen size.
- Apps for the iPad platform are already abundant and are starting to go well beyond entertainment and into the enterprise. Apple has a significant head start here in quantity and in a sometimes loving often strained relationship with its publisher and development community.
- The existing network carrier partnerships Apple has with both AT&T and Verizon will make it easy to connect the iPad2 on a 3G network at a minimum. As for the other manufacturers, no deals have been announced that have made many waves. Especially for Cisco, the unknown isn’t good. Who knows what the Cisco Cius or the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook will offer and the world is already asking and awaiting answers to these questions. How long will they wait before they go to Apple?
As we conclude this report from the Tank, we tred lightly in predicting a victor; however the numbers always tell the story, bada bing, bada boom. Tell us who you think will prevail in the great Tablet Wars of 2011!
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
A Knowledge@Wharton business school article recently took a look at the merits of Groupon and deemed it to be a solid business model that has a strong foundation for the future. A blog post belonging to one the B-school classes -The Enable tech blog post - cited the fact that customer acquisition for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) can be very expensive and that Groupon has captured the attention of so many because it is relatively less expensive than many other customer acquisition channels. They also noted one area of vulnerability for Groupon and other collective buying discount and coupon businesses is the potential for consumers to get email fatigue and start to manifest adverse selection and other negative brand effects.
With Google's announcement that Google Offers, a direct competitor to Groupon, is launching, the Media Mafia team raises the question of another potential dart being thrown at the Groupon balloon - What affect will Google Offers have on the future of Groupon?
Groupon has brand loyalty on both sides of the transaction - the SMBs, and the consumers. The only potential threat I see is that Google already has 8% marketshare among U.S. SMBs by way of AdSense, some SMBs could take a one-stop shop approach with Google to test and potentially combine the customer acquisition techniques to see which will yield the lowest cpa. The other metric which will then need to be considered by the SMBs will be consumer quality as measured in ARPU (average revenue per user). On the consumer side, I think Google will suffer from the "Goliath" lack of appeal, and consumers will continue to flock to the underdog. Although at today's current $50 Billion valuation, Groupon looks closer and closer to a Goliath themselves. It will be extremely interesting to watch the "Offer-based Consumer Acquisition Wars"
More op-ed on the Google Offers Vs. Groupon battle can also be found on Mashable. We dare you to go read theirs and not share ours first.
Monday, January 03, 2011
One source - BusinessInsider.com, lays out a strong case for why the predictionn of OTT Video usurping traditional premium TV models has a high probability of being true...