My Career as a Series of dog eared cards.

October 15, 2007

There is one card missing from somewhere between VIBE and MP3 Impact I had a card from a Company called ElectricVillage. I for the life of me cant find any of those cards but this is more or less a complete listing of every company I’ve worked for in my adult life.


New Products GroupThe sheer intellectual horse power of the New Products Group was scary. The way its squandered even more so. The trick to innovation and new products is to push down responsibility as far into the organization as possible and then get out of the way! Corporate managers, the really smart former consultants brought in to keep the lights on and iterate on what someone else created, are poorly suited to giving up control or getting out of the way.

MP3 ImpactAfter a couple of years trying to figure out my consulting niche (I worked on projects from financial services to rap websites) I decided I was better at thinking about how to use technology, then I was building it myself. Through the editorial voice of the newsletter I could (and often did) talk to, and about, anything or anyone in the industry. It was also one of the few times I could openly call major music company executives “clueless” and get quoted rather then fired.

Addictive MediaWhen I left VIBE to do independent consulting in NYC people thought I was crazy. Turns out they were partially correct. I actually thought I would work less being on my own then working for someone else. The business treated me well enough to do it relatively seriously for 6 years. If you want to do anything urban and Internet related let me know I’ve probably got the business plans for all the urban music sites, conceived prior to 2003, on CD somewhere.

VIBE Magazine This was a dream job. Before I got the gig I knew nothing about VIBE Magazine but my sister convinced me to talk to them. Chan Suh, of fame, gave me a gig and Keith Clinkscales got me started building online businesses. Worked with a bunch of Internet old timers like Omar Waso, Bo Kemp, E. David Ellington, Kyle Shannon and a gang of others. This is back in the Pathfinder, go-go Internet, days when I was too young to get the import of being the money making Internet guy in weekly meetings with Walter Isaacson and Jim Kinsella.

Multiple Media Marketing GroupRonald David Jackson was running a print marketing business and doing pretty well when he saw change coming. I wanted to do more on Internet related work and convinced (perhaps begged?) him to hire me to help fashion a Internet strategy for his clients. I was young and had a lot to learn.

Princeton ReviewAfter college I had a degree and little else. I worked for TPR to make some cash while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Besides doing general layout and other graphic design work I taught SAT and GRE courses. The most important thing I learned while working here was Jimi Hendrix was not just for rebellious prep school kids. I had never listened to a Jimi album and I gotta tell ya that it was a life changing experience.

tsdcard.jpg Right before starting college I spent the summer as a Kirby salesman in NYC. That basically means I went door-to-door in New York City selling a $1,300 vacuum cleaner. I did alright and stuck with it for the whole summer, until I started college. This was my next job after that. I started while still in school and basically did any tech related project my fellow students were willing to pay me for.

2051 Google Pawns Big Media

June 18, 2007

Amazin’ Phasin’ hipped me to a very interesting video put on YouTube by the folks at the Italian consultancy Casaleggio Associati. The video is a look back at the media landscape from the year 2051. Its interesting for a couple of reasons: 1) its definitely wrong on the details 2) it seems directionally correct 3) its got really cool. Take look at the video and see if it convinces you that the future of big media will be spelled Google.

Imploding Blockbuster Wants Failing Movielink

March 2, 2007

Better Title: Blockbuster (the also-ran) Contemplates Buying Movielink (the never-was)

The good folks at Ars Technica have an interesting post on Blockbuster’s desire to save its dying business by buying a failed business, Movielink. Movielink is a DRM crippled, online movie service foisted on an uninterested public by the five major movie studios. According to reports in the SJMN and the WSJ the price is less then $50 million and that includes a DNA test to see if you’re Anna Nicole Smiths baby-daddy. The move is your text book MBA, “buy a lemon to save the dinosaur” strategy. To a failing Luddite business this strategy makes a great deal of sense. The rest of the world just yawns.

The Formula of Web 3.0 (is it Wrong?)

February 20, 2007

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS)

According to a great post by Sramana Mitra this formula is the future of the web. The four C’s in this formula are content, community, and commerce with a fourth C representing context. The P is for personalization and the VS is for vertical search. Sramana believes that Web 1.0 was all about commerce and Web 2.0 is being built on community but Web 3.0 will evole into a personalized, vertically searchable, contextualized tool for accessing commerce, content and community. I’m not convinced.

While I love the thinking Sramana has put into the formula I cant help but think its wrong. Not in the elements she has put together, but in how she has combined them. Like any good recipe its not enough to have the right ingredients you also have to combine them in the right order and proportion. Sramana provides the shopping list but its left to entrepreneurs to figure out of to make a killer dish.

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Fallout from Steve Jobs anti-DRM Bomb

February 9, 2007

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Earlier this week the Chief Evangelical Officer of Apple Computers Inc., Steve Jobs, channeled the spirit of Ronald Regan (media moguls tear down these digital walls) and wrote an open letter (read my post here) aimed at the music barron’s in their Bling’d-out offices. In it he basically says that DRM sucks, iPods rock and the labels dont grok the implications of either. Well it was a shot heard around the blogosphere and the commentary came fast a furious from low caste bloggers like myself.

screenhunter_014.jpgNot to be outdone by the rabble, the unfortunately named IFPI strongman, John Kennedy, posted a retort to Steve (El Capitain) Jobs. His response could be summed up in two words: “You First!” In what I imagine is a whining monotone, he suggests that Steve drop DRM from Apple, Disney and Pixar products as an example to the industry.

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Formula for Entrepreneurial Success in EU

December 8, 2006

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Our friends across the pond have pulled together some stats about what makes a successful entrepreneur in the EU. The stats are culled from surveys that were conducted by the National Statistics Institutes of 15 countries in the EU. The goals of the survey was to identify some FOBS (factors of business success), which to them means your business survived for 3 years with the same founder/entrepreneur involved in the running the show.

So, what did they find? 1) You dont need experience in the area to be successful. 2) Most of the entrepreneurs found dealing with customers and the details of running their businesses to be the biggest headache, which is just kinda funny. The younger the entrepreneur the faster the business was likely to grow. While women found it easier to get paid for invoices then men, male entrepreneurs felt better about getting to profitability then the women. My favorite finding from the report is that the more degrees the entrepreneur had, the more likely they were to claim their business was “innovative”.

Its an interesting report check it out here.