Ian Schafer Turns Twitter into Money

[cross-posted on my Advertising blog]

Ian Schafer, the very vocal founder and CEO of Deep Focus marketing agency, auctioned off a sponsorship of his Twitter account, which basically consists of owning his Twitter background and receiving periodic shout outs. His goal is to raise awareness and instigate discussion around social media marketing. The auction apparently came down to VideoEgg and Metacafe bidding until $1082.01, when Metacafe won out.

metacafeBG.jpgMetacafe sponsoring Ian Schafer reminds me of Seagate sponsoring Robert Scoble - they basically sponsor his entire web identity at this point, because people who are interested in him and his output are an audience that likely would appreciate Seagate products. Well Metacafe sponsoring Ian Schafer is about the same - many of us who follow his output are now often going to be reminded of Metacafe, a site that we might be able to leverage. Ian Schafer and Metacafe don't have to have a impeding relationship, and this type of branded ownership kind of makes sense.

Could Twitter create a revenue sharing opportunity if they help to build up the value of these packages?

Notes from the OMMA Social Media Conference

I'm out at the OMMA Social Media Conference in New York City today - I don't imagine this will be a very popular post but if you want, you can follow my notes here:


the page should update as I write. If you're really interested, then you can also follow MediaPost's notes here:



Paul Pierce shows he has the heart of a champion

Last night an incredible basketball season ended with the Celtics completely decimating the Lakers - a 6 game finals where Kobe showed little of his expected greatness and a playoffs where many war-torn veterans that became the '08 Celtics showed what it is to put your heart into winning.

I have a hard time rooting for Boston teams - mostly because the fans can be infuriating, and going to college in Boston when you're not a Boston sports fan can be painful. Plus, its hard to think the city deserves more, after the recent string of Red Sox and Patriots. Also there are a lot of reasons the players on the Celtics should drive me crazy - Pierce and Iverson went toe to toe for several years, Ray Allen was on the '01 Bucks when Carl accused the NBA of cheating to make the Sixers a feel good series, and Cassel I flat out don't like (for his part on the Bucks as well).

But watching Garnett, Allen, and Pierce over the last month has been inspiring in terms of heart in sports, and all of them deserve a title in their career. Garnett fought so hard for the Timberwolves when they had nothing, and Pierce fought so hard for the Celtics through thick and thin - loyalty to a city and a team is rare in modern sports and you have to respect it when it's there. Bill Simmons captures the feeling when we watched Paul Pierce during the playoffs, from his smile at the free-throw line during the early round, to his roar holding up the trophy at the end, and you just have to respect and feel a little bit of love towards him today:
"We watched that guy grow up. We watched him become a man. We believed
in him, we gave up on him, and we believed in him again. I don't mean
to sound like the old man in "Pretty Woman," but part of me wanted to
walk on the court Tuesday night and just tell Pierce, "It's hard for me
to say this without sounding condescending, but I'm proud of you." The
guy gave us everything he had, altered his NBA tombstone, earned a
place in the rafters and brought us a 17th title -- just like he
promised, by the way -- and his sterling play in Games 4 and 5 ranks
among the all-time greatest Celtic performances. We spend so much time
complaining about sports and being disappointed that our favorite
players never end up being who we wanted them to be, but in Pierce's
case, he became everything
we wanted him to be. When he held up
the Finals MVP trophy after the game and screamed to the crowd in
delight, I don't think I've ever been happier for a Boston athlete. How
many guys stick with a crummy franchise for 10 solid years, then get a
chance to lead that same team to a championship? Does that EVER happen
in sports anymore?"


Cooking freeze dried camping food inside a laptop case at work

Cooking freeze dried camping food inside a laptop case at work
Originally uploaded by kskobac.

This week I'm taste testing various freeze dried camping food dinners to see what I'd be willing to take with me on our backpacking trip in Oregon comping up in August


Labels vs. Folders in Gmail

Google Blogoscoped has a great interview with Kevin Fox, the former lead designer of Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Calendar, who now works on FriendFeed. Among the interesting topics and decisions he covers, Fox gives the thinking behind why Gmail was designed with labels, rather than the traditional folder concept that people are used to in email. When you hear his answer, it makes complete sense:

Ironically, labels is a great example of when it’s best to not rely on existing design patterns, since in this case that would give the users a false understanding of the feature. Conversations were the most fundamental difference between Gmail and prior email applications. By treating messages in the same conversation as a single entity instead of separate emails, we gave users (especially users on mailing lists and those who get a lot of email) some real power.

The problem is that conversations meant we couldn’t have folders. The logic went like this: If you move a message from the Inbox into a folder and then another message came in on the same conversation, the conversation would pop back in to the Inbox (as it should). Should it
still be in the folder as well? It’s very inefficient to move it back in to the folder each time, frustrated that it keeps popping out. And if it stays in the folder and the inbox, then how do you get it out of the inbox? If you throw it away it would throw away the conversation from everywhere, or maybe it should just throw it away from the Inbox and remain in the folder, in which case if you really wanted to delete something you’d either have to find it in all folders it was ever placed in, or you’d have to have some sort of ’super delete’ which, as it turned out, was a far more troublesome difference to grasp than that of multiple-inclusion folders (which is what labels are).

So instead of deleting from the inbox, or re-moving, you could ’archive’ the conversation (whether or not it was in another folder) and it would just take care of it.

Another way to look at the problem is if you have filters set up to put messages from certain people or with certain keywords in folders, the same conversation could appear in multiple folders because one message put it in ’family’ and another put it in ’vacation’. Then you have the same problem of a single item appearing within multiple containers that people have been trained to understand only hold originals or copies, not aliases, and you run into the same confusion with some users trying to delete out of a folder to keep a conversation in another folder, or expecting it to vanish from everywhere. Either way you’re going to have a huge number of users who either can’t delete or are accidentally deleting, which was a much bigger problem than calling them ’labels’ and teaching them about multiple-inclusion..


Young Jazz / Blues Band " The Back Door Slam " Grows Up

Back in October 2007, I went to see a show by the wonders The Back Door Slam, an English trio of kids that, by the time they made it state-side, were only 20 years old, and playing music like they were 60 year old Jazz / Blues performers. At the time there were only 10 or so of us in the audience in the very intimate Mercury Lounge. 2 months later I went to see them again at the same spot, but the small room was now filled to the brim with middle aged men who were exhilarated by the sound of the young trio anomaly. In just the few months, seeing the audience grow from 10-15 to 70-80 was exciting, and I was very happy for them. Well fast forward to July 15th, 7.5 months after their first show, and they've moved to headlining at Bowery Ballroom. While it isn't the biggest venue in town, it's a huge step up from the handful of people that knew of their existance, and it's a huge reward for the endless tour. They continue to put themselves out there and are climbing the niche chart. Congrats to them.

My social media map, my online footprint

At work this week I participated in a social networking symposium. As part of the discussion, it became apparent to me just how many social tools I use to some extent or another. One one hand there is Facebook and Flickr that I use every day, Twitter and Friendfeed that I am diving into, and DocStoc and Viddler that I'm learning about. There is also GoodReads and Fotolog that I contribute to sparingly. There are "old school" social tools like IM and and eMail. The list goes on and on, as social media is slowly defining my online experience and existance. The above map is my offhand list of online social tools, drafted up in mind mapping tool MindMeister.

Jamie Moyer, case study in determination, throws 8 innings of shut-out baseball

It's amazing that at the age of 45, Jamie Moyer was able to through 8 innings of shut out baseball tonight, including over 5 innings of no-hit baseball. It's rare that a guy his age can even continue to play baseball at all, but to pitch at his caliber at this point in his career is nothing short of astonishing. He's 7-3 now with a 4.1 ERA, and a 1.37 ERA - nothing overwhelming, but not half bad in Phillies stadium, one of the best hitters parks in history. Congrats to him for continuing to defy odds and prove that with hard work and determination you can defy expectations.


How we get dumber over time


Brain Game Site Lumosity produced this graph of data from their community showing how brain power decreases over the range of your life... depressing. I guess I need to start playing brain games over at Lumosity!


And just like that, Google puts Panoramio in the spotlight

Just over a week ago I wrote about the sometimes redundant and unclear strategy of Google in supporting two seemingly similar products, one specifically being the odd placement of geo-tagging site Panoramio in their portfolio, which they never mention but actually provides more free storage (2GB), than Google's primary photo sharing site, Picasa. Well yesterday Google pushed out a very cool, very interesting, very powerful update to Panoramio, just when most of the world had forgotten they had any connection to it: The ability to explore an area by directing yourself to different regions of a photo, which consequently moves you to a different photo that shows a different angle of the area you're looking at. It's very similar to Microsoft Photosynth, which consstructs virtual images by piecing together pictures of the same object from different angles. With Panoramio, you can literally walk around an area - try Red Square, Moscow, and click "look around" below the first image. I was pleasantly surprised by the rest of Panoramio as well - it heavily integrates Google maps, bringing in satelite views of your locations, and generally provides a fun environment for world photo exploration.
I'm still wondering, though, how this will sync with their vision for Picasa - for example, I saw no way to import from Picasa the photos I've already geotagged. I would like to be able to point to Picasaweb or Flickr and import the images that I've already collected in another photo community that isn't necessarily all about the focused purposed of Picasa. This seems an obvious feature need for a nich photo site, but Google really needs to sync their photo vision.
[image from Google Operating System]


Chase Utley is Amazing (but a potential Phillies MVP three-peat wouldn't be a first)

Chase Utley hit his league leading 21st home run last night, and with his ridiculous power streak has powered the Phillies over the Marlins to first in the NL East.  He's now first in HR's, second in RBI's, and a 11th in AVG, with only .005 separating him from 6th.  It looks like he can't be stopped, and as long as he's rolling like this neither can the Phillies - they've won 7 of the last 8, including games where they scored 12, 15, or 20 runs

While he makes his case for an MVP season following MVP seasons by Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard in the last two seasons consecutively, it made me wonder what kind of historical significance this might have.  It turns out MLB.com provides a nice little list showing that a potential Phillies trifecta wouldn't be anything too unique: Cincinnati did it with Ernie Lombardi, Bucky Walters, and Frank McCormick from 1938 - 1940; St. Louis did it with Mort Cooper, Stan Musial, and Marty Marion; The Yankees did it with Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, and Spud Chandler from 1941-1943, and again with Roger Maris, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, and Elston Howard from 1960-1963. If you include lists where one player wins twice or more and another teammate wins in a connecting year, the list has several more groupings, including the Giants having a Jeff Kent, Barry Bonds, Barry Bonds, Barry Bonds, Barry Bonds series from 2000-2004; with exception to the giants, though, all of the streaks have been over 30 years ago, when there were less teams (and any streaks 60 years ago happened when there were significantly less teams), so a Ryan Howard - Jimmy Rollins - Chase Utley three-peat would still be very impressive, and highly unusual.

My previous Phillies coverage


Image Recognition Ads Come to Facebook

I know this seems kind of creepy, but I can't help be incredibly impressed by this: Like.com, which formerly used to be Riya.com, the facial recognition photo sharing service that I was obsessed with, but then changed over to an object recognition shopping site (show us an item that a celebrity is wearing and we'll show you 50 things just like it ranging in all types of prices), is now running ads on Facebook that match the picture in the ad with your profile picture. TechCrunch has an example where the ad features a guy wearing aviator glasses because Riya's technology recognized aviator glasses. This is very cool, albeit a bit creepy. Note that TechCrunch is not confirming this yet, just suggesting based on the technology Riya is known for that this type of image recognition match is happening in the background - so maybe I should hold off a sec before I get too excited.