Archive for October, 2004

Hughtrain hitting in the forehead

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

I was wandering around the net after I saw the unbelievable act of picking a Kryptonite lock with a mere pen. The markets are conversations… and the markets did just that. Now Kryptonite is exchanging their defected products to new and better designed ones. Another good example of Cluetrain manifesto. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Keep the bike in your bedroom and spread the word.

While I was looking for more information I suddenly stumbled upon the Gapingvoid site. I was almost leaving but as an artist by heart, the drawings got my attention. Each post has a creative sketch attached to it. This guy draws pictures on back of business cards. I wonder what Japanese would say about “ruining” their business cards like this.

I dug deeper and spotted the cleverness of the Hughtrain. It seems to be affected by the background in the advertisement industry by the writer but it was like reading my own notes, as one commenter puts it. I found many things I have subconsciously noticed in my job, now being just well-written. I think many other creative persons will feel the same who have been looking after something meaningful to do instead of some brainless jobs-for-money.

Products are conversations and it’s not all about products but the process of using them. One have to love using the product not the product itself.
When creating a product, there must be something interesting, insightful and new in it. When you yourself have visions and belief in it, then it’s time to explain it to others. Re-inventing existing markets is stupid and often more difficult than creating completely new markets.

I have noticed this lately when I have been going around talking about my vision of the Dicole Network. I’m turning things upside down, making old things interesting by introducing new ways of thinking. When people share my vision and see it in their own way, suddenly the product also becomes meaningful and something fun to play with. So it’s not about the product characteristics, it’s about what is it like to use it, is it a new and interesting way and how it’s going to change the culture one is living in.

Unlock car via SMS, download MP3s, kick some ass

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Now this is a cool car. Especially for geeks and alike. These guys are creative, they built a car which allows you to download MP3s from specially enabled petrol pumps, unlock it via SMS text message and transform it’s windows into PC screens (although I wouldn’t trust my car to run Windows on Windows, imagine what a blue screen would do in the middle of a traffic…).

Well, “one gallon of hardcore techno, please”.

The article also features a Ninja TV-Fight suit, which reminds me of Kick Ass Kung-Fu, a system developed in the UIAH Medialab. It allows you to kick some serious ass if you want to and stay in shape at the same time. Check out the presentation video.

Bush tells us about the state of the union

Sunday, October 24th, 2004

This video is just way too hilarious. Best edit of a G. W. Bush speech I have seen so far.
I guess you have to edit footage of Bush to get the truth out of him.

My notes of the presentation by Joichi Ito at Aula

Monday, October 18th, 2004

I was last Thursday listening at Joichi Ito at Aula (Finland) who gave a great presentation about the future of music business. I always appreciate people who are able to give a brilliant and interesting presentation without using any slides. Very skilled.

I recorded some notes of the presentation in my notebook. There were several good points I think I should share with you. My notes in cursive:

  • Joi was in Italy:

    • CreativeCommons copylefters accused as pirates

    • Tone changed once understanding grew.

  • It costs $300, 000 to produce one hit – iTunes sells one for 99c

  • If price is low enough, maybe there will be no piracy:

    • When people are doing file sharing, they are working.

    • If the price is low enough (e.g. 20 cents), people would actually pay instead of working (waiting for download to complete, search for quality sources etc).

  • Music is all about social interaction:

    • Friends recommend, people go file sharing.

    • File sharing increases people’s interest in music.

    • This probably results in more record sales as interest in music increases.

  • Social navigation like Amazon’s collaborative filtering allows you to discover music and books you have never heard of.

  • 95% of physical CD’s are pirated:

    • Most artists lose money on CD’s.

    • They make CD’s anyway.

    • Cheapest way to market.

    • Let people steal your music to become famous.

  • Music brings people together. Fills the gap between people.

  • Mass media made folk music ”not cool”.

  • Head market is shrinking. We have to focus on tail.

  • Joi’s example: LastFM:

    • Creates a profile of your musical taste.

    • Similar to Amazon recommendation of books.

    • Stream music from your personal playlist to others.

    • Chat included.

    • You can add music from playlists of others to your own.

    • Creates playlists similar to your taste.

    • lastfm/user/joi

    • Allows people to share their own music even for money.

    • Allows customers to vote for price of music.

  • Marketing music is difficult:

    • Joi explains a case where Yahoo marketed wrongly and the market was found elsewhere.

    • You never know where your fans are.

    • Collaborative filtering as a solution.

    • You can now theoretically charge 20c per song and still make money – long tail.

  • You can’t make Michael Jackson in the long tail:

    • Joi suggests there will be no Jacksons in the future because people are no more paying attention to mass media (Whoa, you should have seen the faces of some music bosses in the room).

  • Musicians are ready to pay to do music if they had no other option. Musicians are ready to make music for no-profit, as long as no one exploits them in a bad way.

  • Pro-Am revolution:

    • Amateurs sharing music, doing music and learning about music.

    • There are a lot of professional musicians, who are not as talented as some amateurs.

    • To become professional, you would have to go to school and buy and learn a lot of things before you can become mainstream.

  • Joi explains Karaoke success in Japan:

    • You want to participate in the creative process.

    • Real market is in the long tail – amateur music.

    • ”Digital tribes”. Digital tribes may now have their own music.

  • Identify your community and provide what they need.

  • Figure out what to sell them.

  • Band becomes a community platform. Allows two-way communication between fans and bands.

  • Flash community as a sharing amateur community – some make music, some make storyboards, some make animation, some make coding etc. They share and put things together.

  • Company is required to clear all copyrights in music business – lawyers create a part of the record expenses.

  • CreativeCommons is good because it decreases the parasitic cost. Allows content to be more fluently shared.

  • Delivery and discovery business. Delivery is free (P2P). It’s all about how these communities develop.

  • Moving to world where everyone has their own voice. Internet is like a radio – they promise all kinds of crap.

  • In Google individual weblogs come up in searches.

  • Joi quotes someone I don’t remember by name: Democracy is not about giving everyone a vote – real democracy is giving everyone a voice.

Then I wrote down my question to Joi, which he didn’t quite answer but the answer was great anyway:

You talk about the fact that Internet enables part of the distribution and lawyer profits to decrease, leaving us collaborative filtering which is helping people to find stuff in the long tail. Sounds like local distribution is about to disappear. That actually the long tail becomes more profitable and the market size of the long tail is bigger than the head (mainstream stuff). When is this going to happen? When are these communities going to take off on a wide scale? 5 years? 10 years? What are the obstacles that could break this idealistic approach? How DRM (digital rights management) relates to it: is it harming or supporting the future you describe?

My point was that this is no way mainstream, yet. Generally speaking people are not yet discovering the long tail online but probably some day will. Sure there are examples already that lead the way but general public is not yet aware of what they are missing at the moment.

Also, I think the big media empires might react very aggressively in this change and try to lock-in people in the old world (with DRM etc.) until they figure out it’s impossible and change their business plan. It will hit their forehead pretty soon.

This is where I closed my notebook and just listened other people asking questions. There were some interesting points about blogging and how record companies are suing their music loving customers. The add by Pepsi was displayed with a parody version of it. Does anybody know where to get these?

Great stuff.

Btw., I asked about how Technorati is going to make money in the future (I checked their website and saw no $$$ signs anywhere). Mr. Ito told me that they are revealing some value-added services for power users and advertisers. It seems they follow the See Livejournal as an example of the 5% rule. LinkedIn is doing the same. Ebayization of everything.

Where is the music industry money made in the future?

Thursday, October 7th, 2004

Great article about the future of the music industry in the Wired magazine entitled The Long Tail. When you move your music business to the internet and take away packaging, distribution and retail sales, you have a business where the less popular misses of the music industry (the Long Tail) generate more money than all the hits together.

This requires that you are able to construct a business model which allows your readers to navigate from familiar entrant points (hits) to less familiar artists with help of social navigation or something else as easy to use. The reader will notice that his/her taste is actually much different from the mainstream if easy tools for finding more interesting artists are made available.

This is the story backed up with well constructed evidence in various illustrative charts. Way to go. Everyone interested in the music business and everyone who uses P2P networks to download music, should definitely check this out.

Now I just have to find a way to apply this logic to Open Source collaborative software. If the demand is actually in the niche groups, and if it’s possible to support all the niche groups, the market of various niche groups is actually bigger than the general mainstream of almost any application. Isn’t this what tailoring and customization is all about? Making customization and tailoring affordable so that the niche groups also get served. This is interesting, for example: build value-added services customized and targeted to certain niche groups in the educational world on top of open platforms and open standards.