Saturday, December 15, 2007

Energizers 2007 Lego Creation

I'm at Hollis high school attending the Junior First Lego League
competition and it is incredible what the minds of 8-9 year olds come
up with regarding renewable and non-renewable energy.

Here's my sons team creation.

Exposing the next generation through fun and expirementation on the
issues we have today is a win-win situation.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Waiting.... For WiFi

I love Wifi, I love it even more when businesses or establishments
give it away for free.

I am connected and demand to be connected to my online happenings. I've built a great view of what is important to me in life, business, and play. Not having access to this info becomes a problem for me, a payee of access. So why is it that munis, businesses and establishments don't deliver more access to consumers?

There is added $$s in it when you think about it. A few weeks back I chose BK over McDs because BK offered free WiFi. They won my dollars by setting up a wireless router in their restaurant. How much added costs did it take? Probably not much.

Earthlink had the right strategy and it was probably execution that stumped their plans but I wish they would get rolling again so I can have more WiFi!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Scrambled Light

Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel can lead you down new
roads. Do you know where your light will take you?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What boot are you working on?

When has the distribution of a particular technology reached its maturity point?

In a previous post I wrote of Carlota Perez’s article in Strategy + Business magazine where she talks about how distribution of electricity reached maturity when things like the electric knife were invented. A few weeks ago I chaperoned a trip to the National Grid Training Center in Worcester, MA and I found this boot which supports her view.

Has the latest wave of the web reached its maturity point, already?

I don’t think we have truly tapped into all the possible products and services that can be created within the reach of the current wave. Today, 1.2 billion people use the Internet and as more and more people get connected to the network, the more and more new ideas will be generated.

I read a post yesterday called, Death of the Web 2.0 Era, and I want to ask, is this where we are today? Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch Deadpool list is growing but does that mean the new version of the web is a mature product and nothing else can be squeezed out of it? Unlikely.

So what boot are you working on?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Economics of Failure

Have you ever rushed toward failure? Have you ever gotten up in the morning and the first thought to your mind was, “I can’t wait to fail at something today”?

Well, what is failure? Google defines it as:
  • an act that fails; "his failure to pass the test"
  • an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose; "the surprise party was a complete failure"
We all know the saying, “Failure isn’t an option” and I’m not quite sure who coined the saying but I want to disagree with it.

How does this tie into business and technology? Look at the worldwide numbers noted in Alan Moore’s Communities Dominate Brands blog post, “
Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users”:
  • The Car - 800M
  • Telephone - 1.3B
  • TV - 1.5B
  • PC - 850M
  • INTERNET - 1.1B
Look at those sizes, there are millions and billions of consumers connected by some level of technology. If you were to deliver an idea/product into any one of the above and apply a 1% success rate, you would end up with a very large audience for something that could ultimately be described as a “failure” or having no chance. In some cases, you could take 1% of the 1% success rate and still end up with favorable numbers.

This brings me back to my initial question, “have you ever rushed toward failure”? When developing services for the next generation, we should embrace “failure” as an option because any idea on the distribution channels we have today has the possibility to reach lots of consumers.

Happy Failing!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Know You...You Know Me...FB Place Ad Here

I am a relative newbie to Facebook. I’ve had an account for over 6 months but I have been truly active for the last month or so to which most of my interactions have been very pleasant. I have connected with old friends, my bunk bud from boot camp, and so many others I have not spoken or interacted with throughout the years. I was prepared to continue showing who I am within FB but my mind has sort of changed after their announcement to put adds into my social network.

On FB you can create a question for your friends to answer and the next question I will add to my page is “How many of you, or the 52 million subscribers, feel comfortable with FB taking our personal interactions and selling them to the highest bidder”? Yeah I know it is business but FB was built to connect people. Now they are breathing only to push ads to the people you have taken time to connect with.

I am curious to see how this will affect FB’s user stats. User traffic is possibly leveling already and the move to include ads into users’ interactions can’t possibly help. Time will only tell.


**Company list courtesy of Erick Schonfeld @TechCrunch during FB media announcement in NY. Thanks Erick.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Be More Productive by Moving Around

Saw this on my feeds this morning and I think I'll give it a whirl. Today I will try to work anywhere else but at my desk.


Monday, November 5, 2007

We Share in this Family...

So an open platform for mobile handsets, I like that. This could be the kick in the pants service providers need to really get going on building next generation services. If you notice I said, “could be”?

I’ve been watching this market long enough to know that the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) has one hell of a road in front of it, and not because the software will be difficult to deliver, but because all the companies listed as alliance members will all want their share.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s imagine on Monday, when the software development kit (SDK) is released, that immediately 1M developers download and begin creating new services. Of those 1M developers, 1% create something rich enough for current subscribers to use. We’re almost there! Of the 10K new services created, 1% are hits. At the end of the day we’ll have 100 brand new applications out and about earning respectable revenues. How exactly will those revenues be shared? What happens if I am in the US and want to use my services when in the UK? What happens when my service is disrupted, who will I call for help? These are some of my immediate questions and why I think Google and OHA have a bigger task ahead of them than just creating software.

Another question I have is, will OHA be powerful enough to break down the infamous, “walled gardens”?

I saw this firsthand at the VON show last week when Embarq’s CEO, Dan Hesse, presented their strategy for the next generation. His remarks were focused on delivering a “Simplicity Portal” where Embarq’s customers can do anything and everything they want with relation to TV, Internet and Voice. Embarq is not in the alliance by the way. This is what service providers are accustomed to and if OHA is going to disrupt the status quo, they will have to break down this mindset before their efforts are considered successful.

I will support any movement toward creating an open platform because it ultimately leads to a better experience for the next generation. On the OHA website they have a great video of children answering this question, “If I had a magic phone…”

Now Android is certainly not going to get a phone to make ice cream but this is what it is all about, building for the next generation.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The iPhone Is Convergence

I know it’s been reviewed by a million people already but I don’t care, I have to say something about the iPhone; it is a wonderful platform.

After setting it up, which wasn't that bad, I was off for the web. Using Safari was easy and getting my RSS feeds, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts integrated was simple.

Next I synched my music. This process wasn’t cut and dry, I had to do a little research since the iTunes interface was a bit different than a regular iPod version. After taking the steps the user guide suggested, my music was ready and waiting. I went for one of my favorite songs, Cerca de Mi, from Elements of Life by Louie Vega and the speakers on the phone started playing. Speakers, Steve Jobs in his launch video didn't say anything about speakers!

So the phone is activated, the web is in the palm of my hands and my music is going, here is where I first realize the power of the iPhone.

While I’m listening to my music, I’m surfing the web and I realize I’m connected via WiFi and not through the data plan. Didn’t even know it could do that which now makes me want to visit all the free WiFi spots around. Cmon Earthlink, get back on the ball. I figured I should try a few of the sites I regularly visit like Facebook. Wouldn’t you know it, they have an iPhone version of their site. It allowed me to view my friends, read and post to the Wall, and pretty much everything else. After a visit to FB, I'm did some Twittering using the web vs. text messaging. I’m on Blogger writing notes for this post, I’m in Gmail responding to my messages; essentially, I’m doing exactly what I do throughout the day on my PCs but from my iPhone.

I can’t say enough about the iPhone; it really is a great device. Now it is time for AT&T to get their Edge network in more places so that I can continue to enjoy the phone. Apple also needs to get that SDK out so 3rd party developers can start creating more uses for consumers. AT&T is already opening the door to development; Apple just needs to get the development kit out.

Go buy one, you won’t regret it.


Monday, October 29, 2007

A Day at PodCamp Boston 2

This was the first time I've had a chance to attend a PodCamp Boston UnConference and after being there, it was a great way to spend a Sunday in October.

Here are some pics I took from the sessions I attended. The rest can be found on Flickr.

Chris Penn gave us a snapshot of his social graph during his talk on Social Networking 101. Chris spoke of how social networking platforms (software) like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace can be used to launch and foster your personal brand. He mentioned that it didn't make a difference which platform you used; it just depended on which need you had. His best advice was to get a "Primary Key", or a solid email address, so that when your social networking friends do take the plunge to sign up, you'll be findable.

Laura at Pistachio Consulting with her Z. Z kept anyone from getting too serious and was the lightning for David Culter and I to get a chance to meet.

A bunch of folks got together for a quick jam session. They drew a good crowd and the music was a nice distraction while passing from room to room. They need to get set up on

One of the top sessions for me was Jeff Pulver's "Lessons of Serial Entrepreneur". Jeff gave us his story about how he launched the companies he has over the years. During his talk, he spoke of all the "accidents" he's had as an entrepreneur and based on what Jeff has been able to do, "accidents" are good.

His key takeaway was, believe in yourself and let your convictions be your superpower. He mentioned to not let anyone or anything get in your way of communicating your ideas to friends, colleagues, and investors. He wrapped up his session with "be serious about having fun" and I couldn't agree with him anymore. What's the point if what you're doing isn't any fun.

Here I think Jeff was participating in "lolsaur" with Chris Brogan.

During Jeff's talk he invited anyone who had an idea and wanted to pitch it, to see him after his talk. A couple of folks took him up on the offer.

Isabel Hilborn of MarketHum takes us through some "Crappy" marketing stories that show how not to interact with your customers. Some of them were real bad, especially the sleeping Comcast technician one. Amazing how some companies just don't get it.


Overall, PodCamp was well worth the time spent. From all the great talks, to the "unSession" with loudmouthman, to having Z serenade us with her little voice. If you've never been to a PodCamp, you should. Follow along at their site for the next one in your area.

Thank you to everyone I connected with yesterday. It was a pleasure sharing ideas and conversation with you throughout the day and I look forward to our next meet up.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Facebook: Start of the End?

First the Ballmer video at Web 2.0 Summit. I was anticipating him jumping up on the couch to profess his love for Mark Z. Jeeze! I would love to be a fly on the wall during a Ballmer/Zuckerberg meeting. "Hey there little fella, cmon on in to my big castle for some cookies and milk. Dora the Explorer will be on in a few minutes". If Google is a tween in Ballmers eyes, then Facebook is the real toddler.

In my opinion, the MSFT/FB deal will hurt FB in the long run. When you're a cool company with a cool product and you've been working out of your "garage" to get it built; you grow a certain following. Look at the Google & YouTube stories. Everyone loves those because it shows that garage built companies can be successful, BUT, when the folks that follow, use and understand your new flashy product start to feel that what they love has jumped the shark, they begin to lose interest.

It only takes one event to completely change a users mindset and getting TOO big will do that. $15B valuation, business user base growing and now a partnership with MSFT. Any of these could be the change.

Could this be the start of the end? Only time, and user hits will tell.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Transparent Zuckerberg

I just finished watching the Web 2.0 Summit interview with Mark Zuckerberg on John Battelle's blog. This is about the third time I've watched Mark in an interview and this one struck me as very interesting.

Take a minute to watch John and Mark's exchange for the first question. I've transcribed in case you have a slow connection:

John: So the how's financing going?
Mark: It's going well, we are almost wrapped up.
John: Wow, I actually didn't expect that response.

From a traditional business, investor and analyst view, this response is completely foreign. Never do you get such a "transparent" response from a CEO related to their financing activities. Isn't this what Sarbanes Oxley is supposed to accomplish?

Granted they are still private but even most private companies don't comment like this.

The rest of the interview is very good as Mark relaxes and opens up more about how Facebook is changing the social communications landscape.

Keep watching.


Monday, October 22, 2007

So Many Choices, So Little Time

The tourists in New England these days are here for the foliage, the PATS, definitely the SOX, and over the next few weeks, as many events as you can take. Below is what is going on:

PodCamp Boston 2

October 26 – 28thDetails here


VON Show Boston

October 30 – November 1stDetails here


Web Innovator’s Group

November 6th 6:30 – until you’re done. Details are here


Mobile Monday

November 13th (and yes I know its not a Monday) – Details are here


TechCrunch & IDG Ventures MeetUp11
November 16th – SOLD OUT. Here are the details in case you want to crash the event.


Get "High" on Your Own Supply

On my way to do some apple picking with the family this weekend we stopped off to fill up the guzzler and at the gas station there were some Verizon folks street marketing FIOS. I’ve been patiently waiting for FIOS to reach my home and although they keep flying a banner over my house, it still isn’t available. Verizon’s FIOS rollout has been real aggressive everywhere else but in my area.

I thought this would be interesting to show how on the street Verizon is, so I decided to grab some pics to include with the post. As my camera started snapping, the paparazzi hands started coming up from the “street warriors” like I was taking a picture of Britney’s hooha. (Uh… I’m not linking that!) Slow down folks, I’m just exercising my rights. To protect the innocent, I blurred out their faces.

I did tell them why I was taking pictures and after I said what they’d be used for, a member of the team says “what’s a blog?” I didn’t have time to break out a presentation so I just put the camera away and got on my way, but it did raise a question. You’re selling optical to consumers for quicker speeds and better services, and as a representative you don’t know what a blog is? Who do you think is buying this service, Grammy and Grandpa?

Selling a service that you have no idea what it can and will be used for isn’t a very good strategy. Instead of having street “marketers” you should have street “evangelists” pushing your product.

I can’t remember which hip hop star said, "Don't get high on your own supply" but in this case, you “should” get high on your own supply before you sell a product.


Friday, October 19, 2007

To Burst or Not to Burst, That is the Question!

Before you get to the NY Times article I think it is important to read Carlota’s interview with Booze Allen Hamilton’s Strategy + Business because it gives more to her background and long wave theory.

I read this interview years ago, and after reading it my perception of what I had just gone through with the Internet bubble burst wasn’t so bad after all. Actually, after reading her interview, I wanted more explanation so I read her book, Technological Revelutions and Financial Capital: The The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages to which she goes into much more detail about how technological revolutions are a necessary evil and what benefits are left in their wakes.

Since reading the interview and book, I’ve become a follower of her theory because I lived through the “frenzy” and I am now living in the post-Internet bubble burst era. Over the years, I’ve asked my friends if they thought the bubble burst was a good thing and of course they all say “HELL NO”. Most of them were burned hard and that is a tough question for them to say, “yes” to.

Take the time to read her interview and after you’re done, you’ll see that the bubble burst was necessary and beneficial to us “new” entrepreneurs. What benefits were in the burst, you say? Look at what happened in the 90’s and early 2000s. There was so much over-investment in infrastructure & technology that post burst, we were left with all this extra capacity. I like to think that Google buying dark fiber, of which was left from the burst, has some level of correlation to her theory. That’s me thinking way out loud. We also see how this build up changed the consumer Internet experience & expectation. Who here is raving about their 56K dial-up speed?

If you wrap up the over-investment in technology, infrastructure and the change in consumer expectations, it becomes easy to see why the next generation of entrepreneurs are founding such "new" richer web experiences.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Microsoft has no friggin clue!

As I was going through my feeds this morning, I found interest in Mashable’s drop regarding Microsoft’s new web development tool called Popfly. Popfly is supposed to be a tool that allows non-technical folks a way to build web content within their social circles. It also allows users the option to pull in their Facebook, Digg, and Twitter content.

My curiosity peaked because any platform like this is a good idea as social networking continues to pave new roads. To get a better idea of the offering I went to Popfly to take a look and ultimately, to try out. I’ve done this with YahooPipes, Aptana, Flex, AdobeAir and many other web dev technologies, Flex so far is my favorite.

Well if you open the Popfly link, you’ll see exactly why Microsoft has no friggin clue. The homepage has a splash with the Popfly name and as you can see in the pic above, it also has that damn “Sign In” button that I have come to hate. Microsoft Passport is waste at it’s best because it doesn’t work. After reviewing the site, team and examples, I battled my hesitancy to click the Sign In button because I wanted to see what Popfly really looked like. Well, after I clicked through, I didn’t get any better understanding because I ended up at a fill in your information page. Like I want to sign up in order to preview MSFT’s newest offering. Am I the only one who sees the pain in this approach?

MSFT is trying to play catch up with everyone when it comes to social media and next generation web technologies. For their newest product, that is supposed to show how innovative they are, they deliver us the same old horrible approach which completely turned my interest off. Now as a potential user, tester, advocate, I’m left with no idea what Popfly is really like. They lost my eyeballs at “HELLO”.

Getting people to play and evaluate your new product should be much easier than this.

Cmon guys, get a clue!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Cloud

What do you do now within your cloud? Om blogs about Apple and Google's plans for cloud computing.

Do you think Google and Apple are preparing a device, "if they really are", that will do what our devices do today? Certainly not.

Jobs with Leopard and Google with their vast army of servers are preparing for the inevitable, the network becoming our friend.

Right now, you are subject to network availability and service providers terms. Some have even gone to the extreme of "don't criticize us or else", and so I don't lose my service, I won't sAy Their name To you.

There will be a day and age when the network is at your beck and call. Gbps speeds right down to your handset, device, or wearable item. I'd like this kind of availability to be ready today but that's a dream. It's getting there but that kind of throughput isn't going to happen in the next 3-5 years.

Which leads me back to My Cloud...

It will change over the years and I'll add similar services like Spinvox, Thinkature, and maybe even SnifLabs to my cloud but after a while, I'll only consume so much. 10 years down the line, the appetite for technology and services will have changed from us to the next generation. There the new services will lie and they'll be nothing like we've seen so far.

What do you think the next generation cloud of services will look like?


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Personalized Services

If you have never been to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, you should. It is a geological wonder and the formation are absolutely incredible. Back in 1998-9, I used to live about 15 mins from GoG and hikes were the best.

XOsphere reminds me of when I used to hike at GoG; remote with nature. Their service is exactly what I mean by, "next generation services" because it allows me to stream "my" mp3s, and a whole bunch of other content, directly to my mobile phone without any DRM issues. Actually, I like how XOsphere makes the network transparent to the consumer, if the network is working properly. If it doesn't, then it becomes apparent which poses a problem to the service provider.

If enough subs use XOsphere today, this will become a minimum service down the road, just like caller id and all the other now "free" services.

Next Gen Services will become unique, extremely personalized, and have minimum to no costs.


Communications = Interactions

I’ll take Jeff Pulver’s comments one step further. I think VoIP is Communications and Communications is Social but I think communications doesn’t capture the essence of what VoIP provides. VoIP provides a layer for unique and better “Interactions”.

It is not longer whom or where your friends/acquaintances are; it’s now more about the levels of Interaction you provide to them and VoIP was implemented to create more ways of doing this. If you look at the ways in which we provide Interactions today, they are nothing like before. Yesterday I could call or mail. Today I can twitter, Tokbox, Facebook, blog about what I’m doing, saying or thinking; all of which are some level of an Interaction. What we expect today will be nothing like what the next generation will expect when it comes to the way they Interact with their network.

VoIP and Social Networks are the underlying methods for all our Interactions and as our worlds get larger and freer, Interactions will continue to increase.

How else would you want to Interact with your network? Maybe share a real-time comment on the TV show your friend is watching from your mobile phone. Would you do it if it was available?

It's Interactions…

Monday, October 15, 2007

Starting out...

I wasn't quite sure where to start so I'm just letting it all flow out. I'm sure some of my post will hit and others will fall silent. Either way, it is out of my head.

So what is Phive Tacos all about.

I have watched technology and business over the last 8 years from the "ground" as well as from a "top" of business view. I'm amazed with what is going on and as I read news, blogs, and current happenings, I often leave remarks of what it all means to me as a consumer.

In what I read and follow, consumers are often left out of the equation. Consumers are the most important part of a business, yet the most overlooked. New technology is worthless unless someone buys it and every business has an end-user.

As I visit with new technology and new business models, my hopes are to leave feedback about how I believe these businesses affect the next generation consumer. Hopefully I can make sense of it all.