Monday, March 30, 2009


The Smart Money of Crowds, April 7, 2009, NYC, MIT Enterprise Forum Symposium

Collaborative Investing Startups

Can we exploit the Wisdom of Crowds on Wall Street? -- especially now that the "smart money" no longer looks very smart?

Historically individual investors have been a good indicator for what not to do -- Can the Social Web make them smarter?

I am assisting David Teten organize this event, and we have a very interesting panel. Come on April 7 to learn from a group of innovative startups that are leveraging the Wisdom of Crowds to provide investment counsel you can believe in - or so they claim.

Register at

Monday, June 16, 2008


The Web of Location -- This Wednesday -- MIT Enterprise Forum Symposium

Location-Based Services, Geotagging, and Map Mashups

As noted before, I will be moderating this exciting panel this Wednesday, with prominent speakers from IAC (,, etc.), Smarter Agent, MeetMoi, and uLocate.

A nice perspective on major trends that are fueling rapid growth in this area is provided in “Location–Based Services: Back to the Future” in the April-June 2008 IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine. Key strategic changes outlined there are:
As noted in my earlier post, this Web of Location relates to a variety of new dimensions in Web services (), including many Web 2.0 aspects, such as the Social Web. We expect to explore this in an interesting session, and hope you can join us.

Tags: Media

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


"The Six Phases of a Technology Flop" ...Patents, and Plan B

A nice piece by Jim Rapoza of eWeek shows how technologies often go from bubble to bust ...and on to rebirth.

Rapoza's use of "push" technology for his example came particularly close to home for me, since I lived through all six phases of that cycle with my original Teleshuttle "push" technology. My personal experience shows how the long cycles of the patent business can serve as a counterbalance to the fast cycles of technology.
  1. "Useful Invention:" I developed some ideas relating to what came to be known as "push" distribution and filed for a patent and started Teleshuttle in 1994 (well before PointCast launched in 1996).

  2. "Growth and Competition:" Teleshuttle gained lots of interest from '94-96, and got its software distributed on several million computers -- but PointCast, Marimba, and BackWeb made a much bigger splash.

  3. "Hype:" For a few years, "push" was very hot, and even though the Teleshuttle product failed to build a profitable market, I was able to leverage that hype to partner with a company called BTG to work on commercializing my patent.

  4. "Bust:" PointCast went under, and the other guys retrenched. Teleshuttle and BTG tended to the development of a portfolio of patents, and did other things (I was CTO for a dot-com).

  5. "Death:" By the early 2000's push was written off as a classic failure, but we still saw value there -- one minor example being Windows Update (and its Apple counterpart).

  6. "Rebirth:" Push returned in a big way as RSS feeds. We persevered in commercializing my patent portfolio and sold it in 2006 for $35MM.
So it was a very long and often discouraging ride, but all's well that ends well.

Some might say this is exploitation by a "patent troll." But that misses the whole point of the patent system. It is reasonable to recognize a patent as the innovator's well-deserved incentive. Some people excell as entrepreneurs, others excell as innovators -- even if their business does not succeed. The Constitution provided for patents as a way to encourage the innovating part, not the succeeding in business part. The Framers understood that succeeding in business generates ample reward of its own -- it is innovation that needs the added incentive of a patent. Viewing the patent as Plan B provided the hedge that made it easier to justify the risks inherent in developing my ideas and starting the Teleshuttle business. In my case that hedge paid off -- after 12 years!


Monday, April 21, 2008


The Web of Location -- NYC 6/18/08 -- MIT Enterprise Forum Symposium

Location-Based Services, Geotagging, and Map Mashups

I will be moderating an exciting panel, with prominent speakers from IAC (,, etc.), Smarter Agent, MeetMoi, and uLocate on June 18 in NYC.

Location-based services are not just for driving directions anymore. The Web is now richly linked to locations in the real world and visualized on maps. This creates whole new dimensions to navigating the Web and a new class of Web-based services. Links from Web pages appear on maps which show proximity to other pages that can be clicked on. Other Web 2.0 aspects such as social networks can also be viewed through the lens of location.

Think of it as Steinberg's classic "New Yorker's Map of the World" but dynamic -- as your location changes, your location-based view of the world changes. But here it is your view of the virtual world, your view of the Web.

This fits in to the broad trend I wrote of some time back, -- one of which is the dimension of the physical world.

Location-based services are at an inflection point:

New businesses are forming to take advantage of this dynamic Web of Location. Established businesses must understand the potential of this growth sector. Financial players, such as venture capitalists and investment bankers, need to know the very latest on this growth sector to stay ahead of the game.

We expect an interesting session!

Tags: Media

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Google, Interactive TV, and CoTV

There is recent buzz about Google getting into ITV (Interactive TV). In addition to some recruiting (with a senior hire of Vincent Dureau from Open TV), Google researchers recently attracted some attention from a report on an experimental TV+PC service.

That service was said to supplement the mass-media experience of television with a personalized Web-based experience: "Our goal is to combine the best of both worlds: integrating the relaxing and effortless experience of mass-media content with the interactive and personalized potential of the Web, providing mass personalization." The paper won "best paper" award at the Euro Interactive Television Conference. A note from the authors and link to the paper is on the Google Research blog.

How and when Google will go there seems unclear. When I asked Chris Sacca of Google about it at a recent conference, he suggested it was research at this stage, and not in any current product plan. Interestingly, one of the references cited in that paper was paper from 2003 which happened to have as a coauthor some guy named "Brin, S." So it is reasonable to think Google has some real interest there. Obviously, the ability to link Web ads to TV programs and ads would be a killer.

Especially interesting to me is the fact that what these papers describe is essentially an applicaton of CoTV, coactive TV, which I have been working on and promoting for some time.

Some of the key points of similarity:

For more on CoTV, check out the Web site.

The two Google papers are:

Tags: Simultaneous Media Use Concurrent Media Use

Monday, May 22, 2006


Multitasking Marches On -- But the Link is Still Missing

The growing opportunity in media multitasking is nicely summarized in the recent N Y Times article, At an Industry Media Lab, Close Views of Multitasking. It reports on the Emerging Media Lab at Interpublic, and notes that "market researchers are still struggling to understand the realities of what has been called "concurrent media usage."

But a point yet to be widely recognized is how support for coactivity is a key to increasing engagement. Researchers now recognize that "engagement" is a critical factor in media and advertising effectiveness. What is still missed is that our media can easily provide built in services to support coactivity -- what I call "coactive media" (notably"coactive TV" or "CoTV") -- that can aid in getting users more engaged.

This missing link makes the concurrent media relate to one another automatically, and thus make for a more engaged experience. This can be done at a platform level (much like a search engine) without adding any new burden to media producers.

Instead of the concurrent media distracting attention from one another, they can increase engagement -- by facilitating the reinforcement of one medium with another.

It is certainly important for researchers to learn how media multitasking occurs organically (as it does now), but it will be far more valuable (to users, producers, and advertisers) to create a platform that facilitates and focuses more purposeful coactivity!

(See the CoTV site for details on how easily this can be done.)

Tags: Simultaneous Media Use Concurrent Media Use

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Yahoo! Go TV and the Media Concierge

With the release of Yahoo! Go, and the recent purchase of Meedio, Yahoo! is becoming less centered on the PC or any other single device, and more centered on the user, who consumes media on many devices.

A view of the profound importance of this step is in the Diffusion Group analysis, Yahoo Go™ - The World's First Genuine Personal Entertainment Guide? What they call the Personal Entertainment Guide (PEG) is what we and others have called the Media Concierge.

As they observe, Yahoo can become "a new type of system operator - network agnostic virtual operator (NAVO, if you will) ... Yahoo! has taken the next step in challenging the dominance of the traditional MSOs. Brian Roberts and Rupert Murdoch will likely look back in the coming years and ask where all their incremental revenue has gone."

They summarize Semel's January announcement of Go, as stating these objectives:

This is another step toward the world of user-centered access to media that CoTV exploits -- a world of any content or service on any device or screen. What CoTV adds is cross-device and multi-device services, as well as new capabilities for "screen-shifting" on the fly. CoTV services exploit the fact that consumers often multi-task, using two or more devices/screens simultaneously.


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