Monday, July 30, 2007

Obligatory Second Life Post - July 30, 2007

Americans love discovering, selecting, customizing and interacting with their content. This can be seen with the success in sales of digital video recorders (over 15 million in market), such as TiVo, which allows users to decide when and what television programs they are going to watch. It can also be noted through the rapid growth of the virtual world Second Life—where users can interact with brands on a level never before available.

In its purest form, Second Life is a 3D virtual environment that is built and maintained by its virtual residents. Users engage as avatars to interact, play, do business and communicate with each other. Residents can trade or sell virtual goods and services to other Second Lifers, host live concerts, participate in public debate and engage in many activities similar to those done in real life. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Since its launch in 2003, Second Life has gone from zero users to 8.4 million, is growing at 30% per month, and has begun to host virtual headquarters for companies such as American Apparel, IBM, Starwood Hotels and Adidas.
Second Life presents a great opportunity for a company to interact with a more youthful target audience. Because Second Life’s population is almost evenly split between men and women and the average age is 32, auto manufacturers have already begun to use it as a media platform. However, although their efforts have been seemingly successful, many Second Lifers are upset about the intrusion into their virtual world. Many of them create virtual goods to sell, such as cars. When Nissan and Toyota gave away cars for free, many of the virtual car manufacturers were not only alienated, but suffered a loss of personal income.
When making an entrance into Second Life, you should be mindful and considerate of its users. The residents are not ready to see ads plastered all over the world they created, and they are quick to retaliate by using computer viruses, code hacking and virtual bombs to disable marketers. Any marketing initiatives should invite the Second Lifers to explore a dealership, like GM’s Motorati Island, but not force itself on the residents.
You also have to figure out how to find the residents, as many articles being published right now point out that many corporate attempts to have a presence in Second Life are ghost towns.

If you decide to use Second Life as a new way of engaging with prospective consumers, remember that “real world rules apply,” even if it is a virtual environment. Take what you know about guerilla and experiential marketing tactics and apply them when executing a campaign in Second Life

Impromptu Vegas - July 29, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Humorous Business Article –July 27, 2007

The Onion should just repost this article to their webpage or print it in their newest edition.
Wow! Really? Microsoft truly does move at the speed of old school businesses…slow!

I can’t imagine being Steve Ballmer telling a crowded auditorium that the company can’t figure out how to make their tools available online until the year 2017. That’s ten years Steve. Ten years!!!! The Internet has barely been around for more than ten years, and Microsoft can’t figure out how to put their tools online before then? Amazing, simply amazing.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Entrepreneur Resource – July 26, 2007

I have been doing much thinking around how to begin to start doing the legal mumbo jumbo to set up my business. What do I need to become official?

Well, this is a good place to start

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

4 Secret Places in San Francisco

Concrete Slides:
I read about these secret concrete slides on Yelp that are located in the Twin Peaks area of San Francisco, and decided to take a trip out there. It looked really cool, but unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s fit for a 6’3” guy that weighs 200 lbs. Needless to say, I love secret places, and this was definitely secret.

Black Horse London Deli:
This little pub in between Russian Hill and Cow Hollow serves up cask ales, English beers, and tasty cheese plates. The trick is that there is only room for 9 stools, no cell phones are allowed, cigar smoking is ok, and women get priority seating. It’s one of those tiny places that you would miss if you’re not paying attention.

Stan Shaff runs this sculptural sound studio space that is tucked away somewhere above the Polk Gulch and below Pac Heights. Perhaps a one-time protégé of John Cage and Philip Glass, Shaff leads the audience on a 360 degree sound experience in an odly shaped theater that feels like something out of Space Odyssey 2001

Russian Hill Tennis Courts:
Perched atop Russian Hill right by the infamous winding street is an awesome soft top basketball court and three soft top tennis courts. The views are spectacular, and at night one can hear the sounds of the seals down in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a great place to learn new skateboard tricks and not get too terribly hurt, not to mention a place to take a date to admire the "views".

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Invention Idea #1 - July 24, 2007

I’m not a programmer or a soldering gun wielding microchip engineer, but I do love following technological developments that change the world in which we live. Maybe it’s a robot receptionist or maybe it’s a make-your-own-sticker website, I love it all.

Sometimes I have these ideas for inventions that utilize technologies at hand, but since I have no idea how to do it, well, they just remain ideas. In the name of sharing and inspiration, I’ll reveal all ideas I think of that I can’t fathom actually figuring out how to do. Before I do, here are two sites that encourage people to do just that : and .Alright here’s my pitch. Someone out there needs to create Bluetooth “buttons” that a person can place on objects that an individual typically carries on oneself (such as a wallet or iPod). These Bluetooth buttons would be linked to a person’s phone, and would notify the person when one of the buttons was no longer transmitting waves back to the phone. The phone would then ring or do something to tell the person that one of the tagged items was missing.

Essentially, this type of product would prevent people from losing items they commonly carry on themselves. For instance, if I sat down on a bus and my car keys fell onto the seat when I stood up and started to walk away, my phone would start to ring and let me know item “a” had lost its signal. I could then turn around to find my keys sitting on the seat. Vice versa, if my phone falls onto the seat, then when I walk away it would ring, because all the items on me would be separated from the phone, and hence, the phone would ring and I would notice it was on the seat behind me. This type of technology could also be used as a theft deterrent of sorts, given you can spot the thief.

Can anyone make this happen?

Jo-Tel Sausage Fest

Join me and the Jo-Tel this weekend at the 1st annual Jo-Tel Sausage Fest!

The Jo-Tel Sausage Festival
"You've never had bacon so thick, pork so tender, steak so juicy"

Saturday, July 28
5pm until the neighbors narc on us

Monday, July 23, 2007

"In the Studio" - July 22, 2007

No posts because I've been in the studio, but here's a pic from my debacles

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Exclusivity" - July 18, 2007

I was in New York last week and had the rare opportunity to experience a true underground speakeasy. It was incredible, not only because the drinks were beyond amazing, but because I felt pretty damn cool to be inside the joint. Sure anyone feels special when they get into a popular spot, but this was extra special because you had to know about it, then you had to go into a telephone booth inside a hot dog restaurant, then you had to give them the secret code, then you got let into the darkly lit bar through the back of the telephone booth. Yes, they officially made you feel cool and exclusive…which brings me to a big point (cue drum roll).

The most successful brands, products, or companies are those that create a sense of belonging and exclusivity around their brand.

Think about the people who drive BMW Minis and how proud they feel to drive one, and how the advertising even makes fun of those who don’t own one.
Maybe it’s being an avid fan (like a Trekkie) that brings you to an elite status within a certain culture group
Or maybe it’s being apart of a club by buying the product, like the Hair Club for Men.
The closer your bring your audience into your brand and get them to integrate themselves it into their lives the more successful the brand will become.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The definition of Viral Video - Lasse Gjertsen

Don't try to produce a viral video unless it brings the same type of enthusiasm as something like this.

Brand Consistency - July 13, 2007

A brand is….

“It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room ” - Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

Consumers’ perception of your brand is determined by the manner and consistency in which you convey the attributes it is supposed to represent via marketing communications. Key word = CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY!!

This means if you’re Arianna Huffington or Al Gore you shouldn't’t preach environmentalism, and then show up to a Sierra Club event in a posse of gas guzzling SUVs. Or if you are a Continental flight attendant and you fall asleep on the plane wearing a JetBlue sleeping mask (as I witnessed this past week).

Sleepy Continental flight attendant wearing JetBlue "Bliss" sleep mask...what type of message is that?

As I develop the brand behind my product these are a few of the words I live by:

- The brand is a promise of what the organization represents, and it cannot choose to be one thing to one audience and something else to another. Your brand idea runs through everything you do (including the people who work for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

- You can’t escape your brand, either you make the customer experience, or it gets made without you

- A brand is a promise that’s built over time through trust – inspiring loyalty without question

* A brand's prime advocates are the employees that work for them, and if they can't get it right, then who the hell can? (think about Apple "Geniuses" vs. Verizon's really bad cell phone sales people)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Consumer Generated News Reporting - July 6, 2007

I recently read an article on BuzzMachine by Jeff Jarvis, who is the founder of Entertainment Weekly and regular contributor to New York Daily News, about the cultural phenomenon surrounding the launch of the iPhone. Specifically, Jarvis was interested in the fact that never before have consumers covered an event in so much detail. Hey Mr. Jarvis, if that’s new to you, good luck on remaining a reporter!

Everyone with a camera phone and an internet connection was providing live coverage of anything and everything leading up to the iPhones being released into the world. Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other switchboards were being hit from all sides with curious (and probably jealous) news-seekers. The coverage was so good that major networks substituted their own reporting for bloggers’ content.

Check out all the glowing blue screens recording the fireworks!

To ride the wave of consumer generated media, CNN launched iReport in 2006 in an attempt to aggregate consumer media into one common news platform. It was not a bad idea and it is still up and running, but the problem is that CNN and other news mongers are not set-up to distribute consumer content in a way that presents it completely unbiased. As such, people are less likely to interact regularly with iReport or anything like it.

Flickr, Photobucket, or YouTube are in an optimal position to begin to set-up the world’s first truly aggregate source of grassroot consumer reporting that is not associated with evil manipulative news corporations with their own agendas.

However, the caveat to a successful launch that sustains interest over time is to provide, and continue to provide, an organzied structure for the content; one that categorizes the consumer generated news in a unique way that provides views into an event from multiple angles. Essentially, it would be a 360 degree view of an event. This way, no matter what perspective a person has from an event they are able to place it into an appropriate category.

I believe that consumer generated media is also most likely to work when the event or whatever that is being covered is known about ahead of time, otherwise, services like CNN’s iReport make more sense to send content to, as they are set-up to respond quickly to breaking news.

Consumers will inevitably look to the major news for major developments in their world, and this habit will not change until they begin to trust bloggers. That trust will begin to develop when new-seekers start to realize the value having unbiased multiple perspectives on a “premeditated” event can deliver.

4th of July in D.C. - July 4th, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

Product Launch Tactics - July 2, 2007

So I don’t have final prototypes quite yet, but I’m working on it! I have been watching the advanced mold making DVDs that I bought, but unfortunately, I have found them to not have been worth the investment. In the meantime…I have been contemplating what tactics I need to employ to bring my product to market.

In developing the strategy it is important that I take into consideration the audience, and what issues and questions they might have in buying the product, how they decide what brand to buy and why, and what types of media and messaging they are most likely to react positively to.

Step 1:
Develop individual and unified messaging that clarifies:
- What the brand is about
- What the product is
- Why is it unique
- How it is integral to your life
- Why they should believe us

Step 2:
Decide what tactics are necessary to lead the audience on a continuum from awareness (learning about the product) to interest (wanting to learn more) to consideration (really thinking about buying it) to action (buying the product) to advocacy (promoting the product). Here are just a couple examples of some tactics.
- High impact (visually and physically intriguing) mail piece or brochure
- Street teams (teams who walk around on the street promoting the product)
- “Micro-sites” (websites that are meant to engage the audience with a specific aspect of the brand)
- Mysterious clues that lead audience on a journey over months to the release of the product
- Print ads or Radio Ads

Step 3:
Determine what messaging is appropriate for each individual tactic

Step 4:
Execute the thinking and see what happens!!!