Every year, global leaders attend the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss how to better the world.
A new twist at this year's WEF is the addition of The Davos Question. There's no branding at the event, but Google is a big backer of the WEF and they've obviously scored a big hit with The Davos Question. It asks everyone, "What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?"
Between sessions this is clearly the place to be. Every few minutes another celebrity or leader walks through to leave a Davos Question response or go to a private meeting in the rooms beyond.
Bono has been by twice. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf came by so many times that people stopped noticing. Rupert Murdoch strolled in, as did Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former PM Tony Blair, Howard Dean, Michael Dell, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin, Chad Hurley, Henry Kissinger and Shimon Peres.
The Future of Mobile Technology session was led by Fortune Senior Editor David Kirkpatrick. Panelists included Google CEO Eric Schmidt, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, SK Telecom CEO Kim Shin-Bae and China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou. Despite having a bit too much of focus on China, it is a good session. Here's a direct link to the English stream. A good review/summary on TechCrunch is here.
Google.org held an energy-focused session chaired by Tom Friedman of the NYTimes. Here's the Q&A that followed the session. Gotta love Friedman who editorializes a bit, takes a couple shots at Mitt Romney and repeated one of his lines from an earlier session, "don't change your leaders, change your light bulbs."
FORTUNE: Big Tech Will Apple turn tech stocks sour? « Apple reported earnings that beat analyst estimates on strong sales of iMacs, laptops and iPhones. But its cautious outlook led investors to slam the stock Wednesday morning, and take much of the Nasdaq down with it.
Decade-Old Tribal Transcends Digital - Advertising Age For no less than a decade, Tribal DDB has been steadily growing a worldwide footprint to serve up big ideas for big marketers. It's an agency that, while expert in most things digital, is no less creative and collaborative and brand-savvy for that ...
This is a fine demonstration of how effective the correct use of web technology can be. It's a map of Swiss trains in real time.OK, it just shows Zurich at the moment, but you can actually follow the trains in motion.
It's only in alpha right now, but you know that within a few days the "YodelMeisters" will have that sucker humming. What will they think of next... Clocks that go cuckoo?
The message on the site reads:
Welcome! For all of you visiting this website: this site is still in ALPHA-phase. You're not supposed to see it ;-) But as some bloggers already wrote about it, we decided to keep it open. In a couple of weeks time, we'll add more info here, and more functionality. For now, we keep on developing.
I think a mobile version of this functionality would be awesome.
2007 Crunchies: The Winners Some good, some stupid. Sad that the "best Business Model" award went to a business that sells hats, t-shirts and mugs. Says a lot about the start-up biz models out there, doesn't it???
If you use Facebook, you've used Slide ... even if you've never heard of them. If you've ever "Thrown a Sheep", "SuperPoked" or simply created a slideshow on Facebook, you know Slide.
On the coattails of Facebook's funding and subsequent massive valuation, Slide has landed $50 million in a fourth round of funding that values the company at more than $500 million. Max Levchin, of PayPal fame, is well on his way to building a robust company posied to move beyond making (very successful) widgets to creating a full-blown ad network. They've got a base of 150 million very attractive users.
Their funding is pretty big news and is getting a lot of attention. Kara swisher wrote about it yesterday, and there's a big story about the investment in BusinessWeek, The NYTimes and several other places today.
BusinessWeek's "ValleyGirl" (side note: love the fact that BW is blogging, and it is hilarious that BW has a blogger named Valley Girl) reports:
Valley Girl has learned that Slide has raised $50 million in a round of funding that values the company at more than $500 million. In this fourth round, the investors are not your typical Silicon Valley funding crew, either. This time, Wall Street heavyweights Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price (TROW) are getting behind so-called widgets, applications like those made by Slide that are all the rage on social networks and other sites these days. If you know Levchin at all, you know he's building Slide with an eye toward an initial share sale, not a quick flip. Engaging Wall Street names drives the point home.
Slide: The $500 Million Widget Valley Girl, Business week: After cashing in big with PayPal, Max Levchin could be at it again with his social network tool. The latest funding values Slide at a half-billion
Slide Gets Big Funding? Kara Swisher, AllThingsD: Slide–the San Francisco start-up whose widgets are among the most popular on Facebook and MySpace–is completing a round of funding that could value it at many times a multiple of its most recent $60 million to $80 million valuation.
Exonerated RIAA defendant scores double victory in court A US District Court judge in Oregon has reaffirmed a magistrate's award of attorneys' fees and the dismissal of exonerated RIAA defendant Tanya Andersen's counterclaims against the RIAA without prejudice so that her class-action lawsuit against the record ...
Sloping Off A nice off-piste article in the easyJet Inflight magazine, of all places. (Thanks Jen) :: When you've skied deserted valleys without even a lift in sight, there's no looking back. For exhilarating off-piste fun, in powdery snow, look no further…
Recession Hits: What It Means for Ad Biz - Advertising Age Ten Industry Leaders Offer Their Takes on the Approaching Downturn. Merrill Lynch last week became the first major U.S. investment bank to declare the U.S. economy in recession. Two days later, Goldman Sachs jumped in, predicting that the economy would ...
Wikipedia describes Twitter as “a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific.”
I agree with that description but would add the following: A company with no visible business model built on an incredibly weak technology platform.
As most of you know, I'm very bullish on the internet. To some, that's the understatement of the millennium. But my bullish-ness does not mean I love everything out there by default.
Twitter shares those two unenviable characteristics with Second Life, and whilst I am breaking my own promise not to blog about them, I feel today is an important day for Twitter: Today is the day Twitter failed the Macworld test.
At yet another critical moment where the start-up had an opportunity to impress, their service failed leaving their user base frustrated and wondering why they can't cope with the demand.
Pete Cashmore writes, "Downtime has become par for the course for Twitter during big news events (especially those pertaining to the tech industry, which makes up a sizable portion of the Twitter userbase), with the company having nearly 6 days of downtime in 2007 according to a recent report from Pingdom."
Like many of my colleagues and geeks around the world, I was in the office today trying to follow the goings-on at the annual Apple love fest. As I am much less interested in the blow-by-blow from the real Steve Jobs, I was looking forward to Daniel Lyons' satire. But much to mo my despair Fake Steve Jobs' live account of the proceedings was nowhere to be found.
He planned to "live blog" the event, but for whatever reason he decided to use Twitter instead.
As I mentioned in my 2008 co-predictions, I think Twitter's investors will begin questioning Biz Stone about his company's viability. From the looks of things after tonight's fiasco, many Twitter fans are falling out of favour or at least raising some serious questions about why this keeps happening.
Here are a links to a few blogs discussing the story. Several of them use Twitter regularly, have given favorable reviews of the service and have generally supported Twitter in the past:
Host Lesley Stahl makes much too big a deal about his age. How old was Gates? How old was Paul Allen? This is a non-issue. It probably helps, as he probably has less fear than all those old farts over 40. ;-)
The most surprising criticism, however, comes from Kara Swisher who can't seem to understand how Zuckerberg could make a mistake while launching Beacon and then did not immediately back away from it as soon as the bloggers and FB users started to complain.
The company had the same reaction by those groups when it launched what many (including myself) consider to be one of most valuable Facebook features: the news feed. As I wrote last July, "To me, the news feed is the most important (and valuable) part of Facebook. It is unique. As unique as Google's PageRank. As unique as Amazon's recommendation engine."
When the news feed launched, everyone was up in arms: change of terms and conditions, change of service, privacy issues, personal data sharing, and so on ... many of the same concerns people have with Beacon. If I were FB, I would have waited a bit to see if the dust settled, too.
Several more links to the story are here. If it is real, it is either a massive PR blunder or some new Macvertainment that we've never seen before. If it isn't real, it is a great story and is certainly contributing to the hype around the event. Could be a very nice (or not-so-nice) "viral" PR stunt. Could be a joke. Could be a spam stunt.
I know what you're thinking: That there's a whole bunch o' links you got there, i-boy!
Well, perhaps you're not thinking with a Texas accent, but for whatever reason, I am. Having finally sorted out my connection with Sky Broadband, I spent a lot of time online this weekend. I did a lot of surfing and downloading. Once the speed breaks 11mbps, I can't resist. ;-)
A pretty mixed bag of links, so hopefully there is something here you'll enjoy.
Rip TV: Nimbus Independent Nimbus Independent was formed in October of 2007 by Eric Pollard, based out of Welches, Oregon. The "Hunting Yeti" films are produced by Nimbus Independent, in association with Poor Boyz Productions.
John Baker, Managing Partner at OgilvyOne and former head of Proximity and Organic London will join me at iris Digital as joint Managing Director. Campaign magazine has the story.
Needless to say, I'm very happy about this and am really looking forward to him coming on board! He and I go way back: We worked together 10 years ago at Organic NYC when the internet was still made of a series of tubes.
digg labs The labs provide a broader (and deeper) view of Digg. A lot of stuff gets submitted to Digg every day, so good things can sometimes fly right past you. Labs projects look beneath the surface of the Digg community's activities.
Crazy Egg – visualize your visitors By adding just a simple snip of code to your blog, they can tell you who's clicking where on your site. It's a really interesting tool with lots of visualization methods built in. You can use a free version, and then their subscription model isn't t
St Christoph am Alberg St Anton's lift-linked neighbor is smaller, higher and more refined. With a base at 1,800 m above sea level, it is one of the highest ski resorts in the Alps, which means it is always a winter wonderland. The tiny resort area is incredibly rustic, traditional and inviting. It has better access to Valluga Grat (St Anton's main peak) and is much more peaceful, too. If you really want to relax and still have access to all that St Anton has to offer, this is the place for you. Be warned, however: exclusivity comes at a definite price. Everything is expensive.
Gargellen This is my favourite small resort in the world. I'll be there for a week in February; my third trip in as many years. Located in the Montafone region of the Austrian Alps just the other side of Davos, Gargellen is a small resort, but it has some of the best powder I've ever found. There s a ton of perfect intermediate terrain and plenty of steeps and off-piste for more advanced skiers.
Silvretta Nova Gargellen's big brother is located a short drive down the valley. It is the largest resort in the The Montafone Valley. Lift tickets are valid at all the resorts in the Montafone Valley, so if you're staying in Gargellen, you can spend a day at Nova, for example. In addition to the bars and clubs, there's also a 5K toboggan run that's open at night. Huge, fun and under 2 hours from Zürich and/or Friedrichshafen. http://www.bergfex.com/nova/
Ischgl Never been, but I know it is great. All the Austrians I know swear by it. Ischgl is huge and the high altitude guarantees snow. The resort has very good terrain and is party central. Always crowded, but very fun. http://www.ischgl.com http://www.bergfex.com/ischgl
Obertauern 90km from Salzburg. Well-known major party spot. Always has snow. Pretty good skiing but not the most vertical you'll find. http://www.obertauern.com
Bad Gastein Mid-size. Awesome multi-mountain skiing and a wide variety of terrain. Best bet is to rent a car whist there, as the mountains are a bit spread out. Close to Salzburg. Natural thermal spas. Relaxing. Fun, especially for couples or for an escape. http://www.bergfex.com/badgastein
Austria is without a doubt my favourite place to ski in the world. That said, I've been to some fantastic places in Switzerland. Here are a few I know along with micro-descriptions.
I haven't been to the French Alps in over 15 years, so I am not the right person to ask about it. That said, if you haven't been to Chamonix, you haven't lived.
Travel time is always critical for trips to the mountains, especially if you are flying. The last thing you want to do is spend a half day stuck in the car after a flight. So, most of the spots I've mentioned are under 1.5 hours from the airport. If you are considering Austria as a destination, don't forget about Friedrichshafen or even Zürich, as they're good alternatives to Innsbruck and Salzburg.
Finally had a chance to see Wes Anderson's latest, The Darjeeling Limited. It might not be his best pic, but it is certainly worth seeing. Like most of his films, he explores themes of family (fathers, in particular), belonging, love, destiny, drugs, dysfunction and discovery.
Nathalie Portman makes a cameo appearance in the movie, and she makes a bit more than a cameo in "Hotel Chevalier", Anderson's 13-minute companion piece to the main feature. Shot in Paris with Schwartzman and Natalie Portman, it depicts the end of brother Jack's previous romance and serves as a droll prologue to "Darjeeling.". Via the Post Gazette.
It is very hard to find, but you can watch it here for the moment.
In cubicles across the country, lunchtime has become the new prime time, as workers click aside their spreadsheets to watch videos on YouTube, news highlights on CNN.com or other Web offerings
The trend — part of a broader phenomenon known as video snacking — is turning into a growth business for news and media companies, which are feeding the lunch crowd more fresh content.
“Go take a walk around your office” at lunchtime, said Alan Wurtzel, head of research for NBC. “Out of 20 people, I’m going to guarantee that 5 are going to be on some sort of site that is not work-related.”
The midday spike in Web traffic is not a new phenomenon, but media companies have started responding in a meaningful way over the last year. They are creating new shows, timing the posts to coincide with hunger pangs. And they are rejiggering the way they sell advertising online, recognizing that noontime programs can command a premium.
A couple very nice posts on the future of the travel industry ... especially the airlines. He suggests, amongst other things, that airlines should offer the ability for people to review their trips and holidays in-flight. He suggests that airlines should become publishers.
What a fab idea!
Can you imagine coming home from a trip and spending 5 minutes adding your $0.02 worth of information to a database of locations, hotels, and hotspots? Maybe you'd get a few extra frequent flier miles. Or, perhaps you'd get the satisfaction of know ing that you had contributed to a unbiased data resource. Maybe both.
This is an idea that could topple Tripadvisor. Or, if they were smart, they'd be building it for the airlines.
By the way - and I don't meant to rant - but has anyone esle noticed how poor the redesigned Tripadvisor is? They tried to make it more simple, I guess, but it looks like crap to me.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Some think it is a non-story: Someone breaks the Facebook TOS and gets banned. End of story. However, I think there is a much bigger issue here - one that Scoble knew about when he started scraping info from Facebook in the first place - and that is the issue of data ownership and portability.
Walled gardens like Facebook (and previously AOL) have always battled with this issue, and I believe Scoble knew he was attacking their Achilles heel when he did it.