Today's Web 2.0 social media environment offers a tremendous opportunities for companies to closely engage with customers, prospects and market segments in a positive, mutually beneficial manner. The problem arises when marketing and communications people view these new 1:1 outlets as a great marketing/sales and PR pitching opportunities. They forget that the individuals if not treated properly and with professional respect can turn and instead of being the ones who are being hunted can become the hunters. People -- regular folks -- can be mean and brutal if they are abused. Marketeers need to know the pros/cons, challenges/opportunities. Consumers need to know that they have a powerful platform to strike back and cause real damage. It requires a mutual understanding on both sides and a meaningful two way relationship otherwise...duck. "Nothing in those files makes their sacrifice worthwhile. You have to let go. We're professionals, when an operation goes bad, we tie it off. " - Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) - The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
NAB -- National Association of Broadcasters -- how the industry has changed over the years (even with attendance that was down dramatically). We've gone from huge cameras that took two men and a boy to move around the floor. A room full of sliding levers and people everywhere. Slowly, almost without seeing it the shift began and schools, health care facilities, houses of worship and even businesses could afford the lighter, more automated capabilities. Then we moved to really light stuff -- an HD camcorder, notebook and some kid doing his/her show on the fly. This year the show had obviously made the shift. Mobile and personal video took center stage...all in highdef. Gawd that's gotta really tick off the big iron folks because they've gotta sell a lot of $10,000 "facilities" to make up for lost ground. Get a life folks because our kids are directing, producing, posting their own shows...and they're good !!!! "Why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you got hit by a truck. Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!" -- Joe (Tony Curtis), Some Like It Hot (United Artists -1959) Television production used to be pretty straight forward. You had HUGE, HEAVY cameras three people pushed around. In the control room you had sliders And BAM!! magically the signal went over the air. At home you turned on the set. Had dinner (families ate together then) and a half-hour later the tube was lit and you watched the Sid Caesar or Lone Ranger show. It was so cool.
Ah the power of 140 characters. It is proving dynamite for well just everyone. Even us. We've got Twitter sending us notes saying people are following our Tweets and we have yet to send one out. But we aren't really that interested in someone following our every mumble on the Internet. Some people think it's a great solution. We think its stalking. Lots of people sign up but their fall off rate is worse than the churn on some of the mobile service people. Oh it will last. Everything lasts on the Internet. 7Command Performances - Everyone it would seem loves to perform and be in the spotlight. That is certainly true with the noise that surrounds the "gotta be on" approach people have taken regarding Twitter. Problem is even though thousands join each month, only about 40 percent of them stick around after a few days. The thrill of talking to yourself in a crowd seems to get old real fast according to most studies. "Son derriere noir... c'est formidable!" - Hilary van Doren, Fame 1980, MGM Photo Source - MGM In today's budget stricken climate, it's important to recognize the prominent role that the Internet can play in a cost-effective marketing strategy. Not only is Web marketing very affordable, but it also offers you an effective vehicle for public exposure.
It started out -- as most things do in the PC/CE/communications industry -- as a "little" idea...an application store on a corner of the virtual cloud world. Apple's iPhone app store got a lot of attention, a lot of traction, heck a lot of sales. More than one company said, "hey we want/need one of those thingies! Make it so." Suddenly you can't make your way around the web without bumping into another one. No one at Apple will say but people speculate the company has racked up $45 million with their virtual store front. The shelves are stocked -- more than 30,000 "products." People bustle in and out the door -- the billionth download occurred a couple of months ago. Now new smartphones are coming out, every app store offers something, the new Palm is going to try to beat the beast and news will soon emerge from WWDC (Apple's worldwide developer's conference). Is this a beautiful, fun, exciting, occasionally profitable industry or not? It is!!! 1Open for Business - Apple wasn't the first to build a smartphone or the first to offer apps. They were just the first to make them real, real fun/interesting. Offer the right merchandise, the right mood and most people will take the bait. Source - Screen Gems Guess when you have $56 billion and change in the vault in today's economic environment you must be doing something right. "I knew it would come to this." - Beth Charles, Obsession (2009) Just wish our kids would quit contributing to the stash Apple is using to buy GPU (graphics processor unit) technology and game designer talent. A few years ago Apple decided all smartphones sucked (they're not too hot on netbooks either). So they announced the step up from the iPod (they didn't like those other MP3 players!)â€¦the iPhone.
"Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen." - Yoda, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) You can forgive the news reporter who mistook President Obama's Shaka wave for a sign to call him during the inauguration. The connected candidate -- who took communications to a whole new level -- would have expected a text message or emailâ€¦not a call. Doubt if his new phone number is in the phone book anyway!
"Believe me, I was prepared for everything - except you." - Mac (Sean Connery), Entrapment (1999), 20th Century-Fox It came as a rude shock to our sonâ€¦he was no longer one of the most sought after people on the planet - the hardcore gamer. It dawned on him after watching his sister and Mom play their Wii musical instruments, exercise with the system and do a little Dancing With the Stars. While he and his comrades were busy shootin 'em up, bustin 'em up; the gaming industry had discovered there was a brave new market existed beyond teensâ€¦beyond boys! Figure 1 - Surprise - Hard core gamers have lost their "most sought after" position for video game system and software producers. Without a lot of fanfare the developers/manufacturers have found that there is a huge general and casual gamer market out thereâ€¦young/old, male/female.
We don't agree that this year's CES attendance was an indicator of an industry decline. The lower numbers were good for a lot of reasons. Unfortunately when the economic tide turns the hordes will probably be back. 3D movies/TV, mininotebooks and the constant din that we need our entertainment everywhere were the major news points for the show. Beyond that there were incremental enhancements/improvements. Paradigm shifts were not to be seen. But as CEA's Shapiro said it may be tough for a few quarters but the industry is going to innovate itself out of the global economic downturn. Flying to the seat of national government for handouts is not in the companies' DNA. Surviving and thriving in the PC/CE/content industry isn't always easy, sometimes not much fun but it is always interesting. This is one of those really, really interesting periods.
Despite what a lot of "financial experts" say (weren't they the ones who got us into this position?) things aren't real bad -- yeah they're not real great either. But people in the business/consumer computer/entertainment/communications industry have never been short on optomism or ideas. Looking up from what is near the bottom of the valley it is fairly obvious that it will be a long, hard trek back up to the top of the hill. Some firms won't survive by this time next year. Those that focus on developing a strong consumer centric strategy and lead/listen to the marketplace will be light years ahead of the competition when we enter 2010. What's it going to take? What will the the leaders do? We've got a pretty good idea...hope you agree. We know most have what it takes to survive and prosper!
Hammer Repair - Netbooks and cloud computing are great for certain times, certain activities and they will be used by lots of people - young and old - who just want to stay in touch. But when it comes to working with important information/material nothing beats a higher performance, higher capacity, heavier notebook.
Our son has it tougher than we did growing up. Oh sure he's got his content wherever, whenever he wants. But we had power. We had juice!
The financial industry got caught with its pants down. The automotive industry got caught with its arrogance up. The PC, CE, communications industry simply got caught between the two. We feel the angst but the business is still fundamentally sound. With the right course adjustments the industry will be in a better position to deliver solutions and satisfaction to global business and local consumers. More importantly, there are tens of thousands of Silicon Valley minds around the globe who know how to turn fantastic ideas into meaningful products/services.
Bright Idea - Just so no one missed the fact that Intel's Craig Barrett was talking about another bright idea that the company's engineering teams had developed the events folks put him in front of a light bulb. It didn't work because we could barely see the itty-bitty device he held in his hand at the opening of IDF this year. Source -- Intel
Work or Play - Everyone expects their monitor to instantly refresh. They demand that the graphics to be lightning fast as well as ultra-realistic. Of course that also needs to be wrapped in a low-cost, environmentally kindly system. When all of this doesn't come together we're a little concerned.
Look At That Stuff - Storage folks made it through last year - just barely - delivering enough capacity that just met everyone's/everything's needs. But man if you look out on the horizon - and beyond - it looks hairy. Even having people working round the clock the content tsunami will just keep boring down on us.
Flood of Content - The 2008 Olympics sent a flood of video content to the US and around the globe threatening to drown everything in its path. But the Internet infrastructure was able to support the huge online viewing audience easily.
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