Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brian Williams Declares NYT's "Discovery" of Brooklyn As Media Story Of 2010

This really was so funny that I have to throw it back into the social mediasphere one more time. Everything he says about the way the NYT (=Manhattanites) see Brooklyn is so true. All he's missing is the bearded Ruby-coding hipster riding his bicycle.

the nytpicker: NBC's Brian Williams Declares NYT's "Discovery" of Brooklyn As Media Story Of 2010. "It's Like Marrakesh," He Says.

Direct video link:

Google Beats Spell-Check for Figuring Out How a Word is Spelled

I was writing an email to my friend and entrepreneurial colleague Mike Horn over at CraftCoffee trying to help him articulate his company's vision in a way that will help potential investors see the opportunity as clearly as he does.  Somewhere along the line it became clear that the word connoisseur was going to have be used.  In writing.  Except that I had no idea how to spell it.  

Not only did I not know how to spell it, I couldn't even get close enough for the spell-checker to figure out what I was talking about.  I tried out "conneseiur" and "connesiour", but MS Word (and ironically Chrome as well, which must be using the same spell-check engine), just wanted to suggest words that started with the word "connect" (connections, Connecticut, connectible, etc.).  Quickly calculating that the ratio of vowel combinations to my knowledge of French approached infinity, I realized that this was not going to get anywhere.  So, I turned to that modern oracle of all knowledge, Google.

In the address bar of my Chrome browser (not even on the Google site!), I started typing: c-o-n-n-e-s.  The first suggestion Google gave me was "connestee falls."  But the second?  You guessed it.  Google 1, spell-check 0.  And as Google Instant likes to point out, I didn't even have to press enter.


If all is correct this post should publish at precisely 2AM EST and should not be picked up by Twitterfeed

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Verizon expected to eat up AT&T iPhone sales; iPhone expected to eat up Verizon bandwidth?

Gene Munster must have one of the more fun analyst jobs on Wall Street; as Piper Jaffrey's senior Internet research analyst he has become the go to guy for speculation on how many [name your favorite iDevice] Apple is going to sell in the next period.  He has to be one of the few research analysts that have actual consumers reading their research.  It's interesting then that he forecasts Verizon to sell only 2.5MM iPhones in 2011; that's compared to 5.2MM iPhones that AT&T sold in the third quarter 2010 alone.  

Let's take Gene's assumption that Verizon doesn't start selling the iPhone until "midway through the March quarter."  That means roughly 2/3 of the year remain, with the holiday season being the peak season anyways, so let's say they could have sold 25% more if they started selling Jan 1.  That's a run rate of barely 3M vs >20M for AT&T.  Other analysts are betting even lower.

Explanations of how these numbers are derived are vague (and being a former management consultant whose job was sometimes to size markets I know that these calculations are often more than a bit hand-wavy), but one thing I am willing to bet on: Verizon could make them higher if they wanted to - but they don't.

A lot of people forget that AT&T didn't used to have the worst service until they started carrying the iPhone and their networks became overburdened.  They've already caught up to Verizon in capital expenditures per subscriber, and yet it hasn't helped their image (and arguably their coverage) at all.  If I'm Verizon, I'm simultaneously thrilled and terrified by the prospect of millions of bandwidth guzzling iPhone users on my network.  I'm going to do everything I can do manage expectations and do a gradual iPhone ramp-up to test whether my network really is as good as I think it is before I go all out in promoting the iPhone.    Since carriers have a lot of control over what phones get sold through their network via relative levels of pricing and promotion levels, Verizon has the ability to do this.  It might seem foolish to all the iPhone lovers out there who are dying to move to Verizon, but from Verizon's perspective they are doing the right thing.  They've built their brand on "It's the network," not "It's the phone," and no device, not even the iPhone, is worth risking that.

One thing's for sure - it's a good time to be in the backhaul business!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Google Helped Israel Put Out the Fire

Is there anything Google doesn't touch today?  According to the Hebrew version of Ha'aretz, when Bibi Netanyahu decided to seek foreign aid in putting out the largest and deadliest fire in Israel's history, his military attaché "used Google" to find Evergreen, the private company which operates the Supertanker.

The English version of the same article omitted this detail.

On a personal note, the tragedy of this fire which claimed 42 lives and destroyed over 7% of Israel's forested land in mere days, weighed heavily on me during this Hanukah.  This year, instead of the holiday being about celebrating the light of the eternal flame that our ancestors lit after vanquishing the Greeks from our lands, it was about cheering as Greek - and other - fire-fighting planes helped us extinguish flames that had gone out of control.  It was hard to miss this tragic and bittersweet irony.