Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Nigerian Letter Scam arrives on Linkedin

Today I received a linkedin from A Marcus Elliker, Owner Import and Export from the Ivory Coast. I've been a big fan of the Nigerian letter scam (Dear Sir, $24021350 Million are waiting for you, just wire $10,000 now to get started) for years, be it in Email or via real letter (my dad has been receiving them for decades).
This is the first time I've gotten one on Linkedin - so congrats to Mr Elliker for being a cutting edge, 2.0 scamster!

Here's the screenshot:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

US States and their comparable-sized countries

I found this interesting map on the Strange Maps blog today and thought you would enjoy it. Gives you an idea of the scale of the US economy! Now I'd only need to know where North and South Dakota are.....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My first experience with Facebook ads

After trying Ad Chap two weeks ago, one of my colleagues and I went straight to Facebook Ads today. We put together a little campaign in the ringtone space, wrote our own copy (the tool is quite simple) and hit the next button. The targeting is very neat, you can target by demos, gender, relationship status, interests and even political inclination (slightly more liberals than republicans, but very few people with political status on there in general). Then we hit the first snag: Facebook does not accept American Express cards! As I would imagine many business users have Amex, this is a real usability issue (no invoicing either). The next issue was, that it wouldn't let me use my card on my colleague's facebook account - but i only figured that one out by trying three times- there isn't any error messaging yet.

Finally we got the campaign live, but alas Facebook shut it down w/o giving a reason after about 20 minutes....

So summing up, nice concept, pretty mediocre execution so far!

Stay tuned for more updates

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Holidays

I really like this greetings app built by Adi and his crew over at Oddcast. It's a nice combination of flash, user-generated photo and voice and an easy interface. Try it for yourself!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Great internet entrepreneur video - here comes the bubble!

This has been removed from Youtube after a request by photographer Lane Hartwell to have it removed. Here it is again from Metacafe.

Here Comes Another Bubble - Celebrity bloopers here

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Facebook still won't let me opt out of beacon!

After reading the latest summary about the Facebook beacon on Centernetworks I decided to once and for all opt out of Beacon. I clicked on the link within the blog post, logged in, selected the "don't spam me" option and hit save - bang I got to this:

What's up, Facebook? $15bn valuation, public outcry and you still won't let me opt out?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Indispensable source of VC funding information

I just came across this site by PWC - you can lookup all US venture investments by Quarter - down to the level of Investor/ Sector and Region. Great tool to find out what's going on!

PricewaterhouseCoopers: Global: Insights & Solutions: MoneyTree™ Survey Report

Costa Rica 2007 - Pura Vida!

Vanessa and I went to Costa Rica for Thanksgiving this year - great place to visit! We really enjoyed the Tico attitude to life - Pura Vida or "take it easy" - make sure you raft the Pacuare when you go down there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Does anyone want to buy my network for a million dollars?

According to this fun little tool by XING my network is worth almost $1MM! Any takers?

Never get lost again without a GPS - Google My Location knows where you are

Google has launched "My Location" where they use triangulation of cell towers to guess where you are. I'm testing it right now and it might be a bit challenging for a place like Manhattan with lots and lots of towers - but at least if you get wasted in Southern Kansas you'll know with an accuracy of up to 5,000 meters where you're at!
I spoke about the accuracy of GPS to Doug Klein at Lightpole last month in San Francisco and he cited a Motorola research trial in which GPS-enabled phones actually worked properly in only 20% of cases because most usage occurred indoors! And as most know, once your GPS is logged out, it takes 1-2 minutes to get back into the network.

read more | digg story

The New York Times is now totally 2.0

Over the last three days I've clicked on three links to NY Times articles that friends of mine have either posted in their Gtalk status or on Facebook. I myself have posted NY Times content on Facebook before which is super easy with their integration. It seems to me that the times is really catching on to the new content distribution models and thus creating lots of valuable page impressions. I may be biased because a lot of my network is in NYC - but the Times is the only one I regularly receive links for. I'm a big fan of good journalism and this to me is a clear indication for the continuing survival of such in the digital ages.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I made it onto the homepage on Digg!

Very exciting moment for a geeky online Marketer like me my Digg on Allen Stern's Centernetworks post got dugg more than 1,000 times since yesterday and it made it onto the homepage! Allen - if you read this, i'd be curious how much traffic you got from this. Check out the screenshot below - it's in the right column.
Long live digg!

Futuristic Play: Differences between MySpace, Facebook, and others

Interesting take on who's going to win the social networking wars.

read more | digg story

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Free Wifi in Manhattan!

And my office is right in the midst. Thanks CBS!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The glitter needs to be resized

Today I had lunch with Stewart and Derek from Fliptrack - a widget company from Menlo Park. I really like their product and some of the possibilities it opens up. My favorite quote however was related to adapting the slideshow content to a certain format - according to Stewart that's all cool - just "the glitter needs to be resized."
I'm documenting this here because it's the kind of phrase I want to be able to share with my kids (none so far) at some point in the future - about what their dad did during the second boom in 2007!

In related news, Snocap is going widget as well with this pretty neat new music mixer tool called Boomshuffle. Here's a sample, check it out or make your own!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What $175,000 in advertising money buys you in New York City

Nice post over at Beyond Madison Avenue. Watch the quick video, it's fun! And did you know that your non-fat double shot latte would buy you about 30 printed sleeves around the cup at Starbucks? Might that be better value?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

T9 Predictive Text: Bias, Censorship, or Just Silly?

The definitive T9 predictive text, censorship study. “Whore” is not recognized but “hooker” and “prostitute” are. Is one better than the other?

read more | digg story

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Orbitz user experience sucks

My prior experiences with Orbitz have mostly been frustrating because they can't seem to get their availability right - it has happened to me dozens of times that they show a fare, I click on it and it's be replaced by a fare three-times higher.

Last night I tried to book a flight to Germany for Christmas. I started on my favorite travel site Kayak and was referred to Orbitz for a good fare on a LH code share. I tried booking it three times and got the great error message "there was an error, please hit the back button" three times after submitting my payment information. Great start. So I picked up the phone to speak to a friendly service representative. Long story short, after several promises he'd get me the flight and after 30 minutes (!) on the phone - nothing! No flight, no booking, nothing. Tip for Orbitz: fix your engine; tip for travellers - use Kayak and then go directly to the airline.

What if Google had to optimize their own ranking

Very funny post. Google would look a lot different if they had to play by their own book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chelsea Piers

Beautiful Central Park in fall

I'm starting to get more into mobile blogging. It's quite fun. This is on Saturday in Central Park - probably the most beautiful fall day of the year.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Founder of Peet's coffee & tea dies

I only recently discovered this coffee gem on the West coast - sad to see the founder passed away - but his legacy lives on every morning for happy west coasters! I wish somebody brought Peet's or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to New York - especially to Midtown where we have 50 Starbucks

View Larger Map - but no decent gourmet coffee!
Please Peet's successors, consider it - i'll be the first in line!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stop spamming me, OMMA!

I'm registered for the OMMA conference in New York right now. They are supposed to be an industry leader and are breaking one of the biggest rules of permission marketing - don't abuse the user. Since yesterday morning I have received a total of 7 emails from them - although I hit unsubscribe after the second.
Yes, according to CAN SPAM they're ok because they have a few days to take me off the list - but it's highly annoying and I don't want any of it.
Play by your own rules, OMMA!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Make even more money while in your PJs - meet Skype Prime

Skype has released Skype Prime a few weeks ago and since I haven't used Skype very much since I only discovered it today. It enables anyone to setup his/her own consulting/expert service using skype/paypal as the platform and billing provider. This could have an impact on services such as Keen and Questico by enabling people to cheaply setup their own service. Of course Keen and Questico still have ratings and feedback systems, established relationships and most importantly the knowledge to attract users to the experts. This could however put some pressure on them to give more rev shares to the truly valuable experts who might have strong enough a following to now leave Keen and venture out for themselves.

Testing blogger on the go

Finally got this to work! Now I should be able to broadcast straight from my Samsung Sync to my blog. Stay tuned for sharp shots from the big city

Conference heaven in New York this week

Advertising week starts tomorrow and I will be heading to Mixx 2.7 tomorrow and Tuesday and stop by OMMA at some point as well. Andrew Chen is speaking about Widgets on a panel tomorrow and I'm looking forward to what he has to say. Lots of great panels and speakers both day, also really curious about Nick Denton. The only party i've heard of so far is Vizy on Monday night, let me know if you come across other mingling events.

Why Tapas bars in New York are ideal for girls

Last night we had dinner with some friends at Degustation, a heavily praised newcomer to the Tapas scene. We were actually seated at adjacent Jewel Bako because we were a rather large group and Degustation has only 15 seats. The service was very attentive (except for the fact that the sushi chef closed down at 11) and the overall food was very good. Now to the title story: the portions are absolutely tiny! The "tortilla" which Frank Bruni so eloquently describes as "poached quail eggs and shallot confit inside pockets of thinly sliced potato. Each of these savory bonbons was best consumed in one bite, which set off a gooey eruption" are indeed quite tasty - the problem is there are two tiny bonbons on a $6 plate and I could easily eat 10 of them just to start. As girls tend to eat less, this kind of place is perfect for them :-)The experience was similar with the minute foie gras and the somewhat terse lamb.
Over the last few years we have eaten Tapas at Tasca, Casa Mono, Tia Pol, Boqueria, Kana, Pintxos, Xunta and Pipa and have almost always had the same experience: artful, varying degree of quality, definitely americanized (my Spanish girlfriend will testify for that) and TOO SMALL.
In Spain you can walk into any Tapas bar, order 3-5 plates and have a great, simple meal - in New York the same will set you back almost as much as the Porterhouse at Keens!
Cry for help: can someone, ideally from the Basque country please come over to NYC and open a great, authentic tapas place? I will spread the word to at least 100 eaters in the first week!
And if you do want to try all of these yourself, here are my top 5 tapas restaurants in NYC:
1) Casa Mono
2) Pipa (not really Tapas focused)
3) Pintxos
4) Degustation
5) Tia Pol

Please send me any hot contestants!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Do online social network reduce real-life communication?

Last weekend I read an interesting piece in the New Yorker about a new course at NYU that teaches student how to network in the real world - i.e. meet fellow students. It states the example of one freshman who already counts 900 friends on Facebook - when he starts meeting some of his "friends" he doesn't even recognize them.
The article made me think about my real-life social behavior in the age of online social networks. I'm an active user of Facebook, Linkedin, Xing, Gtalk, Asmallworld and occasionally Twitter. Whereas Facebook and Asmallworld are mostly real friends (being defined as people I actually know in real life), Linkedin, Xing and Gtalk are mostly business contacts and Twitter is purely experimental.
My time on the phone with people has definitely decreased over the last few years though - mostly towards email and SMS though at this point.
It would be interesting to get some research data on this question or simply other opinions

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You know when you're not 21 anymore.... in response to Guy Kawasaki

"How to change the world" is one of my favorite blogs - not updated superfrequently but always great content. This week, Guy Kawasaki blogs about how you know when you're old. Especially listen to the voicecast. My own humble, not-yet-so-old additions to this are:

1) When you can't eat half a pig anymore and not gain a gram of fat
2) When bouncers at clubs stop asking you for your ID
3) When people start using formal language when addressing you (this works better in German or Spanish)
4) When you and your friends start talking about kids and mortgages
5) When you really start substituting wine for beer (and not only 2 buck chuck)....

feel free to add more to this

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I love fireworks

Very funny video about the South Carolinans

Friday, August 24, 2007

Facebook goes into deep targeting

Last night I had a conversation with a friend of mine about several new startups in the social space, the marketing tools space and of course the advertising space. We started talking about deep targeting in social networks - the ability to leverage all the profile attributes (gender, age, interests, location, apps added, photos, videos etc) to provide targeted advertising opportunities to brands and other advertisers. This is essentially what Facebook is working on right now (subscription). There is good coverage available over on Darren's blog and also at VentureBeat. I think this will be a major way for Facebook to offer deep targeting and thus significantly increase
a) the scope of their advertisers - away from Direct Response
b) their effective CPMs - as a marketer i'd much rather pay $10 CPM for super-targeted inventory than $0.07 CPM (the lowest I've ever heard from Myspace) for carpet bombing.
And Facebook placing ads in the apps - of course they should be able to do that! Madison Square Garden also sells ads although Prince might play the music....

Overall I think this is a very exciting development and I hope it will trigger similar ones at the other social networks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Iphone Nano and Iphone Shuffle uncovered!

I love all the affiliate/free iphone/free ipod incentive programs going on around the web. Google free iphone for a start. Here's one I really liked - they have essentially predicted and designed the next two Iphones for Apple - and they don't look too shabby:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pleo coming alive

I preordered mine a few months ago - looking forward to it coming home in December. I think this will be the geek toy of the christmas season!

See the video here

Friday, August 10, 2007

The public business plan - by Charlie O'Donnell

Charlie O'Donnell, the founder of NextNY and an alumn of Oddcast, USV And Fordham University has decided to branch out on his own. The concept of helping students bridge the transition from college into the job world sounds not only like a noble but possibly quite lucrative one (see et al) - what's more interesting though is his approach to go to market - by posting his pitch on his blog (see the presentation here. He's looking for a tech partner and money and as Henry Blodget over at Alley Insider states this might be the most efficient way to market. Let's hope it doesn't inspire 25 other garage teams across the continent to start the same model within the next two weeks. Anyways, the man has guts, so good luck Charlie!

Monday, July 30, 2007

When a "true" New Yorker visits Silicon Valley

After 5 years in New York City I dare to consider myself a "true" New Yorker - or at least a long term guest of this exciting city. I know a few people in the startup scene here and considered it pretty exciting until a recent business trip to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. While there I had the opportunity to meet with/ talk to at least 15 entrepreneurs and discuss our company goals and their company goals, passions and dreams. The companies ranged from established players like Nokia and Microsoft to tiny startups like Heysan and Lightpole. What made me most excited was the fantastic openness of the entrepreneurs, their willingness to share ideas, discuss opportunities and make introductions to other entrepeneurs. I enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere of the second San Francisco tech boom and am hoping to come back soon. Thanks to all the people who gave me an opportunity to experience that wonderful startup culture.

San Francisco is still the capital of the tech world

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a week on a business trip in San Francisco. I attended the Ypulse Mashup conference organized by the friendly and cheerful Anastasia Goodstein and her colleagues at Ypulse. It was a well put-together conference focusing on Teen Marketing. It covered the topic from an academic, an entrepreneurial as well as a user (albeit teen entrepreneur user) point of view and had a bunch of interesting take-outs:

1)Supposedly, teens do not use email anymore but instead rely on facebook/myspace messaging (a thesis i don't subscribe to as these networks still rely on email/sms notifications)

2)Social Networks are starting to monetize their traffic in ways ranging from classic CPM sales (ineffective) to widget programs to "integrated experiences" - the most impressive ones being presented by Gaia and Myyearbook.

3)Although I'm not a fan of the taste of its organic teas and lemonades, Jones Soda CEO Peter van Stolk's presentation about their low-budget marketing plans that rely on truly out of the box measures such as customized labels ("we don't do porn") was a great closing speech. Very remarkable company and I'd be highly surprised if JSDA wasn't picked up by Pepsi or Coca Cola at some point.

What I really enjoyed about the conference was the quality of the attendees and the general openness of the people. I had lots of interesting conversations during the breaks and the two performances after the show days. I even had the brief pleasure to meet Guy Kawasaki at the end of day 2 who told me he was having a lot of fun with trumors (how couldn't he...).
I definitely recommend the conference for anyone interested in web2.0, teen marketing and the bright new world of social networks.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The different uses for social networks

I just read an interesting thread on the NextNY discussion board about why and how people use social networks. The original question was posted by Dan Lewis who confesses to be on the brink of being too old to get "it." Here's my synthesis of the potential uses - feel free to add in the comment section:

* Light communication (Poke, Wall, GlitterText, etc)
* Self-expression: Slideshows, profile, "online identity"
* Dating (browsing profiles and possibly contacting people)
* Finding/ forming your identity, interests, friends, contacts
* Voyeurism
* Sharing photos, videos, text, experiences - with friends and/or strangers
* Bragging
* Playing together (I think this will become a lot bigger in the future)

To me the first two points are really at the core of the social networking experience - that's what seems to be driving most usage. Appreciate any comments.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Munich: The highest quality of living in the world!

The International Herald Tribune in cooperation with Tyler Brule's Monocle magazine has selected my hometown Munich as the most liveable city in the world. Enjoy the slideshow here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ratatouille is the most charming Pixar movie so far

Last night I went down to Union Square to see Ratatouille with some friends. It was one of the most charming movies I've seen in the last year. The creativity the Pixar folks come up with is just unbelievable. Definitely go see it (and check out the trailer here)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

1 day to go until the Iphone comes out!

Great little video review by the New York Times. I'm finally converted and will try to get one myself - any ideas how to do that?

Also check out the hilarious listings for Iphone Waiting Services on ebay today!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cellfish is on Techcrunch today!

Cheers to Duncan Reilly for covering today - and thanks to all the people who are commenting already. As some of you might know I've joined Cellfish about two months ago and am excited to get good coverage from such a premier tech news source. If any other bloggers read this and want to learn more about cellfish - please contact me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stop the lawmakers - a day of silence for online/web radio

The letter below by founder Tim Westergreen is posted today on

As a daily Pandora listener I totally side with Pandora, Yahoo Radio and all other affected stations - webradio is a fantastic service that shouldn't be killed by Clear Channel, CBS or other lobbyists. Go ahead and call your congressman!

A Day of Silence

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm sorry to say that today Pandora, along with most Internet radio sites, is going off the air in observance of a Day Of Silence. We are doing this to bring to your attention a disastrous turn of events that threatens the existence of Pandora and all of internet radio. We need your help.

Ignoring all rationality and responding only to the lobbying of the RIAA, an arbitration committee in Washington DC has drastically increased the licensing fees Internet radio sites must pay to stream songs. Pandora's fees will triple, and are retroactive for eighteen months! Left unchanged by Congress, every day will be like today as internet radio sites start shutting down and the music dies.

A bill called the "Internet Radio Equality Act" has already been introduced in both the Senate (S. 1353) and House of Representatives (H.R. 2060) to fix the problem and save Internet radio--and Pandora--from obliteration.

I'd like to ask you to call your Congressional representatives today and ask them to become co-sponsors of the bill. It will only take a few minutes and you can find your Congresspersons and their phone numbers by entering your zip code here.

Your opinion matters to your representatives - so please take just a minute to call.

Visit to continue following the fight to Save Internet Radio.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Preorder your pleo now!

Finally it's available - the Pleo will be shipped October 15th. I expect this to be one of the hottest geek toys of the holiday season - get yours now by going here. I love the groan and the little video!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Speedy Tomato

See what actually happens when you throw a tomato in a blender. Great video.

What a dolphin

Rihanna is so hot right now

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Available for a Roshambull Challenge

Trying out the new Red Bull facebook widget - challenge me here

Productivity Porn and Structured Procrastination

I must admit I have a certain faible for productivity enhancements and my personal favorites so far are David Allen (esp. getting things done), Web Worker Daily and Dumb Little Man.
Marc Andreesen has put together a great overview of his personal productivity tips and enlightened me with the great new phrase Structured Procrastination by Stanford Philosophy professor John Perry. Read the article when you get a chance. His best advice (at least for me) is to check emails and voicemail only twice a day instead of every 5 minutes - will try to honor this starting today and see whether it works for me.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Too many plastic bags at Fairway

This morning i went shopping for dinner at my local Fairway on the Upper West Side. It's a fantastic grocery store for those who haven't been but it's also a big distributor of plastic bags as you can see below. Mayor Bloomberg should take a page out of the San Francisco book and ban plastic bags.

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