Oh my gosh. Logged in tonight to find we tripped the 200,000 follower mark.
I’m overwhelmed. Every like, reblog, and follow is a tiny affirmation that I, and subsequently, you are not alone. There are thousands of other amazing people from California to Australia that share our weird, stupid,…
your punbelievable ethan!
Is London’s Silicon Roundabout the world’s next big startup scene? I visited Courtney Boyd Myers at General Assembly to find out
New Tumblr Ad Unit!
It’s on the top of every page—until you unpin it.
My friend Diana did a post recently musing on the streaming nature of social media and how sometimes important news can get missed as the events in people’s lives just scroll by. She made a nice post about the basic facts. I liked it. So I’m going to do it too.
I left the Barbarian Group almost ten months ago. Since then, I’ve been working on a book about advertising, tech and economics. I’ve also been working on a novel about ghosts. I have been working for about six months to open a new coworking space in Williamsburg called Secret Clubhouse, that will be opening in this summer.
On top of all that, I have some new exciting work I am doing. I will be working for Tumblr for the next six months on a full time basis as a consultant for their Sales and Marketing team. I’ve been talking to them and working with them for a while on an advisory basis, but I think now is the time and come and help them for a while in a more hard core manner. I obviously love Tumblr, but I also love that they are committed to this whole “good” thing when it comes, well, anything, but also to advertising and revenue. Much like we were at The Barbarian Group. Most of the advertising on the web is crap still, and after fifteen years of working to make it less offensive from the agency side, I’m excited to help try and do so from the platform side for a while.
Since the dawn of time, advertising has swung back and forth like a pendulum. It goes from the hard selling direct ads of Wanamaker and Draft back to the creative side of Bernbach and Bogusky. I really believe that the eternal pendulum is swinging back from direct to creative, and perhaps for the first time on the web in a good 20 years since we took our first miserable stab with the banner. Ha. Native advertising, premium content, getting out of the banner box and being integrated and real. I mean, I think about this so much that this is what I’ve been writing this mythical book about (and don’t worry, it’s still coming along).
And Tumblr’s all about creativity and creators, from product to community. I’m excited to help make sure that commitment extends to any advertising they do.
It’s gonna rule.
I’ve got some other things coming up soon too, and they are going to be awesome too, but that news is for another day.
this makes my day. so great to see Rick join their team!
A wave starts way out at sea. Way, way out where you can’t see it, but it’s there. It’s tiny, and frail, and doesn’t seem like much though each day it gains a little more strength. Each day it grows. And it’s got it sights set on shore. And it doesn’t stop until it gets there.
If you are looking to get retweeted and nobody picks your tweet up within the first hour, chances are that nobody ever will. Only 1.63% of all retweets happen in the second hour and a minuscule 0.94% in the third hour. The same is true for @replies, too; 97% of all replies happen within the first hour.
I can attest to this. The things I’ve made that have BLOWN up have ignited within the first couple minutes. Very few delayed reactions. Either it sings, or it doesn’t.
This sort of shelf life is similar in Facebook—but what’s interesting in twitter is that the community tolerates a TON of content before pushing back, so sometimes people that drive a ton of RT’s are also driving a lot of volume.
Big product changes have been afoot among several OATV backed companies in the last few weeks. Some have been met with praise, others met with scorn. In all cases there’ve been bits of both as users embrace or resist some of the new features and behaviors offered up by their beloved services.
As users, we’re just like most. There are parts of each new rev of these products we love, and others we’d wished never saw the light of day. Some we embrace over time and others we pester the companies to roll back. With our user hats on, we appreciate the companies who engage openly in the conversations happening among us.
Seeing founders down to interns monitoring and responding to tweets, blog comments and emails shows a level of caring and community that endears us to these companies and their products even more. We continue to invest our time in them and their products because they invest their time listening to and working with us.
But as investors, these product launches have an additional layer of meaning. Because what is often seen as new and, sometimes, surprising to users is actually the public manifestation of what has been bouncing around in the heads of founders and behind closed doors of the companies we back for years.
All the new Explore stuff that Foursquare just rolled out? Dennis shared his vision for that the first time we sat down to talk over 3 years ago. Bitmarking? That’s been something the bitly team has wanted to build for years.
As I look across our portfolio of companies many have just scratched the surface of the visions they have for the products they want to build and the impact they each hope to have on the world. They are working daily to lay the foundations for building the companies that can build the products that shape the future. Much of that is the thankless stuff that never hits the front page of the NYT.
Seeing pieces of people’s visions make their way into the real world is a pretty amazing part of our job as investors. And knowing that there is so much more happening that others haven’t even seen yet, that no one may ever see, gives us a view into a part of the startup experience that most will never get.
I dig that.
“Seeing pieces of people’s visions make their way into the real world” indeed.
A new report from Nielsen, the TV audience ratings and measurement people, shows that the number of people who watched TV at least once per month—a pretty low bar—declined from 90 percent of the population to 83 percent last year.
Proportionately, that means TV lost 8.5 percent of its audience in 2011. As many as 17 percent of people never watch TV, the survey of 28,000 consumers in 56 countries.
That’s a staggering loss of interest in a medium that in industrialized nations is regarded as a standard like electricity or hot running water.
The number of people watching video on a computer at least once per month is now higher, at 84 percent, than those watching TV.
I have yet to download and dig into the report. What I like about it though is that it’s a worldwide number and not just U.S.
At a press conference Tuesday NFL commissioner Roger Goodell left no doubts about where the league stands on Wi-Fi in stadiums: He wants league-wide networks in every NFL venue, so that fans “don’t have to shut down” their mobile devices.
Sharing your posts on Facebook just got a billion times better, with integration into Facebook’s Timeline, News Feed, and Ticker.
New options include:
- Toggle “Send to Facebook” when posting.
- Share Replies on your Facebook Timeline.
- Share Likes on your Facebook Timeline.
(They even get lumped together so they’re not overwhelming!)
You can find the new options in your blog settings. If your blog is already connected to Facebook, you’ll be automatically prompted to upgrade.
very cool guys—nice work!
Do not go into advertising. Your creativity, as trite as it sounds, is worth more than that corporation will ever pay you. We all need jobs. There is nothing wrong with doing something that is not your dream job, out of necessity. But it doesn’t have to be advertising. If you are young, you have time to try a lot of things. Try to be a writer. Try to make it with your band. Try to be a working artist. If it doesn’t work out financially, at least you gave it a shot. And you never have to stop making art, regardless of your circumstances. Unless you agree to sell your creativity to that machine.
I know this was like a week old, but it still irks me, and I think there’s one more thing to say about it.
This is, of course, me. I was in a band. I had a record label. I was a photographer. I wrote fiction. And I went into advertising. For… almost fifteen years. I am still, in many ways, “in advertising.” I sit on the bord of a prestigious ad school. I work with tech starts who predominantly make their money off of advertising, and I advise them on advertising. I am writing a book about advertising.
But you know what else I am doing? Making art. Art that I love. That I do not give a fuck if anyone, ever, buys. And I don’t need to make a living off of it. I am working on two novels. I am working on a photo book of blurry photographs taken from Amtrak trains along the northeast corridor. I love my photos, and I consider them art. I will also be shocked if I ever sell more than 50 books of them. But I do not care. Because I don’t need to make a living off of them.
Art and commerce are implicitly combined in this author’s trolling post. Implicit is that advertising is commerce, and you should try and “make it’ as a writer, or as an artist, rather than deign to be part of commerce. So what does “making it” mean? It means making money. It means commerce.
My art, thanks to my career in advertising, is now completely divorced of commerce, because I chose to make a living in something I happened to be really good at instead of something I was not actually all that “good” at, in terms of making a career.
So, now. Whose art is more pure? The artist who has the luxury, thanks to hard work, to create their art without a concern for commerce, or the artist who still has to cater their art to the “market” and make a living off of it?
And no, you don’t have to “stop making art…. unless you agree to sell your creativity to that machine.” What utter bollucks.
Did you know that there was a novel called The Man Nobody Knows that was a modern-day biography of Jesus Christ that was the best selling novel in the United States for two full years in a row? Do you know who wrote it? Bruce Barton, one of the Bs in BBDO.
You probably DID know about Rushdie, Fay Weldon, Len Deighton, Peter Carey, Sir Alan Parker, Sir Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Spike Jonze, and Michel Gondry, however. Ad men, every one of them.
(props to Mark Tungate for this info. His book AdLand: A Global History of Advertising is worthy reading).
Closer to home, the number of people in AWESOME but noncommercial bands I know in advertising is insane. And just last week I was grabbing drinks with a friend who had published THREE books, and stated he’s MUCH happier at his agency job.
Gah. I’m annoyed this trolling even worked on me.
I believe e-commerce can make Tumblr over $100M a year. I’ve shared my thoughts with the Tumblr team directly, but I figured I’d share it with all of you as well. It comes in two flavors: independent stores (bottom up) and retail partnerships (top down).
Independent stores are like Etsy, but not limited to handmade - Tumblr users can sell what they craft, draw, photograph, and compose directly to their followers. Tumblr facilitates the transaction via credit card or Paypal, taking a modest 5% transaction fee. Not only does this generate meaningful revenue, it creates a really amazing virtuous cycle for user growth: sellers promote their tumblogs offline to drive business, which drives more users registrations, which create more sellers, who then promote their shops, etc. At least, that’s what we saw at Etsy. At last estimate, Etsy did ~$3M/month in revenue, an easily attainable goal for Tumblr. The integration is non-instrusive: Tumblr users can choose to add a “Purchase” button to the bottom of their post that is tied to an item they’ve added to their tumblr shop (also viewable at user.tumblr.com/store). Followers who click the button input their billing & shipping info via an overlay to purchase, then are returned right to where they were in the dashboard. Like at Etsy & Ebay, Tumblr processes the payments but otherwise leaves transaction coordination to the buyer & seller. Down the road, Tumblr could aggregate all of these items together into a Tumblr Marketplace, for people who want to exclusively browse the items for sale by all Tumblr users.
Retail partnerships would work like this: Tumblr does custom integrations with the major retailers (Barneys, Nordstrom, Gilt) so that every time a post containing a link to a partner’s product page is detected, a “Purchase” button is embedded at the bottom of the post. Clicking the button leads the user through a purchase pipeline. Tumblr gets a 5-15% affiliate fee. I believe Tumblr can negotiate very aggressive revshare deals because of the volume, the incremental revenue, and the demographic. The reason why nobody can do this except Tumblr is because Tumblr’s users are curators, and curators are the missing component. Amazon is great at selling books but is awful at softlines (retail speak for fashion items) because there are so many items and they go out of style every 3 months. (Read my post for more detail.) Tumblr’s community of curators is the secret ingredient that I believe can bring e-commerce’s current single digit share of the $225 Billion US fashion market into the double digits.
Here’s the math: Tumblr claims 60M posts per day or 22B per year. If we assume 0.1% of posts fall into the e-commerce category, each post gets viewed by 200 followers, 1% of those followers buy something, and Tumblr makes a $2.40 transaction fee per sale (8% on $30 item), that’s $105 Million per year.
Given a small team with the right skills, Tumblr could get this going in 3-6 months. The $100M question is, why aren’t they already doing this?
Great thoughts from Dave on what I consider one of the five key revenue drivers Tumblr should test in 2012.
It is very difficult to make good mistakes
The myth of user-generated content. “Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger.” A lot of social media sites assume that a lot of their users will be heavy contributors. They then proceed to design a product geared only toward heavy contributors. This is wrong-headed. Less than 0.5% of a site’s users (often FAR less than) are heavy contributors.
good point!! the one exception of course is the curator clause.
Gary’s follower’s have his back.
Looks like his twitter account just got hacked.
The Rolling Stones - As Tears Go By Three words that we won’t hear today - THE ROLLING STONES. I’d like to think that all of this engineered nonsense for a Beatles video game is what the four chaps from Liverpool would’ve probably rolled their eyes at when they first set out to make music. In reality however, I’m sure that this nonsense is just more leverage for Viacom to shout from the hilltops that big media consolidation was in fact, the right step. That bloggers and downloaders are killing music and that video games are saving it. It isn’t the logical next step for consumers, but rather for the music industry. This is classic top down marketing. Rather than listening to the groundswell, executives are looking at things like “economies of scale” and “synergies” to make decisions, when the obvious choice is right before their very eyes. Invest in young artists, grow the resources available for them to distribute their art and expand their base, and in return you’ll have a dozen more ways to monetize outside of this spectrum. But the fatted hog must keep giving, the Beatles can’t lose, even Michael Jackson knew that, and once everyone, including Lefsetz (who is always dead on) adorns praise to the way the video game saved the industries butt (for now) we’ll still be left with the same big questions, and even worse art being pumped to us via subway commercials and extras in Nickelback t-shirts. Entertainment is like healthcare, everyone demands the right to have it but no one wants to pay for it if they don’t have to. Lefestz does indeed have a take, and its luke warm for everyone involved.73 plays
Ben Folds - Philosophy200 plays
Good morning world, nice skies for a flight today! Munich bound. @ The Palm Jumeirah http://t.co/Mhawby4pne
RT @USEmbUAE: U.S. and #UAE Hold Third Economic Policy Dialogue in #AbuDhabi - http://t.co/MPKBBu5SLA
Love @SnappAE RT @LeithMatthews: Our latest #StartupUAE article is hot off the press in today's 7Days #YallaNow #startup #Dubai @ThinkTankHQ
Hey!! Happy birthday to @majorsteadman Hope it's an amazing year bud.
Do you have what it takes to be 'Twit of the Year' http://t.co/CP79GPhtBL
Email signature of the day goes to @rolanddaher "I used to hate brevity, but I eventually found out that it helps!"
@fitzyrichard I wish! Insane week.
RT @BrooksId: Tilda Swinton is in a glass case @moma and James Franco & Michael Stipe are looking on. Just a Sat. Afternoon in NYC.
@MeganKOrr random right? btw check yo tumblr :)
'As Obama Visits The West Bank, Palestinians Reach For Their Tech Startup Future' http://t.co/my4PClS1XA by @mikebutcher
@charlesforman happy birthday dude
RT @USEmbUAE: Watching @DubaiTV? @AmbCorbin is on live with @ChefOsama! http://t.co/SVjjFdK6Bi http://t.co/hv2raaDkt3
Pesky varmints! https://t.co/viIbVLdOhh
Smart! RT @JordanRaynor: For those who never carry cash, check out the @IFTTT recipe I just created: http://t.co/tOJfQnlZty
I love creating things and helping others - say hi!