Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why Fred Wilson and the Huffington Post Poll is wrong about Facebook

First off I LOVE Fred Wilson. His Blog has been listed on my blog forever. Even my old blog. He is genuine and he cares about Entreprenuers succeeding. If you visit his blog you know. He seriously responds to so many comments and his MBA Mondays is incredible for anyone without a Business Degree who wants to get into Business it is a must read. He will even respond to your emails directly very kind man.

Last year I wrote him this was Pre-Facebook Places, Deals, Open Graph but during the heyday of Facebook is not trustworthy and the start of polluting our network feeds and the mission to exploit us. But I wrote him because I love Twitter and I think we should pay for it. And he said Ad Support is the only way. I have a Finance Degree and 17 years of Business experience of all sorts. I realized based on comments Eric Schmidt made * when Google purchased Ad Mob and Fred's response to my email that having managerial experience and investing experience does not mean you definitely know business models, markets or human beings. You just know how to manage a business, pay for stuff, finance stuff etc.Fred is a visionary for investing. But it doesn't mean all his investments will be winners or last the test of time.

*please note the post on Ad Mob and Twitter trying to expose our location did not come to fruition. Twitter allowed me to turn it off and Ad Mob has never served me a relevant ad since getting my Droid2 last August.

So today Huffington Post asks would we pay to use Facebook. Well guess what over 95% said no. But why did they say no? Because we don't see value in Facebook anymore. It's why network usage per person per day is down over 30%. It is a dying network. But we have no replacement yet so it is hanging on. 

I wrote how these networks are platforms/operating systems not media: LINK 

I wrote that in OCTOBER! Now lets look at this argument about paying for Facebook. Today's Facebook SUCKS! It has a horrible user interface. It's clunky and they diluted what we liked it for. We just want to keep in touch with friends and family and do some networking. We do not want brands, places, open graph, deals etc. We just want a simple technology to communicate.  But now we have so much clutter in the feed we see so few posts that the value has diminished.

It's why only 20-30mil US users do anything on the network each day. Most people passively just look for posts from Friends/Family check out photos and nothing else. It is why we upload so few photos per person per month (less than 10), share less than 2 items per day, and watch less than 1 video each per month. (From Facebook's stats!)

So let me ask to be logical here. In exchange for letting Brands and Advertisers invade our personal space does:

Microsoft give us Windows for Free?
Does Verizon give me free Cell and Text?
Does Time Warner give me free Cable and High Speed Internet?
Does Apple give me a Free IPhone?

NO NO NO and again NO! So why is Facebook or Twitter choosing a different business model? Is the technology not good enough maybe? And if it isn't good enough to me that smells trouble and the end is coming. If we aren't willing to pay we sure are willing to leave right?

We would pay for a bitchin communication platform! Remember kids Social Media Networks are not Media:


There is no Brands, Advertising or Marketing in that statement! And we pay for all the other forms of Technology that allow us to communicate. Here is my post from LAST MAY about Facebook charging. Why am I always so far ahead of everyone? LOL LINK

So imagine if Facebook when they had 400million users had charged $3/month. And just 200mil signed up. They would vault to number 314 in the Fortune 500 with 7.2bil in revenue yes they would of increased their revenue 600%! And they could made the network 100% private. Kicked out all brands all marketing all exploitation. They could of reinvested in the USER EXPERIENCE vs the BRAND EXPLOITATION EXPERIENCE! They could of been a threat to ATT, Verizon, even the Internet! But instead they got poor managerial and venture capital advice and here we are with a network no one would pay for!

We pay for great technology all the time why wouldn't we pay if it was GREAT TECHNOLOGY?

Lastly Fred Wilson has invested in some great companies. Tumblr. FourSquare. Twitter. Soundcloud. Disqus + More. And I am not stating every web property or network we would pay for. But I do feel we would pay for Facebook or Twitter or similar network if the value was such that we really want to use it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Social Tuesday - Lockerz - Social Bribing

 If anyone isn't aware Plixi is now Lockerz - LINK

Watch the video. It is going to try to make up for Facebook's failings. The Chief Alien has always felt Facebook made a fatal error courting Brands and Marketing instead of building the best Person to Person communication platform out there. Something we would pay a monthly fee for. We have railed against all the failures that Facebook has had to date: Open Graph, Brand Pages, Facebook Ads, Places, Deals. We have also destroyed with their own stats how little sharing goes on the network, how few people actually do anything on the network, and how the live feed is so cluttered with white noise it is almost useless. 

There is a big reason usage per person per day is down over 30% in the last year from 55 mins a day to 38 mins a day. We posit using Facebook stats that there are only between 20million and 30million US consumers active on the network on any given day out of 250 million Americans 14 and over. Not a bad pool but you can see why activity is so low.   

Today as a Marketer 8 of 9 US consumers are unreachable via Facebook.

But Facebook never tried Bribery! Maybe that is all we needed to share more. Would we share more if we earned points like we do Airline Miles. Would be stay with a network that we invested time and effort and have something! We have NOTHING with Facebook. Remember all the Myspace Pages we tricked out and put blood and sweat into then left? We we have put in even less into Facebook.

Lockerz is interesting that for activities you earn points that can be converted into deals. When I watch the video some things I can get with. Others I am not so sure because of human behavior will play out. They give an example of sharing the Camera I bought with friends and getting points. Then if someone buys it I get uuber points. But would a friend want that exact Camera? What if I said 'It's great but wish it had this feature'. Would maybe it being Brand Specific vs Model Specific be best? 

And how much do we want to share. Based on the fact the average Facebook user shares only 1.7 items a day out of the hundreds we see or can...the answer is not much. We didn't want Beacon. And there is a level of sharing we want ie "Cherry Picked Good Stuff...Gems...Steals etc' but we do not want to know everything everyone is buying, watching seeing. That becomes massive spam. Imagine if our Facebook feed was loaded with just 20 things each 'friend' did today. We would leave the network.

But what if the bribe was so incredible we put up with it? Would we just share without participation just for the points. It could be a gold mine of data for someone but maybe not quite the network they envision.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun Friday - The Do Lab!

If there ever was an Art Collective you might not know of...but probably know it's The Do Lab. From creating ridiculously crazy art cars for Burningman to their Sea of Dreams New Years Spectaculars to Lucent L'amour Valentines to Lightning in a Bottle to hauling their Alice in Wonderland Stages to festivals around the world such as Coachella Music Festival how can you not enjoy their creativity and vibe.

I first met them in 2005 at Burningman when they had this crazy Flower moving around the Playa and they have been part of my LA/West Coast Social Network since then. Some of my really good friends are part of the Collective as Resident DJ's to helping create and build their elaborate fantasy events and worlds.

Here is an incredible video from Lightning in a Bottle 2010. BTW ask @the_swedishfish how it was. He was there 8) Oh and the music is by The Glitch Mob  who will be in a future fun friday. Buy Drink the Sea on Amazon today! Drink the Sea MP3  and don't miss their summer tour! TOUR DATES

The LA Weekly just did an awesome coverage of their Stage and DJs from Coachella and while I might ridicule Coachella for having lame headliners (my view) the fact they have the Do Lab create a stage and bring underground music to the masses keeps them in my semi-good graces. There is also free music in the following article.

And here is my friend Patricio's amazing live set also downloadable for free on Soundcloud:

In fact if you go through the Coachella 09 video and search Soundcloud for those DJ's they all have free music you can get turned onto and just maybe you will find yourself at some rave party at 4am dancing wondering just how you got there 8)

You just need to do a search on You Tube or check out their site or fan them on Facebook or Twitter You just much catch one of their events or find out where they are bringing their stage to various festivals. Great people and amazing art!

All Points West 2009 New Jersey Patricio + Jupit3r

View from behind the DJ Set Up (Chief Alien's always have all access passes!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Albany Times Union Doesn't Get Mobile!

Every year as do so many other city newspapers around the country there is a Best of Contest where local denizens and citizens vote on the best of everything. So I was very excited to see the Albany NY Times Union go Mobile! It sounded so exciting and so 2011. In fact made me feel like maybe where I live isn't as small town rural as the area really is. Until I read the instructions! DOH!

"We're also going MoBO this year -- and giving you another chance to win fabulous prizes -- in our Let's Go MoBO Photo Contest. 

Here's what to do: Get out and explore the Capital Region. Take a photo of whatever you think is the best thing in the Capital Region. Then submit your required information, your photo in one of five categories -- People, Places, Events, Things and MoBO -- and a caption of no more than 140 characters (including spaces)"

Sounds great huh? 140 Characters sounds so Twitter-ish! This is really freaking cool! I am on it!

"Entries may be submitted in one of three ways:
-- Via email to (Note: All MoBO entries must be sent via email.)
-- Via postal mail to Times Union, Let's Go MoBO Photo Contest, Box 15000, News Plaza, Albany, NY 12212.
-- Via hand-delivery to the Times Union lobby during regular business hours at 645 Albany Shaker Road in Colonie."


So I am just curious how does the Times-Union expect to be able to tell if someone took a photo with a Mobile App, Mobile Phone Camera, or Standard Camera if we have to email or print the damn entry????? Does this not negate the Mobile Aspect 100% because it's not truly all mobile and game-able? 

Two hints here. Just call it a PHOTO CONTEST. Which it is and that is just fine instead of trying to hijack the term Mobile for Pizzazz purposes. Or let me submit via Twitter or your Facebook wall or anything that is truly mobile. Yes it could be still gamed on a desktop but at least people have a 100% full Mobile Option.

Dear Times-Union 

I am available for hire. You need an Alien like myself to help you with Mobile and Strategy and I will gladly take on the challenge. 

Sincerely Yours,

Chief Alien

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun Friday - Applebee's Get's Toddler Loaded!

My friend and Superstar Rock Star on tour in Europe Dan Coyle
linked this amazing story of idiot process design by a Management dead set on shaving nickels of productivity.

It seems a toddler was served a Margarita by accident instead of Apple Juice. I know you think wait...this story is for Fun Friday?! Yes! Because it is so dumb it is hilarious. Not only is the incident completely stupid the response is even more stupid! So glad Applebee's doesn't build cars or airplanes.

So with my 9 years of restaurant experience I have to assume this was the problem:

Combined with this:

So the Waiter goes and gets an Apple Juice. The button is next to the Margarita button and they press the wrong one. They are in the weeds which means very busy and stressed running around. The parents can't see it is a Margarita. The kid get's loaded. The response by Applebee's is training vs maybe their process. Just maybe they shouldn't be serving pre-made crap Margaritas from a hose that has a button next to juices kids request. Just maybe they should have a second freaking hose for anything with alcohol to prevent this. But instead it's a training issue?

I wish to say I do not find Applebee's a place with good food. I try to avoid it. I remember ordering an Asian Chicken Salad that came with only Ice Berg Lettuce, Peanuts, Chow Mein Noodles and Ginger Dressing. How much bigger of a Fail can that be?

So while Mr. Coyle and the Article discuss the PR Implications. Lets make it easy:

Applebee's Press Release:

In an effort to reduce costs and quality of product and service we the Management were so dumb and stupid to choose to serve our customers Margaritas pre-mixed at a factory served in a Keg and Dispensed through a Beverage Gun where the button was right next to the Apple Juice Button. We apologize for getting a 15 month old torched. But it does prove that the crappy Margaritas do indeed have some alcohol in them. At least enough so that a 15 lb toddler can't drive home. Please forgive us.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Mobile Monday - Is it Android or is it Motorola?

I got a Droid2 in August. I love it. I hate it. Sometimes I am so happy to have it. Sometimes I want to run it over with a steam roller. Not sure what are Android Issues and what are Motorola Issues. This discussion is the phone not Apps.

What I like:

Gorilla Glass Screen - unbreakable unscratchable

Slide out keyboard - very easy to use once you get the hang of it

Google Maps/GPS/Navigation - it is awesome. Though the Speak your destination feature can use improvement.

Wi-Fi Connection

There are a ton of great Apps.

Easy to share content socially from Apps.

When I run now I can take pictures, upload to twitter, etc. I can do Twitter for a client from the gym.

What can improve:

Web Surfing still kind of sucks. Nothing beats the laptop. Most sites still not formatted for mobile and type and video is still small for the ones that are.

Google Maps GPS - great when driving. Not so great when walking around.

Not so easy to share websites from the browsers via Social.

What I hate:

Battery Life sucks. I shouldn't need to tote 2 spares with me for a night out. It gets about 2-3 hrs of battery life if you use apps/data/satellite/GPS constantly. I also sometimes bring the charging cord.

It freezes up A LOT! Often several times a day requiring a ReBoot.

Have not found a away to share a contact via text messaging or email yet. Requires memorizing or writing down info then entering it separately into the text or email. Big fail here.

Software to transfer photos to laptop sucks horribly. It seriously is pretty much the worst I have ever used.

Comes loaded with Motorola Software I have no use for and can not remove.

Apps run on their own for no rhyme or reason sucking up RAM. I use an App called Advanced Task Killer which shuts down these Apps. Problem is they start on their own automatically! Why should I have to battle with this stuff?

Things I don't use my smart phone for:

Buying things. Not talking about my Latte at Starbucks. I am talking about E-Commerce stuff. Not really a good platform for it. Screen to small for really browsing. Hell a Laptop Screen is still too small for shopping in a productive fashion. But I do use it when at stores to pull info up via barcodes and in some cases compare prices.

Watching Video - I do but the screen is small. There is a reason we have big HDTV's at home and not a bunch of mobile video handsets.

MS Office Type Work - not a big enough screen for me to find value in Word Processing and Spreadsheets etc.

Mobile Search. Search SUCKS. Browsers suck. The Verizon network is slow as nails and to go to the browser and search and then pull up a website takes days! So I use Apps like Yelp! and Gowalla.

I heard many of the smart phones have similar issues and challenges including the IPhone. What do you have for a phone and what do you like or not like?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why Did Saks Fifth Avenue Pay Twitter to Show me this Ad?

Advertising and Marketing is complicated. The whole chain of important activities to sell something can be blown if just one key part fails.

1] We need a product people want or will want if they know about it.

2] The Brand needs to make something that meets the value expectation otherwise all marketing efforts go down the tube with no repeat business.

3] The Advertising and Marketing must be crafted in a way that achieves the goals of awareness, enticement, emotional connection whatever it takes to get someone to try something new or improved, or remember they miss/liked something they have tried and forgotten about.

4] The Advertising must bee seen by people who will most likely buy the Brand's product or service. The less likely I am to buy the more it costs the Brand per contact. For example I can show an Ad to 100 people who will have a 70% likelihood of buying. Say that is a finite number. Now the next hundred whom I pay the same $$ to reach have a 50% likelihood of buying. It just cost me more per sale for my Advertising/Marketing expense.

Last Friday I saw this ad as a sponsored Tweet in my Twitter Feed:

I didn't see it once. I saw it ALL FREAKING DAY!

So I clicked to see what the link brought me too. Drum Roll Please!

As Kyle's Mom on South Park would say....What What What??!!!

So who's fault is it? Twitter's? The Media Planner? The Ad Serving Platform? Is Twitter not sophisticated enough a platform to identify women? What is worse is whomever is giving a report back to Sak's is counting my views as success. And counting my click as a success. Which is why people do not trust Marketers, Advertisers, Nielsen, etc. Anyone who makes money based on gross views or clicks without identifying how many of the true target saw something or took action is technically stealing money from their clients.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Social Tuesday - Brands Must Read! Social Media Hypsters Shoo Go Away!

I recently wrote a rebuttal to Mr. Bob Hoffman the Ad Contrarian one of my favorite Bloggers and Observant Minds about why I felt we are measuring Digital Advertising wrongly. I was shocked because I almost never disagree with him. LINK

But now he just rocked the latest Beancast which is Bob Knorrp's most excellent podcast for Marketing, where the discussion was Digital Marketing and he Owned his adversary in the discussion. You really should subscribe on ITunes and listen every Monday. Forget #FF for Twitter. Just follow like pretty much everyone he has on

Now back to Mr. Hoffman. Bob has been on the attack using Pepsi Refresh as a glaring failure for Social Media. Anyone who reads my blog knows I slam Facebook, Mashable, and the Rock Star Social Media Talking Heads all the time for fraud, deception, over hype, under delivering for Brands and Marketing. That is 100% Fact. No needles are being moved using Social Media for Major Brands. As I have stated Starbucks with 18 million fans getting even 2,000 to post on their wall everyday is zero (they average 200-400). Seriously. Divide 2,000 by 18,000,000 it is zero. Divide 2,000 by their 200 million customers in the world. Now we are negative infinity.

You must read these two very important blog posts from last Friday and Yesterday:

Then you must read this article which Bob linked yesterday that was in Ad Age in late March by Johnathon Salem Baskin. 

Bob also had a few more worth links in yesterdays post. I think it is all 100% the truth. It is basically stuff I have been yapping about on Twitter and blogging about for 2 years now. As a Defender of Brands they need to know this stuff. I am not a Defender of my Industry or Agencies. Agencies that push horse shit to make money or Social Media Talking Heads that give speeches and write books that only help their bank account can jump off the Brooklyn Bridge because while I am not good at using the word SUCK like Joey Strawn is. They SUCK. 

BTW if you want to really know how not to suck or use the word perfectly read his blog:

Plus he is an amazing and funny ass cartoonist!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mobile Monday - Assorted Mobs

We often talk about the consumer side of things here at Space Agency Notes. But sometimes we come across developments that enable businesses to evolve and this trend is something we like very much. One thing our Alien's love to death is summer/fall festival season here in the north east. Filled with events celebrating food, crafts, farming, wine etc. And often many small businesses have to take cash or checks still. 

But Square offers an easy way to accept credit cards with your smart phone:

They aren't the only service out there. But now it is much simpler to accept payments for small businesses.

I have also been crafting a blog review of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Motorola Droid2 that I have been kicking around. It is definitely a love hate relationship. My sister now has a Galaxy S Android and it seems a higher quality phone.

Lastly I wanted to discuss the news that Color received $41 Million in VC Funding. LINK

This was discussed on last weeks Quick-n-Dirty Podcast with @AaronStrout and @KyleFlaherty as a sure sign of an LBS/VC Bubble. But I want to give you a take from someone who has used LBS and why LBS sucks.

LBS has really only benefited me when looking for something nearby. Meaning I go onto Gowala or Yelp and let it show me restaurants in the area. Or using the Google Maps Navigator/Locator. It has been a massive failure to me where there is check ins involved. Anyone who knows our Chief Alien, knows he is against Auto-Check Ins for Privacy and Respect issues of many sorts. We are also against the Satellite for Check Ins. They are a big failure. They do not work indoors or in some parts of cities with tall buildings. 

Now lets look at Color. Color is an App that will let me go to say a concert, check in there and my pictures will get uploaded to the cloud and mixed with everyone else's pictures. So when I go home or from my phone I can see other view points. It is supposed to be anonymous. Ruh-Roh! I can see an LBS Chat Roulette coming here from participants as my first concern. You don't think some drunk dude in the men's bathroom stall isn't going to take a photo of his junk and upload? Now let's get to the Satellite issue. I have to remember to check in outside. I have to remember to check out too. What if there are two clubs next to each other? And say one is a strip club?

I just see so many opportunities for slick technology to be perverted in ways that people decide to shun it. Not saying it can not be over come. But $41 million is a lot of VC money for an APP.

Now click to Colors Landing Page: You don't see Photo Roulette staring you in the face?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Garbage in Garbage Out. Why Research Sucks Part 2

Back in November I discussed how I felt Research is Shoddy at best. LINK

But what I did not cover was the Human Side. We are eternal optimists in a general sense. We also can be vicious and vengeful and biased and deceitful. I have been part of the You Gov Poll now for a long time. They have a lot of polls about Brands, the Economy, and our own Personal Economic situation.

Typical Questions:

They show a Grid with Consumer Brands and ask which we view positively and which negatively.
They show a Grid asking which Brands you would be proud to work for and which embarrassed.
They show a Grid asking which Brands we have heard positive news in the last 2 weeks and which negative news.

They ask purchasing questions. Last 12 months. Last 30 days. Next 30 days. Next 6 months.
They have lists of restaurants and ask which we have been too in the same time frames.

They ask if we feel the Economy is getting better or worse.
They ask if our own economic situation is getting better or worse.

Now think of the things I said in the beginning and how this will affect the research/polling.

  • A Brand I hate or had a bad experience with I will go out of my may to say bad things, true or untrue. Vice Versa as well!
  • I will always feel I will be making more money.
  • I will often choose to answer about the Economy based on if my Political Alignment is in Power or not.
  • They fail to ask proper questions. I might be embarrassed to work for the Dollar Store. But not if I was CEO.
  • It is very hard to know how much I will spend going forward. Today they asked how much I spent at Target last 30 days and what about next 30 days. My needs will change. That is more spontaneous. How the hell can I estimate this?!!!
  • I hate Walmart. I said Sams Club sucks today. Horrible place. Service deteriorating. Guess what? I have never been in a Sam's Club! But I will always say this. Sorry. Treat your employees like chattel, the environment like crap, small towns like shit, keep poor people poor so they will stay your customers, pawn healthcare on the Fed and State Government and buy products from sweat shops in China. Sorry. BTW I would love to say what I think of the Owners the Walton Family but let's just say they are very immoral for people who Bible thump. I will always say negative things about anything Walmart. My own personal view btw. Nothing you can do to change it. I am not ashamed to be biased in this way. Shop there. I don't care.
But guess what people? This is HUMAN NATURE! We are not in nice little boxes. We are Random. We are Unpredictable. We are Emotional. Good luck with your research.