Archive | November, 2008

The New Materialism: Efficiency (RED: Scarlet)


The Red: Scarlet DSMC(Digital Stills and Motion Camera) was released last week. It is a thing of epic beauty. I am not even a real video producer and don’t really have aspirations to be one, but I am totally geeked out by this system.

I see it as Agile Development in hardware form. “They don’t make em like they used to” does not apply here, or if it does, it turns the favorite aphorism of the Greatest Generation on its head.

The system is built around the concept of modularity. Every piece can be swapped, mixed, matched and upgraded. Darwin would be pleased, the camera has evolution built into its design.

This evolution has already been demonstrated in an amazing example of loyalty cultivation from Red. Early adopters of the 1st gen Red camera body over the last year would have been upset at the roll-out of the new, upgraded version. Red is rewarding its early adopters with a FULL trade-in value on their 1st gen bodies, for upgrade to the new ones. This is unheard of…and totally awesome! I would’ve gladly traded in my 1st gen iPhone for the 3G model but would’ve had to pay the “early adopter fee” of hundreds of dollars. Even Apple could learn from Red.

Yes, the system is expensive for the video hobbyist, but far cheaper than comparable cameras of this quality and well within the budget of even indie filmmakers.

Perhaps the Red team should take over Detroit in this bailout plan. It seems that if we shifted our material focus from quantity to quality and stressed modular evolution over seasonal replacement we might solve a lot of the worlds problems and waste a lot less time and effort in the process. Perhaps I am being overly optimistic but if Agile development works so much better for software, maybe it can take hardware to the next level as well.

I want all my tools to be modular, scalable and evolutionary.

The End of Banner Advertising.

The Nielson Norman group has put out some of the findings from their recent exhaustive study on web user behavior using reliable eye-tracking technology.

The results of their findings? Not good for the banner advertising industry.

The group’s research shows that users consume websites in an “F” shaped pattern, focusing intensely on the content (or regions where content is typically found) with only cursory attention paid to navigation elements and almost no awareness on the areas where advertising is usually displayed.

This research dramatically affirms my experience with web advertising, both as a content provider, displaying ads and as an advertiser, looking to generate traffic with banner advertising.

While banner advertising spending has been in decline on percentage since around 1999, It’s actual dollar numbers have been steadily rising, and fueled by web 2.0 networks and pageviews.

I think this is money wasted and a serious problem for content providers online.

The assumption is that if you create great content, get tons of viewers, and sell a bunch of ads you can make money online.

Users are reluctant to spend money to access content, often circumventing paid content with torrents or other free access.

Advertisers way well be paying money for eyeballs, but as the Nielson study shows us, they are not actually getting these views.

So how does a business promote online?

Podcasting and Online Video Content (OVC)

I come from the Seth Godin school of marketing, stating loosely, that marketing is all about trust and relationships and gaining permission from the audience…and this cannot be bought.

The boom of Podcasting and OVC has created infinite content options for audiences. Gone are the days of consuming media because it is what is popular or what the network provides. We can now go out and find exactly what we want and consume it when we want it.

So how is this better for advertisers?

Self-directed
The user has taken the time and effort to select this content, download it, and has blocked out a part of their day to consume it. They are much less likely to be distracted or their at random.

Targeted
Because audiences can get anything they want, what they are consuming is exactly right for them. if someone is listening to a show on men’s issues, they are interested in men’s issues…period. They are not there because it fits in their timeslot or they have nothing else to do. Advertisers with content related to men’s issues have a built in, near 100% targeted market.

Captive Audiences
Audio and video content is linear, where webpages are not. Users are guided through the story or conversation by the podcaster, with no real ability or desire to skip around. Webpages are much easier to selectively consume and bounce away from.

Trust
Podcasters and OVC creators are establishing a rapport with their audience. They become trusted authorities on the subject matter and editors of the content for the audience. A trust relationship is formed, and the endorsement from a trusted person carries a lot more weight than a random banner.

So why is it so hard to sell ads or promo’s in podcasts?

As a podcast producer, I am amazed sometimes at the reluctance or undervaluation of podcast advertising and promotion. I think it is simply still on the leading edge. Many advertisers or companies do not yet understand the technology. Podcast audiences tend to be tech heavy early adopters, a demographic not in alignment with many businesses. All of this is changing.

Banner advertising is not going to go away, the market for online promotion is merely diversifying, albeit at an exponentially rapid rate.

Podcasting and Online Video Content are opening up new and more efficient possibilities for promotion and refining promotional campaign effectiveness. This study is further proof that the time is ripe to shift to these new and more effective promotional opportunities.

Casey Capshaw is available for consulting on podcasting, new media marketing and business development strategy. email caseycapshaw(at)gmail.com

New HOT sponsor!

The New Man podcast has a new hot sponsor, Adam & Eve.com.

We have been slaving away, whipping out The New Man podcast for almost a year now. People are starting to notice, and it’s great to have the support of sponsorship, especially ones to tied to our mission. I am just buzzing with enthusiasm about the show lately….ok..ok I’ll stop. Check these guys out, they have fun stuff. I can vouch 😉

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Use the coupon code MEN to get %50 off all their…products 🙂

Re-Envision Transportation, Yes We Can!

Following the decisive Obama victory on election day yesterday, I immediately went into visioning mode about what is possible for America and the world from this place.

Energy tops my list as the most interesting and world-changing opportunity we face. Energy is one of those “root-cause” issues—solutions here lead to all manner of positive changes across all systems.

Being an intensely practical person, I am drawn to energy solutions where the “rubber-meets-the-road” so to speak—with transportation. Fix the way we humans get from point A to point B to point…San Francisco and we have produced a monumental shift towards a sustainable existence on this planet.

I grew up in the west. I understand the value of horsepower and the value of freedom. After several years in LA, I understand the value of mass transit(or lack therof.) No one solution is going to immediately address all the transportation challenges we face, but a complex and interaged approach certainly can, and with the resources and technology we have available today.

Rocky Mountain Institute
has been publishing transportation solutions for over two decades, most of which are seldom adopted or capitalized on in the mainstream. It has simply been too cheap and easy to rely on existing petroleum and steel. These days are obviously coming to an end, and RMI is more relevant than ever. They have been in talks with such organizations as Wal-Mart and the US Army around hyper-efficiency and alternative energy.

These organizations are feeling the cost of energy dependence and looking to the future to stay competitive. Whatever their motives, it is good for the planet, and if major entities like these get on board, real solutions are not far to follow.

So what can I do?

I live with my girlfriend a few miles outside of Boulder in an amazing little house in the canyon. We’re near the river, and both get so much from our mountain retreat. The progressive suggestion is that we get rid of our cars, move to town and bike everywhere to reduce our carbon footprint and get more sustainable. I don’t want to do that and I refuse to think that is the only way I can lend a hand.

My girl recently traded in her inefficient Jeep Liberty for an all-wheel drive Subaru Impreza (we need the 4 wheels for the winter snow.) After an initial resistance to the smaller size, she now loves this car and especially the extra mpg’s.

She works in Denver, which is a major energy drain. She negotiated to work 2 days a week from home, saving 60 miles of commute time and energy. She also rides the bus from the park-n-ride every day she does go to the city, a little more time consuming but a lot more efficient. She has come to enjoy the downtime of the ride to listen to great podcasts or read.

I heard of a start-up recently(name and link forthcoming) that is going to be offering gas-to-electric conversions of existing vehicles at a reasonable price. These conversions will get all the performance of a combustion engine at about a 60 mile range. At first thought, 60 miles does not seem like much, but when I did an analysis of my transportation, i rarely drive more than 60 miles in a single day…usually its less than 10.

The company will set up financing for the conversion, effectively replacing your monthly gas bill with your monthly conversion loan payment. This is at current fuel prices, when fuel hits $5 a gallon, the loan payment will be much cheaper.

I started shopping for old mini-trucks with millions of miles or busted engines to get my conversion. I love the idea of tooling around in a little truck, making no sound and using no gasoline. My grandpa used to drive Datsun pickups, always with over 100k miles. it was a point of pride in the value of the thing for him, and a statement against frivolous luxury. He could have afforded whatever he wanted to drive, and brand new.

I think I inherited his flair for rebellion, underpinned with a genuine compassion and practical sense of value.

That’s where I am going to focus my energy for change. I contacted the conversion company about helping them grow their business. I look forward to reshaping the way Americans use transportation.

Ken Wilber talks with The New Man Podcast

Ken Wilber


Ken Wilber is on The New Man Podcast this week talking about the historical an biological origins of gender roles.

Ken puts masculine and feminine in a Kosmic context and revels the practical reasons for the difference between roles of men and women in the public and private spheres.

Click Here to check out this thought provoking dialogue with one of the great minds of our time.