(The following essay originally appeared as a Special Letter in the March 4, 2004 issue of STRATEGIC NEWS SERVICE, published by Mark R. Anderson. For more information on the SNS newsletter, please visit www.stratnews.com.)
Pop quiz: What is a computer? For extra credit: What is a consumer electronics device? What is a toy?
Or, more to the point: define what makes a firm a computer company, consumer electronics company or toy company.
This would have been an easy quiz a decade or even five years ago. Computer companies sold big, expensive ($2,000 and up) multifunction boxes with microprocessors inside. Consumer electronics companies sold single-purpose devices at sub-$200 price points. Toy companies sold stuff that was fun to play with, usually for under $100, and rarely had any advanced technology in it (unless, like me as a kid, you were fascinated with how an Easy Bake Oven could actually cook anything edible). Continue reading When companies collide
Let me let you in on two dirty little secrets of blogging. First, for every blogger, there is probably a handful of readers.
That’s right. Just because you put a Web log in front of the hundreds of millions of people with Web access worldwide doesn’t mean that most, many or even some of them will read it. Hell, they may never know about it. One way to make sure your blog will be read by the largest possible audience would be to check out an unlimited web hosting site such as Certa Hosting. They can help improve your blog so that it no longer stays at the bottom and instead becomes hugely popular.
New figures from the Pew Internet and American Life Project bear me out. Pew finds two-to-seven percent of adult Internet users write blogs, and only about eleven percent read blogs.
Eleven percent, you say. Not bad, considering how many people are on the Internet. But think again. Those eleven percent aren’t reading every blog, most blogs or even many of the blogs authored by those two-to-seven percent. They’re mostly reading blogs of friends. Not yours.
Assuming you’ll find a mass audience simply by doing a blog is akin to assuming your Great American Novel will reach best-seller status if you throw it on a Manhattan sidewalk. Continue reading Blog no more
This morning, I went though my usual routine: Make coffee. Open freezer. Grab ice cube tray. Remove one tuna cube and place in bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds. Add cold canned mystery chicken parts mix from refrigerator. Microwave for 10 seconds. Grab container of lactulose, measure 2cc into a syringe, and release over tuna-chicken mixture.
Give to wide-eyed feline. Did I mention wide-eyed, radioactive, occasionally-exploding feline? Continue reading Sam the polydactyl torby
It happened again the other day.
I had stopped for gas and was paying inside the mini-mart. “Thank you, Mr. Catalano,” the attendant said, handing me my change.
That startled me. Not because he’d used the formal tone (I like to believe that my father is “Mr. Catalano”). I was startled because I’d paid cash, not with a check or credit card that had my name on it. Continue reading The persistence of vision
In light of the recent news that ailing MusicNet will now offer its subscription service in Windows Media format, that RealNetworks will add Rhapsody to its subscription services and that Pressplay is being acquired by Roxio, it’s clear to me that MusicNet, RealNetworks and Pressplay just don’t get. Or, more likely, don’t want to get it.
Apple is winning the online music battle, and may win the war.
Apple’s new music service is brilliant move by Steve Jobs. The iTunes Music Store continues the transformation of Apple from a PC company into a CE (consumer electronics) company (as I humbly predicted four years ago to almost universal derision). Continue reading Why Apple may win
We’ve all received the scam spam: Somebody in some other country (Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Iraq) needs help getting something (large sums of money, luxury cars) out of that country … and you can share in the spoils if you just front some cash to help make it happen.
By now, the e-mail scam is almost comical — almost, because some people continue to be taken. But if the scammers really want to do boffo business, as Hollywood types used to say, they should make a few tiny, purely fictional changes to their standard pitch to make it more relevant in today’s U.S. economy.
Humbly submitted for your consideration: Continue reading Nigerian scam, reconsidered
When it comes to spam, we’re approaching an inflection point. The latest stats from spam filtering firm Brightmail show that by February a whopping 41% of all e-mail was spam. We are, as John Edward is wont to say, about to cross over. At the current rate of growth, it won’t be long before more than half of all e-mail messages are unsolicited commercial e-mail.
Put another way, fully half of your time perusing your inbox will be spent with messages you didn’t ask for, don’t want, and may find offensive.
Many people have already passed that point. Two years ago, I recounted how spam had become the final refuge of desperate companies. One year ago, I documented how spam had so overwhelmed two of my long-time e-mail addresses that it rendered them useless.
This year, I watch in amazement as lawmakers and direct marketers bicker while the tsunami slowly approaches the populated shore. To wit: Continue reading The spam inflection point