Productivity Booster

The State of Video Conferencing – The ooVoo Experiment

Tonight I just wrapped up my 7th and final ooVoo session (thanks to Sherman and Sean for a great chat). Just in case you missed it, ooVoo allows video conferencing for up to 6 people with audio for free. If you are familiar with Skype and have done video chat there, add 4 more people and you get the idea.

As far as best practices:

  1. Insist that all callers use headsets or earphones. Sound coming out of PC speakers that can hit the mic will cause an echo that can mess up the audio for everyone.
  2. Have some serious bandwidth, a solid 100kpbs per user on the call is a good place to start.
  3. As moderator you must keep control of the call – introduce topics and call out to bring everyone into the conversation. I also attended 4 other sessions and Steve Hall did a great job of keeping a call moving and I’ve tried to steal some of his style.
  4. Have your topics listed before the call begins – treat it more like a meeting than a casual conversation. Have an agenda and topics ready to go.

The best part of it for me was to have more of a two way conversation, you get instant feedback and it’s much easier to learn from others. On the down side, limiting the conversation to 6 creates a smaller overall audience. One thing I might like to try is to get a panel of 6 that can work well together and record it for release as a video podcast. I think it might be able to work if you had the right group of people.

Overall it was a great project, I’d definitely use video chat again in the future.

Productivity Booster

Return of the Creepy Stalker

A little more than a month back I wrote a post about how to get the most out of social networking events. Chip Griffin from Media Bullseye asked me to beef it up a bit and the new, updated version is up. Learn how to network like a pro over at Media Bullseye.

Daily Life


I hope you are enjoying your weekend. The time I would normally be writing today is going to be dedicated to preparing the documents I need to file my taxes. The fun never stops.

Daily Life Gaming

Valentine’s Day Card

A youtube vid… Thanks to Alec for the pointer.


The Marketeer

Questions from the Street

As part of the ooVoo project Charlie had a few questions that we weren’t able to get around to, but they were great so I wanted to throw them (and my two cents, of course) out there…

Where the Big 3 are wasting their marketing dollars (Or teaching Goliath new tricks).

It’s not as much wasting dollars as underfunding the riskier things that have the opportunity for huge returns. Seth Godin has written a lot of stuff about “The Safe Route” being the riskiest possible path. Media continues to fragment – Newspapers and 30-second spots continue to lose power. Find your social niche now, start a blog, shoot some YouTube production level video, actually talk to people.

Is the Tipping Point Toppled? (re: Fast Company article)

My friend John Blue brought this up this weekend also, my response: Yeah, Watts stuff is interesting but I think he’s 1) building a platform around being contrary and 2) severely underestimating the power of the connectors – in tech circles Engadget is much more than 40 times more powerful than the average chump, I’d bump it up by an order of magnitude and see if his model sticks. That and I think you have to rate the content itself -  He hits a home run talking about having a hard time getting “some company’s shitty product” to go viral….

Web 2.0 for beginners (How to dip your toe in the brave new world of the web)

I’d recommend David Meerman Scott to go in depth and for a quick read, Chris Brogan’s new ebook.

So the real question is “Do I have any original thoughts of my own?” tune in tomorrow for my reviews of the remixes on the Michael Jackson Thriller 25th anniversary edition.


M Show Thriller

Today the 25th Anniversary edition of Thriller went out, what better way to celebrate than catching the latest edition of The M Show.

Direct Link to file

Great Marketing

Helio on Dancing With The Stars

In wordpress you can save any notes you have as a draft. As you can imagine, this topic has fallen to the very bottom of the stale pile.

As cornball as it is, it’s still worth talking about. For the uninitiated, Dancing with the Stars is a TV show where celebrities learn how to dance, while competing against other teams. During the writer’s strike it was one of the reality shows that thrived.

The important part to see is that Helio, the guy who won this year, is an Indy Car driver. When he won it actually made the news over on ESPN. I thought it would be a cold day in hell before that show made it on to ESPN, but there it was.

Keep this in mind – some winners are worth more than others.

The Marketeer

Netflix goes with Blu-Ray

This just came in, I never saw this coming…

We’re Going Blu-ray

Dear J-Funk,

You’re receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don’t worry, we will contact you before this happens.

You can click here to change your format preferences.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

Daily Life

More Mandolin

Many months ago Christopher Penn posted on his choice of music. I made a note to do a similar post, and on a Sunday I can indulge in a frivolous post.

I’ve heard it said that our minds are clay and that the things we read and listen to make a lasting impression. This is why I have cut back on the Fiction that I read and the amount of TV that I watch. I’ve also heard it said that TV is like having an open cesspool in your home.

Music greatly affects mood and you can move your emotional state by listening to the appropriate music.

My Mom and her family are from Detroit, and that side of the family gave me an appreciation for Motown, and I have always listened to R&B. My Dad is a drummer and a Jazz fan, which we share in common. Attending the Tanglewood Jazz Festival I was introduced to Jazziz Magazine, which is an excellent source of new jazz to check out, although it’s only available on a CD with the magazine. I’m surprised they haven’t made the jump to iTunes affiliate, and it’s amazing how hard it can be sometimes to find the tracks on their CD (I had to mail order a CD from Italy once that invalidated my credit card).

Add to that my formative years of the 80’s when I could afford to buy music and that covers about 90% of my library.

So, what’s on the playlist?

80’s Remixes and Mashups – from Retro Remixes

Jazz – Which has a lot of Diana Krall in it right now.

Hair Bands – Sammy Hagar, Waltham, Journey

R&B – Luther Vandross, anything from the Prince or Babyface extended families

Country (yes, I do listen to country sometimes) – Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith

Pop – My pop stuck in the 80’s, I check out the top hits on iTunes but don’t follow anybody

Ballads – James Taylor, Matthew Ebel, Billy Joel

Instrumental – John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, Morricone, Enya

I also like the Mandolin, and we really don’t hear enough of that. My top 3 Mandolin Songs (please add any if you have any)

  1. Mandolin Rain – Bruce Hornsby and the Range
  2. Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney
  3. So Close – Daryl Hall and John Oates
Brain Buster


One of the more boring parts of adulthood is getting to make decision about what will suffice. For example, I was looking at TV’s right around the Superbowl. There’s a Sony Bravia flat panel with 20,000:1 contrast ratio that looks incredible, but the sad truth is: am I willing to cough up a huge pile of cash for a TV with less than 100 square inches more viewing area?

Sadly, no.

I got a offer for a new thermostat with a rebate from the gas company. Is it worth it to upgrade so I can now program every day as opposed to 2 modes (weekday/weekend). No.

The XBox has the dreaded Red Ring of Death, should I take this opportunity to upgrade the hard drive? It’s not worth the work to transfer the data to a new drive.

Our 2nd car has over 175,000 miles on it and has a repair every 6 months, but with my wife taking the train to work the car gets less than 2,000 miles put on it in those 6 months. It’s not worth taking on a new car payment to upgrade.

Remember this sorry message when marketing. It’s not enough to be (a little bit) better than your competition, you’ve got to overcome the switching cost too.