there are 6 posts from September 2006

September 30, 2006

revamped google reader

Been enjoying the new Google Reader -- congrats to the team on the major interface overhaul.  I’m not used to the new home page yet, and the folder counts are stress inducing (so many unread items!), but the core reading experience is still good, the keyboard shortcuts still respond to muscle memory, and killing the animated scroll makes the app feel more responsive.  Kudos!

September 30, 2006

gladwell on lewis

Malcolm Gladwell on Michael Lewis’s new book

The degree of difficulty on telling the story of Michael Oher was really really high. Trust me. It was. It was all that I could think of when I was reading the book. … And if you don’t believe me, just try writing an emotionally moving. full-length account of an essentially pathologically shy, inarticulate teenager.

And via Kottke via Steve Rhodes, Michael Krasny’s interview with Lewis.

September 20, 2006

alinea tops gourmet's list

Congrats to Grant Aschatz and my friend Nick Kokonas of Chicago’s Alinea for topping Gourmet’s list of the 50 best restaurants in America (via Megnut).

I had the privilege of eating there this summer (eating’s not really the right word for it…and I’ve been called pretentious but I’m not quite pretentious enough to use the verb “to dine”), and enjoyed (again…with Alinea “experienced” is probably the better word) the best meal of my life.  And then the next day Nick and I grabbed lunch and he told the greatest stories about meeting Chef Aschatz, lining up investors, renovating the building[1], marketing the concept, etc. I couldn’t be happier for Nick and crew – they’ve built something truly amazing in an incredibly short period of time.

[1] If you ever meet Nick, ask him to tell you the story of how he tiled the entryway basement of the restaurant himself in one all-nighter, just to show his contractor that “this is what it means to get shit done.”

September 14, 2006

post-roll ads

Fred Wilson’s got a great take today on post-roll advertising on YouTube…worth quoting at length:

The second link in the post-roll frame should be a bidded marketplace like the right column on the search engines, but it should be only for videos on YouTube.  Say you are a marketer, like Nike. You make a video, doesn’t matter how long or short it is, about your new Nike sneaker that works with the your toaster so breakfast is ready when your run is over. You post that video to YouTube in your brand channel (which already exists on YouTube) and you buy a bunch of tags (user generated keywords) that you want that ad to be linked to from the back frame. You pay on a CPC basis, only for the clicks that come from that link and lead to plays of your video.  If your video is great and the audience loves it, passes it around, etc, you can probably stop buying traffic to it and rely on the organic linking and viral nature of the service to keep the video playing.

Two additional thoughts on this.  First, YouTube is in a position to do this today because of their scale and reach.  They dominate online video, and the fact that they make it easy for that video to be distributed around the web has dramatically contributed to that dominance.  I know this is stating the obvious, but it’s not like every one of the video sharing sites has the reach to pull something like this off.

Second, for brave brands there’s no reason why those post-roll ads need to link to their own produced content; how great would it be if Nike decided to link to content that’s created by their customers, and somehow worked them into the revenue stream?

September 12, 2006

shuffle clip

So the new Ipod Shuffle’s a clip.  Neat!  Here’s something I wrote back in January of last year about the original Shuffle.

It’s light enough to be remarkably light.  Ridiculously light, even.  So light as to truly deserve the “wearable” label.  Which is why I’m surprised they’re shipping with a lanyard instead of some sort of integrated clip (like some other flash-based music players).  Lanyards would be great if headphones were wireless; otherwise you end up being a mess of cabling.  A clip would be perfect – clip it to your shirt, your pocket, your bag strap, your coat collar, your tie even.

So, um, yeah.  A clip.  As I said…neat!

September 09, 2006

cody's sold to yohan

The Chronicle covers the sale of Cody’s to Yohan, Inc., the Japanese book distributor.  In it, there’s a sad quote from Andy Ross about his surprise to San Francisco’s reaction to the Cody’s that opened in the city…

“I thought we would just open the doors (in San Francisco) and everyone would pour in. That was pretty stupid. Cody’s was so well-branded in Berkeley that I took it for granted, but still there are a lot of people in San Francisco who don’t know that the store exists.”

Just like the micro-climates, there are micro-markets in the Bay Area.  This shouldn’t have been news to him…  But at least there’s a decent ending in this for Cody’s, and the 4th Street store is still one of my favorite places to buy books.