Archive for March, 2007


Yahoo Web Services pays Developers = “Paymium” (who can pass on residual dollars to users)

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Yesterday, I shared Why I still think that users will be paid to use Online Data Storage (like Yahoo Mail), today, to my surprise, Yahoo has launched a web service that enables Developers to build custom applications on top of Yahoo Mail and monetize.

This means that developers that are able to build some new application that connects to Yahoo mail (and it’s unlimited data storage) will receive 10 dollars for every new sign up of a pro-account.

Yahoo! Mail offers an incentive for developers to build applications using the full functionality available for premium Yahoo! Mail accounts. Specifically, Yahoo! Mail provides a commission of $10.00 for every new Yahoo! Mail Plus account referred by developers.” says Yahoo

Yahoo has created a massive developer “channel sales” network that could scale it outwards. Is suspect Jeremy Zawodny had some influences on this, he’s been keeping close tabs on Amazon’s S3 web services, these Yahoo offerings will help developers scale out infrastructure, without having to hire a sys admin or deal with excessive web hosting.

What will come out of this? I can think of a few application developers that I know that could really benefit from this. I can think of a websites that could build in infrastructure Approver, Hipcal (now with Plaxo), Linkedin, Plaxo, 37 Signals, 30 boxes, Twitter, or any of these White Label Social networking sites.

My prediction yesterday was right, developers can pass on some of the residual revenues to users, incenting them to sign up, with the benefit of storing all of one’s data in the “cloud”. If done correctly, a savvy business model will let developers make revenues higher than the $10 premium sign up, so there’s profit sharing with the developer and the user.

What is “Paymium”?

The model is flipping, soon we’ll say good-bye to “premium” (sites you have to pay for) web sites and hello “paymium” (websites that pay users to use them). Did I create yet another stupid jargon term, probably. Welcome “paymium”. Chris Coulter will probably rant on this post, I look forward to it.

As I stated previously, I’m a Yahoo mail user (non-premium) a Yahoo Shareholder, and Yahoo is a client of PodTech. Contact me if you’ve something interesting to share.

Justin TV and the other “Asian American Guy” (guess who) on SFGate

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I had a great time hanging out with Justin TV today, he stopped by the SF MOMA to say hi to me (I was at my client’s event, HP) and he certainly already had some very avid fans. The SF Chronicle was following us around, they were taking pictures of him, maybe I’ll appear in the upcoming front page article. Apparently, there are some Jeff Yang from SF Gate comments on the Justin TV experience. He apparently was watching while I was touring Justin PodTech and the surrounding Palo Alto:

“As I’m writing this, for instance, it’s March 26, 12:21 p.m. Pacific time, and Kan’s driving a car. Looks like he’s not alone — hey, he’s talking to another Asian American guy. Based on Kan’s handy calendar, I think he’s someone from Podtech Network, a startup that offers videoblogs from the likes of Jason Calcanis and Robert Scoble. “Where are you from?” asks Podtech Dude, from the passenger’s seat. “I grew up in Seattle,” says Kan’s invisible, offscreen voice. (When Kan’s wearing his HatCam, you can’t see him, of course — you’re looking at the world from his first-person perspective. Actually, you can see Kan himself only when he’s asleep, because that’s when he turns the camera around to face his half-naked bad self in bed. Note: This is not titillating in the slightest, unless you get off on dimly lit, low-resolution sleep-lab videos.)

They talk briefly about growing up Asian American: Kan’s grandparents were born here. Podtech Dude is fifth generation — and then Podtech Dude asks one of the two questions that comes to everyone’s mind when they encounter Kan: “How the heck are you going to find a girlfriend if you’re wearing that all the time, dude?” Kan’s response: “I’m looking for a girl who’s an exhibitionist.” Such girls do exist: Kan notes that the other night, he got his first “onscreen” kiss from some drunk woman at a Laughing Squid party.

And then his second. And his third. “

Yeah, that Fifth Generation American Chinese guy from PodTech is me. I should also note that Justin is breaking how people think, both technologically, as well as culturally.

“I never really thought about it from this perspective before, but I guess this isn’t a typical stunt for an Asian American to do,” admits Kan. “If I heard about this in the news and it wasn’t me, and I found out it was an Asian American guy doing this, I’d be a little surprised. But that’s a good thing, right? Maybe this is in a small way breaking down some stereotypes.”

Also, it appears there’s a Justin TV fan site, it’s chronicling the adventures of Justin, from a more mature perspective, unlike some of the chat rooms. I’ll be talking to the creator sometime tomorrow.

Why I still think that users will be paid to use Online Data Storage (like Yahoo Mail)

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A few months ago I wrote Why I think future Online Data Storage companies will Pay You to Upload Data, and while not everyone agreed with me (some from the mainstream data storage industry may have felt threatened) I still stand by my prediction, and in some cases, it’s already started to happen as Google announced it will pay residuals to YouTube users.

Yahoo has just announced unlimited Yahoo Mail storage, which I believe is a huge treasure trove of user data, marketable information, and preference information that will help Yahoo market it’s ads or ads of others. We all know that about 85% of Google’s revenue is from Adwords, one could assume that a healthy chunk of Yahoo revenues is also from contextual marketing.

[The contextual data collected from Yahoo Mail and other online data warehouses is worth billions of dollars of contextual marketing revenue, users will eventually get a cut of the residuals]

While the details of Yahoo’s mail increase are not clear, such as Allen Stern asking for clarification on what exactly can be stored and Christopher Salazar questions if we users really want our data in the hands of a marketing company.

I still believe that companies that offer Online Data Storage will pay you to use their services in the near future. Online Data Storage is getting cheaper every month, so the determining factor will be how to bundle this service in a way that can help users store their entire life online, and make some residual money from contextual advertising.

I predict that Google Mail will follow suit, then the price war will happen, it won’t be about which is cheaper, but which mail client, Gmail or Yahoo Mail will pay users more money.

Having worked at a traditional data storage company and having a web career, I’m watching the Online Data Storage market carefully, which is a significant portion of the infrastructure of Social Media, you can see all my posts titled Data Storage. If you haven’t read my 40 points on the future of online data storage, now would be a good time.

While it doesn’t impact my predictions, you should know that I use Yahoo mail, and other Yahoo storage products like Flickr. I’m also a Yahoo shareholder, and Yahoo client of PodTech.

Justin.TV visits PodTech HQ

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Justin TV, Eddie Codel, and Irina signing "PT" (PodTech)

(Above, Justin TV, Eddie Codel, and Irina of GETV)

As promised, Justin showed up at PodTech HQ today, he was here from 11:30am till about 2pm. You can go to his site and look at the archives. I video interviewed Justin at STIRR before he went live, it’s a good summary. There’s an archive of him coming here, it will be at this URL (but doesn’t work yet)

We started to Twitter it, and Scoble Twittered it (he has over 2000 friends, most which are bloggers) and then Justin’s chat room started to have problems (related to the visitors, dunno?) I started to get Text messages and phone calls from folks that were watching, it was pretty cool.

Justin TV Factoids I learned today

-I learned Justin is a graduate of Yale, and him and his former college buddies came up with this idea.
-Justin has a very serious battery pack of lithium ion batteries in his backpack, and they heat up real well (I had to hold his backpack while he drove).
-He’s also sponsored by Bawls energy drink, and Zipcar, he’s hoping to land more sponsors.
-He’s getting called by major media, newspapers, and we expect him to get invited to Oprah show, and other mainstream shows.
-He’ll prob need to upgrade his platform to handle the load. He’s using Amazon EC2 Web Services for computing power.
-It took him and his team a few months to build the backpack platform.
-Justin moved here from Seattle a few months ago
-He’s single
-Got his first ‘on screen’ kiss this weekend, followed by others
-Seeking a GF that’s an inspiring actress
-Is 3rd generation Chinese
-Can only go places where the EDVO card can reach
-Is invited to many parties
-The camera is on him 24/7
-There’s a 15-30 sec delay
-He tilts the camera up when going to bathroom
-There was a false alarm prank call made to the police, which brought them over to his house
-The police are aware of these false alarms and will be cautious going forward, they won’t be tricked again

When we went to eat at a local med wraps place on California Avenue, people who were watching Justin TV in the area figured it out, and one photographer showed up to take pics. Eddie and Irina showed up and then invited Justin to go film a show for LunchMeet.

Things are starting to happen in real time, people are sharing on the net.

Social Media is going from Asynchronous to Real-Time.
I posted this less than 30 minutes after he left…I can’t keep up!

Update:

Justin is on CBS5, a local news firm, see video. I wonder if the news industry realizes this could be a threat.

Update March 27th
Jeff Yang of SFGate covers the Justin.TV story. He even watched me live in the video, and referred to me as “Asian Guy”. Now he knows, it’s me Jeremiah


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Understanding the Community/Evangelist Role, and profiles of a few of my Favorite Folks

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Social Media, and the web in general gives way to individuals to connect, in which they share their real human face, thoughts, and opinions.

One way for companies to adopt to this is to hire or create a role called a “Customer/Community” + “Evangelist/Advocate/Manager/Guy/Girl” or some variation of. I know many of those that are the leaders, and at my previous company, I had that role. They often use the tools that the people in the community use, today, this toolset primarily involves blogs, and is now spreading to video, twitter, and who knows what.

The rules of a Community Manager are simple, here’s my ideology around it, feel free to share your own:

This “Customer/Community” + “Evangelist/Advocate/Manager/Guy/Girl” role typically has the following traits:

1) Community First
Puts the community or the customers as a priority over the company. This person is an advocate for the customers, and will often go ‘join’ the community, rather than try to build it. (I learned this from Tara)

2) An Educator, two-ways
Teaches the community about the company and it’s products, often in a non-invasive manner.

3) Uses the tools and communication style of the community
In 2007, this is primarily blogs, online pictures. I see this moving to Video, Twitter, and a vast array of emerging tools.

4) Puts a Human Face on the company
This person actually shows their real face, both online and at events. Forget those stock images of the pretty Asian woman at the computer, and use a real person, who can relate to the community.

5) Not just a Marketing Role
This is not just a PR or marketing role, this role actually extends to:
Customer Support
Product Marketing and Engineering

6) Knows when to get out of the way
Sometimes this role is to connect the right people in the company (who know more about the product details) with the right customers. Also this role will connect prospects with customers, in a new form of “customer references”.

7) Pushes the “Membrane”
Scoble told me about this in 2005, he pushed the corporate membrane at Microsoft, which is a pliable movable invisible wall. Once he felt he pushed it, and was just about to poke through, he would back off. If Corporate Comms and Management gets uncomfortable with the community manager, then you’re doing the job right.

Additional Resources:

  • What a Community Manager does
  • Can a Community Manager really sit back and shutup?
  • Project Manager, Product Managers, and Product Marketing Manager
  • Social Media changes Product Managers and Product Marketing
  • Update: Inspiring upcoming potential Christopher Salazar has added some additional thoughts, a must read.

  • Some of the profiles of the Evangelists or Community Advocates in the Technology Industry:

    Guy Kawasaki – Former Apple Evangelist and current VC
    Most well known for being one of Apple’s most vibrant Evangelists, in addition to his many endeavors of his own. Guy is the author of eight books including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Guy has some of the most infectious evangelism, people are drawn to him, and this was very apparent when he started his blog and it instantly became a hit. Check out his wikipedia profile.

    Damon Billian – PayPal, SimplyHired
    I’ve actually known Damon longer than most folks on this list, I knew him from some mutual friends before I started my career. Damon was one of the early evangelists in the web industry, while at PayPal, he compassionately reached out to customers to help answer their questions. Damon is now involved with SimplyHired and is the Community Manager, I myself have interacted with Damon in the SimplyForums where Damon was facilitating some great discussions. Damon can be found either in Silicon Valley or Thailand visiting his sweetheart or on his blog.

    Scott Beale – Laughing Squid
    Scott is the founder of Laughing Squid Web Hosting for over 10 years, as a well-respected photographer, he takes pictures of community events and personalities and spreads his stickers that end up on all kinds of interesting places. He’s also know for throwing some amazing community parties, all this without pitching his product.

    Tara Hunt – Pinko Marketer, Citizen Agency
    As one of the most visible web company evangelists, Tara’s credited by giving to the community that she serves by becoming one of them, as a result of her generous nature, her former employer Riya yielded incredible early signups for it’s initial launch. She founded the Pinko Marketing religion which spurs an emerging generation of marketers that listen rather than talk. Last summer Tara left Riya to start her own consultancy appropriately named Citizen Agency with sweetheart Chris Messina. Today, Tara’s seen on the speaking circuit, stirring up traditional marketing memes, being a mom, or working hard in her swanky SF office loft near SOMA’s South Park Tech corridor. I’m constantly amazed at her energy, I doubt you’ll be able to keep up, so to learn more check out CenterNetworks has a great interview or check out her blog Horse Pig Cow (or as I affectionately refer to it, Neigh, Snort, Moo) .

    Will Pate, Community Ambassador, Flock/Rockstar
    Out of all the evangelists out there, I’m likely to be the most jealous of Will Pate. Not because of his dashing good looks, (or so my wife tells me) or that he’s constantly surrounded by the ladies, or stylish garb, it’s because he makes it look so easy. I recently caught up with Will at the Community Next conference in Palo Alto and he described his role at Flock to be part community advocate, and part company evangelists. He helped to bring the requirements together, connect them, and build a better product. Today, Will can be found in Toronto, and he’s switched to a part time role at Flock, what’s next for Will? Greatness I’m sure.

    Robert Scoble Geek Blogger – Former Microsoft Blogger, now at PodTech
    The Scoblizer brought a human face to the evil empire. Although an employee, Robert was the biggest critic of Microsoft. He would point to the ‘evil’ faster than anyone else could, centralizing the conversation and opening up a transparent conversation. As a blogging evangelist, Robert changed how many felt about Microsoft. We now work together at PodTech. He’s most often seen in one of our meeting rooms interviewing a CEO for his show ScobleShow.

    Thomas Hawk – Photographer, Zooomr Evangelist

    In my opinion, Thomas has the most unique style, hired a few months ago as Zooomr (a Photo sharing site) as their Marketing Evangelist, rather than pitching the product, he uses his camera. Thomas takes pictures of just about everything and anything, and they all turn out interesting. By being an example of the photographer community, he brings the experience of photo sharing (and that means zooomr) closer to his community. He also never ‘hard-pitches’ his company, buy by just demonstrating his mastery of photography he draws the community in closer.

    Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist
    To me, Craig is a very fatherly character in the drama I call the internet. His website is about giving, sharing, and helping others. He’s a serious community guy, who gives his time, effort to those who also need help. If you’ve ever seen him speak, he’s very humble and generous to others.

    Micki Krimmel – Revver
    Micki is the video Starlet of our time. As the Director of Community at Video Sharing site Revver, she walks and talks the business. Her highly captivating videos express her unique style, signature tattoo, and impecable fashion forward LA fashions. If anyone should get her own dedicated video show it should be Micki. I’ve met up with Micki a few times, and her online persona is exactly like her real life one: engaging, interesting, captivating and very babelicious. It’s no doubt that Revver has so wisley chose her to be the front face of the company, like Thomas Hawk, she lives the product without pitching it. But more than anything even Galacticast thinks The Micki is sexy.

    Martin McKeay – StillSecure Blogger, Podcaster, Videoblogger
    Martin is a personal friend of mine, and has recently started as the Security Evangelist for StillSecure a security solutions company. While still too early to sing any praises, we’ll keep an eye on him. Martin is a Security Blogger “A-lister” Podcaster, VideoBlogger (with PodTech), and Speaker.

    Mario Sundar – LinkedIn

    Mario announced his succession as the Community Evangelist at Linkedin a few hours ago.

    Others?
    I realize there are other people that could make this list, (such as the wikipedia entry on Technology Evangelist I pulled from those that I’ve met or followed, feel free to add a comment to add your own!

    Who am I? Master Blogger Shel Israel has documented my experience as the Online Community Manager at Hitachi Data Systems. I now work as a social media consultant at PodTech, helping our clients with their own Community.

    Update: I’m no longer at Podtech, but instead am an Analyst at Forrester Research covering Social Computing, in fact, I’ve published a report on this passion topic of mine, how to staff for social computing.

    Industry News: LinkedIn gets a Community Evangelist

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    (Left: Mario Sundar and Jeremiah Owyang)

    LinkedIn, a social networking contact website is demonstrating how important customers are to them, as they’ve recently hired a Customer Evangelist. This role is appearing in many companies, I had such a role at Hitachi. Mario Sundar, a well-known Marketing blogger and thought leader has accepted the role.

    What’s his mission? watch his video
    I informally interviewed Mario on video, you can watch as he explains his purpose as a Customer Evangelist, Congrats Mario and congratulations LinkedIn, you’ll now have a better connection with customers, communicate more effectively and continue to put a human face on your company, you couldn’t have picked anyone more friendly and genuine than Mario.