Why the Future of Music is Brighter Than Ever

Many hands have been wrung about the future of music. The music industry has seen year over year of increasingly steep declines for a decade. Think about that for a minute: in 2001, the business fell by 3%. In 2002, it fell another 11%. In 2003, it recovered slightly. But the dead cat bounce was confirmed in the subsequent years. The industry has posted double digit declines in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. In 1999, the industry was $14.3 billion. In 2009, it was less than half – $6.3 billion.

Can you hear the clanging death bells? Music will surely die! This fate has been proclaimed everywhere, but, of course, misses the point completely. If we learned nothing else from the housing bust, let us at least remember that more isn’t always better – sometimes it’s just more. Continue reading “Why the Future of Music is Brighter Than Ever”

As E-Commerce Growth Flatlines, Video Differentiates

E-commerce is hitting a wall. The growth in e-commerce is slowing, and it’s slowing fast (yes, that is a pun). From 2008 to 2013, the rate of e-commerce growth is projected to slow from 13% to 8%. Now, please don’t think me a Chicken Little. I’m not sounding a death knell. Obviously, growth is still growth.

But, if you work in the e-commerce sector, you are in for a bumpy ride. Until recently, the sector has seen 20%+ growth rates for years, which has made most e-tailer’s jobs pretty easy. The criteria has been pretty simple: have compelling product; have a trustworthy website;  offer good deals and service. Pretty simple formula for 20%+ growth.

But, Americans’ buying habits have largely shifted, and the incremental shifts that are still to come reflect the fact that the halcyon days are behind us. From now on, e-commerce teams will have to eke out gains just like everyone else. Continue reading “As E-Commerce Growth Flatlines, Video Differentiates”

Mo Data, Mo Problems

The era of big data is upon us. Over the past 20 years, we have seen a huge increase in the amount of data that the world produces. And it continues to grow. IDC estimates (PDF) that the world will have 988 exabytes (988 billion gigabytes) this year. That’s a 4x increase since 2006, and a forecast of 57% CAGR moving forward.

And that’s just the beginning.

We can’t even yet conceive of the new uses of all of this information. But they are coming, and they will bring both problems and opportunities.

Continue reading “Mo Data, Mo Problems”

Do You Turk? Use Mechanical Turk to Jumpstart Semantic Sites

One of the big challenges with social websites is getting them off the ground in the first place. It’s not Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams – just because you built it, does not necessarily mean they will come.

And, there’s nothing sadder than a sparsely inhabited social space. It’s like when the conference room is way too big for the number of attendees. You feel alone, even when there’s a crowd.

So, when launching a social space, you must have a strategy in place to get people to generate content quickly. You have to get past The Dip, and get to the other side – where your community is creating that content without you pushing them.

Part of the equation is quality – your biggest advocates need to have a vocal presence. But, part is also quantity – and that’s where Amazon’s Mechanical Turk can help.

Continue reading “Do You Turk? Use Mechanical Turk to Jumpstart Semantic Sites”

Game Mechanics: The Most Important Online Tactic You’re Not Using

Total read time: 5 minutes

Games have been around for thousands of years. But while Go and Chess are complicated (and have even been proven to correlate with intelligence), for most of history, games have not been taken seriously. Until video games came along. In the span of 30 years, a great gaming industry was built. Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Sony, Atari, and Microsoft owe billions of dollars in revenue each year to games. The video game industry is now worth more than $18BN (incidentally, that’s more than the movie industry). And Zynga, the social gaming company that created Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook, went from a valuation of $1BN last year to $3BN in February, to $5BN in April. Continue reading “Game Mechanics: The Most Important Online Tactic You’re Not Using”

The Demise of Web3D – The Hottest Tech Trend of 2008

With recent developer conferences from Facebook and Twitter, and the forthcoming Google I/O conference, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the breathless excitement of possibility. It gives tech blogs many millions of pageviews to chronicle each minor announcement as if it were a game-changer.

But, in the weeks and months that follow, the sheen inevitably wears off, and developers start determining which innovations are truly exciting, and which are just so much hype.

It’s the community that makes are breaks these companies – a point that is very apparent when we look back just two short years, at the hottest technology of 2008: Web3D.

Continue reading “The Demise of Web3D – The Hottest Tech Trend of 2008”