Category Archives: Podcasts

Big Leap for Live Social Media Today?

Barack on UStream

I first started noticing the live social media space a year ago.  Frankly, I haven’t felt like much occurred in this “market” since that time.  Granted, I’ve personally taken the time to jot down thoughts on the “Truman Show” style Justin.TV on a couple occasions but that’s only because I find lifecasting to be very bizarre, particularly from an end-user perspective.

I saw today, however, that Ustream.tv had a great week.  Digital Media Wire reported today that the company raised its first round of outside capital to the tune of $11M.  That’s a large first institutional round and having the likes of DCM and Labrador (key funders behind Pandora and Yardbarker) is impressive.  Several folks have been blogging about Ustream this week including NewTeeVee and their stats from the past few months are noteworthy–particularly the amount of broadcasts being developed daily (8k – 10k per day.)

When I first heard about Ustream a year ago, I interpreted it more along the lines of lifecasting sites like Justin.TV, Stickam or ManiaTV.  They were catching on in the tech crowd with people like Cris Pirillo who streamed their own shows from offices or on the road at trade shows–a podcasting site, effectively, with some nice social networking tools and a decent, interactive video player.

The live social media play is a tricky one to get right: it requires a well-executed blend of community, nicely produced and interesting content and reliable, sufficient quality distribution of the video.  It also requires some well-known and compelling personalities to jump on board and help grow that community.  According to the DMW post today, Barack Obama, John McCain, Chris Brown and others are occasionally using the site now for broadcasts.  That’s certainly a start… 

The live social media space has been gaining momentum for several years now.  Podcasts first hit the Internet 5+ years ago, YouTube exploded on to the scene in 2005, fatter pipes for distribution are readily available as are more sophisticated and affordable video players.  While some players like ManiaTV have taken meaningful outside capital during the past three years, the timing may finally be right for a player like Ustream to begin truly defining this market with marketable broadcasters and an audience ready to pay attention. 

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Jobs-Gates Lovefest Review

Gates and Jobs at D Conference

I watched the video podcast, via itunes, today of the recent live conversation at the D5 Conference in San Diego between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  Here is a link to that podcast if you haven’t already accessed it:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=256972720&s=143441&i=16439597

This is a truly powerful conversation and one that is both a detailed historical take on the last 30 years of software and computing and also a useful tool for anticipating future technological innovation.  The people that were in the audience truly seemed to love the dialogue and it’s fairly obvious why after watching the video podcast. 

I was surprised to understand the mutual respect and regard Gates and Jobs have for each other.  They are two people who truly like  each other and admire the vision and accomplishments each other have achieved.  In the case of Jobs, its a respect for Gates founding the first, true software company and in the case of Gates, respecting Jobs’ bet in particular on the Mac as a mainstream platform.  Bill also appears to respect Steve for recognizing the importance of marketing and taste in building great products. 

Education was a major theme in the conversation, which was interesting to me personally, particularly coming from Gates.  I would have suspected to hear more on that topic from Jobs instead, whose company has maintained a more dedicated focus to that vertical over the years compared to Microsoft.   That said, it was encouraging to hear Gates describe the role that the internet, digital media and technology in general can have on education and I couldn’t agree with his sentiments any more.   

Along the lines of education, this is a pioneer’s recount of the chronologic last 30 years of technology at many levels.  This piece should be shown in history, computer science classes and other areas of education for years to come.  It was also an impressive level of recollection of the early technical details including storage unit measurement details of the earliest graphic interfaces, etc.  It was amazing though to think that early computers were shipping with 128k of memory installed as compared to gigs of memory today.

If I were to have one criticism of the discussion, it would be the moderation.  I believe that it was Kara Swisher from the WSJ sitting alongside Walt Mossberg.  Thank goodness Walt was there to save the moderation of the interview.  Kara was generally irritating and unsophisticated in her questioning.  The two of them almost seemed to be having a Ryan Seacreast-Simon Cowell moment battling for the spotlight to ask the next question and the whole discussion would have been better with one moderator in general.

Other than that small side comment, this is well worth the hour plus review.  I learned a ton about two great innovators and was inspired by them on many levels. 

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Smodcast

I’m not a huge podcast guy but, if you are or have the time, this podcast on itunes is hilarious stuff:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=215010467

This podcast comes from Kevin Smith, director and writer of classic flics including Clerks, Dogma and Mallrats and Scott Mosier, the producer of many of Smith’s movies. 

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