As electric cars go, this shifts a few paradigms.....
I just got my Hong Kong shipment--a shiny new, Nokia E61.
(who says gadgets don't make you happy!)
A Blackberry killer? Maybe. I think more accurately, a sleek Blackberry alternative. I have been hacking around with it for a few days now and am mostly impressed. As a former Blackberry user, I am not as familiar with the Symbian OS, so some of the basics are a bit elusive so far.
The device is sharp looking, lighter and thinner than all of the Blackberries. Most importantly, it is a great phone. My only major complaint is that while the phone quality is superior, it could be a tad louder.
I spent a half-day this week getting the Windows software, "PC Suite" installed on my spare computer and then getting the Blackberry Connect software working. Through this process, the phone and BES server got acquainted and messages were flowing in no time.
The main difference in the BES/client integration between the E61 and other BES-native devices from RIM is that this does not yet support syncing of contacts, tasks, and notes--just email and the calendar. I was able to use the Windows app to sync contacts and the rest to the Outlook client, so while it is not optimal, it worked fine. I imagine it is something that will come in time from RIM, or you that there will be other services to do the whole Exchange+BES thing either open source or for a monthly fee.
Want pics? Here is the Flickr group.
I am sitting here at the annual Solar power conference in Denver, CO learning the basics of photovoltaics (PV) and how to design and build a system that can offset some portion of utility power.
For some, especially in undeveloped parts of the world, the issue is how do we create a stand-alone system to power our homes or villages "off-grid" or independent of any power utility. For others (myself included) the goal would be to augment utility power through PV or other renewable source (what is known as a grid-tied system).
Mostly, I was here to learn. However, something about all this is very wild-west-ish and had the kind of intoxicating feel of the web 1.0 world a decade ago. It is exciting to think about both the "powering a village" parts of all this and also the less romantic bits about saving money on the electric bill.
1. Efficiency First. Before you do ANYTHING with PV or any other renewable energy source, make the time and financial investment in reducing your power consumption. There is a commonly referenced ratio of 3:1--i.e., the ratio of savings you can achieve from energy efficiency over the amount you will spend for the same energy delta with the installation of a PV system. A $10K investment in insulation, different light bulbs, and a more energy efficient fridge, will do as much as a $30K investment in PV.
2. PV alone is not the answer. For example, using the sun to generate electricity via PV, and then send that into the house to power a water heater, which then provides hot water to your shower, is a terribly inefficient way to solve the problem. Instead, a solar thermal system in your attic (essentially a plumbing solution) to heat water directly from the sun, and then pump that water through your house is a very efficient way to solve the same problem.
3. Long-term ROI. The equipment for all this is getting better and better, but there are still sun-to-electricity conversion issues that make this a long-term ROI in most parts of the country. For example, to generate 10kW of power, you will need to invest about $100k in PV and the related gear (inverters, charge controllers, other electrical work). This 10kW of power will most likely not power even half of my family's power needs (replace "needs" with "current wasteful usage patterns").
One of the main things I took away from all this, is that regardless of how expensive per kWh Solar is, it is still a constant and perpetual energy source in a world of rising fossil fuel costs--and one that has no carbon liability. In high rebate states, it is an attractive prospect. In lower ones, it is a known quantity in a world of volitle energy.
There are tons of opportunities here--I will try to distill some of mine when I am on the plane flying home.
For the last five years or so, i have told myself that I would figure out a way to work less and play more. Not that I love playing and hate working...actually the opposite. I have a very hard time slowing down, and love working--and tend to work too much.
I had a friend and mentor, Bill Allbright tell me one time that his goal was to work 4 days a week, and make 400k a year, by the time he was 40. I think he has gotten there on all fronts and it seems to work as a good combination.
It wasn't fully bought in on the whole concept though until I read this article of Ryan Carson's on A List Apart that I really started thinking it may be possible for me--you know to recover from this disease.
Go here to read more--it is worth it. Every weekend can be a three-day weekend!
Yesterday Web 2.0 cheerleader Blake Burris led a discussion at StarTech about Web 2.0 and some of the key elements that make it interesting. It was pretty well attended and I think that most of the guys there learned something from the session.
I had heard much of it before in past firehose settings with Blake, but yesterday a new spark was ignited around helping to reduce some of the friction in the young, start-up community here in Dallas.
So, pursuant with Web 2.0 values, I immediately went out to PB Wiki and setup my first Wiki about this still nascent idea. I feel sooo web-two-point-oh. I was impressed with the simplicity of setting up a basic page, but not with the design and UI of what the end product looks like. A Wiki is a simple, content management-driven page creation tool that allows you to very, very simply, create an OPEN set of web pages that can be easily updated by the author or (if set to "public") others.
It was a good experience overall, and I am sure it will prove to be a good place to hash out the plan for 50kFridays......stay tuned.
One of the bad habits that comes with being a chronic entrepreneur is getting some of the steps in building a business out of order. For example, registering a domain name for an idea even before the idea is even half-baked.....which is exactly what I did today.
tagbrowse. There, no longer a secret. Now, time to start finding some people to help figure out what it is.
The genesis of the idea is an online space that somehow (eek, how?) visually depicts a) the most recent and most voluminous of content created online and b) the most recent and most voluminous content viewed online. Sort of an online content and site visitor weather-map for the entire (public) web.
The challenge is this: pull feeds from maybe a hundred or more sources about what content is being created (flickr, feedburner, yahoo, CNN, YouTube, etc.), pull similar feeds from other sources (Alexa, Neilsen/NetRatings, google, etc.) about what is being viewed, and then marry all the data on screen in a way that is simple (and fun) to navigate.
There are a few tagcloud sites that do parts of this like:
...and some ideas on how to visually navigate lots of data:
(there are two others i will post when i find them...)
...more to come. A soccer game awaits.
Mark's Post (read here)
Mark recently wrote about the whole "why do theaters suck" (his was actually, "What business are theaters in?") debate that has been waged between theater owners (who blame Hollywood) and Hollywood (who blames theater owners).
Where MC is right.
First, the release window is irrelevant. Theaters can survive just fine without it. DVD's don't cannibalize theater any more than being able to grill my own steak cannibalizes the steakhouse business.
Second, theater owners SHOULD be able to deliver better experiences than you or I can at home (even on the best home theater). Going to the movie is much less about movie exhibition factors (sound, picture quality, stadium seating), and much more about non-movie factors (environment, architecture, people, music, mood, products for sale and the way they are sold, the energy/buzz, and other "experience-contributors" that all work together to create the experience people pay for.
Theaters aren't in the "movie biz" any more than the Dallas Mavs are in the basketball biz. They are both in the "what do you want to do tonight" biz--the business of creating and delivering a rich, entertaining experience. When you go to a Mavs game, you see some great basketball. You see it in a context of an experience that is IMPOSSIBLE to duplicate. I have a 100" projection DLP theater in my game-room. The players look freakin real--and real sweaty. But it is nothing compared to showing up at AA Center and being a part of the Mavs experience.
The theater experience for a 16 year old needs to be different than for a 35 year old--or for a 55 year old. Enough said...I totally agree.
Some differences and opportunities.
$40.00 in lost revenues
Landmark (MC owned and the focus of this blog entry) is certainly doing a lot of things right. One of my favorite nights out is to go eat at La Duni and then see something at either Angelika or Magnolia (a Landmark theater). With three kids under 6, I don't get to do this every weekend, but when I can, I do. When we go out, we usually have free babysitting (family) but sometimes we have to pay a sitter. That extra planning, coordinating times, pickups, dropoffs, and then paying the $40 bucks or so for the ability to leave the kids at home and see a movie is a big opportunity for theater owners. Current theater revenues per patron are about $9 bucks--even if 10% of patrons brought that extra $40 it would turn that $9 into $13 bucks.
(More later on, why a multiplex should be more of a "multi-zoned, multi-product, multi-tenant, radically-different-people-flow, multiplex.")
It is almost the end of March 2006, and yes, this is the first real blog entry of any substance for me. I know, I should know better. I should be more on the ball. In 1996, Lance Horn and I did a hundred presentations or more trying to sell our web services to firms that weren't sure what the difference between AOL and the Internet were. "Why do I need a web page?" was the most common objection.
Interestingly, the "why" of the adoption process is often the part we spend the least time on.
Why do we blog? Why do we need more people's opinions online? What is the significant change between post-blog culture and pre-blog? Did we have a gazillion smart people that were just web-mute? Or do we now have a gazillion that should shutup?
The answer is yes.
Why this blog?
I am still not sure. There are a bunch of things that may make the cut, like: web 2.0, new UI paradigms, new ways to do old things, the intersection of web 2.0 and the world 1.0, my family, pornography and the impact it has on real, human relationships, why Christ is better than Christians, and how not to build a cage for a bearded dragon.
I am a Dallas-based start-up executive and entrepreneur with a track record in building value in Internet and other technology businesses. In the past ten years I have founded or co-founded numerous successful ventures including companies in the streaming video, online retail, Internet software/services, and wireless operating system businesses. I am a relentless problem solver and love bringing people together to solve problems that alone we couldn't.