Thursday, October 09, 2008

I spot obstacles

Sad indeed, I just read this email from

Sent: 09 Oct '08 19:58
Subject: To Our Users and Customers:

We deeply regret to inform you that Eyespot Corporation will no longer be able to continue serving you.

For our users at, we're no longer allowing you to upload new videos. You can retrieve your uploaded video and mixes by going to your mymedia gallery and clicking the download link below the video thumbnail.

For our business customers in the eyespot video network, your site will continue operate unaffected for a limited period of time. We encourage you to migrate your video solution to one of our competing providers in the video mixing (e.g. and video publishing space (e.g.
immediately. We'll soon be providing you with the means of downloading your community videos from within your dashboard at [].

We have spent three years providing over a hundred thousand of you with a unique video experience. We believed that by putting creative tools and rights-cleared media into the hands of influencers and connectors, Eyespot would enable social media and participation culture like no other company.

After playing over two hundred million of your video creations, we have to stop. After assembling possibly the most potent team in digital media ever, we're now moving on.

Thank you all for being apart of our community over the past three years.

Jim Kaskade
President & CEO
So what happened ? Isn't it a startup dream to be Eyespot? Demo your technology at Under the Radar in July 2006, raise a few million a couple of months later, that worked out to about a million per year.

Check out the site while you still can, users come and build libraries of copyright free video/etc material and the mash it up. Video editing, mashups, cool, yes? And evidently they have a business account (which you should make a backup of right away if you have one.)
Jumpcut was acquired by Yahoo! and now I wonder how they're going to do. I still see obstacles for video. You can read and listen to a couple of good interviews from other video-related sites like Voxant and ExpoTV on

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The beta generation

Dangerous tools and environments were just a couple of the risks when the oil industry first started. That torturous first scene in the movie There Will Be Blood shows Daniel Day Lewis, the oil seeking maverick, injured and stranded with broken bones after a fall into the well he dug. There is payoff this time and his pain is outweighed by his joy when the oil shoots up from the earth allowing him victory. Of course there are many wells that don't pay off but one must keep plodding through each as if it would. Some wells seem to have more promise than others.

In my world of drilling and discovery, crude technology is the black gold sought.

New media technology has become so exciting in the past 3 or 4 years, even though it's played down by those sorely recollecting the 'Bubble.' Yet, it's rampant. Most TV shows have web sites and if the producer don't build it, the fans will. My daughter's orthodontist has her own radio show. You can order groceries, drugs, shoes, a wedding dress and your funeral casket -- all online. You'd need a wiki to detail all the opportunities for GPS and the technologies that use it for gaming, safety, military security, and finding a Starbucks close by. Gosh, that's hard, isn't it? Hey money gets there first sometimes. But don't worry, it's crowded, and the best software and service will rise to the top.

For example, rating and ranking systems are getting better because there is more data contained in them. Even if a restaurant owner gave themselves positive ratings, eventually those who rate their experience at the restaurant outweigh any biased rating submissions. Since polling technology has been around for a while now, it's becoming widely useful.

Video broadcast services are still young.

I ran into the director of business development from last month at TC50. Hey great I thought, we are working on a high profile project and I told him I wanted to use the service to do private recordings. He said I would be better off with another service and rattled off a couple I didn't investigate yet. I was surprised he didn't want to work more closely and that the marketing department didn't follow up about redistributing the content, which is already proven popular on other networks. Other services? Well OK Ustream, but the thing was, I had three interviews set up and not one of them worked out, whether bandwidth issue or something we were never able to determine. Thankfully I was simultaneously recording the audio using either BlogTalkRadio or a home studio. BlogTalkRadio saved me (for the second time!) this summer as a redundant recording device when other technology failed. It will be great when video technology matures just a bit and we've over this hurdle. Please drop me a note if you know of a good video service I might try.

Talking with a board member from Greenpeace or the frustrated, English materials science professor, who arranged to let me interview him in the evening, made me feel a bit like Mr. Lewis in the well, before the oil came. Less messy, but equally horrific. Yet we, the beta generation, will continue to test the software, as technology is so much more valuable a resource than oil in the end.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Heartbreak to hero

It can be said that Alan Levy is a good business man, a direct and effective negotiator. He retooled existing, large telephony infrastructure technology into a free, light-weight web service anyone with a phone can figure out. He makes money on both premium services and advertising, as well as backend US numbers procured by the phone company he also owns. But the service, again, is free. And long distance is included with virtually every phone service these days.
Photo credit: Steve Garfield who also has a great Flickr stream
I said "hero", because we'll all see heartbreak at some point, but few of us create a mechanism by which anyone can communicate, build community, share, connect with friends, family, paranormal psychologists, authors who write about paranormal psychologists, actors who play them on TV and activists concerned for the pet portrayals played therein. Smart businesses will take the technology, like Dave Winer did and build cool sub-services. They can use these privately like recorded conference calls, or on the fly via cell-phone only from the ballpark or town hall meeting. Podcast on-the-go.

While I don't work for the company now, I still love them and I respect what Alan did, coming back and building this for the world. He didn't need the money. He needed to give back and he did that for thousands of people. Listen to the discussion with Alan.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Social (Un)bookmarking

Social media was made for me. I have always favored personal bonds among colleagues and more often than not found it to strengthen the work created together. I have accounts at over 30 social networking sites. I Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Flickr and Blip. I chat on over half a dozen instant messaging clients. I write 4 blogs and echo each of those in excerpt or comment on many other web sites. I have several feed readers and foster relationships with influencers I respect to keep up with anything I might have missed.

My attention touches a lot of things and I like it that way. Some people feel that there is no intellect in the village, especially if the village is filled with idiots, but I disagree. We can learn much from this knowledge, about the variety of individual beliefs and collective views and about problem solving. So I'm a big fan, you can tell. But I want to raise a problem with social networking yet unsolved.

What's missing is the ability to socially "(un)bookmark" a topic. Now there are some smart guys out there, please will one of you build this? Here's what I need.

This is Clipmarks. This morning I was supposed to interview Clipmarks' CEO, Eric Goldstein, on Lisacast, my BlogTalkRadio show. I twittered the show and posted it on Facebook. I emailed my friends who don't social network. Show time came.

But he didn't show up.

This happens even to the best of us from time to time with live broadcasting and I cancelled the show for rescheduling. But...this is my reputation. So I had to go pull all of those posts down, rewrite my main blog about Clipmarks and send emails to several people.

What I want is a smart tool that will find all of the posts or notifications I made 1) within a time frame, 2) about a topic, 3) on multiple sites (Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, etc.). And 4) if the post was in the form of an email, this tool would generate a second email with something I have submitted in a text field one time, like this:

"Hey, sorry my show was cancelled today today. I'm certain that the reason Mr. Goldstein didn't call into the show was because of a very bad case of food poisoning or he had some type of CEO emergency. Please stay tuned.

Yours truly,

A while back I narrated a video project with Dan Gillmor and JD Lasica about correcting errors that are made online. This is one scenario, making an outright mistake. Surely corporations and individual contributors alike would see value in a tool that would help them clean up online posts for which they would like to limit visibility.

I think a tool that accomodates this requests would help people embrace social media without as much fear. After all, the Web is ours. We do with it what we will and part of that should include "undoing."