Lately I have been thinking about the burden of freedom. What I mean by freedom is not the civil freedom of being out of jail, but an existential freedom: freedom from unfulfilled desires, from debilitating illness, from time-consuming commitments, from limiting beliefs. The kind of freedom that makes you wake up on Saturday morning, have your breakfast, come into the living room and think to yourself “no one expects anything from me today, I have the whole day to myself, to do anything I want. So, what should I do?” Continue reading “How I Have Come to Face Freedom”
How’s that for an irony: my idea, that I declared dead just a week ago, was the inspiration for ShopJet – a concept our team has developed into functional demo, which awarded us with the 2nd place in Startup Weekend – a startup competition, I nearly missed. Continue reading “Great news: our team is Startup Weekend’s runner-up”
Last July, when I was finishing my MBA studies, I started to work with my partner on an idea for a product we called tentatively Rich Product Experience. We have written elevator pitch, built a little mockup of the product, talked with some people from the Technion about it’s potential and….well that’s about it. Unfortunately we didn’t move much pass the initial plans and some very preliminary demos. Admittedly, I was more enthusiastic about it than my partner, but I guess I didn’t have enough enthusiasm for the both of us. Continue reading “Rich Product Experience”
Recently I have been invited to participate in a panel of MBA graduates to discuss and share our experience during Global Strategic Management project (which I took last year) with fresh students. The project was supervised by Sid Amster, a remarkable American businessman , with phenomenal enthusiasm for sharing his experience with the students. Friendly, open and informal, he made sure that we felt that this was the most important course in the MBA. Continue reading “The Anatomy of Group Effort”
Recently I have read about an Israeli startup that plans to introduce a product called WebTVplug, which allows to connect the TV to the Internet through a hardware plug-in. The plug-in converts IP data, streamed from company’s server’s, to video signal, consumable by TV, and presents to the viewer a mesh of video clips, collected from the web, grouped by categories and sorted by company’s content editors.
The problem of this product, is that instead of adjusting the content for the TV medium, it simply gives access to myriads of short clips from around the net in YouTube style (without the social aspect of YouTube).
The entertainment experience in the living room is inherently a passive one. Large display, soft sofa, remote control, a cup of tea. People want to relax, to be entertained, to be immersed by the movie they watching or the game the playing. While some may say that playing video games is not a passive entertainment, I would argue that it is in the sense that it does not require mental activities such as reading, browsing, searching, deciding – all those things we do on the web, and don’t do while watching TV or playing video games.
But the service constantly requires our attention and intervention, to select the next clip to watch. Which for short clips happens quite often. Since the amount of content is enormous, sooner or later we are drawn into a decision paralysis. It seams to me that most people would find this experience tiresome, and not fitting with what they come to expect from living room entertainment.
The idea of bringing Internet content to the living room has undeniable potential, but it seams to me that this product goes in the wrong direction.
If I would have tried to bring web video to TV, I would have focused on the following design aspects:
- Push, Not Pull – the user shouldn’t be asked to constantly make decisions, but rather be fed with self-streaming and self-updating content
- Embrace the TV – the layout, the fonts, the menus of the UI should be specifically designed for large displays, viewed from a distance. The input method ideally should be TV’s native remote control.
- Fuse with the Web – since the content is streamed from the Internet, it is possible to give each user experience customized for his unique taste. Instead of offloading on the unsuspecting user countless videos, sorted by category, but intended for everyone, it is possible to try to learn each user’s taste, and offer each one content, tailored specifically for his interests. This can be done by providing supplementary web service, through which user can teach the system of his taste, for example by feeding his YouTube’s account favorites.
On a side note, the service has an option of connecting the plug-in to PC, and streaming video clips. Its not clear why would anyone want to use this feature, when he has access to YouTube and other popular web video services.
The original post (in Hebrew): http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3782742,00.html
When talking about web video on TV, I should mention of course Boxee, which is a great example of web-to-TV product done right.
How many times you wanted to save some article, maybe a youtube video, or just a link that somebody sent you, for later viewing? The most obvious option in such cases was just to save it to bookmarks. But I always felt badly with clogging my bookmarks with one-time-use pages. Continue reading “Read It Later”
I blogged about the pitch I wrote in Auctioning Off Your Purchasing post. Today I want to share the pitch that wrote my study partner, Pavel, based on an idea we developed. Later on, we tried actually to implement that idea, but that’s another story.
If you are like me, you have large music collection, but often have a hard time deciding what to listen to next.
Exactly for this, Last.FM has developed Boffin, a beta program, that brings the intelligence of Last.Fm to your music collection. Continue reading “Play Your Local Music Collection Like Last.FM Radio”
Anyone who follows web 2.0 magazines (like TechCrunch, Go2Web20, etc) and observes the emergence of latest web startups, cannot help but feel that most of them follow similar patters and structures. While different in technology, market and target audience, when striped from all the bells and whistles, often they look and feel very similar. Continue reading “Looking for Startup Patterns – Dissecting the Web 2.0 Frenzy”
Back in May 2008, in post titled Multiple Personality Disorder I talked about the need I felt, to manage and control your online personalities (the professional one of LinkedIn, the social one of Facebook, your dating sites profiles, etc). Today I read about a service called Chi.mp that aims at exactly that.
Chi.mp allows you to gather your social networks profiles in one place, under your own domain name (i.e gorilla.mp), create online “personas”, such as public persona; friends persona; professional persona, and publish and push your updates back to your social networks. Continue reading “Feed your Chi.mp with your social-networks profiles”
I have been noticing for some time now, that many businesses try to reach their customers, and promote themselves through social networks. For example, the Irish House pub in Haifa, aside from having a web-site (http://irish-house.co.il/), also has a facebook group, with discussions boards, wall, photos, etc. (Irish house facebook group). Continue reading “Upload Once, Promote Everywhere”
Record labels and Hollywood studious loose hundreds of millions of dollars each year to pirated content. They have been trying to fight this, using various tactics, such as RIAAS’ legal threats and DRM initiatives, mostly unsuccessfully.
Instead of fighting it, why not monetize on it? Continue reading “Monitizing pirated content”
Nothing to do with technology, but still an idea: advertising agency that connects car owners that are willing to lease their cars’ outer space for ads, and advertisers. Ad-placement on buses is very popular, so why not on cars? Continue reading “Got car? Make money driving it”