December 2006 Archives
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the financial writer (and actor) Ben Stein two years ago flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
As I saw Ben I knew who he was. He cemented my thought by saying to me: "yes, I'm Ben Stein." Next he offered me some Fig Newton cookies -- one of my favorites (although I have recently switched to Fig Newmans (created by another actor - Paul Newman).
My reason for this introduction is that Ben Stein wrote a moving column in The New York Times the other day entitled "The Hedge Fund Kings Are Rich, But Will They Be Noble?" The summary is simple: Hedge Fund moguls are making incredible fortunes, but will they be charitable.
At the end of the article Ben mentions a charity called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors). TAPS helps the families of American service men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I am not a hedge fund manager by a long shot, but I have certainly made some money over the years. After reading Ben Stein's article I sent in a check to TAPS.
I think this post is a fitting entry for concluding 2006 comments in this blog. See you all next year.
Happy New Year!
Jeff Pulver requested that I participate in his blog-tag game party. Not only did he do this in his blog, but today he emailed from an El Al flight to Israel (using the soon to be discontinued WiFi service Connexion) about the "party" and life in general.
So here are the five things that most people would not know about me:
1. I pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game in high school (for those overseas I refer to the game of baseball).
2. I was on my college baseball team, but I was basically a practice pitcher as the next level of the game was shockingly better than what I had found in high school.
3. I served in both the Army Reserve and the Air National Guard - a real oddity to have been in two branches of the Armed Forces.
4. I have two dachshunds -- an 18 year-old named Winston and a 6 year-old named Emerson.
5. I proposed to my wife (of 37 years) after three dates over a two-week period.
Jeff asked that I get 5 other bloggers to participate -- hey Jeff - I am the only blogger who knows few if any bloggers!
I was amazed yesterday to hear an add for Yahoo on ESPN Radio. I was driving to a Christmas office party at Comstock Images in New Jersey and almost drove off the road upon hearing the commercial. Yahoo was pushing the idea that listeners should go to some part of Yahoo that covers sports for children. I immediately thought: there will never be a day that Google will do a radio ad (or any ad). Also, I thought: what could the marketing people at Yahoo been thinking about? Are they going to get another 10 or 20 people to view Yahoo?
And while on the topic of advertising: I noticed last week while driving on the Connecticut Turnpike that two different merchants in Connecticut had billboards suggesting that drivers "Google" them. Big win for Google as examples like these are happening all over the world as Google has become the gold standard for search and information.
Yesterday we announced the launch of our new Web site dealing with Business IT Alignment and the companion new trade show. This news marks the beginnings of changes for online media division that I have previously mentioned.
In the next few weeks there could be more news about initiatives we are undertaking in the online media division.
I am in London now. Other than a nasty three flight delay in Budapest, it has been a productive business day. I usually do not get to sightsee on my trips but today was an exception. This evening I got a private tour of the British House of Lords through the kindness of Lady and Lord Bridgeman (she of the Bridgeman Archive fame). I must confess that I have never seen the United States Senate nor the House of Representatives so it is ironic that I would visit the House of Lords before making it to the seat of my own government. This is also odd because many years ago my great desire was to run for political office and had hoped to make it to one of the grand chambers in Washington. And along the way I worked for Senator Robert F. Kennedy in his New York City office for two years -- a marvelous and stimulating experience. Seeing the House of Lords was a magnificent visual and historical experience.
I am in travel mode. Currently my address is Budapest, Hungary. While the posting time of this entry is a bit after 9pm (eastern standard time) it is actually being written at 3am (central European time). Several of our team spent the day here closing our previously announced deal to acquire a 90 percent interest in the micropayment stock photo site Stockxpert.com and its companion million member community site.
We also had meetings with the creator of these terrific sites -- Peter Hamza. Several new ideas came out of meetings today and I am sure many more will percolate tomorrow with a full day of additional meetings.
It is Jupiterimages' goal to attempt to add embellishments to the micropayment model now not available from our competitors. And of course we will match features whereever we are lacking. One thing for sure is that Jupiterimages is now a fulltime player in the micropayment field.
We look forward to working with Peter Hamza and the talented people who help Peter run Stockxpert from around the world. Stockxpert is truly a virtual operation with many people working on the site who have never physically met with Peter. This is the Internet at its best!
Mr. TechDirt has not responded to my comments about his ridiculous comments about my post on why Yahoo should buy Dow Jones. But Eric Savitz picked up my recent rejoinder.
The more I think about the Yahoo-Dow Jones concept the more I like it. Nobody is going to beat Google at the online search game. Recent reports show that Google is pulling away from all its "competitors" in the search race. And shockingly Microsoft's percentage of search queries is sinking even after a huge investment in its search technology.
The search race is over forever unless someone hits a winner with the coming of the future Semantic Web. Second place is not too shabby in Search and Yahoo should be a lock to keep that position against the likes of Microsoft, Ask, AOL and anyone else out there silly enough to try to take on Google.
Therefore Yahoo should buttress up its "leading" second place position and also start concentrating on becoming a dominant media company for the 21st century. Dow Jones is the first move that should be made in such an endeavor.
Yesterday I posted about Yahoo buying Dow Jones. I was amused by a comment from techdirt
that this idea was absurd for a variety of reasons including that Dow Jones was "a low growth business."
Mr. Tech Dirt is clueless. First of all WSJ.com has over 700,000 paid subscribers to The Wall Street Journal. Name another property online that has such a significant motherlode of valuable subscribers that are paying real money for content? It also has lots of other valuable Internet real estate. And finally, the WSJ franchise has lots of assets that can still be unlocked online not to mention the fact that the so-called "low growth business" which includes The Wall Street Journal print edition is solid gold as a print property and likely to be the last newspaper standing 50 years out.
Mr. Tech Dirt is clearly a believer in social networking which is a dead end business with very few exceptions.
The press was filled with comments about the management changes at Yahoo. One blogger had some interesting thoughts a little different from most. I also gave some thought today about Yahoo and tried to think outside of the box. As an aside remember I suggested that AOL should "go free" about 8 months before AOL in fact went in this direction. Now I suggest a bold move for Yahoo.
Yahoo's strength is as a media company. It also has significant strength in the financial space. Therefore if I was running Yahoo I would make a full court press to remain the number one financial organziation on the Web. And I would do that by attempting to buy Dow Jones.
Presuming one could entice Dow Jones to sell to Yahoo is presuming quite a lot. Regardless, such a move would separate Yahoo from being compared to Google and would make Yahoo a true media company powerhouse.
That is my idea for today.
Readers know that we sold Search Engine Stategies (the trade show) to Incisive Media in July 2005. The three great assets of the show were the brand name, the companion editorial Web site (SearchEngineWatch.com) and of course the editorial director of both the show and the site, Danny Sullivan.
Now Danny and his band of SESers have bolted Incisive Media and its Search properties to SearchEngineLand.Com and a related trade show.
I am not sure how the people at Incisive managed to lose Danny? But they certainly lost him and perhaps a golden franchise. However this post is not about questioning Incisive. I too have critics and know that it is easy to take shots at management from afar when all the inside facts are not known.
Perhaps the best recap of the "Danny-exit" was written today by Nicki Scevak. Interstingly Nicki worked for me at two venues over the years: first at the erstwhile Australia.internet.com and then at JupiterResearch. Now Nicki appears to be an astute blogger.
Readers of this blog know that I have been saying for months that Web 2.0 is a lot of hype. Web 2.0 was created by a few SF based hypsters that have been involved in lots of hype over the years.
The financial press of course loves hype stories. The financial press reporters of the late 1990s got suckered by the forerunner to Web 2.0 - "Community Sites." Web 2.0 is not much more than the Community Site bubble of a few years ago. Except now, as Dave Winer has pointed out, "Web 2.0 is nothing more than an aftermarket for Google." Winer feels, according to Dan Mitchell of The New York Times (Saturday 2 December 2006) that the next Internet stock crash will begin with the decline of Google's stock price.
This is an interesting theory by one of the more original thinkers about technology and the Internet -- Dave Winer. Many readers probably do not know Winer, but his tech resume has been impressive over a number of years.
I have been involved in over 100 acquisitions in my 36 years in business. The previous three years I have been involved in about 20 or so deals in the digital creative content space.
Most of the people I have had dealings with were honest and of very high moral standing. It has been rare to continue business friendships with many of the individuals. But overall memories of dealings have been pleasent.
One of my dealings in the image space has made me realize that in one case I dealt with a skunk. This quisling has been up to mischief recently - mischief that in no way can be harmful to Jupitermedia or its stockholders. Rather it is mischief to try to harm my reputation.
I hope one day to use this blog to tell the whole story.