June 2008 Archives
Every once in a while I feel it is important to write about some personal experiences beyond the Internet and Jupitermedia. I rarely if ever go to concerts. But the other night I had the extreme pleasure of being at a Billy Joel concert. What a showman! And what a song writer!
Billy perfomed for two hours. The crowd went wild when he tried to leave the stage. So Billy and his crew came back out for another 30 minutes.
The Internet is crushing and destroying lots of media but it can never take over the vibrancy and excitement of a live concert. If Billy Joel every comes to your town make sure to see him.
Many readers know that I have had some success at creating new tradeshows. In the last year or so we have tried a number of new tradeshows. We have had some critical successes but not a financial winner to date. Sometimes it takes a few iterations for a new tradeshow to take hold. I think this is a case with our efforts in the Semantic Web area. While I cannot guarantee it I think our third iteration of our Semantic Web - Linked Data show will finally hit paydirt this October in Santa Clara, California. Stay tuned on this one.
We have another brand new tradeshow called Mobile Content Strategies. The program for this October event was just posted. The program is original and exciting. We have two tracks. One covers all types of content strategies for mobile devices. The second track deals with interactive mobile marketing and related business topics. We also have a thriving blog on this topic called Mobile Content Today. We have some ambitious plans for this blog. A whole bunch of new features will be added during the summer.
It is not often that I get a chance to be impressed. Over the years I have had some interesting personal experiences. I worked for Robert F. Kennedy. I met Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and a host of other technology all-stars.
Yesterday I got to meet Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Sir Tim invented the World Wide Web. And now he is solidly behind the Linked Data movement. Tim was a keynote speaker at our Linked Data Planet trade show held in New York City.
Listening to Sir Tim reminded me of a speech I heard in 1992 by Mitch Kapor (founder of Lotus). Kapor predicted back then that the Internet would be bigger than the PC. Yesterday Sir Tim predicted (I believe) that the Linked Data and Semantic Web movement would yield a much, much larger overall boom than what we call Search today.
Read Erin Joyce's story on InternetNews.com to get solid reporting on what Sir Tim spoke about for nearly one hour yesterday. Erin by the way is one of the great Internet journalists. She is the editor in chief of InternetNews.com and unfortunately does not get the recognition she so richly deserves.
Mark my words! One of the great waves of disintermediation is coming in the next three years. Models that many believe are sacred and destruction proof are going to be blown out of the water. If you want to keep up with this new wave then read SemanticWeb.com. Needless to say I am excited by the future.
I never use LinkedIn other than to accommodate those that I know who want me to be part of their network. Several times a week I get requests to be "LinkedIN" with a colleague or acquaintance. I always try to comply. Many times, however, when I click on the link to accept the invitation I find that I am taken to the wrong page at LinkedIn. I am not sure if this happens to other users, but this happens to me most times. I find this very frustrating and this frustration further blurs my already jaundiced view about the value of social networking sites (for making money). I might add that when I receive an invitation from a Facebook member (again as an accommodation) the interface for acceptance works cleanly and rapidly (regardless I still say Facebook will never be hugely profitable).
Turning to my Kindle from Amazon: I had a small technical glitch tonight. I called the Kindle help line at Amazon. I was blown away once again by the Amazon customer service. I was prepared to wait for many minutes or more for a rep to get to the phone. My waiting time was less than 10 seconds! Amazing Amazon does it again.
The widely reported Yahoo-Google alliance appears to be a certain reality. Yahoo has indicated that the alliance will bring Yahoo an additional $800 million in revenue in the first 12 months of the deal. This is a nice number for sure. Yahoo is happy with this deal. It will show investors that there is greater growth from search for Yahoo.
I think there is a big downside to this deal. During the "Search Era" we have witnessed numerous deals in which one search company has allowed another search company to take over the selling of inventory. While I am not 100 percent sure, I believe that in every case where one of these deals has taken place the company that gives up its inventory ultimately ends up with a lower valuation. In other words, while Yahoo will gain in revenue, it will forever be beholden to Google and will thus lose lustre and value to investors.
Yahoo will grow. I doubt it will ever attain a vibrant stock valuation because of this deal.
Readers know that I was in Russian a few weeks ago. I always travel with my BlackBerry Curve and trusty IBM X41 ThinkPad (and now my new Kindle). Travel abroad always means addiional roaming charges from AT&T. I know that a few days in most countries in Europe could mean a few hundred dollars for roaming charges.
My roaming charges for Russia just appeared on my AT&T bill. What a shock! The normal extra $200 became nearly $2000 for a few days in Russia. My calls were no longer nor were they more numerous than what I usually have for a trip to England, France, Germany etc.
Next time I go to Russian I will check out other options for mobile phone use. Hopefully my expensive lesson will help anyone planning on travel to Russia to be able to save on mobile phone costs? I presume there is a good Web site out there that gives tips and warnings to travelers about excessive roaming charges abroad? Please let me know?
Melvyn Weiss was sentenced to 30 months in jail yesterday. His one time senior partner, William Lerach, is currently serving a two-year jail term. Perhaps many readers are not familiar with Mr. Weiss? I never met the man but his actions and the actions of his law firm (Milberg Weiss) caused me lots of grief for several years (from 1998 to 2004). Weiss' firm was and is known for bringing class action law suits against public companies. More specifically the law suits are directed at officers and directors of public companies.
In order to bring such an action, Weiss' firm required the cooperation of a stockholder. In theory the stockholder would go to the Weiss firm and state that he had been wronged in some fashion by actions taken by management of a specific public company. But what happened in many cases was that the Weiss firm thought of a reason to sue a company and then would go out and find a stockholder who would be willing "to pretend" that he had been harmed and would then engage the Weiss firm to sue on behalf of all stockholders. The reason that Weiss is going to jail with a bunch of his partners is that the firm illegally paid some of these "so-called harmed" stockholders to agree to be the harmed plaintiff when in actuality these people would have never thought of taking legal action if in fact the Weiss firm had not "bought" them to bring such action.
So what is my connection? In 1998 the Weiss firm sued me and the board of my then public company, Mecklermedia, on behalf of stockholders. The law suit had no merit. It was constructed from 20/20 hindsight and the brief filed by the firm was fiction. I am not totally certain but, based on what I have been reading about the Weiss case, there is a good chance that the stockholder that in essence sued me and the board, was in fact paid off by the Weiss law firm.
Fortunately our company had insurance to defend such a legal action. The costs for several years of litigation were many millions of dollars. Ultimately the case was settled when the insurance company agreed to settle with the Weiss firm rather then continue the expensive and time wasting legal battle. Stockholders of Mecklermedia (other than senior management and the board of directors) received a few million dollars (a fraction of what the law suit requested) and so did the Weiss law firm.
I am sure there are many other law firms throughout America that make their money by copying the Milberg Weiss method of "buying stockholders" and I hope they get penalized by the government. I am also sure that 90 percent of class action law suits would never come to court if America adopted the British system of "Loser Pays." With Loser Pays, the plaintiff, should it lose the legal case must pay not only their own costs but also the defendent's legal costs. With such a system, the case against Mecklermedia would hever have come to court as the plaintiff would have to be very certain of legal victory or face huge legal costs (in other words they would have to pay their own costs and the costs of the defendent). And better yet, thousands upon thousands of legal cases in America would never come to court and the cost of living and the costs of doing business in America would be greatly reduced.