Very few times do I feel like the subtle, shapeshifting bias that women face in their business careers becomes REAL and VISIBLE. Prejudice in the workplace is kind of like chasing mercury…it’s been pushed down so deep by HR, PC, etc., you can usually never quite nail it and say, “There it is!”. In my career, when bias bubbled to the surface, it was just a phrase, a moment, and usually unwitnessed. But, then, sometimes you are gifted with a Nadella.
My sadness over Nadella’s statement is not that he holds ignorant attitudes. I know that bias is insidiously or innocently an undercurrent in every debate, every negotiation, every interview I have in business. My sadness stems from the undeniable confirmation that someone who is so ignorant of our challenges has been responsible for the advancement of 37,000 women in his company. The fish stinks from the head.
I am sad for all the women who unfortunately reported to him. Where are all those women who nervously asked for raises, were not only told no, but then judged for asking? How many of those women were passed over for promotions, great assignments, a chance to be mentored by a brilliant engineer because they were labeled by him as pushy, naggy girls?
The great news about getting a Nadella once in a while is that you feel like you caught the mercury. I am a big fan of getting things out in the open, out for all to see. As my mom says as she puts the cutting board outside to air…”Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
We published our first newsletter a little while ago. It was meant to be much more about what we’re learning than to sell our services. Of note in it are:
o One of the first disclosures we are live on diapers.com
o Making available our research on why people write on brand websites
Let me know what you think, and definitely sign up for the mailing list!
“…here’s a strong retort for those moments when the brand manager asks of the agency: “can you make me a viral?” Instead, it turns out, offering your customers a superior product and a compelling narrative has the potential to be even more persuasive than a handsome man on a horse.”
“Maybe it’s too early to boot the creative team, but the findings of the study do suggest that marketers have been underestimating the persuasive power of user-generated video.”
The conclusion drawn here was that there is more to user-gen video for marketers than skateboarding cats. Viral videos became a standard agency product because they were something agencies and brands understood: eyeballs…a lot of them…and quick! They knew how to price that, they knew how to count that, and they knew how to sell that. They slammed a new medium into the template of the old.
So what is the template of the new medium?
A surprising study by Next New Networks and Youtube shows that entertainment video created for the online platform actually does better online than video created for other mediums, such as TV shows. It seems that viewers appreciate and respond to the differences when content is tailored to the platform they’re watching it on.
Applying that to a marketing video…if a TV commercial was made to interrupt an experience on a lean-back platform, why do we think that same video will work on when viewers are searching for content on a lean-in platform?
I believe that consumers online crave a different kind of video than that which is available on and created for television. They want information & searchability (web 1.0), they want control & engagement (web 2.0), and they want personal connection (web 3.0). Agencies, brands and publishers should focus on how to merge those strengths of this platform to develop the right video content for this new space and move beyond using the old video content for this new space.
Today we launched the first third-party video product reviews on Amazon‘s product page. These videos were placed onto the product page of our P&G client, Gain detergent. As many of you may know, EXPO has a mission of placing our unbiased video reviews wherever consumers are shopping. I first wrote about our Retail Syndication efforts here.
Amazon’s participation in our video distribution network is a big win for many reasons:
1) Amazon does not have an auto-publishing for partner content. This implementation required resources from Amazon to execute. Therefore, the type, style and placement of content were all considered prior to publishing.
2) The videos are not shunted to the text review space, but rather were given tremendous exposure within the product description area of the page. Note that they are not presented as part of a ‘review platform’ but are selected to be highlighted as additional product content. Video is different.
3) EXPO was able to travel our recommended disclosures with the video. The viewers are given full information about the POV of the reviewer.
So, VCs actually CAN add value!
Last night, my cofounder Bill and I attended another DFJ Gotham dinner at Sparks. It may be because we’re now on the ‘inside’ as a portfolio company, but these dinners keep getting better. There were a ton of great friends and connections — I heard over 100 entrepreneurs showed up. Some highlights:
Kevin Ryan of AlleyCorp spoke. He always is wildly pro-New York, but last night was especially engaging, articulate and funny. The best line was about how he caved and finally just started telling people that mobile was going to be HUGE (even though he doesn’t believe it) just so people would stop debating him and instead say things like “That Kevin, he GETS it!”
I ran into Elizabeth Kressel of CollectorsQuest.com at the coat check. She has a big launch coming up this week. Very excited for her and her team!
Our good friend John Foley from Pronto.com was there. We bonded over the new trends in commerce and the economy. One sharp, nice, genuine guy.
Ran into Jeffrey Stier of Sector 64 (J Walter Thompson). Always good to have advertising money in the room. But even better when that money is smart and commissioned to try new things.
I also saw Steve Rosenbaum, a new friend and visionary of Magnify.net. He told me he was going to be at Digital Hollywood next week at this panel. (Expo’s president Bill Hildebolt will be there, too at a panel called Internet Video, Advertising & Marketing: The Next Generation of Consumer Reach.)
There were a lot more folks, but I’ll just let you have to come to the next one to see who’s there.
Thanks to Jed, Danny, Ross (my friend from my banking life), Thatcher, Mark, JoAnn and Nadine!
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Last night Bill Hildebolt and I attended the annual Techcrunch Meet-up in the valley. There was a definite dearth of East Coasters there. We did meet some new folks at cool SF companies. But more importantly, we saw a bunch of old friends at even better SF companies. Here’s a more detailed run-down of some of the HBS contingent we saw there: Heather Harde : has to be one of the classiest people in the joint. CEO of Techcrunch, and our personal ticket connection. (Heather, we should have pulled a Todor and just yelled “BUT WE KNOW HEATHER” at the doorpeople.) Michael A, I don’t know you, and while you looked like you adore Heather, as a woman I have to implore you not to give your beautiful CEO a noogie on the head during speeches. It’s a hair thing. Tom Patterson : gets second billing because it was his “not-yet-40” birthday. He got sung to by a bunch of drunk entrepreneurs (I think the VCs were lip synching) and a free cake. I thought that big fake check was for you, too, but alas, it was for malaria . Tom’s the CEO of Wize.com, a soon to be partner of Expo. Raj Kapoor: whose lovely doctor wife Lydia is due any day! MD at Mayfield and one of the best friends an entrepreneur could have, having been a great one himself. Carol Linburn , group product manager for mobile authoring at Adobe and one of the nicest people in the valley. Trying desperately at the party to feel like an entrepreneur again. We asked her to go back to work that night and, for the love of all that is holy, get flash working on the iPhone. Steve Abernethy The founder of squaretrade.com and the only guy I know that got kicked out of the Apple store during the iPhone debut because of anti-competitive practices. Steve, Expo taped at the NY Apple store without incident… Todor Tashev: Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. His wife sings with Sting. Erik Eklund. Stealth. I’m afraid to even link to his LI profile. Dana Shapiro Marotto , Marketing at ExpertCEO that just launched in Q2 of this year. Dana, how did you get into HBS with a CPA? Did you just not put that on your application? Elliott Ng in marketing at Uptake.com, who we saw in line and then completely missed the entire rest of the party.
Was great to see others, like Bong Koh, Deb Schultz, Sam Lessin (another NYC interloper, but he’s like 12 so he fit right in).
Oh, and I cannot fail to mention that as a NYC citizen (our car-related excitement is limited to flagging a hybrid taxi), despite all the change-the-world ideas at the party, the most motivating was seeing Jason Calacanis’ Tesla up close and personal. Bill was hyperventilating. Go electric.
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Posted: March 25th, 2008 | Comments Off on Measuring Innovation, New York Times, Freakonomics, and ExpoTV!
I’m more thrilled to be in the company of these other contributors, but Bill and I got published in the NY Times Freakonomics blog!
The topic is measuring innovation. We both were fans of the Freakonomics book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner when it came out. There was a very personal story attached to the economist Levitt’s motivations that was made it very authentic. It’s along the lines of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point in that they both present digestible, real world examples of very important socio-economic concepts.
Hope you have a chance to check it out. Seth Grodin of Squidoo and The Purple Cow is also a contributor to the blog.
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Posted: March 23rd, 2008 | Comments Off on What's in a Web 2.0 name?
So, we have always gotten little pings from valued advisors…about how our name ExpoTV may be holding us back. Here are some comments:
1) “Expo” doesn’t connote anything
2) “Expo” connotes a B2B
3) “Expo” connotes the world’s fair
4) “TV” anything is bad
My comeback has always been…Amazon was once a rainforest region. Back in ‘the day’, I worked for Oxygen Media, the women’s programming network. The name Oxygen came to Gerry Laybourne in a dream…it was meant to connote a breath of fresh air for women viewers, and a refreshing place to create for show producers. An exec in the marketing group who had the daunting task of owning the word Oxygen for American TV viewers once said to me, “If I could name it ‘Cable-network-for-women-18-to-49’ I would have done that.”
Expo came to my co-founder and me one day while traveling. It meant to us a place where like-minded enthusiasts gather to exchange ideas, see new things, and get to interact — all with stuff, products, things — in an atmosphere of no high-pressured sales people. Like the MacWorld Expo, Web 2.0 Expo, here is even the Waste Expo 2008. These are all people who share a passion for something — mostly products — and feel this is the place they can express themselves and be valued for their enthusiasm.
So, yes, Web 2.0 convention is to have a nonsensical (read: copyrightable) name with two of the following:
1) “Z” sound, which can be an X or a Z
2) end in a vowel
3) have a double o “oo”
That includes squidoo, kaboodle, xobni, zoho
So, ExpoTV doesn’t really fit. But we did get the copyright.
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Posted: March 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off on Finding large files on your hard drive and deleting them
clean out your email box. this unbelievably fast simple program will list the largest files on your computer. You will be surprised how much you (vs Microsoft) junks up your hard drive with useless videos/pictures/files, that you might not even know you had.
Select “Download Executable” even though every fiber in your body feels that you should never click something that says Download Executable.
If you do not know what a file is, DO NOT DELETE IT. I disown you and your kin if you delete files and you don’t know what they are.
Here’s a video from a guy that shows how to use it.
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Posted: March 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off on 2008 the year of renegotiating long term contracts
If you are in a long term contract, or about to enter one, think about reopening pricing. A few things:
1) retainer companies are losing clients as clients take a closer look at overhead
2) with the emergence of startup activity in 06-07 and outsourcing overseas, there is a lot of price competition in the service industry
3) you’d be surprised what a company with high fixed costs (ie staff) is willing to do to keep some semblance of a retainer
I signed a 12 month contract with webex.com because I just assumed the sales rep was selling me the right sized product. Turns out they had a cheaper product available online that the rep was not allowed to sell on the phone. I am trying to cancel the contract, and they are trying to keep me as a client. tourist attractions . The conversation has been fascinating.
I’m not saying to try to nickel and dime your outsourced firms because they need to survive, too. But all is fair when you simply do your homework on what the current environment is yielding. Your partners need to stay competitive, and you shouldn’t be funding their other clients who may be getting a better deal.
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