Archive for November 2006

We’ll Know the Web 2.0 Bubble Has Burst When Google’s Stock Crashes

Scripting News: 11/28/2006 Dave Winer has an interesting observation out today about the Web 2.0 bubble. Since most of the Web 2.0 companies are not going public, the question Dave raises is how will we know when the bubble bursts. Dave suggests that we’ll know when Google’s stock crashes.

Since most Web 2.0 companies are not selling stock to the public, and are mostly funded by VC money, the argument would be that we would not likely see a dramatic fall out like we did with the tech stock market in 2000-2002.

But Dave thinks that Google has a big impact on the health of the Web 2.0 playground and that as go Google’s prospects, so goes Web 2.0.

And this might be true to the extent that so many Web 2.0 companies business plans are built on eyeballs and advertising. But there are some that are generating real revenue and real profits and these might be the ones that survive even if we do see a Google induced Web 2.0 crash.

With Google’s current P/E ratio sitting at about 60 times earnings it does make you wonder. Is Google’s stock price already set for perfection? What if advertising revenues don’t come in in line? What if there are cracks beneath the surface of Google that we don’t know about?

Earlier today, on his Real Money Radio Show, Jim Cramer was lathering Google up good, like only he knows how. He was praising the pathetic Verizon deal (there is no way people are going to pay $15 per month for YouTube on their phone) and telling viewers that they need to buy Google now. This kind of stuff worries me. Kramer is pure hype. And hype builds speculation which builds panic which builds crashes.

Of all of the stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Google has the 11th highest overall analyst rating out there. Wall Street could not be more bullish on the stock. Buy, buy, buy, buy. But there is very little room for more enthusiasm left on the stock. A single solitary analyst, Philip J. Remek over at Guzman & Co. (an investment company that no one has heard of of course), is the only analyst on Wall Street saying sell. And even there Guzman’s target price for the stock is $460 a share, a mild drop from where it sits today. Contrast that with Safa Rashtchy over at Piper Jaffray who says that Google is going to go to $600 a share or with Mark Rowen over at Prudential who says that Google is going to go to $575 a share and you really do have a stock priced for perfection.

Personally I’m scared of Google’s stock price. I don’t own any of the stock myself and worry that it could be set for a fall. And if it falls I worry that Dave might be right and that the collateral damage that impacts the entire Web 2.0 could hurt a lot of great companies and businesses.

The Right to Bear SLRs

Atavistic: the home of Evan Ratliff — The photo police Evan Ratliff, who writes for Wired Magazine, the New Yorker and New York Times Magazine, followed me around San Francisco a few months back on an average afternoon photo shoot. He was covering my photography for the Test Issue of Wired magazine which is on newstands now. Based on our photo shoot he wrote an article entitled “The Right to Bear SLRs.”

Wired doesn’t have the article up online yet, but Evan has a .pdf copy and html version of it on his site here.

On our shoot we did encounter some security guards as I do quite frequently while out and about shooting the city. One guard was pretty cool and just chatted with us a bit. I got into it a bit with another guard who threatened to call the Highway Patrol on me while shooting in the TransBay Terminal. Neither altercations were very eventful but did serve to highlight the increasing anti photographer climate that is out there at present.

Thanks Evan for hanging out with me and for writing the story for Wired. I had a great day and your article hopefully will build more awareness about a photographer’s rights to shoot in public.

Thomas Hawk Buys a Mac

Digital DJ

Well I’ve been hiding a secret for the past two weeks. It’s something that I’ve felt conflicted and unsure of, something that I’ve felt ashamed of and proud of at the same time. Something that I’ve been trying to sort out before I actually wrote about it. Most people will probably say, “yeah, big deal.” But for me it kind of is a big deal. I haven’t told very many people. I showed Robert Scoble last week but have been kind of hiding it otherwise.

A little over two weeks ago I walked into the Apple store in Palo Alto and bought myself a new MacBook Pro. Yes, the new sexy Intel dual core MacBook Pro. And I went home and after not using a Mac for over 15 years, put my Dell PC notebook literally in the bookshelf and have been using this new Mac as my primary computer for the past 2 weeks.

And what do I have to say about the experience after two weeks? My God! This is f***ing amazing! For the past 15 years I’ve pretty much been a diehard Microsoft PC guy. I’ve mocked the religious zealotry of the cult of Macintosh. I’ve derided the senseless brainwashing that Steve Jobs seems so elegant at.

And then I just did it, I went out and bought one. Maybe it’s a self destructive bent that I’ve got. Maybe it’s the need to explore something new. The move made me think about marriage. Was I simply trading in my trusty old wife of 15 years for the sleek slender new 19 year old model? Was I somehow doing this as a fashion statement? But the answer was no.

I was very frustrated with my Dell PC for a number of reasons. When I would edit photos on it and then upload them the color would be all wrong. I couldn’t disable tap to click. I tried to buy an EVDO card for it and it wouldn’t work. (I tried three EVDO cards actually and had to return them all).

The Dell had this habit that I hated. It would go to sleep and then I’d open the lid to use it and press the power button to activate it. Nothing would happen. A full minute would go by, still nothing. So I’d think that maybe it didn’t know that I pushed the power button and would push it again. Then it would come on only to immediately begin shutting itself down because I’d pressed the power button twice. There would be no way to stop it and so I’d have to wait until it fully rebooted to start using it. Applications would hang. It wouldn’t work on my network right. It would tell me that I had a wifi signal but wouldn’t connect without a reboot. I was constantly needing to install drivers and uninstall drivers. So many things.

And all along the way it was my 18 year old tech mentor Kristopher Tate, who kept saying, dude, just get a Mac. Just get a Mac. They just work.

And so I did. And I have to say that he’s right. It just works. It took about 48 hours of getting used to but once my little introductory awkward phase was over it just works so much better. It springs to life immediately when I open it. The new EVDO card I got works perfectly. It’s fast. The picture quality is very accurate. I can easily work in both Bridge and Photoshop at the same time on it while still having Firefox and Thunderbird and Skype and iTunes and jUploadr all open at the same time.

I did have a few hiccups along the way. It wasn’t easy to get it to work with my Windows network at home, but having Kristopher around as tech support has been a fantastic safety net. Every time I need to figure out how to do something he shows me. He helped me transfer all my old email from my old Dell notebook, settings and bookmarks, etc. over.

And then there’s the design of the thing. I never in a million years would have thought that the design of a laptop would ever matter to me at all. It’s not about the aesthetics of a machine. It’s what it does for you right? Well, maybe. But this machine is damn sexy. I love the way that the keyboard is lit at night so that I can work in the dark. I love that glassy screen. There is something about the feel of the polished aluminum as I hold, no caress, the thing in my hands. It types perfectly. I love how I can use two fingers on the touch pad to move my screen down. I love how it has a hidden built in microphone and a small little video camera in the screen so that I can do video phone stuff through Skype super easily. I love how the little power supply has a magnet built into it and just kind of plugs itself in. And yes, I even love that glowing little Apple logo on the back of the case that I’ve scoffed at in the past at the various conferences and tech meetups that I’ve gone to.

I used a Mac back in college and used them exclusively from 1985 or so until 1991. My past memories of the Mac are of the Mac Plus and the SE/30. With my first Mac I literally had to swap floppy discs back and forth out of the drive between the OS disc and the application disc because it had no hard drive. And then I went to work for a bank in 1991 and the Mac was definitely gonski there. I did ask for a Mac and they just laughed.

I figured that since I had to use a PC at work, I’d better use one at home too in order to best master the beast. And it has been a beast for me. As tech saavy as I like to think of myself as I’ve had so many problems with my PCs over the years. If using a PC is being outside working digging ditches all day long in the hot sun, using my new Mac is like hanging out at the spa.

I’m not really giving up on my PCs yet. I still do have four of them at home and two at work. But I imagine that I’ll be spending 85% or more of my computing time on this slender sexy new MacBook Pro in the future. I was going to buy a new CableCARD capable Vista machine in January but I’ll probably hold off on that a bit. I may still end up buying one but will probably do it later if I do. We’ll see.

Call me a convert. Call me a traitor. Call me a heretic. Or call me a fanboy. Welcome me to the club or say it ain’t so Joe, but all I can say is that Kristopher is right. It just works. And it feels so great while it does that. It’s the best I’ve felt about using a computer in a long, long time.

Update: Thanks all for the comments and thanks to the diggers who dugg this story to digg’s front page and to Apple Computer for putting it on apple.com. A week later I’m still totally digging my Mac. Even more than ever. Here’s one other thing that I absolutely *love*. I love how no matter where you type on a Mac it spell checks everything for you. If I’m posting on my blog, if I’m leaving a comment on someone else’s blog, if I’m writing an email, if I’m doing anything with text it just constantly spell checks. And it doesn’t do it in a distracting way. No pop ups or spell checks or menus, etc. Just a thin red line under the word that is unknown and a simple right click to add the word to your personal dictionary or fix the spelling. That really rocks.

By the way, the Mac in the photo above is not mine. That’s just one that I took a photo of at the Web 2.2 party last month at Fluid. But it does show how very cool they do look.

Texture

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Verizon Wants to Sell me YouTube on My Phone for $15 a Month… Excuse Me While I Laugh My Ass Off.. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

PigVerizon Wireless, Can you hear me now? Oink, Oink, Oink, Can you hear me now, Oink, Oink, Oink, Squeel, Oink, Oink, Oink, Oink Hosted on Zooomr

Rob Pegoraro – Missing the Big Picture – washingtonpost.com Rob Pegoraro over at the Washington Post is out with an article entitled “Missing the Big Picture,” about today’s announced Verizon/YouTube deal where Verizon is going to try to charge you $15 a month for their V Cast service to include a limited selection of YouTube videos for you to watch on your cell phone. No you won’t be getting any of the good crap from YouTube, you’ll get videos that have been pre-screened and sanitized by both comapnies.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s a good one! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Hillarious!

Do they really think people will pay them $15 a month? Verizon, the same pig that tried to charge you $1.99 for song downloads on your cell phone *plus* a $15 a month subscription fee before they killed the $15 a month fee back in August earlier this year?

People hate their cell phone providers. I hate Cingular. They can’t be trusted. They’ve screwed me out of money in the past. They’ve lied to me. They’ve used misinformation. But the other cell phone providers are just as bad. They lock people into long contracts, nickle and dime you to death, give horrible customer service, gouge you.

You see the thing is, even if I was willing to pay $15 for YouTube (something that I get for free), I still wouldn’t do it because somehow I’m sure the cell phone company would figure out some way to really charge me $29.99 a month and another $180 when I cancel the service 27 months into my contract. There would be hidden taxes, data minute overages, etc. etc.

Forget about who wants to watch TV on a 2 inch screen in the first place. And then you have the drop outs in the middle of your video watching and the poor transfer rates and all the places that you can’t even get cell phone reception.

I’d much rather download video content to my laptop and watch it there on the big (well, by comparison) screen — get this, FOR FREE!

Remember that other crazy thing Verizon was going to do? Remember they were going to charge you $5 per month to be able to schedule (yes schedule, not watch) shows on your TiVo via your Verizon phone? Something that you can do with your TiVo or with Yahoo or TiVo online for free. Remember that? Whatever happened to that brilliant idea? Probably the same idiot product manager who came up with that one came up with this new YouTube scheme.

So lets see, now I can listen to music on my Verizon phone, surf the web on my Verizon phone, schedule my TiVo on my Verizon phone all for the low monthly price of… $986 per month! Brillant! We’ll squeeze those suckers for every last penny. We’ll be the tollkeepers of the Internet! We’ll rule the world! Wah ha ha!

Verizon are a bunch of greedy pigs and just like their excessively priced song downloads this one will flop as well. I’m disappointed that YouTube is involved in this fiasco. Hopefully they got a big chunk of money up front for their service rather than a revenue share which will be peanuts if anything at all.

Let’s see what some of the other pundits are saying:

Matthew Ingram: “I know that Forrest Gump said “Stupid is as stupid does,” but there’s really no other word for what Verizon is doing…”

Fred Wilson: “This just is sooo lame.”

Om Malik: “Despite Verizon network’s superior quality, I refuse to subscribe to them, because their (deck) interface, regardless of the phone, is the mobile equivalent of Chinese water torture.”

Jeremy Toeman
: “YouTube is viral, not programmed. And that’s the key flaw in the Verizon/YouTube relationship.”

A Little Late

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demoreel postproded

I don’t watch as much video as I should online, but this one is extremely cool!

demoreel postproded on Vimeo

Awkward Sky

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Marshall Kirkpatrick Leaving TechCruch

TechCrunch's Marshall KirkpatrickMarshall Kirkpatrick Hosted on Zooomr

Marshall Kirkpatrick: Marshall Kirkpatrick writes over at MarshallK.com that he is leaving TechCrunch, the popular and influential Web 2.0 blog. Marshall says that he and TechCrunch Founder Mike Arrington parted ways on very good terms.

In his first post since leaving TechCrunch Marshall writes about the tools that he used while at TechCrunch and gives tips about smart ways to use RSS, alerts, and filtering for monitoring news.

I met Marshall last month up at Getty Images in Seattle where we both were invited for an update on what Getty was up to. It was great hanging out with him and getting to know him better.

I’ve always been impressed how, like a lot of great bloggers, Marshall was able to stay on top of the news that he covered. He was extremely prolific, writing daily and breaking many stories on the high profile companies in the so called Web 2.0 space. What made Marshall’s writing even more impressive was the fact that he was covering the Valley from outside the Valley. Portland Oregon to be precise.

Marshall mentions that two of his most important tools were his RSS reader (Newsgator) as well as an RSS to IM/SMS notification tool called Zaptxt. I’ve never tried Zaptxt but will have to give it a spin.

As for my own RSS reader, I was using Bloglines, then Newsgator, then I went back to Bloglines and then to Google’s News Reader. I think I’m going to go back to Newsgator today in fact. Among the three I think I like it the most. One thing I do like about RSS readers is that for the most part they mostly seem willing to support user portability allowing me to easily export my OPML file from reader to reader.

Anyways, Marshall I just subscribed and I’m looking forward to your continued coverage over at MarshallK.com.

Webster

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