• The Lessons Of Instragram: Design, Category And Relationships Matter
    Last week fellow Online Spinner Dave Morgan wrote a great column about what has to happen for a company like Instagram to be acquired for a billion dollars by Facebook. Dave made the point that perhaps only one in a million companies will ever have a result like Instagram, because of the many things that have to occur in 18 months to achieve this level of success. Here are some additional lessons that I took from Instagram's success:
  • The Caine Effect Inspires -- Well, Everybody
    It's only been four days, but by now, you've probably seen the Caine's Arcade video. If you haven't, I give you my personal guarantee that this mini-documentary -- about a 9-year-old's DIY cardboard arcade getting flashmobbed -- will rank up there for the best 10 minutes you spend this year.
  • So, You Want to Create Your Own Instagram-Like, Billion-Dollar Startup?
    We've all heard about Instagram's sale to Facebook: 13 employees. 18 months of work. No revenues. One billion dollars. I suspect that there are thousands and thousands of would-be entrepreneurs plotting how they can build the next billion-dollar exit with no revenue, a few folks, and only 18 months. I know they're out there -- I've already heard from several. With that in mind, I thought I would use today's column to offer my counsel to those would-be entrepreneurs who want to be the next Instagram.
  • The Bubble Is Back -- Or Is It?
    OMGPOP and Instagram have clearly set the stage for the rebirth of the bubble, but what does that mean for the rest of the digital media and Internet industry? More importantly, what happens if the bubble pops?
  • Selling Your Personal Data
    The Wall Street Journal recently published a thoroughly researched, somewhat fear-mongering analysis called "Selling You on Facebook." The piece details the meteoric rise of apps on the Facebook grid and elsewhere that quietly track user behavior and collect, share and (possibly) exploit sensitive user information, including religious, political and even sexual preferences. As this WSJ article underscores, three trends are clear:
  • The Five Qualities Every CEO Must Have Today
    In recent months, there have been a number of changes in the CEO position across agencies and media companies. There's been more and more turnover at the top, as companies grapple with the fact that media and advertising is transforming into a technology and data business. So what does it take to be a great CEO today? The successful ones seem to have a number of qualities in common, including:
  • Crowd Comfort For Security Flaws in Facebook, Twitter, Google
    A couple of years ago, some buddies and I were putting together a movie for a friend who was going through a rough time. We'd taken a bunch of goofy footage and I was editing it on Adobe Premiere. "Wouldn't it be cool," someone joked, "if we could make it look like a proper movie? With opening credits and a DUN-dada-DUN soundtrack?" "Totally," I said. "I don't know how to make those credits, but we can probably find the original clip online and overlay our text directly on top. It'll look awesomely amateur." As it turned out, I had completely ...
  • Demystifying Agency Trading Desks: Power's In Analytics & Integration, Not Pork Bellies
    Last week at the 4A's "Transformation LA 2012" conference, I moderated a panel on "Agency Trading Desks and Demand-Side Platforms." To me, the online ad trading desk world is a confusing, algorithm-chocked sector where math geeks buy and sell digital display ads in computer-automated virtual "trading pits" not unlike the trading of pork bellies. Once I started talking to the panelists to prepare for the session, I realized that many of my assumptions about agency trading desks were wrong. Here were my four big takeaways:
  • More On Viewable Ads: The Need For A Price Correction
    Last week I got some people really riled up about viewable ads. Thankfully, that was my intent! The fact is, this is an opportunity to discuss how to make online advertising more effective and more efficient, which will pave the way for the next 10-15 years of growth!
  • What Is Big Data -- And How Does It Matter To Marketing?
    It seems as if every new business-tech venture positions itself around "big data." Not surprisingly, so do VCs. So do business and tech publications and blogs, which are dedicating increasing resources to covering big data. Even the PR spin-sters have caught on, as demonstrated by the pitches I regularly receive. The problem is that "big data" is jargon. While it may mean something specific in data and software engineering circles, it is too easy to find myriad definitions and interpretations, even from people who work in the technology industry.
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