Daily Archives: April 30, 2006

New Sony, Old Sony

Scoble's new Sony HDTV

Astute watchers of my Flickr feed noticed something new showed up in my family room tonight.

How did I get Maryam to allow this? Five simple words:

No payments for 18 months.

Heheh.

Here's the Sony model I bought.

It's awesome, by the way. It's HUGE and crisp.

My brother also has one, he did a lot of research and found it's the sharpest resolution at about a $3,000 price range.

That's our old Sony in the background. We're off to Fred Meyer to buy some cables and get it setup.

Maryam's reaction? She's playing Zuma and says "great, now I'll have to call in sick tomorrow." She loves it! See, Maryam, far better than a stove. :-)

Let’s ban “cool” codenames that don’t pass search test

Last week I had a great meeting with the guy (David Webster) who runs naming for Microsoft. He enumerated the ways that fun code names suck. Why? Cause he has to do a few things to any name that we use:

1) It has to be trademarkable. Even after his team does a trademark search they still get into trouble over names that other people own.
2) It has to test well in most markets (they do focus groups and other testing to make sure they don't pick a name that accidentally turns off people in a marketplace — even with all this testing finding names that work well everywhere is really hard).

What got me to write about it? Chris Smith talks about his favorite code names (and about Nintendo's "cooler" code name).

What's the answer? Well, he has a whole bunch of rules for product teams as they make names. For one, he wishes that teams would talk with him before coming up with "fun" code names. For two, he wishes that teams would come up with names that don't exist in Internet searches. Remember my "Brrreeeport" test? When I put that name on my blog there were zero results on Google and Live.com. Today it has 169,000 results, according to Google (yes, we know that isn't true, but let's go with it anyway, heheh).

He says that if companies and teams come up with names that simply don't exist in Google and Yahoo and Windows Live that they'll have a pretty good chance of surviving any trademark search that you come up with (it's a rare trademark that doesn't make it to Internet search engines).

I think the day is coming near when companies simply ban any product name that doesn't pass this test.

What do you think?

New reading technology from Microsoft

The new reading technology announced on Friday with the New York Times by Microsoft is at the top of Memeorandum.

I saw an early prototype and this stuff is awesome. Comes out of a lot of research and work that teams are doing here about how the human eye works. Vista will have new fonts, and new technology (aka Windows Presentation Foundation) that opens up a lot of new possibilities in how we can present information, particularly for new high resolution screens.

I'll have to do a video on this stuff. The demos are spectacular, by the way. Makes a Tablet PC far more useful too.

New way to make bucks with advertising (Microsoft is screwed, Blodgett says); A9 switches to Windows Live

Here's a new way to make money: register names that are close, but are misspellings of popular sites.

What's fueling this? The new advertising craze, the Washington Post is saying.

In other news Henry Blodgett says Microsoft is losing in the Advertising game and gets very close to counting us out forever.

He's right. As long as Microsoft copies others and doesn't do anything radically different this game will be over.

Why? Because we're in an audience business. Blodgett assumes this is about search. It's not. Or about Web. It's not that either. It's about building audiences that advertisers want to pay money to be in front of.

Advertisers want a few things:

1) Eyeballs. Don't believe me? Go to Times Square in New York. Why are those signs (er, advertising) there (they cost millions of dollars each)? Eyeballs. Hundreds of thousands of them every day.
2) Purchasers. Every Sunday there's a "homes" section in the local newspaper. Why? Cause the newspaper industry has trained us that if we're looking to buy a home, we should get the Sunday newspaper, throw away all that news crud, and start circling homes we're going to look at that day.

This is a simple business. It's all about figuring out how to get an audience.

Now, Google, Yahoo, and MSN are just like the music industry in that regard. We're trying to figure out what the next big audience pleasing thing will be.

Let's be honest. Google signed the metaphorical equivilent of the Beatles.

So, is the way to build a world-class business to just copy the Beatles?

No.

If Microsoft and Yahoo want to grow, we must build the next big thing. Not copy yesterday's big thing.

On the other hand. Search is not done. That's where it's different from a music act. With services you can take what used to exist and make something new.

Look at A9.com. Here, search for Scoble. What do you notice? First, that it shows you a bunch of stuff that the other engines don't.

Another thing I notice? They are using Microsoft's search engine now instead of Google's. Take THAT Henry! Chris Overd is the one to notice that.

Or, look at Gada.be. Here, search for Scoble there. It uses all kinds of search engines.

This week RawSugar is going to turn on a new improved search engine based on tags. I got a look last week at what they are gonna turn on and it's really great. That small company has done something innovative that the big boys haven't even tried to do yet.

Oh, and if Google has done such a great job in search, why can't I find Sony's site when I do a search for Sony HDTV SD (I'm looking at buying a Sony SD-series HDTV). Nah, search is finished.

Microsoft is finished. Yahoo is finished. This job is done. There's nothing left to improve. Nothing left to do.

Hmmm, I've heard this before. Hell, in 1989 I even was one of those counting Microsoft out (the just released Apple Mac II back then was so superior to anything Microsoft had that I thought Microsoft should just close up shop and go home).

One thing: I like being the underdog. The one all the experts are counting out. The one that the stock market has no confidence in. It's motivating.

We got nowhere to go but up.

Brandon Paddock, lead us out of here.