Author Archives: Stephen Pickering

Set List

Working up ideas for a set list if I start doing coffee house gigs with just the acoustic and a harmonica. Every time I think of a song, I’ve been texting them in to Twitter. Here’s the list I’ve built so far:

  1. Quiet TownJosh Rouse
  2. Stop Breaking Down – The Rolling Stones
  3. Simplesmente – Bebel Gilberto
  4. Loving Cup – The Stones
  5. Horsin’ Around – Prefab Sprout
  6. Eu Nao Existe Sem Voce – Tom Jobim
  7. Disco Apocalypse – Jackson Browne
  8. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before – The Smiths
  9. Ventilator Blues – The Stones
  10. Inanna – Stephen Pickering
  11. Aquarella do Brasil – Gal Costa
  12. Ciranda – Marcio Faraco
  13. Heart of Snow – Greta Gaines
  14. Ugly Stories – Josh Rouse
  15. Axe Gnawa – Celso Machado
  16. Rubber Ring – The Smiths
  17. London Bridges – Josh Rouse
  18. The Ocean- Richard Hawley
  19. Walking Through The Park – blues
  20. Cantando No Toro – Chico Buraque
  21. Domesticated Lovers – Josh Rouse
  22. The Clear Coast – Josh Rouse
  23. World – Paz Suay

Did Flickr Just Kill Itself?

Sponsored by Twitter’s newest ad platform:

 

Am I missing something? When I originally signed up for Flickr it was unlimited photos with only a limitation on the amount I could upload per month. Today I get a message saying I’ve just uploaded 200 photos and that I’ll have to pay for a pro account in order to see any but my most recent 200 photos. Is this not news? Did this change of TOS just happen recently? I realize that 24.95 is not a lot to pay per year, but it isn’t a lot to pay for Facebook or Twitter either, but what would happen to those services if they decided that you can only look at your most recent 200 items unless you paid. They’d be gone. Why am I not hearing more written about this on the internets? Flickr is the only piece of Web 2.0 credibility that Flickr has, and I think they’ve just killed it. Why not just move to Picasaweb or Photobucket? ¬†The photos that I’ve uploaded there came from my phone directly sent by MMS. Are the ones beyond the 200 mark that I can’t look at now being held hostage unless I pay the 24.95 ransom. This ¬†is bad karma all the way around. They at least should have grandfathered in existing users who signed up like I under a different understanding.

But the money is missing the point. The money is in exposure and search. Why for heaven’s sake are there no ads on Flickr? That’s their revenue model. Thoughts? Am I missing something? Am I wrong?
 


 

What May Stop Twitter? Itself.

The trouble with Twitter is not the model, its the underlying technology. The site has constantly had problems functioning smoothly since inception, even before it became mainstream, so growth is not an excuse. They’re going to have to get new management to fix it. If it can’t be fixed there’s no way this company can go forward, and FriendFeed or Facebook will take over the space. The model is great, but the execution is horrendous. ¬†It’s going to be tomorrow’s AOL or Myspace if something isn’t done, and it has to be done now.

Jimmy Page said “Some guitars fight you, others the music just spills out.” ¬†Twitter, the site itself, just seems to fight you, like its annoyed you are even there. Whatever they’ve got to do to fix, they must do it now, even if it meant shutting the site down for a week and doing a complete overhaul. It would be worth it. It could mean billions. Jason Calacanis is right, they could be the dial tone of the internet. They are on the verge of it right now, and that’s why it must be fixed. No excuses. At least I wouldn’t want any if I were the one who’d given them $25million.

Advice to Myspace: Open Up Immediately

#1 When I take a photo with my phone and beam it to Flickr it needs to push it to my Myspace Library, my Facebook library and every other of my social media places (It already pushes it to my blog and tweets it via FriendFeed.) And this needs to work in reverse also. If I post a picture to Myspace it needs to push it out to Facebook, tweet it, to my Flickr library, my blog, everywhere I have a Social media presence.

#2 If I write a blog post, it needs to automatically post it to my Myspace Blog. If I write a Blog Post inside of Myspace it needs to push it to my regular blog, tweet it and send it to the Facebook stream.

#3 When someone messages me, sends a friend request, makes a comment it needs to notify all my other places, including an SMS to my cell phone. Of course this has to be granular so you don’t get SMS’s all the time, but that’s a no brainer. Likewise I need to be able to return messages, comments, make friend requests, approve them etc. from my phone and every other place on the web or network. Let’s say I meet someone at a party and they have a myspace page too. I should be able to add them right there on the spot from my phone. Lets say I’m a musician playing a club. Everyone in the audience should be able to add me from their phones and I can auto add them back right there from my guitar. If I’m broadcasting that show on Kyte or Qik people should be able to tune into my Myspace page to see it. For that matter all these video services need to talk to each other. If I make a video of that show on Qik or Kyte it needs to automatically progagate to Youtube, Myspace, My blog, tweet it out and notify my Myspace friends.

All these services must communicate and work together to survive, even eventually Facebook. The Social Web demands it. Web 2.0 vendors are not competing with the other vendors in their “space.” They are competing with themselves to enhance their particular strengths and shed themselves of their weaknesses. Starve the living daylights out of your weaknesses. Feed your opportunities. Peter Drucker says, “Don’t solve problems, seek opportunity.” The opportunity for social web companies is to earn people’s trust by being completely open in every possible way to the other companies that do certain things better. These companies will return the favor by opening up to the particular strengths Myspace and others can offer its users.

You are not competing for users. You are competing with yourself for trust from society. They are not “users” they are your partners.

Myspace has a particular advantage over Facebook in powncing on this opportunity and opening up completely and immediately. Their users don’t have the privacy expectations that Facebook’s users have. As a matter of fact their users don’t have any expectations of Myspace because, in actuality, they have no users. There are a bunch of accounts, but no one’s using them. But they could turn that on a dime by making these changes and become very relevant and vivacious again.

The goal is not to conquer the World. The goal is to interact with the World in a useful way, to be a part of the World’s community, offering the World your particular creative strengths, point of view, and services. In that way you add spice to the World’s personality and more importantly value, so that every facet of society benefits from the Communications Revolution, growing and contributing to a higher standard of living for all. From such noble efforts Golden Ages are born.

Right now our Society, which is now the World, is in a Wasteland mentality. “The center cannot hold” as Yeats said. This was exactly the situation the World was in, in the 11th century, the Dark Ages. It’s time for a new Renaissance. The only catalysts for this are the Microelectronics Revolution which began in the late 60’s and the Communications Revolution which began in the 90’s. They are the unstoppable bullet. Inertia is the impenetrable wall. What will happen when they meet? The battle is not over a platform. The platform is the infinite bandwidth of the fiber optic network. Each hair’s width glass fiber is capable of carrying an infinite number of colors of light, each color of light an infinite amount of information at light speed.

There is no battle anymore. In its place there is an opportunity to be a trusted steward, a trusted guide for the social graph to the unlimited Cornucopia that the Universe has always had and that technology is opening the door to, at en ever increasing rate. “Listen to the Technology,” the great Carver Mead says. “What is it telling you?”

Open.

(thanks to @techcrunch for digging and for writing a better headline as
professional journalists, successful ones like them, can probably do in
their sleep. My original headline was("Myspace's Solution is So Simple")

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No Possum, No Sop, No Taters

The trouble with authentic artists is that they’re in a silo both psychologically and culturally, so its not feeding the culture, and we have a Wasteland situation. Science, Art, Philosophy, Psychology, Media, Business, Politics, Technology, Religion are all walled off into separate silos. There’s no integration because they are controlled by protocols and systems, institutions. They are not feeding or being nourished by each other. The instutition becomes a complex both physically and psychologically that snuffs out the exuberance and spontaneity that gave birth to an organizing factor to begin with. This is what Nietszche calls “Groveling before sheer fact.” Nature, which unites and integrates, gives birth to all consciousness, becomes repressed by systems and institutions, which ironically enough were initially created to make life happy and instead have had the opposite effect.

Whenever a spring pops up out of the ground, people figure out they can make money from it, and build a wall around it and charge for admission. Then the spring gets angry, dissappears and pops up in a new, unexpected place.

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

No Possum, No Sop, No Taters

by Wallace Stevens

He is not here, the old sun,
As absent as if we were asleep.

The field is frozen. The leaves are dry.
Bad is final in this light.

In this bleak air the broken stalks
Have arms without hands. They have trunks

Without legs or, for that, without heads.
They have heads in which a captive cry

Is merely the moving of a tongue.
Snow sparkles like eyesight falling to earth,

Like seeing fallen brightly away.
The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.

It is deep January. The sky is hard.
The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

It is in this solitude, a syllable,
Out of these gawky flitterings,

Intones its single emptiness,
The savagest hollow of winter-sound.

It is here, in this bad, that we reach
The last purity of the knowledge of good.

The crow looks rusty as he rises up.
Bright is the malice in his eye…

One joins him there for company,
But at a distance, in another tree.

FriendFeed Is In Danger of Becoming the Coolest App Everyone Uses

I waited with baited anticipation for today. When Scoble said Friday that FriendFeed, a service that’d up until now I’ve only thought of as a backend aggregator of everyone’s Social Media (it is that too) was coming out with a new, improved UI today, my first thought was merely, “Oh, how nice.” Somehow in my mind FriendFeed has been the nice youngest child who is so sweet, comes up with the most unexpected things that charms everyone in the family, but never threatens the turf of big brother or sister, and everyone says how cute he is, how smart he is, and how one day he’s going to grow up to be someone really special and make someone really happy. Big brother and sister roll their eyes. They have other plans for the little twerp.

Well today, little brother, FriendFeed, just got a perfect score on the SAT and is heading for Harvard on a full scholarship! Friendfeed still has all the power and utilitarian tentacles reaching in all directions under the hood, but today instead of jumping in the workvan, if feels like getting behind the wheel of a new BMW. It’s warm, inviting, elegant, tasteful, and yet will get you going down the road in a heartbeat without feeling a thing except for perhaps a whisp of Steely Dan infusing the luxurious leather air all around with “In the Corner of my eye, I saw you, (Twitter) at Rudy’s and you were very high, you were high!” That’s how all the pro’s (Facebook) play the game. They change their name.

The first thing I read this morning was Steve Gillmor‘s piece in TechCrunch where he swooned so romantically, his writing was so fantastically beautiful, all I could think of was, “Why is this guy not a novelist?” Later today on the GillmorGang, his weekly podcast, one of his regular guest read a passage outloud from the piece to embarrass him. He sounded like an empassioned lover over the new FriendFeed. I thought it was too over the top too. I mean is he really comparing these guys to the Beatles? I thought. And then when Mike Arrington chimed in like the Grinch who stole Christmas saying that the game was already over, Twitter’s growth was too stupendous, their lead was too large, the tipping point had been reached and that was that, I felt like when Greenspan took our punchbowl away in 2000, and my dream of being an overnite internet millionaire with it.

Next I read another TechCrunch Piece about the beta launch by. Watched the shortened Youtube video it had attached at the end of the piece of the Friday demonstration to the tech press, and contined to refresh Scoble’s Twitter page every ten seconds to see if his longer videos of the same presentation in HD were up yet. Finally they came up and I watched them all. Bret Taylor, the co founder and Technical Engineer of FriendFeed gave the presentation. His cheeks blanched, his voice quivered a little as the stares of Gillmor, Arrington, Scoble et al. listened and watched. But his demeanor, sure it was nervous, but it was also filled a a great since of humility on the surface, but one could since the brilliance underneath the hood. And that is how this company and product feel. Very humble, very unassuming, still filled with a sense of wonderment of what is possible, eagerly listening to and respecting what the onlookers had to say, but also with tremendous power and potential one can feel under the hood. One had the feeling of when the young Google first made its quiet presence felt.

And since Brett Taylor is the architect of one of the most successful Google products, Gmail, one almost wonders if he isn’t more of the essence of the “good” Google we’ve grown to love more than its founders are.

I watched all of Scoble’s HD footage of the event. The Spirit of Scoble seems to be infused with the personality of this company, and to me that is just another A+. No one questions his credibility. He relishes in the wonder of these things and how they mesh at the nexus of social interactions mixed with marketing. And besides, if you can’t be as excited and exuberant about what your doing in life, how you spend your time, as he is, then what really is the point? How could you go on droning on about this stuff if your only perspective is that of a VC wanting only to make money from something, no matter what it takes. That takes the life right out of it, and usually the money too.

The more I played with FriendFeed the Beta tonight, the more excited I got. It’s not only warm, fuzzy, elegant, and smooth, its fun! It has the keys to the Castle. It’s found the Grail Castle of Social Media, I think precisely because it makes what is productive, what is useful, the same thing as what is fun.

You must go sign up for the new FriendFeed. Watch Scoble’s vide: 20 Things About FriendFeed, how to use it and his latest blogposts about it including ¬†Tips for Real Time Web working on new¬†friendfeed , and just start playing with it. You’re going to love it. You’re going to constantly be amazed at all the cool stuff it can do, and now with style. I think Arrington is wrong. I’m putting my money on this horse named “FriendFeed”, even if its 20-1 right now because I think its Secretariat. Twitter is clunky. It must have fail whaled a hundred times on me today. And its becoming more MySpacey, LA/Euro Trashy every day. Twitter is where Myspace was a few years ago, tons of people signing up everyday, tons of Media Coverage, Stars signing up, making their own “pages.” FriendFeed is going to come from behind in this race and mow it down, and in the long run I think it might even catch Facebook too.

In my daydream, it’s Arkansas Derby Day. The Cherry Blossoms whip galliantly in the 75 degree sweet Ouachita Mountain air that the Purple Martins are coloring with exuberance. I turn to my tasty companion and pour her a glass of wine. The year is 1957 on my bottle of Pouilly-Fuiss?©. Then I turn with complete confidence and walk to the cashier’s window.
“Give me 5 million on ‘FriendFeed’, please,” I say.
There’s a short pause as vested short, dark haired lady stares at me as if an angel had opened up one of the pillowy, drifting clouds.
“To win.”