Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Confusing Free with free

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Simon Phipps explains – for the thousandth time I imagine – some basic things about Free/Open source software.

From what the blog says – “Yes, clearly it’s cheaper, but does it really save money in the end?” – it’s clear this part of Adobe thinks of Free/Open Source software purely as a commodity and a way of cutting corners. That it’s ultimately only about saving money. They seem to confuse Free with free, liberty with payment. In the process Adobe is missing a huge opportunity.

Alas, outside the open source communities, this is not being explained/understood widely enough. So thanks to Simon for delving deeper:

As Stallman points out, software freedom is not about avoiding payment, it is about preserving and exercising liberty. I don’t accept that pursuing profit and respecting software freedom are unrelated, much less that they run counter to each other. Profit and liberty are not orthogonal. I also profoundly believe that competing against software freedom provides (at best) a short-term advantage.

And now he’s talking my language:

For a company like Adobe, to compete against software freedom is to ignore the inexorable progress of disruptive technologies and the Innovator’s Dilemma.

One of the challenges that open source faces is that its most significant and enduring impact is at the level that most businesses don’t pay attention to. The level of innovation that goes beyond the product, market or industry analysis usually based on controllable and measurable variables and the bigger-picture-doesn’t-get-me-through-the-next-quarter kind of thinking. A classic case of what doesn’t get measured, gets ignored. And misunderstood. So often Free/Open source software is seen as a comparable alternative to proprietary applications and the comparisons are made in terms of the wrong dichotomy, as Simon points out.

But the point is, the dichotomy Adobe paints is of its own making. It is not inherent in either Free software or in the open source communities which create it. And by trying to protect their short-term revenue, Adobe avoid affinity with some high-energy developers while pushing their customer base to increasingly attractive Free – and free – alternatives.

In fact, they are not comparable as you simply cannot compare the dynamics of community behind Free/Open source to the arbitrary, insulated and often turgid development of ‘closed source’ software. If the internet has shown anything it is that open is better, faster and ultimately more powerful. The principles that apply here:

the hand of Doc

IOS Brussels

No one owns it.

Everyone can use it.

Anyone can improve it.

These principles are so basic, they undermine all efforts to deny them.

Viacom in a copyright doomloop

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This is pretty rich but somehow not surprising:

One guy thought it was so cool that he recorded the clip of Web Junk that featured his own video and posted that on YouTube so he could blog about it. And, in an incredibly ironic move, Viacom sent a takedown notice to YouTube forcing it offline. Just to make it clear: Viacom used this guy’s work without permission and put it on TV. The guy then takes Viacom’s video of his video and puts it online… and Viacom freaks out claiming copyright infringement. Effectively, Viacom is claiming that it’s infringement of Viacom’s copyright to display an example of Viacom infringing on copyright.

Here is the story from the horse’s mouth:

So Viacom took a video that I had made for non-profit purposes and without trying to acquire my permission, used it in a for-profit broadcast. And then when I made a YouTube clip of what they did with my material, they charged me with copyright infringement and had YouTube pull the clip.

Folks, this is, as we say down here in the south, “bass-ackwards”.

Well, there are many more names to call this… Another, bigger story here is that it may, just may turn out that Viacom was acting within the current laws, although I don’t think so. It appears that the blogger who used his Viacom-processed video clip was within fair use provisions. Still, the tension between Viacom using videos taken from YouTube, which is in turn under constant fire from the company policing its own content is palpable. Call it hypocrisy, call is lack of balance, something about it just isn’t right. It is like the playground bully coming and nibbling at the cakes that the smaller kids made together. Whilst beating them up for baking in the first place…

Then there is the copyrighted content that is now getting a far better reach and exposure now that various shows and film moments are living on through the clips on YouTube. Think of all the Monty Python sketches that are now accessible and can be used in blog posts! Such joy.

I wonder what will happen to the bully in the end. Will he end up hungry and with no-one to play with bully?

Marching up and down the square

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Johnnie finds an excellent use for another Monty Python clip. It is striking just how fit they are for situation we face in business. Irreverence and individuality is timeless after all.

Quote to remember

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“People come back to places that send them away.”

It’s the basic trust proposition of the Internet. People will only trust a service that gives them complete freedom to come and go as they please. Further, they’ll want to come back if you send them to cool places.

If you look back to all the booms, they’ve all had that quality of freedom for everyone to do whatever they want. It’s always that way with creativity. And you know the cycle is about to end when everything is controlled, when there are few outlets for creativity. When you wake up and sit down to work and don’t feel like doing anything. That’s when it’s time to start thinking about blowing something up.
- Dave Winer in Lock-in and the Web, day 2

Web 2.0 = Business as usual 2.0…

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The head lemur is onto something…

Business as Usual, left the building and found their cars covered with toilet paper and graffiti … Retreating back into the castle, they have decided that a new paradigm is needed. After years of viewing with horror the unfettered, undisciplined, self directed explosion of personal publishing, they are returning with a vengeance.

Armed with whitewash, tinfoil, and a desperate desire to recapture and reeducate, they are returning with the latest PR Crisis Management, Message shapers and crying Trust, Transparency, and Triple Cents Off Coupons, they arrive to do battle.

It is, of course, no crime to build business out of the internet’s magic. It is, however, allowed to point at those who impose business models of yesteryear, alright, the dreary off-line of today, regardless of what goes on before their very eyes. The head lemur has a few examples.

Holy business model

Copyright is not frivolous

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Maura Corbett warns of abuses of copyright by media corporations that often include gross misrepresentations of federal law and characterize as unlawful acts that are explicitly permitted by law.

Warnings attached to movies, sports broadcasts and other media often provide wildly misleading information about consumer rights under copyright law. For example, warnings on many Universal DVDs state, in part, that “any unauthorized exhibition, distribution or copying of this film or any part thereof (including soundtrack) is an infringement of the relevant copyright and will subject the infringer to severe civil and criminal penalties.”

This statement is simply untrue–the federal copyright statutes specifically allow unauthorized reproduction for criticism, commentary and other purposes

She concludes:

We should not permit rights holders to use copyright law to create new powers for themselves. Even as we urge consumers to respect the law–and we should–large copyright owners have the same obligation.

Copyright law was never intended to serve as a big stick for the rights holder to wield against the freedom of information and ideas.

A message to marketers

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A worthy post by Brian Solis of PR 2.0 summarising what has become obvious some time ago thanks to blogging:

Attention PR and practicing Social Media professionals, step away from using “messages” to target “users” and “audience.” They are no longer filling the theaters, stadiums, and auditoriums to hear from marketers.

The implications for communications and marketing are profound and joint, they both need to take note and no longer define themselves by company processes or departments.

Discussing marketing in terms of audience and users implies a one to many approach, whereas focusing on people begets a one to one communications strategy – shifting from monologue to dialog.

Brian also has rather sound advice that does go a bit further than the ‘you-can’t-market-as-you-used-to’ meme:

When we look at groups of people respectively, we’re forced change our migration path to them. Each group is influenced, inspired and driven by unique channels and communities. Figuring out who we want to reach, why they matter to us, and why we matter to them, is the ante in order to buy into this game. Then we reverse engineer this process of where they go for their information and discussions to learn about how to reach them. And, while there may be several horizontal mediums that overlap, the vertical avenues are dedicated.

When you want to have a conversations with someone you do these two things – listen to the other person/people and try to say something of interest or of use to them. Otherwise you become unpopular and people will avoid you. Why on earth PR and communications departments can’t get that simple truth right and still blather on about messaging?!

Let’s go ahead and eradicate “messages” when discussing customers and people. They don’t want to hear messages, they want to hear how you can help them do something better than how they do it today or how this is something that they couldn’t do before, taking into specific account, their daily regime.

Messages are not conversations and there is no market for them.



Bonus link: There is no market for messages

How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

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Why I love

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…because the guys behind it look far beyond a video upload site or network, marvellous as it may be. Charles is one of my favourite people who can hold his own against any politico or wanna-be censor.

Loren Feldman, the author of a controversial video, decided to use blip as his host. A few hours later we received a letter warning us of potential damage to our brand. I responded that speech should be countered with speech, not censorship. What do you think? Here’s the e-mail exchange.

And so the entire email exchange is published. Not only I find the arguments sound but this is transparency at its best. Instead of agonising about how various people perceive what does or does not do, why not make them privy to the issues that they are facing and by disclosing all, make them participate in those decisions.

Brilliant, Charles!

Surely you don’t think he would ever run out of new hosting services to try! Eventually, the pursuit would reach a tipping point by, for example, reaching the attention of digg or boing boing, and hundreds of thousands would swarm to search for the banned videos, eagerly downloading and saving copies of the contraband. Drudge could easily pick this story up, and Loren would be invited to do the rounds on right-wing talk radio, as a hero and martyr to the PC police. The case would be held up as a foreshadowing of the Reign of Terror predicted after a Democrat victory in 2008.

Contrast that with the profound impact of a deeply moving work of art. Loren’s video should inspire works which outlive it by decades, which look forward to the future instead of the past, which give us a glimpse of the glorious potential of humankind. Works which send shivers down the spine and trigger paradigm shifts, which children remember the rest of their adult lives.

I urge you to focus your energy on creating positive change in people’s hearts and dry up the market for Loren’s opinions. We have enough futile attempts at silencing foul speech, but we don’t have enough deep, inspiring, illuminating speech.

In Liberty and Reason,

Metrics schmetrics

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Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker has been caught in an embarrassingly basic math mistake… Meeker’s estimate of the impact of YouTube’s new “overlay” ads? She says they could boost Google’s gross revenues by $4.8 billion next year. But her math, Blodget discovered, was off by a factor of a thousand. The error apparently stemmed from forgetting the meaning of CPM, or “cost per thousand,” a commonly used term in advertising rate cards.

Perhaps she subconsciously rebelled against the idea of counting eyeballs by thousands. Or maybe not.

New estimates via Henry Blodget.

Yesterday: $720 million. ($720 thousand using same assumptions and correct math)

Today: $75 – $189 million (using new assumptions).

The backstory: Mary Meeker’s YouTube Math

Well, anyone can make a mistake. These days such mistakes are less likely to serve as a foundation for the entire industry governed by a herd instinct. Provided that they put information online and accessible to everyone.

The real question is how to measure how annoyed YouTube fans get at the ads.


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Badoo Mac…

Originally uploaded by ( ¯`’•.ღ!~ღ NauGHtyAh ღ~! ღ.•’´ ¯)

There is not much I can say about this, that’s how loaded this picture is. Just wanted to share… :-)

Get a new business model

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The sense of entitlement of payment for your efforts is palpable here. Danny Carlton has blocked Firefox users from accessing his site in protest of a popular browser extension that blocks text and display ads.

Accessing the content while blocking the ads therefore would be no less than stealing. Millions of hard working people are being robbed of their time and effort by this type of software.

Nobody owes Mr Carlton for his time and effort. The fact that he has or wants a deal with advertisers to pimp his readers’ attention is not exactly a fair arrangement either. Welcome to the world where users can and take control. And about time. Companies and advertisers have abused everyone’s attention for decades assuming that their ‘content’ is a fair exchange for idiotic ‘messages’ spewing from every medium available. In the world where you can get much more than content (interaction, conversation, relationships, self-expression), that kind of devil’s bargain has a snowball-in-hell’s chance of survival.

There is a different bargain to be struck and it is one directly with your readers. They are your audience but also your distributors as they can pass your ideas and creations along. Distribution off-line is one of the most expensive things, so the deal is pretty good. That is why Carlton’s attitude is nonsensical as he is cutting himself off from those who can make him more visible online, and bring him more readers. It is the old grab’em & lock’em in attitude that looks stone-age and unviable online.

It is worth noting that Carlton complains that he can’t block only those Firefox users that have the extension installed, so he’s blocking all Firefox users since it’s “the only alternative.”

The real problem is Adblock Plus’s unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in.

This is a misplaced need to control people, namely his readers and visitors to his site. He seems to consider the ability to do that his birthright. This is the same attitude that’s burying the media industry.

Online you’d better control what you can, not what you wish you could. Controlling others has always been a delusion, controlling your identity and your own expression is where it is at. Otherwise… :


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