Category betaworks

Ruler

Billy created a wonderful little ruler for the iphone. Its interesting, its dislocating and its beautiful done, lovely to see wood grain on a device.

Fotolog + Hi Media

With mixed emotions – a combination of great excitement and a slight tug at the heartstrings – we announced today the sale of Fotolog to Hi-Media, one of Europe's largest advertising and micro-payment networks. This transaction forms one of Europe’s best positioned Internet companies, with huge audience reach and great monetization tools. Our release lays out key elements of the rationale for this transaction, but here are the high points:

· The opportunity to bring together Fotolog’s rapidly growing audience of more than 10 million members, 15 million visitors – and its top 20 ranking among the world’s most trafficked websites – with Hi-Media’s huge ad-network and great optimization capabilities

· The tools for Fotolog to extend its platform and community services with one of Europe's largest micro-payment networks · The jump-start Fotolog brings to Hi-Media’s Publishing Group

· The strong geographic fit, combining Fotolog's growing strength in European markets like Spain and Italy with the reach Hi-Media will give Fotolog in rich and valuable Internet markets such as France,Germany and Sweden. · The outstanding opportunity the Fotolog team and investors will have to participate in the growth of the combined company.

· And equally important, the matching of two teams of people who know how to run Internet businesses. Cyril Zimmerman and the Hi-Media team have been building one of Europe's foremost online ad networks for more than a decade.

With Adam Seifer, Warren Habib and Scott Heiferman, we have a pedigree that goes back to the earliest days of social networking. The result will be one of the largest publicly traded Internet pure plays in Europe. Without the tangle of cable, DSL or old media properties that so often come with and encumber European online companies, our combined company will be able to focus on the hottest and fastest-growing media segment on the continent, and in some areas, around the world.

Seen from that perspective, it becomes clear why Hi-Media considered Fotolog so valuable and why we considered them the ideal partner, strategically, geographically and philosophically, to accelerate our growth and fully leverage our team and our audience. So those are the deal highlights. Now to some background on both companies, and why they are such a great strategic and geographic fit.

Hi-who?

Hi-Media, based in Paris, is a leading European advertising network and micro-payment aggregation platform listed under HIMD-PA . Hi-Media’s current management team is the same one that started the business ten years ago as an ad network. Over time they added micro-payments to the business and, more recently, a publishing group. The first two businesses are large and growing rapidly – the third is younger but with the acquisition of Fotolog now reaches scale.

We’re encouraged by Hi-Media’s demonstrated ability to grow through successful acquisitions and integration. The micro-payments business (today one of the largest in Europe), the local ad-sales business (today one of the largest in Scandinavia) and their current content business (a leading French gaming site) were all acquisitions. Hi-Media’s geographic center of gravity also gives reason for doing this deal. Hi-Media's roots are European, but they have a growing presence in South America, based out of Brazil.

This represents a great fit given Fotolog's recent growth in Europe, and with the acquisition of Fotolog, the Hi Media South American business should become an even more significant area of growth. Most importantly, Hi-Media is one of a small handful of companies positioned at the epicenter of European internet growth. I have blogged about this before, but broadband penetration today stands at approximately 60MM HH in Europe – and is poised to double in the next 3 years. Overall, Internet penetration in Europe in '07 will surpass 30% — an important number that has in other geographies represented a step function in growth, usage and monetization. Net based advertising, spending and direct micro-payment services are set to grow proportionally even faster, with analysts estimating CAGR's of over 20%.

Finally, macro trends aside – Hi- Media is well positioned to benefit from the growing needs of long-tail publishers to optimize and monetize their customers. The Ad- Network provides a CPM based platform for publishers to advertise through. The micro-payments platform is an aggregation service, one that offers customers the choice of more than 40 payment providers and access to more than 160,000 premium content sites.

Photo-blogging?

Fotolog was created five years ago by Scott Heiferman. Adam Seifer joined him shortly after and, working out of their apartments, the two of them birthed photoblogging … and created a global phenomenon. It’s strange, but here in the US, the rapid growth of the Internet often reduces business to a set of categories, at which point companies tend to retrofit services to fit those categories. Blogging in the US was initially defined as a text-based experience. Moreover, today daily people post photos to Facebook and Myspace – but those sites are defined as social networks – no one would seriously refer to them as a photoblogging platforms. But look at actual usage data.

The primary media types on Facebook are, first text (messages between members of the community) and second, photos. And that’s exactly what we see on Fotolog — where we host close to 300M photos and billions of conversations … all woven together in a complex social network. Myspace is substantially similar. Today, Fotolog is one of the 20 most-trafficked sites in the world, and the simple magic of Scott’s and Adam’s creation is still seducing our members. I first came to the company as an angel investor, and then Scott and Adam asked me to join as CEO late last year. In the space of seven months we have doubled the membership, inked partnerships with AOL, Google and Sun and brought the company close to breakeven. Our audience has grown in Europe such that today we almost 30% of our traffic is coming from Europe — 2.2 of our 15M unique visitors are coming from Spain. In terms of membership growth — last month — Italy, Germany, and France were right behind.

So why do a deal?

While Fotolog has grown at an incredible pace, it’s only now becoming a business. We have expanded our ad revenue base significantly in '07, yet we have done this with a tiny sales team, based in NY. There are limits to what you can do with 25 people based in NY, serving an audience mostly in South America and Europe. We have a worked with the Google team to use their AFC and AFS networks with significant successes – yet for media companies to build large, sustainable businesses, across both established and emerging markets, we have learnt you need to complement the ad networks with direct sales capabilities.

Fotolog needs room to grow … and with access to Hi-Media's ad-network, we will have an instant ad-sales capability in our largest and fastest growing markets. Longer term, I am big believer in the promise of peer-to-peer advertising among our members. Ads are often blunt instruments that fail to offer value to a membership engaged in a dynamic conversation – targeting and metadata only get you so far. Offering our membership the ability to buy and sell real and virtual items is something we are keen to offer at Fotolog, and a necessary capability to that end is access to micro-payment services across our footprint. Allopass, Hi-Media's micro-payment service, could fill that bill. Finally the agreement we struck with Hi-Media is a great return for our investors – many of whom (including me) are opting to hold stock in the combined company.

To close, a personal note …

As I said in the first paragraph, it was with mixed emotions that I recommended to our board that we do this deal. Fotolog is on a tear. Our international audience is coming of age, there is so much promise ahead, and it’s been a lot of fun running and building the company. The company has a group of very dedicated people. Adam's heart and soul is in the community. And since I came on board, we have weathered some fun operational challenges including user strikes, drowned servers, vendors trashing core databases … not to mention and some pretty hairy and exciting product launches.

Adam, Andrew, Warren, Olu, Frank, Elke, Yossi, Rodrigo, Andrew and many others have all pulled together through many a long night to make the company what it is today. I’m well aware that mergers and acquisitions don't always work out the way you hope. But Fotolog is truly poised to take off – and with the right mix from Hi-Media, there is a lot of potential in this merger that I hope we can make real for our membership, our team and our investors.

betaworks / offsite

beta

I did the betaworks off-site this week.  Good discussions, many of which couldn’t run to completion given time and setup constraints.   Decided to use an un-conference format, seemed to work fairly well — the topics people wanted to discuss were good, but hard to determine if anything was really concluded on any one topic,  sometimes the questions are more informative than answers.  We covered many aspect of social media sparing ourselves the overarching discussion defining social media — from reputation systems, trust, to agents to simplicity in design to many a questions about what causes interaction and what interactions matter we covered a lot of ground.

Some of the interesting questions I heard are below, commentary in []’s:

– In five years, when you wake up what will the device you turn first?  what will it look like and who will own the data you are looking at?  [the last part of this question is particularly interesting, I suspect the answer will be your own data.   And many of the tensions emerging today between users vs. content/IP owners, users and content/IP owners vs. search engines and monetization platforms — in general open and transparent systems vs. open vs. closed system will emerge as a central issue]

– Given the personal relationship people have with a phone (vs. a pc) what services will emerge as core?   [People are willing to share and store personal data of a very different nature on the phone vs. the pc, interesting when you consider how much time and effort is meant to harmonize data across these end points / devices]

– Think about pagerank as a reputation system?    [Someone also referred to pagerank as an agent, which was interesting, we had a good brief discussion about agents, havent done that in a while.  Someone also referred to Fred Wilson as primary information agent, agents are complex, maybe we end us the agents]

– Designing for simplicity … how does less become more? [good discussion here re: Fotolog’s one picture a day restriction and what it yields, and how simplicity as an over arching design principle is hard to execute in our medium and why]

– Is the US falling behind Europe and Asia in terms of infrastructure and innovation?  [the group had a real rant about broadband deployment, wireless access and restrictions placed on devices by connectivity providers, wireless and wireline.    I was surprised at the frustration level — hopefully it will begin to spread to DC, where the effectiveness of US policy vis broadband deployment is still, seemingly , a debate??!]

– What is it going to take to get tech and tech vc’s to enage in what is happening in DC, the incumbents are driving the DC agenda and wild eyed techno-optimism isnt going to save the day?

– Where is your company going to be in 25 years?  [Push to think about the long term, beyond the cycle of pumping and selling companies — how can we build sustainable innovation cycles, real innovation that over time, significant time not just a few years or the next turn of the screw]

– How does the advent of people centric interactions and data exchange effect the evolution of the internet? [more than crowdsourcing, which is already becoming a blurred meme, we are seeing the importance of human interaction and human brains to the network, as human intelligence becomes wired into the network does it make us more network dependent or the network more human, both?]

– Why would most people in the world, pretty much all of them have little idea about what we are talking about? [I hear this at many meetings like this, good grounding statement but then we all trudge back into our technosphere’s]

Other findin(.)gs were:

– People care enough about international and GTD as issues to put it on the white board but not enough to participate in a breakout group!

– Introductions always, always, take tooo long

Participants included people from:

TsumobiWhat is everyone looking at?
Ideeli
outside.in
Im in like with you
Fotolog
Index/Seed Camp
Tumblr
Divmod
Downfly
Fichey
Center Independent Media Public Square
Meetup
Buzzfeed
Social Media Club
Next New Networks
Time Warner
β etaworks team

thank you to all and to

Close digital

Gone Fiching?

Billy, creator of Downfly created something pretty interesting called Fichey.  He designed it as a navigational tool to browse links people had sent to you via Downfly, but this week Billy, Seth and I decided to launch it as an independent application .    A Microfiche inspired browse tool, that lets you browse popular sites.  Billy pushed it out last night and TechCrunch picked it up today.    A fun week in the press.

Flog clips, onward …

Some clips of recent Fotolog data … next week today we will pass 9 million user accounts.  The team has grown our audience by 60% since I came on board in late December and over 150% since June 2006.   Flog is currently the 20th most trafficked site in the world according to Alexa.  Comscore now ranks us as the largest site in Argentina, measured by total page views (we're doing 3x the page views of Yahoo).   In Spain, we're ranked #10, pageview wise we have seen a lot of growth in Europe this year, especially in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany. 

Comscore data for May 2007, top sites in Argentina

Also in May the site saw strong growth in the US (60% growth in unique visitors), albeit from a smaller base.    The arrival of micro-blogging sites in the US like Tumblr and Twitter is demonstrating how the use cases around blogging or self publishing are fragmenting.    Letting people post some combination of text, images, videos, presence and location — mingle that with a social network, shake, don't stir, and you get what Fotolog is about.  

Based on usage data Fotolog has become more of a social media network (tracking the usage patterns of MySpace, Mixi, Facebook and Bebo) rather than traditional online media network.   Lapping Yahoo in Argentina clearly supports this engagement argument — Fotolog's unique visitors are 1MM less than Yahoo's, yet the total minutes on the site are twice that of Yahoo and pages are 3x.     Fotolog's reach on Alexa continues to grow — over the past three months we are up 23% to 1.7% (note, I don't understand what happening with Orkut, both reach and growth seems to be slowing this year).    

I will be very interested to see how our launch of point-to-point IM does on Flog.   Within the next 10 days we will have Userplane's service up and running so members can message each other with one click (no client, user to user IM).     And to boot, Fotolog will have another significant announcement to make in the next few days.

Happy birthday Fotolog

Today is Fotolog's 5th birthday — a few words, and some images to mark the day.   It has been an amazing five years for Fotolog.  The history of the site is fairly straightforward.    Fotolog was started in mid '02 by Scott Heiferman.   Adam Seifer came on board soon after and took over the project and Scott focussed on building Meetup.   

The vision of the service was to cater to new picture taking behavior — as people were starting to adopt digital cameras the use cases around the capture and processing of images was also evolving.  Pictures have always been social – but the digital world was giving images a whole new social dimension.  Fotolog was created as a social media network — the genesis was Photo Blogging, the result was a mixture of social networking and user created media sharing.   This is what Scott's original Flog looked like:     

First Cyper Picture

The layout of Fotolog, was and is intentionally simple.     Fotolog has resisted the temptation to add feature after feature — rather it has stuck to offering a handful of features, similar to Craig's list the focus has been on the content and the conversations.    From the early days Scott and Adam had the vision that the pages on Fotolog needed to be social.    They needed to include not only your images, but also images from across the network, providing a visual navigation that today drives much of the time our members spend on the site, a self formed, organic distribution system, letting members see and be seen.    Complementing this social network of images they added comments and guest book entries — making the experience one where media intersects with communications, day in day out, millions of images collide with billions of conversations.     The growth of Fotolog has been steady and consistent — but it took 2 years to gather real steam — as the chart below illustrates.   In early 2005 we hit a million members — amazing to consider, since we are now adding close to a million a month.  

Milestones Flog

The phenomena started in Brazil.   Adam will tell you that in those early days he was concerned that Fotolog might get stuck in Brazil, Portuguese isn't a global language.   But Brazilian's have turned out to be a strong early indicator of global internet phenomenas — from ICQ to Hotmail to Okrut to Fotolog, Brazilians seem to have a knack for early adoption of global social platforms.  The Fotolog audience started skipping geographies and borders and today we sign up members from approximately 70 different countries everyday.    Our audience is still very large in South and Central America and we have complemented that base with strong European growth.   The primary language of Fotolog is images, beyond that the chatter around the site includes and mixes many different languages.  

This is what the home page looked like when we hit a million members.   Its not that different to what the home page looks like today — again, simplicity and consistency has mattered to the history of Fotolog.  

 1MM Flog'ers

Out of interest I checked how many of the 15 members with images above were still active on Fotolog.    A quick check of member names and recent posts indicated that nine of them have updated Flogs in the past six months.    Four of them have updated their Flog in the past 3 weeks — juju15 , lepadilha, tabata, mash — its amazing that after years members are still coming back and using Fotolog to share their world 

Yesterday we had 673,150 uploads to the site — with our regime of one photo a day and 8.3M member accounts that means that yesterday a little over 8% of the people who have ever signed up to the site, uploaded a photo to Fotolog.    That doesnt included all the members who just visited friends Flogs — but to have 8 percent of your membership coming back everyday is pretty engaging and pretty amazing.   Fotolog also hit #18 on Alexa earlier this week — our highest ranking ever.   The traffic on the site continues to surge — our reach continues to grow (see a ranking vs. facebook), and for people who want to relate us to other US photo sites (which I always say is a poor comparison, given that Fotolog is about self publishing and socializing and photo's just happen to be the medium, they aren't the end), see the relative traffic rankings over the past three years, vs. other photo sites, Photobucket is picking up share, Flickr seems to be flatlining, and Shutterfly is still a seasonal processing site.     Fotolog is a testament to the creativity the internet has unleashed — millions of people sharing moments of their lives through images and conversations.  

A thank you from the team in NY to all of the people and all of our members who have made this global collage of conversations possible.  

And read Adam's Birthday post here .    

The Photobucket Sale and Fotolog

In the wake of Photobucket's sale last week to News Corp., people have asked me two questions: 

(i) How is Fotolog different from Photobucket?
(ii) Why did News Corp. buy photobucket? 

With the week now over, let me take a pass at answering both questions.  

How is Fotolog different from Photobucket?  

Photobucket and Fotolog are both built around media (photos and videos) and they are both related to social networking.  And they are both experiencing rapid growth.    But that’s where the similarity ends. Photobucket is a tool that is agnostic of destination – while Fotolog is a destination. Photobucket stores image-based media, then distributes it to your page on social networking sites such as Myspace, Bebo, Piczo, Friendster, etc. Fotolog is a destination where you post one image a day which then becomes the center of a social interaction/chat with your friends.  It’s intentionally simple – stripped down and focused on the social media experience. 

The Photobucket acquisition affirms the importance of user-generated content of any media type — images, video, etc. — and media's emerging relationship with social networking. I often call Fotolog a social media site because it's all about the intersection of media and communications, two things which were once like oil and water — they traveled on separate pipes and represented distinct experiences. But they are now coming together in fascinating ways. It's early days, but I believe that the combination of media and communications — gifting, sharing and transferring social capital, between users/members, via user-generated content or digital assets that represent identity — is a more than a trend. 

The first generation of social-networking sites stressed self-publishing over connections (from Geocities, to Tripod to Blogger).  The next generation focused mostly on connections (sixdegrees, and friendster are the classic examples here — tools to gather friends and connections, as social capital accrues in theory to the people with the most connections). The third and current generation of sites blends media with connections — each with a different emphasis. 

Focusing in on Photobucket and Fotolog — the difference between the two is clear when you look at traffic and usage data. Both sites are on a tear. Alexa (link #1 below) ranks Fotolog as 24th largest in the world — Photobucket is 44th . As CEO of Fotolog, I'm obviously privy to more data, but focussing on proportionate growth — the Alexa link shows rapid growth for both sites. Comscore measures Photobucket with 28M uniques and us with 13M. Comscore is panel-based, and at Fotolog we are working with some other data shops to confirm this data.  We recently starting dropping Quantcast pixels on our site and they track us at 26M uniques — data sources aside, the point here is that both sites are large and growing fast. 

Site usage patterns tell a different story. See the table below with Comscore data from March — the average minutes per day is hightlighted. Photobucket averages 7 minutes per day while Fotolog averages 23 minutes per day. Fotolog does 261M total visits, compared to 90M for Photobucket. Media-wise Photobucket has 2.5BN photos, Fotolog has about 1/10th that number at 230M – but in order to maximize user response, Fotololg only permits one up load per day.  Photobucket also offers video, which Fotolog is targeting for the future. Socially, the sites couldn’t be more different, given Fotolog’s status as a destination with an emphasis on conversations.  Our site has more than 2BN conversations posted, approximately 10 per image. 

Data table

In terms of user profile, Photobucket and Fotolog are both very international. Alexa tracks 29% of Photobucket's audience as US-based (Myspace-related) with a further 5% in the UK (Bebo) and the remainder apparently pretty evenly spread worldwide. I do wonder how accurate this data is — as approx 60% of Photobuckets traffic is tethered to Myspace which in turn is mostly US traffic. I know in Fotolog's case the Alexa geographical ratings are different to our Google analytic ratings. Last month a fifth of our traffic was in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Germany), which doesn’t come across clearly on Alexa. Fotolog has members signing up every day from 70 different countries, with the bulk of our audience in South/Central America (where the viral growth first took off) and Europe. The site is growing in some European countries, month over month, at a blistering 28%. Numbers like that compound fast. And the growth is 100% organic, with no marketing or member incentives. 

So why did Newscorp buy Photobucket?

The first reason that is much cited for the transaction is defensive — News Corp. / Myspace bought Photobucket to make sure no one else bought them. News Corp. understands that the media on its social network is vital to the experience, and having a third party manage the bulk of the media on MySpace was a risk. This concern can only have been exacerbated with the rise of YouTube and its purchase by Google.   Moreover, Photobucket's push into video must be attractive for News Corp. as a foil for its competition with YouTube – it’s no coincidence that since that deal, Myspace has been so aggressively promoting its videos on its homepage and elsewhere. So media matters — but this is more than media or UGC – It’s also the most common form of digital personalization.   Taking photos out of their analog construct, they are a very simple form of digital customization, it’s far easier to take a picture of something than to render some customization in photoshop. On Fotolog we have tens of thousands of pictures of people's computer screens while gaming, or desktops, or pictures of people sneekers – Fotolog members have posted over 60,000 pictures of Converse / Chuck Tailor's — or custom images.  In other words, this is about personalization, and the camera or a "picture" is just a tool.  

Beyond this strategy my guess there is a broader opportunity — Photobucket is a photo and video tool that could become a web-wide locker for the storage of digital media. Just as eBay's acquisition of Pay Pal wasn't meant to just serve just eBay, my guess is that NewsCorp’s purchase of Photobucket isn’t just meant to serve MySpace.  The opportunity is to serve the web, I suspect that’s the broad strategy.   Granted, there are risks to a broader strategy — eBay didn't effectively execute and while Pay Pal has recently picked up share the first few years after that acquisition amounted to treading water at best.    The fact that Google is now driving into the payments business is a testament to that failure — eBay had the running room to be the web payments platform.   There is also an audience risk — Photobucket users might not pick it as a the service of choice for other media types, the audience may move on and News Corp. could be faced with a whole new dominant parasite on its host in 18 months.    Given all of this the deal once again distinguishes News Corp. as one of the media companies in the world driving headlong into building digital media assets that are indigenous, not extensions of existing franchises.

Lastly, people wonder what the Photobucket deal means in terms of valuation and monetization of social media sites. On this front, the acquisition is good news for Fotolog and our peers. In contrast to You Tube, Photobucket demonstrated that UGC could be effectively monetized, a path that we are following at Fotolog.   The market has valued highly a popular tool that facilitates social media networking communities.   That only reflects well on both the segment and both the destinations and tools associated with it.   

Web 2.0 firms face unusual problem: too many customers

I wrote the following as a response to “Web 2.0 firms face unusual problem: too many customers a confusing article in the Mercury News (amusingly, since publication, the title changed to “Web 2.0’s global traffic dilemma”)

To the editor:

Try this for a headline: “San Jose Mercury-News faces unusual problem: too many readers.” You’re not likely to see it. The notion in your March 8 article, “Web 2.0 firms face unusual problem: too many customers,” is equally preposterous to anyone who understands the dynamics of media let alone social networks, where the addition of an member is even more valuable to the network. Not to mention the growing value of international audiences. The web, is becoming an increasingly international phenemena, as the US market matures and companies seek new audiences — that pesky other W is coming into focus.

My company, Fotolog is a very international web site — with 90% of our traffic outside of the US, we are the 29th largest site online. We are the third largest social network in the world, ahead of Facebook, behind Orkut and Myspace. Like Orkut our extraordinary growth started in Brazil but it then grew through all the other major South American countries to Europe. People in the US sometimes ask me whether Flog is really a social network. The experience on Fotolog is social, the media people discuss are photos — but if you consider that against each of the 200 million photos on the site there is on average 10 posts, you can see how social the site is. If you want to measure us as a photo site, today we’re larger than photo sites like Shutterfly and Ofoto with almost 10 times the page views of Flickr. But more important to me is our extraordinary level of engagement – nearly 20 percent of our members visit the site every day, spending approx 24 minutes a day with us — thats the social bit again. How did this happen? Is it the viral nature of the site, its stripped down wikipedia like simplicity of the site, or the fact that images, the media type that drive the conversations on Fotolog are undestandable to a global audience. The answer is not clear, but the service has become a global phenomena and the exchange of social capital across the network is clearly a key driver of our viral growth. Each active member brings non-linear value to the network, from wherever they come.

Beyond its misconception of individual member value, the article was also off in dismissing the international audience. A glance at the headlines – MySpace’s international expansion, Google’s deal this past week with Friendster, the number of European cross-border acquisitions – all underscore how web companies are looking beyond our borders to find new audiences — as U.S. Internet user growth matures and foreign advertising markets develop rapidly. 2% yoy growth is what comscore recently tracked US growth to be. Okrut may be big in Brazil, but even in young geographies like Brazil, market data again contradict the articles assertion that “there are still no mechanisms for making money (online) in Brazil.” According to Zenith/Optimedia, Brazil’s Internet advertising spend will exceed $124 million this year this represents a growing share of a total (local) advertising market of over $7 billion. No mechanisms?, a little bit of data usually helps ground broad brush statements.

Fotolog’s place as one of a small number of social networks able to continually build audience across multiple geographies gives us a head start in the race for these rising global advertising revenues. Our international reach has boosted us into the top 30 in Alexa’s global rankings and top 20 in many countries as our audience has spread from the U.S. to Latin America to Europe. As the web becomes an increasingly global phenema its important for the US to continue to look outward and lead in that development. Google clearly views Orkut, as it views many of its business lines, through a long term lens. But even if they didnt, the assertion in the article that Google wouldnt keep Okrut betrays a lack of understanding of the economics behind these businesses. The operating leverage that I see in my business — one where a small amount of capital and less than 25 people have built a top 30 web site is extraordinary. Orkut is likely made up of Orkut and a few other people. Newspapers for one — would die for that kind of operating leverage.

Lastly, the article manages to blur a critical area of national competitiveness — as the web becomes increasingly international its important for us to look beyond our borders for innovation as well as audience growth. Our friends in “old europe” are buying for less than $30, 20 mpbs broadband connections with telephony and video thrown in for free. The proliferation of thick broadband pipes is driving innovation in places the US would typically lead. In the past quarter two of the video offerings to gain the most attention — Joost and Babbelgum are both coming out of “old europe”. The rest of the world is becoming more than just another audience, its also another platform for innovation.

It’s a big world out there and Silicon Valley is at its best when its looking outward for opportunity and change, not inward.

Sincerely,

John Borthwick

CEO

Fotolog

(turns out they only accept letters of 150 words or so, so the press team cut this down to size)

Think Again: The New, New, New Journalism

Think Again: The New, New, New Journalism Yet another significant, but so far largely unsung development in the marriage of the blogosphere and MSM can be found in David Bennahum’s Center for Independent Media. The Washington, D.C. nonprofit launched two sites this past summer, ColoradoConfidential.com and MinnesotaMonitor.com—both of which are staffed by, get this, investigative bloggers.

CIM project gets some press (note I am a director at CIM).    The project is seeking to redefine grassroots, political, journalism and as the article outlines we had a great year in 2006..

betaworks

Pushing betalab betaworks out into the world.   The company is a platform for incubation and investments that I am currently working on.  Small today, essentially an umbrella — but lots of ideas and things to come.