67 posts from March 2007
This is actually my third post on this topic. At 10th Street and Hudson, there's been this crumbling building on the southeast corner for years. At one time there was a pub there. For the past three years I've watched that building slowly but surely get rebuilt. And they did a nice job as they kept the early New York brick townhouse look, but just modernized it.
Yesterday I was passing the building and noticed that they put a Starbucks in the first floor retail space. I guess I should have seen that coming. If they can have Starbucks in ski resorts and the Forbidden City, they can have them on an ordinary corner in the west village.
And then yesterday afternoon, I heard the news on Michael Goldberg's MOG that Paul McCartney had signed a one record deal with Starbucks because,
“It’s a new world now, people are thinking of new ways to reach the people. For me, that’s always been my aim.”
Starbucks apparently opens eight new stores a day. I learned this on today's Wallstrip. Which I will end this post with. Talk about ubiquity. They are everywhere, they are a record label, they are a wireless isp, they are a meeting space. Starbucks sure seems to have a master plan that's working.
Does that make it a good stock to own? Not sure about that. Here's Wallstrip's take Starbucks (SBUX). Stick around for the funny part at the end:
New York City has had terrible radio for about as long as I've lived here. Sure there is WFUV but I can't get a good FUV signal in lower manhattan. Same with WBGO, one of the best jazz stations out there. When it comes to rock, forget about it. Or that's what I thought.
I bought two Sangean HD Tuners and put them in my new home in NYC this week. I've been listening non-stop to 104.3's HD2 channel all week. Deep cuts of rock radio. Pink Floyd, The Stones, U2, Peter Gabriel Genesis, Bruce, Led Zepplin, etc. With DJs. If you listen to XM Channel 40 or Sirius Channel 16, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Best of all, there's no advertisements on the HD2 channels right now. And you get the music for free as long as you have a radio that has the HD logo on it. Many new radios support HD. And if you want to buy a new one, you can get an HD radio for your home or car for as little as $189.
If you live in NYC and love deep cuts of classic rock, do yourself a favor and check out 104.3-2. I think you'll agree its a great addition to the NY radio landscape.
So we moved our home the past two days. The Gotham Gal worked the send side. I worked the receive side. It went well, pretty much as we expected. Best we could hope for. And The Gotham Gal gets all the credit because it was well planned out. As a smart investor once told me, execution is easy once you've laid out the right strategy.
Anyway, I went over to our old place tonight by myself after dinner to do a walk through and make sure we didn't forget anything.
Walking through an empty house (it's no longer a home) is one of the strangest experiences. Where there was once a child's bedroom where you tucked them in every night with a hug and a kiss is now just empty space, for someone else to fill with their dreams.
Where there was a big room full of memories of parties past, there is just a vast space, an empty bar, bookshelves devoid of the family photos and favorite books that showed the world who we are.
I am not a particularly sentimental person. I like to move on. And I am sitting here in our new place loving the new look, feel, and comforts of home. But I must say that for a moment, which passed as quickly as it came, there was a wistful feeling. And I suppose that's a good thing.
Spring Widgets are like many of the widget development platforms out there. You create your widget in the Spring Widgets service and you can run it "anywhere". Or at least that's the value proposition that Spring Widgets and the other widget platforms present. Brad's piece suggests that you can't run many of them in MySpace right now.
Funny enough, I've been told that MySpace is currently blocking Spring Widgets [correction - MySpace is not blocking Spring Widgets but the outbound links in the widget are broken]. Maybe Spring Widgets, Fox' own widget platform, isn't yet in compliance with the MySpace terms of service. Or maybe there is another reason. I honestly have no clue.
I do like the way the Spring Widgets have integrated FeedBurner's feed management service into their platform, as Pete at Mashable explained in this post.
I've been pretty vocal about the need for widget platforms to support feeds. I don't want to have to publish to my widget. I want my feed to be that interface. Write once, read everywhere. That's how the web should work, widgets included. So I like that Spring Widgets supports that notion.
Now we gotta figure out why MySpace
is blocking them isn't doing more to promote Spring Widgets.
I am excited by the potential to build hybrid desktop/web apps around the Flash technology. Apollo, the desktop piece of the Flash equation, launched its public alpha today.
As much as I like web apps, I'd love to be able to have some desktop/offline functionality at times. Maybe this is the way we are going to get there.
2007 is shaping up to be an amazing year for new music. I am still in heavy rotation mode with Wilco's Sky Blue Sky, Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, Of Montreal, and The Shins. I am loving the new music.
But in the past week, songs from the Arctic Monkeys' new record started leaking and you can hear them on The Hype Machine. I love these guys and I am confident they are not going to suffer from the sophomore slump. They are just too good.
While at The Hype Machine it came to my attention that the music blog world has gone mad for Amy Winehouse. I first heard of Amy from a reader named David who left this comment on my Cortez The Killer post.
I'm sure you already know Amy Winehouse but I love this song (Rehab) so much, I had to post it just in case.
I checked it out and David's right. Amy has a cool sound. I was reading Mike Doughty's blog (when is his new record coming out?) and he also showcased the same Amy Winehouse video. So I figured I'd do you all a favor and do the same.
What is it about these cool british girls like Lilly Allen, Josh Stone, and Amy Winehouse? It sure seems like the UK is bringing a lot of great new talent over here right now.
Another artist that is getting heavy airplay on The Hype Machine is Feist. I like her sound too. Check it out.
Here's my take. Of course you can make money in the widgets business. I think you can make money in most any business if you take the right angle on the opportunity.
Many people thought you couldn't make money in feeds, that RSS was an open standard, that managing feeds would be a commodity, and that there wasn't a defensible position to be had. FeedBurner proved them all wrong and has built a wonderful business in feed management.
Will the widget opportunity be the same as feeds? Should the playbook for widgets be the same one FeedBurner used for feeds? I doubt it. Frankly FeedBurner is already moving into widgets so copying their playbook (being the FeedBurner for widgets) seems like the wrong angle to take.
But I guarantee you that there are some smart crafty entrepreneurs out there right now who have figured an angle that does make sense and are building the technology to power their move.
I think that is what startups are all about. It's not just about technology. That's necessary but not sufficient. It's about the angle of attack. The entry point. Getting that right is often the hardest part.
When I was a kid, we'd pack up and move every year. My dad would come home sometime around April and tell us what Army base we were headed for next. I moved something like 14 times in my childhood. Everyone asks me how it felt to move so much. I didn't know better. All the other Army kids I knew moved too. I figured that's the way everyone lived. I learned otherwise as I got older but the fact is it felt normal to me. It still does.
I know genes are powerful things, but I believe in nurture too. And moving every year had a powerful effect on me. I learned how to make friends quickly. And I learned how to forget friends just as quickly. The former has been a huge asset. The latter has been a curse I have not yet learned how to kick.
I think the gypsy thing is part of me. After five great years at our townhouse in NYC, we are moving. Not because we have to. Because we want to. The Gotham Gal and I have never lived anywhere as long and it's time for another scene in this play we call life.
Tonight is the last night in our home. The moving company comes tomorrow and stuff starts pouring out of the home making it inhabitable. We'll be in flux most of this week and hopefully land safe and sound in our new home by the end of the week.
People say that moving is one of the most stressful things in life. I suppose it's true. But to me it's like taking a bath, a cleansing feeling.
I guess change is a matter of taste. Some hate it. Others love it. I am in the latter camp. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.