GNC-2009-10-27 #522 Back in Studio H!

Well my trip to silicon valley took a interesting turn and I am back in Hawaii after a down and back to Silicon Valley. Glad to be back in the studio here. Although a rather hot studio as the Tradewinds have dried up here in Hawaii for the past week or so.. Lot’s to catch up on and some great tech stories. Take our National Listener Survey Please see link below.

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Linux News Firefox Version 3.6
What Happened to MediaMax?
Mobile + Brain = Tumor?
10,000 Kilowatt Mini Nuclear Reactors
Aussies Pay Top Dollar for Windows 7

Show Links:
Does Adobe Stand a Chance?
Free Video Editing Tools.
Yahoo Real Time Search?
Is the Apple Tablet real or what?
Data Center in a Briefcase!
EFF Hall of Shame.
Roku Game Changer?
Will Cyber attacks get Worse?
Scareware from Top Tech Blog!
Ares 1-x delayed for weather.
Hacker Extradition on Hold?
Windows 7 Family Guy deal Killed!
Firefox Massive User Growth!
Web Serials will you watch?
Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts.
Los Angeles to use Google Mail.
Facebook place Memorialize Dead?
Do you Like Facebooks New Look?
VoIP latest Cybercrook Playground.
Cance Proof Rodent Cells.
Delaying DVD Rentals?
Internet will crash due to H1N1?
Amazon EC2 Lowers Prices!
Competition on book sales is bad for Consumers.
More Olympic Trademark Madness.
RIAA cannot make up its mind.
Mark Cuban on DVR vs Internet Video.
Throw these crooks in Jail!
Droid Invasion is here!
More Taxpayer Dollars for Smart Meters.
New Google Mobile Navi Application for Adroid?
Android 2.0 SDK.
Lets get Radiated!
Google Voice with your Current Number
400 Million in Ebay sales with iPhone App Expected?
Slower and Slower we go!
Moms are using iPhones to Save Money!

Does Skype have an Underpants Gnome business model?

For those of you not fans of South Park, the Underpants Gnomes featured in an early episode.  They would sneak into peoples houses and raid their underwear drawers.  When questioned they reveled the great business plan.

Step 1: collect underpants

Step 2: ?????

Step 3: Profit

I would not be the first person to suggest a similarity between this and many Internet business plans.  Thankfully I don’t believe any companies actually tried to build an underwear theft based empire, still

Step 1: attract lots of users

Step 2: ????

Step 3: Profit

has an eerie similarity.  This model was always based loosely around the theory of network effects.  Network effects are well illustrated by the phone system.  If you own the only phone it is of little use to you.  The more of the people you know that own a phone the more useful it is.  This is a network effect, where the value to you of the product depends on how many other people have one.

If you look at companies like Facebook or Twitter it is obvious that they need a base level of other people in the system before it offers you any real value.  You certainly wouldn’t be tempted to pay for the service if it only had a thousand or so users.  This is the main reasoning behind the “everything for free” model many Internet companies start out with.  They are trying to get the network effect kick started.  The problems occur when they try to then monetise the users they have.

As I have discussed before, advertising models are often flawed, particularly in a market so oversaturated with a consumer base so jaded.  Turning free services into paid services generally loses you a lot of users.  And whatever way you want to introduce charged services, your product needs to be sticky enough that people will stay with you, or pick up the charged content.  In general, if you do not have a viable method for generating revenue from day one you have an Underpants Gnome strategy which can only dream of future profits.

Early on in the piece Skype looked different from this.  While it offered an attractive proposition for free Internet calls, it very early on had a revenue model for calls to non-skype phones.  And while it probably will never be able to charge for all calls, it could also easily have added a premium service where conference calls, calls with QoS, or assurances you would not be used as a node attracted a reasonable charge.

And then when Ebay took them over it still all looked rosy.  Ebay were themselves an Internet company that started with a viable revenue model so they at least appeared to have some idea of how to profit online.  The promise has never seemed to pay out under this combination though.  While Skype is still generating a reported $550M per year, this is still clearly not enough to pay for their costs.  So while Skype is generating about $10 per user each year some analysis has estimated it costs them up to $45 to acquire each user.

So was Skype actually out there collecting underwear?  A collection of private equity, and venture firms obviously believe that this is an issue of bad management enough to pony up $2B for theor controlling stake.  That is generally the sort of situation that drives these companies to buy.  At the same time Skype is fighting a legal battle over its technology and inking big ad deals to help acquire more users.  The latter is arguably a bad move when it is still losing money on the users it has.  As with most things time will tell, in the meantime my underwear drawer will remain closed when I am using Skype, just in case.

GNC-2009-08-11 #501 Sick Host but show must go on!

I have been fighting a nasty bug for three days but had to get the show out tonight no matter what. Lots of great content and follow ups from show 500. Thanks to everyone once again for the continued words of encouragement. Also my 20% off Godaddy Hosting code is working again feel free to use the Todd20 code once more.

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Note: I was about dying at the end of the show, will catch up on all emails next show..

Show Links:
1 Computer 4 weeks to Map Genome
How much work are you doing off the Clock?
Team Tenenbaum to continue to fight?
Facebook gets Twitter Like Search.
Buy your next new Chevy on ebay?
Windows 7 Windows Media Center Hacks.
Why Apple / Verizon deal may not be a good deal for all!
Facebook buys FriendFeed for 50 Million.
Apple working to fix Macbook Pro HD issues!
IE6 to be supported till 2014!
Is Bloglines on it’s death Bed?
NASA to invest Stimulus Money in Private Companies.
Saturn Rings to Disappear today!
Bank Deposits by iPhone?
Are you a Fanboy?
NASA reports on two planet smash up derby!
Net Connected Pacemaker goes Live!
Public Pressure changes UK ISP banning rule!
The AP wants to re-write journalism rules!
Piece of Audio gear on my Wish List!
Zune HD looking pretty sexy you going to buy one?
Mini USB Screen that is a Touch Screen!
Live in Ohio you need to go to this!
Microsoft at a Mall near you!
The Dumbest Facebook user on the Planet!
Your Blog will not abandon you!
Shorty URL’s and the risk with them!
Caffination Podcast host this weeks TPNW!
Apple needs to clean up there act now!
Blubrry was a Proud Sponsor of Podcamp Boston.

GNC-2009-02-24 #454 PogoPlug GiveAway Listen to Win

We had a great Round Table of Saturday and from it I ordered two devices. If you want to win one listen to win. Also just had to do some edits tonight as I jacked the intro.. It will have to go into a Blooper Reel.

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Listener Links: Watershed = Expensive
Blogger Appreciation Contest
WiFi Logging
Comcast Interview
Dense Chips
Terminator Robots
Man Shoots TV over Converter Box
NASA DIY Podcast Activities for Kids
39 Minutes in Jeffrey Perspective on Facebook
Maui Lighthouse on Solar

Show Notes:
Citibank fall for Nigerian Scam 27 Million
TV still King
P2P Blocking New War Front!
Malware Positive Blog Reviews New Spin to suck you in
60% Stealing Company Data
eBay Seller Virus Notice
Adobe Flaw Attacks since Jan
H1-B Visa Worker Company List
Microsoft – Tells Ex Employees Keep the Cash
Quickfire Phone Pulled Quality Issues
Windows 7 Update / Vista SP2 Update
Chumby out of the Box and into Devices
Comet Lulin Blast Through
Carbon Observatory in Space
Joomla Security Book
ISP worried about Safety ACT
CCTV in Pub or No License?
Mobile Price War to help Drive iPhone cost down!
More News Internet Safety Act
Visa and Mastercard Hacked Again
Free Podcast Statistics
RSS required to track Spending in Stimulus Bill
Pirate Bay Prosecutor hires P2P Advocate
T-Mobile 3G Card
AT&T Disaster Recover Fleet
Xonar Essence STX Sound Card
EU to force Microsoft to Offer Alternate Browsers
SuperNova Proof

Watch the Video!

GNC-2007-12-18 #326

Big ramp up for the 24hr show lots of details of the event and I hope that you will join me live for the event. Particpate be heard and lets have a lot of fun.

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Special Give Away on the Show tonight. Big thanks to the sponsor Energizer and Pandora’s new message boards for providing the three Energi to Go portable power for iPod

Listener Links:
Good Podcast Device

Show Notes:
Parallels Upgrade
Telecomm Bill Pulled for now!
YouTube Bubbles
Mileage Running
RIAA versus Grandma
Bye Bye Old Light Bulbs
Hands on with Open Office
Cool Business Cards
Ohio Cracks down on Voting Machines
Ice Chunks that will Kill you
Ice on the Move
Next Gen cool GPS Nav System
Fun with Sprint
SanDisk Photo Album
Digg want’s 300 Million
Windows Genuine Advantage making some look like Theives
Vista makes biggest disappointment List
Facebook PHP Tutorial
Good Web design
Surviving the 2008 Recession
Bloglines new Features
Google Knol?
ISS Spacewalk
Deep Impact New Comet Tasking
Super Massive Black Hole shooting Radiation
Do you use PayWall Services?
Microsoft on Ebay

GNC-2007-10-02 #305

Back from Podcast Expo lots to talk. Major jet Lag tonight and my energy battery is on low.

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Dangers of User Generated Content

Show Notes:
Twitter Payloads
iPod Touch Review
Zune Firmware to be Upgraded Shortly
Nokia Unlocks and Slams Apple
AT&T and Verizon will drop you!
iPhone Update
iPhone Facts
iPhone down grade
iPhone Poll!
Storm Worm
Yahoo Search
Technorati New CEO
Discovery to Launch Pad
More 700Mhz Spectrum Squabbling
NASA Comet Images
TechMeme Leader Board
eBay throws in the towel

GNC-2007-06-15 #276

Certain Phone company takes the brunt of the Soap box tonight. Strap in this is a wild ride on this show and congrats to our flag winner and listen tonight to win!

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Listener Links:
Shuttle Images
CNN Shuttle Info
Mars Oceans
Lost Pants Anyone!
Cool Link
SnapZ Pro
Podcast Rigs Great Resource

Show Notes:
ISS – Shuttle
PayPal Bank
8-Step Gadget Cure
How to be a Star =
Yahoo Photo RIP
YouTube = Google Accounts
Congrats Veoh
AT&T Death Star
PopFly Update
Brilliant Engadget Analysis
Does EveryZing Honor New Media Creators Content?
Veoh Traffic Surge
uLinkX Video Search
Comscore Whatever!
Storage for Perpetuity
Justin.TV Rig
TorrentSpy has to Spy
Global Broadband
Spectrum Hearings
85 Killer Resources
Safari Update
Ultimate iTunes Media Center
eBay smacks Google in Wallet
Safari 1 Million Downloads
Awesome Physics Simulators
Energy Hogs Need to Read
Boston U RIAA Battle
Mother Board Manufacture Images
ClearType Tweaks and Info Sorry I don’t get it?

I have not read the daily commentary yet, as I have been to busy dealing with a sick kid, a speech and presentation that is in final markup and about a million things to do with Podcast Awards and our pending new site launch. Yea life is good. Not to mention I am way overdue on a submission to Chris.

Anyway had a reader IM this to me tonight, and I’m sorry who the heck wants to have a Blog on ebay, building someone else brand is not my idea of good business sense, then againI have only bought 2 items off ebay in the past year, and the only reason I did was because I did not need new equipment.

My prediction will bomb and I have not even explored the site. Sad but it does not even excite me enough to go beyond the landing page. []

Gmail Scam Used by Phishers to Gather Personal Data

Internet e-mail scammers are using the popularity and allure of Google’s Gmail service to phish for personal data, including e-mail addresses and passwords. Gmail e-mail accounts are one of the most coveted holdings for hip and techie Internet users. A quick eBay search proves the popularity of invitations to join Google’s upcoming e-mail service that offers 1GB of mail storage.

The current Gmail phish reads “The Gmail Team is proud to announce that we are offering Gmail free invitation packages to the existing Gmail account holders. By now you probably know the key ways in which Gmail differs from traditional webmail services. Searching instead of filing. A free gigabyte of storage. Messages displayed in context as conversations. Just fill in the form below to claim your free invitation package.”

Dave’s Opinion
Phishing, commonly used via e-mail and the web involve conning unwary users into releasing private data. The cons are best known for their attempts to garner AOL, Citibank, and eBay login usernames and passwords; however, there seems to be no end to how the cons can be applied.

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.