If I have been quiet for a while then part of the reason was working hard on getting the DVDs of Bastei-Collection to market. These are romantic movies based on very popular stories published weekly in Germany. Amongst other things the web-shop is now live, but I also learnt how to set up a robust telephone ordering system and herd creative cats towards a production date. It was fun to do something really practical for a while, but no less stressful than finance stuff. If you are in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and still need a present for fans of romantic entertainment look no further!
Movie Quality vs Box Office Success
Interesting article in Slate arguing that if you look at movie earnings per screen the quality of a movie as expressed by normalised movie reviews (e.g. Rotten Tomatoes score) does make a significant difference to takings.
I've always treated movie quality from an investment perspective as a bit of a black box - no use trying to second guess the consumer. So I wonder if Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic scores are robust enough to tie a commercial bonus to it and therefore reward quality. This is something I've seen in distribution agreements for games, where an 80%+ score is even more vital, but not in films so far. Hmm.
Testing, one two.
28k Spam and counting
Whoever said the spam problem was going to be solved in 2006 or whatever is clearly wrong, at least in the sense that there is still plenty about. You don't really see how much you receive, but at the beginning of the year I have taken to letting filtered spam accumulate. Google automatically deletes spam after 30 days. So at the moment I receive nearly 1000 spam messages a day, and that ignores filters from accounts forwarded to gmail. After hovering at around 25k/month for ages the number is now trending up again. Respect to google as on most days I have to deal with no more than 10 spam mails personally. Gmail aggregates about 5 personal email addresses I use/have used.
So ok I haven't written much, but I thought I share this interesting tidbit with you.
Platforms are all the rage now
"The platform is the web itself, we don't need another laywer in-between."
Checking out Live Writer.
All the Travel Agents Men
Havent written much lately, primarily due to a breakdown in my primary computer supply. Anyhow, I'm slowly getting back to normal.
I booked some flights recently, one set via easyjet, another with British Airwaiys via Expedia.com. Normally that's a good trick as US prices are often significantly cheaper and/or you can book combinations not accessible from the carrier's website. Go figure.
Anyhow, change of plan, flights had to be cancelled or moved.
Easyjet: No problem, just charged a fee per segment. Bit cheeky perhaps but it worked and I could do it online in 2 minutes.
Expedia/BA: No such luck. It took several calls, and a lot of reconfirming in each attempt to establish that a split refund for the business class portion of the ticket is possible, but expedia would not be able to do that. then several calls to BA until I found an agent that was willing to look into it instead of repeating to any statement 'You have to deal with the agent, sir.' He was willing to check and then said: you are right, first time I've seen a split refund but you can look for a refund in the next weeks.
This restored my faith in call centers to some extent anyway. Ironically it was cheaper to buy a new ticket from easyjet that pay change fees to expedia and BA...
Scoopt sold to gettyimages
I saw yesterday that Scoopt was sold to gettyimages, terms undisclosed. I really liked the story at the time, but I guess it didn't take off in the way it might have. For every youtube there are of course many startups that don't make it as far. Nonetheless, congratulations to Kyle for seeing it through this far and good luck at Getty!
BarCampScotland kicks off
We have already over 80 people who found their way to the scenic Appleton Tower (well the inside is anyway ;-). Its an unconference and meant to self organise, and the schedules for the different rooms (4 in total) are filling up nicely. I'll still have to decide what I will talk on, its a toss-up between talking about fundraising in general or helping people to build a simple financial model for their project. I'll see what people are interested in.
BarCamp / BarCampScotland
$12.8m for 5%? LinkedIn rings up cash
Interesting funding round - after OpenBC/Xing went public the response from LinkedIn. A postmoney valuation of $250m translates into roughly €194m. (Marketcap Xing today €175m). A valuation of "more than $250m post money", which would imply the $12.8m bought roughly 5% of the firm.
Even more interesting is the involvement of the European Founders Fund, graduating from its usual funding of
copycat, erm, silicon valley business models transplated to Germany to a rather later stage involvement with a more mature silicon valley story. Well LinkedIn does need help in Germany ;-)
Via: VentureBeat » LinkedIn raises $12.8M to build out professional network
LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals connect, has raised $12.8 million in venture funding.
The venture capitalists, Silicon Valley’s Bessemer Venture Partners and the European Founders Fund (EFF), an internet focused firm, placed a value of more than $250 million on the Palo Alto company, after the investment.
Technorati Tags: linkedin openbc
I was wondering what happened to Chandler, the Über-PIM
Via the always readable Joel on Software, a riff on project management that could just as well apply to deal structuring as programming software. Speaking about the long delayed, over budget and still not finished Chandler project, Mitch Kapor's stab at a revolutionary PIM:
"Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t code “revolutionary.”
Says it all really.
Technorati Tags: project management, chandler, kapor
Norman Foster - Green is cool
One of the best talks of Monday, Norman Foster was making the point that architecture can and should play a big role in making the earth a greener place. Why? Because a good 66% (40% buildings and 26% transport infrastructure) of the worldwide energy output is consumed by buildings of some sort. Well an architect would say that wouldn't he ;-) Then he showed us some
examples of his work going back over nearly 40 years that were energy efficient and extremely forward looking for the time. Also, although I have visited the Reichstag, I had no idea of its green credentials making use of geothermal energy, heatings with (recycled?) vegetable oil etc.
So while we won't save the planet by building 400 energy efficient airports as China appears to be planning, it will definitely be part of the solution.
Technorati Tags: dld07, norman foster, green architecture
Burda promoted me to weblogger on my nametag, so now that's official ;-). GlobalFinance, my employer, however doesn't have a blog. In fact I can't think of any Ibank that has a weblog.
DLD Gaming Session
I'm taking the contrarian approach that the parallel social networking session looks interesting, but might not bring much new information.
Update: the games panel has not delivered just yet. I suppose seeing the demos of Crytek makes you realise why the games industry is a $92bn industry - I am constantly amazed at the quality and fidelity of even multiplayer online games.
Just now Guntram Graef of Anshe Chung Studios is speaking. It's quite funny how daintly he describes how his wife got started (roleplaying all sorts of activities, consult valleywag for what they really mean ;-). However property speculation is where the real money got made and now they are a full service consultancy for businesses to work in Second Life. They are even building a campus for a church, to worship online. The mind boggles.
One of the big issues to emerge from multiplayer online games is what people call the production values, that is objects, structures etc that are created by users. Second Life being the best example of being practically nothing but a platform for such content. I think it's great for people to be more productive and creative in that way. Never quite sure what is the right business model to hang off that, or indeed a fair one. However what was clear from the discussion is that this has a long way to go. In particular if you think that production values don't just extend to objects but also social structures (guilds etc), playing your own role in that. And then you could have derivatives of that - while people play, intrigue, fight or complete quests, why not open it up to spectators? I wonder what your person rights are for a film script of your latest heist in Eve online? Or a DVD of the greatest WoW battles told like a story?
The other thing I really liked in the panel was the demo of Flock, a student project at the Utrecht School of Arts. It's a cloaborative game where 5 people standing on small platforms have to jointly direct a flock onscreen. YOu can only succeed, go faster etc if your teamwork is good. I would love to use it as a recruting tool ;-)
DLD has started
With a rather loud intro by image metrics. They make an amazing software that can translate the face of an actor on to an arbitrary face (it's rather like having a different skin for an actor), fully animated and very convincing. Actually very convincing at second glance but nonetheless. They were pretty pleased with themselves, I guess that's hollywood style. I wonder if they will end up making more money of the films than their clients ;-)
Next up Luc Besson, who comes over as very friendly and he does irony, which rather overtaxed his German interviewer. He will release a film next week that combines real and animated action (Arthur). It took seven years - perhaps with image metrics he will be able to do the (already announced) sequels in a fraction of that. Anyway, whatever image metrics can come up with in the end the story rules, at least that what the creators would have you believe.
He also makes a strong case for local state film finance, arguing that this is the most cost effective way of promoting your country. That's a better pitch than most I guess.
Kyrill stops trains, planes, automobiles
Last night I had to go to from Munich to Chiemsee. I got the last train out, regional trains were already canceled. We stopped a few times but I thought nothing more of it. When I left the train in Prien I heard the head conductor say to his colleague in the train station: "Look, a green light, we can go a bit further". Whoa.
NEW route from Edinburgh to Munich
Here we go, another try by Easyjet this time. After Duo failed and BMI never got of the ground it must be third time lucky. I can't wait it would make my life so much easier. Probably only one flight per day, timetable to follow in December, stay tuned.
easyJet.com - NEW route from Edinburgh to Munich
Gold Class cinema experience
One of my favorite cinemas in Edinburgh is the Dominion. It has long ago started to differentiate itself by putting in swish leather couches and reclining seats., complete with complimentary drinks at weekend showings etc. Now it created a a seperate website for that experience and I was able to pay through PayPal - How cool is that? Nonen of these nonsense IVR systems including booking fees for the pleasure of serving yourself and saving the (usually chain) money in the process. James Bond roll on ;-)
Dominion Cinema Gold Class
E11 - impressive climbing film
If you ever tried to clinch a deal that just kept evading you, or butted your head against some pesky problem refusing to go away then you will appreciate this film, download the trailer if you download one thing today, nay this week. It is really mindboggling, trust me.
E11 tells the story of Dave's ascent of ‘Rhapsody’, the worlds first climb graded at E11 (French 8c+ / US 5.14d). The film shows the determination, talent and bravery needed to tackle an imposing line. This film enters unchartered territory. Taking you beyond the action it reveals the frustrations and the shear physical and mental effort that goes into climbing at the very highest level. We see MacLeod take a series of terrifying, gut-wrenching 60 ft falls and the strain begins to show as he struggles to cope with the difficulty and seriousness of the endeavour.
I'm proud to say that the music was provided by my good friend MC Hasta of Solidara which goes really well with the theme. Way to go!
|Very interesting talk by Luis von Ahn, who invented the www.espgame.org and others. The general idea, like with the Amazon Mechanical Turk, is to use human 'cycles' i.e idle brain capacity to solve problems that computers aren't good at. I already read a presentation of his some time ago, and got lots of food for thought and mileage at dinner parties out of it. Highly recommended.|
PS. very slick of Google to offer a direct posting link at the end of the video.