The only downside of the NFL season is the repetitive ads you must endure if you care to watch the games live. They are proof that brand advertising depends on frequency.
The most depressing manifestation of this fact is that my two boys now sing the "Viva Viagra" theme several times each week. Elvis is rolling over in his grave, though I'm sure he'd be a big Viagra promoter were he still alive.
Speaking of ads during NFL games, GEICO is putting some crazy stuff out there. Surreal, actually.
And here's a reebok ad I find amusing - even though I've seen it 50+ times on the NFL network.
So you want to work for Google?
Well, Google wants you to work for them, if you are a halfway smart computer science grad. To see this, do a search on any relevant computer science topic, and look at the ads.
You can now learn how to use MapReduce and BigTable (actually Hadoop - the open source version of Google's internal parallel computing infrastructure) on your own laptop using VMware, while read the courseware that Google interns used this summer.
If you are not good at interviews, perhaps you can start your own company using Hadoop on rented hosted machines, and just wait for Google to buy you...
In any case, going the step beyond by learning Hadoop won't hurt your chances, and it might prove useful in the future.
Remember when the annoying media phrase: "He's the difference maker?" became the thing that every broadcaster, beat writer and NFL fan repeated? I think Difference Maker was the NFL breakout meme of the 2005 season.
Last year (2006), I think the meme was: Fantasy League. As in "Fantasy Leagues have now surpassed the actual league in importance." For 2004, I'd say the breakout meme was the phrase "It is what it is..."
Well, I already know what the meme for 2007 is. I've even contributed to it.
It's "Aaron Schatz". The man behind footballoutsiders.com. He also wrote the best football book for NFL fans.
All of a sudden, Aaron Schatz is everywhere! Here he is in a Bill Simmons column. You'll be hearing about him on pre-game shows within the next couple of weeks - I guarantee!
So "Aaron Schatz" is the meme for all NFL coverage this year.
Here's a handy glossary of key Aaron Schatz terms you will start to see:
Henry Blodget refers to an analysis of ComScores Year-over-Year traffic data and reports that Yahoo is really sucking wind. Basically, they are losing users, while Google is growing by 20%+
Actually, the traffic growth has been slow to non-existent for Yahoo for a while. Of course, for the past 2 years, the incredible lameness of the search monetization has served to distract people from the fundamental overall lack of user growth at Yahoo.
Morrison:Yahoo attracted total worldwide users of 476 million in July, down 1% annually. Pageviews declined 7% in the period, and minutes spent were down 1%. Annual usage at Yahoo Mail declined by 9%, at Yahoo Games by 47%, at Yahoo News by 6%, and Yahoo Sports by 11%. On the positive side, Yahoo Messenger grew by 36%...Yahoo Answers by an astounding 332%, and Flickr by 198%. While [this is] promising...these areas are typically monetized at a fraction of the rate of Yahoo!'s premium content areas.
Short of saying "Comscore is wrong," it's impossible to put a positive spin on this. In fact, it's an absolute disaster. Perhaps the reason Jerry Yang doesn't plan to announce a significant restructuring when he finishes his 100-day review is because he's realized there's no reason to bother.
ComScore is usually wrong about market share numbers, but they are probably correct on overall traffic counts relative to their own data from last year.
As for Google, things are growing nicely.
From July06 to July 07:
Anecdotally, I find myself moving more and more to the Google world. I'm using spreadsheets and docs, I'm using gmail for enterpise, and I still use this crappy blogspot thing.
I have started to use Panama a lot more however... But even there, I create the campaigns in Google's AdWords editor first, and then convert them over.
Although I use Google Reader sporadically, for some of my favorite blogs, I sometimes can't break the habit of going to the actual blog site.
But more and more, these blogs are filling up with images, inline YouTube players, a ton of ads, crap like sphere and digg iframes, etc.
The fact is, over time, they accumulate a bunch of crap that slows them down.
How slow are they? I installed Firebug, and YSlow to check load times:
Leading the list is Fred Wilson's blog famously full o' crap (not referring to his writing, of course). Note that the VCs tend to have slow blogs. That tends to happen when you stick a bunch of ads on your blog. And what, do the VCs really need the adsense money?
Actually, the technorati tend to be early adopters of blog craplets, and then never take them off (or in Wilson's case, replace them with even heavier / slower crap).
Perhaps the subtle takeaway is the inverse correlation between speed and number of readers. At least in the tech world, the slower you are, the more readers you'll have.
Cringely opens with a great anecdote. Cringely was going to interview Bill Gates and Steve Jobs about their relationship for a Vanity Fair article. Jobs says "OK - as long as you interview Bill first." So after a month of scheduling, Cringely gets an hour with Gates, just on Jobs. Now it's time to talk to Steve.
The promised interview with Jobs never happened. His excuse was that the antitrust case against Microsoft had reached a point where it would have been imprudent for Jobs to comment on Gates. Come back when the case is over (or Hell freezes, whichever comes first).
While I suppose there may have been some legal reason not to talk, I really doubt that was the issue. Rather, Steve Jobs just liked snubbing the world’s richest man. It was classic Jobs, and I should have seen it coming. We both should have. So the Vanity Fair story never happened.
Cringely then turns to the iPhone pricing incident, his thesis being that Jobs knew exactly what he was doing: "So Steve does things like this because he can. It reaffirms his iron grip over both Apple and Apple’s customers. It’s a lot about ego and a little about business, though with Steve Jobs they are hard to differentiate."
And then, in the brillant summary bit that made me laugh out loud:
So Steve slapped his customers around a bit and what happened? Apple got free publicity worth tens of millions and the iPhone, which was already the top-selling smartphone in the world, will now sell two million units by the end of the year, up from an estimated one million. And Steve, having deliberately alienated his best customers, now gets a chance to woo them back. He has finally placed millions of people in the role of every key Apple employee — being alternately seduced and tormented.
In the end, Cringely's psycho-analysis of Jobs says that everything he does is a reaction to being fired by Apple back in 1985.
In the 22 years since that humiliation, Jobs has devoted himself to proving: 1) that he can deliver the numbers (and does he — Apple is the best-managed computer company on Earth), and; 2) that he is a better marketer than Sculley, the supposed marketing genius. The product vision part is easy. Not only does Jobs push these products out without apparent effort, he couldn’t make himself not do it if he tried. It’s an obsession. So he puts the real sweat into managing and marketing and occasionally beating up on anyone who gets too close.
And that 1999 quote from Bill Gates [from the interview, Gates wondering why Jobs would go back to Apple] about Jobs: “He has to know that he can never win."
The ironic part, and perhaps with a bit of foreshadowing is that Gates is now the one lost in the wilderness while his company is run into the ground by pretenders without a technology vision.
If you ever include a YouTube video in your blog, or on a website, it's a really good idea to SAVE IT LOCALLY! Keep a copy in your own stash, that is.
Here's a basic article that tells you how to do it manually. With some searching, you can find more tools to help automate the process.
Why do you need to save videos locally?
Because a good percentage of videos get taken down eventually. It's intolerably high if you like your blog content to be useful and relevant for more than a few weeks.
This is especially true if you link to videos that were captured off TV.
If anybody knows if there's a Wordpress plugin to automatically copy videos locally somehow, I'd love to hear about it.
OK, The NFL Football season is starting. If you really care about football, you MUST buy this book: Pro Football Prospectus 2007: The Essential Guide to the 2007 Pro Football Season
Here's a sample of the kind of stat-laden goodness you can expect from the author: How To Look Like a Genius When You're Picking NFL Sleepers
So if you watch more than 1 NFL game this year, or if you want to win an office pool, or you speculate at all on your friend's fantasy league - Don't Walk. Run. And get the book.