Can’t Get Enough of Gangnam Style? Check Out AdTech Style

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Geeks love to insert themselves into the zeitgeist as much as anyone, and tech-inflected parodies of popular songs have become a staple of Silicon Valley folks who–let’s face it–struggle to live normal lives while working around the clock.

No surprise that they’re particularly popular in the arcane world of advertising technology firms, which have the additional problem that nobody knows what the heck they do. So today, we have a parody video of–what else?–Gangnam Style.

This time, ad tech leader BlueKai did up a pretty good marketing ploy parody based on South Korean singer PSY’s runaway YouTube hit. Most of it still appears to be in Korean, so I can’t vouch for whether the PSY stand-in is mouthing the words that appear in English subtitles. But the signature opening line clearly subs in “Oppan ad tech style,” and from there you have to depend on the subtitles to get the very inside jokes.

Amid shots of people dancing in server farms and bland Silicon Valley offices, plus cameos by ad tech figures such as Luma Partners’ Terry Kawaja, the video pokes fun at the industry’s infamous acronym epidemic. “Activate… with the DMP! … Optimize, verify, and inform those buys! … HEEEEEY, Sexy data!”

Like I said, it’s inside stuff, so half of you might be amused and the other half won’t know what on Earth they’re talking about. But it’s ad tech, so what else is new? And who thinks Gangnam Style‘s popularity was based on humdrum things like words?

Actually, this isn’t even the first Gangnam Style parody from Silicon Valley. A couple of months ago, there was a startup-oriented one starring a bunch of Valley entrepreneurial luminaries. Watch that one, and you don’t need to watch any more of Bravo’s lamentable Start-Ups: Silicon Valley reality show.

About these ads

Why Would Apple Want To Invest In Twitter–Or Anything Social?

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Apparently, Apple has talked with Twitter about investing several hundred million dollars into the company. Depending on whether you accept the New York Times’ version or the later Wall Street Journal’s version, Apple discussed the investment in recent months or last year, though there are no talks currently. (A little bird must have told them.)

Either way, I don’t quite get it. Yes, I see that Apple CEO Tim Cook said recently, “Does Apple need to be social? Yes.” But I don’t understand why. Why does a company that seems to do no wrong–or, when it does, nobody cares–need to be social in any way, shape, or form?

Apple makes great products, of course, but it’s also known for its masterful marketing. And the essence of that marketing is not about trying to spur people to talk about their products, at least not directly. No, it’s about trying to maintain absolute secrecy to promote a mystique about the next model of the iPhone, the iPad, the Mac.

Then people feel empowered, if sometimes to Apple’s annoyance, to talk their fool heads off. That builds so much buzz that, as we know so well by now, almost any new product has people camping overnight in front of Apple stores to be among the first to buy it. Anything that companies do on Facebook or Twitter to promote buzz looks positively lame next to this.

Oh, I know about the failure of its one attempt at a social product, Ping, the social network around music. And that failure made precisely zero difference in how well Apple’s business is doing. Zero.

As far as I can tell, Apple–or, what matters more, its customer base–is already plenty social by any definition that’s useful to Apple. It’s not just “let’s poke” and “let’s tweet.” Apple customers love their company, and they find every last opportunity they can to tell the world about their undying love. They also pile on and beat to a virtual pulp anyone who dares to suggest that any of Apple’s products are not utterly perfect. If companies on Facebook have fans, Apple has the originals: fanatics. …

Read the complete post and tell me why I’m wrong at The New Persuaders.

LIVE at Google I/O Conference: New Tablets, Home Media Player, Google Glass and More

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Google’s annual conference for developers, Google I/O, is about to begin here on the morning of June 27, with the usual secrecy about what it will announce to thousands of engineers attending. What’s likely: a cheap tablet, a Google cloud service, and more.

Update: See much more below, but here are the big things Google introduced: the new version of Android, called Jelly Bean, completely expected; the Nexus 7 7-inch tablet, also as expected; and, in a surprise, Nexus Q, a home media device. Also, software developers will be able to pre-order Google Glass, those wearable goggle computers, which cofounder Sergey Brin demonstrated as colleagues did a skydive from an airship to the roof of the conference building.

I’ll be liveblogging the highlights here, so keep refreshing to see what will be unveiled. Remember, this is a software developers conference, so even the keynotes tend to get very nerdy; I’ll spare you the most arcane details as much as I can.

Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of engineering and longtime emcee, opens up the proceedings for this fifth annual event. “We still have some surprises left,” he promises. …

See the complete post, including an appearance by Google cofounder Sergey Brin, at The New Persuaders.

Will Digital Stuff Always Be Worse Than Analog?

ImageWhen I tweeted today that it’s getting tougher to do phone interviews because of poor-quality cell and IP telephony calls, I touched a nerve. “Bring back the Bell System!” said one tweeter.

The fact is, cell phone quality has never been great, but a lot of people, CEOs and executives included, now seem to use them almost exclusively, so the poor quality is more noticeable–and annoying. And while enterprise-quality IP phone systems seem fine, home versions like your cable company’s or Google Voice that more people are using still don’t match landlines.

Perhaps it’s just a transitional phase, before we get the unlimited bandwidth we’ve been promised for so long. But it seems like a long transitional phase.

And it’s not just phones. CDs still don’t sound as good as vinyl, and MP3 files are even worse. Do I even need to mention Internet video? Most people probably don’t notice that the average digital camera image can’t match the best film images, but film images taken with a good camera still have better resolution (or at least the grain looks better than pixels).

Of course, digital has its advantages. No skipping records, for instance. (Well, not actually true–my car CD player doesn’t like it when I hit a bump.) No snarled tape. Digital phones and music players are much more convenient to use, and do a whole lot more than just make calls. Videos taken with most digital cameras look a lot better than anything we used to take with tape-based camcorders.

I don’t mean to sound like an old crank, even if I might be. But I wish in the rush to digitize everything, we could remember that quality matters, and make that as important as convenience.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers