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    ‘It’s able to create knowledge itself’: Google unveils AI that learns on its ow


    In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go … with no human help

    Google’s artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three days.

    Named AlphaGo Zero, the AI program has been hailed as a major advance because it mastered the ancient Chinese board game from scratch, and with no human help beyond being told the rules. In games against the 2015 version, which famously beat Lee Sedol, the South Korean grandmaster, in the following year, AlphaGo Zero won 100 to 0.

    The feat marks a milestone on the road to general-purpose AIs that can do more than thrash humans at board games. Because AlphaGo Zero learns on its own from a blank slate, its talents can now be turned to a host of real-world problems.

    At DeepMind, which is based in London, AlphaGo Zero is working out how proteins fold, a massive scientific challenge that could give drug discovery a sorely needed shot in the arm.

    Match 3 of AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol in March 2016.
     Match 3 of AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol in March 2016. Photograph: Erikbenson

    “For us, AlphaGo wasn’t just about winning the game of Go,” said Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind and a researcher on the team. “It was also a big step for us towards building these general-purpose algorithms.” Most AIs are described as “narrow” because they perform only a single task, such as translating languages or recognising faces, but general-purpose AIs could potentially outperform humans at many different tasks. In the next decade, Hassabis believes that AlphaGo’s descendants will work alongside humans as scientific and medical experts.

    Previous versions of AlphaGo learned their moves by training on thousands of games played by strong human amateurs and professionals. AlphaGo Zero had no such help. Instead, it learned purely by playing itself millions of times over. It began by placing stones on the Go board at random but swiftly improved as it discovered winning strategies.

    David Silver describes how the Go playing AI program, AlphaGo Zero, discovers new knowledge from scratch. Credit: DeepMind

    “It’s more powerful than previous approaches because by not using human data, or human expertise in any fashion, we’ve removed the constraints of human knowledge and it is able to create knowledge itself,” said David Silver, AlphaGo’s lead researcher.

    The program amasses its skill through a procedure called reinforcement learning. It is the same method by which balance on the one hand, and scuffed knees on the other, help humans master the art of bike riding. When AlphaGo Zero plays a good move, it is more likely to be rewarded with a win. When it makes a bad move, it edges closer to a loss.

    At the heart of the program is a group of software “neurons” that are connected together to form an artificial neural network. For each turn of the game, the network looks at the positions of the pieces on the Go board and calculates which moves might be made next and probability of them leading to a win. After each game, it updates its neural network, making it stronger player for the next bout. Though far better than previous versions, AlphaGo Zero is a simpler program and mastered the game faster despite training on less data and running on a smaller computer. Given more time, it could have learned the rules for itself too, Silver said


    Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers describe how AlphaGo Zero started off terribly, progressed to the level of a naive amateur, and ultimately deployed highly strategic moves used by grandmasters, all in a matter of days. It discovered one common play, called a joseki, in the first 10 hours. Other moves, with names such as “small avalanche” and “knight’s move pincer” soon followed. After three days, the program had discovered brand new moves that human experts are now studying. Intriguingly, the program grasped some advanced moves long before it discovered simpler ones, such as a pattern called a ladder that human Go players tend to grasp early on.

    AlphaGo Zero starts with no knowledge, but progressively gets stronger and stronger as it learns the game of Go. Credit: DeepMind

    “It discovers some best plays, josekis, and then it goes beyond those plays and finds something even better,” said Hassabis. “You can see it rediscovering thousands of years of human knowledge.”

    Eleni Vasilaki, professor of computational neuroscience at Sheffield University, said it was an impressive feat. “This may very well imply that by not involving a human expert in its training, AlphaGo discovers better moves that surpass human intelligence on this specific game,” she said. But she pointed out that, while computers are beating humans at games that involve complex calculations and precision, they are far from even matching humans at other tasks. “AI fails in tasks that are surprisingly easy for humans,” she said. “Just look at the performance of a humanoid robot in everyday tasks such as walking, running and kicking a ball.”

    Tom Mitchell, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh called AlphaGo Zero an “outstanding engineering accomplishment”. He added: “It closes the book on whether humans are ever going to catch up with computers at Go. I guess the answer is no. But it opens a new book, which is where computers teach humans how to play Go better than they used to.”

    David Silver describes how the AI program AlphaGo Zero learns to play Go. Credit: DeepMind

    While AlphaGo Zero is a step towards a general-purpose AI, it can only work on problems that can be perfectly simulated in a computer, making tasks such as driving a car out of the question. AIs that match humans at a huge range of tasks are still a long way off, Hassabis said. More realistic in the next decade is the use of AI to help humans discover new drugs and materials, and crack mysteries in particle physics. “I hope that these kinds of algorithms and future versions of AlphaGo-inspired things will be routinely working with us as scientific experts and medical experts on advancing the frontier of science and medicine,” Hassabis said.

    Why German Culture disappeared from America


    The original publication can be found here.

    Amerikas Kriegseintritt 1917 Schluss mit Deutsch

    Vor hundert Jahren war es mit der Sauerkraut-Kultur in den Vereinigten Staaten vorbei.

    Es war der radikale Abschluss eines immer schnelleren Verfallsprozesses.

    26.04.2017, von MARKUS GÜNTHER

    An einem Aprilabend des Jahres 1918 zog eine grölende Horde durch die Main Street von Collinsville, eine Kutschfahrt entfernt von St. Louis. In der Mitte der aufgebrachten Menschenmenge lief jesusgleich ein gefesselter splitternackter Mann, dem man zum Spott eine amerikanische Flagge umgehängt hatte. Vor seinen Füßen zerschlugen seine Peiniger deutsche Bierflaschen, so dass er durch die Scherben laufen musste. Unter Stockhieben wurde er gezwungen, patriotische Bekenntnisse auf Amerika abzulegen, während er aus der Stadt geführt wurde. Um kurz nach Mitternacht schließlich wurde der dreißig Jahre alte Robert Prager mit einem dünnen Hanfseil am Ast einer Ulme aufgehängt. Prager war sofort tot, als man den Hocker umstieß, auf dem er stand. Es brach ihm das Genick. Doch zur Belustigung der Menge zog man den angeblichen „Spion des Kaisers“ noch dreimal hinauf und herunter und zollte dabei lautstark den amerikanischen Nationalfarben Tribut: „Einmal für Rot, einmal für Weiß, einmal für Blau!“ Die zweihundert Zuschauer waren begeistert.

    Das Martyrium des Dresdner Bäckers Robert Prager, der als junger Mann in die Vereinigten Staaten ausgewandert war und sich später als Bergarbeiter in den Stollen von Illinois durchschlug, war der traurige Höhepunkt des antideutschen Rausches, der mit dem Kriegseintritt der Vereinigten Staaten im Vorjahr begonnen hatte. Solche Hysterie und Brutalität war selten; der Generalverdacht gegenüber allen Deutschamerikanern war dagegen von April 1917 an so alltäglich wie ihre Ausgrenzung, Schikanierung und Überwachung. Die deutsche Kultur in den Vereinigten Staaten, die in den hundert Jahren zuvor gewachsen und aufgeblüht war, erlebte in kürzester Zeit einen totalen Zusammenbruch, von dem sie sich nie wieder erholt hat. Sieht man vom Oktoberfestkitsch einmal ab, ist von der deutschen Kultur in den Vereinigten Staaten so gut wie nichts mehr übrig.

    Vor einem Jahrhundert dagegen war Deutsch in jeder Hinsicht die zweitwichtigste Sprache im Land – und die globale Wissenschaftssprache ohnehin. Jeder vierte amerikanische Highschool-Schüler lernte Deutsch, als der Erste Weltkrieg begann. Als der Krieg endete, waren es weniger als ein Prozent aller Schüler. Deutsche Zeitungen und Schulen, Kirchengemeinden, Chöre, Sport- und Tanzvereine, Orchester und Musikschulen – all das war selbstverständlicher Teil des täglichen Lebens in vielen amerikanischen Städten, wobei es große regionale Unterschiede gab und sich bestimmte Städte und Landkreise vor allem im Mittleren Westen durch eine Art Kettenwanderung zu deutschamerikanischen Zentren entwickelt hatten. Ein „deutscher Gürtel“ zog sich um 1900 durch die amerikanische Landkarte, von Ohio im Osten bis Nebraska im Westen, von Missouri im Süden bis Wisconsin im Norden.

    Liebe zur alten und zur neuen Heimat

    Ein Doppelpatriotismus für das Land der Herkunft und für die neue Heimat schien lange Zeit kein Problem zu sein. Der Deutschamerikaner Carl Schurz war als Vormärz-Revolutionär ausgewandert und brachte es später in den Vereinigten Staaten zu Ruhm und Ehren. Unter Präsident Rutherford Hayes war er Innenminister; als er starb, schrieb Mark Twain einen Nachruf auf ihn. Schurz brachte das Sentiment der europäischen Auswanderer auf eine einfache Formel: Die Liebe zur alten und zur neuen Heimat, meinte er, störten einander so wenig wie die gleichzeitige Liebe zur Mutter und zur Braut. Was Schurz bei seinen allzu blumigen Worten nicht bedacht hatte, war die Voraussetzung, dass sich Mutter und Braut einigermaßen verstehen. Kratzen sich erst einmal beide gegenseitig die Augen aus, ist es mit der Liebe zu beiden Frauen schwierig. Etwa so ging es den Deutschen im April 1917. Als ihre neue Heimat in den Krieg gegen ihr Herkunftsland eintrat, war es vorbei mit dem Doppelpatriotismus. Jetzt waren klare patriotische Bekenntnisse verlangt.

    Schon etwa seit den 1830er Jahren hatte es eine aufstrebende nativistische Bewegung gegeben, die Stimmung gegen Einwanderer aus Europa machte. Grund war sowohl die rasant wachsende Zahl der Einwanderer als auch manche kulturelle Eigenart, die bestimmte Gruppen mitbrachten. Im Jahrzehnt nach 1850 wuchs die Bevölkerung der Vereinigten Staaten allein durch Einwanderung um mehr als ein Zehntel. Dabei war – eine Parallele zur heutigen Situation in Europa – der Anteil der Einwanderer in den Städten viel größer als auf dem Land. In manchen Stadtbezirken in den Städten des Mittleren Westens waren die Deutschen der ersten und zweiten Generation klar in der Mehrheit. Die nativistische Bewegung, die nach 1855 kräftig an Fahrt gewann, übernahm bald von den Alkoholgegnern die Forderung nach Mäßigung und Prohibition – nicht zuletzt, weil zwei der größten Einwanderungsgruppen eine neue Trinkkultur etabliert hatten. Die Iren brachten den Whiskey nach Amerika, die Deutschen das Bier. Beides führte regelmäßig nach dem Zahltag zur Sauferei und zu massiven Ausschreitungen in Städten mit großem Einwandereranteil.

    Der Bürgerkrieg hob das Ansehen der Deutschamerikaner

    Trotz der Vorurteile gegenüber Deutschen gelang es zumindest lokal und regional, eine vielschichtige deutsche Kultur zu etablieren, die weit über Brauchtum und Folklore hinausging. Der Amerikanische Bürgerkrieg und der Sieg der Union 1865 hob das Ansehen der Deutschamerikaner, die überproportional in der Nordstaatenarmee gekämpft hatten. Sie hatten sich damit sozusagen als echte Amerikaner erwiesen und konnten nun selbstbewusster ihre Rechte einfordern. In St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis und vielen anderen Städten wurde in den Jahren nach dem Krieg der Deutschunterricht auch an öffentlichen Schulen eingeführt. Konfessionelle Schulen, in denen auf Deutsch unterrichtet wurde, gab es ohnehin in vielen Bundesstaaten. Wo immer versucht wurde, die deutsche Sprache in den Schulen zurückzudrängen, rächten sich die Deutschen bei den nächsten Stadtrats- oder Gouverneurswahlen und verteidigten so erfolgreich ihren Sonderstatus.

    Neben den Schulen spielten Tages- und Wochenzeitungen in deutscher Sprache eine entscheidende Rolle bei der Konservierung des „Deutschtums“. Vor allem die nach der gescheiterten Revolution von 1848 geflüchteten deutschen Journalisten belebten die amerikanische Medienlandschaft Mitte des vorletzten Jahrhunderts. 1852 gab es rund 140 deutschsprachige Zeitungen in den Vereinigten Staaten, allein vier davon in New York. Die „New Yorker Staatszeitung“ nannte sich noch 1870 die „größte deutsche Zeitung der Welt“ und hatte eine Auflage von 55 000 Exemplaren.

    Die naive Deutschtümelei hat sich „böse gerächt“

    Es waren diese Zeitungen, die auch das Welt- und Meinungsbild der Deutschamerikaner prägten – und sie in die Irre führten. Da viele Kommentatoren die Gefahr des amerikanischen Kriegseintritts nicht ernst nahmen, ließen sie ihrem Patriotismus für Deutschland freien Lauf und bejubelten die angeblich überlegene deutsche Kultur und die deutschen Kriegsziele in Europa. Die Kriegsbegeisterung war im Sommer 1914 unter Deutschamerikanern kaum geringer als unter Berlinern. Die naive Deutschtümelei hat sich jedoch im April 1917 „böse gerächt“, sagt der Historiker Walter Kamphoefner, selbst Nachfahre deutscher Auswanderer und jetzt Professor an der Texas-A&M-Universität: „Deutschamerikaner waren ausnahmslos suspekt. Schon der Gebrauch der deutschen Sprache genügte, um ihre Loyalität in Frage zu stellen.“ Die erste Phase nach dem Kriegseintritt charakterisiert Kamphoefner als „Hysterie“. Bach und Beethoven wurden aus den Konzertprogrammen verbannt, Sauerkraut wurde in „liberty cabbage“ umgetauft, in Cincinnati wurde Hanns Kuhnwald, Dirigent des Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, ins Gefängnis geworfen – nur weil er gebürtiger Deutscher war.

    „Mit edler Begeisterung“ für den Krieg gegen Deutschland

    Die Meinungsführer der Deutschen in den Vereinigten Staaten passten sich schnell der neuen politischen Großwetterlage an. Der Präsident der Evangelischen Synode von Nordamerika hatte noch Anfang 1917 über den „Geist der Lüge“ auf Seiten der Engländer geschimpft, forderte aber gleich nach dem amerikanischen Kriegseintritt die jungen Deutschamerikaner auf, sich mit „edler Begeisterung“ für den Krieg gegen Deutschland freiwillig zu melden. Am Untergang der deutschen Kultur in den Vereinigten Staaten haben die hektischen Wendemanöver nichts mehr ändern können. Deutsch als Sprache spielt dort bis heute keine Rolle mehr. Nicht nur aus den Schulen wurde Deutsch damals verbannt, auch die meisten Kirchengemeinden, die bis dahin ein deutsches Gemeindeleben hatten, stellten komplett auf Englisch um. Der Niedergang der deutschen Zeitungen, von denen viele verboten oder im Krieg zensiert wurden, beschleunigte sich durch den Krieg und kurz darauf durch die Weltwirtschaftskrise.

    Überhaupt sprechen viele Historiker lieber von einer Beschleunigung als von einem Niedergang, Kamphoefner sagt: „Der Erste Weltkrieg brachte weniger eine Abkehr von einer ethnischen Identität als vielmehr eine starke Beschleunigung eines Verfallsprozesses, der bereits seit längerem im Gang war.“ Anders als in der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts hatte die amerikanische Gesellschaft schon um 1900 eine Assimilationskraft entwickelt, die das kulturelle Erbe der Einwanderer binnen einer Generation weitgehend absorbierte. Andererseits wäre es ohne den amerikanischen Kriegseintritt nie zu so einer plötzlichen und radikalen Abkehr von allem Deutschen in Amerika gekommen.

    Die Mörder von Robert Prager wurden übrigens nie bestraft. Elf Männer, die den Lynchmob angeführt hatten, wurden zwar vor Gericht gestellt, aber freigesprochen. Die zwölf Geschworenen brauchten nur 25 Minuten, um die Unschuld festzustellen. Die Lokalzeitung „Collinsville Herald“ bejubelte das Urteil als „patriotischen Akt“, der eine wichtige Warnung an alle Deutschamerikaner enthalte. Erst Jahrzehnte später bekannte der Chefredakteur, das Verfahren sei eine „Farce inmitten einer nationalistischen Orgie“ gewesen. Der Anführer des Mobs aber, Wesley Beaver, entkam seiner Strafe trotzdem nicht. Ein halbes Jahr nach dem Freispruch nahm er sich, von Schuldgefühlen zermürbt, selbst einen Strick und setzte seinem Leben ein Ende


    If you want to protect your privacy online, you should start using proxy servers or a VPN


    Trump quietly signed into law a bill that blocks the implementation of rules that would have required internet providers to ask permission before selling sensitive customer data, like web-browsing histories, to advertisers and other third parties.

    This means that you have to start using a proxy server in order to protect your online identity.

    This information is taken from Fred Wilson’s latest newsletter, to which you should subscribe here.

    A proxy server is a computer (in the cloud) that redirects your Internet browsing and other traffic away from your ISP to a specialized service that protects your identity, and browsing behavior.

    Here is how you configure Chrome to proxy your traffic to something other than your ISP.

    Here is how you configure OSX to proxy your traffic.

    And you will need to select a proxy service. There are plenty of free ones out there. But you get what you pay for. If you want to have a proxy that is reliable and won’t sell your data, you should consider paying for a proxy service.

    Click here for a good roundup of some popular proxy services!

    Amazon to expand popular Dash button with new luxury line


    Amazon is rumored to expand their popular line of Wi-Fi connected Dash Buttons with the introduction of Luxury Dash. This new line will allow fans  to purchase high-end consumer goods with a simple push of a button. Amazon lets users place a physical button anywhere they like, and a single tap will order a specific product tied to each button. So, for example, tapping your “Rolex” Dash button will instantly order another Submariner for your collection. The product will be rolled out in selected Los Angeles neighborhoods first.

    Anonymous sources confirmed that Beyoncé purchased a Porsche GTS via Luxury Dash last week.



    As any parent, I am concerned about my kids’ excessive use of technology.

    However, beyond the classic concerns about health, and the lack of face-to-face social interactions, I have recently added concerns around my kids’ data usage. Probably just like yours, our mobile phone bill started to skyrocket in recent months.

    I am curiously watching the makeup of our carrier bill. While the voice and text messaging usage remains flat, the data usage and associated costs are starting to grow exponentially.

    The two greatest offenders devouring our data? My two daughters – aged 11 and 15 years old.

    Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.06.06 AM

    I can’t help wondering, if there’s something big brewing. Are we approaching the tipping point of mobile usage, and could it break the carrier networks?

    The significant changes began to emerge around the holidays, when I started to receive data usage alerts from my carrier. So like any good parent, I encouraged my girls to use Wi-Fi networks, and like any sucker, I increased the data package for my girls to 10GB. Given that I personally use around 4GB consistently, I figured 10GB would be more than sufficient for my girls who share a data plan.

           In January they blew through the data package.

           By February, I had to up the ante to 20GB – which we just exceeded yesterday!

    I decided to take a deeper dive to figure out which applications were the perpetrators and found the following:

    • For my 15 year old: Snapchat 24GB total (including WI-FI) and Instagram 3GB;
    • For my 11 year old: Musik.ly 5.4GB and Snapchat 3.8 GB; and
    • For me: My 4GB of data were actually spread across a dozen apps, with no app using more than 1GB.
    • I also looked at six other teenagers’ phones and found that Snapchat data usage was between 20GB and 50GB per month!

    In my kids’ defense, we were traveling quite a bit, so Wi-Fi was not always available as an alternative. But Snapchat is their main means of communication, so it’s inherently intended to be used when you are out and about.

    Full length of young men and women holding cellphone

    In addition to learning how much teenagers love Snapchat, there were three takeaways from my personal case study:

    1. Mobile is Morphing: Our kids use their phones very differently. Texts and email messages are “out”, and the only voice calls they receive are from their parents.
    2. Data can be used to predict the next hit: Data usage is a beautiful indicator to predict future app hits. Based on these indicators, Snapchat, Musik.ly and Dubsmash are tomorrow’s Facebook competitors.
    3. Next Gen Apps are Data Hungry: The apps of tomorrow combine the social sharing functionality of Facebook, with the gamification of Clash of Clans and the video aspects of YouTube. This combination seems to be pointing at exponential data usage growth.

    As these kids grow up, and the next generation of teenagers join them in the mobile revolution, it will be interesting to see how today’s carrier networks will adapt to handle the increase in data that ranges from nearly 5-20 times today’s data usage rates from a technical perspective. It will also become challenging for carriers to explain $500 cell phone bills to consumers.

    For us parents, there are interesting times ahead. Clearly it will become paramount to restrict the cellular data usage of these apps and only use them on Wi-Fi, but will we need to prepare for a world of significantly higher data usage at home and on the road.

    Does your family have a similar data breakdown? Have you noticed an uptick in data usage in recent months? Let me know your thoughts!



    Note: My friend Matt just sent me his family data plan. You can see it below. It is equally shocking. Something is brewing. 😉

    image (2)

    How Uber will determine BMW car sales


    Tremendous change is coming to the automotive industry. 

    home-whereToday, cars are created for drivers and marketed to the end consumer. The introduction of autonomous cars will fundamentally shift who buys cars and how they are designed.

    As Dan Neil writes in the Wall Street Journal: “Within a generation, automobiles will be endowed with what’s known as Level 4 autonomy—full self-driving artificial intelligence for cars—which will not so much change the game, as burn down the casino.”

    “Autonomy will make it possible for unmanned automobiles to be summoned, via an app, to your location. And not just any passing tramp steamer, but exactly the vehicle you need for the occasion, cleaned and fueled, for as little or as long as you need. When you’re done—poof!—it will go away. As a result, Dan believes that “Americans will look back on pre-autonomy like the age of Casio calculators and DOS prompts”.

    Uber2020 - V2

    Dan also reckons that “rates of ownership will decline, (and become) an artifact of an era of hyper prosperity and reckless glut. Twenty-five years from now, the only people still owning cars will be hobbyists, hot-rodders and flat-earth dissenters. Everyone else will be happy to share.”

    In such a world, who buys cars and who are they designed for?

    First, it seems likely that tomorrow’s car unit sales will be determined by ride sharing services such as Uber. The consumer’s preference within the app, will be the main driver of unit sales, as car sharing services become the main ‘distribution channel’ for car manufactures.  (See mock up of future Uber app).

    Second, if consumers stop having cars in their driveways, exterior design might become less important. Without the pride and joy of getting into your own beautiful car, why does it matter how the outside looks? It seems that interior design, and comfort will become of paramount importance.

    Today’s car manufactures are building cars for individual drivers. BWM’s mission statement underlines that these companies will need to radically shift their thinking. Creating the  “Ultimate Driving Machine”will not help BMW to stay relevant in 30 years from now, when there is no driver left.

    Car companies must become services companies that provide the perfect transportation experience. These services might entail comfort, safety, health (such air filters for polluted urban areas), and entertainment. One cannot help but wonder if a car company in 100 years will be reduced to a service package on a standardized chassis. Perhaps consumers might even mix and match, by ordering a pick up that contains the BMW entertainment package, paired with the Mercedes comfort option.


    One thing is clear, if tomorrow’s cars are not designed for end consumers, existing car companies will need to adjust.

    Perhaps Tesla and Faraday Future, who were born in Silicon Valley stand a better chance at adopting to this brave new world


    How to get large (unsanctioned) videos onto your Oculus headset


    For the last 8 weeks I have been playing around with the Samsung Gear VR headset –  the first commercially available Oculus powered headset. If you don’t have one already, go buy one immediately. It is game changing!

    The experience is superb, and you can start to get a feeling for what our friends at Oculus are working on:  the true feeling of virtual presence.

    The Oculus store already contains some interesting games, demos, and experiences.  The Oculus Video app in particular gives a glimpse of times to come. There are some mind blowing 360-degree-video teasers from “The Force Awakens”, and fascinating videos that put you onto a surfboard in Hawaii or skateboard in San Francisco.

    However, one might want to experience content that is not officially available in the store. So here is a short tutorial on how to get unsanctioned video content onto an Oculus headset.

    First of all:  you will need some patience. Right now this process is not for the faint of heart; but things will certainly get much easier in the months to come.

    I found that Samsung’s own Milk VR application works best for downloaded or private videos. The trick is to get the video onto your phone AND into the right folder, so that the Milk VR application sees the video.

    Here is how to do it:


    Locate the “My Files” app on your Galaxy phone

    Locate the “Google Drive” app on your phone (might require download)

    For convenience, place the two app icons next to each other on the screen. You will be using them a lot.

    Create a folder in “Google Drive” called “My Oculus Videos”. You will be able to access this folder from your desktop, and place videos in here that you downloaded elsewhere. This folder will be a holding area. Since you can access it from both your phone and desktop, it is a convenient way to transfer large files from desktop to phone.

    Note: Some of the 180 degree or 360 degree video files are well over 1 or 2 GB! So don’t forget to turn on WIFI.

    Create a folder in the “My Files” app called “MilkVR”. (The folder name needs to be exactly like this. See graphic). Any file this folder can be seen by the MilkVR app, and accessed through the headset.

    Screenshot_2016-01-04-09-02-51 (1)

    Download files from the internet and place them into your designated Google Drive folder. Next go to Google Drive on your phone and find the file you want to download. Click it and hold it. At the bottom of the screen a new menu should appear (See last graphic). Click the download button on the menu. Now this file is being downloaded from the cloud to your phone. This takes time.

    Once downloaded, you will need to move it into the right folder.

    Open the “My Files” app and go to “Downloads” (This is where the phone placed your file).

    Now copy and paste this file into the MilkVR folder. To do this, click “Edit” on the top right. Select your file. Click “More” on the top right and then select “Copy” from the drop down menu. This will take you back to the main screen. Click Device Storage. Locate your MilkVR folder, and click “Paste Here” from the top right.

    Now the downloaded file is in the MilkVR folder. Strap on your headset and open the MilkVR app from your Oculus library, the file is located in the “Downloads” section in the main menu of MilkVR.


    Three critical points:

    a.)   Since the files are so large, it will take time for your computer to transfer the files back and forth between cloud – desktop – cloud – phone. About 30 min on my 50 Mbps fiber optics line. Certainly a cable or memory card can speed this up

    b.)  Don’t forget that the files are visible to anyone that tries your headset. So before you hand it over to your grandmother, you might want to “temporary” rename the MilkVR folder. If you change the name to “aMilkVR” on your headset, the app will not see your videos anymore, and grandma will not be shocked what she might or might not see. 😉

    c.)   There is no way to hide video folders in the “Gallery” app for your phone. So even if you rename the folder, it will be still be visible (with thumbnails) in your “Gallery”. So best not to hand over your phone to anyone after this process.

    This might seem overwhelming at first, but once you have done it a few times its pretty easy.

    Have fun.

    Honi soit qui mal y pense

    Multi-touch Attribution & Media Mix Modeling to Unify in 2016


    Ever since Tune and Adjust started revolutionizing mobile first attribution, I have been fascinated by the concept. It seemed clear that these companies would push up the value chain, and offer “auto pilots” to help advertisers spend their money through the most efficient media outlets.

    Today, their existing advertising partners already use their dashboards to make informed decisions about their media mix in mobile. Comprehensive Media mix modeling is just a stone’s throw away.

    It will be critical for these companies to start offering desktop, offline, and TV (Apple TV) attribution this year. I think there are in a pole position today, but the larger desktop players are right on their heels.

    Seth Demsey, Chief Technology Officer at AOL, puts it perfectly in this article: “Two concepts that will be transformative in 2016 are multi-touch attribution (bottom-up) and media mix modeling (top-down). They’re on a collision course for a single unified model. That’s going to be a megatrend in 2016, and while many are going to claim to do it, few are going to be able to do it accurately.”

    Exciting times!


    The Auto Industry Won’t Create The Future


    Great article by David Pakman, in which he explains why auto companies will not bring us the future. David argues that in the collision between consumer technology, cloud computing and cars, the legacy auto companies are lacking key ingredients for the future of the automobile. The article points out that despite the car companies’ best efforts and even moving innovation centers into Silicon Valley, six key ingredients will ultimately lead to their downfall.

    1.) Innovation

    2.) Electrification

    3.) Software

    4.) Data

    5.) Direct Consumer Relationships 

    6.) Executive Dismissiveness

    temp auto

    The short and turbulent tale of mobile advertising


    It was really American Idol that launched the short and turbulent history of Mobile Advertising. In 2001, American Idol partnered with AT&T to become the first American television show to allow viewers to vote for their favorite contestants by sending text messages to a shortcode. Fueled by the show’s runaway success, this taught American consumers that text messages could be used to interact with TV shows. It was the first time millions of consumers used their phones for a national promotion.

    Around the same time, we witnessed the birth of mobile applications. In a pre-iPhone area, these Symbian-powered apps ran only on Motorola and Nokia phones. They were barely adequate and extremely cumbersome to program, as they required the development of dozens of different iterations tailored to each phone version.  However, a few companies were very successful in engaging consumers through clever carrier distribution. First and foremost was LA-based Jamdat, which went public and ultimately sold to Electronic Arts.

    At that time, mobile display advertising was still in its infancy, but a few companies started to experiment with mobile banners. Admob on the West Coast, and m-Qube, Third Screen Media, Ipsh! and YellowPepper on the East Coast.  Today, many alumni of these early companies continue to push the ecosystem forward as entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists.

    The Carrier Distribution Era

    There was a short period of hyper growth when carriers allowed content companies to bill for their services by sending or receiving text messages. Unfortunately, a few companies exploited these systems, and billed consumers for bogus content or signed them up for subscriptions. Although this trend maintained momentum for some time, the carriers ultimately decided to shut down these systems, which is why content providers do not enjoy carrier-billing options today.

    The iPhone Revolution

    The launch of the iPhone changed everything! When the app store opened a year later, it was clear that mobile computing would never be the same. Admob, which had originally focused on mobile web display, quickly jumped on the app bandwagon and Boston-based Quattro gained traction by helping publishers create mobile websites and apps in return for exclusive monetization rights. Google ended up snatching up Admob, which continues to flourish under the Google umbrella and Apple purchased Quattro, which became the foundation for iAds.

    The Emergence of RTB

    Around 2010 it became clear that large publishers needed multiple networks to fill their exponentially growing inventory. At first, supply side platforms (SSPs) tried to call multiple ad networks in a sequence of events often called a “daisy chain” (or yield management). However, it became clear that the best yield could only be achieved by a simultaneous ad call to multiple buyers. Enter Real Time Bidding (RTB): an inventory auction in which hundreds of electric buyers (DSPs) simultaneously raise their hand with a specific price in mind. The efficiency and transparency of RTB fundamentally changed the advertising industry. Coincidently, mobile is an ideal environment for RTB because SDK footprints provide a fraud-free signal with a nice “data exhaust”. In particular, geofence-driven buying can be elegantly executed in an auction environment, and currently provides tremendous growth for programmatic mobile ads. By the winter of 2011, Admeld, one of the RTB pioneers, was sold to Google and mobile in-app display advertising in the US had grown to be a more than $2 billion industry, growing at 50+ percent year-over-year.

    Facebook launched mobile ads into this environment in 2012, changing the trajectory of the market to unprecedented levels. Facebook “stumbled” across an ad unit that completely reinvented the mobile ecosystem. Advertisers embraced FB’s audience data, and consumers accepted the new in-feed format. While there is some controversy around their attribution measurement, by most accounts Facebook is one of the most successful mobile app monetization platforms to date.

    A Democratic Future

    I believe that we have now reached the end of the app store dominated distribution era. The app developers of tomorrow will also be discovered in Google’s advanced search results, social media links, or via deep linking.

    The future for mobile advertising is more democratic on the distribution side, but will also be dominated by a few large marketplaces. Some of which will choose to hide their impressions and data behind walled gardens.  These platforms will become smarter and advertisers will have to concede data and intelligence to reach consumers behind ever taller barricades.

    These walled gardens will be fueled by immense amounts of consumer data. The proliferation of connected devices will create a real-time snapshot of how we spend our time and money. The combination of GPS signals, location history, beacons, and point-of-sale data will help brands better understand the customer decision journey, close the purchase loop from initial engagement to final purchase, and gain customer loyalty. In short, our personal data exhaust will be enormous and the next generation of consumer is willingly giving up these data points to their favorite social platforms.

    With innovations like augmented and virtual reality, media consumption will fundamentally change as we enter a world of immersive entertainment. We will need to rethink how to engage tomorrow’s consumers. The next decade will bring a new breed of young audiences that expect smart, interactive ads that move with them wherever they go.

    One thing is certain: the cards have been reshuffled over the last 18 months, and while the ecosystem is going through some turbulent and challenging times, the future will bring another wave of growth and entrepreneurial opportunity. I certainly have some ideas up my sleeve, and I remain excited and bullish about the ecosystem’s future.


    5 Predictions that might change the future of AdTech


    Earlier this week, the acclaimed drama Mad Men aired its final episode. Mad Men had great artistic (that title sequence alone) and business sensibilities (the most masterful and organic run of product placement ever), and it explored the 20th century cultural forces that shaped — and were shaped by — advertising.

    That said, I think about the future more than I think about the past. Anyone in and around ad tech can tell we are in the midst of an industry shift that will be greater than anything that has come before it. Looking into my crystal ball, here are my own personal thoughts on what I think advertising will be like in the relatively near future:

    • Our personal data exhaust will be enormous, and fully accessible to the ad tech ecosystem. The proliferation of connected devices will create a real-time snapshot of how we spend our time and money. The combination of GPS signals, location history, beacons, and point-of-sale data will help brands better understand the customer decision journey, close the purchase loop from initial engagement to final purchase, and gain customer loyalty. As always, the key here is to maintain respect for consumer data and privacy.
    • Translucent and transparent displays will change how we think about design. “Mid-century modern” design for this century will utterly transform clothes (wearables) and objects (the Internet of Things).
    • Everything will have a camera. Facial recognition software will become fairly flawless. Bluetooth beacons and wireless cameras will be so cheap that we will leave them behind like breadcrumbs.
    • The notion of a “phone number” will disappear, replaced by branded profiles on social networking sites.
    • Medical and recreational tech implants will be commonplace. Prosthetics will be no more remarkable or noticeable than contact lenses. Smart sporting equipment will analyze and optimize every golf swing and swimming stroke we take.

    I think life will be more connected and better informed than it ever has been. It’s a reality that would be impossible for Don Draper or any other 20th century “mad man” to imagine.

    But for all those changes, people would remain at the center of the story. The person-to-person connection is, and always will be, essential to advertising. We must never let that get lost amid the devices and the data. Not now, and not in the future.

    The Force Awakens Trailer



    Inspiring Will Smith quote


    “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?

    will smith
    You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”

    Will Smith

    When will incoming landline calls become less intrusive?



    My cell phone brilliantly manages the levels of intrusion for all my incoming communication. Mobile phones offer fascinating options for vibrations and notification sounds. You can set different songs to different caller group, vibrate in various intensities, and even set permissions around which apps get to notify you at all.

    Why then is my incoming landline still so disruptive that it forces me to stop everything and deal with it?

    Lets hope that Google, Apple or Facebook take over traditional landlines soon. I am sure they will do a better job managing the disturbance level. I would encourage the PMs on Facebook Messenger to think about various levels of importance or VIP status for notifications.


    Google releases amazing movie on Lunar XPrize


    Back To The Moon For Good – The New Space Race is a the mini-documentary that gives additional background on Google’s Lunar XPrize contest, which is designed to inspire competing teams to land a spacecraft on the moon.

    Google Lunar XPrize was created to incentivize a new generation of private space exploration. Today eighteen private teams from around the world are vying to be the first to land a craft on the moon, roam at least 500 meters and send images and data back to earth for a grand prize of $20 million.

    The YouTube movie is narrated by film and television star Tim Allen. The 24-minute film was adapted for YouTube from the immersive planetarium show that toured the U.S. last year. The film takes viewers through the entire history of lunar exploration, using 3D imagery, colorful infographics and well-designed animations that put you right in the middle of the action. Worth watching!

    google space


    Elves to Disintermediate Santa in shocking vertical integration move


    For the last decade I have been involved in start-ups that tried to disrupt an existing ecosystem. As a result, I can smell a vertical integration play from a mile away. I am here to report on a shocking development on the North Pole.

    For thousands of years, Elves were content running the production department for Santa’s operations. Now they incubated a new business unit called “Elf on the Shelf”.

    As illustrated in the diagram below, these Elves infiltrate children’s homes, obtain their wish lists, and then pass them along to Santa. While this arrangement might have seem convenient to Santa at first, its spells trouble for the future. With wish list procurement and performance evaluation (naughty/nice) now in the Elves’ hands, who knows what is next.

    One person close to the situation suggested they might cut Santa out of the mix, and go directly from wish list ingestion to production. The only thing Santa would be left with is delivery. Both Santa and the Elves declined to comment for this story, but inside sources confirmed early talks between Elves and FedEx’s new drone division.Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 9.32.02 AM

    Check out the video we shot for our Nexage friends to welcome them to Millennial Media family

     Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.32.09 PM

    Berlin’s mobile AdTech scene


    Techcrunch just published a nice summary of Germany’s hot mobile start-ups: “More VC money continues to slosh around the Berlin adtech scene. In the last two months we’ve seen Adjust raise a $7.6 million Series C, and upstart Remerge secure $1 million in seed funding. Two exits also took place. Ad network Moboqo was acquired by Silicon Valley’s AppLovin, and Fyber sold to RNTS Media for €150 million. Today sees another Berlin-based adtech startup get an injection of capital.

    Adsquare, which provides a platform for Mobile Audience Targeting to help advertisers target groups of people based on their location, has raised a $4.3 million Series A round led by German VC Target Partners, with participation from existing investors. This adds to a previous $1.4 million seed round from Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg, Berlin Ventures and various angel investors.

    Congrats to all those companies!! MFG aus Boston!

    The rise of micro publishers!


    A new trend will shape the future of the ad tech ecosystem: the rise of micro publishers.

    There is a growing number of highly influential users on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube who are determining how today’s mobile users are consuming media and content. Some of these influencers have more visitors than traditional media outlets, and often almost zero production cost. This throws a wrench into the classic publisher/advertiser relationship, but it might also present an amazing entrepreneurial opportunity.

    Much of today’s ad tech ecosystem remains focused connecting brands with “premium publishers.” Perhaps we need to rethink our definition of “publisher” and devise new ways to tie ad dollars to media.

    Let me provide some context to underline how different tomorrow’s media landscape will be from yesterday’s. Mass media is a fairly new phenomenon. Between 1690 and 1780 the number of newspapers printed in England rose from less than a million to fourteen million per year. By 1938, 11 million newspapers were sold every day in England (A. Aspinall 1946), and over two-thirds of the population read a newspaper every day (A. Bingham 2005).

    The US saw similar growth rates up until the 1950s, at which point the TV started to heavily intrude on the newspaper business, and the total number of papers began to decline. Today, the US has over 300 fewer newspapers than it had in the 1940s.

    Today, the total circulation of the highest ranked US papers, the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, are now both around 2 million per day.

    Pretty good reach, but of course not as large as our beloved TV. Sunday Night Football still tops the charts with 22 million viewers, and the most watch event in TV history is the 2014 Super Bowl with a stunning 111.5 million viewers. But the numbers are top heavy and concentrated. Coming in at number 10 is “Dancing with the Stars” with only 12 million viewers, and CBS “60 Minutes” only makes it to 8 million viewers.

    Now consider the following reach statistics:

    • Katy Perry: 56 million Twitter followers
    • Barack Obama: 41 million Twitter followers
    • Bill Gates: 17 million Twitter followers
    • Kim Kardashian: 4.6 million Instagram followers

    Clearly these celebrities got some of their fame through traditional media, so we need to credit traditional media for this reach… but now check out these statistics:

    • Nash Grier: 16 year old vine celebrity – 9.8 million Vine followers
    • Cameron Dallas: 20 year old YouTube and Vine star – 5.3 Instagram followers
    • Brent Rivera: 16 year old Vine celebrity – 5.3 million followers 
    • Carter Reynolds: Instagram star – 2.4 million Instagram followers 
    • Smoosh: YouTube star – 19 million subscribers 
    • PewDiePie: Youtube sensation – 31 million subscribers! 
    • W. Campos: Marketing manager taking toy photos – 5.3 million followers

    The list goes on. From housewives posting recipes on Pinterest, to teenagers who post nothing but pictures of shoes, the masses are becoming famous.

    The surprising result of a survey Variety commissioned in July found that the five most influential figures among Americans ages 13-18 are all YouTube faves, eclipsing mainstream celebrities. The highest-ranking figures were Smosh, the online comedy team of Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, both 26.

    Now the time has come for these Micro Publishers to monetize their fame. Agencies have started to take notice, and are reaching out manually. Nash Grier’s team confirmed that major brands will pay the star between $25,000 to $100,000 to plug their products in vine, and according to the BBC, Viners can charge advertisers about $1,000 per 100,000 followers. When these influencers start to pull brands into their feeds, we are witnessing the true birth of native advertising. Now its time to create ad-tech tools to support this fascinating ecosystem without breaking the magic and authenticity of their posts.

    What is needed is an automated platform to aggregate these influencers, help micro publishers connect with advertisers, give them consolidate payments, and measure the results/impact.

    Two companies that have started to go down this road are Niche in California, and BrandNew in Berlin. Both companies provide tools to micro publishers, and connect them with brands through intuitive and easy to use interfaces.

    Clearly the space is in its infancy, but early engagement results show that consumers love to interact this way, and advertisers appreciate the authentic nature of the dialog. Lets see what happens next. 😉



    Flowers in space


    “Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables,” said Makoto Azuma, a 38-year-old artist based in Tokyo.

    He launched two botanical objects — “Shiki 1,” a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a metal frame, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other blossoms — into the stratosphere  “I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” Azuma explained that morning.

    To accomplish this mission, titled Exobiotanica, Azuma and his 10-person crew teamed with Sacramento-based JP Aerospace — “America’s Other Space Program” — a volunteer-based organization that constructs and sends vessels into orbit. JP’s owner and founder, John Powell, started launching things into the upper atmosphere in 1977, when he was still a teenager. “The best thing about this project is that space is so foreign to most of us,” says Powell, “so seeing a familiar object like a bouquet of flowers flying above Earth domesticates space, and the idea of traveling into it.” As seen in the NYC Times Magazine. 

    flowers 2 flowers

    Fantastical Creatures in Clouds of Dutch Sand


    When you’re a kid, a cloud can look as much like a dragon as a floating mass of water vapor. Even as adults, no one is immune to the magic moment when a random gathering of molecules morphs into fantastical animals or familiar forms. It’s a hallmark of the childlike, playful interaction with the world that we too often lose with age, and it is what makes Claire Droppert’s photos of flying beach sand so fetching.


    In the first installment of her Gravity series, the Rotterdam-based photographer and designer captures thrown shovelfuls of sand midway through their aerial arcs. Her photos, taken only with natural light and fast shutter speeds, reveal sharp forms and bold strokes of movement. The vague shapes–Is that a rabbit? A seahorse?–suggest animals peeking into our world from a parallel dimension. Once you start seeing them this way, it’s hard to stop.


    Droppert was walking on the shores of a Dutch beach 13 months ago when a spray of sand kicked up by her daughter caught her attention. Droppert was fascinated by the way in which the morning light framed the explosion of sand against the sky and started trying to capture the effect in pictures.

    “I began to see these sorts of creatures rising from some of the images,” she says. “Then I started seeing creatures popping up all over.“

    You can buy her prints here. 

    As seen in on Wired.com 

    Cross-device attribution is going to be the hottest ad tech topic in 2014


    Last week I had the pleasure to moderate a panel on cross device monetization at Mopub’s “Mobile First” Conference.

    The premise of the panel was to discuss the difficulties around cross-device attribution – likely to be one of the hottest topics in mobile in 2014!

    Here is the panel recap:


    • Are Traasdahl, Founder and CEO of Tapad
    • Giorgos Zacharia, Chief Product Officer at Kayak
    • David Wiener, VP Product BlueKai
    • Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Founder and CEO of Drawbridge

    13MobileFirst_303 (1)We are witnessing a massive shift from desktop to mobile computing. However, even to complete a single task, consumers are weaving their paths through multiple devices and screens. This is making it increasingly difficult for advertisers to follow users through the purchasing funnel and understand which campaigns drive purchasing behavior.

    We invited a panel of friends and entrepreneurs to discuss cross device attribution, and the future of programmatic buying.

    Here is the great news: everyone agreed that attribution is finally a reality, and will lead to increased eCPMs in the coming quarters. While most attribution solutions today remain siloed within tablet, desktop, and smartphones, there is much innovation happening in the space.

    All that is fantastic news for publishers and advertisers alike. Here are some of the other key takeaways:

    • Location targeting is coming fast and furious
    • Multi screen experiences are key to creating a deeper and more magical storyline for consumers
    • Cross device attribution is in its early days, but possible
    • Advertisers are excited about cross-device attribution
    • Many things the industry has been waiting for are now reality
    • Growth will accelerate
    • The mobile phone is one of the primary devices, but it is not the only one
    • Taking mobile data and extending its reach into desktop is next frontier

    So here is my take: The ecosystem is striving to reduce hurdles and allow advertisers to create a unified view of consumers. This will be critical for the success of the programmatic buying ecosystem, as well as for the publisher that needs to optimize content and provide a continuous user experience.

    Cross device attribution is possible today and (even if slightly inaccurate) allows advertisers to follow consumers through their purchasing funnel. Today it is unclear to what extent 3rd party data can drive mobile DR campaigns, but the panel agreed that it does help in upper funnel brand campaigns.

    Advertisers & publishers: 2014 promises to be a fabulous year!

    Photo curtesy of A.E. Fletcher Photography 2013

    Supercell Mobile to hit $1 billion in revenues this year


    In case you have not heard of Supercell, the company serves as a poster child for the burgeoning “freemium” game distribution strategy. It allows players to download and play titles for free in apps stores, but it requires them to pay for extras, such as special weapons or power boosters that speed up a game’s play. (In-app purchasing or IAP).

    The Wall Street Journal reports that about “10% of Supercell users purchase in-game extras, much higher than the industry norm. Last year, the company made a profit of more than 40 cents on every $1 of goods it sold, or $40.3 million on sales of $105 million.” Forbes estimates their 2013 revenue to be north of  $800. This clearly makes them one of the most successful mobile companies in the world. The reason I share this now, is because I just came across their mission statement, which is surprisingly tablet focused, and worth reading:

    Supercell first started developing games for tablets in 2011, and we haven’t looked back for a second. Smoosh together all the best parts of gaming from consoles and PCs, add mobility along with a new touch UI and — BOOM — tablets have emerged as today’s ultimate games platform.

    The best games on any platform are those designed specifically for that platform. Tablet First means we focus all of our energy and passion on creating, from scratch, the absolute best experience possible for the tablet – our primary target platform. No compromises.

    When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad to a very skeptical world, he called it “magical”. We now know what he meant. Our inspired vision is to create some magic of our own that lives up to the awesome potential of these wondrous devices.Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 10.14.56 AM

    The emergence of Universal Buy Side SDKs or Meta DSPs (mDSP)


    There is a trend brewing on the advertiser side of the ecosystem that is likely going to influence how advertising dollars flow in mobile ad tech. I believe we are witnessing the birth of a new category of companies: Meta DSPs or Universal buyside SDKs.

    To understand where these new players fit in, lets take a quick look at the short and turbulent history of the Supply Side Platform. Their original value proposition was to bring order to chaos by supplying publisher with a single tag that could call multiple networks. Often this tag was placed into the publisher’s primary ad server.

    SSPs also offered publishers a single dashboard that shows an aggregated view of all network advertising revenues. For the first time publishers were able to understand exactly who purchased their unsold inventory.

    Additional services included financial reconciliation between networks and publishers. SSPs would send a single, consolidated check to the publisher at the end of the month. Often taking on some of the financial risk as well.

    From a technical perspective the idea is to allocate the best possible demand to a specific ad-slot at any given time. First SSPs used dynamic daisy chains of networks, and later the deployed more efficient RTB auctions.

    This had profound effects on the industry, as publishers got technically from their remnant demand sources. Benefits outweighed the costs, and many publishers realized that RTB was an opportunity for more efficient connection with their demand sources. Transparency entered the market like never before, and seeing all supply in one place helped the buyers to cherry pick the right impressions for them.

    This brings us to today’s mobile buy side and what might happen.

    Today media buyers work with Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) either directly or via one of the trading desks. Large app advertisers tend to work with multiple DSPs or networks. In a mobile app environment this throws up a unique challenge. In order to track effectiveness and attribution, these DSPs and Networks need to have their SDKs installed in the advertisers application. As a result, app advertisers need to have multiple buy side SDKs in their application.

    Universal Buy Side SDKs give advertisers the ability to replace all buy-side SDKs with a single “universal” SDK.

    Their SDK will bring order to chaos, by connecting to networks/DSPs via API integrations. These APIs can track the effectiveness of specific campaigns across multiple advertisers and supply sources. In addition, these companies offer dashboards that show all advertising spent in one place, allowing advertiser to instantly see the ROI of various campaigns.

    Today these companies focus on attribution, and are not venturing into media buying, but its easier to see a future where they offer trafficking, bidding, and consolidated buying across multiple DSPs.

    Once all demand is visible in one place, it is conceivable that Media Buyers will want to use mDSPs to adjust and execute advertising budgets. Hence they might transform from Universal Buy Side SDKs into full fledged Meta DSP.

    This is all great news for the ecosystem.

    Some of the likely outcomes might be:

    –       buy-side transparency will enter the market like never seen before

    –       it will become much easier for small DSPs to reach scale

    –       re-targeting becomes a reality at scale

    –       without the need to build SDKs, it will be easier for the 400+ desktop DSPs to spend money in mobile

    All these changes mean that more ad dollars will flow into the mobile app ecosystem, and that’s a great thing.

    In addition to the larger players, here are some of the start-up companies going in this direction:

    – Ad-X Tracking (Acquired by Criteo)

    – MobileApp Tracking (HasOffers)

    – Kochava

    – Cake

    – AppsFlyer

    – Segment.io

    – Grow Mobile

    Clearly, this is just my personal opinion, and it could also happen completely differently. Wouldn’t be the first time. 😉

    Shazam for local info: CO Everywhere


    Ever frustrated when you missed an event in your area, or did not know about a cool new restaurant?

    Enter CO Everywhere

    CO Everywhere is a service that lets you mark an area on a map that you want to watch and will then track every public social media update from Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (among many others), as well as reviews on Yelp and other services to present you with a feed of everything that’s happening in your area.

    Its basically Shazam for a specific location. Draw a geo-fence with your finger, and find out whats happening around you.

    Download the app here



    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t!


    Mobile RTB Ecosystem Map (North America)


    Almost 3 years ago we launched the first Mobile RTB exchange at Admeld. Since then the ecosystem has evolved quite rapidly. At that time, yield management was still the dominant method to monetize remnant impressions on desktop and mobile. Today it is clear that RTB provides such strong advantages for both the supply and the demand side of the ecosystem, that it will become the dominant way to monetize unsold inventory. Having conquered that side of the house, RTB is now pushing into premium territory. More to come on that front…

    While Mobile RTB is still in its infancy, the below ecosystem map clearly shows how quickly this particular portion of our industry has grown in the last couple of quarters.

    We went from 1 mobile RTB exchange to 14, and the demand side is growing tremendously. Many of the traditional mobile networks have created bidders, new Mobile DSP have entered the stage, and many of the desktop DSPs are now buying mobile impressions.

    There are 2 main reasons that RTB will win in mobile:

    1.)          In 24 months from now, the majority of all impressions will come from mobile operating systems. RTB is only efficient way to match buyers to sellers in this exponentially growing universe.

    2.)          Location based targeting is perfectly suited for RTB. Finding the right users at the right time, while they are walking into a geo-fence can only be accomplished through RTB.

    So while this map is getting crowded, we are still at the very beginning of the mobile advertising revolution. In this new version, I focus on the Mobile RTB ecosystem in particular. If I have missed a particular company, just send me a tweet at #theermann and I will update the slide.

    Please note: Clearly my mobile ecosystem slide was inspired by my friends at Progress Partners, who have been creating ecosystem maps since  2006, and of course by Terence Kawaja at Luma Partners, who made them famous.


    Introducing the (Google) Glass Collective


    Entrepreneurs listen up!

    Google Glass is a fantastic and potentially transformative technology. If you have been dreaming of Google Glass ideas, your time has come.

    Google Ventures just teamed up with Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to form the Glass Collective, an investment syndicate among the three firms. The goal is to provide seed funding to entrepreneurs in the Glass ecosystem to help jumpstart their ideas.

    Smart entrepreneurs and engineers are going to develop amazing experiences through Google Glass. If you have a brilliant idea for Glass, let them know.


    Apparently car designers have run out of ideas


    These are photos of the new Tesla, Jaguar, Ford, and Maserati

    Really? That is all we can come up with in 2013?

    Google+ Sign-In Now Part of Google Play Services


    Google just announced a major update to its Google+ platform that allows users to sign in to web and mobile apps with their Google accounts and bring their Google+ profile info with them so they don’t have to create a new username and password when they sign in to a third-party application.

    The new systems  allows developers to add a number of new features, including the ability to let users install their mobile apps for Android with just once click and to allow users to share information like their Fitbit data directly to their Google+ profile pages or to selectively share content from services like Shazam directly to their Google+ streams.









    This will be game changing for media companies that have both a large desktop web presence, and mobile applications. The new OTA feature allows them to push applications from their website directly onto a user’s Android device.

    Read more on Techcrunch, and vist the Google developer pages to learn more.  



    Singularity update: Ray Kurzweil joins Google


    The spiritual godfather of “the singularity” movement Ray Kurzweil just joined Google. Singularity is the theoretical moment in time in which artificial intelligence surpasses the human brain, and perhaps develop a conscience.

    If you are new to this theory, I recommend Lev Grossman’s article in Time Magazine about Singularity.

    Two great quotes of article: “Maybe we’ll scan our consciousness into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually.”

    “…we don’t know what a highly advanced, artificial intelligence (…) would choose to do. It might not feel like competing with us for resources. You don’t have to be a super-intelligent cyborg to understand that introducing a superior life-form into your own biosphere is a basic Darwinian error.”

    If you think this is crazy, ask yourself why Google’ hired him.

    For more on Ray Kurzweil’s arrival at Google, read Rip Empson’s article on Techcrunch.

    The future of transparent displays


    Corning produced this great video showcasing the future of transparent displays. Well worth watching.

    In addition, Aditya produced a video showcasing some cool futuristic concepts. While it also focuses on displays, its also a beautiful collection of amazing GUIs.

    Crowdfunding your next big idea


    Raising money from new crowdfunding sites is very en vogue these days. Crowdfunding refers to raising money from hundreds of people (aka the crowd) vs. raising money from venture capitalists, or friends and fools. Today’s (11/12) Wall Street Journal article by Javier Espinoza “Joining the Crowd” had some fascinating, tangible tips to increases your chances:

    1.) Show pitch videos

    Campaigns with videos raised 114% more than those without

    2.) Send updates

    Campaigns that gave one at least very five days raised 218% as much as those that updated less often

    3.) Give Links

    Campaigns with four or more external links raised 103% more than those with fewer

    4.) Offer Perks

    Campaigns with $25+ perks raised 35% more than those without

    Here are some of the popular crowd sourcing sites for fundraising:

    Indiegogo, Rockethub, Peerbackers, Kickstarter 

    Mapping the Entertainment Ecosystem by Graham Spencer


    The choice of what phone or tablet to buy is one that often involves many considerations, chief amongst those is the physical device and the operating system that it runs. But I think there is a third fundamental consideration that is growing in importance: what services and entertainment ecosystems you’ll be able to access. (…) Today I want to focus specifically on the entertainment ecosystems of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. I’m referring to the various digital content stores that are run by Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon – specifically their Music, Movies, TV Shows, eBooks and App stores. In my mind, there are four general aspects that make a good entertainment ecosystem.

    The full article is here.







    ULTRAVIOLET restaurant by Paul Pairet in Shanghai


    Understanding Tablet Use: A Multi-Method Exploration


    Google publishes new research paper on Tablets.

    Abstract: Tablet ownership has grown rapidly over the last year. While market research surveys have helped us understand the demographics of tablet ownership and provided early insights into usage, there is little comprehensive research available. This paper describes a multi-method research effort that employed written and video diaries, in-home interviews, and contextual inquiry observations to learn about tablet use across three locations in the US. Our research provides an in-depth picture of frequent tablet activities (e.g., checking emails, playing games, social networking), locations of use (e.g., couch, bed, table), and contextual factors (e.g., watching TV, eating, cooking). It also contributes an understanding of why and how people choose to use tablets. Popular activities for tablet use, such as media consumption, shopping, cooking, and productivity are also explored. The findings from our research provide design implications and opportunities for enriching the tablet experience, and agendas for future research.

    The full paper can be found here.

    Mark Zuckerberg on Mobile


    “It’s easy to underestimate how fundamentally good mobile is for us,” said Zuckerberg. “First, there are more users. Second is, per person who’s using Facebook on mobile, there’s more engagement and they’re spending more time. Third, per person on mobile, we think we’re going to make more money on them than on desktop.”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-techcrunch-disrupt-2012-9#ixzz26GYp1300

    Facebook (FBX) – Facebook Exchange: A New Way For Advertisers To Target Specific Users With Real-Time Bid Ads


    Facebook is testing and will soon launch Facebook Exchange according to Techcrunch. FBX is a  a real-time bidding ad system where visitors to third-party websites are marked with a cookie, and can then be shown real-time bid ads related to their web browsing when they return to Facebook. Thats mildly interesting for desktop, but potentially game changing for mobile. More to come I am sure. Here is the full article. 

    Breaking up after 17 years


    No it’s not me, it’s you!

    After 17 years together, I finally pulled the plug on AT&T (Cingular) today.

    Following an upgrade to an iPhone 4S 6 weeks ago, I lost all service at my house. So in addition to the dropped calls that I had gotten used to, I could not make/receive any calls at my house. Tested Verizon with a Galaxy S III for three weeks, and found it very convincing. Now making the full switch for the entire family. It goes without saying that AT&T made me pay a $300 termination fee per line, and did not take the 6-week-old phones back.  Hasta la vista, baby

    Two of the most beautiful things combined: 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB in Paris


    Among the more brilliant ideas: On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive him at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris. Here is the video.

    eBay and Paypal will do $10 billion in 2012


    eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe:

    “I think it’s very hard to underestimate the impact of the mobile revolution,” Donahoe said on CNBC. “We made a very big bet on mobile three or four years ago, and it’s really paying off,” he added. “Ninety million people have now downloaded the eBay mobile app, and we’ll do over $10 billion of volume on our mobile apps this year.”

    Great new graphic from VisionMobile


    Nest – The future of home automation


    Among all the amazing technology innovations, the iPhone and iPad clearly stand. Both devices created new consumer electronics categories, brought computing to the masses, and changed our lives forever. Much of their success can be attributed to amazing design, brilliant software, and intuitive user interfaces.

    It’s exactly these qualities that Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers (both are ex-Apple) are now brining to Nest. Nest is a learning thermostat for your house. After having installed mine a few minutes ago, I am convinced that Nest will do for home automation what the iPhone and iPad have done for home computing. The Nest is a game changing device!

    The installation process is beautifully illustrated, streamlined, and highly experiential. From the Apple-like packaging to the custom screwdrivers.

    Within a few short minutes your previously isolated house is connected to the Internet. Stunning. What makes this truly amazing is the fact that we are decades away from a true smart grid in the US. Nest is circumventing the power companies, and creating a stand-alone smart grid one house at a time. Its not hard to envision that millions of homes will contain their technology in a few years, giving Nest an amazing overview of regional and individual power consumption.

    Buy one now. 😉

    Apple UDID replacement


    If you are looking to read-up on controversy surrounding Apple’s deprecation of its mobile hardware identifier (UDID), here are two great summaries:

    The first one is by Craig Palli, vice president of Client Services & Business Development at Fiksu

    Executive Summary:

    Understanding the alternatives begins with developing an appreciation for the fact that there is no single substitute for the UDID that fully meets the needs of all constituents: advertisers, publishers (those who show ads), ad networks, and consumers. Though some are hoping for Apple to provide a solution, no such plans have been announced. Therefore an entrepreneurial eco-system has responded with an explosion of competing solutions, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.

    Some of these include:

    • HTML Cookie Tracking: This method has excellent ad attribution and privacy characteristics, but requires a quick redirect on the first app launch. Some feel this detracts from the initial user experience.
    • Digital Fingerprinting: This combines anonymous data and statistical techniques to estimate conversions. It’s easy for a developer to implement, but it comes with an error rate that makes it too imprecise for many marketers, especially as it relates to loyal users metrics
    • MAC address: Similar in nature to the UDID, this method uses a hardware based unique ID. It is easy for networks to implement but because, like the UDID, it is a universal identifier, many believe Apple will clamp down here as well. Two groups, ODID and ODIN, have proposed variants of this method.
    • Paste bin methods: These methods store an ID in a segment of the copy/paste bin. OpenUDID and SecureUDID offer similar benefits to cookie tracking, but some view this approach as a misuse of system infrastructure.

    To read his full post, click here. 

    The second post is by Jim Payne, CEO of Mopub, and you can read it here. 

    Both give a good summary of the situation, the challenges, and possible alternatives.


    Number of mobile-connected devices will exceed number of people on earth by 2012


    Cisco has an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications on global networks. Their current paper presents some of Cisco’s major global mobile data traffic projections and growth trends. Highlights include:

    Last year’s mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000

    Smartphones represent only 12 percent of total global handsets in use today, but they represent over 82 percent of total global handset traffic

    By the end of 2012, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth.

    You can find more information here.

    Retailer quote of the week


    Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel: “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display (…) brands.” Seen in the WSJ “Showdown over Showrooms, by Ann Zimmerman.

    – I think that train has left the station…

    U.S. Department of Justice gives ok to Admeld deal


    Take a walk on the sell-side

    12/02/2011 08:44:00 AM

    In June, we announced that we are acquiring Admeld, a New York-based company that helps large publishers (also known as the “sell-side” by people, like me, who live and breathe display advertising) maximize their revenues from online advertising. We’re pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today cleared this deal. We’ll close the acquisition in the coming days and then start the real work—building improved products and services that help our publisher partners to make more informed decisions across all their ad space, and to grow their revenues.

    The opportunity for major online publishers is huge…and growing. People are spending more and more time consuming online content across numerous devices, advertisers are running more online and mobile campaigns to reach them; and ads continue to get more engaging and relevant. This represents an unprecedented moment for publishers. We believe that improved technology and services can help publishers seize it and make online advertising work much better.

    For now, it’s business as usual—Admeld’s products will operate separately to Google’s existing solutions (such as DoubleClick for Publishers and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange). But over time, there are opportunities to bring the best of both businesses together in a variety of ways; and to develop entirely new solutions, too.

    As we do this, Admeld and Google are guided by some core shared beliefs:

    • We want to give publishers more control over their ad space, and offer more flexibleways to manage and sell it. Publishers’ businesses should influence the technology they use; not the other way around
    • We believe that publishers can make better decisions to maximize their revenues when they have better insights at their fingertips
    • We envisage a much simpler system that enables publishers to manage and sell their ad space—across desktop, video, mobile, tablets and more

    The content produced by Google’s and Admeld’s publisher partners is the lifeblood of the Internet. We can’t wait to start building the next generation of tools and services that will help them grow their businesses.

    (Cross-posted on the DoubleClick Publisher Blog)



    Here is what I bought Phyllis for the holidays


    Curtesy of AdR Studios. Click here for more.

    Launch of new DFP Mobile


    Original blog post by Marcel Gorden is here, and a Q&A with Admonsters is here.

    Mobile devices offer many new and exciting opportunities for businesses. But mobile devices are not simply smaller versions of the desktop – these devices, and the mobile ecosystem as a whole, are unique. In order to succeed in this ecosystem, businesses must build specifically for mobile. Our recent ‘GoMo’ campaign has helped businesses develop websites that are optimized for mobile.

    Similarly, there are mobile-specific challenges for publishers who want to serve ads on smartphones and tablets. There are thousands of different mobile devices running on multiple platforms on the market today, and a lack of technical standards as to how to serve ads across all these different phones and tablets. Publishers need technology that helps them navigate the complexities of the mobile ads marketplace, but that also connects to the rest of their ad operations, so that they can operate as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

    To help our publisher partners solve these challenges, we have rolled out an extended set of mobile features with the new DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) Mobile, designed to complement the core mobile ad serving functionality released this summer.

    DFP Mobile gives publishers access to an expanded set of mobile features. This includes extended mobile rich media capabilities, with built-in support for rich HTML5 ads such as video interstitials and templates for you to include your own more complex ad formats in a scalable way. DFP Mobile also offers advanced targeting options, better support for feature phones, and tighter integrations with Google AdSense, AdMob, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and mobile ad networks.

    We’ve heard from our publisher partners that they want to be able to manage their mobile campaigns using the same tools that they use for the rest of their ad serving. For example, Billy Shipp, Director of Ad Operations at Flixster said “Not having to go to a separate interface to manage inventory, to set up campaigns, to pull reports, to optimize campaigns – having all of that in a single workflow makes it so much easier for ad operations folks to be effective because it gives them that global view of how a campaign is performing. The fact that we can use a single ad server and have all that information available in one place is a big win for us.” DFP Mobile is fully integrated with the DFP ad serving platform to help publishers streamline operations, create sales efficiencies, and leverage the power of DFP for their mobile business.

    Publishers will also have more options when working with third parties. DFP Mobile can fetch mobile rich media ads directly from integrated rich media partners, decreasing latency and reducing discrepancies. Leading mobile rich media vendors such as Celtra have already integrated with DFP Mobile to help streamline operations for their partners. “The combination of DFP with Celtra’s innovative ad formats and analytics gives our premium publisher and ad network partners more rich media options to maximize mobile revenues and user engagement” said Grant Stratemeyer, VP of Business Development at Celtra.

    Plus, later this week, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange will be rolling out the ability for publishers to opt-in mobile web inventory using the newly supported 320×50 banner size. With this functionality, publishers will have a range of options for monetizing their inventory, and can reach new pools of demand, potentially improving their returns.

    This DFP Mobile release complements last month’s launch of DFP Video, to give publishers a truly unified experience for all screens, formats, and devices. With DFP, we’re committed to building best-in-class ad serving products for all channels within a single platform that works seamlessly across desktop, video and mobile.

    To learn how you can begin selling across all screens with DFP Mobile, please contact us.

    The phone that might save Nokia


    Today I had a chance to play with the new Nokia Windows-based smartphone.

    This might indeed be the phone that saves the company. Nokia has been building amazing hardware and antenna technology for years. The only reason the world’s largest handset manufacture started to slip behind, was its disastrous software and development platform. The new phone feels amazing, is about the same size as an iPhone, but has a rubber rim. The new Windows OS is different, but intuitive.

    nokia lumia 710

    At this point success is largely depended on Microsoft. It will be up to them to fill the phone with life, educate consumers, and seamlessly integrate it with home computers. Some of the iPhone’s success clearly rests with the fluent interaction between handset, computer, and cloud. You can easily fill it with emails, music, calendars, and then back everything up in the cloud. The same will be true here, and Nokia will only be able to influence this to some extend.

    If Microsoft uses its power to push consumers to this new device, I believe it has the design and software to be a huge success and safe Nokia.  BTW: Nokia stock is at $8.  Time to buy?

    History of the Cell Phone


    Click twice for full screen:cellphone-evolution

    Wall Street Journal Google Predictions


    Google (…) provided investors with a peek in the third quarter of 2010. The company said at the time that its mobile business was generating revenue at a $1 billion annual run rate and that its display business was generating revenue at a $2.5 billion run rate.

    Mobile Advertising Big Bang Formula


    t=0 : June 29, 2007

    Eric Schmidt on Steve Jobs (Bloomberg)


    As seen in Bloomberg

    Everyone knows the transaction where the board sided with John Sculley and Steve left Apple (AAPL). Steve sold all of his Apple stock, kept one share, and founded NeXT. Typical Steve maneuver. When I was still at Sun Microsystems, I visited him at NeXT—we did a bunch of deals with him. He was exactly the same way he was at Apple: strongly opinionated, knew what he was doing. He was so passionate about object-oriented programming. He had this extraordinary depth. I have a PhD in this area, and he was so charismatic he could convince me of things I didn’t actually believe.


    I should tell you this story. We’re in a meeting at NeXT, before Steve went back to Apple. I’ve got my chief scientist. After the meeting, we leave and try to unravel the argument to figure out where Steve was wrong—because he was obviously wrong. And we couldn’t do it. We’re standing in the parking lot. He sees us from his office, and he comes back out to argue with us some more. It was over a technical issue involving Objective C, a computer language. Why he would care about this was beyond me. I’ve never seen that kind of passion.

    At NeXT he built this platform—a powerful workstation platform for the kind of computing that I was doing, enterprise computing. When he came back to Apple, he was able to take the technology he invented at NeXT and sort of slide it underneath the Mac platform. So today, if I dig deep inside my Mac, I can find all of that NeXT technology. Now, this may not be of interest to users, but without the ability to do that the Mac would have died. I was surprised that he was able to do that. But he did it.

    When he went to Apple, he was basically down to 1 percent market share. Apple was near bankruptcy, the company had been for sale, there were a series of management changes. I talked to him about it. He said, “The thing that I have that no one else has is very loyal customers.” He had these fanatical people who would line up all night for a product that wasn’t any good. He figured correctly that by upgrading and investing in and broadening the portfolio, he could do it. At some level he foresaw the next 10 years.

    What I remember thinking at the time is that you shouldn’t take a job unless you know how to win. I had no clue how to do what he did. When somebody tells you they’re going to do something and you say, “I don’t understand how you’re going to do that,” and they succeed? That is the ultimate humbling experience. My interactions with Steve were always like that. He was always ahead of me. When he started working on tablets, I said nobody really likes tablets. The tablets that existed were just not very good. Steve said: “No, we can build one.” One of the things about Steve is, he was always in the realm of possibility. There was a set of assumptions that Steve would make that were never crazy. They were just ahead of me.

    I joined Apple’s board after the Apple Stores started. It used to be that you would go to a store and you had Macs and PCs. And then, because of volume and because of the Microsoft (MSFT) monopoly, people were not buying any Macs. There was less and less distribution, and many dual Mac-PC distributors were going away. The argument at the time was you shouldn’t screw your distributors because they are your lifeline. Steve made the calculated decision to open a series of stores and turn it into a sort of a consumer lifestyle. He also understood that people had trouble with computers, and they wanted to go to a place where somebody could help them. The stores were universally derided as the stupidest idea ever known to man, and they would literally bankrupt the company. It was an incredibly gutsy move. And Apple Stores I believe are the highest-grossing stores in America.

    It took enormous courage for Steve to go through the operations, the treatments—without violating his privacy, it’s just horrific what he had to go through. I think he made all the board meetings I was at. He was obviously ill sometimes, and sometimes he was fine. But Apple was his passion, along with his family. There was never any question when I was there as to his ability to do his job, and I just felt terribly sorry for him, as everyone else did, over what he was going through physically.

    Steve and I were talking about children one time, and he said the problem with children is that they carry your heart with them. The exact phrase was, “It’s your heart running around outside your body.” That’s a Steve Jobs quote. He had a level of perception about feelings and emotions that was far beyond anything I’ve met in my entire life. His legacy will last for many years, through people he’s trained and people he’s influenced. But what death means is you can’t call—you can’t call him. It’s a loss. I’ll miss talking to him.

    — As told to Jim Aley and Brad Wieners

    How the smartphone killed mobile advertising



    There is a common misconception that the mobile ad space remains inherently different from online advertising. This misunderstanding was born in the days before smartphone and tablets, when the fragmentation of devices and operating systems made it difficult to reach consumers. Today this is no longer the case. We need to stop treating mobile different, and realize that its now just another digital screen. It is standardized and scalable. Advertisers can now reach 100 billion impressions per month through a single size banner (300×50).

    Mobile Advertising 101: Fragmentation and Porting

    The world was very different when marketers first starting thinking about reaching consumers through their mobile phones. Around 2001 Europeans had embraced messaging as a new way of communication, and marketers realized the opportunity to reach them away from their couch. The first mobile advertising campaigns we ran at YellowPepper in 2003 were naturally txt based.

    One of the earliest campaigns we ran was a fishing game for a beer company, in which players caught various size fish to win a year’s supply of beer. The interaction rates were so high that we burned out the servers, and increases sales by 3%. It was then that we knew mobile advertising had a future.

    SMS (TXT) should have been ubiquitous , as all phones can send and receive text messages, but for marketers this was not the case. Each carrier set up their own shortcodes, and at the time it was not possible to txt from a Verizon phone to an ATT shortcode. This initiated the mobile advertising fragmentation decade, which really only ended with the introduction of the iPhone.

    Before the iPhone the mobile web was dominated by WAP – the precursor to the mobile web. Each device had a different operation system, and each phone had a different browser. To create a mobile website, marketers had to build hundreds of sites for various capabilities and sizes. A multitude of companies were created to help brands and media companies accomplish this.

    The madness peaked when the ecosystem started building applications for these devices. Companies had to create a new application for each handset. The process, which became known as “porting” was a highly labor intensive, required special knowledge, and engineering talent.

    Of course in those days, it was almost impossible to conceive a mobile advertising campaign with a single creative that would reach a significant number of consumers. This lead to the emergence of mobile ad networks such as Third Screen Media, Enpocket, Jumptap, and Admob. These firms aggregated and standardized this highly fragmented inventory and helped marketers to execute campaigns.

    This was mobile advertising 101. A small stand-alone ecosystem dominated by mobile companies.

    Mobile Advertising Today

    Today the fragmentation is quickly coming to an end. Smartphones and tablets will outnumber features phones at the end of this year (Nielsen 2011), and most web traffic is already on smartphones today. Almost all smart phone screen sizes tend to be around 300 pixels wide, and the majority of mobile browsers are closely related to full PC browsers.

    As such the smartphone killed the mobile advertising ecosystem – and that is a good thing. For mobile advertisers and publishers this results in a transition from a mobile stand-alone environment to a connected ecosystem. This will lead to greater efficiencies, as advertisers can use existing infrastructure to execute large-scale campaigns. Of course it does not mean that every screen needs its specialists. Mobile advertising firms will continue to strive, as they understand how to interact with consumers on the go. But this shared infrastructure opens the door for cross-platform buys in which publishers can package users across multiple channels (web and mobile) to provide a convenient means for buyers to reach their audiences.

    The mobile revolution has just begun. If the consumer enthusiasm of the last 12 months is any indication of what’s to come, get ready for a very exciting 2012.

    iPhone UDID opt-in for iOS 5


    iOS gives consumers the option to allow specific applications to pull geo data from the handset, and utilize this data to improve the application’s performance, utility, and ad targeting. Below is a mock-up that shows how a similar methodology could have been used to give consumers the chance to transmit encrypted device identifiers. This will not happen for UDIDs (that train has left the station), but it seems to me that a similar opt-in procedure will be required to uniquely track and identify mobile users in the future. No matter if the device ID, MAC address, cookies, or fingerprinting  is used.


    RIP: Apple’s unique and persistent identifier (UDID)


    It is now official: Apple will retire the unique identifier (UDID) that was used by many mobile ad networks to track application downloads, and measure ad effectiveness. The UDID was used instead of a mobile cookie, by uniquely and persistently identifying the user’s mobile phone. Uniquely, because every phone had a different number; persistently, because even after a power cycle, the number remained the same.

    This sounds very much like a traditional web cookie, but there are two main differences. A web cookie is associated with the consumer’s browser, and can be deleted by the user. The UDID is a hardware identifier, which cannot be deleted.

    What was the UDID used for?

    Advertisers used the UDID to attribute downloads to specific ads. The UDID allowed them to make the connection between where (to which devices) an ad was shown, and if that device ended up making a download.

    Why did Apple remove it?

    Despite the fact that no personal data was exchanged, Apple and a few high profile publishers were recently sued by some gold diggers. These suits alleged that the inability to turn UDIDs off violated consumer’s privacy. Apple could have adjusted the operating system by giving consumers the ability to toggle the UDID on/off (much like iOS handles location), but instead Apple simply turned it off.

    What impact will it have?

    It will have a negative impact on the amount of CPA (Cost per Action/download) advertising dollars flowing into the ecosystem. Most CPA campaigns rely on the ability to track campaign effectiveness. The growth in this area will be hindered.

    Are there alternatives?

    The alternative to a hardware identifier is a browser cookie. Apple iOS devices -such as the iPad and iPhone- use the safari browser, which has “third party cookies” turned off by default. This means that publishers can write first party cookies, but advertisers are not able to use the cookie to measure ad effectives.

    So now what?

    The good news is that “brand budgets” and “location-based campaigns” will not be affected. Targeting consumers while they are utilizing certain applications (e.g. sports applications) or in certain locations (e.g. Boston) is still possible. Performance campaigns that optimize on click through rates are also unaffected. As a result, much of today’s mobile advertising will remain intact.

    In conclusion, the deletion of the UDID is a move that will certainly have an impact on a subset of the mobile advertising ecosystem – especially CPA campaigns targeted to iOS. Multiple forms of mobile advertising will remain unaffected, and perhaps iOS dollars will flow into other operating systems and handsets.

    Mobile Commerce


    Anne Frisbie presented the results of an interesting InMobi study about mobile commerce. The short of it is: consumers are super excited about purchasing goods on their phones. Today there are already around 60 million mobile shoppers that are purchasing physical goods. Of those 56% are using mobile shopping for convenience. Most consumers are using their phones for price comparisons, local store search, research, and of course to complete the purchase.

    Over the last few months I have found myself more than once looking at a magazine, seeing an interesting product, and then using my Amazon mobile application to purchase it.

    Apparently I am not alone. According to the InMobi study, 23% of asked consumers will purchase clothing, and 30% intent to purchase consumer electronics in the next 30 days. Those are mindboggling numbers that should get every mobile marketer excited. If mobile commerce is taking off with such speed, these retailers will increase their mobile marketing budgets tremendously in Q4.

    Google Agrees to Acquire Admeld


    The New York Times


    Google said Monday that it had agreed to buy Admeld, a display advertising start-up.

    Google will pay about $400 million for the company, according to three people briefed on the negotiations. The companies did not disclose the price. The New York Times reported last week that the companies were in late-stage discussions about a deal.

    A deal of that size is likely to attract regulatory scrutiny, and Admeld will continue to operate independently until that hurdle is crossed.

    With modern online advertising systems, advertisers and publishers can buy and sell ads in the split second after a Web user has arrived at a publisher’s Web site. Admeld and similar companies, like Rubicon Project and Pubmatic, help publishers choose from a wide range of ad networks and exchanges to earn the most revenue.

    Google has a display ad network and an exchange called the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Admeld’s technology could eventually be incorporated into those. But Google said in a company blog post that Admeld would continue to work openly with other ad networks and exchanges, too. Others include Yahoo’s Right Media, OpenX and an exchange operated by Microsoft with AppNexus.

    “Of course, Admeld will continue to support other ad networks, demand-side platforms, exchanges and ad servers, to yield the best possible results for publishers,” wrote Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of display advertising.

    Michael Barrett, Admeld’s chief executive officer, wrote in a blog post, “Our goal, together with Google, is to continue to move display advertising forward and ensure that publishers stay on the cutting edge.”

    Local Response


    Nihal Mehta just launched Local Response, a next generation mobile advertising platform. Nihal’s premise is that local check-ins happen in two ways: 1.) explicitly (i.e. check-ins on Foursquare) and 2.) implicitly (by analyzing natural language on Facebook, Twitter, etc.; e.g. “I’m headed to ShakeShack”). Nihal says that most of today’s platforms miss the implicit side of the business. Local Response tracks this data, and allows businesses to respond with real-time social media and mobile marketing campaigns, coupons or advertisements. Nihal is one of the leaders in the mobile advertising field, and I am certain he will crack this nut.

    Read more about Local Response on TechCrunch

    Google Earnings Call Transcript


    Google (GOOG) Q1 2011 Earnings Call April 14, 2011 4:30 pm ET

    Mobile Quotes
    Jeffrey Huber:
    “A lot more of our searches are coming from mobile devices. This traffic has gone up more than 500% in the last two years. Android is obviously a big driver of this. We’re activating over 350,000 Android devices every day. Android market is taking off too, over 3 billion apps have been installed, up 50% in just the last quarter. You can now access the market online. Try it at market.android.com so you can shop and browse for apps from your computer, click the purchase, and they just magically show up in your device. We also recently launched In-app Billing, which has been very enthusiastically received and which gives developers more ways to make money from their hard work.”

    Susan Wojcicki
    “Moving on to Mobile (Advertising), we’re seeing growth this year really taking off. AdMob, the display network that we acquired last year, has over 150 million iOS and Android devices making requests per month. That’s up 50% in the past four months, which gives you an idea of how fast Mobile Display advertising is growing.

    Many of our advertisers are starting to run mobile-only campaigns as opposed to bundling it with their desktop campaigns. It enables advertisers to move to much more customized mobile experiences. They’ll have mobile landing pages and campaigns that can incorporate location. For example, how far away is the advertiser from where you are standing right now? These custom-made stations, again, get us to the perfect ad on Mobile, since users also want to have location, or they want to have phone number. We’re also seeing Click-to-Call taking off with more than half a million advertisers using these features. As a result, the mobile-only campaigns are seeing an increase of 11.5% when they run a mobile-only campaign as opposed to a bundled mobile-desktop. So these are just a few of the examples and the opportunity that we see in Mobile. “

    Breaking Free: Mobile Predictions for 2011


    In terms of raw activity, 2010 was an unprecedented year for mobile advertising. US inventory exceeded 150 billion impressions a month, some important mobile ad networks disappeared, and a handful of promising technologies emerged. For publishers, the overall theme was growth and change as many took the opportunity to switch platforms, find new network partners, and begin experimenting with mobile rich media. For the first time, the US became home to a growing number of mobile content providers generating double digit millions in ad revenue. As big as it was, we expect last year’s mobile growth and adoption rates to seem quaint compared to 2011. Traditional media companies will begin to see mobile as a profitable channel for content distribution in earnest, and we believe that will hinge on a few key trends.

    The Remote Control for Our Lives
    Though the promise has always been there, in 2011 mobile phones will go from being stand-alone communications devices with neat features to the remote control for our lives.

    The first phenomenon driving this will be the true proliferation of the smartphone. Despite all the fanfare over the iPhone and Android, so-called ‘feature phones’ have always been more numerous. According to Nielsen, in 2011 the scale will tip the other way. As a result, a flood of new mobile sites and applications will hit the market, and publishers will need to update their products and interfaces to appeal to much broader audiences. The second phenomenon will be the ultra rapid adoption of new mobile services such as maps, social networking, and commerce (via payment chips and virtual currencies). Publishers must ensure they integrate these services where they will most benefit their users.

    For mobile advertisers and publishers, all of this means a transition from a mobile stand-alone environment (mobile networks, mobile vendors, mobile integration companies, and mobile content providers) to a connected ecosystem. This combination should result in increased mobile eCPM rates, better ads, and higher fill rates.

    Mobile Display Advertising Ecosystem Map


    Paying homage to Terry Kawaja’s (Luma Partners) Display Landscape map, and drawing inspiration from the ecosystem graphs of Nick MacShane (Progress Partners) here is an updated version of the Mobile Display Advertising Ecosystem Map as I see it today. Email me with feedback and additions.

    Click again to make full screen

    Click again to make full screen

    Transforming location into context


    Online contextual targeting is nothing new. Google and others have been using the context or content of a website as an advertising targeting criteria for quite some time. Often the content is even used to approximate the user intent, or make assumptions about the demographic makeup of the site.

    As mobile traffic is lacking a persistent identifier, much of this targeting ability has remained elusive for mobile advertisers. Now a new generation of companies is tackling this problem with innovative technology and fresh thinking.

    The idea to solve mobile specific challenges with online ideas was always flawed. Mobile is different because it adds a location component to targeting. PlaceIQ is now taking this concept and running with it.

    Consider this: over the next few months, much of America’s mobile traffic will become location enabled. As a result, ad request will be able to pass category, publisher information, and location data to the demand side ecosystem. The problem is that a location is hard to decode for most networks or DSPs. A Latitude and Longitude passed as: 42.362258852866965, -71.06977054463653 means very little to an advertiser.

    Enter PlaceIQ.
    PlaceIQ has divided the world into 100×100 meter tiles. Each tile consists of a collection of Latitude and Longitudes. Now comes the exciting part: each tile is filled with offline, online, and mobile information. As a result the targeting parameter to a DSP is no longer: 42.362258852866965 -71.06977054463653 but rather: User in a high value, high density shopping district, frequented by people with a median income of $78,000, with an affinity to the Volvo car brand….

    In other words PlaceIQ is transforming location into context by making Lat/Longs truly actionable. Check out the screenshot below, and expect to see exciting developments from this company.

    Star Wars: Android vs Apple



    Computers are taking over in 2045 ;)


    If you are looking for something relaxing to read: don’t read this.
    If you are up for some mind bending thoughts, you should not miss Lev Grossman’s article in Time Magazine about Singularity: The day that computers become smarter than humans, and perhaps develop a conscience.

    The two greatest quotes: “Maybe we’ll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually.”

    “…we don’t know what a highly advanced artificial intelligence, finding itself a newly created inhabitant of the planet Earth, would choose to do. It might not feel like competing with us for resources. You don’t have to be a super-intelligent cyborg to understand that introducing a superior life-form into your own biosphere is a basic Darwinian error.”

    How true.

    What could be done with flexible displays



    Samsung shows off flexible phone display

    Updated Mobile Advertising Landscape Map



    Why RTB really matters for mobile


    Real-time bidding is the hottest topic in digital display advertising. It is the subject of countless articles, panels and press releases. Google recently predicted that by 2015, 50 percent of all targeted display ads will be bought using real-time bidding, or RTB. Make no mistake, the programmatic buying of audiences is a game-changer. But amidst the buzz, I do not think the industry is spending enough time explaining what RTB is, why it came about, and why it is so relevant for mobile. Let us start by taking a look back. To read the full article, please visit my column on the mobile marketer here.

    IAB releases new predictions



    BCG predicts that by 2015 there will be 1.2 billion internet users in India and China


    Buying a mobile phone was the wisest $20 Ranvir Singh ever spent. Mr. Singh, a farmer in India, used to make appointments in person in advance to deliver fresh buffalo milk to his 40-odd neighbors. Now his customers just call when they want some. Mr. Singh’s income has risen by 25% a month. Now he hears rumors of an even more bountiful technology. He has heard that “something on mobile phones” can tell him the current market price of wheat. Mr. Singh does not know that that “something” is the Internet, because like most Indians, he has never seen or used it. But the phone in his hand hints at how hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets – perhaps even billions- will one day log on. (…) The Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2015 there will be 1.2 billion internet users in these countries. These new Internet users will mostly log on via their mobile phones…

    Abbreviated. As seen in the Economist. September 4th by Uttar Pradesh Dadri

    Smartphone is remote control for your life


    Great quote by Devin Friedman: Companies are turning your iPhone into a remote control for your computer. As a result, your smartphone is now (or will be) your interface with the world.

    Advertising Spending



    Tesla Family Car


    Drove the amazing Tesla Roadster on a beautiful New England Fall weekend. Hardtop off. Racing along changing foliage. Amazing. As you can see in the picture, the Tesla is clearly a family car. It comfortably seats 1 adult and 2 kids. At least that is why I am trying to tell my wife.


    The quality of the chassis, doors, hood, and trunk feels a lot like a Lotus. Not quite as tight or well manufactured as other cars in this price range. However, the inside is amazing and feels like something from Back to the Future: lots of blinking lights, a large screen, and numerous LED instruments. If Apple were to build a car, the inside would look like this.

    Then you start the car and you hear the amazing… well nothing. Not the big rumble of the Bentley V12, or the shrill sounds of a Ferrari 360. A short chime, like starting up your cell phone, is all the car gives you. The car has few moving part, and the electric engine is completely silent.

    One of the reasons the Tesla is getting so much attention these days, is the fact that an electric engine delivers maximum torque at every instance. As such the car goes from 0-60 in about 3.8 seconds (faster than most Ferraris). At any speed, pushing the gas pedal creates the feeling of sitting in a giant slingshot. With the sound of an Imperial Speedster Bike the car catapults the car forward without mercy. Clearly the most stunning acceleration I have ever experienced. As Ferris Bueller said: “If you can afford one, I highly recommend picking one up”

    Adweek 2010 Highlight – Foursquare helping people connect in the offline world


    The Foursquare presentation by Dennis Crowley on Monday was my AdWeek highlight. I had been following the company’s location based endeavors from the outside, but had never heard Dennis speak about their strategy in detail. I would highly recommend that any mobile marketer should get familiar with the platform. Up to this point the company appeared to most like a location-based game. In the next 18 months, the team will transform the platform into a LBS marketing powerhouse.

    Tristan Walker (VP Bus Dev) gave some great case studies about retailers independently creating customer acquisition and retention programs on the platform. However, the real eye-opener for me was the new ability to swipe a brick-and-mortar loyalty card and be automatically checked into the location. This allows retailers to unlock badges, drive folks to the store, and tie their existing (boring) loyalty cards to a new generation of consumers. All the while Foursquare remains the hub, and pushes its own brand. Very clever!

    With the arrival of mobile veterans such as Holger Luedorf, Foursquare is the mobile company to watch in 2011.

    Google: “Mobile will be No. 1 screen for Advertising in 5 years”


    Neal Mohan, VP Product Management and Barry Salzman, Managing Director of Media and Platforms at Google predict that Mobile will become the No. 1 screen for advertising by 2015. “The mobile screen will become the first screen that consumers go to on a variety of mobile devices”.

    Ringleader Mediastamp Lawsuit


    New York mobile advertising company Ringleader was hit Wednesday with a proposed class action lawsuit over its use of their propriatory mobile cookie technology called Mediastamp. Mediastamp is a HTML5 trick to track iPhone and iPad users across a number of websites.

    Ringleader uses HTML5’s client-side database-storage capability as a substitute for the traditional cookie tracking employed by all major online ad companies. Mobile Safari users visiting sites with Ringleader ads are assigned a unique ID number ,which is stored by the browser, and recalled by Ringleader whenever they revisit.

    The technology enables frequency capping and user recognition, both of which are needed in the online ecosystem. In the online world, cookies are widely deployed and used. So the reason Ringleader is being suit is not the ability to recognize the user, or the exchange of PII, but the fact that users cannot opt out.

    According to Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/html5-safari-exploit/) the tracker, labeled RLDGUID, does not go away when one clears cookies from the browser. In addition, it is reported that users savvy enough to find and delete the database have found it returning mysteriously with the same ID number as before — a result the lawyers suing Ringleader say they’ve reproduced.

    HTML5’s database storage is a highly touted feature designed to allow websites to locally store data on the user’s computer — a boon for offline use of a browser app. The HTML5 local storage feature lets sites store certain types of data on your hard drive for quicker access later on. For example, a Webmail service could use this feature to store some of your inbox data on your hard drive, so that when you visit your Webmail inbox, it’ll load more quickly.

    my phone with ringleader mediastamp cookie

    my phone with ringleader mediastamp cookie

    Oh Brave New World


    We recently came back from a few days in China. I have seen quite a bit of this planet already, but Shanghai was significantly more amazing than anything I had experienced before. Our import dollars are hard at work over there, and the resulting infrastructure is nothing short of spectacular. Even more shocking are the crowds: in the shopping malls, on the streets, at the main tourist attractions. Mindboggling.

    We also checked out the World’s Fair. I had wondered why we still need an Expo like this. Well, now I know the answer: 70 million Chinese are expected to attend the show, check out the pavilions, and learn about different cultures. The World’s Fair is educating an entire people about the world they are starting to dominate. Oh brave new world…

    Fabled iPhone Mini


    Is it a prelude of things to come, or simply a crazy Chinese invention?

    iPhone Mini

    In either case, I am not sure how the Apple guys would feel about the iPhone Mini I just purchased in Shanghai. It has an Apple-like features, is about 1/3 of the original iPhone, has a camera, and holds 2 SIM cards. On each call you can decide which SIM to use. Pretty cool feature if you live 2 miles from a European boarder, and want to avoid roaming charges. I leave it up to you to decide if this is an Apple supplier leaking future ideas, or just a miniaturization frenzy.

    i.TV iPad application makes great addition to TIVO


    Usually, I don’t really get excited about single applications. My mobile app life is pretty much dominated by Shazam, Pandora, and Thompson Reuters. Does anyone really need any other application? Well yes, they do. i.TV for their iPad.

    My family’s television habits have been vastly influenced by TIVO, and we hardly ever watch live TV. However, it has become increasingly difficulty to find new series, records upcoming shows, and discover niche programming. The i.TV applications helps with all of the above. Not only does it provide a very easy interface to search programs, but it also lets you send the recording to your TIVO.


    In addition, i.TV also comes with a graphical user interface remote, that replaces your TIVO remote. The only downsides are the lack of a keyboard for typing in larger titles into the wish list, and the ability to schedule a season pass from the i.TV application. All in all a great addition for the iPad, which removes one more remote from your sofa.


    AT&T Not So Special Offer


    For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you already know that I like to rant about AT&T. Last week I was thrilled to get a letter in the mail from AT&T that said: Offer to our best customers. Wow, I thought – finally I am being rewarded for my loyalty and $600 cell phone bill.

    Well, not quite. Below is a scan of the letter, so you don’t think I am making this up. The letter starts with the sentence: “You have been such a great customer, you deserve something special from us.” (Yes, I agree so far)


    The offer is a free phone, when I activate another line by signing a new 2-year agreement. That is indeed very special, and I feel honored to be a loyal AT&T customer. Interestingly, this offer bears remarkable resemblance to the offer that any dude off the street can get by walking into an AT&T store….

    AT&T Called Failed


    Next time you get a “called failed” on your iPhone take a screenshot and email the screenshot to this email address: united99this@photos.flickr.com

    It will be uploaded to a growing art collection that can be found here.

    AT&T Call Failed -Instructions:

    1.) Set up a new contact (e.g ATT-Call Failed) and associate it with this email address: united99this@photos.flickr.com

    2.) To take screenshot of your failed call simultaneously hit the home + power button

    3.) Go to photos, find the screenshots and hit the “email to” button. Find the contact you created. Email it.

    4.) Repeat a few times a day

    iAd video


    Nice video from Nissan that showcases their new iAd, which is one of the first out there. Not really any different from Medialets ads. Well, except for the i

    AT&T and its future


    Christian Lindholm from Fjord gave a great rant during the Open Mobile Summit, which received standing ovations from the audience. Basically his argument was: every other customer service driven organization is able to identify great customers. However, carriers seem unable to do this. Christian, and other international travelers, are constantly stuck with obscene international roaming charges. As Christian put it, “we are buried in the CRM system of an oblivious carrier”. Why are they not able to address this important segment of their user base?

    He is absolutely right. I just received my AT&T bill after traveling in Europe for 2 weeks…. Need I say more.

    The only reason I can sleep at night is because I know AT&T’s survival chances are dim. Any company that treats its best customers this way -while also not being able to keep a cell conversation alive-deserves to be outmaneuvered by competitors.

    New iPhone 4 is released today


    As promised Steve released the new iPhone today.

    Highlights include.

    – video calls

    – 2 x the display resolution using technology that nobody has ever heard of (retina), but from tomorrow on everyone wants

    – front and rear camera with LED flash for still and video (HD)

    – antenna is build into the aluminum frame

    – phone is even more shiny (glass on front and back)

    – smaller chip and bigger batter (longer talk time)

    –  new OS system (called iOS4) that allows multi-tasking, folders,

    – iAds support starting July 1st. Advertisers will include (Nissan, Unilever, AT&T, Citi, Chanel, GE, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Geico, Campbell, Sears, JC Penny, Target, Best Buy, Direct TV, TBS, and Disney = total 60 million committed so far)

    Yes, it is just a phone, but…

    Mobile Crunch has some amazing coverage here.
    PS: During the keynote the phone was not able to load the New York Times.
    Steve (outraged) asked everyone to turn off their laptops because the 520 WIFI Hotspots were not able to support everyone twittering.
    Mobilecrunch continued blogging from his phone..
    Great job


    A giant step for the mobile marketing industry


    Google’s Acquisition of AdMob Closed Today!
    Congrats to the Omar Hamoui, Jason Spero, Russel Buckley, and the rest of the Admob team.

    iPad usage


    In the last 30 days, the Financial Times registered 20% of new subscribers via iPad.

    average mobile ctr


    One of the most asked questions is: what is the average mobile CTR. The answer for mobile display advertising is between 0.5%-1%. Of course there might be exceptions to the rule, and certain campaigns might perform higher. Screen take-overs and transparencies are in a different league.

    Network Blackout


    On March 1st, I suggested that we would see a network outage this year. Looks like it was sooner than I had expected. AT&T had an outage in Seattle yesterday. Read more about it on MobileCrunch.



    Using the iPad, you feel like a hobbit using the iPhone.

    No Dude, its not your finger


    Testing the HTC hero over the last few months, I always had the feeling that it did not track my finger movements as well as the iPhone. Overall the phone is beautiful, and performance is great, but the screen started to annoy me.

    An amazing test by Moto Labs actually uses a robot to test the responsiveness and accuracy of various handsets. A screenshot of the crazy results are below, but you should certainly watch the video.
    Touch Screen Test by Moto

    Porsche 918 Spyder


    Forrester Research on real-time bidding


    Wanna know more about how RTB dynamically adjusts the price of an ad impression based on its specific audience data and performance history?

    Download a free Forrester study on real-time bidding and bringing a proven search ecosystem to online and mobile display.

    Download here!

    Admeld Finalist in CTIA Mobile Advertising Awards


    Admeld was just nominated as a finalist in the CTIA 2010 E-Tech Awards for mobile advertising. You would really help us out, if you could vote for us.

    Follow this link, and then click the “Mark as a Favorite” button to vote for Admeld as one of your favorites.

    Admeld is in the 3rd row.

    Network Blackout


    There is a fairly high chance that 2010 will be the year when AT&T will have a network outage in a North American market.

    How to score the perfect seat on a crowded Acela train


    1.) Turn your otherwise useless Amtrak Guest Rewards into “Single-Day Passes” to ClubAcela. (The 1st class lounge at Penn Station).
    2.) Get to the station 20 min before train leaves
    3.) Buy a coffee
    4.) Go to the ClubAcela with your pass
    5.) Get a red cap service. Don’t worry if you don’t have an actual suitcase, they are used to that. The Red Cap will get you down to the track 15min before the rest of the folks can go down
    6.) Pick an isle seat in the quite car. You want to pick the isle, because that way folks would have to talk to you and squeeze by you. Most everyone will sit down on empty isle seats first.
    7.) Put on your headset and pretend to sleep (People feel bad about waking you up)
    8.) If it is really really crowed, you have to pull out the big guns and spill the coffee on the seat next to you, and look disappointed.
    9.) Sit back, relax, and stretch out.

    Windows 7 (Mobile) a winner?


    Coming back from Barcelona, I was pretty impressed by the new Windows 7. Yes: the handsets look like iPhones, yes: the OS looks like the slightly uglier cousin to Android. However, all the pessimists out there should take a quick look at Microsoft Balance Sheet:

    Revenues $58 billion, operating income $20 billion, and cash flow $31 billion.

    So my prediction: Decent OS + Good HTC Handsets + Unlimited Capital = new important mobile player

    new windows mobile OS

    new windows mobile OS

    The world’s greatest mobile gadget: thermal imaging cameras


    Who cares about the next HTC Droid – throw one of these bad boys on the poker table when your buddies are over:

    thermal-imagine camera

    Sears currently has them on sale for $2000, and you can find some a bit cheaper on ebay. Either way “there is certainly no app for that” and they are so freaking cool.