Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Ingredients for Success in Early Stage Company Building......

Lotame is growing.
Employees, Technology, Processes, Clients, and the speed at which our entire business is evolving is simply incredible.

Looking back on my career, I've come to realize how fortunate I've been to work for some incredibly talented entreprenuers......I'm thankful to them for the lessons they have taught me.

I'm attempting to use some of those learnings, and apply them in our business.

Recently, I stumbled across Darren Herman, who happens to be a excellent resource, and someone who writes about entreprenuership, and issues that are critically important to me.

His post on "What Makes Early Stage Investment Opportunities Attractive to Investors" , reads like a bible for anyone who is focused, and driven by creating a powerful business.

Darren's 4 Rules - (that will hang on the wall of my new office)are:

*Prove to the world that you can develop a product or service

*Test the early product/service in the marketplace and receive feedback

*Help boost your valuation (if and when you take money from an investor or sell the company)

*Generate excitement from potential business development partners

Read the rest of his piece HERE-- if you want his recipe for success in creating value for clients and investors.

Good job Darren.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Jack in the Box - Wallstrip Style.

When you have talent, (like Howard), you are pretty - (like LINDSAY), you throw in some talented writers,and add a dash of Adam, Jeff, and Gang.....mix together smartly -- and POOF.

You get a profile of the company Jack-in-the-Box, (JBX) which is trading at a all-time high.....which means it hits the Wallstrip radar screen.

This is a classic Wallstrip - with music, dancin, and Howard rappin' like no other...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Leaders and Pioneers in QUALITY Online Video.....

The Wallstrip Team, led by Howard Lindzon.

A well deserved article on Wallstrip in Business Week, which can be found HERE.

If you want to see why they are gaining traction, expanding the amount of views they get on a daily basis - then watch this clip.
They filmed it in Phoenix, and it gives you a good idea of the concept, from the TEE of Howard....

Click on the Arrow below to start playing, and turn up the volume....

Monday, January 22, 2007

The debut of Lotame GEAR, and Lobby night...

Ilene, Heather and Lisa....

Friday Night Essentials....

Oyster Shooter, Wine, Beer, Champagne and Water......sitting in front of me -- and it was too good not to capture.

Lobby Night and Jeff Pavell's 40th Birthday

Dr. Jeff Pavell (seated 2nd from left) started a tradition with 4 couples pictured here. It is a great concept, and night out in NYC -- and it is called, "Lobby Night." We all meet at a hotel lobby bar....such as SOHO Hotel, or The W. We then learn about the history, the art and the architecure of the establishment. We also take pictures of the scenery, and have a good time. Jeff intends on publishing a book about Lobby Bars, the ambience -- and the vibe. We then proceed (within walking distance)to a nice dinner. This past Friday we ate at Fresh on Reade St. Our evening coincided with Dr. Jeff Pavell's 40th Birthday...Happy B-Day JP.

Friday, January 19, 2007

New Hires at a Startup....

This past week, we have begun to take our company from a, "ripple to big ripple."

We hired some VERY talented folks, and we move into our new office on Feb 1, 2007.

I've attached a picture below of Devin and Scott Hoffman... (from yesterday) we went to our new space, to scope out our furniture plans, and layout for our IKEA delivery..

NO CUBES - open desks..... I am a big believer in large open spaces, this fosters sharing of ideas, without walls between creative people -- and WHITE BOARDS on every wall around the room.

The 1st 10 hires in a new technology company are BEYOND critical. We have interviewed many people who just dont display one major characteristic that I believe is easy to spot.

Being a Self Starter....and running with the proverbial - "ball."
I'm pretty sure the characteristic of "self starter" is not something that can be taught.... Thankfully, with our 1st 6 hires, we have not had to find out.

I'm thrilled about our team, our focus, our strategy -- and most of all, this unique culture that our employees are creating. More pics to follow of our space, our move -- and our, WAR ROOM meetings. Rock on,

Devin Rust and Scott Hoffman

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Classic Earl Weaver...

Earl Weaver was THE manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 1968 - 1986.
He was known as a great orator, when it came to arguing with umpires.

One day, he was mic'd before a game.
4 minutes into the game, he forgot to take off his microphone -- and the ensuing clash erupted between Earl, and the first base umpire....
Classic Earl, (salty language) click on the video below.
Rock on.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Growth and Opportunity at the Beauty Parlor....

"The beauty parlor is filled with sailors."

Bob Dylan penned this line for a song called, "Desolation Row."
I was running at my usual slow speed on the treadmill the other day, with my IPOD set to the shuffle setting, and this song came on.

"The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town."


Bob Dylan has this way of coming up with absolute ZINGERS, and one liners in almost every song he has penned, that makes you scratch your head - and wonder, "How did he come up with that?"

And then, after hearing the song literally hundreds of times in my lifetime -- (partially because the Grateful Dead did it as part of their repretoire) -- I had one of those moments of...

"I can translate this line, after all of these years into, SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE TO ME."

It is about the crossroads of Social Media, and Advertising.

In social media communities (sites), the beauty parlors ARE filled with sailors, in the eyes of advertisers and their agencies. It is a CIRCUS.

It is confusing.

There is a oversupply, and a glut of inventory, of available impressions --- the question is --- "HOW SHOULD ADVERTISERS BUY THIS MEDIA?"

Here are some examples (of how Advertisers) currently execute their social media buys:

* run of site -- fixed low CPM for a specific amount of impressions over time. (usually frequency capped.)

* sponsorship -- fixed placement, with a page or a hardcoded placement.

* content category -- CPM buy in a specific area, or inventory spot.

* CPA - cost per unit metric -- only paying for results. Little to no risk for the advertiser.

* 3rd party network -- Advertisers buy through a 3rd party, and dont get involved with how they get results, they allow the network to use, and make the best decisions, on how to both buy the media, and serve the impression.

"Now Ophelia, she's 'neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid"

Another relevant line from, Desolation Row - and herein lies the problem with Social Media and adverising -- based on Advertisers BUYING social media.

It's about the data. Just like Ophelia being old at 22 yrs -- that is the problem with much of the data being compiled today - it is based on advertisers, being treated as a "old maid."

The data needs to be FRESH, and READY to use, and most of all TRACKABLE and accountable.

Often times sites are using very siloed, or "one dimensional" horizons to look at their user data - that they miss the larger picture -- of MULTI ANGLED, AUDIENCE GROUPING -- and compiling it IMMEDIATELY, (real time) for advertisers.

Much of it involves a term called, "taxonomy." --- Or, a "simple organization of objects into groups...or audiences, for ADVERTISERS TO REACH and target consumers who have displayed a specific behavior RECENTLY.

Not 3 days ago.
Not 5 days ago.

But, where they are generating the most amount of usable, and visable DATA -- inside of that social media property IMMEDIATELY. Make it actionable.

Recency in decision making is critical.

Relevancy is essential.

We believe that Social Media publishers should be ARMING ADVERTISERS with incredible amounts of both data and choices, BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A OVERSUPPLY OF IMPRESSIONS for publishers who own "socialized" properties.

How should Social Media publishers confront the issue of oversupply, and under demand? (based on the low value of their media vs. other websites)

1) Create a plan to fix the issue
2) Use enhanced technology to segment inventory and members
3) share the data with agencies and advertisers
4) sell SPECIFIC profiles and inventory that advertisers desire, sell fewer impressions - but at a higher CPM
5) share MORE data
6) refine plan and test new audiences and segments for advertisers, as a benefit to working with your media.
7) educate advertisers that they can buy media in a targeted fashion inside of the social property -- while protecting the brand.

Michael Walrath from Right Media opines -----
"Display advertising has a monetization problem. So did search in 2001. When you look at it like that, it begins to look less like a problem and more like an opportunity."

He continues --- "The glut of inventory creates a new challenge for publishers of all sizes–how to sell it to marketers interested in driving responses or finding efficient reach. This explosive growth in ad impressions has not resulted in explosive growth in revenue. In other words, revenue is growing, but revenue per impression is shrinking. And if ad impressions continue to climb at anything like the rates they’re growing today, the US display ad market size prediction for 2010 ($6.2 billion) assumes that unit prices will continue to fall between now and 2010. Forecasters are assuming that inventory will continue to grow faster than revenue."

We believe that there is a small percentage of every social media property that is valuable today. It is valuable - and it needs to be identified, sold and acted upon.


Because it changes daily. It is a moving target, in social media it needs to be recalibrated almost DAILY.

Lotame helps identify both the audience members (USERS) - and the placements (INVENTORY) - that have the highest value for advertisers -- so that publishers can earn higher effective CPM's (yield) for their media.

As Jerry Garcia so aptly sang in a tune called, "Althea."

"There are things you can replace, and others you cannot.
The time has come to weigh those things.
This space is getting hot, you know this space is getting hot"

The space of social media is HOT, (according to Time Magazine) - and the facts.

Lotame is focused on RESULTS.

It is a HUGE opportunity - because after all --

"The beauty parlor is filled with sailors."

If there is NO understanding of the beauty parlor........

Rock on.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Wallstrip Rocking....

Mr. Howard Lindzon, the architect behind Wallstrip, continues to impress, and provide the roadmap for success, for other entreprenuers out there.....(like me)

He has done an incredible job of creativity, and team building -- as well as executing on the concept of, "entertainment online for stocks at all time highs."

Howard recently put together a round of financing, which I'm thrilled to say I'm a part of - but, I'm more excited to participate, and chip in where needed, to assist in the continued upward climb of Wallstrip.

I look forward to working with the Wallstrip gang -- Adam, Jeff, Linsday and team, on projects that I can lend a hand on, and add some value.

Congrats Howard and Team -- I'm psyched to be a part of your dream....which is becoming a successful reality....

Here is today's production on BOSTON BEER by Wallstrip. (click on video and turn up the volume)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finding Pain, and Creating Value.....

The best businesses solve problems.
Some of the issues that leading companies solve for their clients -- CREATES A MARKET unto itself.

The original business plan, most likely does not represent how the company evolves and dynamically embraces changes in the marketplace, as well as the client's business, pain points.

Some entreprenuers call this "opportunity."

One of the most fascinating things I have witnessed in the past 8 years (in my former role) as a participant in the growth of online advertising , is how people predict the coming year, and how they think the media will evolve.

More often than not, it has been writers of magazines, editors, and pundits who have scribed something akin to -- "My thoughts on the coming year."

It could be 2002, or 2007. It matters not.
Here a partial list of PREDICTIONS for 2007.

I give them to you, but they are difficult to read...(I try every year)


Because they mean NOTHING. No one predicted in 2001 that Google would rise up and become the largest media company in the world. No one could have envisioned that a company that was based on "Search" -- would DOMINANT, and capture somewhere between 15-25% of online money spent.

No one knew that a company called Intermix, would create the largest platform for internet "socialization" - and it would be acquired for half a billion dollars by NEWSCORP.

No one knew that AD NETWORKS would be as valued as they currently are.

One person, who is a FANTASTIC writer - has nailed what I believe is one of the largest opportunities in terms of PAIN, and addressing needs in MEDIA today.

Robert Young of GigaOM writes.....

"Social networks, and online communities in general, are terrible platforms for advertising formats designed for any type of call to action. As such, Google Adwords-type direct-response PPC ads have proven highly ineffective. On the contrary, the significant opportunity for social networks is to become highly-efficient branding vehicles. In fact, it is my prediction4 that social networks will prove themselves to be the most effective brand communication platforms on the Internet. "

Bingo. He hits on the very reason on WHY I started Lotame. It's about the DATA -- and effective use of highly specialized DATA points...thus, helping BRAND and DR marketers hit the VERY audience, and INDIVIDUALS they a place they are increasingly spending most of their time....

He continues:

"Given the extreme pressure to monetize with low CPMs, many of today’s social networks are way too cluttered with ads. Virtually every pageview that is generated carries an ad. This is highly wasteful and counterproductive, for both users and advertisers. Instead, improved methods of monetization yielding higher CPMs, must correspond with a reduction in the volume of ads. To some extent, old-fashioned artificial scarcity must be imposed on available ad inventory in order to achieve improved performance and satisfaction for all parties involved"

Scale and Data points for Social Media Publishers are KEY to generating higher profit and revenue in 2007. And, it all begins with segmenting and understanding their audiences, SO THAT THEY CAN TARGET MORE EFFECTIVELY.

Andrew Weissman writes...

"In other words, the advertiser intent or motivation (reach, response, etc.) becomes much less important, at least in terms of the publisher side of the equation. What increases in importance is the data provided to the advertiser. The middle opportunity can, in my opinion, be captured by providing rich, detailed and new levels of analytics. An advertiser may only care about reach, or unique users, for some campaigns, but for others might wants levels of segmentation that heretofore don't exist (but are being developed).

In other words, all that matters is data, and making that data relevant and actionable (and visible) (and even share-able).

Then, concepts like branding, DR or even page views fade in importance because an advertiser can take a data set (provided by a publisher, a network or a third party provider), analyze that data, mesh it with strategic or tactical objectives, and make an ad decision."

How critical is that?

"Someone will successfully fuse social networking and online advertising. If I am interested in some topic, like programming in Ruby, or Vespa scooters (along with thousands of like-minded others), then sponsoring an online watering hole for aficionados should make sense. But no one has cracked the code yet, except for the mega-sites like MySpace and Yahoo. This should be the area that traditional media companies would move into, if they had any sense."

- Stowe Boyd, Jan, 2, 2007

My thoughts for 2007 is simply this:

We will add value for our Social Media publishing clients by helping them MAKE MORE MONEY....and increase their value, WITHOUT HARMING THE USER EXPERIENCE inside of the community.

We will make social media work better in 2007 for advertisers, than in previous years.

We will focus on having the most comprehensive set of tools, to arm publishing clients -- so that the LOW CPM's they are charging today -- can DRASTICALLY INCREASE by working with LOTAME.

Why do I think this will come true over the next year?

There is "pain", and a need, amongst advertisers who WANT to use social media properties to target, and there are publishers, who want more money for their media.....

We create the VALUE for both.

And, through this opportunity -- create VALUE FOR US.

Rock on.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Kimock Picture
Originally uploaded by Scarlet_Fyre.
This is a amazing picture taken on Dec 06, 2006 -- by Scarlet Fyre.
This is why I love social media -- the sharing of talent and artwork. Flickr is a social media image site, and it makes sharing of images easy. (click on image to enlarge)
The reason I love the picture so much is that I helped produce Steve Kimock in 2004, on his DVD titled -- "Live at the Gothic Theater." This image reminds me of working with Steve, and prepping for the production in his barn. He practices, and works out musically in his Big Red Barn. This picture hits me, because it IS STEVE.

GREAT PICTURE !!! Thanks for sharing.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year....

May 2007 be a GREAT year.
"Make it Happen..."

Here are some photo's from my FLICKR page....Dec. 2006 pictures from the holiday journey...

Happy New Year. Jan 1st Morning, 2007 with Camryn and Dylan.

John Klauber, (my awesome Father-in-law) and I, at the JETS vs. Miami Dolphins Game Dec 25, 2006 ....and it poured the entire game. Jets Won 13-10.

Camryn loves Rollercoasters, and fast rides....I don't.

Our Family Dec 2006 at a Carnival

This is my view as I "follow thru" on life....and, I love it.

A Great Bar on the beach in St. Maarten -- and a cool vantage point with my Kalik.

Time and the man marching on in San Juan.