There is no shortage of futurists in the world – people who will all-too-readily offer their opinions on what human society, life, and technology will look like in a few dacades’ time. Instead, I want to delve into another idea regarding how we as a species will continue to innovate in regards to the technologies that shape our way of life.
A lot of people have been asking what’s taking so long for Hulu to go international. I’m actually working on a post about this in response to requests from a few people following my last post about the end of territories. But, in the meantime, I just noticed that Hulu has posted an opening on their careers site for a “Product Manager – International” (link).
This is interesting in that it seems to be the kind of move that suggests that we’ll see something pretty soon in terms of an announcement or product launch. I’ll let you check out the description yourself, but I’ll quote this excerpt, which is a nice appetizer for my upcoming post on the current international distribution ecosystem.
Industry knowledge is an advantage. Without an understanding of the economics of the international entertainment business, it will be very difficult for you to make contributions to our international strategy as there are longstanding rules for the game we’re participating in. We are one player in a much larger ecosystem, and if you don’t understand the rest of that terrain and the motivations and incentives of the other key players, many of your ideas and suggestions will be non-starters.
So there you have it. Keep an eye out for some big international video news (and my next post, for those who are interested).
I’m sitting on a plane on my way to a friend’s wedding in South Africa via London (when I wrote this — I’m now back in sunny LA), and all this traveling has got me thinking about how media properties are distributed and controlled across geographic territories. My familiarity with the film industry may show here in the form of a bias in thinking, but hopefully this can apply to other media such as books, music, etc.
This all started when I decided to buy the Kindle edition of David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” a reportedly great behemoth of a book that weighs in at nearly a thousand pages. About this time last year, I carried a paperback copy of this book literally all the way around the world and only got through about 100 pages, shortly after which I got busy with school again and gave up on it due to lack of focus. Back to the point, today in London I fired up the Kindle store on my iPad and tried to buy the book. The digital copy was about 50 cents more than the paperback on Amazon, but I bit the bullet for the convenience. However, a new window told me that the Kindle edition wasn’t available in my country, the United States, but that if I had moved and forgotten to update my account, it was easy to do so through the link which they conveniently provided. Now, despite the fact that I’m sure something like 0.001% of people trying to buy books may have recently moved to a different country, this seemed like a bit of a nudge and a wink by Amazon suggesting that I try a different region. I figured I was in the UK, though, so it was hardly cheating to give that a try. I updated by region and viola, bought and downloaded. Just for kicks, I changed my region back to the US before trying to download a copy to my smartphone and it worked, so you can download if you’ve already purchased it, even in unsupported territories.
If you follow tech, you’re aware of Color, the mobile app that launched last month with the announcement that the young company had raised $41 million in venture financing. The public at large, eager to be the first to call a failure, blasted the app and heralded this large funding round as a sure sign of a new internet bubble.
Since then, though, reports of good experiences have trickled in. Notably MG Siegler’s Mexican bachelor party recount, in which he noted that the group’s color album became “a sorta living, breathing photo album for an event.”
Well I’ll keep this short, mostly because I’m getting ready to get some rest for the first day of Coachella tomorrow (a big 3-day music festival near Palm Springs, if you aren’t familiar), but I feel like this could be the app’s first real shining moment. A shared photo album with my friends, and the ability to see nearby stranger’s photos, could thrive in a festival situation. If MG is right, it could give the best overall feeling of the festival ever captured.
I won’t keep speculating, but I’m interested to fire up the app tomorrow to see if it finally lives up to the hype. If so, you heard it here first. With that said, goodnight and happy Coachella!
A lot has been made lately of the record-setting Kickstarter campaign by Scott Wilson to fund the production of his TikTok and LunaTik watch concepts, based on Apple’s new multi-touch iPod nano. TechCrunch and Gizmodo have featured the story, noting that the project has already received over $500k in funding after requesting only $15,000 to start. To be honest, I actually began this post meaning to talk about the kickstarter concept and how it shows just how overheated the VC space is. Kickstarter first came to my own, and I think most of the world’s attention with the $200k funding of Diaspora, the start-up aiming to create an open alternative to Facebook. My real problem with Kickstarter, which may not be their own fault, in all fairness, is how media coverage about these projects keeps calling the people who provide the funding “investors.” I think that calling them investors implies some ownership in the company/project, but Kickstarter “backers” don’t actually get any equity. It’s a platform for people who fancy themselves venture capitalists to put money into projects that typically (from what I’ve seen) have no financial projections, competitive analysis, or any of several other important elements that a capable VC considers before investing.