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Concert Overload

Posted in events, music by tipo on April 15, 2010

Warm weather enters NYC and I start to act as if it is summer. I plan to see several shows over the next few months. If you’re going to any of these, make sure to holler at me. (And yes, this list will get longer.)

4/20: Whitest Boy Alive @ Bowery Ballroom

5/6: Local Natives @ Bowery Ballroom

5/28: Jeremy Messersmith @ Joe’s Pub

6/4: Stars @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

6/9: School of Seven Bells @ Mercury Lounge

6/30: Tokyo Police Club & Passion Pit @ Governors Island

7/9: Bear In Heaven @ South Street Seaport

7/23: Free Energy & Best Coast @ South Street Seaport

7/27: The National & Beach House @ Prospect Park

8/6-8/9: Lollapalooza @ Grant Park


How Innovative Is Your Privacy Policy?

Posted in internet by tipo on February 22, 2010

Internet privacy is a slippery slope. Despite our perception of a borderless web, legislation varies for each country. As Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others push the web to become more social, users’ privacy control wanes. And privacy is absolutely not dead. Privacy is now a method to create and manage your identity, explains my coworker Bud Caddell. 2010 is the year people share more, 2011 will be the year people regret their exhibitionism.

I am more concerned about our youth than adult users when it comes to privacy. Adults need to take personal responsibility and understand that if Facebook hints at changes in users’ privacy settings, then they must take action. I don’t expect my 10-year-old cousin on Facebook to understand this – and yes, despite Facebook’s 13-year-old age limit, he and several of his underage friends peruse the network each day. You can argue that parents are responsible for keeping their children away from the social web, but we all know that’s an unfair expectation.

Web giants need to start mimicking older media predecessors’ social responsibility. In 2007, Nickelodeon began prohibiting use of its characters on junk food products. Characters can only be licensed to “better for you” products that were determined by Nick’s marketing department and food advocacy groups. Comparatively, the Google Dashboard is a poor man’s excuse to bring privacy controls to the masses, let alone youngsters.

Some web applications are ahead of the curve. The mobile app Citysense grants users ownership over historical data. The app includes buttons to “delete any data acquired in the last 24 hours” and to “delete all historical data.” This is brilliant. This will be the future. More historical data may make an application smarter (what up, algorithm) and more appealing to marketers (what up, CRM), but users’ distrust will be on the rise as they start to see their digital thumbprints all over search engines and declined university and job applications. Platforms that exercise transparent user data management will soon be perceived as more innovative than those that do not.

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Future Algorithm of the Social Web

Posted in internet by tipo on February 16, 2010

I recently alluded that Facebook needs to implement smarter algorithms or my defriending fiesta begins tomorrow (David Armano held a similar argument this weekend). My coworker Mike Arauz helped me realize that my dilemma is much larger than Facebook, by asking what metrics would I like to see in a network’s algorithm. There’s no doubt that social’s main focus is soon to be content (and location) compared to individual connections. If current social powerhouses don’t filter the noise, they will quickly become less valuable.

A social algorithm needs two pillars: 1) That identifies your relationship with an individual (person, brand) and 2) That identifies your relationship with the content source. An individual and content source must be equally weighted because if content is social’s currency, it’s only valuable when you have individuals to exchange it with and vice versa. Most networks tend to only focus on the individual and ignore the fact that a significant part of our interactions occur with content. Whether a friend pushes out a status update, check-in or piece of content, his action needs a two-pillar combined score:

For the algorithm to be possible, the future social network would leverage APIs so your friends and data from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Reader, Delicious, Last.FM, Netflix and so forth travel with you. On a more micro level, I would hope for the algorithm to reflect more personal connections: Do you listen to the same music as the individual? Watch similar films? Hang out in the same places? However, the crux of the algorithm is to recognize your relationship with content and the insights that come from it.

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My Staple Eateries

Posted in eats by tipo on February 13, 2010

A friend recently moved to my neighborhood (east village) and requested all my walking distance joints. Clearly, I eat out way too much. The list:

Sandwiches & Salads
Bite –
Olives –
Porchetta –

Pizza (Jon’s recs)
Motorino pizza –
Lombardi’s –
Co –
Artichoke –

Westville –
Jane –
The Smith –
Mud Spot –
Cafe Orlin –
Marquet –
Veselka –
B&H –
Dojo –
Angelina cafe –
Sunburnt cow –
Five points –
Great jones cafe –
Clinton st bakery –
7a –

Pylos –
Moustache –
Snack –

La Esquina –
Pinche Taqueria –

Franks –
Lil Frankies –
Supper –
Max’s –
lL Bagatto –
Emporio –
inoteca –
Frankie Spuntino –

(New) American
Jane – see above
The smith – see above
Spitzer’s –
Schiller’s –
Ditch Plains –
Little Owl –
10 Downing –
Market Table –
Back Forty –
Esperanto Cafe –
Prune –
Elephant –
Cafe Select –
Elizabeth –
Mermaid Inn –
Mary’s Fish Camp –
August –
dgbg –

Boqueria –
Casa Mono –
Pipa –
Caraca Arepas –
Yuca Bar –

Quantum Leap –
Angelica Kitchen –
Souen –
Spring Street Natural –
Wild Ginger –

Wo Hop –
Joe’s Shanghai –
Peking Duck House –
Hop Kee –

Mamouns –
Taim –
Tahini –

Tomoe –
Takahachi –
Yamma –
Hiro –
Blue Ribbon –
Sushi UO –
Cube 63 –

Sticky rice –
Spice –

Noodles (Jon’s recs)
Rai Rai Ken –
Momofuko Noodles –
Ippudo –

Burgers (Jon’s recs)
Back Forty – see above
Corner Bistro –
Zaitzeff –
Shake Shack – (not walking distance)
Burger Joint – (not walking distance)
Stand –

Everyman Espresso –
Cafe Angelique –
9th street espresso –
abraco –
Mud Truck – see above
Stumptown – (not walking distance)
Gimme Coffee –
joe the art of coffee –
Grounded –
La Colombe –
Doma –
Puerto Rico Import –

Facebook, You Ain’t My Everything

Posted in internet by tipo on February 7, 2010

Facebook will do or die in the next few months. Expect it to not only turn into your main content platform, but for it also to become very location centric. We already witnessed the network’s power last week – A Facebook blog post encouraged users to create a “news” feed, fanning your favorite media outlets. As a result, Facebook was the #4 source of visits to media sites last week, only behind Google, Yahoo and MSN. Come on, that is insane how quickly Facebook can disrupt a paradigm.

More so, industry rumors hint that Facebook will soon institutionalize check-ins. This is obviously a major threat to location darlings Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp. But how public are Facebook users willing to become? On Foursquare, I have 25 friends who I interact with on a daily basis. On Facebook, I have 800 friends that I never talk to and see – do I really need those people to know where I hang out at night?

If Facebook is out there and listening, please take my advice that you need to step up your intelligence algorithms. If my news feed becomes flooded with content and location check-ins of people I never contact, get ready for me to unfriend hundreds of people. The value of my Facebook friends rely on whether 1) I hang out with them in real life 2) I can’t hang out with them in real life but want to stay in touch or 3) I find them voyeuristically interesting. Every time I click on a friend’s profile, read an article they liked or viewed a photo, I need you to track that data and provide me with smarter content recommendations and location check-ins upon my return. If you don’t become any smarter, you will start to resemble the black hole that is my email inbox.

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The End of The NYTimes As We Know It

Posted in internet by tipo on January 17, 2010

The New York Times recently announced that it would be offering online higher education courses. Evidently, the traditional media giant realizes it needs to change the way it does business. This announcement was then followed by New York Magazine’s report that the NYTimes would soon be charging for online content. Perhaps being an esteemed online publisher won’t be enough in the near future.

Today’s most respected companies are ones that are born from the Internet – Amazon, Netflix, and Zappos. However, these businesses are far from remarkable. They sell or rent stuff on the Internet and make money. The difference between these online companies and ones born outside of the web is that their base business model is second to the consumer. The consumer first appreciates their continued commitment towards innovation, transparency, and community.

The NYTimes is in a fortunate position where its brand is highly credible. To some, a journalist who has the NYTimes under his belt is more credentialed than a blogger. Of course, many bloggers are earning ranks but it is still different. It’s difficult to weigh popular local bloggers against NYTimes journalists who are preserving the “long form” in Haiti or the Middle East.

The NYTimes understands that its brand should welcome participation, knowledge sharing, and build a community of people who are credited NYTimes scholars. If today’s currency is social currency (sharing content that builds your public facing image), then some of the strongest currency you could transact with is the NYTimes. I’d argue that the media giant needs needs to take its brand value outside of its gates by bringing NYTimes knowledge communities to other audiences. Imagine a group of NYTimes scholars invading Yahoo! Message Boards, elevating the level of conversation, and recruiting the average Yahoo! man to jump on the bandwagon. The media outlet needs to earn new audiences and active its current and future ones to act on its behalf.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the NYTimes eventually evolved into a wiki. Its community would be so schooled in journalism, ripe for thought and novelty that they’d be turning out stories left and right. This may sound a lot like citizen journalism, and perhaps it is, but the difference is that this community would be held to the same standards as today’s “traditional journalists.” Misreporting, inaccuracy of any kind would not fly. They would also have more access than a citizen journalist – funding for travel, ability to interview elected officials and so forth.

But with today’s foredooming news that the NYTimes will start charging for online content, my ideal knowledge community might not be. It’s fine to associate cost with status, i.e. buying a degree. But if the lowest level of participation becomes cost, the NYTimes will not become a prosperous digital community. Digital beckons the smallest possible barrier to entry, internet access and literary. Once cost enters the equation, the average lurker is off finding a place where he can lurk for free. Just look at the music industry, enough said.

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A Lesson in Supply and Demand

Posted in internet by tipo on January 12, 2010

Who wasn’t appalled when they found out that the H&M on 34th st, NYC was throwing away distressed inventory? The go to answer is for H&M to donate excess merchandise to charity – and it should be – but digital can prevent retail giants from reaching that point all together.

All eyes should be on Threadless. Threadless aims to keep their inventory level at zero. Each week artists submit designs in which the online community scores them from 0-5 and decides whether they’d purchase this design for a t-shirt or poster.  The most popular weekly designer receives $2,000 and is invited to the HQ to be a part of the manufacturing process. Based on the voting process, Threadless then determines how many t-shirts and posters to produce.

Retailers need to harness the same supply and demand insights from their communities. Clearly, it’s much more difficult for a company that sells more than t-shirts and posters. It is doable. H&M could publish their spring line on their .com and elicit the community’s feedback to prevent the 34th st debacle. Did one product perform consistently below average? Kill it. Did a blouse resonate more with people from Illinois than New York? Let’s amend our local distribution plans. Retailers simply do not realize the amount of insights they can gain in advance from digital communities.

Please feel free to share other companies or sites that are following Threadless’ footsteps!

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How Martha Graham’s “American Document” Relates to the State of Digital

Posted in internet, Out Of This World by tipo on January 10, 2010

Yesterday, I saw a rendition of Martha Graham’s American Document. It’s a dance piece that samples the zeitgeist of 20th century America. The work is a part of the Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival and now includes moments from the 21st century thanks to director Anne Bogart, playwright Charles Mee, and the Martha Graham Center. However, it’s only 80% done.

The work opened with a spoken prologue that explained the process of recreating Graham’s piece. The archives included a 5 minute video clip and choreography scribbled on a few sheets of paper. It’s funny to think of preserving dance because it’s live and fleeting. And that’s what got me thinking of digital.

Who remembers the architecture of GeoCities in the 90s? More so, who remembers the behaviors we exercised while creating custom GeoCities pages? The motions of digital are much like dance, improvised, rarely written down and difficult to replicate. History has always been an important foundation of progress, and I’m constantly grappling with my own personal digital history – less in terms of my digital footprint, but more so on my actions.

And that got me thinking again, preservation and data. At work, we’re constantly talking about data. For the greater part of my life, I avoided numbers – My father is an accountant and I always thought how boring it would be to spend your days surrounded by numbers. But today, numbers are our ticket to building an archive of digital behaviors. What’s my frequency of consuming content through my Google Reader than Twitter? Let me compare my 2010 ratio to 2015.

Data, however, is not nearly as valuable unless you have competitive benchmarks. I’d argue that calling data that’s outside of your own competitive is what’s holding the digital community back. All data should be deemed comparable. Digital advances when it’s open to everyone. The community can then apply their collective creativity to the information at hand and take part in projects like the Netflix Prize or NYC BigApps. I’m over the term collective intelligence. It glosses over the fact that analyzing data (the internet, this world) is evolving, begs improvisation, and embodies creativity.

Without the Martha Graham Center’s archives and the insights from Bogart and Mee, yesterday’s performance would have not been possible. Their collaboration was core to the success and their willingness to share their progress and unfinished work allowed for the audience to deeply engage and influence the piece’s completion. If dance is like digital, why don’t we exercise the same transparency? Why do we critique each website and application as if it’s a product that cannot be changed?

If I could have my way tomorrow, there’d be a Data Dump. Data Dump is to data as Creative Commons is to art. After a project’s completion, individuals and companies would submit their captured data to the site. Why? Because we will soon stop seeing data as something that needs protection. The more informed we become about digital, the more likely every project after will advance the community. Imagine Burger King being able to access McDonald’s numbers and vice versa. This idea is probably diabolical to their C-Suites, but it’s already happening to an extent. I can see how many Facebook friends, Twitter followers, clicks and so forth you have, but only having a slice of the pie creates an obstructed view. If each competitive party is making assumptions about the other, that only leads to equal errors and a lack of progress. But if each party saw each other as comparable, or dare I say collaborative, imagine the possibilities.

Berlin Wrap Up

Posted in travel by tipo on January 9, 2010

People are right when they compare Berlin to Greenwich Village in the 60s and 70s. For such an old city, it’s still finding itself. The outburst of underground art and music is unfortunately tainted by high unemployment rates and a lack of babymaking. Even so, you must go. But don’t go during the winter (learned my lesson the hard way).

Best things to see:

Künstlerhaus Bethanien – A 17th century hospital that’s now home to several art squatters.

Hamburger Bahnhof – A 19th century train terminal that’s now a contemporary art museum with Dan Flavin light installation on the building’s exterior.

Sachsenhausen – Concentration camp 1 hour north of Berlin. Take a tour with Insider Tour’s Jakob, he was an amazing guide!

Best places to eat:

Schlemmerbuffet – Super cheap, huge kabab sandwiches.

I Due Forni – Punk run Italian joint.

Luigi Zuckerman – Berlin’s take on a NYC Jewish deli. It’s run by a 20-something Israelie, who used to live on Avenue A, NYC.

Best places to go out:

Zu Mir oder Zu Dir – World’s chillest bar. With the world’s greatest name, “My place or your place?”

Clarchens Ballhaus – An old school dance hall that feels like you’re on a family vacation in the Berkshires.

And then any club in a warehouse in Friedrichshain.

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Vogue does indie rock

Posted in music by tipo on December 22, 2009

The January issue of Vogue will feature Vampire Weekend, Beirut, Horrors, and MGMT sporting designer threads. The sneak preview looks damn sexy.