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Energyms

Have you considered what it would be like if all those frantic runners and cyclists in gymns and health clubs around the world – were actually doing something with their calorie burning? At the very least they ought to be able to power the huge amount of air conditioning that gyms require.

I would really love to see the creation of the Energym – the carbon neutral -self-powered health club – where the energy expended by the exercising maniacs was equal or even more than the energy consumed in running the club – now that’s what I call sustainable!

Boyd is going to talk to Carol Caplin about this – she might be the one to make it all happen – but I’d like it noted that you read it here first!

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John Kennedy and Bob Lefsetz

I had the unique pleasure of participating in a debate last night between John Kennedy who leads the IFPI and Bob Lefsetz – journalist and opinionator extraordinary. It was an amazing experience to hear the full ferocity of the IFPI (international equivalent to the RIAA and UK’s BPI) on the subject of licensing and the business model of the majors. It is quite clear, as one leading music industry lawyer confided in me afterwards, that there are a very small number of major label bosses who sit on very large salaries, who are incentivised by very near term bonuses, and whose chauffeur driven life style is very attractive – and that these guys only see the next five years of holding on to their gigs and are just not interested in anything beyond.

None of that is so amazing – what is interesting is that all these companies are owned by shareholders or other media conglomerates who ought to be demanding a digital strategy that can be carried forward.

So where is the sophisticated taking advantage of their fabulous position, where is the seizing of the opportunity to barter a mega act for an unknown – or to swap a conventional business model for a radical new one – or not swap it – just add it into the mix. Nowhere…

So – yes, the field is wide open – but no the leverage is being kept by the impoverished four.

The majors – the impoverished four – Kennedy says they’re still a $30bn business – I heard it was down to $20bn these days… well which is it? Aaah of course, it’s the IFPI that gives out those statistics… that’s called shareholder relations.

Digital Music companies – next generation…

Mercora http://www.mercora.com, Pandora http://www.pandora.com, GoFish ttp://www.gofish.com, and many more – it does seem that our appetite for new digital music solutions is endless. Almost like it was five years ago, we seem to be back with a series of wild, sometimes ambiguous suggestions for solutions. Now of course every one of them is a mobile phone / web-based music solution. Streaming seems to be back in fashion given what G3 can do and what DSL has done to home usage. It still seems extraordinary to me that Steve Marks at the RIAA hasn’t jumped down Mercora’s neck with a vengeance, but apparently he’s frustrated but feels forced to admit that they’ve tap danced around the DMCA sufficiently to make them not illegal – not sure yet if that makes them legal as such. No doubt they are seriously pissing off the major labels by playing the global nature of the web against the local nature of copyright laws in different countries. In England we call that cocking a snook at the law – I’ve no idea what they call it here in the US. Anyway good luck to them. It’s still a bit flaky if you ask me to be forced to stream – but then to record those streams – hmm now that gets pretty interesting.

There’s lots of debate going on about whether the phone is going to replace the Ipod. Judging by the delicious lightness of the Nano – I think we’re some way of that yet. But I guess if you could combine a Nano and a Rasr – what would you get? A nano-rasr hmm…

The thing all this stuff still doesn’t have though – if it’s going to really live comfortably in my pocket is – bendability. None of this hard, inflexible metal and plastic stuff, I want a softer more supple material to have all this going on in – and I want a screen that projects into mid-air so that it can be much larger than itself…

Oh we have still got so much to do!

Silicon Valley Redux

I’ve been out doing some business in Walnut Creek, CA this week and so it was fitting to receive a very kind invitation to the August Capital annual Social from that very nice VC extraordinaire and cultural maven Mr David Hornik (he’s also author of ventureblog http://www.ventureblog.com an intriguing window on the VC and the valley). So at the end of my working day, I jumped into my hire car and rushed off down the beautiful Californian freeways to take me from the suburban reaches of Walnut Creek to the bucolic manicures of Menlo Park. I reached this beautifully hosted event at dusk – a valet with white gloves on drove my car off – leaving me with that slightly vulnerable “this scrap of paper is my car” feeling. Inside, there were gathered a select hubbub of the most interesting movers and groovers of the ongoing tech revolution. The technorati in jeans and shirts, Venture capitalists in chinos and sports jackets and the groovy VCs of August in decorated untucked shirts – all hanging out on their delightful terrace. Among the crowd, the grizzly, but credible guys from Flickr (“no we’re still having to wait for wi-fi digital cameras”) , a bright and booming bloke from Intel Investments – “yes we look at mobile – we think that Japanese know quite a lot about making money – but their time line is so different from ours.” A floater whose company had just gone public and who had just moved up from Austin Texas “in search of the truth”, a couple of music shakers who were gripped to their cellphones and a man who talked to me endlessly about how terrible his Treo was. I was upset by this, his main complaint was everything about it sucked but it was the only phone that did everything he wanted it to do! I mean where was his gratitude – I love my Treo – it’s so geeky! Meanwhile, Sumir from Yahoo Search was just the most enthusiastic man in the world! How could we go wrong – with Searchable content like his?

Driving back, I narrowly avoided a dead deer on the 280 in the dark. It was one of those movie-like moments – I saw it in literally one blink of my eye – prone and bloody on the slick Californian tarmac. But as luck would have it, as I speeded past, I didn’t do my normal thing of identifying with the roadkill. Instead I felt exhilarated by this extraordinarily optimistic bunch I had just the fleeting pleasure of mingling with. Any idea is worthy of consideration and nothing is too dumb not to think twice about – were they really that open?

The Valley has managed to avoid the over-extended, wildly unrealistic pitfalls of the first web-bubble, but the web 2.0 confidence is pretty strong. It seems as if it’s heading full-tilt towards a massive enabling of and exploitation of consumer created content. The post modern me-generation doesn’t just want to talk about “me”, it wants to publish “me” to “myself” and in the words of the best phone in radio request shows “anyone who knows me.” So we are all individual media soures narrowcasting to ourselves. And it seems that the big problem is that none of us is any good at tagging our content with the metadata to make it meaningful. And, by the way, it appears that much of the content might be better described as malcontent which exists like some kind of statistical soundbed or concrete poetry to support the really good stuff. And the really good stuff, will probably contain its own meta-data and not need special tagging, but that might just be my elitist prejudice.

poesie

small bombs in domestic packages

corrupted digits on the drive

layer of rust on leaves

no service – no calls

not sure where this comes from

what they want bad taste in the mouth

rip in side of the head

escaping up escalators

no time – no words – no signal

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It’s all about what goes on in the shed.

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digital compassionate sky