My favorite holiday is nearly here, so I wanted to get Themes out the door before it passed us by. You can see the results over at my smugmug site. Here are the release notes for our recent release, including Themes, if you’re curious.
What are Themes, anyway? Basically, they let you customize each and every page on your smugmug account however you’d like. No longer do your pages have to all look the same, even when you customize them. We’ve launched with just 3 Themes ourselves, but have no fear – we’re adding more. Want to help?
Power Users and Pros can, of course, create as many Themes as they’d like. Go wild!
Digital Grin is easily the best resource for figuring out how to build your own Themes, btw.
Apple announced some neat things this morning, but the thing that really got me excited was the opportunity to buy TV shows right from iTunes. $1.99 per episode? Sign me up! Bye bye TiVo, hello iTunes! Thank you Apple!
Oh, wait, this is the real world, and companies rarely deliver what consumers really want. Even Apple. The stupid shows are in 320×240! Not 480×720 (SDTV & DVD) or 1280×720 (HDTV 720p) or 1920×1080 (HDTV 1080i). In other words, nothing anyone actually watches. Yes, ok, so the Video iPod only has a 320×240 screen – but some of us would actually like to watch things we buy on our TVs, PCs, projectors, whatever.
So, let me get this straight. The new Macs come with a spiffy remote so you can watch movies and stuff on your Mac from your sofa. They also come with big, gorgeous high-res displays. But you can’t buy and watch the videos and TV shows from Apple on them, because they’d be postage stamp sized.
Does the hardware team not talk to the iTunes team or something? Get with the program, Apple. You’re almost there – everyone wants to be able to buy [TV shows | Movies | Music Videos] on a case-by-case basis right from their home. But they’d like to watch it on all the devices they own, including shiny new Video iPods.
So I just got back from the Web 2.0 conference and there’s definitely a new bubble in the making. Let me first say that the conference was great, the organizers did a good job, I learned a lot and networked plenty. I achieved my goals, and the organizers achieved theirs. It’s not their fault that we’re watching The Return of the Bubble.
But that doesn’t stop the conference from feeling like Bubble 2.0 is coming. Marc Hedlund at O’Reilly seems to think we’re all wrong for thinking that there’s a bubble, but his rationale doesn’t address the biggest indicator: no real business models.
There were a lot of neat ideas at the conference. No killer apps, but the truth is that killer apps take time and they begin as neat ideas. eBay didn’t happen overnight. So lots of neat ideas = cool.
There was a lot of money at the conference. I ran into more VC than I could count, all looking for neat ideas that could become killer apps. That’s good, too, because neat ideas often need capital to become killer apps. Not always, and I think less often these days than in the 90s, but still fairly often. So lots of money in search of neat ideas = cool.
But after talking to at least a hundred guys with ideas and a hundred guys with money, I didn’t hear a single solid business model. Furthermore, there were no speakers on the agenda who even addressed this vital issue.
Most common business model? “Grow fast, get acquired.” (Heard that one before, have you?). Second most common business model? “Slap Adwords on it.” Third most common? Oh, wait, that was as far as it went. I’m sure there were companies there who were selling things to consumers, or doing subscriptions, or doing added service and support. I was there, afterall, and I’m sure there were others. But they weren’t a blip on the radar, let alone the majority.
So my bottom-line takeaway from the conference is that smugmug is even more special than I’d realized. We not only have a business model that works, but it’s been working for years. We have our hedgehog strategy and we’re sticking to it.