Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Begun, the Bandwidth Wars Has

When pseudo watching Steve Jobs' MacWorld keynote yesterday, I was struck by the impending clash of business models in digital content distribution. With studios embracing the long revenue tail by moving from theatrical distribution and broadcast to DVD/Blu Ray as their primary revenue generators, Apple and (presumably) Microsoft and others looking to replicate the iTunes model by bringing video and game content into their own digital "networks", it is a great time to be a consumer (unless you purchased an HD-DVD player, but that is an other post).

For all the geopolitical maneuverings, what blew me away yesterday was when Jobs announced that they would be renting DVD-quality and HD movies on iTunes, streaming over the network to the little Apple TV boxes. My immediate reaction was "Damn, it sucks to be Comcast"

When Apple charges $5 for that HD movie rental, they are imposing a massive load on the last mile internet link to that little box under your fancy TV. I can't imagine an HD movie with 5.1 sound being less than a 5Gb download, at least while maintaining any level of quality. That is a HUGE download for a single view movie rental.

Not only does Comcast (and other broadband providers) have to support 1/2 the distribution burden, they get no rev share from that $5 and potentially lose revenue in their premium pay per view or on demand services.

In the clash between IP creators and owners, net neutrality, digitization, portability between multiple devices (phone, TV, computer, iPod), and limited/aging physical infrastructure, something will break and something will give. When that happens, look for folks like Google to step into the breach. This one will be fun to watch, esp. as all the *ahem* alternative distribution and sharing folks exploiting content and infrastructure at the edges.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

MSB - The Rise of the Main Stream Blogger

One of the welcome trends this election cycle is that blogging has become sufficiently mainstream that the pros are leveraging the new publishing medium to its fullest. For example, compare the cogent, well written character of an excerpt from Byron York's post today to the shrill shrieking that was the norm in 2004:

McCain and Romney: The Warrior and the To-Do List
The candidates make their last pitch in New Hampshire.

By Byron York

Manchester, New Hampshire — You want to see the fundamental differences between John McCain and Mitt Romney? Look at how they chose to end their campaigns here in New Hampshire. Crafting his final argument, Romney, the technocrat, came up with an itemized to-do list for his administration. McCain, the warrior, promised never to surrender in the war on terror and to pursue America’s enemies to the gates of hell. But even as they revealed their different selves, both men seemed somewhat rattled by the last hours of the campaign — not just exhausted, not just nervous, but intensely aware that soon they could be fully back in the race for the Republican nomination, or nearly out of it.

Compared to the hacks that ruled the roost in the last election cycle (as someone famously said, the trouble with the global village is the global village idiot), it is wonderful to see that lines between traditional print and broadcast and internet publishing have been blurred.

Peter Kafka today highlighted the same when he noted the lack of reaction to Bill Gates sitting down with an Engadget blogger at CES.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


For those that did not stay up Thursday night, you owe it to yourself to watch and read what is sure to become one of the more important political speeches of our era.  

After nearly a decade huddling in fear in the depths of an Orwellian night, it moves me to tears to hear someone speak so eloquently about hope.  I have not been so moved since Jesse Jackson's remarkable speech at the Democratic Convention in 1984.

Tonight I watched Obama's speech with my daughter. She is currently studying the Emancipation Proclamation, and I can think of no better bookend to those great words. 

Transcript of Thursday's speech below for posterity

Transcript of Barack Obama's Iowa victory speech


12:48 AM EST, January 4, 2008


This a transcript of Senator Barack Obama's victory speech to his supporters in Des Moines after the Iowa Caucuses, as provided by Congressional Quarterly via The Associated Press.


You know, they said this day would never come.

They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.

But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do.

You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days. You have done what America can do in this new year, 2008.

In lines that stretched around schools and churches, in small towns and in big cities, you came together as Democrats, Republicans and independents, to stand up and say that we are one nation. We are one people. And our time for change has come.

You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington.

To end the political strategy that's been all about division, and instead make it about addition. To build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.

Because that's how we'll win in November, and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation.

We are choosing hope over fear.

We're choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.

You said the time has come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voices that they don't own this government -- we do. And we are here to take it back.

The time has come for a president who will be honest about the choices and the challenges we face, who will listen to you and learn from you, even when we disagree, who won't just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know.

And in New Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight, I will be that president for America.

I'll be a president who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American, the same way I expanded health care in Illinois, by...

... by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done. I'll be a president who ends the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of working Americans who deserve it.

I'll be a president who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.

And I'll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home...

... who restores our moral standing, who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century.

Common threats of terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

Tonight, we are one step closer to that vision of America because of what you did here in Iowa.

And so I'd especially like to thank the organizers and the precinct captains, the volunteers and the staff who made this all possible.

And while I'm at it on thank yous, I think it makes sense for me to thank the love of my life, the rock of the Obama family, the closer on the campaign trail.

Give it up for Michelle Obama.

I know you didn't do this for me. You did this -- you did this because you believed so deeply in the most American of ideas -- that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.

I know this. I know this because while I may be standing here tonight, I'll never forget that my journey began on the streets of Chicago doing what so many of you have done for this campaign and all the campaigns here in Iowa, organizing and working and fighting to make people's lives just a little bit better.

I know how hard it is. It comes with little sleep, little pay and a lot of sacrifice. There are days of disappointment. But sometimes, just sometimes, there are nights like this; a night that, years from now, when we've made the changes we believe in, when more families can afford to see a doctor, when our children -- when Malia and Sasha and your children inherit a planet that's a little cleaner and safer, when the world sees America differently, and America sees itself as a nation less divided and more united, you'll be able to look back with pride and say that this was the moment when it all began.

This was the moment when the improbable beat what Washington always said was inevitable.

This was the moment when we tore down barriers that have divided us for too long; when we rallied people of all parties and ages to a common cause; when we finally gave Americans who have never participated in politics a reason to stand up and to do so.

This was the moment when we finally beat back the policies of fear and doubts and cynicism, the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. This was the moment.

Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope. For many months, we've been teased, even derided for talking about hope. But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.

It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.

Hope is what I saw in the eyes of the young woman in Cedar Rapids who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford health care for a sister who's ill. A young woman who still believes that this country will give her the chance to live out her dreams.

Hope is what I heard in the voice of the New Hampshire woman who told me that she hasn't been able to breathe since her nephew left for Iraq. Who still goes to bed each night praying for his safe return.

Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire. What led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation. What led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause.

Hope -- hope is what led me here today. With a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas and a story that could only happen in the United States of America.

Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.

That is what we started here in Iowa and that is the message we can now carry to New Hampshire and beyond.

The same message we had when we were up and when we were down; the one that can save this country, brick by brick, block by block, calloused hand by calloused hand, that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Because we are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America. And in this moment, in this election, we are ready to believe again.

Thank you, Iowa.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A great day

I am not ready (yet) to get behind any of the presidential candidates, but I am absolutely bursting with pride as an American that an African-American with a name like Barrack Obama has decidedly won the Iowa caucuses.

For my 11 year old daughter, who is following a presidential campaign for the first time, it is a great day when the very short list of those who will become the leader of the free world includes a woman and a black man.  My sincere hope is that she will grow up wondering how it could have ever been different, and never accepting anything different.

Regardless of who ultimately becomes president, America has just become a better place, and our future a better future.  After the long night, it is indeed morning in America again.