Business Entreprenurship

Office Spaces (

Yesterday, I saw the almost-finished construction of, a very cool concept in shared office space, leased space for small entrepreneurial companies, and a common area that will be the first lounge for the E.Factor network members.

Martijn Roordink took Bill Sobel, Roeland Reinders, and me around on a tour of the IMG_1433
beautiful new space,which is taking final form over the next 6 weeks. The concept combines elements of shared space like Regus clubs (printing, coffee bar, and other services on site) with concepts of co-working (with an entire area for soloists who will share space).

From this new glass top to the building, making the entire inside an open court, to board rooms and common areas designed to get the companies and workers interacting, there’s a lot that’s well-thought out about this place.

Flickr is giving me a hard time about photo uploads this morning, so I will update with more photos later. Additionally Bill Sobel and I took some video and when we upload that later, you’ll get a much better sense of the place, and I’ll expand this entry.

blogging Business mobility Uncategorized

The Launch of the Citizen M Hotel at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

I’m currently sitting in the public lounge of CitizenM, which is a concept hotel for the mobile traveler. M is for Mobile, in this case. I’ve taken pictures, which you can see on Flickr, and will continue to blog and twitter about this. As we only arrived this morning, I haven’t had the chance to sleep in the 2 meter square bed, here modeled by NYMIEG’s Bill Sobel. (UPDATE: Quite comfortable!)
A Citizen M Bed - 2 meters sq.

The hotel room is designed for comfort, but is small, with a tube shower and tube toilet to save space. A futuristic Phillips controller manages lights, TV, mood music, and probably some other things I haven’t figured out yet.
The control panel for the room

The concept here is not to stay in your room, but to come down to the common areas and interact with fellow “Citizens.” Everyone in the lobby seems to have a laptop or a smartphone (ok, to be fair, this is opening week, with mostly journalists, critics and bloggers, but I expect this won’t change much when the press is gone.
Citizen M public Space

Elaine Ching, Citizen M’s PR and Marketing exec told me that the starting price is $69 Euro per night, which includes wifi, movies, lobby books (clarification: for you to read not to take :-). The cafe prices are reasonable based on the airport or other hotel food. The big concept here is a space for travelers to gather and work together, and for people to meet each other. The space invites interaction, as many people are just casually saying “hi” and the tables are such that you can’t help but join a group in progress in the cafe.Citizen M Cafe

More updates as I find them, and I’ll give a review of sleeping off of the runway tomorrow. Now, it’s off to see Amsterdam and then Eindhoven for the talk tonight.

Bonus links: UK Guardian Review of Citizen M.

Happy Hotelier Blog review.

Update: I realized I didn’t tie this concept in with Co-Working, but it has a simliar feeling. I had this discussion with Tara Hunt and Tony from New Work City. It also ties in with the EFactor plans to open business lounges in several cities.

2nd Update: MegaWhat.TV reviewed the concept room in late 2007. See it here from YouTube:


UPDATED 8/14 – Thanks to Happy Hotelier for pointing out how you’re supposed to spell “Schiphol.” Sorry, Dutch friends.

blogging Business marketing supernova2008

It’s not your “interactive budget”, it’s your Marketing budget

Though Cable TV has been around since the late 40s as a way to help programming get to places where broadcast signals don’t reach, it was in the early 80s that the popularity of Cable took off. The launch of ESPN in 1979, and Superstation TBS in the mid 70s that gave people a choice of programming different from the three major networks of the time. At this time, ad agencies who were progressive got their clients to dedicate a portion of their media spending to “cable” as opposed to broadcast TV.

This separation exists today. Many brands still allocate budget for commercial buys for cable and broadcast separately, due to the different characteristics of each. Broadcast cuts a wider path, where as cable networks tend to be much more niche targets. In today’s world though, where one can find much better stats about who is watching what, when, and where many brands are better of just being on specific shows, regardless of where they run, the distinction between cable and broadcast budgets seems quaint.

Not as quaint, however, as the distinction between the advertising or marketing budget and the ‘interactive’ budget. Today, interactive is a part of how a huge percentage of people are exposed to products, brands, recommendations, and especially content. Comscore says that almost 85 million viewers watched over 4.3 billion videos on YouTube in March 2008. That’s over 50 videos per viewer.Quite an audience for your ads. And they can be even more finely targeted than on TV. (Wait, you say, “I don’t see ads on YouTube!” I beg to differ.)

Sometimes the content is the ad, like “Will it Blend.” But, in a recent chat with a marketing firm executive, he told me how he has to beg clients to carve out ten or fifteen percent of their buget for “experiments” in “new media,” whether those experiments are streaming video, blogging, Facebook, Twitter or the like. There’s one strategy for marketing and another for interactive. To me, this means that companies are missing out on coordinated strategies and short changing some potential innovations.

A great example of a company that did a great, integrated job in the past few years was Nissan, when they integrated their product into the TV show Heroes. That previous like to the “heroespedia” (wikipedia for the show Heroes) shows how the car was in the show, integrated in the plotline. They also bought a lot of ads on the Heroes website. Whereever Heroes fans turned they saw Nissan. This isn’t a ‘conversation’ strategy, and it is not rocket science either. But it is an opportunity that required Nissan and their agency to work across what are often silos – the creative group and the interactive group and the media buying group.

There are opportunities for integrating the feedback and ideas already online back into company websites, and for providing an outlet for customers to communicate directly with product teams (as GM did when they invited bloggers to see the Volt at the NY Auto Show). But these opportunities may pass companies by if they continue to think of their interactive and their marketing budgets as separate.

I’m moderating a panel on Marketing Innovation at Supernova 2008 on Wed., June 18th (at 8:30am, try not to be late), on just this subject. Hope you’ll come and share your insights.

Business business development Legal meetings NYSIA social media socialmedia

NYSIA Legal Forum and Special Interest Group – Live Blogging Notes

NYSIA Legal Forum Summary – Live Blogging

Guest: Mark Grossman – Attorney and “TechLaw” Columnist

The industry should be embarrased – contracts are horrible, not so much one-sided as incompetently drawn, fail to address basic questions. VERY often, the contract delivered is not the deal the parties wanted to do. Most business litigation is honest business people, honestly disagreeing about their items that are unclear.
You have to be on the same page – legal review helps you – lack of attention to details will bite you later – it is a safety net. But sometimes people agree to agree later.

Sellers are in the best position to put out the first draft for a deal. Good form documents are helpful for you to close and seal a deal.

Assumption: assume that no one at the table will be involved after the parties sign, the doc stands on its own, and its well written and could be understood by people not familiar with the details. Who do you write for- the judge, the (high school and college educated) jury, who? – Work with assumption that everyone who negotiated will not be there but have the same skill set – and they could read the document and understand it.

Mark now shows 6 basic questions for a software dev contract – responsibilities, procedures for feedback, corrections and changes; procedures for final acceptance; price and when it’s paid; who owns the copyright and ip rights; remedies for delay or failure.
Who’s responsible for: text, graphics, look and feel, layout. Is it defined?

Licensing – who licences 3rd party software? Who does due dilligence on underlying licenses now?

What’s the procedure for change orders? – must create procedures for collaboration

Changes require approval of both parties, needs to deal with timelines, mechanisms for adjusting price, do not get sloppy with procedure – creates litigation.

Procedure for final acceptance – including functions, speed, and response time. Have to think about failed tests – procedures, time for fixing, etc. What happens if parties never agree it works.

What’s the price for the work when it is paid? – flat fees – more work up front to clearly delinate the scope.
Is it based on time? What’s hourly rate? Time to completion? Require regular updates on time to date.

When is payment due? Dates vs milestones.

Who owns the copyrights and other IP rights in a website?
buyer – “I paid for it – how come I don’t own it?” vs developer – “losing rights to my own programming library.”
Work made for hire – unless agreement says the buyer owns it, the seller owns it.
If doing outsourced work, even if venue for law is New York, always check with foreign lawyer.

Remedies for delay or failure – careful balance needed. If customer doesn’t provide what’s needed on time, like logos, graphics, etc. developer can’t deliver on time.

Whose law should apply? NY can be a compromise state.

Magic language- time is of the essence – – Courts don’t like to enforce time limits, but putting this in can make court put higher priority on timeline. (Shouldn’t be acceptable to a seller).

Where and how to battle – Lawsuit, arbitration, attorney fees to the victor?

Norms on limitation of liability – no matter what we do and how bad it is, we owe you little, and you owe us first born.

Limits on liability – from seller – it’s a price issue, its an industry standard, we’ve never done it any other way, we can’t be possibly responsibile for all the harm our software would do if it failed. You have to have backups in place.

Buyer’s perspective – full amount of contract or more, exclude 3rd party property damage and bodily injury, exclude liability for infringement of IP, exclude NDA liability, reciprocal.

In general, great presentation, very informative, I learned a lot.

Business fun

You pay HOW MUCH for text messaging?

I always suspected text message pricing was a ripoff. But this scientist proved it.

Space scientist says texting is four times more expensive than receiving scientific data from space

The maximum size for a text message is 160 characters, which takes 140 bytes because there are only 7 bits per character in the text messaging system, and we assume the average price for a text message is 5p. There are 1,048,576 bytes in a megabyte, so that’s 1 million/140 = 7490 text messages to transmit one megabyte. At 5p each, that’s £374.49 per MB – or about 4.4 times more expensive than the ‘most pessimistic’ estimate for Hubble Space Telescope transmission costs.”