Thursday, 29 January 2009

Tribute to Bush Speeches (Letterman)

I have no doubt that all late-night talk show hosts and comedians in general are mourning the end of a golden age in political humor. In this clip, Letterman looks back on the wealth of material that has come out of W's mouth.

Time-Lapse Video: Woman in Bed (Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance)

Cool video - I wonder how long it takes to make one of these things. She's wearing the same thing in the entire video and her hair doesn't appear to be growing so I imagine it wasn't months and months. If I took a time-lapse of me sleeping, it would probably a lot less artistic than this and would likely involve me snoring with my mouth open and possibly my dog coming over at random times to lick my face, and then my grimmacing in disgust for a few seconds before I fall back asleep, snoring loudly with my mouth open.
Oren Lavie is the artist and the song is Her Morning Elegance. Check out her myspace page here.

Lizz Wright performing "Speak Your Heart" at NPR

I came across a cover of Neil Young's Old Man by Lizz Wright and then discovered the rest of her work. What an amazing artist and voice. The middle child of a minister from rural Georgia, she first broke out on to the jazz scene in 2003 with breakout performances at the Billy Holiday tributes in Chicago and Los Angeles. Seems she's done well for herself since then, having put out 7 albums. Also check out her site and her myspace.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Arrested Development Tribute

I've become a fan of Arrested Development only after seeing a few episodes, though I can by no means be qualified as one of the show's many ardent and dedicated fans. I did find one however that I kidnapped, drugged and forced into explaining to me the show's greatness. Here's what he had to say:

The show pleases us (AD-lovers) immensely for its ability to stack comedic moments, every line of dialogue from one of the Bluths topping the other in its absurdity, every other line pulling into the forefront some reference from a past episode that you thought was inconsequential but turns out to drive the plot of the current episode. For those who get it, the experience of the show is like standing one inch away from a wall that's studded with live human fingers, poking your ribs and your neck and your forehead, teasing teary-eyed seizures of laughter out of you, those long fingers, and poking you some more...


Monday, 26 January 2009

The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch

A friend encouraged me to check out The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, so I bought it in the airport on my way back from vacation recently. It was a quick read but incredibly inspiring and touching, and I finished it the same day before going to bed. The book is the literary version and biography of Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor Randy Pausch's last month as he prepares to give one of the institution's signature creations, "The Last Lecture", an invention designed to challenge professors to come up with a lecture that they would want to be remembered by.I also read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch over vacation and it was an inspiring and touching reality check. The book is the literary version and biography of Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor Randy Pausch's last month as he prepares to give one of the institution's signature creations, "The Last Lecture", an invention designed to challenge professors to come up with a lecture that they would want to be remembered by.

This lecture had particular irony for Pausch who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Pausch's last lecture is indeed heartfelt and moving, but the book takes a closer look at the back-drop of some of what he speaks about in the lecture and also the preparation leading up to it as he tried to deal with spending his last moments with his wife and three children while trying to reflect on the material he wanted to cover in this lecture. It is a great work of motivational literature with practical tips on how to achieve your dreams, as well as a reality check that no matter the day you're having, things could always be worse so cheer up.
Here's also a great clip I found of TIME asking him 10 questions. You get a good glimpse of him in a much quicker video segment than the hour longer lecture above.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

ENTOURAGE: Best of Ari Gold

The writers of Entourage should get a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and a Nobel Prize solely for their creation in Ari Gold, by far the most colorful and entertaining character on the show. To describe him as obnoxious, sarcastic, crude, offensive or tactless would all be accurate but not do his character anywhere near the justic. When I grow up, I want to be Ari Gold.

See more of Ari offending and inspiring in Season 4, $25.99 at Amazon.

Kyokushin Karate Knockouts

(the first match lasts a while but it all is worth is at 0:55; after that they go pretty quickly)

Kyokushin is full contact karate ad it's a damn tough sport. Basic rules are that anything is allowed with the exception of hand strikes to the face, and no sparring or protective gear is used during sparring sessions. Kyokushin is rooted in idea of self-improvement, discipline and grueling training which consists largely of technique, forms and sparring. A special tradition of Kyokushin is the 50 or 100 man kumite, a special test for advanced practitioners of the art. Think gang fight but a lot longer and much more difficult (though no knives, chains or tridents and no deaths). For such a test, the subject will attempt to fight 50 to 100 opponents (depending on the test) in rapid succession: standard is two-minute bouts separated by one-minute rest periods. The subject must "win" (i.e., not get knocked-out) in at least 50-percent of the bouts in order to be consisdered as passing the test. Sure puts a new perspective on the idea of endurance, doesn't it?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Feist performing 1234 on Letterman (Aug 07)

Found this great clip of Feist performing her single "1234"' on Letterman back on August of 07. Enjoy!

U2 performing at We Are One Concert, Lincoln Memorial

In a few hours, President-elect Obama will lose the "elect" from his current title and become the US' 44th President and first ever African American president. His election represents so much: a decisive rejection of the policies of the past four years, the progress the country has made in it's race relations, a return to an optimism and responsibility about what it means to be American not seen since the days of JFK.

Apart from the amazing pride that he has given to Americans (especially living abroad like me) as well as the new found faith he's given to the rest of the World that we as Americans haven't become complete imbeciles, the major change that Obama's campaign championed is not likely to come immediately as a result of his election. He will still have to operate within the bounds of Washington politics. The honeymoon period WILL wear off and he, like every other President, will see darker days, perhaps much sooner than most: remember Iraq, the economy, and Israel/Palestine?

(NOTE: If Bono ran for President, he probably would've won)

But I hope that he and his administration can turn this tremendous good will and positive energy into a sense of ownership and commitment from all Americans to be better than we have been in the past, and in fact to be the best we can be as individuals and ultimately as a nation. The problems facing America and the world are complex and challenging; they cannot be solved simply by soothing speeches and patting each other on the back. It will take compromise, tough decision making, sacrifice, and even faith. It will require all of us, from every class, background and ethnicity, to bolster each other up, to take greater responsibility as individuals, friends, parents and colleagues, to have belief in ourselves that we are capable of that which we have been incapable previously.

I do believe though, just like all those braving the freezing temperatures currently in DC to watch this historic inaugurationj, that Obama's resounding victory signals a ready willingness by the American people to take up this challenge to work hard and fix what needs fixing in our country and in the world. While it will be a long and painful road, after reading Audacity of Hope and seeing his campaign in action this past year, I believe he has tangible plans based on sound logic and strategy, and also know how to manage a team to get things done. It also seems that he has the mettle to make the unpopular decisions and deal with the ineveitable tough times that I believe (given the state we're in today) will be as intense as those that W faced. But I have faith that he is strong enough to deal with all those things and still lead us through next four years.

I believe that Obama is ready to lead; now ask yourself if you are ready to follow.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Rob O'Reilly Stand-up at Caroline's

Rob O'Reilly is pretty hilarious for a 23 year old; check him out in this set at Caroline's in NYC and find out more about his US tour here.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Video Search Monetization, according to Blinkx CEO Suranga Chandratillake

In this clip, Suranga Chandratillake (try saying that fast 5 times), CEO of Blinkx, discusses his thoughts on video monetization potential and why it, like performance advertising, may be less negatively impacted than other traditional advertising forms during the current economic downturn. I've read quite a bit as of late about the buzz around video monetization especially for this year. Just having a cursory awareness of this model however, it does make sense that as budgets continue to tighten, marketers will be interested ad formats that allow them to recycle what is already in production (or has been produced) for traditional TV advertising. He also makes some interesting points that there is more demand for professional content vs. UGC, primarily because of the quality and control factors. This is good news for the professional advertising/production elements that may start to see dips in their traditional ad sales/production business. What this also means for marketers is that those campaigns most likely to be successful will have found the sweet spot between the TV's mass-reach and commonality with viewers, and the edgy/quirkiness of online so that it can fit in both worlds.

What is According to their corporate site,
Blinkx, founded in 2004 with a current market cap of $350m, is the world’s largest and most advanced video search engine. Having built a reputation as the Remote Control for the Video Web, blnkx currently has indexed over 32 million hours of searchable video and more than 420 media partnerships, including national broadcasters, commercial media giants, and private video libraries, it has cemented its position as the premier destination for online TV. blinkx pioneered video search on the Internet, developing an engine based on technology that was conceived at Cambridge University, enhanced by $150M in R&D over 12 years, and is now protected by 111 patents. blinkx continues to pioneer innovative new approaches to digital video distribution in order to ensure it offers the most advanced capabilities and delivers the highest value to its audiences and partners.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Website Is Down: Sales Guy vs. Web Dude

I imagine that this happens at most companies at least twice a day.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Malcolm Gladwell discusses Outliers

Over vacation, I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, author of best-selling novels Blink and Tipping Point. Gladwell's latest work shares the same colorful writing style, beautiful weaving together of back-stories and arguments, and subtle yet impactful conclusions that he is known for; as a result I burned through Outliers far too quickly and will have to read it again in a few weeks so it all sticks. I will elaborate more on my thoughts when I have time to add but wanted to get this interview he did with CNN up first for your enjoyment.

Below is also a great clip of him speaking with Katie Couric discussing specifically how cultural differences play a role.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

FINALLY! Yahoo announces new CEO: Carol Bartz

Hot off the presses, Carol Bartz has accepted the tremendous task of turning Yahoo! around; her first official day was Tuesday January 13. President Sue Decker has also announced she will be leaving the company after a transitional period; she has been with Yahoo! for 8 years.

Word on the street is that Bartz is a tough, straight-shooter with tremendous ties in Silicon Valley on the technology side, but with limited online experience. Thus, while it's certain she's a quick study and can relate to engineers and technologists, will she able to quickly grasp the dynamic trends and shifts that can happen subtly but also suddenly in the online space? One of Yahoo!'s biggest challenges has been the diversity of verticals that they have to compete in: portal, content-provider, search engine, e-commerce. All of these channels are distinct with unique competitors so grasping the nuances of all of them then making quick and decisive moves to optimize the future strategy will be key to Bartz' success. The reality is that she won't make the decision on her own and will rely on the input of key senior management. Some worry however that therein lies the problem and that the senior management, too far removed from the average user or advertiser, have driven the company's strategies into foul territory in the past, and may do the same thing with Bartz. Hopefully, she will clean up house at all levels so that Yahoo! can make a quick and speedy return to glory. Happy day for Yahoo!

In the below video, Carol Bartz gives a talk to a group at Stanford in 2006 with some good advice to consider your career path not as a ladder but a pyramid, arguing that those at the top need to have experience in multiple disciplines; let's hope she has such experience and will use it to Yahoo!'s advantage.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Danny DeVito Sex Tape: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Wrong, but funny, which is exactly what the show is like. Fred Savage's cameo appearance makes this clip 100% better in my opinion. WARNING: this clip has graphic language so make sure you've got headphones. CES 2009 Recap

The Consumer Electronics Show, held every year in Las Vegas, finished up this past Saturday; here's a fairly geeky video summary by's reporter Dylan Tweney:
Word on the street is that this show was smaller and less successful than previous years, largely due to the economic situation discouraging some companies from sponsoring or attending the event. Some also argue that this show lacked the unveiling of a hot, must-have product that gets all the attention. That being said, there were plenty of products that will likely get more buzz in the future. Here's a take on the Best of 2009, according to a Y!Tech article:
  1. Palm Pre: smart-phone that is said to be iPhone's biggest competition
  2. Sony Lifestyle PC: $899, 1.4 lbs, super-slim, soft yogurt dispenser
  3. LG Touch Watch Phone: wrist-wearable phone, a wrist-wearable microwave is in production
  4. Super-slip TVs: they're big enough, now make 'em thinner
  5. 3D TV: being led by Sony, LG and Panasonic; I just wanna wear the glasses
  6. Windows 7: said to be a huge improvement on Vista, which means it's about equivalent to 2000

Sunday, 11 January 2009

TRAILER: The Wrestler (Jan 9 release date)

Mickey Rourke won a Golden Globe for his work in this drama centered on a retired pro wrestler (Randy "The Ram" Robinson) who considers a return to glory and tries to put together his personal life. I doubt it'll come out in my neck of the woods but I'm definitely gonna try and pick up the street version. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood.

Every "That's What She Said" from The Office

More genious from The Office. So good, able to be experienced over and over again, and full of great stuff. That's what she said. And as a bonus, check out some of BJ Novak's stand-up at Caroline's in NYC in June of this year - phenomenal.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Taiwanese Tribute - People are Strange, covered by Joanna Wang

My wife and I were in Taiwan this past week visiting some family and as a tribute, thought I'd post this great clip of Joanna Wang covering People are Strange by The Doors. Wang is a Taiwanese singer/songwriter and the daughter of famous Taiwanese music producer Bing Wang. I love her hypnotizingly deep and melodic voice, especially in this raw and unscripted cover. For more info on her or her debut album, check out her YouTube site.

What you already knew: Facebook gets more traffic than Myspace

According to Google Trends, the number of users to Facebook surpassed Myspace somewhere around mid-November 2007. I have used both (though I'm more familiar with Facebook than Myspace) and what I will say is that the former clearly has thought more about user experience and cleanliness than the latter. FB also has the advantage of being fashionably late to the party, giving it the advantage of improving upon those areas it perceived as weakness in Myspace's approach.According to a Jan 2 report by Heather Hopkins, Sr. Analyst of Hitwise, Christmas eve 2008 marked a new peak for Facebook. On that day, traffic to the site accounted for 2.18% of all US Internet visits, compared to the average of 1.42% for November. She hypothesizes that this increase in US traffic is the result of 3 factors:
  1. Weather: bad weather on the east coast forced folks to stay inside making surfing not a bad alternative to freezing to death.
  2. Boredom: people preferring to poke and write wall posts instead of spending meaningful time with family ~ sigh....
  3. Holiday Greetings: most likely.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

John Legend performing "Everybody Knows" on Conan O'Brien

John Legend is the man; check out this great performance in December. His new album Evolver is also worth picking up (click here).

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Is Social Media Killing PR (from AllThingsDigital)

This is an interesting clip that tries to look at the impacts, negative or positive, of social media on the PR firm. I agree with the sentiments of the 2nd interviewee, Jeremiah of Forrester Research, who believes social media is enhancing the role that PR can play, as now users and consumers are able to communicate more quickly and with greater reach than ever before. He goes on to argue that companies (and PR firms) need to remember one of the basic maxim's of business and selling: LISTEN. Social media has given PR firms and the companies they represent a never-before seen look at the impressions that users and consumers hold. Leverage and engage with social media, don't be afraid of it.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Mashup by Hippomothamus: Go & Shut Up and Let Me Go

This is a cool mash-up of Go by Common and Shut Up and Let Me Go by the Ting Tings. Probably could use some additional producing to cut out some of the overlap singing but otherwise, it got me boppin my head. Both originals are great unto their own right so I'm sure there will be those that feel this is an unforgivable transgression but oh well. Enjoy!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Kara Swisher Interviews Yahoo!'s Tapan Bhat and Ash Patel

Kara Swisher interviews Sr. Product Yahoo Executives Tapan Bhat then Ash Patel regarding Yahoo's Open / Social Launch. The interview is fairly insightful as to the direction that Y! will be moving toward over the next several quarters which boils down to: 1.) dramatically improving the way Y! brings together the most relevant content for each specific user (i.e. increase relevance), 2.) improve the quality and speed of content sharing and social invention (I believe to really re-court lost programmers/bloggers that believe Y! to be a technical dinosaur).

Rainn Wilson EW - Digital Shorts

Dwight from The Office transofrmed himself into some of TV's most iconic characters for a summer edition of Entertainment Weekly. The above is him as Xena Warrior Princess, but he also gave his take on MacGyver, Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek) and Paulie Walnuts (The Sopranos).

30 Rock: Random Insults from Jack to Liz

Alec Baldwin's character combined with Tina Fey's writing, are probably the two primary reasons that 30 Rock is so insanely good. Enjoy this clip of his best insults to Liz!

Recently at the Globes, Baldwin and Fey won Best Actor and Actress respectively in a TV Series Comedy. In classic Tina Fey style, her first words after taking the stage for her acceptance speech were, “Good gravy. As a kid I had all of the Foreign Press action figures.” She also spoke about staying grounded even when you've had an incredible year as she has. “If you ever feel too good about yourself, they have this thing thing called the internet. You can find a lot of people there who don’t like you and I’d like to address some of them now; BabsonLaCrosse, you can suck it."

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Charlie Rose: An Hour with Bill Gates (Dec 22, 2008)

Say what you will about Microsoft's monopoloy in the OS space and Bill Gates being too rich, but you can't argue with the fact this man has literally transformed doing business and is now doing starting to do similarly incredible things for his fellow man through he and his wife's non-profit, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Take a listen for an hour to this great interview by Charlie Rose, who by the way, would destroy Larry King or any other interviewer in an interview-off (old school rules).

Non-Profit: Every Future

Had a chance to catch up with my best friend and I was thrilled to hear that he's getting his non-profit off the ground and fully running. Every Future's goal is to empower motivated and rising high school seniors with the knowledge and resources to attend the best US colleges and universities; it can and will have tremendous impact. I'm hoping I can also have a chance to contribute to the students Every Future works with, albeit from outside the US.
What inspires me most about this is that about 9 months ago, my friend made the decision to look into how to do this, started talking to people that would have good input, then decided to do it. Sound simple enough in theory, but I can assure you there were obstacles he had to overcome along the way, the most important one being simple apathy; but none of it deterred him and now Every Future is not longer an idea but a reality. Attributes like self-motivation and inititave are mankind's most under-utilized resource, and I'm happy that I have friends, like the founder of Every Future, that are chock-full of it.

To find out how you can help contribute to the mentoring community being built by Every Future, click here.