The Internet Drives Our Thirst For Narrative.

Every business, foundation, technology and especially every brand, requires a story.
People remember story long after they have forgotten the product.
All good salesmen know this.

Why You Need a Storyteller - VC Returns Less Than NASDAQ For a Decade

July 9, 2013  (Reuters) - For the 10-year period ended December 31, 2012, venture capital returned 6.9 percent, compared to 8.5 percent for the NASDAQ composite index. Causing fundraising by U.S. venture-capital firms dropped 54 percent in dollars in the second quarter, 2013.
     Well, for example, Facebook IPO, May 18, 2012 price per share set at $38; July 10, 2013, price, $25.67
     Old pros at losing value, HP bought Autonomy for $11.1 billion and shortly thereafter the shit hit the fan, shredding mostly HP credibility and money.
     Even big winners strike our, two recent bombs are Google’s Nexus Q [G often swings for the fences] and Apple Maps. 
     But it's still  better to be an entrepreneur than a thief such as, for those over 30, software CEO & thief Gerald Hsu of Avant Software.
     Then there is the traditional way to wealth via the Federal government:
+ According to the July 7, 2013, Miami Herald: Convicted with three others of swindling $67 million from Medicare by paying bribes for patient referrals, Karen Kallen-Zury, (from my old hometown  Pompano Beach) faces up to 170 years in prison for the billing scam.
+ The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor cost $67.3 billion for 188 planes. Due to 20 years of feature creep the F-22 cost $412 million +/- each, for planes that can’t fly in the rain/lightning and took off with a broken pilot’s oxygen system. 
- - Unlike Karen, nobody at Lockheed Martin/Boeing is going to jail.  [Check out Senator Harry Truman on “wartime profiteering," thanks to biographer David McCullough and the History Channel.]

Understanding Social Networking

Building Brand Socially
The Thrill Of Social Network Marketing
The Squishiness Of Results

The danger of relying on social internet marketing is the OCD loop of checking messages, sending tweets, and doing “research” (surfing the web). It's a drive by sale, the new merchandising endcap. Brand plays, but it's still not Nordstrom's. 
Social media monitoring service Reppler says that 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity.  To which 95% of Facebook users tweet “who gives a @#$%.”

BOY: I’m on Facebook,Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube & Skype. 
GIRL: You need to get a life! 
BOY: Will you send me the link?
Target Pricing, Niche Marketing
It’s a Bitch

This shiraz is a bitch. It says so on the label. Royal Bitch is the name of the wine, one of a sisterhood of budget-priced cabernets and chardonnays from a variety of producers with labels like Sassy Bitch, Jealous Bitch, Tasty Bitch, Happy Bitch and Sweet Bitch. In 2004 a grenache named, simply, Bitch got the postfeminist ball rolling. Then came wines labeled:

  •  Ball Buster, a beefy shiraz-cabernet-merlot Australia. 
  •  BigAss Red, from California. 
  •  Stench, an Australian sparkler. 
  •  Fat Bastard, a line of wines from France, sold 425,000 cases by 2004, making it one of the most popular French wines in the United States. 
Ah, the target marketing; Bitch grabs the attention of a certain type of consumer, primarily young women en route to a bachelorette or divorce party, or looking for a special way to say, "I love you" on Mother's Day. Ball Buster is said to make its way to a lot of lawyers from their clients.
 Original article January 4, 2012, by William Grimes, New York Times
Every Picture Tells A Story
A Not-For-Profit Side of Aggressive Labels is Cleavage Creek.        

In October 2007, Budge Brown released the first generation of Cleavage Creek wines. The label of each bottle of Cleavage Creek wine features the image of an actual breast cancer survivor whose story is told on the Cleavage Creek website. “Putting a face on this disease and telling the stories of those who are dealing with it personalizes this and hopefully inspires everyone to take on the crusade,” said Brown. 10% of gross sales is donated to cutting edge research to fund a cure for breast cancer. Brown died in a plane crash in 2011.

DoD Becoming Leading Buyer New Energy Tech -
The Military’s Plunge Into Renewables

One out of eight U.S. Army casualties in Iraq was the result of protecting fuel convoys.
It costs up to $40-a-gallon to get fuel into remote and dangerous places.

This statistic is a driver behind the U.S. military’s plunge into renewable [generate on site electricity] energy. The DoD is quickly becoming a leading buyer of cutting-edge renewable energy technology.
War zones present to a different set of cost-benefit calculations than civilian life – such as the lives lost protecting fuel convoys and the $40-a-gallon price tag. For the armed services, the benefits of generate-on-site electricity extend beyond reducing fuel convoy causalities. A fighting force that isn't restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal. It’s the lesson of Rommel in North Africa, 65 years later.
For renewable energy companies, the military is proving to be a vital customer, buying the latest technology and encouraging private investment. It you liked ARPANRT …
Target-Rich Environment: "We view ourselves as a target-rich environment," Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in announcing plans to provide wind and solar developers with Army land and long term agreements to buy their electricity.
FYI: The military accounts for 80% of the federal government's overall energy use and spends $15 billion a year on fuel. Also, for entrepreneurs, the military is a great reference customer, if they let you talk.
Sources: Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney Tech, August 17, 2011
THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG: Energy for the War Fighter: The Department of Defense Operational Energy Strategy. June 14, 2011

High Heat & Enthusiasm In Clean Tech

Seeking The Future, Now, At Three Trade Shows & A Seminar

Last week I attended both the InterSolar show at Moscone in San Francisco and then later in the week the Cleantech Open National Investors Conference in San Jose. In addition, the previous week I went to a graywater seminar hosted by the
Most disappointing was InterSolar. From a 10,000 foot view above Mosconi, solar technology still comes from Germany, plus a few isolated spots in the US. Meanwhile, China is striving to drive photo voltaic (PV) cells and panels to the commodity level. Besides, right now China is its own best market.From the US vendor perspective, it was a pick-up-truck-driving contractors show, with solar system installation the #1 business; “We got panels; We got mounting systems.”
While InterSolar was 200 watts brighter than the nearby Semicon IC show, it there was little enthusiasm. Gone was the solar evangelism and solar fervor. Totally missing was anticipation for the next-big-thing in the industry. This is probably because the global solar industry is entirely dependent on government subsidies and in the current Western economy, you can pretty much guess that subsidy action is waning.
High Heat: A day later the Cleantech Open National Investors Conference was a ferment of enthusiasm and hope. Here the halls were alive with ideas, entrepreneurs, investment angels, VC and “future-tech” executives from firms such as Chevron to Gundfos pumps to Walmart.
Leading off, author Geoffrey Moore exclaimed an analogy, comparing energy to healthcare in complexity. The difficulty for an energy start-up, he said, is that the buyer needs a complex system, not a product. Whereas most start-ups must aim for serious pain with their product.
As if to prove him wrong Reenst Lesemann of Columbia Power Technologies, talked about progress in ocean-wave energy converters for early adopter utilities in the EU. Other clean tech start-ups presenting included Grant Ricketts with a software tool to track and measure results and Derek Zobrist with a $2,000 valve for reducing energy consumption in hotel and apartment water heating systems.

The overall investors-choice for the conference was Puralytics, which designs and manufactures a water purification system that eliminates organic and inorganic material, including most toxic waste, heavy metals and the growing list of synthetic endocrine substances in drinking water. According to CEO Mark Owen, Puralytics is, “Way ahead of the FDA on the endocrine destroying substances now found in American drinking water.” [Puralytics molecular diagram: Direct disassociation of contaminants by high intensity UV light, including atrazine, amoxicillin, DEET, and all estrogenic chemicals.]
The previous week, at the other end of the technology scale was the gathering of graywater professionals. Graywater systems, most easily understood as reusing laundry water for garden irrigation, became legal and permit free for California homeowners with a change to the building code in 2008.

Water & Energy Are The Big Dogs

My life in song, Doug Molitor: “I've been so many places in my life and time.” This includes presidential advanceman, Intel fabs, Harland County underground coal mines, Mac assembly line, IBM storage lab, Sacramento River Shell refinery, Berkeley OS shop, zinc smelter, software start-ups, fuel cell plant and 25 board rooms seeking funds.
Today I am obsessed by water and power/energy. Water because it is the issue, almost a moral issue, plus a huge emerging inevitable business in clean water and infrastructure. Power and energy is the other big dog. This is where the money is. An almost unlimited arena in conservation now, alternatives soon and new ideas coming from, dorm rooms, labs and start-ups around the world.
But how does a company/technology get customers & investors?
We know is that the internet drives our thirst for narrative. This is key to the diffusion of technology and the adoption of new products. Every established business and all start-ups requires a story. With start-ups people remember the story long after they have forgotten product specs. Examples include, rebel engineers at Intel, Pez dispensers at eBay and college roommates at Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others.
All good salesmen know the story is as important as the technology.

Top 5 PR Buzzwords

Last month, a PR guy took 25 of the most overused buzzwords in marketing and PR—he compiled a list of the top 100 in June — “Solution” led the pack with 243 appearances.
[Correction] Shortly after he published the post, PRFilter set the record straight: “Solution” did not appear in press releases 243 times; it appeared 622 times — and it was the second most common buzzword. The most common word is “leading,” which showed its face 776 times—in one 24-hour stretch.
Top Five Buzzwords
1. leading (776)
2. solution (622)
3. best (473)
4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
5. leader (410)
Compiled by Adam Sherk and PRFilter

Much Like Many Barroom Braggarts -- Twitter Not As Large As Estimates

Twitter users are a sizeable and growing bunch, but their numbers are considerably smaller than those disseminated by many media outlets and Twitter itself,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Twitter Users: A Vocal Minority.” “In the US, this means tens of millions of users, as opposed to hundreds of millions.” March 2011

Social Media Marketing, Count the Survivors

Place Your Bets, Here Are A Few Tips On How To Begin SocialNet Marketing
As we all have experienced, here are many socialnet options on the web. They grow and crumble, at a gold rush-like pace. For all organizations the first key questions are:
  • Do we want to participate? (Do We have any choice?)
  • Are we willing to commit the resources to be successful?
In order for organizations to realize the benefit from social media marketing, there must be some level of understanding about the nature of online communities, social media sharing web sites and applications . The questions below provide a starting in understanding an organizations willingness to take on social media marketing.
  • What are the goals we hope to achieve social media marketing?
  • How will we measures and evaluate a social media marketing program?
  • What are our current socialnet channels and web sites/pages?
  • Have we seen any preference by our target audience?
The more informed your organization is about the social web, the more successful you will be at social media marketing.
Source: TopRank

Mobile Applications - Before You Leap

Fueling the rapid acceleration of mobile customer pull and sales is the extraordinary growth of sophisticated smartphones such as iPhone, Blackberry and Android-based phones. With geo-location and growing data networks, these phones are the newest electronic method to bring customers into your winery.
One benefit mobile site is that these applications can deliver current news, product information and offer a coupon/bar code as to pull people to your winery.
The key to any mobile web site is to “keep it simple,” because web access on a mobile phone is slower than a home or business broadband network. Thus you just cannot move your current web site for mobile users. Instead, focus on what counts, bringing people to your store or winery. If you haven’t yet gotten rid of your flash intro with its birds and vineyards, please don’t move it online, as it’s a bandwidth hog. Concentrate on key data for the traveler – your differentiation, products and directions. “We got cab” will not cause anyone to turn round to find you place. The hospitality folks can do a real time survey of visitors to provide you with information users want.
The Fine Print. Mobile commerce applications should be written for all of the big three mobile operating systems iPhone, Blackberry or Android. (The type of mobile device being used is detected and the server responds with the appropriate version of the site.) Screen size and speed of browser speed are additional decision elements of each mobile design. An alternative is m-commerce application which launch in the phone. Again the three smart phone applications are required.
Remember mobile data is a rapidly changing business. For example, the iPhone is in it’s fourth generation since you put the 2007 harvest to bed.