In Association with

Who am I?

You can look at my home page for more information, but the short answer is that I'm a dilettante who likes thinking about a variety of subjects. I like to think of myself as a systems-level thinker, more concerned with the big picture than with the details. Current interests include politics, community formation, and social interface design. Plus books, of course.

RSS 0.91

Blogs I read

Recent posts

Directories on this blog



Sun, 09 Jan 2005

New business idea
I was talking with a friend earlier this week about good ads. In particular, we were reminiscing about the original Coors Lite ad with the twins. The one with the lyrics "I... love... playing two-hand touch, eating way too much, rooting for my team..." It was a really good ad. I'd love to see it again. And I can't. It's not available from the Coors website. It might be available from, but I'm not going to subscribe for a single ad. It might be available on a download site someplace, but it's too annoying to try to find content on those sites. Plus, I'd actually be willing to pay for this.

So I speculated that there might be a business model lurking here. Selling video downloads of ads piecemeal for $1 or $2 each. I can think of at least 5 or 10 ads off the top of my head that I'd pay for (the Barbie Nissan ad, the Coors Lite ad mentioned, the Coors Lite Wingman ad, not to mention classics like the "Where's the Beef?" ad or "I've fallen and I can't get up") (and I've never seen the 1984 Macintosh ad - I'd pay even more for that) (and I'm sure more would occur to me as I saw what was available).

If I actually were going to do this, I'd pitch it first to Apple. Tie it into iTunes, since they already have demonstrated they can handle similar downloads and payments in a scalable fashion. Launch it with the video iPod to have some fun content available to help promote video content. And of course, it would also be available to dorks like me for download onto our desktops.

If that didn't pan out, I'd go after cell phone providers. They're looking for ways to promote video content to encourage people to buy higher bandwidth (and higher priced) phones. They also have demonstrated they can handle small payments. And given that people are happily willing to pay $1 for a ringtone (in fact, I read that ringtone sale revenues exceed those of CD singles now (this story alludes to it)), $1 for a well-executed 30 second movie sounds reasonable. You'd have to do some work with compression for download purposes, but it would be reasonably synergistic.

Of course, if that were all there were to it, I'd be off finding VC funding right now. Unfortunately, the issue of licensing all the different ads pretty much dooms this business model. Unlike the music industry, which has standard licensing practices as developed for the radio, the advertising medium has no such global agreements. So I don't think this is viable. Alas. It had potential. I bet that three paragraphs ago you were thinking "No, that Coors Lite ad was lame, but I would totally pay for a copy of (insert your favorite ad)." And that should be the indication of a business model.

posted at: 10:53 by Eric Nehrlich | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry | Comment on livejournal

Thu, 25 Nov 2004

CEO Barbie
I was talking to my co-worker yesterday, and we picked up on the thread of that conversation we had about management by conversation. In fact, the same thing happened as what I described in that post, except that he was the one doing the asking; he walked over to my cube, and asked me a question. While he was clarifying the question, he realized what he needed to do, and went back to his cube, without me having to contribute anything of substance other than a couple interrogatories. After we commented on the joys of being able to manage without having to know anything, he mentioned that at his previous company, it was a running joke that the CEO only had four questions to ask: "How long will this take?", "How much is it going to cost?", "Can you do it faster?", and "What can go wrong?" The CEO didn't even have to listen to the answers; just asking the questions forced people to figure out their plans.

In light of that, and in light of the teddy bear story I previously related, we were thinking that we should get one of the infamous "Math is hard!" talking Barbies, replace the messages with those four questions, dress her up in a sharp business suit, and sell CEO Barbie. I can see the sales pitch now: "Tired of paying millions of dollars for your latest and greatest CEO candidate? Just hire CEO Barbie for $29.95 + shipping!"

posted at: 09:59 by Eric Nehrlich | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry | Comment on livejournal

Sun, 08 Aug 2004

Microsoft Office Man!!
A few days ago, I instant messaged my friend Wil to ask what he was up to. He responded "Working on a visio graph". Recently, it seems like he's always working on a visio graph, or a powerpoint presentation, or an excel spreadsheet, or a word document. He's getting involved in project management, so it's not surprising. But it's still kind of funny. Hence, my response: "Go, go, Microsoft Office Man! Use your M.O.M.-power!" A couple seconds later, I remarked "That has the makings of a demented Dilbert-ripoff web-comic - The Adventures of Microsoft Office Man!" I can just picture it now. "M.O.M.! The board just called an emergency situation and need the newest numbers on the budget!" "Never fear, my trusty sidekick Project Manager! I shall use the automatic linking functions of Excel, and export to a Powerpoint presentation! Voila! Witness the power of Microsoft Office Man!" Okay, I can't make it funny, but I bet somebody who was more bitter than I could.

posted at: 16:57 by Eric Nehrlich | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry | Comment on livejournal