Google’s IPO web site

The Google IPO web site is live so people can sign up to get a bidder ID. I’m going to go through the process and possibly bid for a few shares. How could I miss out on this historic dutch auction? The last time I bought shares in an IPO was a friends and family deal back in ’99 where I flipped the shares in 3 days and made 60% of my annual salary in that time. This is definitely not ’99 and those buying into this IPO should probably buy and hold.

How Google Will Make Money in Print

From Wall Street Journal:

In a sign of how the Internet is rebounding, Jupiter predicts that marketers will spend $8.4 billion on online advertising in 2004, while earmarking $12.2 billion for magazines. In 2007, the two platforms each will get $13.8 billion. In 2008, online ad spending surges ahead, capturing $15 billion, compared to magazines’ $14.5 billion, Jupiter predicts. The gap widens in 2009. The Jupiter forecast is set to be released Wednesday.

One of the most interesting concepts to me is the possible hybridization of online and print advertising. I read recently that Patrick Keane, former Jupiter analyst (he covered the content subscription space for some time and back in 1999 we flew him to Utah to consult with Ancestry.com), is apparently an employee at Google and he is exploring ways to extend AdSense to print.

Imagine this: future magazines and newspapers could algorithmically match Google ads with the content of the columns that are being published. The highest bidder would get placement in print. Each column could have a sidebar with the ads most relevant to the reader. It might end up being a service to the reader as well as a revenue source for the publisher.

People may challenge this future possibility by saying that the results of such advertising will not be measurable; but that is only if they aren’t following technology like the Anoto pen, or cell-phone/wireless wallets, or even www.jumptech.com which beginning in 1998 started bridging paper with internet transactions. The devices aren’t here yet, but surely they are coming, first to Asia and Europe, and then to the US.

I actually think it is possible that by 2008 Google gets a large chunk of the $15 billion in online advertising as well as a small but growing slice of the magazine and newspaper advertising revenue that is forecast by Jupiter, by extending their online advertisers beyond content based web sites to print publications. It seems like a very natural progression to me, and one that will be welcomed by many print publishers who can spend less time and money selling ads.

Recommended Links:

Skype To Offer Phone Calls to Traditional Phone Lines

Skype continues to disrupt. With 16.7 million downloads, they are now preparing a commercial service that allows Skype users to make phone calls that terminate on land lines. They announced 4 partnerships today.

“Skype will use Teleglobe VoIPLink to support Skype’s first commercial service, SkypeOut, a soon-to-be-launched pre-pay feature that allows Skype users to call traditional phones worldwide from their Skype application.” (Business Wire)

Skype is also partnering with Level 3 communications for IP-based voice termination service.

I still think Google should acquire Skype. What a combination that would be!

Turning Off Comments on My Blog

I had to turn comments off because so many people complained at how slow my blog was. I did some research. It turns out Radio Userland has to count the number of comments before it displays my blog, and that can slow it way down. So I turned off comments.

But I really miss the feedback and the conversation. I’m a lonelier blogger now.

I’m looking for a remotely-hosted message board that I can link to whenever I post. My two top candidates so far are ezboard.com and websitetoolbox.com.

Can anyone give me a recommendation?

How the Internet Will Affect Politics and Government

I finished Joe Trippi’s book last night, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. I marked hundreds of passages and dog-eared dozens of pages. This is one man’s insider view of how the Dean campaign revolutionized political campaigns forever, but more importantly, how “open source” politics will finally overthrow the top-down broadcast politics system we’ve been living with in the age of television. As one who decries the impact television has had on public discourse (I read Amusing Ourselves to Death: The Death of Public Discourse in the Age of Television ten or more years ago), morality, and health in this country, I am thrilled with Trippi’s book.

He gets it. He gets how power is inevitably shifting away from governments and political parties and corporations who try to ramrod internally developed policies and plans down our throats to communities of organized citizens and customers who will no long allow this to happen. Companies and organizations who re-invent themselves to catch this new wave will thrive and prosper; those who don’t will founder.

But this is so non-intuitive and so counter to how business and government has been done in our lifetimes that I believe very few people will make this shift.

Even at an internet pure-play company like MyFamily.com, a company that I co-founded with the goal of providing genealogy data from every nation and a free private web space to connect every family in the world–a company that thrives when the community creates the content and the conversation–I would say that most of our managers and employees still think and act in the traditional top-down decision-making and corporate marketing model. The Internet playbook that I followed borrowed heavily from the theories in Net.Gain: Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities.

Trippi’s book explains the impact of online communities on politics and government as Net.Gain did for internet business.

If you have any interest in the future of democracy, in self-government, in ridding American or the nation in which you live of the corruption that comes from centralized power combined with the distortion of truth which is nearly always found in traditional media, with it’s one-way communication mode and 30-second sound byte form of discourse, if you want to be empowered to make a difference in the future of your world, I strongly recommend Trippi’s book combined with a heavy dose of the Federalist Papers, Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, and as many other works by US Founding Fathers as you can find. Trippi himself cites Jefferson about a dozen times in this book.

As Net.Gain was the manual for Ancestry.com/MyFamily.com to build the largest genealogy community in the world, with as many as 15 million unique monthly visitors to its various web sites, then I see The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as the primary guidebook for our iCount.com, our new political community web service which is today only in its earliest stages, but which already has thousands of registered users who want to make their vote count every day of every year, and not just once every 2-4 years during an election cycle.

We are determined to arm every independent-minded American with powerful tools to connect with other like-minded people around issues, not partisanship, to organize, to take action, and to make a difference in the local, state, and national community.

We are tired of politics as usual.

I am especially tired of party politics, where vilifying the opposition leads to the politics of hate and where meaningful discussion of issues within a party are stifled because of the overwhelming requirement of party loyalty.

I’m an American first, a member of a political party second.

Our elected leaders must put the good of the country first and not sacrifice it to preserve their power or position.

George Washington warned us more than 200 years ago in his Farewell Address:

“Let me . . . warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. . . . The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”

Trippi claims that 70% of Americans are dissatisfied with both parties.

He also explains how negative campaigning works to defeat individual candidates but backfires on the entire political system by causing all of us to believe that all politicians are evil and dishonest. No wonder everyone, especially the young, are disengaged and apathetic. They think the system is corrupt and there is nothing they can do about it.

I agree with Joe Trippi. The power is in our hands. We can organize, using the transformational technology that will soon be within the reach of every citizen, and take back our government and force corporations to “not be evil” and exploitive.

One of the reasons I don’t drink, don’t smoke, eat healthy (a Jamba Juice a day!), run several times a week, spend a lot of time with family, and generally live a happy and balanced lifestyle, no longer sacrifice my health “for the good of the company” (as Trippi almost killed himself off during the Dean campaign–I did that during Ancestry.com’s early years) is that I want to live to be 100, to see where technology takes our civilization, to watch the impact of the internet, global cell phone adoption, biotechnology, nanotechnology, alternative energy, robotics, and more. It’s the most fascinating age in the history of the world. And the more I take care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually, the better my chances to live to a ripe old age (my grandmother made it to 104!) and observe how this phenomenal age plays out. Fortunately, Mormon males (of which I am one) generally outlive the average male by 7 years, but that only gets me to age 77. I need to do something to get those extra 23 years. Maybe it’s lots of vitamin C. Maybe it’s Patch-Adam’s type laughing therapy. My grandma ate cracked-wheat cereal virtually every morning for breakfast, while I’ve been living for most of my life on cold cereal. I don’t think that’s working in my favor.

OK, so back to the Trippi book.

Buy it. Read it. Study it. Live it. Join the internet revolution in American politics, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Abraham Lincoln)

Always On Thoughts

A few thoughts since last week:

The AlwaysOn Network conference at Stanford was superb. I met some great people (including some journalists, bloggers, VCs, and CEOs) and enjoyed some excellent sessions. But to pay almost $2,000 to attend a conference only to learn that the entire event was being webcast around the world for free. Ouch. I didn’t see that in the signup pages that I went through! But I’m sure I still would have gone. There’s nothing like being there in person, especially on the campus of Stanford University. Leland and Jane Stanford are, in my view, some of the greatest philanthropists of all time. Imagine the impact on the global economy and on politics that Stanford University has had in its 100+ year history! I have a feeling of reverence when I walk the campus, and not just when I’m near the beautiful chapel in the center of the Quad. Stanford is a great gift to humanity. (One of my other heroes in philanthropy is Jesse Knight, who helped fund BYU in its early stages. I read on Sunday that Jesse Knight was a young railroad worker in 1869 and was one of 3,000 workers and officials who gathered at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869 to watch Leland Stanford, as President of the Central Pacific Railroad, drive the golden spike which marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.)

Google made what to me was a stunning acquistion last week when they bought Picasa, a P2P photo-sharing solution, and the owner of Hello.com. I can see pieces of their domination strategy coming into place: search, news, blogging, email, photos. Free content, free communication, free services–all subsidized by the world’s most efficient online advertising machine. This company makes smarter moves than any company I’ve ever tracked. I love Google.

Microsoft bought Lookout, an X1.com type product written by two guys, including the former CTO of Netscape. I’m all for having better search built into Outlook (it’s about time); but X1 is a great solution and I don’t have to wait for it.

I am reading Joe Trippi’s book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. I’ve heard Joe speak three times now, including twice last week at Stanford. This guy is amazing. Anyone who cares about the future of politics should pay attention to what he did and what he says. He gets it. Politics is going to change forever, for the better, as more and more of us turn to the Internet to learn, to connect, to organize, and to make a difference. I bought 4 autographed copies of Trippi’s book.

Innovation Summit at Stanford

I’ll be attending the Innovation Summit this week at Stanford University. Some of my favorite VCs and technology visionaries will be presenting. I can’t blog from my laptop or blackberry yet (my Radio Userland blogging software is installed on my desktop only), but I know it’s possible. When I attend conferences I usually take notes at every session, typing at breakneck speed. I love that MarketingSherpa hires a court reporter to transcribe every word at their subscription marketing summit every year. I bought the 2004 transcript recently and will be reading it (every word!) this week in my down time. Every conference should do this.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners Taking Off

Remember the “great sucking sound” that we used to talk about? I think it’s the Roomba.

PCWorld.com: In 2003, IRobot sold 470,000 units of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. In just the first three months of 2004, the company has exceeded that total, and has high hopes for the second generation of the product.

Buying a robotic vacuum cleaner and lawn mower is definitely in my future purchasing plans.