Alto Email, The Open Graph, MBA Mondays, and Las Vegas CES

Happy Wednesday.  I thought I’d write another post that points to discussions or products that I’ve been part of recently.   Leave some comments below or reach out directly if you’d like to talk further about any of these.

It’s amazing how much an interface can make or break a product, go Alto!.   In early October, I heard AOL was launching Alto, it’s upgraded mail platform.  I signed up for the limited release and was granted access to the system late last night.  I am impressed so far.  I like the interface a lot.  It’s amazing to see how much of a difference the interface can make.  Font selection, user flow and the overall idea of classifying emails is fairly smart and spot on.   I do not use Sparrow so do not have a point of comparison, but it seems to me like accessing Alto over Gmail (even though Alto is a layer on top of Gmail for me) is the way to go.  What do you think?

The big question for Google, especially if users start accessing Alto as the portal to their Gmail is at what point do they disallow this?  Gmail is a revenue driver for Google in relation to AdWords (ads on the sides and above your emails) and Alto basically gets rid of these.  Will AOL roll out an ads product in Alto?

Get Your MBA On, Advertising Models.  Fred Wilson, a friend, venture capitalist and AVC blogger wrote his latest MBA Mondays post on Advertising Revenue Models.  Being that he and I both know that this is in my wheelhouse, I helped write the piece and linked it back to a presentation I gave in 2011 to the NYC TechStars class (I mentor).  The post was not specifically used to quantify or justify advertising but rather expose the different models within advertising revenue.   I think the post is fairly comprehensive and is a good primer for anyone considering taking advertising dollars.  I’m more than happy to talk more about it which is why I created the short-lived but very specific Marketing Wednesday series.

Fb Open Graph Innovation.   At kbs+ Ventures, we see lots of companies who are innovating around advertising and marketing technology.  This is our core area of the marketplace we invest in and one we’ve considerably doubled down on over time.  An area that we see companies spending lots of time thinking about is the Facebook Open Graph.  FbOG is an underutilized asset/utility for brands and there is a ton of room for brands to engage with it.  We are sniffing around this space to understand the forthcoming players in the FbOG space so if you are someone, know someone or are just genuinely excited about the FbOG, leave a comment and we’ll hook up.

2013 Consumer Electronics Show.  I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas for 2013 CES.  I’ll be there for meetings on Monday/Tuesday so if you’re heading out and want to meet up, certainly reach out and we’ll try to coordinate some time to meet up.  I’m specifically looking to meet entrepreneurs or other folks innovating in/around marketing and advertising technology which actually had solid representation at last year’s (2012) CES.


  • Christien Louviere

    I figured as soon as they announced FbOG nearly 2 years ago that it would take off. I made it the central point of my sales conversations when I was at Vitrue and experienced success doing so.  While it was great to be able to see some analytics by market or even product segmentation, it was very difficult for marketers to push content out to those specific groups of individuals, whether paid or owned. I’m sure Fb realizes its potential and hope they are working to revamp it’s uses because it’s a data diamond-mine!

    • dherman76

       Why do you think it was difficult for marketers to push content out? 

      • Christien Louviere

        Fb has restricted the use of publishing to OGs.  So the brand can keep collecting data on that OG but can no longer publish to them.

        • dherman76

          But why would they do that if they want to see the OG succeed?

          • Christien Louviere

            Perplexed all of us.  Especially since we know there are brands, like Levis & Lowes, that are using them on every product they have on dot com.  Our only estimation is that they must be working on something bigger; but even as a Preferred Vendor, we were not privy as to what would be coming down the pipe.