Tag Archives: las vegas

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.


Back in the Big Apple

About 3 weeks ago, I was married to an amazing woman named Sherri and we took off for a mixed tour of the WestYosemite Darren Coast’s National Parks and Spas for our honeymoon. I blogged a little bit throughout the honeymoon (wherever there was Internet service) and spoke to one or two folks, but all in all, I was really shut-off from reality and had no idea what was going on in the digital media world…. and I’m still not caught up yet (over 1300 RSS feeds to browse).

Sherri did a terrific job of journaling our honeymoon online so that our friends and family could see what we were up to. Blogging is also an amazing way to recap everything so you don’t forget things. Here are a few posts from our trip:

There are some great pictures and interesting reviews in each of the posts… enjoy!

BTW: My iPhone died on the trip for the SECOND time and will be going to the Apple store today to get it fixed (hopefully). Please don’t call, as I can’t answer. Email is best.

Frustrations With the Concert Ticket Industry

Sherri and I are headed to Las Vegas to see the Dave Matthews Band during the last weekend in March to celebrate my birthday. I am a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band and have been to 76+ shows (read this post for my history with the band) and I look forward to adding shows 77/78 onto my resume shortly.

The band is going to be playing the MGM Grand though we are staying at The Hotel @ Mandalay Bay as we’re going to make a nice getaway weekend out of the trip and want to stay clear of the slot machines when we can. I feel like I’m a regular to Las Vegas – been there 3 times in the past year and it was wonderful and I’m not even a real gambler.

The tickets went on sale to the event in early December and we carved out 45 minutes of our Saturday morning to make sure we were online 15 minutes early at Ticketmaster to purchase two tickets to each show (Friday/Saturday). We had a fast Internet connection. We were on a super fast computer. We were 15 minutes early to ticketmaster.com. We got through every Captcha correctly. We ended up with nose bleed seats to both shows. How is this possible?!?! We did everything correct. Am I frustrated? Yes, of course! Beggars can’t be choosers… we did get tickets in the end (upper section!) but how come we didn’t get floor seats?

My guess is that the MGM Grand has reserved most of the floor seats (or even 100 Section) for their high-rollers. They may have even presold the tickets to other hotels that could utilize them for their gamblers. But what about the other music fans…the TRUE fans who aren’t in Las Vegas to gamble, but rather to consume an unbelievable concert full of music, lights, and dancing nancies?

The argument some would utilize is that if I was a true DMB fan, it wouldn’t matter where in the venue I sit. Yes, while I appreciate that I could enjoy the show from anywhere, I love sitting up close and interacting with the band and watching them play off of each other. The energy that radiates from the stage is incredible – and that’s why I love the Dave Matthews Band.

There are places I could turn to: StubHub and sites like TickestNow. Do I want to pay over face value? No, not really. This is frustrating… I am coming all the way from New York City to see the show and am a true fan. I played by all the rules and I got left behind. Not fun.

BTW:Â Dave Matthews has a third child on the way – congratulations!