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Starbucks announced that today that you can hang out, drink coffee, eat high calorie baked goods, and surf the web for "free" for two hours (assuming you are drinking coffee and eating high calorie baked goods.) This is due to a very smart move on AT&T’s part where they have displaced T-Mobile as the WiFi provider at Starbucks stores.
I’m really surprised that T-Mobile let this deal get away from them. I happily pay $10 / month to T-Mobile for WiFi service – the two places I use it 99.4% of the time are Starbucks and the United Red Carpet Club. If AT&T takes the Red Carpet Club deal, T-Mobile is going to lose that incremental $10 / month from me. I realize that "free for two hours" at Starbucks might not have kept me paying this $10, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed (or done anything) for a while.
What was it that Apple announced again yesterday?
Here’s the start of the conversation:
Nerd 1: “Man – those Facebook ads really suck. They are completely irrelevant. And – well – embarrassing (e.g. almost porn.)” I can’t imagine that they ever get clicked on (except the porn.)”
Nerd 2: “Yeah, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all CPM based so all that matters right now are page views.”
Nerd 3: (also co-founder of a generation one search engine): “Yeah – that worked really well the last time around – until the economy went south. Then – CPM rates became asymptotic with zero.”
It went on for a while (along with additional sushi and saki consumption.) It was interesting. And important. And chilling for anyone relying on CPM-based ads only. Maybe it’ll be different this time. But that’s what “they” said the last time. Don’t forget to be sitting in a chair when the music stops playing.
I’m in Reston, Virginia today at the The New New Internet Conference. Brian Williams – the CEO of Viget Labs – invited me to speak on a panel after spending some time this summer in Boulder with the TechStars gang.
A lot of my friends that live in Silicon Valley rarely stray out of Silicon Valley. “Center of the startup universe” is no longer a cliche – rather, it’s like a scab that has been picked so many times it no longer will heal. Silicon Valley is a critically important place in the world for creating companies, but it’s not the only place smart people that are doing interesting and important things hang out.
Last night at the pre-conference dinner I found a bunch of this type of person including dudes like Ryan Carson, Frank Gruber, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Rohit Bhargava. Om Malik hung out, teased me about my clothing, and had a conversation with James Surowiecki that I snooped on.
While Silicon Valley is on a fault line (literally and metaphorically), it’s important not to forget all the other interesting stuff going on “not in Silicon Valley.”
For example, at this conference there is a “Government Track” with topics such as “Web 2.0 at the State Level”, “Current Web 2.0 Initiatives within Government Agencies”, “Virtual Government: Real Life Uses for Second Life”, “Intellipedia”, and “Let my data go! Making the case for transparent Government.”
Now – before you go “yawn” or “Government 2.0” – remember my premise that the next 36 months will see massive crossover adoption into the enterprise (and government) of the consumer Internet innovations we’ve seen in the past 24 months. Assuming that is correct, the dollars that will be spent are going to be massive and much of it will happen in Fortune 5000 headquarters and large government agencies that aren’t based in Silicon Valley.
A wise man once told me “go visit your customers.” Today, he might say something like “son – buy a plane ticket and fly somewhere other than the center of the startup universe just to see what is going on and how people are thinking about this stuff.”
If you follow SaaS software and are interested in getting a great summary of the NetSuite S-1 filing without reading it, Jason Wood has a nice dissection of it at NetSuite IPO…Another SaaS horseman braves the public markets.