Seth Shapiro\'s Business Innovation Blog

Every 18 months, someone trumpets Caller ID displayed on TV (an easy task for a cable modem or DSL obviously) as the long-awaited killer app of interactive TV

If this were true, then (to paraphrase James Carville) the digital TV industry would be the most expensive act of masturabation since Ross Perot’s candidacy.

We have cordless phones now. And, really, you can look at your phone while you watch TV.

Other than your boss, Caller on TV is not interesting to anyone on Earth.

Just back from the road after some weeks in Philadelphia, San Francisco and elsewhere, all great.

btw the ARC website has been up for some time here. Please let us know what you think and, especially, if you have any shows or artists we should be looking at. Thanks.

One of the realities of conducting diligence in digital media is that you shovel and enormous amount of information into your head for a job, and, for a period, become an expert in that particular patch of land. One of the other realities is that you wind up doing another job rather quickly. One of the by-products of that fact is that your cognitive faculties get adept at dumping a whole mass of information just as soon as you don’t need the info anymore. It’s the only way to make room for the new, and has the additional benefit of saving you from focusing on info which will be obsolete within 18 months anyway. The patterns and rhythms of that information remain. And if you go diving back into the same bucket of arcana, a lot of it always comes back. Which is a long way of saying that I studied the two competing high def DVD formats extensively 18 months ago, and it was pretty clear that Blu Ray was just a better technology. It was more expensive, which gave Microsoft and Toshiba a reason (good or bad) to fight it with their own McFormat, but it was bigger, smarter, more extensible, and just better at most of the things that one would buy a high def product for. Bottom line, it felt like another case of Beta vs. VHS, in which a superior Sony format is threatened with extinction largely because it came from Sony. So it was good to see that better product score the decisive win with Warner’s recent decision to go with Blu Ray. Like the beating with a stick of major label DRM, this is a good and sensible market decision. Amen.

Read Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up on the plane home last night. It belongs on the list, wherever on the Net that list is, of great testaments to the power of focus. Martin describes in detail how he arrived at the seemingly random, arsurdist style that dominated the late seventies, by bearing down and working at it fixedly. Also interesting that all of his books are so short, as if they were pruned to maximum precision. Shopgirls had the same quality, and must have also been, at least somewhat autobiographical. But then what isn’t.

I’m in Seattle, where Amazon announced their most successful Christmas season ever. Some stats below:

On it busiest day, Dec 10, Amazon customers ordered more than 5.4 million items, which is 62.5 items per second.
— Amazon shipped more than 99 percent of orders in time to meet holiday deadlines worldwide.

— On the peak day this season, Amazon’s worldwide fulfillment network shipped over 3.9 million units.
— sold Nintendo Wii systems at approximately 17 per second when they were in stock.

— sold enough high-def DVD players to cover seven football fields.

— If you lined up all of the GPS units sold this holiday, they would make a trail from New York to Philadelphia

— sold enough auto wrenches to stretch all the way around the Daytona 500 track.

— sold enough Hannah Montana wigs to outfit the entire audience at her December 20th show in Providence, RI.