Posts Tagged ‘street’

Strange Ads Promote an Author Who Isn’t Real and a Book That Doesn’t Exist

November 15, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

IFC's upcoming The Spoils of Bablyon, a comedy miniseries that spoofs serious miniseries, is based on a book that seems to be sold out in Hudson News stores around the country. The problem with keeping the book in stock, though, is that there were never any copies printed to begin with. Eric Jonrosh (and the jig will be up when he shows up on TV and looks a lot like Will Ferrell, who produces the series along with longtime collaborator Adam McKay) is the megalomaniacal author of the book, and his persona has become the avatar of IFC's marketing for the show. "They created a character—well, we don't even like to call him a character," head of marketing Blake Callaway tells AdFreak. "We like to pretend he's real. We've written the fake book reviews. He's committed to literacy, because if you can't read, you can't read Jonrosh." The writer's megalomaniacal streak is borne out in the ambitions of the miniseries, which appears to span a period from the 1930s to the 1980s, if the trailer (see below) is any indication. So IFC has an appropriately grandiose ad campaign, with the book-focused executions littering bookstores and branded Little Free Libraries installed in cities like Dallas and Minneapolis in partnership with that organization. Callaway says he hopes to entice writers from the blockbuster-ier end of the literary spectrum to turn out for the show's L.A. premiere in January. "[James Patterson] is on our wish list," Callaway said

Read More

Baby, You Can Drive (Or Ride in) My Car

November 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you’re still driving your own car, you might need to get up to speed. Car sharing and ride sharing have cruised into many cities around the world, especially as more people are going car-free to save money or live more environmentally friendly lifestyles. And smartphone apps are making it even easier to find available rental cars and rides. But before you can join in a chorus of car-sharing Kumbaya, you might want some basic information. In this week’s column, I’ll explain how car sharing and ride sharing work, how to find and access cars and how to address safety concerns. This could be helpful if you need wheels for just an hour or the day, want a ride from someone or want to offer a ride to someone. Just be prepared to pay for the convenience of quickly picking up a car and be aware of the possible awkwardness of riding with a stranger. Wheeling in Convenience A spin with some zip: Zipcar lets you pick from a variety of vehicles and choose a membership plan that fits your driving frequency. Renting a car no longer means going to an airport or rental office to get one. You might be able to find a car a few steps from your front door. This is especially common in cities where services like Zipcar, Car2Go and Enterprise (with its Enterprise CarShare program) let users pick up or drop off cars on streets or in parking garages. To start, you’ll need a membership with the company, which usually requires a fee, as well as some information like your driver’s license, age, moving violation history (if any) and payment information. The company will send you a membership card, which you wave over a small panel on the windshield to unlock the car and start tracking the time you began using it. Keys are inside and you’ll leave them there when you’re done. To lock the car, just swipe your card on the windshield reader again. In the case of Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare, cars must be picked up and returned to the same spot and reservations must be made via phone, website or mobile app. Car2Go uses a looser approach: It lets members pick up cars without a reservation (though you can make one) and it’s designed for one-way rides to anywhere within a designated Home Area

Read More

Before Groupon Came Calling, LivingSocial and Ticket Monster Were Once One Big Happy Family (Video)

November 8, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Ticket Monster’s mascot Yesterday, LivingSocial announced a somewhat surprising buyer for its Korean business Ticket Monster : its main competitor Groupon. The deal, worth $260 million in cash and stock and expected to close early next year, has been well received on Wall Street, with Groupon’s stock rising seven percent this morning despite a sizable revenue miss in the third quarter. For LivingSocial, the sale ends a short two-plus-year marriage with Ticket Monster, which was supposed to serve as its beachhead for a large Asian expansion. In those honeymoon days, just a few months after the acquisition, LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy and Ticket Monster CEO Daniel Shin appeared at AllThingsD ’s 2011 AsiaD conference with high hopes for the future and talked about how each business would benefit from the other. The full interview, moderated by my colleague Ina Fried, is below.

Read More

Is Apple Set to Take on TV?

October 29, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Tim Cook hinted today that Apple is well positioned to take over the TV. Speaking during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts, who asked what new product categories Apple would step into in 2014, Cook advised them to think about what the company already does well: Hardware, software services and its app ecosystem. No one else has a set of skills like these, Cook said, and Apple would use those unique skills to push into new product categories. He didn’t name TV explicitly, but his description sounded like a recipe for the television of the future. It also would match the expertise needed for a smartwatch or even a gaming console. "If you look at the skills Apple has, from hardware to software to services and an incredible app ecosystem, this set of things are very very unique," Cook said

Read More

Amazon Notches $17.1 Billion in Q3 Revenue, Beats Street

October 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon beat Wall Street’s expectations with $17.1 billion in revenue in the third quarter, compared to an average analyst estimate of $16.8 billion. That’s a 24 percent jump over the same quarter last year. As expected, the company posted a loss, and it was exactly what analysts on average were expecting: Nine cents a share. As for the all-important fourth quarter, Amazon didn’t totally extinguish concerns, raised by eBay last week , that consumer spending may not grow as quickly as originally expected. If Amazon hits the low end of its guidance, revenue would grow just 10 percent next quarter, the company said. The top end of the range would see revenue climb 25 percent. On a call with media, CFO Tom Szkutak said the company was “optimistic” about the fourth quarter and “very excited about the inputs we see.”

Read More

More iPhone 5c Supply Chain Rumors

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Has Apple reduced orders for its new iPhone 5c? A growing chorus of reports suggests that it has. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has told manufacturing partners Pegatron and Hon Hai to ramp down production of the device. Reuters echoed that report later the same day, and now NPD DisplaySearch is making similar claims . In a report published Friday, the research outfit said recent channel checks suggest that Apple has dialed back iPhone 5c production by 35 percent, while increasing iPhone 5s production by 75 percent. NPD attributes the 5c production cuts to demand weakened by the device’s higher-than-expected price. “Rumors about iPhone 5c being ‘cheap’ were circulating as early as Q3 2012,” NPD analysts Tina Teng and Shawn Lee theorize. “The fact that the iPhone 5c is nearly identical to the iPhone 5 — and is not cheap — disappointed some consumers.” Perhaps. That’s certainly an easy explanation for such production cuts following a nine-million-new-iPhones-sold opening weekend . But easy explanations aren’t always accurate, and as similarly pessimistic reports about iPhone 5 demand last year proved, supply chain production volume rumors sometimes aren’t the best information on which to gauge iPhone sales. Things can go from “FLASH: Apple has cut orders for iPhone components due to weaker-than-expected demand!” to “My bad! Apple actually sold 47.8 million iPhones this quarter” pretty quickly. As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January , “I’d recommend questioning the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. I’d also stress that even if a particular data point were to be factual it would be impossible to interpret what it really means to our business. Our supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for our components

Read More

Utah’s Startup Scene Is Almost as Spectacular as Its Fall Scenery

October 11, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This week, I’ve been in Park City, Utah, attending the Venture Capital in the Rockies Fall conference . Basically it’s a gathering of VCs based in the intermountain west and early-stage startup companies on the hunt for investors. As you can see from the image I snapped with my iPhone on the day of my arrival, the fall foliage makes for a pretty awesome view, and the cold crisp air — it even snowed briefly yesterday — has an infectious quality to it. But there’s more to the place than pretty pictures. There’s a fairly active tech startup scene here. I sat through several presentations yesterday from some companies with cool ideas that are just getting off the ground. Here’s a few that caught my attention. Storyvine: This two-person startup based in Boulder, Colo. aims to make producing high-quality videos easier and cheaper than ever before. It walks you through the process of shooting and editing a video in a way that comes out more polished and thoughtful. Computing giant IBM is an early client. Founder Kyle Shannon started the interactive marketing firm Agency.com back in the 1990s, took it public and later sold it to Omnicom. Monique Elwell is longtime Wall Street analyst. Cypher: If you’ve ever tried to take a call on your mobile phone in a noisy environment, like a restaurant or on a busy street, you’re going to want Cypher technology on your phone. It has developed a technology to isolate the sound of your voice, mute the background noise you don’t want to hear. The result is a clearer call.

Read More

Actually, the Pool Is Quite Deep

October 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

“Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, has prioritized finding a woman to be on the board, but has found it difficult.” “The issue isn’t the intention, the issue is just the paucity of candidates.” “… the pool for board-qualified women in technology is shallow …” “There is definitely a supply-side problem.” So asserts Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Messinger when asked about women on boards … – New York Times, October 5, 2013 Wow. Where to begin? Let’s start with a fact: There are fewer women then men who write and debug software code for a living. No denying that. Now an observation: Having been in many, many board meetings over the years as a director, and other times as an adviser, I have never, not even once, been in a meeting where at any time, even for five minutes, any board member of any gender was asked to give a company directive in machine language, scratch out a decision policy in Ruby on Rails or, for that matter, code anything at all in any language. Image copyright hxdbzxy Most of the meetings I have attended have called on board members to ask questions, make introductions, discuss potential acquisitions or acquisition inquiries and, most importantly, to debate and discuss product strategies, marketing plans, management challenges, compensation structures, financial progress, financing options, investment decisions, how to deal with Wall Street and short- and long-term business goals. None of these topics requires a CS degree or years in the CTO’s office. Tech companies may well choose to have some engineering prowess on the board, but companies with nothing but technical directors will, in all likelihood, lose out to companies strategically advised by those with a diverse set of opinions, perspectives and experiences. The problem isn’t a “shallow pool” of qualified candidates; it’s a dearth of high-profile individuals with the right skill set. The real question is how many companies are building boards to provide actual advice versus how many are looking to put impressive, “A-list” names on a list. Sure, it would help any organization to have Marissa or Sheryl on the board, but as genuinely gifted as those two leaders are, they are not the only females in the Valley with demonstrable talent for thinking strategically, solving problems creatively, analyzing financial performance, negotiating terms and perhaps most importantly, assessing management skills

Read More

BlackBerry’s Selling Off Its Corporate Jets

September 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Months before announcing a near $1 billion net operating loss and plans to eliminate 40 percent of its workforce, foundering smartphone pioneer BlackBerry bought a long-range private jet in which to ferry its executives around. The second-hand Bombardier Global Express jet was delivered to BlackBerry in July, smack dab in the middle of the gruesome fiscal second quarter of which the company warned on Friday, one that forced it to sack 4,500 employees. It was purchased for an undisclosed sum, but aircraft like it typically command prices upward of $25 million. Truly a poorly timed purchase for BlackBerry, which already owned two Dassault Falcon jets when it agreed to buy the Bombardier. Now in fairness, BlackBerry says it intended the Bombardier to be a replacement for the Dassaults. But the company hadn’t sold them when it made the purchase. Indeed, it still owns them today — though not for much longer. “Several years ago, the company bought two medium-range Dassault aircraft,” BlackBerry said in a statement. “Earlier this year the company decided to sell both planes and replace them with one longer-range aircraft. The company considered several options and selected a used Bombardier aircraft, which was eventually delivered in July.

Read More

How Can You Miss Us if We Won’t Go Away?

September 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

First things first: We’re keeping the Steelcase hot-seat red chairs. Forever. In fact, we own quite a few now. And we’ll still be scooping and reviewing all things digital right here, at this Web address, for a few more months. So, while we appreciate the teary farewells we’ve been receiving today across the Web, they’re premature — not by just months, but by many, many years. What are we blathering about, you ask? Well, earlier today, the owner of this site — the Dow Jones unit of News Corp — issued a statement stating that, by mutual agreement, the AllThingsD team and the parent company had decided to part ways when our current contract is up on Dec. 31. The separation impacts both this website and our suite of conferences, including the most famous, the D conference, which we built together from scratch — with a whole lot of help from our stellar staff — 11 years ago. That statement is true. But you, dear reader, can’t get rid of us quite that easily.

Read More