Content Is King by Bill Gates

Content Is King – Bill Gates (1/3/1996)

Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.

The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.

When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of “content” becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content-an extremely important one, and the one that for Microsoft will remain by far the most important.

But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.

One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.

The Internet also allows information to be distributed worldwide at basically zero marginal cost to the publisher. Opportunities are remarkable, and many companies are laying plans to create content for the Internet.

For example, the television network NBC and Microsoft recently agreed to enter the interactive news business together. Our companies will jointly own a cable news network, MSNBC, and an interactive news service on the Internet. NBC will maintain editorial control over the joint venture.

I expect societies will see intense competition-and ample failure as well as success-in all categories of popular content-not just software and news, but also games, entertainment, sports programming, directories, classified advertising, and on-line communities devoted to major interests.

Printed magazines have readerships that share common interests. It’s easy to imagine these communities being served by electronic online editions.

But to be successful online, a magazine can’t just take what it has in print and move it to the electronic realm. There isn’t enough depth or interactivity in print content to overcome the drawbacks of the online medium.

If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.

A question on many minds is how often the same company that serves an interest group in print will succeed in serving it online. Even the very future of certain printed magazines is called into question by the Internet.

For example, the Internet is already revolutionizing the exchange of specialized scientific information. Printed scientific journals tend to have small circulations, making them high-priced. University libraries are a big part of the market. It’s been an awkward, slow, expensive way to distribute information to a specialized audience, but there hasn’t been an alternative.

Now some researchers are beginning to use the Internet to publish scientific findings. The practice challenges the future of some venerable printed journals.

Over time, the breadth of information on the Internet will be enormous, which will make it compelling. Although the gold rush atmosphere today is primarily confined to the United States, I expect it to sweep the world as communications costs come down and a critical mass of localized content becomes available in different countries.

For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. The long-term prospects are good, but I expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It isn’t working yet, and it may not for some time.

So far, at least, most of the money and effort put into interactive publishing is little more than a labor of love, or an effort to help promote products sold in the non-electronic world. Often these efforts are based on the belief that over time someone will figure out how to get revenue.

In the long run, advertising is promising. An advantage of interactive advertising is that an initial message needs only to attract attention rather than convey much information. A user can click on the ad to get additional information-and an advertiser can measure whether people are doing so.

But today the amount of subscription revenue or advertising revenue realized on the Internet is near zero-maybe $20 million or $30 million in total. Advertisers are always a little reluctant about a new medium, and the Internet is certainly new and different.

Some reluctance on the part of advertisers may be justified, because many Internet users are less-than-thrilled about seeing advertising. One reason is that many advertisers use big images that take a long time to download across a telephone dial-up connection. A magazine ad takes up space too, but a reader can flip a printed page rapidly.

As connections to the Internet get faster, the annoyance of waiting for an advertisement to load will diminish and then disappear. But that’s a few years off.

Some content companies are experimenting with subscriptions, often with the lure of some free content. It’s tricky, though, because as soon as an electronic community charges a subscription, the number of people who visit the site drops dramatically, reducing the value proposition to advertisers.

A major reason paying for content doesn’t work very well yet is that it’s not practical to charge small amounts. The cost and hassle of electronic transactions makes it impractical to charge less than a fairly high subscription rate.

But within a year the mechanisms will be in place that allow content providers to charge just a cent or a few cents for information. If you decide to visit a page that costs a nickel, you won’t be writing a check or getting a bill in the mail for a nickel. You’ll just click on what you want, knowing you’ll be charged a nickel on an aggregated basis.

This technology will liberate publishers to charge small amounts of money, in the hope of attracting wide audiences.

Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content.

This essay is copyright © 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Stre.am Named as a Finalist for SXSW Interactive Innovation Award

Originally posted January 8th, 2015.

Stre.am is a finalist for an Interactive Innovation Award – the winners announced at SXSW March 17th.

January 28th, 2015, Charleston, SC – Stre.am was named as one of five finalists for the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards. Stre.am, a mobile broadcasting app launched by InfiniteTakes, is one of five finalists in the Innovation in Connecting People category. This year, SXSW expanded their 18th annual Innovation Awards to fourteen categories; this year’s attendance estimated at 72,000 registrants.

In a press release, Mason Stewart, SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Coordinator said, “we are truly honored and humbled by the caliber of this year’s Innovation Award finalists, … SXSW Interactive is driven based on the values of innovation, inspiration and creativity, and these finalists embody these principles to their core.”

“As Stre.am gets closer to coming out of beta, it’s exciting to be recognized by others in the interactive field. We know that innovation is essential to success, and we’re proud to have SXSW acknowledge the effort we’ve put into achieving that goal,” said Jeremy Martin, CTO.

Stre.am allows users to socially stream live video on a non-permanent platform, which can be viewed from any device at http://stre.am, or through the app which is available for both iOS and Android.

#madeforiOS: How to dim your iPhone for night use

Originally posted here 14 January 2016

We’ve used our iPhones at night and wanted to put sunglasses on – but we’re not Corey Hart. Did you know that staring at a bright screen before bed affects your sleep cycle? Apple is addressing this with an amazing UX feature in the next iOS update – but if you want to use it now, we have a work around for you.

Here’s how Night Shift works:
“Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Pleasant dreams,” from Apple’s iOS 9.3 Preview

As John Brownlee so expertly said in his write up of Night Shift for Fast Design Co: “The human sleep cycle is uniquely sensitive at night to the blue light that is emitted by most screens, with the American Medical Association recommending that those with sleep disorders minimize their time with screens before bedtime, or using dim red lighting to minimize the effect. That’s because as it gets darker, our eyes expect to see warmer light: for example, the reddish light of a candle, a fire, or a sunset, as opposed to the blue light of daytime.”

We’ve often found ourselves blinded trying to use our iOS at night – whether it’s checking an iMessage at 2:00 AM, or trying to read on a dark flight. This is actually an accessibility feature that allows you to turn the screen brightness down a little further when it seems blinding. (Thanks, Dan Frakes, for telling us about this feature in a write up of his favorite iOS 8 features!) So, here’s how to dim your screen:

1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom.
2. Enable Zoom.
3. Tap the screen three times with three fingers. This brings up a zoom-options popover.
4. Tap Choose Filter, and then tap Low Light. The screen will dim considerably.
5. Tap outside the popover to dismiss it.
6. Make sure Zoom Region, a bit lower on that screen, is set to Full Screen Zoom. (It was for me, but some readers report that it wasn’t for them.)
7. Disable Zoom to restore the screen to its normal brightness.
8. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and choose Zoom.

Now, whenever you triple-press the Home button, you’ll toggle this “extra dimming” mode on or off. (If you selected multiple Accessibility Shortcut options, you’ll instead see a popover listing those options; tap one to toggle it.) Note that the brightness level of your “extra dimmed” screen is relative to your screen’s current brightness setting, which means that if you want it really dim, you should use Control Center to reduce brightness to the lowest level, and then triple-press the Home button. The result is a screen that’s much dimmer than you’ve probably seen before, and thus much better for use in the dark.

(Interestingly, this dimmed mode really is a screen filter, rather than a further dimming of the screen. You can see this if you rotate your device 90 degrees—as the screen switches orientations, the filter rotates more slowly than the rest of the screen, revealing the screen’s actual brightness level for a fraction of a second.)

The accessibility feature might not be as robust as Apple’s solution, but it’s one you can start using tonight. Should we know about a feature that you love? Tell us on twitter!

Origins: BookArc’s Cable Catch

Originally published here on 21 January 2016
BookArc was the first product we released when we started in 2009. BookArc lets you conveniently use your MacBook with a large external monitor, extended keyboard, and mouse, for a more comfortable work setup utilizing a little-known feature called closed-clamshell mode. Working off of a single monitor increases focus, minimizes workspace clutter and even speeds up display performance by dedicating 100% video memory to a single display.

Before BookArc, using your computer in closed-clamshell mode left your MacBook laying flat, taking up valuable space. But with a BookArc, your MacBook is lifted vertically off of your desk, while silicone inserts with built-in cable management hooks underneath secure any loose power cords or adapters. It freed up additional space and made using the MacBook closed neater.

When we redesigned BookArc in 2015, we designed BookArc with the latest MacBooks in mind, giving BookArc a much smaller footprint. Slimming down meant rethinking BookArc’s cable management – a necessary feature we didn’t want to lose. So we designed the aluminum arc- not the inserts- to do the cable management. BookArc’s feet were redesigned designed to hold your cables in place when you unplug your Mac and go- we call it Cable Catch.

Click here to learn more about BookArc and closed clam-shell mode. What’s your favorite Twelve South feature? Tell us on Twitter!

#TheTwelve things I love this Valentine’s Day: the extended cut

Written for Twelve South’s round up, #TheTwelve.

President’s Day weekend is usually one of the coldest weekends of the year in our hometown, Charleston, South Carolina. Although it’s still cold, Phil predicted an early spring. For February’s The Twelve, we’re loving bright colors, natural and unnatural scenes.

After reading this Gear Patrol post on Platform, we can’t wait to get one in Charleston.

Joshua Budich’s illustrations of pop culture food and drink made us smile.

The Ancient Origins of Your Obsession with Adult Coloring Books  is an interesting, in-depth look at what might be considered a fad. It goes in depth about flow, sand mandalas, and how coloring clears the mind.

Tthe entire article is interesting, and brings up great points about getting into creative flow. A certain phrase struck me as particularly poignant: “experiencing a mindlessness born from mindfulness on a task.” It’s something I miss about writing and hope to get back to it – the inner mind connecting directly with my keyboard, untangling knots I didn’t know were there.

These unexpected combinations from Paul Fuentes have us looking at things differently.

We’re all taking Knozen‘s minute personality test – it’s pretty accurate, fun, and nice to look at.

The trait I had the highest score for was patience, with a 10/10. Then caring and brainy, tied at 8. Shy and confident, both 7s. Serious I scored poorly, 3, with a score of 0 for being aggressive. Be, aggressive, be be, aggressive.

We love this infographic about how to live like a creative. We sent it to our creative team, who found it surprisingly accurate.

This outlines my entire day and I thought it was bizarre. Although I’m glad I’m not the only one working these hours.

NASA’s jet propulsion lab is giving away downloads of their 14 travel posters for extraterrestrial vacation spots.

We’re missing being out in nature, so this Anne Boysen-designed sofa and these Alexandra Kehayoglou wool rugs are bringing the great outdoors inside.

nature

Speaking of space, Charlie Lloyd’s gif of a day on earth is amazing.

We’re planning on reading 50 books in 2016.

I just need to decide what to read.

Twelve ways to celebrate clean off your desk day

#theTwelve ways to celebrate clean off your desk day!
Originally posted here on 11 January 2016

Photo by Minimal Setups

January 11th is clean off your desk day. So to observe the holiday, we’ve compiled twelve tips, tricks, apps, and products to help you clean off your desk.

If you’re in a time crunch, you can neaten up with Apartment Therapy’s “How to Be Able to Clean Your Desk in 5 Minutes”

This perpetual calendar is an awesome replacement for your outdated 2015 calendar.

Use HiRise for iMac under your iMac or Apple display to get some additional height and use it to tuck away odds and ends.

Cable management is a subtle touch that gets taken for granted. Use binder clips as cable catches, and use velcro straps to take care of and tidy up unnecessary lengths of cord.

Need the inspiration to clean your desk? This infographic from Learnstuff will have you cleaning in no time.

A huge part of our desk is, of course, our Macs, and digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter – we’re deleting unnecessary files and folders, cleaning out our trash.

Once our cluttered desktops are sorted out, we’re going to tackle our emails with Cloud Magic, the email client that’s now for Mac.

Want a way to get your MacBook off your desk when you’re not using it? Store it vertically in a BookArc!

Business News Daily talked to managers and HR professionals to find out what your boss actually thinks of your disorganized desk, and gives some easy first steps to get your desk straightened up.

Use the inspiration from today to learn more about the queen of tidying – we like “Marie Kondo will change your life” from New York Magazine.

If you need visual inspiration for your clean desk, check out Poppin’s Work Happy board and Minimal Set Ups.

Have any organizing tips or tricks we missed? Tell us about it on Twitter! Does your Twelve South gear help you organize your desk? Tag us on Instagram!

What’s in a Stand?

If you’re anything like us, you have everything you dreamed that you could need for your MacBook. Case? Check. A way to charge all your devices? Check. Accessories for your accessories? Check. But if you’re putting your MacBook directly on your desk, you’re doing yourself- and your computer – a disservice.

When you spend a lot of time at a computer or looking at screens, your neck will tilt forward, putting strain on your back and shoulders. This bad posture phenomenon is called Forward Head Posture, and it’s chronic among people who are glued to their smart phones or laptop. You can do exercises to help strengthen core and back muscles, but a laptop stand can help prevent damage and alleviate strain.

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The OSHA diagram of good computer posture doesn’t have to be a dream.

Laptop stands can take the strain off of your body and improve your computer performance, too. A laptop stand increases airflow, making the fans more efficient, and your MacBook snappier.

There’s a laptop stand for everyone, no matter where – or how – you work.

HiRise
Do you pair your dual monitor desk set up with a standing desk? Do you adjust, re-adjust, and adjust again? HiRise allows you to adjust your laptop height until it’s just right – and then take it with you. It’s truly universal, so you can use it with your 15 Macbook Pro with retina, or your new 11 inch Macbook Air. With the silicon pads, HiRise won’t damage your desk surface, no matter what you work on.
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BaseLift

Are you always on the go? A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it never had a twinge in its neck. BaseLift is a laptop stand you can type on, so you don’t need to haul any extra accessories to be comfortable. Since it attaches to the bottom of your MacBook, you won’t leave it behind. When it’s not in use, it folds flat to protect your legs from the heat (or cold!) of your laptop. Whether you’re working from the library, a co-working space, or your favorite coffee shop, BaseLift is along for the ride.
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ParcSlope
Are you a firm believer in “less is more?” Is real estate on your desk hard to come by? ParcSlope lets you elevate your laptop without the additional external keyboard and mouse. The grooves for cord management are a great way to keep things tidy and out of the way. If you have other things to use your desk space for – sketching, taking notes, or maybe spilled coffee – ParcSlope can save the day.parcslope



GhostStand
Do you have your desk exactly how you like it? Do you strive for your work space to be visually interesting while still unobtrusive? GhostStand allows you to boost your MacBook to a better height for reading without distracting you from the important stuff. On GhostStand, paired with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, your MacBook will seem to float above your desk. GS_MacBook_Gallery_3



Laptop stands don’t have to be slabs of plastic with cord inputs. Your Macbook stands out from other computers, so why shouldn’t your laptop stand? In the mean time, try those exercises, order your favorite stand, and sit up a little straighter.

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Here are some customer images of how they use their stands:

Photo by customer Lauren Hurlock

Photo by customer Lauren Hurlockk

SPARC Stands Up!

Originally posted on the SPARCedge blog November 25th, 2014

I had a startling realization last week when I was working from home. I was sitting at a desk working on my computer, and I was restless. It bothered me until I got up and found myself eyeing furniture to put my computer on, stand up, and work. I’m almost embarrassed to admit: I missed my stand up desk so much that I built one so I could actually get some work done.

standupI had jobs in the past that required standing and relished every opportunity to sit. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be a desk jockey. If the first step is admitting you have a problem, here is mine: I am uncomfortable sitting at a normal desk. I am a stand up addict. But I’m not alone and my addiction may not be a problem, either.

Get More Face Time!

When I’m at my stand up, I feel like most of my time is spent less in front of a computer working, and more time collaborating. Jeremy Martin, doesn’t miss his ordinary desk: “While it’s nice to plop down on a couch from time to time, the longer I’ve had the stand-up desk the harder I find it to be without it. I’ve also found that when I’m already standing, I’m far more likely to find and talk to coworkers face-to-face, rather than simply shooting an email or instant message.”

Get Into A Groove

When you’re using a stand up, we’ve found that not only are you more likely to go find a colleague and chat face to face, but as Brandon Pierce found: “… I dance more, horribly and awkwardly, but significantly more.”

KelleyElderKelley Elder and I share a love of using a balance board while at the standing desk, and she summed it up nicely: “I get sick of sitting down at work all day, so the stand up desk is great… I love using it while standing on balance boards too, and feel better after work than when I was sitting all day.”

According to Keith Adamson, who is arguably one of the biggest health nuts in SPARC, said his favorite part about the standing desk is: “I’m dying less quickly. When you sit for the better part of your day your body literally starts turning itself off. Not just in a sleep mode, but it decreases organ function.”

Mike Van O’Linda said of his stand up desk: “I do enjoy my stand-up quite a bit, mostly because it provides a change of scenery, keeping things changing through the day breaks the monotony of the work day. Sitting at a regular desk still has its purposes though, mostly because my sit down area, at the moment, is a place I can go hide and hunker down to get some code done without much distraction.”

When I’m at my stand up, I feel acutely aware of how many extras are at my actual desk. While maybe not an addict, Bob Williams “lovingly longs” for his stand up, and has a great reason: “The individual expression of minimalism of so much in one place…no sprawl…all bags, notes, paper, drinks, cords, phones, compactly and conveniently arranged but still with individual character.”

How do you get stuff done? Do you use a standing desk? Want to get a desk at SPARC? Check out our open positions page!

A Team Member by any Other Title

would still be just as sweet!


title

Team Members have been able to choose their own titles since the dawn of the Information Age — or really, since Guy Kawasaki called himself Apple’s Chief Evangelist in the 80s. While shoulder pads and fanny packs have faded away, the choose-your-own-title has stuck around. For good reason – choosing your own title can make your job feel more meaningful, more uniquely yours.

In Teamphoria, you can choose any title, which got me thinking about what makes a good title. It was about time that I had to chose my own title, and I found it was way more difficult than it seems. Picking your unofficial title is a great exercise to think about your job, your organization, and how the two fit together. It all depends on the atmosphere in the office– Teamphoria’s marketing coordinators are the “Chief Troublemaker” and “Marketing Geek,” respectively.
amanda

Show off your wit

I wanted to come off as clever and professional in just a couple words. The best titles are not only funny, but they’re smart. I didn’t want to come off as silly, but I didn’t want to be stuffy either.

Work As A Team

Do all of the people who work in HR have similar titles? Maybe they should! Maybe the iOS developers go with a pirate theme, and the Android developers go with ninjas. Take something that unifies you as a team and work off of that!

Be Accurate

While you may want to be funny, try not to diminish or inflate your actual title. It may be fun to be the King of Coding, but not when it’s the first week of your summer internship and your manager has written three books on development. Make sure you have the skills to back up your claim.

Be You

technologyexplainer
Make it reflect you! Play with different “titles” until you find one that fits you and your company. It should match your style, both professionally and personally. Being the “blogging princess” wouldn’t fit me, but “content creator” would! So find something that works for you!

I’m still working on mine, but if you have suggestions, or know someone who has thought up an awesome title, tell me in the comments. Otherwise, if you have questions about Teamphoria, or making your own title, let us know!

How to Avoid Mobile Burn Out!

Originally posted on Teamphoria’s blog on September 9,2014
cordcutters

Whether it’s professional or personal, technology has definitely changed the way we live day-to-day. An iPhone 4 is a thousand times faster than the computer that got us to the moon. Our means of communicating with each other is getting better and faster every year. So no matter how you connect, most of us are constantly plugged in. I was hard pressed to find an industry that didn’t use technology, and I’m especially confident saying that since you’re reading the Teamphoria blog, even you are using technology.

All of this change has radically influenced the way we work… But is it a good or bad thing?

employersweb

System Requirements

Today, a majority of employers want to be able to reach their team as soon as possible – often that’s through email. There’s only 5% of workers who won’t check their email after hours no matter what the company’s expectations or policy may be.

stress

Inbox (!!)

Have you ever gotten a work email in the evening and had it bother you until you handled it? If you have, you’re likely to be more stressed out than your colleague who didn’t. Employees who admitted they never checked their emails admitted that they didn’t often feel stressed – 64% were stress free!

thriving

Are You Sure You Want To Delete?

Before you delete your mail accounts from your phone, the same Gallup poll found that those same workers who were stressed out were more likely to rate themselves as “thriving.”

So while they may be stressed out, working hard means you can play hard. Not all stress is bad stress, so bask in the productive energy!

Here are some tips to avoid Mobile Burnout:

charging

Limit the time you’re checking your email off the clock.

Try to keep it within normal working hours: do you have a client in another time zone? Check your email once around 7 PM for that client in Melbourne or the satellite office in California.

If it’s not crucial, have it wait until you’re in the office next.

Just because you’re connected, doesn’t mean that you have to respond. Try to know the difference between something that needs a response and something that can wait until you’re fresh in the morning.

Give yourself time to recharge.

Set your phone to Do Not Disturb, mute it, or set it down in another part of the house for the evening. Take some time off the grid to recharge!

For more information on employee engagement, check out Teamphoria (available from your mobile device!)