Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Daily For The Apple iPad - Rupert Murdoch, Steve Jobs' Media Risk

The Daily,the long-awaited iPad-only news publication that's the result of a team-up between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation, was released on Wednesday. The representatives of The Daily were kind enough to ask this blogger for a review, thus this vlog and post.

I want to be excited about The Daily, and for the most part, I am. But let me get my issues with it out of the way, up front. The first problem is it has three barriers to success, which are also economic barriers to entry: you need an iPad to use it, there's a $39 cost for the news after a 14-day period, and you have to want the content they're presenting. Those are rather significant blocks to over come.

The other problem reared its head when I saw the staff makeup: it's almost all white male. In an era where Americans, who are the most likely to consume this product to some degree, prize diversity as a sign that you're cool, hip, and intelligent, the makeup is not the way to go.

A diverse staff generally equals diversity in thought, not necessarily politically, but relationally. A black or Hispanic person, and a black Hispanic person, will view issues involving people of color differently than a white male. Throw in female orientation and you have yet another perspective. A news product that reflects diversity of thought is more fun and provocative than one that does not.

But with all of those shortcomings, The Daily is still an exciting development just because it's the first of its kind.  The content is fresh, and the videos on subjects like The Super Bowl have celebrities like Kathy Griffin offering a hilarious perspective.   

The other attraction, which I can't comment on beyond the video below because I don't have an iPad (I avoided purchasing one at first out of protest against its subpar video-blogging usefulness) is the user interface. It's designed to work as if you were flipping through the pages of a magazine. Moreover, it has access to apps and games.

In short, The Daily is packed with features.

But so is the Wired iPad app, and with a download price of just $5, it was considered too expensive by Jay Yarow at Business Insider at

And how's the Wired app doing? Well, after a promising start, not so well. Sales dropped from 100,000 in June to 31,000 in August. And by December came the news that people just were not buying iPad magazine apps.

Into this comes The Daily. I think Jobs and Murdoch should have created an iPad app portal for existing blogs - a cross between Technorati and The Daily, with a chance for bloggers to earn revenue if a post is featured.

But for now we have The Daily in its present form. Let's see what happens.

Levi's "Social Media Girl" Effort Degrades Social Media

The sight of this headline at the top of the website of The San Francisco Chronicle sent this blogger into orbit: "Levi's seeks "social media girl." The reason's simple. Here's one more large company that hands off its social broadcasting efforts to one person, and has an approach that's uncoordinated, inconsistent, and not effective.

This blog post isn't about who does this correctly, because as long as companies continue to refer to Twitter as a social network, and compare Facebook to Google, when they have different roles online, finding great examples of social broadcasting done well will be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

What Levi's is trying to do is find what marketers call a "brand manager." But the implication is that the company itself, from the CEO on down, doesn't get social media at all. Indeed, the one person who should be out in front on this is Levi's CEO John Anderson, but he doesn't even have a Twitter account as of this writing.

Mr. Anderson's shirking his duties. The overall message must come from the person in charge; if Anderson's not using social media platforms, or having Levi's make its own, then it's not going to know how to values its own efforts.

(Indeed, this "handing off" of social media efforts to one person or some intern was widely complained about and by digital media experts like Cheryl Goodman and Russell Reeder at CES 2011 Las Vegas.  Check out this video:


My research reveals a Levi's that just plain doesn't know what it's doing when it comes to social media and social broadcasting. For example, it's most successful effort in this area, the iSpy program, was recognized by Digital Buzz Blog in 2009, and had this video as part of its campaign case study:

But guess what? The iSpy Twitter Campaign, a real work game where you use clues to find people, brand ambassadors, wearing Levis, and if you went up and asked them if they had Levis pants on and were correct, got their pair, was launched not in the United States, but in Australia and New Zealand!

That's it!

Meanwhile, Levi's has does not have a name that's consistently used between its Facebook, Twitter, and other online platforms, and no blog at all. Thus, there's no place for Levi's CEO to get out a consistent brand message.

That's his job, not that one "Social Media Girl." And the problem is that because Levi's leaves its social media efforts to a few people, rather than it being part of its culture's DNA, the remnants of its failure are all over the Internet: page after underused page on platforms showing what Levi's tried to do at one point or another.

It all ads up to one big fail. An already big fail the jeans brand is about to continue in it's search for a Levi's Social Media Girl.

In fact, to show how bad this all is, Levi's reps have the messaging "We're looking for the next Levi's Girl," right?

So you'd figure they'd buy the URL, which they did. But they're not using it, didn't buy anything else as of this writing, and totally missed

I didn't, I got it while making this post. I'm going to use it by Friday and in a way that will be more effective than what the jeans brand would have done.

That's bad. Levi's job is to mark its online territory.

Levi's effort degrades social media and digital media as a whole. It's the CEO who should be doing this, and calling his culture to do the same, not one woman.


Meanwhile, watch this space via

Super Bowl 2011 - Dallas Roads Covered In Ice

Roads covered in ice, originally uploaded by greatandlittle.

Yep. The Dallas Super Bowl 2011's officially impacted by ice. This photo was taken three hours ago and uploaded to Flickr. It shows a road in Dallas that's covered in ice, and it's not the only photo of its kind. Here's the comment:

3 days after the ice storm, little is cleaned off. Rumor has it that salting/sanding trucks have been diverted to the Super Bowl area.

As I blogged before, the Dallas / Arlington / Ft. Worth Super Bowl will be judged by how the NFL Commissioner's Party goes. If they can get the attendee out of their without massive delays or mishaps, then the Super Bowl week will go well for the Dallas planners and the The North Texas Super Bowl Bid Committee. If not, well, you'll hear about it.

Here is my ranking of the best and worst Super Bowl host cities: link.

Super Bowl XVL Dallas Weather: Ranking Super Bowl Host Cities Since 2000

As one who's headed a Super Bowl Host City Bid Effort, as I did for Oakland from 1999 to 2001 and against Miami and Jacksonville for the 2005 game, one issue is always the weather as a sell point - or not.

Bad weather can turn off the NFL from returning to a city, and a spread-out Super Bowl plan combined with it, can make prospects worse.

If you're representing Oakland and The San Francisco Bay Area, the worst factor you have to deal with is rain. But in cities like Atlanta and now Dallas, the worst issue is the cold; it may or may not be a factor. In Dallas, like Atlanta in 2000 for Super Bowl XXXIV, the cold came up big.

I was in Atlanta for my first Super Bowl game, and have been to San Diego (2003), Houston (2004), Detroit (2006), Miami (2007), Arizona (2009), and Miami again in 2010.

The Atlanta Super Bowl XXXIV Host Committee expected 72 degree weather, outdoors, as well as indoors where the Georgia Dome provided an excellent venue for the game. But that didn't happen. A massive ice and snow storm made getting around Atlanta an ordeal, and it got worse, not better, on Friday, the day of the NFL Commissioner's Party that night.

Getting to the Commissioner's Party, what the NFL calls its "Friday Night Party" wasn't too much of a problem by cab. But while we were eating foods from four different themed areas, enjoying Cirque Du Soleil-like entertainment, and socializing, the weather was taking a turn for the ice.

By the time the Commissioner's Party was over, sheets of rain were pouring down and mixing with the already freezing cold, making road navigation tricky. We happened to be standing next to several NFL Owners and their families; you knew from the chatter and choice words that the NFL would not be coming back to Atlanta for a while; it took three hours for transportation to arrive to get us out of there.

With that memory fresh, I put together this list, ranking Super Bowl Host Cities from worst weather to best, and using my notes and emails from friends who went to the Super Bowls in New Orleans (2001), Tampa (2002) and (2008), and the city Oakland lost to for Super Bowl XXXIV, Jacksonville (2005).

1. Dallas. This is not just because it's cold and freezing, but, unlike the Atlanta Super Bowl in 2000, events are way spread out. Cowboys Stadium is 15 miles away in Arlington, Texas, and many NFL-sanctioned events are in other cities like FT. Worth, 30 miles away. I still can't get over the sight of ESPN's Mike and Mike show coming from a set in Ft. Worth so cold the hosts were blowing steam. (Why were they in Ft. Worth and not the warmth of the Dallas Convention Center, where Media Row is, is beyond me.)

2. Atlanta in 2000. Unlike Dallas, you could walk from The Ritz Carlton to The Georgia Dome for the game, as my friend Phil Tagami and I did on game day morning, first going to The NFL Tailgate Party at the convention center, then walking over to the Georgia Dome for the game. What Atlanta needs is not a brand new outdoor stadium but an upgraded Georgia Dome. The NFL should push for that, rather than an outdoor complex in a suburban location, as some rumors have it.

3. Detroit in 2006. Detroit was cold with snow, but not as freezing cold as in Atlanta and Dallas. Plus, it was a "compact" host plan, with about 80 percent of the events within Downtown Detroit and walkable (I rented a car). The best event? ESPN taking over five stories of a building and subdividing it with parties on different floors, including the Leigh Steinberg Party. On game day you could walk from the NFL Headquarters Hotel at Ren Cen to Ford Field. The whole experience was a blast, even the long security line outside before hand. Props to D-Town for doing it big in the snow.

4. Houston in 2004. Houston was cold, but not snowy, so that wasn't a big deal. And considering that it too was spread out, not so bad overall and the Super Bowl itself was a blast, and even had a wardrobe malfuction. But the problem was the conflict between placing events in Downtown Houston and the other places that had stuff going on. You needed a car to get around, and could easily get lost if you didn't know your way.

5. Jacksonville in 2005. Jacksonville had rain, cold, and a spread-out Super Bowl plan without mass transit. (The Bay Area would have been better, but...) Like other Super Bowls, the planners tried to concentrate a lot of event stuff downtown, and even used cruise ships as hotels, which didn't go over well with my friends who went.

6. New Orleans in 2001. I'm told by my friend I've gone to all of these with, that New Orleans wasn't bad at all weather-wise. Plus, the Superdome was adjacent to many event venues and the convention center, so you didn't have to go a long way at all. Nice.

7. Tampa in 2002 and 2007. I missed these, but emails have it to be a nice Florida experience with a good Super Bowl events plan and not too spread out considering the weather. Still, it's no Miami. And another city and metro area did well...

8. Arizona in 2009. Spread out, yes, but the great weather and cities that are in kind of a quad setting between Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Tucson, made it fun. And there are few places more fun than Scottsdale for a Super Bowl. The one major issue was getting to the game and out of it: dust storms. I remember running into MC Hammer in the parking lot after the game at the stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and barely being able to see him because of the giant clouds of sand that were blowing around. It was awful. Other than that, the experience was a blast, and Leigh Steinberg threw a kick-ass party.

9. San Diego in 2003. For me this was the second hottest Super Bowl other than Miami. Weather wasn't an issue but an asset. You could get to the game via trolley. And many Super Bowl events were in San Diego's awesome Gaslamp District or at The Convention Center across the street. The only issue I had was the Raiders got creamed by the Bucs.

10 and 11. Miami in 2006 and 2010. Miami's the best place for the Super Bowl, and provides the right combination of weather, concentration of venues and event along South Beach, hotels, and parties. Going to the Super Bowl there is like being in a dream factory with beautiful venues and people. Awesome.

There was just one issue: the rainstorm that hit on game day in 2006 and left us soaked! Other than that, man. Here's a video from The Playboy Party in Miami in 2006:

Well, the fact is that, regardless of the weather, the fun comes in what you make of the experience. With all of the weather problems, Dallas future Super Bowl prospects will hinge on how the NFL Commissioner's Party goes. If the NFL Owners can get in and out with ease, and have a great time while there, it makes all the other problems that much smaller.

Stay tuned.

Nikky's 30 Day Detox with Debby K -Day 3

The purpose of this 30 day detox blog posts are to promote and report as a type of emersion journalism to see the results from my trainer and life coach Debby. It has been quite a struggle, reading e-mails over and over and miscommunication.

Making it clear that Debby is not forcing me to eat or not eat any food - she makes suggestions and tells me what foods are considered acceptable during the detox and what foods I should probably avoid. She does not pressure - the goals are made by the person doing the detox and Debby is just there to help guide the way. She is not going to be angry if the person eats a big hamburger, but she will remind that person that his or her goals are not being met by doing so.

In my next post I will include the foods that Debby recommends and doesn't recommend. Some of them I disagree with, but that's okay. As long as I follow it generally. Debby has said that the body takes around 20 days to stop craving the certain fats and sugars.

It is difficult in the society and environment that I am currently in to eat the healthiest things, but I make it happen. I am on day 3 and although it has been difficult here is what I have eaten. I am also going to be renewing my Planet Fitness membership and will include which exercises I have done.

Just because I list a food as something I ate - does not mean Debby recommended that I eat it. There are some items, like Odwalla drinks, that I bought just because I expected it would please Debby, come to find out - they are not on the detox list. The goal is to eat real foods, not processed.

The first few days are difficult without knowing what to eat. Debby is not asking me to starve myself, it will just take some getting used to.

Day 1- A cup of papaya and pineapple that I cut up
Some granola balls that my mother made

Day 2- 1 piece of pepperoni pizza from Dominos
Nestea Ice Tea
2 Red Powerades

Day 3 (today, at 8:55 am)
In the school's dining commons

A few pieces of fruit (cantaloupe, orange, strawberry)
egg whites.
corn beef hash

Debby will assess what I have eaten and give suggestions.
Stay tuned.


"HI Nikky, I just needed to clarify my title. I am NOT a Life Coach. I am a certified Health/Fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. I have also gone through the Wellness and Fitness coaching program with Wellcoach Corporation, which is endorsed by ACSM

I hope this clarifies this for those of you out there who actually are Life Coaches!

You can visit my blog at to view my complete bio.

Make it Your Fit Day!

Farmville Interruption Causes Baby's Death

Farmville is a game on Facebook where users are able to harvest crops, milk cows and basically be an online farmer minus the labor.

On Nancy Grace's CNN breaking crime news show last night, Wednesday, February 2, 2011, Grace reported and gave insider info about a 22-year-old woman who shook her baby to death for interrupting her as she played Farmville back in October 2010.

Grace includes clips from when the woman called 911. The woman claims that she shook the baby, had a cigarette and then shook the 14-month-old son to death.

This took place in Jacksonville, Florida. The Florida Times Union online reports that Alexandra Tobias has plead guilty to second degree murder back in October, but the story did not become popular with the news sources until last night when she was sentenced to up to life in prison.

The fact that a Facebook application could cause a mother to actually kill her child shows that there is definitely something wrong with society.

Can The Social Network Catch The King's Speech? Final Oscar Ballots Mailed

The Social Network, now with the full backing of Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after his appearance on Saturday Night Live last week, may have a chance to upset the new front-runner The King's Speech because the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that the final set of ballots were mailed to the 5,744 members of The Academy Wednesday.

According to an AMPAS representative, the first set of ballots were for awards nominations; this set is for movies in 19 of the 24 awards categories.  And once mandatory member attendance at screenings is confirmed, the ballots for the five separate categories - Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film - will be sent out as well.

The ballots must be returned by Tuesday, February 22 at 5 PM PST.

Some notes:

In 2009, there were 5,810 Academy members, now the ranks have dropped to 5,744.  

In 2010 the Oscars were in March; there's talk of moving the air date to January, but that's wrong-headed.  Oscar would compete with the NFL Playoffs, and it will not win in either ratings or social media coverage.

Stay tuned.