Something New:

I am glee with excitement. After starting a new job at the beginning of the year and a big concert last Friday with my band I am very happy to announce another new project:

It is an online video interview format, bringing my video and interview podcast experience together with passion for music and my hometown of Hamburg, interviewing musicians who are visiting Hamburg on tour.

The interviews in the first couple of months will focus on singers and guitarists and will mostly be conducted in English, but as the first interview shows, I am just as happy to interview fellow Germans. You can expect about one interview per month and we aim for a 2-camera HD-shoot. If scheduling prohibits this set-up however, I hope you’ll excuse the grainy picture and enjoy the interview just as much.

I am very grateful that the guest of the first episode agreed to come on the show when neither website nor future guests were ready, let alone decent camera equipment (what you can see at the bottom of the page is Flip vs. iPad). Thank’s a lot Johnny!

There’ll be more of Johnny soon, and we’ll interview Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit/Black Light Burns) this Friday. Steve Lukather is confirmed for March and hopefully many more: Let me know who you would want me to interview.

Music, video, stories. Let’s go.


Old Vine in new bottles or the one that will stick?

Somewhere the makers of 12seconds, Cinemagram and lightt are either saying “damn, that’s our idea” or “we should have less features and easier UI” or “that’s basically exactly what we did”. They are scratching their heads about what they could have done better to achieve the seemingly overnight success Twitter-owned app Vine is now experiencing, after all, all these products tap into the shift to mobile that video is in the middle of. And let’s not forget that flickr in pre-Marissa Mayer had a similar format plus scale.

Vine is the hot app these days after front page placement in the Apple store only to be called out for leaving the door wide open for pornography. It certainly opens the door for another set of creatives and it won’t be long until other brands will follow as my former colleague Daniel now at Attention US points out in his post.

And the flow IS really fascinating to watch as the Cyborgology blog points us to Vinepeek where you can see Vine after Vine and hypnotize yourself. Please let’s try very hard and not ask the question whether we need just another format.

Rather let’s debate whether this time around the format will stick. Have a look at this Vine blog post, citing Vines from the Brooklyn Nets, Paul McCartney, Tyra Banks and my other high profile accounts. And then consider that Vine is already Twitter-owned and the way Vine is integrated in the Twitter Card layout is  just so nice that I can’t help but think: ‘another revenue stream’! Again, add the scale which aside from flickr the companies mentioned in the first paragraph didn’t have, and the network distribution effect (which flickr did NOT have) and Vine looks like a pretty good bet to me. What do you think?

Lightt: New app feels like visual Twitter

Robert Scoble posted yesterday “Lightt: App of the year” so of course I went and took a look at his video and the lightt app. (iphone only at this point)

While the two cofounders come across as a bit camera shy they made several very interesting points which sound promising.

First, what does the app do? It let’s you capture a moment with a series of pictures. All you have to do is point and click, the rest happens automatically (the picture taking and uploading, you don’t have to name – yet). This happens super fast, and in your stream you can then see what your friends are doing. One fun result is that if two people are using this in the same location, you get a much denser impression of the moment.

In Scoble’s interview one of the founders explained how the other was away for a wedding and he was able to follow the event through Lightt in ca. 45 seconds. Whether you’d want this or the personal account with the 30-minute-photo-presentation is up to you, but the story made me think “Twitter in a visual way” immediately. It’s status updates.

In the future, moments will be able to be categorized for example like “show me all my kid’s birthdays”. The immediate availability in the cloud ads to a better library-option than all the movie files you have on your harddrive and which you never watch.

Sure, this is yet another option to “over-share” (note the satirical underdone) but I am sure that with added privacy settings LIghtt could make as much sense as Path. While apps like GivitGifture or Cinemagram focus more on the artsy part of the video Lightt swings for the fences with the social network component (more on mobile video in this blog post).

Obviously, in this early stage there will be few moments from your existing network (especially here in Germany) but if the company can overcome this “small” hurdle, we have a game.

Mobile video – consumption and creation shifts

After I read Mitch Joel’s post on the shift of YouTube consumption from desktop to mobile from last night I immediately checked the source to see if it had more information on how the YouTube iPad app is assessed. Or any tablet for that matter. It didn’t have any. Do they consider tablet views mobile? Probably and it would explain the increase from 6% to 25%.

I do agree with him that viewing videos on smartphones is not the same as watching on a flat-screen, or just a laptop (side-note: i can’t wait to try the new mirroring feature and catch up on my “to watch bookmark list” – not on the desktop but the big screen).  The whole Airplay-technology is just mindboggling if you think about it, doing with video what we first were able to do with audio, switching podcast consumption from the headphones to the appartment-stereo with a button.

Mitch’s later points on issues with geolocation I only know too well since a lot of YouTube content is blocked in Germany due to licensing issues with local bodies. To often we don’t use the Store or YouTube on the Apple TV  but hook up a laptop with HotSpot Shield to circumvent the IP-restrictions. That aside, regular television interrupted with commercials almost never happens anymore in this household.

The mobile shift also extends to creation. I have to really think about when I last took out that old FlipCam, probably last time I recorded an Speaking English Podcast (sorry for the long summer break!). In the meantime, camera and software for the iPhone have become very powerful, be it social video apps like Viddy, Socialcam and Klip TV, or simpler Apps like Givit, Gifture (sadly this app never worked so far) or Cinemagram. Combine that with the iMovie app and you are in trouble justifying the extra configuration – remember when you chose the MacBook Pro over the MacBook because you needed the power for video?

Aided by artists who are figuring out the power in their own hands (e.g. Fred Durst/Limp Bizkit; Britney Spears) the mobile revolution extends from consuming video to creating it.

If you are wondering what the role of brand marketing can be in this space you are probably not alone.

Customer understanding at Seemingly zero.

I just received an email from the support team, automatically generated

“We wanted to let you know that your professional account for “Speaking English Podcast” has expired.”

Not only am I furious because I am still waiting for the day that a video hosting service realizes that their paying customers are a valuable asset for them and that they need to make sure to keep them happy. This reminds me of the beginning of’s demise. Late payments, no communication.

But in addition, I am speechless about the mechanism. Why the fuck would you let the pro accounts expire? Why wouldn’t you send one email four weeks in advance, “hey, just to let you know, your pro account is going to expire, do you want to renew?” And why wouldn’t you send a reminder a week before it expires? You didn’t, I checked my spam folder. This could be so easy. But I guess it’s not.