I’m Moderating ‘Mind Your Business’ at the Arkansas Literary Festival on Saturday

I’m happy to once again being moderating a session at the Arkansas Literary Festival. You can read about my previous sessions here and here.

April 18-21

April 18-21

This year, I’ll be overseeing a panel called “Mind Your Business,” which examines the business end of being an author, including using tools like Kickstarter to fund projects, building interactive books as apps and marketing your work online.

The authors on the panel are Lela Davidson (“Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?” and more); Kevin Moffett (“Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events,” “The Silent History” and more); and Jenni B. Baker and Beth Bayer of “Found Poetry Review.”

Each of these authors have had fascinating experiences in publishing, particularly as business models have been upended by the web and digital reading. I’m looking forward to hearing their advice for authors looking for new ways to share their work and ideas.

The panel begins at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Arkansas Studies Institute in the River Market in downtown Little Rock.

Brightcove’s Jeremy Allaire on His Apple TV Predictions

Brightcove chairman and CEO, writing again for AllThingsD on what he expects out of the mythical Apple TV. No. 1?

The best way to consume broadcast TV and any online video. A seamless touch- and TV-based interface makes it simple to consume your existing cable and broadcast content, including video-on-demand (VOD) libraries and DVR features. Via iTunes, you also get instant access to mega-libraries and subscriptions from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, not to mention YouTube. Naturally, you can also access any AirPlay-enabled videos on the Web, as well as TV apps updated with the new iOS 7 SDK.

TV channels as apps seem inevitable. But all this is a tall order, given the myriad restrictions and hurdles regarding traditional television licenses and rights issues.

SCOTUSblog on How CNN, Fox Botched the Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling

For media nerds like me, it really doesn’t get any better than SCOTUSblog’s minute-by-minute account of how CNN and Fox News botched coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on health care reform.

LOL’d: Huffington Post, even with its own reporter on the ground at the court, just couldn’t resist being the Huffington Post:

Elsewhere, others are picking up the story from CNN and Fox.  Back at the Court, the Huffington Post’s reporter, Mike Sacks, has not yet filed a story on the ruling.  Their social media team does not wait, however.  Taking the news from CNN without attribution, it tweets – “BREAKING: Individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court.”

One of the day’s many facepalms, for sure. (Drudge made a similar play.)

Must Read: Mat Honan on ‘The Case Against Google’

Mat Honan at Gizmodo has a great overview of the “new” Google, its desperation to get you on Google+, its changing privacy policies and why it’s torn down the walls between its various services like YouTube and Gmail.



It a long read but totally worth it. It’s a good assessment of where the search giant is these days and how (and why) it got there:

This explains why Google has been driving privacy advocates crazy and polluting its search results. It explains why now, on the Google homepage, there’s a big ugly black bar across the top that reminds you of all its properties. It explains the glaring red box with the meaningless numbers that so desperately begs you to come see what’s happening in its anti-social network. It explains why Google is being a bully. It explains why Google broke search: Because to remain relevant it has to give real-world answers.

… Real-world answers like the kind folks are getting minute-by-minute on sites like Twitter and Facebook and the universe of smartphone apps that are closed off from Google’s webcrawlers.

That means more of your data hidden from Google’s servers, which need that data to show you relevant advertising — the core of its business.

So if you didn’t know it already, there’s a huge battle going by some very powerful companies that desperately want to know everything about you. Because on Google and Facebook, you are the product.

Video: Wal-Mart’s Social Media Push

I stopped by Today’s THV last night to talk about Mark Friedman’s story on Wal-Mart’s social media plans, available in this week’s edition of Arkansas Business.

Friedman surveys Wal-Mart’s recent social media and e-commerce acquisitions — Kosmix, Yihaodian, Newput — and Facebook strategy and reports that this could be the beginning to a big push by the world’s largest retailer to better leverage the social web to drive online sales.

Video: The New iPad on Today’s THV

Above, my live hit this morning on “Today’s THV This Morning” ahead of today’s third-generation iPad launch. Drinking game: Every time someone says “device,” take a shot! And that white earbud in my ear? That was my audio link to the studio today, connected to an iPhone in my back pocket.

Today was obviously my first look at the new iPad, and the display really is all it’s cracked up to be: super high-res, vibrant colors, near-imperceptible pixels. It’s also seems every bit as speedy as you’ve heard, and definitely leaps and bounds over my first-generation iPad. And in terms of network speed, Verizon’s 4G LTE connection should really shine on the iPad. Web pages rendered quickly, and video loaded almost instantly. Oh, and video and picture quality? Off the charts, owing, again, to that gorgeous display.

There were no lines at the Midtown Little Rock Verizon store we were at, at least when I was there from roughly 6-7 this morning. But it looks as if demand will be strong (pre-orders from Apple are already sold-out).

Will I upgrade? It depends. On paper, I probably should. I use my first-generation device heavily every day. But I’m also still really happy with it and its performance (while it had gotten a bit crashy lately, stability seems to have improved after the OS 5.1 refresh), and it’s hard for me to give up on something before it’s outlived its usefulness.

But if you’re a first-time buyer, or if you’re a heavy ebook reader who wants improved resolution, it’s a no-brainer. This “device” will serve you well.

ArkansasBusiness.com, on iPad

ArkansasBusiness.com, on iPad

Meanwhile, looking at ArkansasBusiness.com on the new iPad, I get what folks like Josh Topolsky are saying about how unforgiving the display can be to websites that aren’t optimized for such a high resolution.

The headers for our main menu, in fact, seem blurry, and look even worse if you zoom in, something we’ll definitely keep in mind as we redesign our site this year.

I think we’ll see a lot of web designers — and obviously app designers — rethinking their designs in light of a such a high-res display.

Stephen Hackett, who writes 512 Pixels up the road in Memphis, viewed the new iPad at a new Verizon store. You can get his thoughts on Verizon 4G LTE, the iPad’s hotspot capability on Verizon and competing Android devices right here.

Things to Consider About Apple’s Monster 1Q Earnings

Yep. Apple pretty much killed it yesterday. Top line, from its first-quarter earnings announcement:

The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 44.7 percent compared to 38.5 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 58 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

As Slate tech writer Farhad Manjoo noted on Twitter yesterday:

And he’s right. Google’s most recent quarterly earnings report shows revenue of $10.6 billion, with a profit of about $2.7 billion.

Now, just for fun, let’s see how that compares with the world’s largest retailer. In its most recently quarterly earnings report, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville reported revenue of $109.5 billion. Profit was about $3.3 billion.

Finally, Apple’s current rival for world’s biggest company (by market cap), Exxon Mobil: its most recent quarterly profit? $10.3 billion.

So to recap: Apple has bigger quarterly profit than the world’s leading oil company, the world’s largest retailer and the world’s biggest search engine. In fact, it has more profit than Google has revenue.

How’d Apple do it? By selling lots of stuff:

The Company sold 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 128 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the quarter, a 111 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 5.2 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 15.4 million iPods, a 21 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

Heck, Apple even sold 1.4 million Apple TVs, which it still considers “a hobby.”

Other fun facts:

Matt Richman notes:

In 2009, Apple sold more iPhones than it did in 2007 and 2008 combined. In 2010, Apple sold more iPhones than it did in 2007, 2008, and 2009 combined. Last year, Apple sold 93.1 million iPhones, slightly more than it did in in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 combined.

And then there was this yesterday from Verizon’s earnings release, as reported by Bloomberg:

While iPhone sales more than doubled from the third quarter to 4.3 million units, total smartphone sales fell short, signaling waning demand for handsets that run on Google Inc.’s Android operating system, said Walt Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG LLC in New York.

“This is a little surprising during a holiday period, especially given all the marketing around 4G phones,” he said. Total smartphone sales were 7.7 million units, 1.5 million fewer than Piecyk predicted.

So more than half the 7.7 million smartphones Verizon sold were iPhones.

More: Dan Frommer’s excellent SplatF blog has the charts; John Gruber’s DaringFireball has the claim chowder.

P. Allen Smith’s New Video Series, Part of YouTube Original Programming Effort, Launches

From ArkansasBusiness.com, by me:

A web video channel programmed by eHow Home and featuring Arkansas-based garden guru P. Allen Smith has launched on YouTube, the massive online video website owned by Google Inc.

Smith’s channel, which features video segments on gardening, landscaping, home construction and sustainable living, is among 100 other channels of original content that celebrities and media brands are programming for site and launching this year.

In one video series, Smith and friends plan and build a $150,000 environmentally friendly home in 150 days. Sounds like fun.

Episode one below:

Andrew Beaujon, the ‘New Romenesko’

From the New York Observer:

Beginning next month, Andrew Beaujon will join the Poynter Institute as a media reporter, filling out the void left when Jim Romenesko quit late last year. Mr. Beaujon is currently the arts and entertainment editor at TBD.com, a Washington D.C. news site.

Prior to TBD, Mr. Beaujon worked at Washington City Paper, Martha Stewart Living and SPIN. He is the author of Body Piercing Saved My Life, a nonfiction book about Christian rock.

I’m sure Beaujon might be a tad irked at the “new Romenesko” billing the Observer has put upon him, given that the former TBD writer points out how his blog will be different from Romenesko’s.

On another note, I remember reading Romenesko’s original Poynter blog before I even understood what a blog was. In the relatively early days of the web (also the early days of my journalism career), the river of aggregated media news and gossip was like crack.

Here’s wishing Beaujon luck. And remember that “the old Romenesko” is still at it, churning out good stuff at his new site, JimRomenesko.com.