Payne dishes on whether or not startups should keep going it alone

TANG’s own Juston Payne takes a look at startups with Porter’s five forces in mind, and has a little advice for entrepreneurs and their businesses. 

Check it out at DVWLR, right here!


What has technology done for you lately?

By Danielle Matthews

Don’t get me wrong: I love my iPhone. Yet I can’t help feeling sometimes that the growth in technological advances has skipped over a few important elements of our lives. I can text, email, tweet, “like”, pin, and blog, but I still have to spend an hour scrubbing my shower? Ok, so maybe that’s a non sequitur, but consider the following.

We send people to other planets and back. We have satellites roaming the earth. And they still can’t tell me when my train/plane/bus will arrive?

Google maps has virtually eliminated the threat of getting lost. Now they’re testing a car that drives itself! I can see all the traffic patterns around me, but we can’t find a way to prevent gridlock?

We’re light years past dial-up Internet. We have broadband, LTE and wifi hotspots. But I still can’t get cell service in my kitchen?

Modern hospitals ooze with the latest life-saving equipment and pharmaceuticals. We can create artificial organs, and transplant hearts. But we can’t find a way to get paper medical records into a computer?

As an MBA student, I can’t help but think that these are profitable business ventures ripe for the picking. Please, someone, get rich!

Tell us where you think technology missed a step at @TANG_NYUStern or @Fivefourty

A native New Yorker, Danielle Matthews (@Fivefourty) graduated from Vassar College in 2004 with a B.A. in Economics. For the next three years, she held a variety of positions at Citigroup as part of a rotational leadership program in Tampa, Florida and New York City. Upon completion of the program, Danielle transitioned to StarCite, a startup enterprise software company. As a Solutions Consultant, she supported Corporate Sales & Marketing to generate over $6.2M in revenue for the company. Three years later, Danielle left StarCite to pursue her MBA at Stern. She is currently the VP of Technology for both the Technology and New Media Group (TANG) as well as the Graduate Marketing Association (GMA). With specializations in Marketing, Strategy, and Finance, Danielle is expected to graduate Stern in May 2012.

TANG Talks is a series of opinion pieces by Officers of NYU Stern’s Technology and New Media Group, providing a range of perspectives on issues and developments in the technology and new media industry.


And the winner of SXSW is…

TANG’s own Juston Payne gives an overview of Highlight, a new app available from the iTunes store, that is the talk of (the days leading up to) SXSW. Check his post out here.

Source: http://www.dvwlr.com/ ”Highlight Me”


About Apple’s huge pile of cash…

TANG’s own Juston Payne puts together the case that America’s largest corporation should strategically invest in Twitter, in order to avoid a situation in which Apple’s suppliers gain too much power. Give it a read, and let him know what you think… 

Source: www.dvwlr.com “Will Apple Buy Twitter?”


Are you an APPaholic?

By J. Savion Stokar

Hello.  My name is Jason and I’m an APPaholic.  It’s only been 3 days since I had my last download but I can’t kick the craving.  At first, I thought it wasn’t a problem.  I mean, I was getting Apps for free and got much enjoyment out of them.  But after a few months, I needed a stronger fix, so I started to pay for Apps, but wasn’t breaking my bank.  Things were fine – it was not like it was interfering with my day-to-day life. 

But then there was that red afternoon in January when my phone died.  The withdrawal was slow, but palpable.  I was eating at Sullivan House and this amazing song came over the speakers.  I needed to know what it was but I didn’t have Shazam, so I tried to memorize some of the lyrics so I could Google it later – but by the time I got home they had slipped my mind.  So I decided in order to feel better - I should play some Angry Birds Seasons.  But then the terror of realizing my phone was dead sunk in, and I needed a distraction.  So I did what I normally do - went record shopping. 

At A1 records in East Village, I found this rare Guru record from the early 1990’s, but I couldn’t scan it with the Amazon price-checking scanner.  So I just decided to buy it, and not care if I spent too much.  At the counter, there was this cute guy who looked a lot like the Brazilian model Francisco Lachowski.  I needed to know if he was on Grindr, but alas, I couldn’t check because there was not an App in the world to be found on me!

I started to get dizzy.  I hadn’t even checked in anywhere on Foursquare and was more than sure I had lost my mayorship at 7A.  It was horrible.  I was hording.  I had gone on a binge a week earlier and downloaded 13 apps in 4 hours.  I had to get help.

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

But seriously…

When do you admit you’ve become an APPaholic?  When you’re deleting photos of your dog to make more space for more Apps?  When you’re downloading all the mobile apps from the Mayo clinic (even though you don’t intend to follow any of the lifestyle tips)?  When you’re spending $60 on the giant Angry Bird stuffed animals?

I’m just saying.  

Jason Stokar has been in New York City for over 9 years and holds a Bachelors of Music from New York University. He loves dogs, particularly his adopted mutt, Stella a/k/a Belle Peppers a/k/a Flops Monroe. He was a Director in the licensing department of EMI Music Group prior to coming to Stern.

TANG Talks is a series of opinion pieces by Officers of NYU Stern’s Technology and New Media Group, providing a range of perspectives on issues and developments in the technology and new media industry.


Betting on Judgment: Tech Company IPOs, Dual-Class Stock Structures, and Corporate Governance

By John Patteson

Facebook is going public, if you hadn’t heard.

Amid the excitement surrounding the company’s S-1, a filing used to register securities with the SEC, and the first public glimpse of financial information, an interesting and important discussion about corporate governance has surfaced. Facebook, like Google (GOOG), Zynga (ZNGA), LinkedIn (LinkedIn), and Groupon (GRPN), has a dual class stock structure, which it initially set up in 2009. Other examples include media companies such as The New York Times Company (NYT), The Washington Post Company (WPO), and News Corporation (NWS), as well as Ford Motor Company (F), and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B), to name a few more. And many corporate governance advocates don’t like it.

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Canon, Nikon, and Friends: Online Sharing Isn’t a Fad

Among the many glorious gifts lavished on my wife and I for our wedding was this sweet piece of kit: the Canon S100. This is the best pocket camera from the world’s best pocket camera manufacturer and it delivers in every way a camera should: vibrant images, no shutter lag, 1080p video, manual control, GPS… it’s sweet.
Kodak’s pocket camera visionaries in the 1960’s no doubt saw the S100 coming. In fact, Kodak predicted developments decades away with uncanny accuracy.  
And that’s the problem.  
The camera industry has merrily marched in lockstep since the 1960’s, fixing their focus on performance while wearing blinders to the internet and social media.  
Let’s be clear: inexpensive digital cameras outperform the best mobile phone’s camera.  In daylight, the iPhone 4 takes pictures that are impressive for a mobile phone but look anemic compared to the S100’s.  In low light, the iPhone’s pictures evoke the Blair Witch Project while the Canon makes banal scenes look like they’re lifted from The Road to Perdition.
But in what world are we living? Is the currency performance or sharing?
Instragram, a 15-month old startup with 8 employees, has over 15 million users sharing 5,184,000 photos per day, and pushing 504,000 of those per day to Facebook.  100% of those photos were taken on an iPhone.  You know, the anemic one that takes Blair Witch photos.
Do you think people prefer to share crappy photos? I don’t.
Do you think all of Instagram’s users would switch to pocket cameras? I don’t.  The best camera is the one you have on you, and often people only have a phone.
But some would.  And I think camera companies are absolutely insane to not enter this market.  How much more proven does the consumer demand need to be? People have shared over 400 million photos on Instagram alone. I’m sure a chunk of them would purchase a product that allowed them to share high quality photos, if that product existed.
The new currency could become shared quality, not just shared, and dedicated cameras would own that market for the foreseeable future.  
To the leadership of camera companies across the world, I offer these recommendations:
1.  Strike mobile data deals with carriers.  Apple did it in 2007. Amazon did it in 2007, too.  Now it’s 2012.  Get it done, people.  It’s possible.
2.  Allow photos to be automatically and wirelessly transferred to mobile phones. I snap a picture and it appears in my phone’s Photo Library. Bluetooth or WiFi will do the trick.
3. Get Facebook, Instagram, and the like on board at launch. Fund the entire development, if necessary. Maybe even approach tired, old Flickr. Just secure a big launch partner.
4. Don’t stop at photo sharing. Integrate foursquare, Path, Google+, and so forth. The goal is to claw back share from mobile phones as the means of sharing experiences.
5. Don’t treat social media like an afterthought. Poach people from leading social companies and integrate them deeply into the product development. We’re accustomed to iPhone-quality experiences and will interpret sloppy executions as indictments of the entire product. Details matter.
The alternative is to continue competing as if social media was never invented and all that matters is camera performance. Before settling on that strategy, they might want to glance at this chart.
Juston Payne interns at foursquare and will work at Google after graduation. Following him on Twitter is the single greatest thing you will ever do:

On Reporting Transparency, and The Cloud

By John Patteson

Last week, the non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica debuted a new feature for its reporting, one that could have implications not only for media, but for corporate entities and other organizations as well. In a piece that may serve as the template for more to come, author Marshall Allen “made over 500 annotations in 64 documents” all of which he uploaded to DocumentCloud, an open source service that catalogs thousands of public, often primary source documents. ProPublica included an “Explore Sources” feature, which allows readers to read and explore facts and statements of the article without leaving the page.

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A Call For Sanity

By Nathaniel Wydra

Apple sells about 5 different things, all of which are basically computers that vary only by their level of portability. But they aren’t THAT different. (In case you were wondering, my ordering goes: Mac, Apple TV, MacBook, iPad, iPhone… who really cares about iPods anymore?) Apple is vastly successful in selling these products and I don’t begrudge them their profits one bit.

So I understand why people were skeptical when Apple opened up retail stores in 2001. And remember, this was about 10 years ago when only three of those products even existed. But look at those stores today; they’re great. They’re sleek, shiny and are marvels of modern architectural design. I could live in one. Ron Johnson, the former head of Apple’s retail stores, left to turn around J. C. Penney as its new CEO. But let’s be honest, they’re just stores. With not a whole lot in them but five products and corresponding accessories.

You’ll imagine my surprise, then, when the WSJ reports that 2,500 people were waiting in line to see the new Apple store in Grand Central Station. One enterprising individual showed up at 9:44am. That’s 9:44am on THURSDAY, a day before the opening. Another was a retired man from California who was there from noon Thursday in order to see his 31st Apple store opening.

I know that we’ve got 8.6% unemployment in this country and some people just don’t have anything better to do. That the former Econ major in me knows that the real rate of unemployment is vastly higher doesn’t help my case. I know it’s the holiday pepper spray season and you just HAVE TO get that gift for your special someone. But there are more important things out there than seeing the Apple store on Day 1. Go to the gym. Visit a loved one. Read a book. There are 4 other stores in a 2.5 mile radius from Grand Central, and all of them are probably sitting (relatively) empty behind the shadow of the Grand Central store. Calm down. You’ll see the shiny new store soon enough. Let it go people, let it go.

Sources: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203413304577088201456063374.html

Nathaniel Wydra grew up in New York and graduated from Northwestern University in 2007 with a B.A in Economics. After college he worked for Source Interlink Media’s magazine portfolio, managing subscriber acquisition marketing initiatives and CRM. He is currently pursuing his MBA with a specialization in Entertainment, Media and Technology (EMT) and Corporate Finance. This summer, he was the MBA Analytics Intern at Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He is excited to be serving on the TANG Board and working with his fellow technology- and new media-focused students.

TANG Talks is a series of opinion pieces by Officers of NYU Stern’s Technology and New Media Group, providing a range of perspectives on issues and developments in the technology and new media industry.


NYU Stern student Simon Brief tries out Mixel - a new digital tool to make, share, and remix collages - and finds…that’s its awesome. Check out his post on how it brings out artistic creativity in new and interesting ways, and how it pushes the boundaries of the way we think about art online.

Tags: Mixel

The Google-Moto Merger: Strategy or Strategery?

By Danielle Matthews

On November 17th, Motorola Mobility’s shareholders approved the proposed merger between their company and Google. Though the deal likely won’t close until next year, many have wondered how the $12.5 billion deal will affect Motorola Mobility’s customers, the wireless industry, and the firms themselves.

The smartphone market is currently dominated by a handful of major players, mostly running Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android or RIM’s Blackberry operating systems. In such a differentiated oligopoly, we would expect to see a focus on willingness to pay and expansion into new markets. According to this strategist, Google’s Motorola acquisition achieves both of these objectives.

With Palm OS out of sight, RIM hanging on for dear life, and Microsoft’s Windows operating system failing to gain traction, this deal has the potential to further consolidate the market. The question is, are the multi-housing costs too high relative to consumers’ demands for differentiation? The answer may lie in another hypothetical question: if you could get iOS on an LG, would you?

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Klout: Meaninglessness Masquerading as Measurement

By Juston Payne

For nearly two weeks, I was more influential than Professor Scott Galloway.  Indeed, marketers aiming to disperse their messages to the internet would have been wise to approach me instead of the famous CEO of a successful marketing consultancy who is routinely flown around the world to speak at enormous conferences.  After all, my Klout score was 47 and his was 46.  

Mocking Klout is like mocking Sarah Palin: too easy, yet strangely satisfying.  Both speak with loud voices about topics they don’t understand.  So as Palin firmly asserted her ability to see Russia from Alaska, Klout insists that our dear classmate Linz Shelton is more influential than Malcolm Gladwell.  And that Cassie Bradford is more influential than Barack Obama.  And Weird Horse is more influential than David Pogue, but both are less influential than Dennis Crowley  who is more influential than Aswath Damodaran and Al Gore, but less influential than someone named Megan Amram.   

If the “Standard of Influence” says it, it must be true.  I’m more influential than Ron Artest so you can take that to the bank.

It’s also curious that a single person’s Klout Score can fluctuate wildly within a short period of time. Are we really to believe someone’s influence in the world is so fickle that it can come and go within days, or evaporate if someone dares to take a vacation?

Okay, so Klout’s primary product — the Klout Score — is meaninglessness masquerading as measurement.  What about the topics it chooses for users?  Might those be more accurate representations of their areas of influence?  

We can begin our evaluation of Topics with a look at those chosen for me: 

1. Television.  Odd, I don’t own a television or talk about television.

2.  Business.  I suppose I could influence people about “business” in an abstract way. I do go to business school and tweet about Apple’s and Google’s products on occasion.

3.  Klout. They better hope not!

4.  Shoes. I last purchased shoes in January.  I last spoke about shoes… never.

5.  Entertainment. While I enjoy a good flick as much as the next guy, I am certainly not influential on the topic.

6.  Handbags.  You’ve gotta be kidding me.

Professor Damodaran, the global authority on corporate valuation, is most influential about Soap Operas.  Barack Obama guides the conversation about Soccer and Steve Jobs.  Want to know about Seizures? Tap into Peanut Free Mom, a joke Twitter personality written by a man in Boston.

One more: Klout, the corporation, is influential about Moms, Family, and Food. Who knew that the “Standard of Influence” is actually Martha Stewart!  Martha Stewart, by the way, is not influential about Family or Moms, so you can unsubscribe from Martha Stewart Living and just follow Klout if you’re into those topics.

To be fair, Klout performs better with topics than it does with its Klout Score.  Barack Obama is mainly influential about Politics and himself, Professor Galloway is aligned with Marketing and Branding, and David Pogue is associated with Technology and Apple.  Those, at least, correspond with reality, even if Klout does nothing to indicate the relative extent to which they are influential about those topics. 

But is this useful?  I don’t need Klout to tell me the New York Times’s tech columnist is influential about technology or that  Barack Obama is influential about Barack Obama. If Klout identified relatively unknown people who had similar levels of influence on these topics, that would be useful information. Instead, browsing Klout’s Topics is an exercise in obviousness.  Who would have guessed MacWorld leads the Apple Topic list?

Let’s check Klout’s report card.  The Klout Score gets a solid “F,” and their topics have some merit but are rife with errors and obvious observations.  A “C” seems generous but fair.  Average those on the GPA scale and you get a 1.0, or a “D” average.  

Can someone explain why the internet is atwitterstudents are winning trips to China, and brands are giving away products, all on account of a “D” product? 

Here’s my explanation: people love being told where they stand in the world.  And marketers love to know who they should target.  So powerful are these two forces that even a profoundly inept product like Klout can achieve celebrity status, at least until a viable competitor appears.

It’s easy to see where this is headed.  Either someone will build a better mousetrap and banish Klout to the Deadpool, as Google did to other search engines, or Klout will use that $10M from Kleiner Perkins and friends to make their product meaningful.  To be clear: the concept of segmenting users into areas of influence is powerful and valuable.  Someone will eventually do it properly and that company will create tremendous value.  In the mean time, I have a heartfelt plea:


Will everyone please stop treating Klout as more credible than Zoltar?

The opinions in this article are those of the author and the author alone.  The author, by the way, strongly believes Klout’s concept is insightful, relevant, and powerful.  He also really likes Joe Fernandez, Klout’s CEO, and sincerely hopes he can tweak his company’s product so Klout captures the value contained in the concept. 

And about that author, Juston majored in psychology at Colgate University before moving on to a career in digital marketing. Most recently, he led the online advertising group at Wiley, publisher of For Dummies books and Frommer’s travel guides, among other brands and titles. He interned at Google over the summer, currently interns at foursquare, and is hoping to move into digital strategy and marketing in the tech industry after graduating. Outside of school, he enjoys running, hiking, writing and producing music, and sandwiches.  It is imperative you follow him on Twitter at @justonpayne.


TANG Talks Series: Across the Sea

TANG Talks is a series of original opinion pieces by Officers of NYU Stern’s Technology and New Media Group, providing a range of perspectives on issues and developments in the technology and new media industry. Be sure to check them out each week!  

Across the Sea

By Steven Chang

As New York’s tech scene continues to grow, it can be very tempting to for us New Yorkers to ignore innovation beyond the East and West coasts.  However, the unique constraints faced by emerging markets makes them fertile ground for cultivating the next generation of technology breakthroughs.

For some, this idea may seem bizarre. After all, the US has birthed companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook while entrepreneurs in other countries have made millions off of their ability to clone American sites. Several ChineseBrazilian, and German clones spring to mind. How can new ideas emerge when simply copying is so lucrative?

The answer lies in how constraints can spark new ideas.  In the documentary El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, avant-garde chef Ferran Adria prohibits his head chefs from preparing certain types of foods each season so that they craft more creative dishes, ones that result in “bewilderment” from his patrons.  This results in an array of novel preparation methods, flavors, and textures, confirming El Bulli’s place as one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the world.

Constraints in emerging markets have played a similar role. Asia’s rampant retail piracy compelled game developers to utilize the business model of virtual goods.  Many people in Africa lack traditional bank accounts, making Africa one of the earliest adopters of mobile payments.  Asia and Africa also have much lower broadband penetration than the US, accelerating their adoption of mobile technology. In fact, the GSMA recently announced that Africa is the world’s fastest growing mobile market and second to Asia in size. Such unique contexts have and will continue to foster innovation.

This takes nothing away from the US. After all, Silicon Valley continues to be the premier entrepreneurial cluster, filled with entrepreneurs whom have successfully launched and exited multiple companies. Meanwhile, vibrant start-up communities have emerged in cities like New York, Boston, Austin, Boulder, and Seattle.

What this does mean, however, is that it is no longer adequate for anyone in the tech industry to solely scour the American ecosystem for new ideas; it will be essential for them to look across the sea as well.

Steven Chang grew up in Austin, TX and studied Public Policy and Economics at Duke University. Prior to Stern, he played finance, strategy, and business development roles at a start-up division of Broadlane, a healthcare consulting firm. He most recently spent his summer as an intern with Endeavor, where he helped a social gaming firm in Bogota, Colombia with strategy and business development initiatives. 


TANG Talks Series: Stakeholder Perspectives on Net Neutrality

TANG Talks is a series of original opinion pieces by Officers of NYU Stern’s Technology and New Media Group, providing a range of perspectives on issues and developments in the technology and new media industry. Be sure to check them out each week!  

Stakeholder Perspectives on Net Neutrality

By Anthony Wislow


Net neutrality continues to fuel debate amongst consumers, political parties, government regulators, and wired telecommunications carriers or Internet service providers (ISP’s).  Broadly, net neutrality surrounds the concept of a “fair Internet,” where one can access sites, services, platforms, and content online without interference or influence from the Internet service provider.  And while most individuals agree that an optimal and fair experience online would entail sound delivery of performance regardless of the content accessed, the issue is not that simple.   Questions subsequently arise about the best methods to foster neutrality, bandwidth capacity, and whether broader regulation of the Internet will ultimately be favorable to providers or users.  Ultimately, to gain deeper understanding of net neutrality and to develop a firm position on the matter, one must analyze the issue from the viewpoints of associated stakeholders.      

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