Daily Marauder


THIS WEEK: REMEMBERING MCA by Marauder

THIS WEEK: REMEMBERING MCA

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“as you can imagine, shit is just fkd up right now. but i wanna say thank you to all our

friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support.
i’m glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him.
thank you.”

– Mike D

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Coldplay Tribute 5/4 at the Hollywood Bowl “Fight for Your Right to Party”

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It is with great sadness that I dedicate this post to one of my heroes, Adam “MCA” Yauch from the Beastie Boys. He died last week at 47 years old from cancer in his salivary glands. Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys with Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz in 1979, one year after I was born. The Beastie Boys started as a punk rock group and quickly merged over into hip hop.   Paul’s Boutique defined my college experience and laid groundwork for a connection to music which has motivated and pushed me forward in the darkest of times. He was one of my heroes. He will be missed.

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For more videos to remind you of the Beastie Boys genius, click here.

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In other news, Nielsen reported another drop in TV viewers, the Apple OS vs. Android deathmatch continues, The Scream sells at Sotheby’s for a cool $120MM, Turntable tries to get its mojo back, Facebook sets its IPO at $28 – $35 a share, Discovery buys Revision 3, ComScore names Tagged as the most engaged social network, and Zynga sees massive decline from its recent acquisition Draw Something.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Transmission LA: Mike D Curated Art

Photo Credit: Daily Marauder

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THIS WEEK: TRANSMISSION LA & 1 WORLD TRADE NYC by Marauder

THIS WEEK: TRANSMISSION LA & 1 WORLD TRADE NYC

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Outdoor Bar & Tables (Mike D-curated KOGI truck across the street)

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Mike D, from the Beastie Boys, calls his curated exhibition at MOCA LA, Transmission LA, “an amusement park for adults.”   I think that aptly sums up the experience. I took a spin to the Museum of Contemporary Art this past Saturday to take a look myself. From the Roy Choi/Mike D collaboration on the menu at the KOGI Truck to the art nestled inside, It was a feast for the senses. Here’ a few pics. If you’re in the LA area, you have until this Sunday to take a spin of your own.

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The sponsor, Mercedes, gets quite the gold chain

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Coffee bar surrounded by a moat filled with mechanical boats

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Miscela d’Oro Coffee from Sicily

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Surrounded by projectors and an open road, Ben Jones/Road Trip

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“Pinwheels” by Jim Drain & Ara Peterson

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In other news, Instagram passes 50 MM users, viewers love a little Zooey & Samuel L. in those Siri ads, 1 World Trade reclaims the NY skyline, Apple beat analysts’ predictions with its Q2 results and Viddy receives a serious boost in users and investment.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Jumboltron: One Big Happy Nerd Family with iPads



THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW by Marauder

THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW

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This week, SXSW descends over Austin. If you’re unfamiliar, SXSW is a three-in-one conference encompassing interactive, film, and music. SXSW has launched a few innovative companies in its midst including Foursquare and the now-acquired Gowalla. In my opinion, it’s a nerd fest reunion with some music folks on the back end. Once a year, all of my digital nerd friends from all across the US get together to drink, party and possibly hit a panel or two. This week, I had a conversation with an ad agency executive in NYC about the merits of SXSW.

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While this particular person had never attended SXSW, he felt that the information which returned was never of value. The thought was that SXSW was simply a drunken booze fest without value.

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I thought about this argument and sat down to read an article in the New Yorker about Davos. Davos, as contrasted to SXSW, rounds up the top world leaders with the hope of igniting inspiration at the highest levels. I’m sure cocktails are shared but I’m guessing no one ends up at the Driskill Hotel at 2 in the morning passed out in a hotel lobby arm chair. That said, my argument in defense of SXSW centered on the simple physical aggregation of start-up folk, programmers, product people and marketing experts alike. Primarily, in the past four years that I have been attending SXSW, this has included an audience under the age of 35. We are young, we are innovators, and yes, we like to drink. Let’s face it, a cocktail or two lowers our fears and in many cases, allows creativity to flow. Steve Jobs referenced LSD as “one of the two or three most important things [he had] done in [his] life” as he considered the experience principally one which opened his eyes to creativity in ways he did not think possible.

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Now, I’m not condoning alcoholism or drug use. I’m simply pointing out that discounting SXSW because this particular audience parties or drinks heavily,is simply disregarding it based on unfair terms. It may be Spring Break for digital folks but don’t we all need a vacation from reality every once in a while? If you’ll be at SXSW, I’ll be speaking on a panel entitled, “Are We Killing Social with Social?”  Stop by and share some thoughts, cocktail or no cocktail.

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In other news, Pinterest is surging while Google + is puttering, Lady Gaga becomes the first person to hit 20MM followers on Twitter, newspaper revenue tanks shocking no one, smartphone owners now outnumber other mobile users in the US, Yelp shares surge on their first day of trading, and co-founder Naveen Selvadurai is leaving Foursquare.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Lowline: Underground NYC Park Life



THIS WEEK: HOUSTON, WE HAVE LINSANITY by Marauder

THIS WEEK: HOUSTON, WE HAVE LINSANITY

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Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images / February 18, 2012

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Whitney Houston’s funeral Saturday drew more star power than the Grammys the weekend before including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keyes, R Kelley, Bobby Brown, and Aretha Franklin. Wait, those last two weren’t there. Bobby Brown left because of a “seating incident” and Aretha Franklin had leg issues even though she performed in concert that very night. [raised eyebrows] I thought Kevin Costner’s words concerning his work with the star on the Bodyguard were intriguing. Not only were they clearly heartfelt but they demonstrated the challenges of being a worldwide star. Incidentally, both the Grammys and Whitney Houston’s funeral both clocked in at 3.5 hrs.

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After being in NYC for 10 days, I attempted to mimic that city’s RIPocolypse love. From snow storms to Whitney’s death, everything on Foursquare is a RIPocolypse in New York City. I also wanted to see if a location of this nature would trend in Los Angeles like it trends in NYC. One problem. It never showed up in search results. I contacted one of the co-founders of Foursquare who told me the search results take a bit to update. 3 days later. Same issue. I know we’re on the opposite coast and a little bit farther south than where digital hearts show their affection, but damn it, we Angelinos are digital nerds too. Where is the love?!

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Apart from the digital snafu, I also noticed how polarizing Whitney Houston was when I asked friends to check-in to my newly dubbed WhitneyHoustonRIPocolypse. Some were eager to jump on and some simply flat out said no, not because they didn’t want to break out Foursquare, but because they didn’t “feel the love” for Ms. Houston. I do find it intriguing that certain folks feel so negative towards the pop singer because of her demons with drug abuse. I certainly don’t condone it. That said, entertainers, while making a ridiculous amount of cash, are owned by their audience, incapable of living away from prying eyes. Entertainers have the ability to inspire so many but they are human beings like all of us. Let’s be honest, we all have our demons. So, with that, I will continue to want to dance with somebody and yes, my love is your love.

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Along with the pop star’s farewell, the din of Linsanity, an homage to the popular NY Knicks player Jeremy Lin, has been reaching fever pitch. Unfortunately, ESPN made the mistake of running a racially fueled headline on Friday bringing Lin fans to punches. Thankfully for the fans, the Harvard alumnus finally joined the social network and took the dive into his first public Facebook page.

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In other news, a warmer winter has slowed sales of typical winter purchases, gossip surrounding the coming iPad 3 announcement on March 7th has erupted, and Twitter gets yet another boost from Apple, this time with the release of the Mac operating system Mountain Lion. Take that, Facebook overlords.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Beauty on the Go: Pop-Up Shopping Wall



THIS WEEK: DELAY TO GRAMMY & SPEED TO TWEET by Marauder

THIS WEEK: DELAY TO GRAMMY & SPEED TO TWEET

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First thing’s first, Happy almost Valentine’s Day with a little love from Google and some geeky Valentine’s Day cards.

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By now, you’re well versed in the loss of Whitney Houston Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton directly before a pre-Grammy event being thrown by the man who discovered her: Clive Davis. I recommend reading the rest of this post with the following background track. Whitney Houston’s voice has been making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end since I was a little girl. She also convinced me, incorrectly I might add, that pink eye shadow was a fantastic decision for a 7-year old. May she rest in peace.

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Last night, Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to the talented Houston belting out “I Will Always Love You” in a truly sweet and very simple performance. For all of the producers of the Grammys, please take notice of what happened in your show last night. The sad passing of Ms. Houston brought emotion back to your show. Music is the fabric which connects us together and recognizing this stitching is what transforms a show from meh to great.

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Unfortunately, CBS didn’t get the memo about the connecting powers of music. While the east coast was watching the Grammys live as it was happening in LA, the west coast had to wait 3 hours to watch a show which was happening, for some, in their own zip code. So, let me address CBS directly. Delaying your broadcast of the Grammys on the west coast is one of the most ridiculous, vile things a broadcaster could possibly do. Here are some tweets from Piers Morgan of CNN, Brian Stelter of the NY Times, & Shira Lazar of What’s Trending (formerly on CBS) outlining the failure.

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If you want to know why the entertainment business is stumbling, here is one of the best examples. While we were all tweeting away about the Grammys on the east coast, our digital counterparts on the west coast were sitting and watching the events unfold in 140 characters of text rather than in video. By the time the west coast was ‘allowed’ to watch, many social media enthusiasts had already ‘watched’ the show. The reason live events, like this one, are so powerful is based heavily on the connection we feel to family, friends, and strangers alike in different time zones taped together by the social networks. Facebook and Twitter sit us all down on our community couch, and like in Coolio’s ‘Fantastic Voyage’, we somehow all fit. Last night CBS, you disconnected us. You put us in competition with each other. You delayed a show on the west coast which was happening live IN THAT MARKET. You ran tweets on your own live feed which literally ruined the biggest moments of your own show for that audience. Please don’t cry to me about the legal ramifications continuing to persist an antiquated model. Fix it.

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Back to Miss Whitney. What you may not know about her death is that it was reported 27 minutes before major news outlets on Twitter. This, along with stories like it, represents a significant shift in the reporting of news, one that has rested in the hands of professionals with journalism degrees and now has shifted to anyone with a smart phone and a Twitter account. But slow down Gossip Girl. It’s not that simple. Twitter urges us to believe that speed should always be prioritized. Speed is pretty tasty especially when Keanu Reaves is starring. That said, there are several examples of Twitter setting the stage for misinformation.

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One such example is evident in the reporting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ “death” beginning with a tweet from NPR. Of course, Ms Giffords was shot but not in fact killed. NPR’s tweet created a cavalcade of tweets from other major media organizations including the Huffington Post and Reuters. What this represents is the classic antagonism between speed and quality. Major news organizations like the New York Times and others have to weight the information in front of them and double-check the sources before they can officially report on anything. Citizens on the street don’t have to double-check their sources and therefore speed to tweet before asking any questions whatsoever.

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So, which is better? Should the NY Times run a Twitter feed of a news story in progress on their site even before that news is verified? I try to play anthropologist on my own behavior when I’m trying to track a story of this nature. I immediately access my own Twitter feed with the anchor text of whatever I want more information about, in this case “Whitney Houston.” The sources I find there are partially verified by the fact that I follow them, increasing their accuracy at least in certain respects. I have become an editor of my Twitter feed, attempting to verify accuracy on my own, rather than waiting for the NY Times to do it. Why? We all want to be the first one to ‘break’ a story to our friends, confirming that we are in-the-know and on top of events like this one. I found out about Whitney Houston’s death in Providence, RI while visiting my mother. She had gone into a bathroom in the restaurant we were eating at and came out armed with information that another woman had told her after reading a text on her phone. While in the car on the way back home, I verified the news on my social networks, again, playing editor to the information supplied.

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In other news, Pinterest experiences the slap of the hockey stick to 10MM users drawing substantial growth from the middle of the US, one dad teaches his teenager a lesson with a 45 and her laptop. Apple rises to the top, and Redbox reverse engineers to add a streaming service.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Giving Your Order with the Click of a Table




THIS WEEK: BETWEEN POLITICS & CENSORSHIP, THE TWITTER PAGES by Marauder

THIS WEEK: BETWEEN POLITICS & CENSORSHIP, THE TWITTER PAGES

Todd Heisler/The New York Times


While the Republican candidates continue to crucify each other in debates and public speaking engagements, Twitter has become a critical tool for candidates to engage their audiences. With 10 times more users on Twitter than during the 2008 election and the sites’ ability to break news faster than major news outlets, Twitter is certainly flexing its muscles in the political campaign space.

While Twitter fist pumps in politics, the site felt some public backlash over the weekend. Forbes claimed that Twitter had committed “social suicide” when they released news that they would be withholding tweets in particular countries (i.e. China, etc) Twitter users like Anonymous planned an online revolt on Saturday January 28th claiming they would not tweet in protest of Twitter’s action (#twitterblackout).

This move by Twitter was certainly not motivated by their desire to censor but more importantly to try and infiltrate China, a market which had 485 million online users at the end of June, more than any other country in the world. Twitter is banned in China, based entirely on the fact that the company, up until now, has refused to allow the government to censor tweets. Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, has allowed open access to the government. The site is used by 250 million users. On Friday, I sat down with Ruby Zhang who moved from China to Los Angeles to study at USC’s Annenberg School. She walked me through Weibo and explained the advantages to Twitter:

  • Mainly, her friends from home all use the site and therefore the clear advantage in China is simply that it has mass scale. Twitter will have a difficult time infiltrating given this fact.
  • Images in line on Weibo.com’s home page. Many Twitter folk don’t visit the online site but instead connect through Twitter clients like Tweetdeck and others. Visuals are processed by the brain far faster than text. Twitter has made inroads to add visuals in-line but they certainly have room to grow.
  • Easier list and categorization features. When’s the last time you used a Twitter list? Fantastic feature but it has been de-emphasized in design updates.

In other news last week, President Obama’s State of the Union got a snazzy interactive update showing side-by-side graphics while the President spoke. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may be even more insidious than the more well-known SOPA/PIPA, USA Today’s Superbowl Ad Meter will finally include Facebook ratings, Apple delivers blow out earnings proving that more iPhones are sold per day than babies born in the world, Pinterest is showing serious strength in pushing consumers to retail and Facebook plans to file their IPO next week.

Some more Cool Sh-t:
Re-Imagine: What’s Outside Your Car Window



IS PING THE MYSPACE MUSIC SLAYER? by Marauder

Is Ping the MySpace Music Slayer?


Since Apple’s Wednesday announcement of the social network for music, Ping, the service has been called a MySpace killer. At the core of the Apple fan boy or girl, is an ethos that Apple can and will continuously do it better than the next guy. This ethos has been built on the back of the company’s ability to blow away the smartphone marketplace with one swift punch to the balls called the iPhone. As I sit with my iPhone parked next to me and my MacBook Pro at my fingertips, I certainly classify as an Apple fan girl. In Ping’s case, the assumption that Apple always draws shotgun would be a mistake. In its current configuration, Ping is not and will not be a MySpace killer. Until some major problems are fixed, it will continue to live in the shadow cast by powerhouses like Pandora and MySpace.

If the principle challenge with the MySpace platform is hyper-personalization turning the site into the bedroom of an over-eager teenage girl, the problem with Ping is the insistence on an overly simple user interface. I may not need the many bells and whistles thrown at me on MySpace daily but I do need more features than Ping is offering.

Here are a few reasons why Ping won’t crush my MySpace usage anytime soon:


1) What Do I Care About Most?

Photo Credit: Micki Krimmel


It’s the Music Stupid.


Ping seems to think the answer to this question is the sharing of music. In actuality, I care most about the music itself. I sit writing this while listening to Arcade Fire’s new album on MySpace. Currently, this band doesn’t even exist on Ping. While I sit listening to The Suburbs in full, the band gets a “No Results” on Ping. Yes, yes. I know the service is still too new to accommodate the likes of indie rock but perhaps more should have been done to draw bands into the service before it was launched to the public. Mashable posted an interesting article on the challenges bands face in entering the Ping world vs. the ease at which bands enter their MySpace communities and post at will. The Ping user needs more of their favorite bands and the bands need an easier way to access the new platform.

Above the selection of bands, what I really want on a music page is…in short, music. I want to listen to full-length songs like I can on MySpace music. I can’t even find any music to listen to on Lady GaGa’s Ping page until I click over to the iTunes store. As we all know in the online world, and for those who don’t know, shortening the click-thru stream is necessary for lazy audiences everywhere to engage with your platform. Don’t make it more difficult for me to get to what I really want: the music. And once I’m finally there, I get a 30 second nugget rather than what I really want: the full song. Let’s see a side-by-side Ping to MySpace comparison:

Ping

MySpace


2) Follow?

Sir Steve Jobs attracted me to the platform with his promise that 160MM global iTunes users would be there waiting for me. I fire up the upgrade, click on the attractive Ping logo with the chat bubbles and find Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, and Rick Rubin staring back at me. Now, I love the GaGa as much as the next girl, but what about my actual friends? Where are they?

Apple promised a Facebook Connect feature allowing me to easily search for my Facebook friends. Not so much… If you haven’t seen the most recent press, Apple played a bit aggressively with Facebook and was denied access to the API. On Kara Swisher’s blog, All Things D, she spoke to Steve Jobs moments after the Apple announcements and was told by Jobs that Facebook wanted “onerous terms that we could not agree to.” In essence, when Facebook’s API is called upon with over 100 million requests a day, Facebook requires a monetary agreement to handle the overload on their systems. Apple and Facebook could not come to an agreement on this and hence no Facebook for Ping.

Until this is resolved, I can only find my friends by entering in their email address one by one until I find someone. Suffice to say, this is the real “onerous” process and simply unmanageable by anyone who has a job. Yesterday, my friend from Berlin tracked me down so I officially have one real Ping friend. This is only one hiccup with the service but the most sizeable one. Until this one issue is resolved, Ping will have problems truly being a “social network for music” without connecting its 160MM worldwide users together.


3) What type of Music Defines You?

On the initial fire of the Ping community, you’re asked to pick a collection of music which will be used on your profile to define you to your friends. I don’t take this process lightly at all. Being someone who previously worked in the music industry, I take my collection and particular music taste very seriously. The user has the choice between a manual selection of music or an automatically pre-selected one chosen by an Apple algorithm. Being that this was an Apple interface, my expectation was that Apple would choose my taste better than I could possibly define my own. Yup, not the case.

Instead of looking at my music library, which would be the obvious choice, Ping seems to favor my purchased iTunes items, surfacing selections which may not be something I’d like to define my musical taste by. Selfish selection by Apple really. Imagine you buy Justin Bieber for your 12-year-old niece and all of a sudden it surfaces as your favorite music. Bieber fail. Manual entry is certainly a requirement.

**Please note: This would never happen on this MacBook of course. I wouldn’t allow this sort of download on my machine. Just sayin…


4) Sharing Begins & Ends in iTunes

Hey Apple, just want to let you know about these fantastic social networks known as Facebook and Twitter. You may have heard about them? Only about 500 MM users use the first one. Just thought I’d let you know, as you seem to care not for the likes of those little guys. You may have 160 MM worldwide users but before you get on that soapbox, Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook dominion holds down 500 MM globally. When I go to “like” something in Ping, I share that like with the Ping community alone. There are currently no sharing features with Facebook, Twitter or MySpace and with that list being the three primary social networks, seems Ping is lacking a little in the “social” department. Apple seems to be acting like a possessive boyfriend with this product rather than truly building a social experience for music.


5) News Feed Overload

After seeing a recommendation from Alexandra Petsavas, my favorite music supervisor who brilliantly filled an entire episode of The O.C. with Beck B sides, I decided to download a few tracks from the Canadian band, The Acorn. Now, my entire feed is filled with my love for The Acorn even though I downloaded a few tracks off of one album. I wish there could be more control in terms of what is surfaced and what isn’t. I don’t need every song purchase listed in my feed especially around the holidays when I decide that The Time Life Christmas CD’s are a must-have.


So is Ping the MySpace Killer? If you enjoy sitting in enclosed spaces talking to yourself about your favorite music, then yes, Ping wins.

Alright, I’m off. MySpace just threw me an “Are You Still Listening?” curve ball and I need to change this song.

“We’re sorry, the number you have reached is not in service at this time. Please check the number or try your call again.” Telephone Lady GaGa

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