Monthly Archives: July 2006

News Corp and MySpace and why it was stupid

I can remember thinking about who might buy MySpace. I thought possibly Yahoo, they seemed to like anything that had the light scent of Web 2.0 or social aspects. I thought probably not Google, they would just turn their tech snob noses up to the poorly coded teen haven. Microsoft prefers to steal ideas than buy them. The NY Times bought About.com, but it’s doubtful that they would feel comfortable with something like MySpace. About.com is hardly a new site. I even thought about InterActive Corp, MySpace would fit well with Match.com, Expedia, Ask, and CitySearch. I have to admit that I didn’t think News Corp would consider it.

I don’t feel like I missed anything in my thinking. The fact is, I think it’s a dumb idea for them. I think News Corp was so desperate to invade the Web, they grabbed onto what they thought seemed like a great movement. Unfortunately, it really hasn’t been a smart move.

Who remembers Go.com? Evidently News Corp didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to Disney’s big failure. I can’t imagine how much money Disney lost on that fiasco. And they are still dealing with it as a legacy issue in the Web presence. News Corp has turned MySpace into their Go.com. Want to see more about 24, check out http://www.myspace.com/24. Want to check out more about American Idol, go to http://www.myspace.com/americanidol. Why do this? I guess they figure people will go there, and maybe sign up for a MySpace account. At least it has some sort of call to action, unlike Go.com. Or maybe parents will feel it must be safe to have their 12 year old daughter go sign up, since that nice Taylor Hicks is on there.

That leads us to their biggest issue, “sexual predators”. Of course if something online has anything to do with teens, there are “sexual predators”. I can remember back in 1996 you couldn’t mention AOL without hearing about the countess young girls kidnapped, snatched right from their inflatable furniture through their computer screen by “sexual predator”. Thank god we have Dateline to catch them. Here is the fact that we all know, there is no more chance of a child being victimized online than anywhere else. Of course you get weirdoes IM’ing them, but most systems let you just block someone, or even not show you to people who are not on your list. And yes, if they go into a chat room, they might be chatted up by some perv, but only if they participate in the chat. I agree that people should teach their children to be safe online, and they should monitor their usage. But to blame MySpace for some 14 year old girl who meets up with a 19 year old guy who attacks her, is like blaming the mall if she met him there. The problem with News Corp is that they do not have the ability to tell people to be reasonable. The fact is that this problem has existed since the beginning of the Internet, and now MySpace has been told to solve it. So they hire a “safety czar” Hemanshu Nigam who just sits there shrugging his shoulders with the rest of the online world. Let me save Nigam some time, there is no solution, at least nothing MySpace can do without losing all their members. Create some videos and tutorials for kids to watch about online safety, they don’t need to be that well done because they will just be ignored anyway, and keep asking people their age. Anything more sever than that, like the measure they have already put in place to block communication between members based on age, and you will just be damaging the community that you are trying to foster.

I won’t dwell much on the idea of profitability, or a “business model” for MySpace. It seems unfair to single them out when so many other dot coms don’t bother with that either. But, they should probably think about how to make some money of this thing. They may also want to see about trying to upgrade that crap code. I cannot believe that thing is still running on ColdFusion. The sites code reminds me of John Candy’s rental car in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I’m just amazed it’s still running, the fact that it’s on the highway is just mind blowing. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in News Corps’ Web devision when they were told they are putting all this stuff on MySpace.com. They must have freaked.

Well, that’s my rant on why News Corp shouldn’t have purchased MySpace. But if you really want to hear something strange, ask me who I think should buy YouTube.

When in Houston

I just got back from Houston, someplace I had never been before. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time there, I was in and out in a couple of days. Mostly I noticed that is was freakishly humid. But I did meet some cool people, and went to a couple great places that I can recommend.

First, I had one of the best steaks I have ever had at Pappa Bros Steakhouse. I had the Filet Mignon, but I also had a bite of the Ribeye. Both were awesome, but I recommend the Filet. We also got some steak fries and onion rings, which were pretty damn good too. If you are into steak, you must check this place out while in Houston. Really unbelievable.

After the steak, we met up with some people at Downing Street Ltd., or sometimes referred to as 10 Downing (this is the address of the Prime Minister in England). This is a cool cigar bar with brandy. I didn’t really go for the cigars and brandy, but if that’s your thing, I can’t think of a better place for this after a great steak.

I stayed at the Marriot West Loop Galleria. I can’t recommend this place. The room was so-so, the service was so-so. They seem to have an issue getting hot water. I had to wait for it a bit when I wanted to shower. Also, they put me in room facing the pool and their conference hall, which had a fashion show. Normally putting me in a room facing models on a runway would be a plus, but I was tired and wanted to sleep, the show was really, really loud, and the models were not really very attractive. So, it just sucked. Plus it was weird that it felt like people at the pool could see me through the window. I did a little dance in my underwear for one particularly attractive lady at the pool. She left, to seek me out in person I assume, although she never found my room.

Overall, Houston was cool. Not as uptight as Dallas, but not quite as laid back as Austin (which is one of the best city’s on the planet). I look forward to seeing more of it sometime, but not in the summer hopefully.

I Am Turning Into A Woman

A few months ago Ad Age put out an article titled, Meet The New Women, Men. The article was about the volume of marketing in hygiene products for men. Everything from “sensitive skin” balms to Axe Body Sprays (really perfume, but they don’t want to call it that). I laughed and thought it was quite funny. After all, I didn’t need Axe Body Spray, women loved me for my sparkling personality.

We almost a year later and I’m my transformation is nearly complete. My transformation into my new feminine form start very subtly a couple years ago in San Francisco, ironically. I was staying at The Four Seasons (which I highly recommend if you need to stay in SF), and they had this shampoo in the shower. Since I was a manly man, I just used whatever shampoo the hotel gave me for free. They could put generic dish soap in a bottle, and I would just use it and never know the difference. Except this time I found myself touching my hair sub-conciously. I finally noticed myself doing it in the mirrors of an elevator. I noticed I was feeling my hair because it felt different. It had this silky softness to it that I never had before. When I returned to my room, I had to check the bottle to see what this magic elixir was that made my hair so silky soft (girly). It was L’Occitane shampoo…of course it had to be french! I grabbed a couple bottles before I left, and I looked it up online. I introduced my cousin, and he confirmed my thoughts that this was the most amazing shampoo in history (although he also watched a lot of girly TV, so he would have liked it just because it’s French). So, I removed the $.99 bottle of Suave shampoo and replaced it with my little hotel bottles of super French shampoo. But supplies quickly ran thin. I needed a re-up. I looked online and found there were stores nearby. But that would mean having to walk in and buy this stuff. So, I sent someone else to get the bottles for me. I bought in bulk so as to not have to frequent the store more than necessary. But at $16 per bottle, which is half the size of my .99 Suave, it was pricey. But that’s the price we women pay for our beauty.

Fortunately my girlfriend agreed that the shampoo was awesome and agreed to help me in shop. I think she just agreed because she likes it herself and gets to use it at my place.

So, the shampoo was the beginning. Now I discovered a new toiletry that has be shoveling out cash. The Art of Shaving. I had heard of the shop before in Maxim magazine (see how manly I am). It sounded interesting, but I was happy with my cheap (whatever was on sale) shaving cream and Mach 3 razor. But I noticed the shop while at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. I figured it looked manly enough. There was a guy in back with old fashioned chairs for shaving. It looked like the kinda place Al Capone would get a shave, so I figured it was a good place for me to shop. So I picked up a couple of items. I got the shaving oil (goes on before you use shaving cream), and shaving cream. I got the cream in a tube, which made sense for me because I travel so much. When I got home I tried it out. All I can say is that this is good shit! I can’t believe how close of a shave I get now. It has been years since my face has felt this way after shave. It’s like…a baby’s bottom, there I said it. I have a soft face, and silky soft hair. And things are about to get worse. I now most try the shaving balm from Art of Shaving. And my girlfriend has requested that I wear the Axe perfume, I mean body spray.

So, the next time you see me, I will have silky soft hair, a soft “baby bottom” face, and smell like a flower.

My First Poker Tournament

I took part in the WPT Boot Camp last summer, which was great. After the 1-day session, I was able to do some serious damage in the online poker rooms that I frequented. But I never had the chance to enter a real world tournament.

This week I was able to attend a couple tournaments at the Mandalay Bay poker room. I am fairly happy with the results. I was a little nervous on the first day, everything seemed to move differently than I remembered. Plus, I hadn’t even played online for months. But overall, I did well. I made it to the final table on both days. The tournament only consist of 30 people at Mandalay, so it’s not a big deal. On the first day I ranked 9, and second day 8. I think the fact that I beat out 22 other people out of 30 isn’t too bad for my second tournament. Most of these people seemed to be pretty experienced players.

On the first day I got knocked out when I went in heavy with a Q-8 unsuited. I was the short stack and was quickly running out of options. I had been trying to play it tight, which did get me to the final table, but obviously as the short stack.

The second day I was actually the chip leader for quite a while. I got much more serious with my sunglasses on and didn’t say a word to anyone. Which according to my girlfriend, made people believe that I actually knew what I was doing. I went in heavy on a stupid move. The second chip leader was a big mouth asshole who kept telling me how I play, which he was completely wrong on. The hand started off well when I got dealt big slick. I went in moderate with a triple blind raise. The asshole called and we saw the flop, which had a queen, but no king or ace for me. I checked, and the asshole went all in. I knew he had the queen. I also knew that he knew I didn’t get the flop I wanted. He may be an asshole, but he was not without talent. I should have just bowed out of the hand, but I really wanted him out. Not only was this guy a major jackass, but if I scored his chips I would have a big enough lead to not get blinded out right through to the money. I could actually ride out to #2 or #3 position, without risking another bet. So, I got reckless and went for it. And of course I didn’t get anything through the river. It was a dumb move, but not without some thought. After that hit, I was close to the short stack. I did pretty well for a while, but the blind was moving up and I was hurting. I finally went all in on a pair of 8’s to try to make some sort of move, but got knocked out by a pocket pair of queens.

Overall, I had fun at a relatively low expense. It helped that I really kicked ass on roulette and baccarat, especially baccarat. I’m pretty damn good at baccarat these days.

Another Day in Vegas

I’m hitting a lot of the casino on this trip. Even though I come here a couple times per year, it’s usually for a conference or meeting, so I don’t get to look around much. This time I got a chance to really check some places out. I walked through the Bellagio, Caesars, MGM Grand, Excalibur, New York New York, Monte Carlo, and I’m heading to the Wynn tonight for dinner. I have been to some of these before, but it’s been a while.

I went to look at a couple homes in Lake Las Vegas. The homes were okay, but I don’t think the area is for me. It’s one of those golf areas where they charge a premium so you can live on a golf course. I don’t play golf, so it would probably be wasted on me. Plus, I couldn’t stand the woman agent at the place. Her and this other woman were just evil looking women. They of course try to qualify me as a prospect, which as a business person who does sales, I totally get. But they were just so transparent. And when they found out what I did for a living, I literally thought venom was going to start dripping from their middle aged jowls.

We rented a car. We asked for a convertible, assuming we would get a Sebring. You know what they say about assumptions? Well, we looked like asses in our stupid PT Cruiser. Who buys this car? I have come to the conclusion that the same people who buy futons. Young people looking to be different because they have learned any better yet.

I did see something of note here at the Luxor. Ever since Dateline put an ultraviolet light to hotel comforters, I have been paranoid about them. But I saw the staff here actually bring them to the wash in the Luxor. So they must clean theirs, although I imagine it’s only in between guests. Don’t get me wrong, these still look awful. They look like they have enough germs and bacteria growing on them to be part of the Christopher Columbus line of linens. But then again this hotel is getting old and needs a major overhaul.