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August 31 2013

Deux semaines en immersion à l'école 42 de Xavier Niel

Deux semaines en immersion à l’école 42 de Xavier Niel
http://pro.01net.com/editorial/602034/deux-semaines-en-immersion-a-lecole-42-de-xavier-niel/#

Laurène, 25 ans, a passé cet été les tests de sélection de l’école de codeurs du patron de Free. Sur son blog, elle raconte jour après jour l’épreuve de la « piscine ». Une suite d’exercices de développement 7/24

#Niel #free #informatique #code

April 15 2011

Getting your book in front of 160 million users is usually a good thing

Last week, Megan Lisa Jones launched a promotion for her new book "Captive" in a (seemingly) unlikely forum: BitTorrent, a space commonly associated with "piracy." At about a week into her two-week promotion, I checked in with BitTorrent to see how it was going. In an email interview, BitTorrent spokesperson Allison Wagda said that as of 10 am Tuesday, "Captive" had been downloaded 342,242 times.

Though the environment may feel like a strange bedfellow for publishing, the impressive level of exposure for a new book release can't be denied. The marketing appeal of BitTorrent, Wagda said, is two-fold:

The technology and the audience. For larger downloads, BitTorrent is the fastest, easiest way to distribute and download a file to lots of people. And there's no infrastructure cost. Since we have a built-in massive audience, publishers and creators gain a unique ability to engage with users.

For more on how a platform like BitTorrent could be used by publishers, I turned to Matt Mason, director of innovation at Syrup and author of The Pirate's Dilemma. Our interview follows.

What advantages can be gained by staging a promotion through a platform like BitTorrent?

Matt Mason: The real problem for most authors, to quote Tim O'Reilly, isn't piracy, but obscurity. There are millions of books on Amazon, and the average book in the US sells around 500 copies a year. A lot of authors, including Cory Doctorow, Seth Godin, Paulo Coelho and myself have had success by giving away electronic copies of our books as a way to promote the books. It can spread the message of the book further, boost sales of physical copies, boost ebook sales, and stimulate other opportunities like speaking and consulting engagements.

The great thing about BitTorrent is you are talking to a massive audience — more than 160 million people use it. Research has shown that people who use file-sharing sites are more likely to spend money on content. Whatever you're trying to promote, 160 million people who are big consumers of all kinds of media is a huge opportunity.

Do you think this is a viable promotion/distribution model?

Matt Mason: Absolutely, and it will become more widely used as content creators and distributors wake up to the benefits of BitTorrent. It is quite simply the cheapest and most efficient way to share digital information, because the audience is the server farm. It's way to create a giant repository of content with no servers. It has a huge user base and it is growing every day. It's not about giving something away for free, but about distributing it in the smartest possible way. In the next five years, I think we'll see all kinds of publishers waking up to this.

What are some of the obstacles environments like BitTorrent face as promotion platforms?

Matt Mason: One of the biggest problems peer-to-peer technologies like BitTorrent have is the stigma of piracy, but P2P is actually a new and better way of distributing information. Piracy has been at the birth of every major new innovation in media, from the printing press to the recording industry to the film industry — all were birthed out of people doing disruptive, innovative things with content that earned them the label "pirate" (including Thomas Edison).

I think of piracy as a market signal — it signifies a change in consumer behavior that the market hasn't caught up with. If an ecosystem like BitTorrent grows to 160 million users, it's not a piracy environment, it's just a new environment. Media is an industry where the customer really is always right. If people are trying to get your content in a new way, the only smart thing to do is to find a sensible way to offer it to them there.



Related:


February 22 2011

Kevin Kelly on how to sell free

KevinKelly.jpgThe question of whether access or ownership is more important was directly addressed — and answered — by Kevin Kelly, senior maverick at Wired magazine, during his keynote speech at TOC 2011. In no uncertain terms he said access was the future:

There's this huge shift we see in the entire environment where people get more value out of having access to something rather than owning it. With Netflix, you don't own the movies, you just have access to them — Spotify, Pandora, and Last FM are music streams that go by; you don't actually own the music, you just access it ... Why own them if you can have instant, all-the-time access?

What's more, he suggested our current models of selling items — books, music, etc. — will change. Instead of selling "things," producers and publishers will be selling the parts that cannot be copied:

In a world where everything is moving to the free, we have to have a different attitude ... the only things that become valuable are the things that cannot be copied. Let me give you one example: immediacy. So, you're not paying for the copy, you're paying for immediacy — you can eventually get anything you want for free if you wait long enough, but if you want it as soon as the creator has created it, the artist has made it, you're willing to pay for the immediacy of it.

So, the monetization comes from the speed of delivery, personalized experiences and individual attention. The products themselves will be free, or nearly so.

Eyetracking

Kelly also pointed out that visualization will go both ways — as we look at the content on a screen, it will look back at us. Showing an image of a tablet screen (pictured above) he explained:

This is a heat map generated by software in a camera inside a tablet looking at the ways eyes spend time tracking on a web page — the more orange it is, the more attention it's given. So, it's very easy to imagine our books looking back at us ... they become adaptive in some ways ... [the books are] aware of where [they're] being read and aware of us.

Kelly's keynote is embedded below. We also had the opportunity to interview him one-on-one — that clip is available in O'Reilly's YouTube channel.



Related:


February 16 2011

Want to succeed in online content? Get small, be open, go free

The web is dying, online advertising is already dead, and the entire publishing model has been undermined by an army of algorithmic-minded content drones. Or so we've been led to believe.

Sam Jones, CEO of Formation Media, is ignoring the death notices. While other publishers turn their weary eyes toward tablets, or construct walls around content no one wants to buy, Jones believes a complete embrace of the web's strengths is the key to reinvigorating media brands (or, as he puts it, "I buy dead magazines").

In the following interview, Jones discusses his recipe for online content success: It has to be free, it has to be widely available, and publishers must operate at a web-appropriate scale.


Why did you found Formation Media?

Sam JonesSam Jones: I was working at Demand Media in corporate development and I noticed there was some major disruption happening in the media space, specifically in the magazine space. A significant number of very powerful brands were dying off. These were brands with strong audiences, passionate users, and great content, but the incumbent models just couldn't support them. I saw a clear opportunity to really change the game and make some of these great brands thrive. Formation Media was born in 2008 to take advantage of that opportunity.

From there, we looked over the 3,000 magazines that have died over the past 18 months to decide which we should go after. While we were building things out, we purchased Car Audio and Electronics Magazine. It's a smaller publication that has a passionate following, but in 2008 it was transitioned to online-only because it couldn't survive as a print magazine in a tumultuous market. We took the archival content and that powerful brand and added that to our model, which allows us to inexpensively create massive amounts of high-quality text, video and pictorial content.

What are the components of your model?

Sam Jones: We combine brand, editorial content, and social media to create engagement. Then we syndicate that content out and allow others to take it wherever they want it, for free. There's absolutely no way to subscribe. There's absolutely no way to pay for an "issue" or a PDF. We want people to consume the content when and how they want to consume it.

Up to 80 percent of our traffic is from syndication partners and search, where brand, content quality, and the opinion of others you trust matter. Users come back to our site engaged and looking for richer content and community interactions.

It's also clear that people like free. That's a bad word in the incumbent model because free works against the traditional value proposition. But on the digital side, if you have faith in the brand, the quality of the content, and the user experience, all sorts of wonderful magic happens for the business. Depending on the year, between 70 and 90 percent of our available inventory is from double-digit branded advertisers, and 95 percent of our costs are taken out. Monetization follows when you focus on doing the right things for your users.

How many full-time staffers do you have on your editorial teams?

Sam Jones: We want dedicated stewardship over a voice, we want to create engaged communities, and we want to deliver high-quality content. We're not trying to create a farm or an engine or any of that stuff. That's why I'm hiring the best possible editors to run the vertical markets that we go into, and each vertical will have their own dedicated editorial team.

But staffing will be appropriate for the profitability that we need and expect. For Car Audio and Electronics Magazine, which had 85 people that ran that publication, we now have two. That's what works for that brand. If we were to buy into the shelter space, which has larger brands and different content needs, we would require more than two people to maintain a strong editorial voice. That said, it's still not like we'll have 20 full-time employees for a shelter publication.



Has the media industry put too much emphasis on the potential of tablets, and the iPad in particular?


Sam Jones: The fastest growing product in Apple's history is the iPad, and they've got 10 million installed units, which is huge. But what I'd rather do is instead of looking at that 10 million installed base, let's look at the 1.6 billion Internet-enabled devices.

Frankly, the most important app on the iPad is Safari. It's on every iPad and iPhone and it has a consistent and proven user experience. When we make it easy for people to get what they want for free, engagement and brand can be monetized through advertising and e-commerce throughout the published and syndicated environment that we manage. The users win, our syndication partners split revenues, and we reach several times more people.

Does that mean your mobile strategy is primarily web based?

Sam Jones: We'll create apps, but our primary strategy is always going to be the native experience through the browser. If somebody wants our content, you can get it in any way that you can possibly ask for it. If you have two tin cans and a string with an Internet connection, our goal is to get it to you.

Has online advertising failed?

Sam Jones: There's three aspects to this. One, if you look at online advertising as a monolith, it's been really bad for a whole bunch of folks. But brands and deep engagement have done very well. As I noted earlier, 70 to 90 percent of our available inventory — depending on the time of year and other factors — is double-digit CPMs.

Two, advertising to support a business entity has to be scaled. At one of the magazines we looked at, they had six people on their dining staff. That magazine failed. You have to be mindful of the context and the economics of your situation.

Finally, we need to stop thinking in terms of standard ad units. The user experience should come first and that engagement should drive monetization. If you have a platform that allows for richer integrations, or actually provides value by weaving that monetization solution into the user experience, then you start to see significant margins.

What's your take on paywalls?

Sam Jones: Paywalls are like asking my two sons to work really hard so they can be Michael Jordan. Only a few people could come close to being MJ under perfect circumstances. Similarly, only a few companies and brands could make paywalls work.

If you extend this thinking to newspapers, there's only a few companies that have the brand, the audience, and the monetization hierarchy that would allow for a paywall to work. There's the Wall Street Journal. There's potentially Bloomberg, which is an interesting combination with BusinessWeek. And maybe if you stretch it, there's the New York Times. Beyond those unique brands, paywalls simply get in the way of the user experience.

Paywalls are an example of companies holding on to the pillars of incumbency instead of seizing the disruptive opportunity. I believe in the face of unprecedented disruption, there's no place for incrementalism. There's just not. We have to be bold in our actions in order to not just survive, but to thrive.


Note: Sam Jones discusses his "radical point of view" for magazines in the following presentation:


This interview was edited and condensed.

Related:


October 14 2010

Four short links: 14 October 2010

  1. Google Creates New Inflation Measure (The Guardian) -- The Google Price Index will be based on the cost of goods sold online and could use real-time search data to forecast official figures. Clever use of unique data, but can the GPI findings be reproduced by another agency? I do like the idea of moving national statistical measures into real-time.
  2. How To Break The Trust of Your Customers In Just One Day -- some horrifying revelations about how freemium worked for Chargify and their customers: Over the past year, we discovered that the customer that never paid had the highest support load. [...] Everyone’s always talking about freemium, but very few people actually use it, and we discovered this in looking at our customers for the past year. The reality was that less than 0.4% of customers had any sizeable number of free customers on their accounts. (via Hacker News)
  3. Annotated Backbone.js -- very readable literate programming. (via Simon Willison)
  4. Carrot2 -- open source results clustering engine.

September 28 2010

Four short links: 28 September 2010

  1. What Happens at Y Combinator -- a fascinating infomercial for Y Combinator, but it's interesting despite the soft focus. Usually we advise startups to launch when they've built something with a quantum of utility—when they've built something sufficiently better than existing options that at least some users would say "I'm glad this appeared, because now I can finally do x." If what you've built is a subset of existing technology at the same price, then users have no reason to try it, which means you don't get to start the conversation with them. You need a quantum of utility to get a toehold.
  2. Going Freemium, One Year Later (MailChimp) -- Throughout history, and across all the businesses he researched, the ratio of free-to-paid-subscribers ultimately ended up at the dismal ratio of 10:1. There were a lot of awesome presentations at that Freemium Summit. But this was the presentation (just this one slide, really) that stuck in my brain. (via Hacker News)
  3. Cloud9 IDE -- The Javascript IDE by Javascripters for Javascripters. Source is open source and on GitHub. (via RussB on Twitter)
  4. Mifos -- open source software for microfinance. (via msbehaviour on Twitter)

November 19 2009

Four short links: 19 November 2009

  1. Chumby One (Bunnie Huang) -- new Chumby product released. In addition to being about half the price of the original chumby, the new device added some features: it has an FM radio, and it has support for a rechargeable lithium ion battery (although it’s not included with the device, you have to buy one and install it yourself). There’s also a knob so you can easily/quickly adjust the volume. But I don’t think those are really the significant new features. What really gets me excited about this one is that it’s much more hackable.
  2. Deep Tracing of Internet Explorer (John Resig) -- very sexy deep inspection of Internet Explorer. Finally, something IE does better than Firefox (other than exploits). dynaTrace Ajax works by sticking low-level instrumentation into Internet Explorer when it launches, capturing any activity that occurs - and I mean virtually any activity that you can imagine. (via Simon Willison)
  3. Less Than Free -- begins by talking about Google giving away turn-by-turn directions on Android, and then analyses Google's "less than free" business model: Additionally, because Google has created an open source version of Android, carriers believe they have an “out” if they part ways with Google in the future. I then asked my friend, “so why would they ever use the Google (non open source) license version.” Here was the big punch line - because Google will give you ad splits on search if you use that version! That’s right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the “less than free” business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally “less than free” price point, Symbian or windows mobile would need to subsidize. Double ouch!!
  4. Expert Labs -- a new independent initiative to help policy makers in our government take advantage of the expertise of their fellow citizens. How does it work? Simple: 1. We ask policy makers what questions they need answered to make better decisions. 2. We help the technology community create the tools that will get those answers. 3. We prompt the scientific & research communities to provide the answers that will make our country run better. New non-profit from Anil Dash.

September 04 2009

Trevor Potter and Floyd Abrams

Is campaign finace reform unconstitutional?

April 19 2009

Play fullscreen
The struggle for the Employee Free Choice Act
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