The YouTube Election

Dear Prospective 2008 Candidate,

How are your election plans coming? Have you recently reviewed every bit of video that has ever been shot of you in your lifetime? Do you know who has those copies? Do you trust them? Who’s your director of video? Of internet marketing? Have you scripted every bit of video that will ever will be shot from today onward? What about all your crazy fans who are trying to help you out and bash the other guy?

Here’s the state of the nation from November 2008: Every American is a reporter. Every camera and phone and watch is a surveillance camera. Every waking moment is a virtual podium you are standing on. If you have something you want to say, maybe to a ‘specially cultivated block of voters, be sure you are willing to say it to every American in their living room, with their net-connected, video-enabled iTV. Oh yeah, your opponent has guys following you around too, at each and every stump speech. There is truly no where to hide…

And what about all the remixers? You know, everyone who does or doesn’t like you. The people that will take your video, your likeness, and edit it, probably in real-time, and deliver it to the masses before you can catch a breath or get a sip of water. The instant highlight reels with your inconsistencies, slurs, fuzzy math, double-talk and bad acting. Or maybe just a nice edit to a U2 song…

In the 2004 there was no YouTube, you could run your mouth and have fun with your buddies. In 2006, you just had to hope the opponent didn’t have a web-savvy intern or hungry internet marketing agency trying to make a mark, or a disgruntled neighbor’s kid with a camera and a high-speed connection. By 2008, you might as well by walking the CCTV-laden streets and Underground of London; though it’ll be much worse, everything will be mic’d and much closer to you and look like a cute high school student smiling at you. The cumulative whole of your behavior and life experience will be on display and a click away. Sounds like fun, at least for the voting public. Get a great night sleep tonight.

The Future

P.S. It’s cool too, because you can make your own clever ads on the cheap!

Business Development Industry

The Niche Get Richer

What’s a web designer or developer to do? You want to create something new. But it’s all been played out right? Have you decided all the ‘cool new sites’ have been built? There’s only one great place to share photos right? And where else to go to auction stuff? There’s only one place where you can build a profile to share with your friends, a place to watch video files and share them, right? Actually there are handfuls of each of these. And which of these web places cater to your unique personality and desire? Which do you see using 6 years from now? 6 months from now??

MySpace, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and the like are getting a lot of love from the media and a lot of traffic these days. And why not? They are examples of great emerging trends online. They symbolize the fact that “Community” and their legions of users creating their own spaces and ideas trumps “Content” and the static information it represents. Big dollars are being spent. Whether it be half-billion dollar acquisitions or burning a million a month in bandwidth, the net is certainly exciting these days, even if you aren’t a designer or developer. If something catches on and everyone is there, then everyone wants to be there..for now anyway. But do we all have the same needs? Away from all the big names and mass audiences, there’s something deeper growing. It’s all along the long-tail, it’s all the niches and their networks and these are growing even faster. This growth is even stronger and smarter than the massive community sites.

Consider the unique tools each niche is building. These offerings have never been more desirable or compelling or even available…

Think about runners, or simply exercise enthusists, where now your shoes talk to your iPod, which talks to a network of runners worldwide who are all running against you, or with you, all displayed on a beautiful flash interface.

Think about portable gamers, Now you are on your couch or over at McDonalds with your Nintendo DS playing the New Super Mario Bros. with someone across the planet. Who can collect the most coins, mash the most toadstools and smash the most blocks?

You can buy virtual land and sell it for profit in your SecondLife. Where do you stand in Warcraft and Xbox-LIVE rankings? What music are you and your friends and global music loving neighbors listening to right now in How about my Dad and all those lost albums on vinyl he’s rediscovering the iTunes Music Store? Or scrapbooking stay-at-home-moms comparing their layouts? Or anyone with a cool t-shirt idea? Or families sharing journal entries and family photos? Or anyone discovering their ancestors?

As web developers, designers and entreprenuers…remember the niche. There are a billion unique things that deserve our creativity, intuition and insight and the opportunities today are limitless. What else do you see out there? Which niche are you going to build out?


Brazilian Style

In honor of the journey Chris is taking south of the equator this month, I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to some unique things that make Brazil special…

The Brazilian Flag


Just cool. The colors, the style and the unique star-studded Southern Hemisphere sky. The sky depicts 27 white, five-pointed stars one for each state and the Federal District. the stars are arranged in the pattern of the night sky over Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889 (when the last Emperor of Brazil was deposed, and the republic proclaimed). The stars in view include the constellations Southern Cross, Scorpius, Canis Major and others. A banner across the sky reads, “ORDEM E PROGRESSO,” which means “order and progress” in Portuguese.

Leandro Barbosa


The “Brazilian Blur”, possibly the fastest basketball player (with apologies to Lebron James and Gilbert Arenas) on the planet. He’s serving as an offensive catalyst for the current NBA Phoenix Suns playoff run. In one memorable play against the Los Angeles Lakers, Barbosa drove 1 vs. 4 defenders beating each of them to the basket with pure speed prompting coach Mike D’Antoni to state “For about 10 minutes tonight, he was the fastest man on Earth.”

Forward-thinking fuel economy

Brazil expects to become self-sufficient in energy this year, meeting its growing demand for fuel by raising output both from petroleum and ethanol. The use of ethanol, from sugar cane, is so widespread that gas stations have two sets of pumps, marked A for alcohol and G for gasoline. (More on NPR)

‘Brazilian Donuts’

These hot, freshly-fried churros are served street-side with a fresh, hot carmel filling. (Confession: I discovered these on a cold February morning at Petticoat Lane Market in London. My friend Nathan, who spent a couple years in Brazil confirms these churro are readily available on the street and delicious.)

Real Football

Champions in 2 of the past 3 World Cups, probably the most successful football team in the world. It is often said that in football (soccer) “The English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it.” No wonder Nike pays the CBF $12 Million/year to wear the swoosh.

Update: Mark points us to Ronaldinho!



A style of restaurant service in Brazilian restaurants. Pay a fixed price and the waiters bring food to each customer until the customers signify that they have had enough. Servers come to the table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of meat, most commonly local cuts of beef, pork, or chicken. Awesome!

All this and I have never been to the country! Yet. Who can add to the list?


Top 5 Ways to Acquire More Brain Fuel

Chris, Thanks for the nice introduction. I’m excited to share in the fun. Let’s start off with a resource for those few times when you’re current on your BrianFuel reading, or have a temporary disconnect from the umbilical that is the BrainFuel RSS feed…the Top 5 Ways to Acquire More Brain Fuel (or How to Recharge Your Brain):

1. Nintendo DS.
Brain Age is inspired by the research of Professor Ryuta Kawashima, a prominent Japanese neuroscientist. His studies evaluated the impact of performing certain reading and mathematic exercises to help stimulate the brain.

2. William Orbit.

Classical music is supposed to help baby during early development stages, so what about us? How about some electronic symphonies from William Orbit: Pieces in a Modern Style, featuring an electronic version of Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Or for something more upbeat try his new album: Hello Waveforms.

3. Exercise.
Men’s Health magazine points out that aerobic exercise is connected to improved brainpower. (Tip via

4. Chess.
Puzzle a day keeps the pieces in play.

5. Read the BrainFuel Archives.

Some of my favorites.