Tag Archives: google

Roku Begins its Battle for Your TV Time

4 Jun
Roku capabilities include Netflix, Hulu, and even Angry Birds. Image: Amazon

Roku capabilities include Netflix, Hulu, and even Angry Birds.
Image: Amazon

In several rounds of fund raising efforts, media streaming device company Roku has managed to gather $60 million in investments from media giants Hearst and News Corp and British Sky Broadcasting.  Originally developed to stream Netflix movie and show selections to televisions, Roku has expanded their media selection to music and other media, incuding Hulu.com and internet gaming sensation Angry Birds.  Founder and CEO Anthony Wood says Roku intends to use the money to expand access to Roku services, such as partnering with companies to make “Roku Ready” televisions and other hardware devices.

The announcement comes hot on the tails of the Microsoft’s announcement to release the Xbox One, a revamped gaming console with a major focus on television viewing.  Both Roku and Xbox are setting themselves up to compete for precious consumer free time and leading the charge to move people away from cable and onto customizable online media.  Apparently Hearst and News Corp believe in their intention.  However, at a much lower price point, Roku may have the mass market appeal that Xbox will not.  The retail price for the Xbox One in set at $400, leaving it mostly to the enthusiastic gamer population to buy it.

Is the end of cable TV near? Image: AllMyFaves

Is the end of cable TV near?
Image: AllMyFaves

If Microsoft, Roku, Netflix and major media moguls push the entertainment industry to online streaming, one cannot help but wonder what is in store for cable companies and broadcasters.  It remains unclear whether organizations like NBC, ABC or CBS will do when they lose ground for consumer attention, especially since online streaming will likely have the ability to customize ads for the user, the way Google or Amazon can.  Will we see the death of television? It certainly looks possible.


Traits of Powerful People

24 Jan

Some people are born leaders—but that doesn’t mean that they’ll have anybody to lead. Powerful people must be good leaders, but to attain the status they do—politicians, CEOs, public figures—they often need to possess some other traits. Can these traits be learned or taught? It’s certainly possible, though some people just seem to have them naturally. Think Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Kenneth Mehlman (RNC, KKR), Melissa Mayer (Yahoo!), and Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google).


  1. Willpower—Perhaps one of the most important traits is willpower—to resist, to persist, to do what’s right but not easy. Think of it like a muscle that must be exercised and strengthened. It can be stretched, but it can also be strained if its limits aren’t respected.
  2. Confidence—Some powerful figures have even been a little over confident at times, causing themselves some grief. But that’s certainly better than not believing in themselves at all. It’s a tight balance between the two.
  3. Political Prowess—And not just in public politics. Workplace politics are even more important. Powerful people learn to understand the politics around them, successfully navigating and using them to their benefit.
  4. Persistence/Hard-Charging—This trait is often what robs powerful people of their “likeability.” They must be focused on their goal, on winning, and this can take precedent over pleasing others. Steve Jobs once claimed that it’s better to be respected than to be liked.
  5. Resiliency—Powerful people are often innovators, which means they will find ways to grow, adapt, and survive even in hard times.
  6. Opportunism—When they hear the phrase “Seize the day,” powerful people take it seriously. They don’t get stuck in one place—they’re constantly seizing opportunities, changing and adapting to stay ahead.
  7. Sponsorship—Finding people to support and sponsor them is incredibly important. This can come from painstakingly building relationships in the industry or finding investors that will back their ideas. These relationships are usually cultivated and maintained for years.
  8. Money—OK, this one’s not a trait. But it’s still important. At some point, powerful people find their way to money. If they’re lucky, they are born into it, but that’s certainly not always the case. Often, they find investors, work their way through the ranks, or connect with powerful allies.


Stanford University professor Jeffrey Pheffer, author of Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t, says, “Part of this is luck. Part of it is being in the right place at the right time, having the opportunity and understanding how to build on it.”

Lessons from Google applicable to small businesses

12 Jun

Google is redefining big business in today’s technology world. While it sounds impossible, Google is one of the companies that some suspect may someday overpower Microsoft as the biggest name in the technology business. While most people believe that this puts Google as untouchable as Microsoft, it’s important to remember that Google was just a small garage business when it started. There are mantras in Google that can teach any business in any field some important lessons.

The first is to launch, and iterate. The most intelligent people in the world will never truly know how the public will react to a new innovation. For proof of this, one need only simply look at, say, Microsoft’s Zune. While the Zune had many useful features and was very user friendly, it simply did not take off with music lovers all over the world. There are many stories like this where a product has millions poured in to its development, but the public simply didn’t take. Google puts an imperfect product on the market, and constantly works to perfect it with the added benefit of consumer input. While failure, as another Mantra states, is inevitable, it’s important to look at it as a learning experience rather than a hurdle.

Google’s done a great job of putting innovation before their own pride, and have benefitted greatly for it. Anyone looking to be the next Microsoft or Google need only remember that failure isn’t the end for a company or product, it’s simply a new beginning.

Bing and Google’s new updates, and why it may change Microsoft’s fortunes

23 May

Bing, Microsoft’s pet project, has been at odds with Google for years. While it offers many of the same features, however, and even some original ones, thus far it has been unable to unseat the incumbent, even with music sampling and an attractive user interface. Microsoft’s new update may just be what Bing needs to settle the score, though.

One issue that no search engine has had progress has been the integration of social networks such as Facebook and Google plus. While both Bing and Google have made considerable efforts in incorporating the social aspect of the internet, neither has measured up to the expectations and needs of internet enthusiasts. Bing’s new, user friendly update may do what no other web service has before, and seamlessly integrate social networking and web surfing.

Google is also putting in time on a major overhaul update, and google circles is only one example of the miles of improvement they’ve made. Although their update is much more quiet within the company, they certainly are not out of the race. It will be exciting to see what this search engine giant has planned for the internet.

Microsoft’s envy of Google has been evident ever since they tried turning Bing in to a verb, like people now use Google. It’s possible Microsoft’s new update may change the balance of power just enough, perhaps enough that Microsoft can finally outstrip Google in one of the few arenas that Microsoft isn’t already the incumbent in.