I Heart Pandora

[clearspring_widget title=”I Heart Pandora” wid=”48ade10642bb5ce3″ pid=”48b315d2fcaef197″ width=”300″ height=”250″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

A bunch of us here at Clearspring are really bummed that the online music radio provider Pandora may be facing extinction due to a massive hike in royalty fees for Internet radio stations.

So… we’re calling everyone to action.  We’ve created the Web site I Heart Pandora and a widget that you can use as a way to tell the world that you love Pandora just as much as we do.  The widget includes a link about how you can take action.

Put the widget on your blog, social networking profile, and Twitter about it.  We don’t want services like Pandora and all Internet radio stations to go away.

More on this from Hooman Radfar and Rich LaBarca.

Grab the I’m Attending SXSW Badge

At Clearspring, we’re getting pretty excited about SXSW coming up in March of next year.  So… we made a badge for those of you who’ve just registered.  Tell the world you’ll be there.

[clearspring_widget title=”Widget” wid=”48af372b36cd8d13″ pid=”48af392240e92535″ width=”180″ height=”270″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

WordCamp, Widgets, and Blogs… Oh My!

So… today I’m at WordCamp (the WordPress conference). It’s cool to see so much energy around blogging and how to take blogging into the future.

Of course, I think widgets play a big role in blogging.  Widgets allow you to take that blog content and bring it into more of an aggregated environment (i.e.  Apple Dashboard, iGoogle, Netvibes, and even mobile phones).

With the KickApps Widget Studio, I just created a widget for this blog.

[clearspring_widget title=”Widget” wid=”47e1625d9e951482″ pid=”48a6fe7ceec0afa1″ width=”300″ height=”400″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

Feel free to grab it and use it.

Not only do you want to share content from the blog out to the world, you want to be able to bring content into the blog.  It’s important to be able to share widgets into a blog.

So… I’m here to figure out how we can make this whole eco-system easier for people to use.

If you’re here at WordCamp, come find me and say hi.  I’m wearing a Clearspring t-shirt.

Shameless Plug – Please Vote for My SXSW Panels

It’s that time of year again where we all make shameless plugs for our South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) Festival panels that we proposed.  The fun this year is that I get to join in the fun.

At Clearspring, we’ve submitted a number of different proposals which I think are pretty cool and would LOVE your vote.

Also… my buddy Nick has submitted a panel that he’s asked me to sit on.  It’s entitled, “Building Entrepreneurial Communities Outside the Valley.

For those of you who can take a few minutes and throw us a vote, I sincerely appreciate it and I can’t wait for next year’s SXSW.

Clearspring Raises $18 Million

So… yeah.  Mashable has a great story on this:

Clearspring, the widget company that has broken into the advertising and distributed media realm, has raised $18 million in a Series C round of funding, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Novak Biddle Venture Partners, with existing investors also participating in the round.

Harry Weller, a partner at NEA, will be joining the Clearspring Board of Directors, as will Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, Ted Leonsis, AOLs Vice Chairman Emeritus (who is now Clearspring’s Chairman), Miles Gilburne, and Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One, who also has a great deal of experience in helping companies go public. That’s a lot of new board members to go along with the hefty round of funding, and a pretty powerful set of newcomers.

Check out the entire article at Mashable, “Clearspring Gets $18M to Make Smarter Widget Ads.”

Yesterday, I Spoke at Social Rockstar Workshop on Widgets 101

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Social Rockstar Workshop here in Washington, DC at Busboys & Poets.  The workshop was for people or organizations that wanted to utilize social media to become social rockstars.

I did “Widgets 101 (PPT Slides)“, which was a lot of fun.  I hadn’t given that talk in a while.

It was masterfully organized by the Paul Worsham and Kady Chiu.  They brought it in other great speakers and friends of mine like Nick O’Neill and Frank Gruber.  It was hillarious when Frank spoke.  He had had one too many cups of coffee and was CRAZY hyper. 🙂

I had a lot of fun at the event. Word on the street is that Paul and Kady will be doing more events soon so stay tuned.

The Guitar Hero Widget – A Great Teaser for the Video Game

A lot of my friends have been talking about the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games but I haven’t really gotten into them yet.

The other day I found the Guitar Hero Widget over on one of the Wired blogs.  Inside the widget, they give a mini version of the game.  It includes three songs.  It’s really cool.  Instead of using a plastic guitar, you’re using your keyboard but none the less it’s fun.

It gives me a taste of the game and would get me potentially excited about buying it.

Making a widget is SOOOO genius for a video game company.   If i’m a big fanboy of the video game, I’d send this widget to my friends who were yet to be converted so that they too could get a taste.  It empowers word of mouth advertising, which is the most powerful advertising technique.

So… Go play with the widget.

(Note: I would have embeded it here but I use WordPress.com and they don’t allow me to embed third-party flash. *frown* )

Robert Scoble Did A Redesign. Who Cares!

Yesterday, Robert Scoble announced the redesign of his blog.  That’s awesome. My question is: if he wouldn’t have said anything, how many people would have noticed?

I go back to my thesis: No one cares about your Web site.

I care about the content and functionality that your site provides me.  I experience the Web through feeds in Google Reader and widgets in NetVibes.  I do 90% of my enjoying of content in those worlds.  I typically don’t notice your fancy designs or user interfaces.

We’re moving away from a Web page world to a Web of data that gets aggregated together.

The Web is getting broken into pieces.  If you write interesting things, I’ll grab the piece of the Web site that is your content (your RSS feed) and put it where it’s more useful to me.

What do you think?  How often do you look at Web sites vs. feeds in Google Reader?

Audio Interviews of Athletes on the 1936 Nazi Olympics (in a Widget)

The Nazi Olympics Audio Widget

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a brought back a popular exhibit entitled, “Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936.”  It chronicles the history around  the time when Adolf Hitler was able to get the Summer Olympics to be hosted in Berlin, Germany.

In addition to have an exhibit at the physical museum building (which I haven’t checked out yet), they have a Web site which carry’s a lot of the same content.

One of the REALLY powerful portions of the online content is audio interviews with athletes of that era and the decisions they made or were made for them around their participation in the games.

If like me, you found the content to be powerful, you can easily share the audio content with your friends because it is in a widget.  They use our Clearspring widget platform for distribution of the widget. 🙂 (Full Disclosure: I work for Clearspring and used to work with a team member at the USHMM.)

Above is a screenshot of the widget.  I would have embedded it right in here but WordPress.com doesn’t allow the embedding of content from third-party sites, unless you’re a few special sites.  *sigh*

Regardless, this is a GREAT example of breaking your Web site a part into pieces and allowing people to spread amongst their communities.  I’m anxious to hear what kind of results the Holocaust Museum gets.

RSS will NEVER go mainstream

Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a great post where he asks the question, “Will RSS Ever Go Mainstream?” He goes on to say…

Over two years later, email is still very much alive… But the public at large either doesn’t care about RSS, or doesn’t know they’re using it (a la My Yahoo, etc).

So, I’ll say it… RSS will NEVER go mainstream.

Try explaining RSS or news feeds to someone outside of the tech field.  Yeah, it’s not going to happen.  Yet, RSS has become the defacto standard of every Web site on the planet.

The RSS feed is the data.  It is the content which people enjoy but it’s not a format which makes sense to anyone.

This is part of the reason why I got into widgets.  The face of the RSS feed is the widget.  In the next 2 years, every Web site, every piece of Web content, and every piece of online functionality will be broken apart into useful components (or widgets) that users can take and do what they want with.