the michael galpert weblog

be well, do good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What do you pay for?

The web enables us to listen to music, watch tv shows and follow the latest news all without paying a cent. But while things are slowly but surely becoming free, I still believe people are willing to pay for certain value propositions.

Image courtesy of laffy4k

I believe the following 5 things are uniquely profitable in a world of free:

1. Convenience

People are inherently lazy. If you make their lives easier, they will pay you for it.

There are several ways to listen or download music for free, yet people are still paying for songs via iTunes or Why? Because of how easy it is to find and download music on those sites. People value their time more than the 99 cents per download. If you make things convenient and easy people will pay.

2. Quality

Price ensures a more serious and interested clientele. There are many online forums that are free (i.e. Sitepoint, DPreview), but there are also a handful you need to pay for to access (i.e. Webmasterworld, SomethingAwful, metafilter). I believe the reason people are willing to pay for those online communities is because the quality of the content is better. There is a higher signal to noise ratio. This same premise applies to dating sites. People will pay for membership to online dating sites, as opposed to finding dates through any number of free social networks.

3. Additional Functionality

Many websites give consumers just enough services to whet their pallets, and then charge for more functionality or more services, also called the "freemium model." Notable examples include the 37 Signals' product offering, Flickr's Pro Account, and Skype.

4. Customization is a great example of this. They provide anyone the ability to have their own personal blog for free however they charge for the ability to customize the CSS or a the blogs domain name for additional fees. Smugmug is another example.

5. Privacy

People still value keeping their private information private. To protect their identity people are willing to pay GoDaddy an extra fee when registering a domain name to ensure the address remains undisclosed.

What do you value enough that you are willing to open your wallet for?


Note 1: I would like to delve into this further and have proposed a talk for next year's SXSW conference on this topic. If this discussion is of interest to you, I welcome any feedback and would appreciate your vote.


Kevin Kelly, Wired Magazine's cofounder, has a really great list of attributes he asserts are "better than free." These qualities people will pay for in a digital age and include:

1. Immediacy
2. Personalization
3. Interpretation
4. Authenticity
5. Accessibility
6. Embodiment
7. Patronage
8. Findability

I asked my twitter followers and received some interesting suggestions:

* accessibility
* silence
* beauty
* freedom
* peace of mind
* respect
* attention

Any other ideas?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apple Apps and my initial thoughts

All the hype has been about iphone apps in the past couple hours, days, months.Besides for the awesomeness that is being brought into the palm of my hands I’m extremely excited in the pricing that is involved with the apps.I was first intrigued by Marco Arment’s great post awhile back about the anticipated pricing schema, explaining how if apps are priced too low it wouldnt be worth it for developers to bother creating apps.

So with the new AppStore launch, Pinch Media counted 552 applications - 417 of them paid, 135 of them free. (EDIT: Things are moving - we’re up to 559 applications at 7:00 PM EDT, 421 paid / 138 free. More data tomorrow.) Paid applications ranged in price from $0.99 to $69.99, with the most common price points being $0.99 (85 applications), $9.99 (82 applications), and $4.99 (62 applications).Marco was unfortunately wrong with his prediction of pricing not being less than $10. I’m almost positive there are tons of apps that still havent been released one of which is Marco’s app instapaper.
that I plan on buying on launch, since I have already have received tons of value from the web version of the application that I would like to support his hard work and effortAccording to John Gruber of DaringFireball Sega’s Super Monkey Ball game has been downloaded 10,955 times, and costs $9.99. That’s $109,440 in revenue in under a day. Its really going to be really interesting to see once everyone has the official new update how many apps will be purchased VS how many people will just download the free apps.

Gruber compares the two apps that have a freemium model for the app store.

Exposure & Twitterific both have free ad supported versions and have paid versions for $9.99

The numbers he provided were

Exposure 3,638

Exposure Premium 76

Ratio 48:1 Twitterrific 13,638

Twitterrific Premium 322

Ratio 42:1

I couldnt verify any of these numbers because when i checked the popularity it was listed as 0 downloads

Here are two screenshots of apps that are ad supported.

--To take screenshots with the iPhone 2.0 software installed, hold down the Home button and press the Lock button and your screen will flash—and an image of your phone’s screen gets saved to your Camera Roll’s images.via Lifehacker Iphone 2.0--
The ads as you can see are pretty harmless even though the sigur ros ad has naked rears.I am really interested in seeing how many people actually pay for the non ad apps.I was surprised that there are no try before you buy applications offered.The RememberTheMilk Iphone app that is just a web version that is accessed from your iphone had 15 day trial period that I thought was too short to try since I only started getting into RTM now a couple months afterwards.I still havent purchased the Pro version of RTM yet because I am waiting to see if they launch a native iphone app.

I havent paid for any iphone apps yet.The apps that I have downloaded were free and can be seen below.
My favorites so far have been the Facebook App & Exposure.

The Facebook App is great because it provides me a list of all my friends and the ability to email them or call them. This is great because by no way do I have every person I am friends with in my iphone. I have neglected facebook for some time now but I went so far as to import my gmail contacts to get more facebook friends.Exposure: Is pretty solid. Its an app that uses the flickr API its really sweet. I’m really surprised Flickr hasnt released an app themselves. But hopefully it will come soon.As mentioned I’m really interested in the psychology of paying for software along with the economics these days. I plan on blogging more of my thoughts and personal experiences.

Feel free to subscribe to my blog to stay tuned.

I would also appreciate some feedback since I will be trying to blog more often.

I take criticism pretty well so please let me know what you like or dislike about this post or any future posts.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What is Twitter?

WTF is Twitter?

At one point during Blaine Cook's (@blaine) talk at FOWA last month, he mentioned that the twitter team still doesnt know what twitter is or what it will be.

Thats when I had the idea for People interact with twitter differently. So I decided to record ppl explainng what Twitter was to them. Some of the responses echoed my own feelings about twitter, while others surprised me.

For example both Hugh Macleod and Alex Harris got rides to SXSW with the help of Twitter.

Hugh Macleod (@gapingvoid) got a ride from Dallas to Austin

Twitter according to Hugh MacLeod from michael galpert on Vimeo.

Alex Harris (@alexdesigns) got a ride from Houston to Austin

Twitter according to Alex Harris from michael galpert on Vimeo.

When Scott Beale (@laughingsquid)changed the location of his party, when he heard there was a line at that venue.

Twitter / Scott Beale: Ginger Man is packed, we ar...

Thats why he thinks Twitter is a people mover.

Twitter according to Scott Beale from michael galpert on Vimeo.

But, to understand the gravitas of that statement you have to meet Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Twitter according to Gary Vaynerchuk from WTF is Twitter on Vimeo.

GaryVee scheduled multiple wine shindigs over the past couple weeks, exclusively using twitter
Twitter / Gary Vaynerchuk: Huge free wine event at mar...

Twitter / Gary Vaynerchuk: 3...

Twitter / Gary Vaynerchuk: Official invite: @scobleize...

and rumor has it, the parties were awesome.

Beyond just answering "What are you doing?" twitter has become the new OverheardinNewYork

just search for OH: via TweetScan

(@t) uses twitter for food reviews
Twitter / Tantek Çelik: review item:Real Food Daily...
(how does he get those stars??)

While Max (@maxkiesler) proposes to Emily (@emilychang) via Twitter.

Twitter / maxkiesler: To @emilychang - After fift...

Twitter / emily chang: @maxkiesler - yes, i do!

Guy Kawasaki
crowdsources urls for his startup AllTop using Twitter
crowdsourcing twitter

Jason Calacanis uses twitter as a mahalo focus group
Twitter / Jason Calacanis: @tamera:the contest is most...


Twitter hasn't marketed its beauty to the masses yet. I hope they dont go with Andrew (USV Associate) and Evan's (Twitter Founder) uber geeky explanations.


Twitter According to Andrew Parker from michael galpert on Vimeo.


Twitter according to Evan Williams from michael galpert on Vimeo.

Fred Wilson(@fredwilson), on the other hand is trying his darnest to convince his kids on the awesomeness that is twitter.

This will be an ongoing and evolving project. For now my favorite answer is by @arielwaldman

Twitter according to Ariel Waldman from michael galpert on Vimeo.)

Feel free to leave your thoughts on WTFisTwitter in the comments or via twitter @isWTF and if you want to follow my own rambling you can follow @msg

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Aviary Presenting at NY Tech Meetup

Aviary is presenting at the February NY Tech Meetup tonight.

Its going to be our first public debut of the beta site and the official launch of our online image editor, Phoenix.

I went by to the IAC building today for a quick technical run through.
The art really looks awesome on those huge screens.

preping for tech meetup

the IAC screens are HUGe

I guess I'll have to heed my own advice.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Free Parking in NYC

Here's a how-to guide to getting free parking in NYC. sort of.

Lots of movies and TV shows are filmed in NYC. Heres a list of those currently in production.

There's usually advanced warning, with signs like this one for a Law & Order filming on Jenna's block.

No Parking

If you spot one of these "NO PARKING b/c of movie" signs, park there. Your car will be fine.

I was a bit nervous when I overslept this morning and wasn't able to move my car by the designated time. And I awoke to find an empty spot where my car had been parked.

Dude Wheres My Car

But when I approached one of the NYPD tow truck guys and asked about my car, I learned it was only down the block.

My car's windshield had a lovely note that read:
Free Parking

Do Not Summons or Tow for 48 Hrs From Date of Relocation! The beauty was they reparked my car in a no standing zone but it was legal. For two days!
Too bad I had to go to brooklyn. Otherwise I would have happily stayed legally parked in an illegal spot...

So next time you see a no parking sign from a movie/tv shoot, park there.

Monday, December 24, 2007

How to succesffuly execute a project

Eran reflects on 2007 and concludes with a great check list for successfully executing a project. The following is the abridged version. I encourage you to read the full post on the hueniverse blog.

1. Know what you are trying to solve.
2. Find the right people.
3. Make it easy for people to join.
4. Don’t be too nice or too democratic.
5. Set deadlines.
6. Don’t branch out too soon.
7. Let your project grow organically.
8. Start with an accomplishment.
9. Don’t be afraid to end a project.
10. Know what you are trying to solve.

via Hueniverse: Reflections on the Open Web Community

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December's NY New Tech Meetup Review

Went to IAC last night for the December installment of the NY New Tech Meetup.

The companies presenting had 5 minutes to show off what they are working on infront of 400 people. You would think people would prepare for these presentations in advance. Unfortunately that didnt seem to be the case this evening.

Lots of people had really great stuff to present tonight however they were plagued with technical difficulties, even Mr. Meetup himself Scott Heiferman had some technical issues towards the end of his presentation. If you werent there last night, dont worry you didnt miss out on much, but you can still see the video presentations over at Center Networks. Here's the quick run down of the companies who did present and their simple mistakes that could have been avoided

  • Ignighter: Facebook App for group dating
    • Couldnt create demo group, since too many groups were created already that day, since he was practicing.
  • Evolvist Directory of Green Companies
    • couldnt get the search for coffee in NYC to be displayed
    • pretty solid demo, left people wanting more.
  • Kaltura:Enabling online video collaboration
    • while attempting to show off some RSS feed capabilities, he ended up closing the tab he was working in.
  • Unype - Your friends on various social networks being displayed on Google Earth
    • Phentermine pill spam was being displayed on Google Earth during demo which prompted an audience member to ask, "Is Phentermine a friend of yours?
  • Meetup Alliance - Allows local groups to create global groups/alliances
    • Prepared relevant tabs for presentation had webcam failure while attempting to show the New Tech Alliance leader who was in San Francisco.

Granted most people presenting have no prior presenting experience and are probably really nervous standing in front of so many people. Thats why I wouldnt advise companies to just go out there and wing it. If you think a simple walk through of your site will get everyone in the room to understand what you are selling, you are kidding yourself. Odds are it will take longer than 5 minutes to navigate your site alone.

Demos should be completely prepared in advance. When presenting your company be sure to apply the KISS Principle and keep it simple. Just going through mock run throughs by yourself are not enough, as we saw tonight something will go wrong. There Is nothing worse than dead silence in a room of 400 people watching you fumble with your own product. You only have minutes to wow people don't waste it on technical difficulties.

Why not present in front of family members. I am sure they have 5 minutes to spare. Dont present in front of anyone who knows about or has seen your product before, they already know what you are going to say and you cant really wow them.

Make sure to have all relevant pages open, thats the beauty of tabbed browsing. Prepopoulate your browser with all relevant information. You shouldnt have to rely on the internet connection to get to your next page. Try to even save all your inforamtion to your local hard drive. Scott was the only one to do this last night. He even had filler tabs that just had the meetup alliance logo showing to build up the anticipation.

Whatever you do, do not show powerpoint slides people will be sure boo or get restless. Nobody wants to hear you talk or ask rhetorical questions. They paid $5 to be wowed. So WOW them. I think everyone who presented last night could have, but they were preoccupied with technical difficulties.

If you have created something really technologically awesome, dont focus on the tech part. I know its called the new tech meetup, the majority of people dont really understand the technology, if they understand the gravitas, odds are they will approach you afterwards. They paid for the chance of seeing you live opposed to just reading about it online the next day. Dont make them regret coming to the event.

Your main focus should be giving people a taste of how awesome your product is and leaving them wanting more. Allen Stern's provides a nice anecdote to convey this message:

"Imagine going to the red light district in
Amsterdam. There are hot girls in the windows. Each of them knows they
have 20-30 seconds to get you aroused enough that you want to go inside
for some "fun". Think of your demo just like this. You have 5 minutes
to arouse the attendees enough so they will want to come find you after
the demos are over and learn more. Make sense?"

Here are some photos I took from last nights event:

IACDecember NY New Tech MeetupmeetupIgnighterthe funded

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I attended MatchupCamp tonight. It was an idea Eran mentioned to me when I first met him at Startupcamp awhile back and thought it was a great idea. It finally came into fruition.

The idea behind it was that it was going to be an "open-space networking event
where everyone you meet is a potential match for your talent or idea."

It was basically a nextNY networking event. Unfortunately one that was short on drinks.

They had some tools to facilitate the networking

  • Color-coded nametags

Business Tech Startup

  • Demospace: If you brought your laptop you can show off your goods anywhere
  • Pitch wall= physical job board.
matchupcamp posting 8 matchupcamp posting 7 matchupcamp posting 6 matchupcamp posting 5matchupcamp posting 4matchupcamp posting 2matchupcamp posting 1

The name tags were a nice touch. But I still felt that more could have been done to facilitate interaction between job providers and job seekers

Three ways of possibly facilitating the group

1. Either having a speed dating deal. Where startups looking for people would sit on one side and people looking to join a startup on the other. Every 5 minutes ppl would switch, etc...
2. Placing tags around the room and ppl would congregate in areas of interest. (ex. php, ruby, music, video, advertising, etc)
3. Have people go around the room announcing their names this way people could put faces to all the names that were posted on the wiki.

However I'm not really sure if the people attending tonights event would have benefited from these types of structure.
Since there were more people looking for hires than people looking to be hired.

All in all, I had a great time chatting with fellow nextNYers in person, thanks to Eran and everyone who helped organize and promote the event. I look forward to the next Matchupcamp.
If you attended I would love to hear your thoughts and experience.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NikeID Experience at Niketown

I've customized about 6 or 7 different sneakers on but never had the cajones to actually purchase them. Recently NikeID opened a studio in Niketown New York, where you can meet with a rep who will hold your hand through the customizing process. In addition to seeing different fabrics, colors, and shoe styles they have available, your rep guides you through the online process, offering their design advice if you so desire. I made an appointment 5 weeks ago and finally met with Mau, my design rep this morning. We sat down at one of the four design stations equipped with new iMacs.

I knew coming in that i wanted to create a pair of Dunk Lows so I didnt bother with the dunk highs, air 90s or zooms. Mau showed me all the fancy, exclusive in store offerings but what most caught my eye were the all grey, suede, “nubucks,” which were only available as “tryons” and not for sale. They reminded me of the pee wee herman nike's that were released this past april. I wanted them at the time but couldnt find a pair in my size (11.5 US)

I continued the design process which was almost identical to the online setup, but I was able to utilize some leather materials and colors that are not available on the website. After trying several renditions, i decided to keep things simple and went with a two tone colorway (dark slate+ chlorophyl).

I didnt put any text on the sneakers. They dont allow for different text on each sneaker although I wish they would. ( i would have gone with left:be well, right:do good)

After my order was finalized, I was given a plastic, credit card-esque printout of my design.
It was a pretty neat take home, allowing me to share my design with friends until my shoes arrive in about 4 weeks. It now lives in my wallet, where photos of my kids would be if i had them. (Google: Social Object to get a better understanding why they bothered, think moo cards or iphone). Although I understand it takes some time for my sneakers to make their way from China, Reebok customizes their shoes in just 4 days, or so I was told at the Mass Customization Conference I recently attended.

I was also given this great t-shirt: (they even gave jenna one too)


I'll keep you posted on my babies and let you know when the stork arrives. In the meanwhile you can check out this set of pics I took.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Facebook | Wal-Mart Roommate Style Match

Facebook | Wal-Mart Roommate Style Match
Originally uploaded by Michael S Galpert.

Walmart paid $100k+ to be on facebook and this is what happened.

The comment left by Nathan Boughton is a valid point "what better place then here [to criticize walmart]"


I wonder if there is a need for in a facebook world?

The only way to survive, satisfaction will have to make sure that customers see results. That their voices get heard and things get done.